Links 8/16/15

Newly discovered brain network recognizes what’s new, what’s familiar Science Daily

Could we grow our own painkillers? Genetically modified yeast is used to produce home-brewed morphine-like drug Daily Mail. And they say “home-brewed morphine-like drug” like that’s a bad thing…

Zhou Xiaochuan, Beijing’s central radical banker FT

Evaluating the Chinese Devaluation Econbrowser

Riskiest End of the Junk Bond Market Just Blew Up Wolf Street

Top U.S. hedge funds stayed bullish in second quarter on energy as slump began Reuters

The Monetary Policy Advice Process at the New York Fed Liberty Street

The Fed Is on Thinner Ice Than It Realizes, and It May Be Setting Us Up for Recession Tim Duy, Bloomberg

“We Always Thanked Robert Lucas for Giving Us a… Monopoly” Over Valuable Macroeconomics Brad DeLong

Redefining EM: governance regimes are the key distinction FT


EU aims to lure Greek deposits back to banks with bail-in shield Ekathimerini

With a Third Greek Bailout in Place, Questions About Snap Elections Arise Greek Reporter

Greek finance minister says bailout deal will take country forward Reuters

The Greek Debt Deal’s Missing Piece NYT. The IMF.

Greece needs more debt relief after third bailout deal in five years, says IMF chief Guardian

Merkel Allies Warily Back Greek Deal Before Lawmaker Vote Bloomberg

IMF Praises Spain’s Economic Reforms, Warns Against Backtracking Bloomberg

Labour’s choice: death in glory, or death in boredom New Statesman. “The Corbyn Surge, whatever it is, is a resounding comment on what has become of the worst of New Labour; an unflinching belief that Britain is a ‘conservative country’ and a ‘centre’ that must chased not shaped.”

Jeremy Corbyn pledges to back entrepreneurs as Labour voting begins Guardian

China explosions: New blasts hampering search in Tianjin as residents evacuated over chemical fears ABC Australia

Chemical levels above safe limit at site of Tianjin warehouse explosion South China Morning Post. Deaths now 104.

Police seize control of Burma’s ruling party headquarters Asian Correspondent

PM’s Anonymous ‘Donation’ Was Transferred Back To Singapore! MAJOR EXCLUSIVE Sarawak Report. Wait, wait. I thought Singapore was supposed to be clean?

Cracks in Correísmo? Jacobin

Ecuador Declares National State of Emergency as Volcano Erupts Bloomberg


EXCLUSIVE: Top executive at Hillary’s server company was sued for ‘fraud’ after ‘receiving proceeds’ from $500m Ponzi scheme run by Backstreet Boys impresario Daily Mail. Of course, the tradition of planting U.S. oppo on Fleet Street is a venerable one, and so cum grano salis (and note “sued for” is not the same as “convicted of”). Nevertheless, if you, as Secretary of State, decide to privatize your email, eruptions like this are nearly inevitable. Clinton had to have known that going in, so why take the risk? A question that answers itself, once asked.

Clinton eager to defuse email outrage as voter concern grows McClatchy

She remains carefully managed in Iowa. Clinton read from a Teleprompter as she spoke. She visited the Iowa State Fair Saturday and unlike most other candidates, did not speak from the Des Moines Register Soapbox. Candidates usually speak for a few minutes and take questions from fairgoers.

“Carefully managed.”

Is There Anything Progressive About Hillary’s Economic Plan? Dean Baker, Counterpunch

Donald Trump Talks Like a Third-Grader Politico

Helicoptering into fair, Trump vies with Clinton for heartland heft Reuters

‘I apologize. We left the helicopter at home. It’s in the garage, forgot to bring it,’ says Sanders as he hammers billionaires while Trump flies overhead Daily Mail

Bernie Sanders in Iowa: The next Obama? McClatchy. Eesh. I hope not.  That would be bad.

Bernie kicking into overdrive Politico

President Obama Plays Golf With Bill Clinton on Martha’s Vineyard Time. Hmm. I wonder what they talked about?

The Kansas Experiment NYT. Missed this one.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale NYT

‘Secrets Must Remain Secret’ German Intelligence Coordinator on NSA and Media Leaks Der Spiegel

Facebook Should Pay All of Us Tim Wu, The New Yorker. Yep. Facebook’s revenues are plunder, albeit of a genteel sort.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

One Year After Mike Brown Was Killed, St. Louis County Still Doesn’t Know How to Handle Protests HuffPo. Or they think they do. Or, in fact, they do.

Municipal court officials prepare in secret for major reforms St Louis Post-Dispatch. Would be nice to have a list of demands to lay the reforms against.

Report: Racial Motivations in St. Louis County Traffic Practices Newsweek. Still going on.

Where did the antiwar movement go? Le Monde Diplomatique

How to See Invisible Infrastructure The Atlantic. “The 14th Annual International Utility Locate Rodeo.”

Class Warfare

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace NYT. Notice the lack of agency in the headline. Shockingly, Jeff Bezos has created a dystopian hellhole:

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)

Worse, the “winners” in this environment will then metastatize through the rest of the workforce.

Contractors become employees as start-ups solidify a business model Los Angeles Times

Fairness, decentralization & capitalism Stumbling & Mumbling

What the “cutting the cake” problem tells us about the fairness of markets versus central planning Andrew Lilco

Is Financial Success a Product of Inherited Genes? Institute for New Economic Thinking. Take-down of an unsurprising paper by Mankiw.

American tourist claims he was held captive and sexually assaulted by his transexual Airbnb host in Spain Daily Mail

Prominent attorney is accused of killing scavenger, with the help of highway patrol officers Los Angeles Times

‘Bama sorority video worse for women than Donald Trump Birmingham News

The Emotions That Make Us More Creative HBR. Greed isn’t one of them.

How Humans Cause Mass Extinctions Project Syndicate

The War Against Change The Archdruid Report

The Origins of the American Revolution: Politics and Politicized Societies The Junto

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. MikeNY

    Re: Tim Duy’s piece.

    If by “normalizing” the Fed induces a recession, maybe that will spur government officials to do something to redistribute wealth. The unconscionable and dangerous concentration of wealth in the hands of oligarchs is the reason that the Fed’s old models aren’t working, and the reason why no amount of monetary stimulus will take us back to sustainable 3% real growth. It’s long past time for Fed officials and Mr Duy to grok that basic truth, however badly it offends the oligarchs.

    (This is not to say that I think growth is the answer to all problems; it’s just to point out the flaw in the current policy.)

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘concentration of wealth in the hands of oligarchs is the reason that the Fed’s old models aren’t working’

      Doubtless it’s a factor. But why is the Fed considering to override its own dual-mandate criteria of stable prices (interpreted as 2% inflation) and full employment? Currently, GDP and employment growth are tepid. Core CPI rose 1.78% in the past 12 months. With commodity prices sliding, my forecasting model projects deceleration to a 1.54% rise in core CPI in the next 12 months. No inflation problem here.

      To the Fed, normalization means ‘accumulating some ammo’ in the form of a non-zero policy rate. This is purely an institutional agenda, having nothing to do with the needs of the real economy. It could even be described as an ego-driven agenda, to avoid the embarrassment of having to implement yet another round of QE after declaring that we’re done with all that. Why won’t this unruly economy just follow our orders, the planners grouse in exasperation.

      Hiking rates simply to ‘put some bullets in the chamber’ after key commodity prices such as crude oil and copper have plunged would be an epic error. Didn’t they learn anything from the Fed-induced recession of 1937?

      1. craazyboy

        Except that low oil prices are pretty clearly due to oversupply rather than decline in demand. China is the big copper user nowadays and somewhere in the world has long passed up AZ as being a major copper producer……

        Then there have been whisperings the Fed may even see the beginnings of financial bubbles. Like a $4.5 trillion Fed balance sheet, and perhaps even harder to discern things like a global $100 trillion bond bubble and a gazillion or two of financial derivatives. But that’s just conjecture from some Fed observers. At least the stock market is on firm foundations.

        Then I always hear economists bemoan cutting fiscal stimulus in 1937 as the cause of the double dip back then. Other than food stamps, extended unemployment and tax cuts/international tax dodges for corporations and the rich, we’ve been on zero fiscal stimulus nowadays as well.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘the world has long passed up AZ as being a major copper producer…’

          Don’t we miss ol’ Phelps Dodge … now known as Freeport McMoRan [sic – I didn’t make up the bizarre capitalization].

          Where y’at in ayzee, craazyboy?

          1. craazyboy

            Tucson, about 20 miles north of a still active open pit copper mine. But I’ve never seen nor heard of a copper miner yet.

            1. Jim Haygood

              Probably the miners have hung up their helmets and gone to day trading. They could have made a fortune shorting FCX (Freeport Mc). It’s shed almost three-fourths of its value in 12 months. Stock chart:


      2. MikeNY

        The problem is, of course, that monetary policy can’t solve all economic problems. And it’s proven to be a blunt instrument indeed when there’s so much wealth concentrated at the very top. Some people argue that they should have only one mandate: stable prices. Perhaps that’s right: it would shift responsibility for jobs and income back to governments, which have been derelict in their duties, to say the least.

        (And as Jeremy Grantham and Stephen Roach have said, time and again: the Fed never learns…)

        1. craazyboy

          “Perhaps that’s right: it would shift responsibility for jobs and income back to governments, which have been derelict in their duties, to say the least.”

          Been part of the neolib playbook all along. Markets know the right way to spend money!

          1. MikeNY

            Markets know, eh? That’s why the Fed had to spend $4.5 trillion, to make sure the markets “knew” the right answer!

            1. craazyboy

              Markets need help understanding, now and then.

              Europe has negative interest rates….that’s like when you go to the drug store with no intention whatsoever of purchasing an enema.

  2. financial matters

    Zhou Xiaochuan, Beijing’s central radical banker FT

    Ingham makes the point that what gives money it’s ‘moneyness’ is its use as a money of account in a sovereign monetary space not its function as a commodity used solely as a medium of exchange.

    But once this moneyness is established then it can function as a commodity that can be bought and sold in foreign exchange markets.

    China may be ready to make this step. MMT recognizes foreign exchange as a limitation to a sovereign currency.


    February 24, 2014
    By L. Randall Wray

    “I have no doubt that China would eventually be in a position where floating (her currency) would not only be desired, but it would be necessary.China will probably float long before it reaches such a position. China will become too wealthy, too developed, to avoid floating. She will stop net accumulating foreign currency reserves, and will probably begin to run current account deficits. She will gradually relax capital controls. She might never go full-bore Western-style “free market” but she will find it to her advantage to float in order to preserve domestic policy space.

    If she did not, she could look forward to a quasi-colonial status, subordinate to the reserve currency issuer. China will not do that.”


    Rather than take over as sole reserve currency though China wants the rembindi to be part of a special drawing right similar to Keyne’s proposed bancor. The true strength of a currency can be seen as how desirable it is seen relative to other currencies which also reflects its political and social backing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      While taxation (on captive users..of the people, by the people, for the people) gives value to a currency, it is the un-coerced international users who determine it’s ‘true strength.’

      If they don’t like, they are free to run away (faster than the speed of light) from it*.

      *The exception being Imperial Roman money. You couldn’t buy North African durum wheat without it.

      1. fresno dan

        What’s a “strong” currency and what is a “weak” currency?

        Does the US REALLY want a strong currency?
        Does China REALLY want a weak currency?
        It seems to me China might want a weak currency for full employment, and the US might want a strong currency because that’s what Goldman Sachs wants…
        Maybe Goldman Sachs is getting exactly what it wants.

        Its like the old thing about dollar votes in a marketplace of ideas buys the best idea… or the most popular idea… Only problem – my 73 cents don’t even buy me one vote. Oh, and as I’ve mentioned many, many times – what ever happened to all the flavors offered by Nehi – it funny how the great and all powerful marketplace just gives me Coke, New Coke, and Pepsi…

        Or maybe….just maybe…the only ideas the marketplace put forward by the politicians bought and paid by the marketplace are the ideas that make the rich richer.

  3. jgordon

    About Bernie Sanders: I think he’s a good guy, like Carter was a good guy. But I don’t see any hint that he has the dire sense of urgency and brazen gall required of the next (competent) president. At best he’ll maintain the status quo, and might keep the empire wired together just slightly longer than, say, Trump or Hillary. And absent the sort of revolutionary reforms required to keep some semblance of large-scale civilization going in the decades ahead, an accelerated decline of the empire will be the next best thing. So I’m not inclined to bother voting as of now.

    Although the above looks hopeless, there is always the option of working at the local level regardless of what all the other lemmings decide to do. Actually this is probably the best hope most people have, if they recognize it. The only question is leaving people enough self-determination to pursue that option; don’t try to unduly and maliciously corral into the failing monoculture system those who decide to opt out of the cliff-dive experiment early.

    1. Carolinian

      If Sanders only succeeds in knocking Hillary out of the race he will have done everyone a great service. He already seems to have punctured the “inevitability” meme.

      The Posties now label Sanders’ “rabble rousing” as the “Sanders threat.”

      You are probably right about Sanders’ limitations but at least he isn’t named Clinton or Bush.

      1. jrs

        True that, if he succeeds in knocking Hillary out it’s a great service. I expect campaign promises to be broken, they have to be, it’s the system. But if we could at least get rid of Hillary …

      2. neo-realist

        Sanders winning the presidency would be a far greater service even if he is compromised by a bought and paid for corporatist congress and the corporate and military power centers. It would merely be a good service if he beat Hillary but lost the presidency to some neo-fascist republican clown like Jeb. You would hope that the democrats would take his success as a lesson for future elections that proposing economic populist policies at the local, state and national levels is a big key to winning them.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Also from WaPo:

        By Chris Cillizza. While it could be a whine from a Clinton loyalist, it’s very informative on the technicalities of the nomination race – unless, of course, Clinton crashes and burns (private email server, anyone?) And it avoids discussing Sanders, who is attempting an end run around the factors it discusses.

    2. Jagger

      As long as he supports Israel unconditionally, I can’t put Sanders in the same category as Carter. I do agree with his economics but internationally, he could be a disaster. We need to hear him talk about foreign policy and Israel. It seems to boil down to which is worse, a neolib or a neocon?

      But I don’t see any hint that he has the dire sense of urgency and brazen gall required of the next (competent) president.

      Yes, is he tough enough to make a difference even if he gained power? I have doubts. But then, what choices are available politically?

      1. optimader

        But I don’t see any hint that he has the dire sense of urgency and brazen gall required of the next (competent) president.
        Agreed, too old. Very different outlook than McCain obviously, but the burning desire seems about the same intensity, if not less than McCain.
        McCain I remember thinking might have realized “Hey, I might possibly pull this off, I’ve got a great gig now, do I really want this POTUS crp at this point in life?” and either consciously or unconsciously torpedoed himself.

        1. craazyboy

          Which leaves us with a problem, out of 20 candidates running, there isn’t even one remotely reasonable to vote for?

          Besides, I watched Sanders LA rally, and he was more upbeat and energetic than any candidates I’ve seen yet. Excluding Trump, whom meets the “brazen” standard, if that’s what’s important. I get this image of Trump and the Red Button in the White House.

          1. optimader

            Which leaves us with a problem, out of 20 candidates running, there isn’t even one remotely reasonable to vote for?
            Isnt that something..

            I watched Sanders LA rally, and he was more upbeat and energetic than any candidates I’ve seen yet
            Maybe Im wrong? I dont sense the killer instinct to put HRC down.

            1. optimader

              …but maybe the strategy is to let her explode by her own device? The problem with that is it erodes the D part chance having their “apparent” candidate twist in the wind.
              Kinda has a Watergate dark cloud on the horizon feel to it (the email thing).

              1. craazyboy

                Our posts crossed. Yah, Hillary would reflect badly on the Ds as a whole, but it’s along time till election day yet, and the Rs certainly are no angels. Neo-Templars, yes, but not angels.

                Besides, Bernie is running on populism. I think the big backlash this season is anti status quo sentiment – which is a R+D issue.

                Bernie is like voting for a 3rd party inside a fixed two party system. So is Trump at the other end of the speKtrum

                1. Oregoncharles

                  IOW, a half measure – and likely to be just about as successful as those usually are.

            2. craazyboy

              Maybe he’s just focused on telling his own story, for now, and wait and see if Hillary self destructs? He’s been in politics a long time…I’m beginning to think he may know what he’s doing.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                So Bernie does a service by knocking our HRC…in favor of whom? Um please don’t say Biden. Do we then get our own clown car going? Al Gore? John Kerry (ugh not again)? Is Michael Dukakis still around? Mondale? Warren? Or does Bernie really have the stones to pull this off? Won’t they just Muskie him?

                1. craazyboy

                  He has the traditional headwinds off Age + “Sorta Jewish” against him. IMO, that’s minor in light of the Big Picture. I think fending off torpedoes from every direction is his biggest risk as the political season goes along.

                  Maybe he can get Dean as VP, and America is given a second chance on voting for candidates?

                  1. lambert strether

                    Sanders flies coach. Corollary: He doesn’t go up in small planes.* Nor should he.

                    * Another reason to leave the helicopter in the garage.

                    1. optimader

                      Sanders flies coach
                      smart to embed in the commercial flight herd actuarially speaking, but no honor flying coach anymore if he has to be fresh at a destination. But I hate commercial flight travel anymore. I wouldn’t want to be unfolding out of a coach seat to go stump speech’in if I had any sort of campaign budget.

                    2. optimader

                      like GWB did in 2000
                      Jeb! will be using Keystones we can suppose

                      If BSanders had a change of heart, the campaign could pop for a nice and utterly safe Stearman. How could the media ignore him barnstorming around the country??

                      I’m sure Bernie could line up a retired commercial trans. pilot who’d fly him around the country for grins and per diem. At the end of the campaign he could sell it for what he has in it.

                    3. neo-realist

                      Ultimately doesn’t matter how good a pilot Bernie gets if the subversion of the flight happens from the outside.

                    4. Gaianne

                      @ optimader–

                      The point of flying coach is that it makes assassination less convenient.

                      Killing is easy but it always has a cost. If you wish to survive you increase that cost.

                      Flying private craft lowers the cost. Don’t do it if you are in any sense a “public person”.


                    5. optimader

                      The point of flying coach is that it makes assassination less convenient
                      Jeeze, tougher crowd in business class?
                      My comment was a bit tongue in cheek, but now that I think about it barnstorming through the country would be the way I’d go.
                      Sadly, if someone wants to knock off Bernie, there are countless and easier ways to do it than messing with a plane. People that die in light aircraft are usually victims of the Zippy’s Disease*.
                      “Did everything fast, got it all wrong”
                      ~first usage: Tom Cahill Road Fever


                    6. ambrit

                      On light plane fatality:
                      Representatives Hale Boggs and Nick Begich
                      Senator John Tower
                      Senator Ted Stevens
                      Governor Mel Carnahan
                      Governor George Mickelson
                      Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown
                      Senator John Heinz
                      Representative Larkin Smith
                      Representative Mickey Leland
                      Representative Larry McDonald
                      Representative Jerry Litton
                      Representative Jerry Pettis
                      Representative George W. Collins
                      That’s just since 1972. See:
                      If Bernie is going to do a real ‘Barnstorming’ tour in a Stearman, (a very reliable aircraft by the way,) he’d better have a staffel of Fokkers or Sopwiths along for protection.

                    7. optimader

                      your comment implies sinister means in those deaths, not to mention a number of them were incredibly bad luck on Commercial flights/commercial aircraft. Other than Boggs , who was swallowed up in the backcountry of Alaska, none of the crashes are ambiguous.

                      Representatives Hale Boggs and Nick Begich — transiting from Anchorage to Juneau. Who knows? Think twice about flying in Alaska backcountry in a float plane , no less, w/ 1 pilot. excellent plane, bad luck

                      Senator John Tower – Commercial aircraft, doesn’t count

                      Senator Ted Stevens – An Otter seaplane in Alaska single pilot with a history a strokes… Dough! Broke the stupidity rule.

                      Governor Mel Carnahan – He and Son flew into a storm trying to beat wweather –Zippy’s Disease

                      Governor George Mickelson — Made the mistake of flying in a Mitsubishi MU-2 By the numbers a very dangerous plane NTSB =Fatigue failure of a prop hub, bad weather flew into a silo in insturment conditions. Bad maintenanceZippy’s Disease.

                      Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown — USAF 707, ILS bad weather approach in Croatia into a mountain. Great plane bad weather terrible runway approach.. No issue with the plane, probably as good or better maintained than similar commercial aircraft. Very bad luck, default pilot error

                      Senator John Heinz– Flew into a Bell Heliocopter.. Ouch!. Bad piloting, bad judgment.

                      Representative Larkin Smith – Flew into trees at night trying to make it to an event.. Zippy’s Disease

                      Representative Mickey Leland – Be careful who you fly with in Ethiopia? Great plane, a Twin Otter, but Pilot flew into an area of bad weather at low altitude and failed to maintain visual contact with the ground Broke the Stupidity Rule

                      Representative Larry McDonald – Shot down in a KAL007 (B747) by a Russian interceptor.. On the board as incredibly bad luck, (had a chance to take a different flight and declined.)

                      Representative Jerry Litton – Broken engine crankshaft on take off, preexisting fatigue crack – bad maintenance, pilot error.

                      Representative Jerry Pettis —Pettis decided to continue a VFR flight into bad weather –Zippy’s Disease. And really broke the stupidity rule

                      Representative George W. Collins –United Airlines flgt 553 aborting a landing at Midway flew into powerlines. Terrible luck.


                    8. optimader

                      Wellstone. Horribly victimized w/ an incompetent commercial trans licensed pilot in charge. The King Air is one of the safest planes in the air, but ultimately you cant have a jughead piloting it.

                      The logistics reality in political campaigning, is an interesting balance.
                      A shorter field capable aircraft that can get someone closer to the destination id, as well expose them to less potential to get taken out in vehicular accidents.

                      Craziness w/ the aptitude of commercial pilot skills does go on unfortunately.
                      Naked Pilot: The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents

                      A Commercial pilot friend of mine quips: ” Boeing /Airbus cockpit automation is working toward replacing the pilot and copilot with a boy and his dog, with the ultimate objective of then firing the boy ..”
                      –He’s English, w/a good sense of dry humor which is always best w/ an element of truth.

                      On Wellstone:
                      The NTSB later determined that the likely cause of the accident was “the flight crew’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover.”[27] The final two radar readings detected the airplane traveling at or just below its predicted stall speed given conditions at the time of the accident.[27] Aviation experts speculated the pilots might have lost situational awareness because they were lost and looking for the airport.[28] They had been off course for several minutes and “clicked on” the runway lights,[27] something not usually done in good visibility.[citation needed] There was a problem with the airport’s VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) navigational beacon. According to Minnesota Public Radio:

                      The day after the crash, FAA pilots tested the VOR. The inspection pilots reported to the NTSB that when they flew the approach without their automatic pilot engaged, the VOR repeatedly brought them about a mile south of the airport. In one written statement an FAA pilot told the NTSB that the signal guided him one to two miles left or south of the runway. That’s the same direction Wellstone’s plane was heading when it crashed.[28]

                      Other pilots at the charter company told NTSB that pilot Richard Conry and first officer (co-pilot) Michael Guess both displayed below-average flying skills. Conry had a well-known tendency to allow co-pilots to take over all functions of the aircraft as if they were the sole pilot during flights. After the crash, three copilots told of occasions in which they had to take control of the aircraft away from Conry.[27] After one of those incidents, only three days before the crash, the co-pilot (not Guess) had urged Conry to retire.[29] In a post-accident interview Timothy Cooney, Conry’s longtime friend and fellow aviator, said that he last spoken to Conry in June 2001 and had expressed concerns about difficulties he had flying King Airs as late as April of that year, eighteen months prior to the accident.[30] Significant discrepancies were also found in the captain’s flight logs in the course of the post-accident investigation indicating he had probably greatly exaggerated his flying experience, most of which had been accrued before a 9–10 year hiatus from flying due to a fraud conviction and poor eyesight.[27] He had Lasik surgery but it only improved his vision to 20/50, 20/30[31] and he was required by FAA regulations to wear corrective lenses.[32] However, the pilot’s wife and Timothy Cooney said he did not wear lenses after the surgery.[33] The coroner who examined his badly burned body was unable to determine if he was wearing contacts at the time of the crash.[34]

                      Guess was cited by co-workers as having to be consistently reminded to keep his hand on the throttle and maintain airspeed during approaches.[27] He had two previous piloting jobs: one with Skydive Hutchinson as a pilot (1988–1989), and another with Northwest Airlines as a trainee instructor (1999). However, he was dismissed from both jobs for lack of ability.[35] Conry’s widow told the NTSB that her husband told her “the other pilots thought Guess was not a good pilot.”[36]


                    9. ambrit

                      I take the correction meant by your laborious analysis of my “list.”
                      I can no longer concede the commercial flights, but must admit that we are talking about small aircraft today.
                      Given my knee jerk reaction to the idea that ‘inconvenient’ politicos can be ‘disappeared’ through aviation ‘accidents,’ I will suggest that the meme, ‘Fly on small aircraft and die’ has emerged into the forefront of the group consciousness. I do not feel alone in being extremely cynical when viewing the ‘unfortunate demise’ of any politico.
                      I’ll go out on a limb and give this a name: Post Rogers Syndrome. This refers to the deaths in a small aircraft in Alaska of pilot Wiley Post and passenger Will Rogers in 1935. (Applying your methodology, this accident would fall under the Zippy Rule.)

                    10. Lambert Strether Post author

                      What the heck is the Zippy Rule? I saw a link to it the other day, went there, and… Missed the point.

                      On the plane, I gave two links: Wellstone, and a Republican operative. I can accept Wellstone was an accident — though I’d still advise Sanders never to go up in small planes regardless — but the operative link was wicked sketchy.

          2. fresno dan

            But crazyboy, its NEVER EVER been a better year for the insane!!!
            Aren’t you loyal to your demo!!???!
            From the quietly delusional, to the raving megalomaniacs, to the paranoid, psychotic, batsh*t lunatics. Vintage year. Best year yet. We’ll have to wait 4 years to surpass it.

            we can die slow, or we can die quick. I say we die entertained…

            1. craazyboy

              I have a playground in my head where I try and rope off all my insane thoughts and feelings. But the playground should NOT take over. That would be bad.

          3. Kokuanani

            Yeah, I keep wondering when the Dems are going to roll out the “daisy ad” used during the Goldwater-LBJ contest. Too young to recall? Google it. And just imagine Trump telling Putin [or anyone else] “you’re fired” and then hitting the Red Button.

      2. spooz

        Subir Grewal at Daily Kos argues that he has not been “unconditionally” supportive of Israel, pointing out that he wasn’t a cosponsor of Senate Resolution 185 and was the first senator to refuse to announce he would not attend Netanyahu’s address in February. Not only did Sanders slam his warmongering speech, he has now stood backed Obama on the Iran nuclear deal, so he is not taking orders from AIPAC. The Kos article quotes Sanders statement on Israel and Gaza from his website:

        “Sanders believes the Israeli attacks that killed hundreds of innocent people – including many women and children – in bombings of civilian neighborhoods and UN controlled schools, hospitals, and refugee camps were disproportionate, and the widespread killing of civilians is completely unacceptable. Israel’s actions took an enormous human toll, and appeared to strengthen support for Hamas and may well be sowing the seeds for even more hatred, war and destruction in future years.”

        In any case, it seems that its not an important issue for the majority of voters. They are more concerned with the economy, Washington culture and health care. Foreign policy, and Israel, don’t rank very high against more urgent concerns like jobs and inequality. Some people will vote for one issue, but they will have a hard time finding a serious candidate that is taking a hard line against Israel.

        1. jrs

          I don’t really think Americans have the right to be so selfish with regard to foreign policy, not as long as the U.S. is an empire, and foreign policy decisions are killing other human beings the world over.

          They have a moral responsibility at that point not just to think about their economic circumstances but to think of the rest of the world who don’t get a vote but do bear the consequences. But it’s not like we really have better choices for President either.

        2. Oregoncharles

          The insistent pretense that there aren’t options outside the legacy parties (what’s Lambert’s excellent term for 3rd parties?) is a classic case of self-fulfilling – and self-defeating – prophecy.

      3. Vatch

        As long as he supports Israel unconditionally

        But Sanders does not support Israel unconditionally. Yes, he supports Israel, as do almost all U.S. politicians, but he also criticizes Israel or Israeli leaders, implicitly or explicitly. His support has limits. An example of explicit criticism:

        Sanders did not attend Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress. He had said beforehand that the address, arranged without consultation with the White House, improperly interfered with President Barack Obama’s leading role in charting U.S. foreign policy. With Israeli elections set for two weeks from now, Sanders also said it was inappropriate for any foreign leader to use an appearance before Congress for their own domestic political purposes.

        An example of implicit criticism:

        War Crimes in Gaza A United Nations report into the 2014 Gaza war released Monday found that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups may have committed war crimes during the conflict. Both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers quickly rejected the report’s findings, which said Palestinian militants targeted civilians in their rocket attacks, while Israeli forces likely used “disproportionate” force in civilian areas of the Gaza Strip. More than 2,200 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed during the fighting, according to U.N. and Palestinian officials, while 73 people, including six civilians, died on the Israeli side, The Associated Press reported.

        This is on the Sanders official Senate web site. Note the huge difference between the number of Palestinian deaths and the number of Israeli deaths. Mentioning this is a clear slap in the face to unconditional supporters of Israel.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Thank you. The Sanders as a Bibi in sheep’s clothing meme was getting repeated here in spite of its lack of actual truth. Even in the areas he’s weakest in from a lefty perspective, he’s still better than any of the other viable candidates. It’s kind of like BLM projecting their negativity onto him for no reason other than its easier to do than to actually bother looking up where he actually stands. There are intellectually lazy people who won’t let facts get in the way of a good rant/smear all across the political landscape–and we in the NC commentariat are clearly no exception.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Voted against NAFTA. Voted against the Iraq war. Voted against TARP. Voted against the Patriot Act. That’s more than enough for me, Israel is a sideshow compared to all of those.

            1. JTMcPhee

              …the Israelites have something over 200 nuclear weapons and delivery systems for them and a long history of willingness to do crazy stuff like start wars and attack and try very hard to sink US intelligence ships to hide their crap and sell covert operatives for the US (not forgetting how evil and stupid “we” the Empire are) to the Rooskies and aspire to and succeed in directing huge motions of US “policy.” And for reasons that are incomprehensible to me at least, the Village and so many smaller polities will not close out the disease… Because “only democracy in the area?” Say effing what? But their massively corrupt oligarchy IS “just like ours…” — a huge threat to the future of the planet…

          2. Ulysses

            There are intellectually lazy people who won’t let facts get in the way of a good rant/smear all across the political landscape–and we in the NC commentariat are clearly no exception.”

            Giusto!! Another irritating tendency is to lump Sanders together with the rest of the Senate, as if he is fully complicit with all their crimes. Lots of people don’t even know that he voted against the Patriot Act!! He is complicit, only in the sense that any reformist is complicit, during times that demand very radical changes. He chose to try to mitigate the damages done by a horrible system from within, rather than rail against the system from a jail cell. I truly believe that he sincerely hopes to make the system much better.

            Unfortunately, I cannot share his optimism that this is any longer possible– given the successful corporatist coup d’état already accomplished here in the U.S. Anyone who thinks that any elected official will manage to do anything, within our current system, that significantly lessens the power of J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, or Goldman Sachs is delusional!

      4. Oregoncharles

        Carter was a terrible President, the first neocon and beholden to the Rockefellers. He seems to know that, and has spent the rest of his life trying to make up for it – unique in recent history.

    3. DJG

      Sorry, but having lived almost my entire life in Chicago, I recognized what you have written as typical Chicago-style self-defeat. Let’s vote for some slickster like Rahm and some “competent” person like Rauner rather than engage in any kind of an experiment, even if incremental.

      And then at your “local level,” these same politicians are doing things like choking local school councils, wrecking public health clinics, blackmailing unions, using tax districts as slush funds, profiting off their conflicts of interest, and making attempts to derail the movement in Chicago for an elected school board.

      So: More effort at higher levels would sure help, it seems to me. Fire people at the top. Hire people who might start firing people at the next tier, too.

      1. jgordon

        DJG, America is an empire in decline. There is exactly one case in history, the Holy Roman Empire some 1500 years ago, where a declining empire actually managed to put the breaks on the decline and hold things steady for a few more centuries (through extremely radical reforms).

        Anyway, you are still talking about politicians. Come one, they are basically all useless or worse than useless (bought). I am talking about your neighbors when I say “local”. You are free to expend all your effort on a system that’s about to get flushed down the drain anyway, but I’d recommend against it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I believe Diocletian bought the Roman empire a century or so. And surely there are examples of imperial regeneration in China? I think “exactly one case” is an extremely strong claim. We might also consider that the Brits, having suffered the loss of the Thirteen Colonies post-1776, went on to do rather well for themselves elsewhere, so to some extent this depends on how you define “decline.”

          1. Clive

            Yes, definitely; once the psychological damage (which was to national ego, if such a thing can be said to exist) had been overcome — which did take the best part of a generation, mind you — being free from the burdens of empire was the best thing that could have happened to Britain.

            For a start, empires end up being a net drain on national resources in the absence of a reserve currency and so the incipient demand that domestic economic and even external foreign policy skews to preserve the “hard” currency status creates conditions for economic hollowing out in the empire’s home country. The empire, which started out being, and was supposed to enable, an extraction method for wealth from the colonies becomes a monster which demands ever greater resources to be expended in maintaining its own existence.

            And then you have the negative impact on your client States. By draining them of the benefits of their output and forcing them to take uncompetitive products from the “mother country” like-it-or-lump-it and/or sacrificing parts of their resources to fulfil the geopolitical imperatives of the coloniser, you gradually erode the potential of your empire constituent countries.

            The British managed their colony constituent states fairly well, up to a point. When it could not longer do do, it quit the game in a manner which left the now independent countries in a reasonable condition (that is NOT to say ideal or undoing the lack of development which colonisation had imparted on those countries, but by the time the music had stopped, Britain was scarcely able to resolve its own domestic economic issues let alone those of colonies so it really had no choice but to say “so long and thanks for all the fish”).

            Badly managed colonies become bottomless pits for the coloniser. See Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Phillipines, Puerto Rico…

            Please, USA, learn a lesson from Britain. Colonialism / imperialism is a loose-loose scenario. Manage your exit strategies now, while you still have time.

            1. ambrit

              Much as I agree with the basic premise of your post, I must remark that this latest iteration of “Empire” has evolved away from the national and in the direction of transnational. One can argue that the Dutch East India Company was an international enterprise, but, at the end of the day it was beholden to the Dutch nation state. So too with the English East India Company. (See your namesakes career.) Today, I would argue that technological advances in communications and travel have changed the ‘rules of the game.’ Our modern oligarchs now view the entire world as theirs, Nations be D—–d.

              1. Clive

                That too is true Ambrit, the post colonial age is in reality something more like the age of the multinational (supra-national entity) empire. A cabal of bigger-than-state sized corporations with balance sheets exceeding GDPs of many “developed” countries, let alone developing ones, act like imperial overlords to India, Mexico, even China to an extent.

    4. jrs

      Everyone will keep the empire wired together, to think otherwise is naive. People will be homeless, starving in the streets, but the empire will do it’s empire thing (inviting comparison to the old USSR). What could stop it? Oh possibly another empire (or set of such like the BRICS).

      1. craazyboy

        Except no BRICS will be left standing after the coming crash. Maybe Aussies go down too.

        The biz model of shipping commodities to the World Factory in China or shipping $100 oil everywhere looks to be kaput for the time being.

        oops. Almost forgot India. Well, we’ll have to think of something that’s wrong with India :)

  4. BellaGina

    Corbyn is still part of a very corrupt party. He will not bring significant change.

    “Above all else, what has been proved by the bitter experience made by Greek workers with Syriza is that it is impossible to defend anything—jobs, wages, essential social services—without breaking the stranglehold of the financial oligarchy over economic and political life. It demands the independent political mobilisation of the working class against the major corporations and banks and their government—which Greece has also proved will stop at nothing to safeguard their interests, even if this means destroying a country and plunging millions into abject poverty.

    Corbyn offers no such struggle. Should he win the leadership of the Labour Party, or become the focus of a political regroupment of the pseudo-left, he will betray all of those who voted for him just as surely as did Alexis Tsipras of Syriza.

    The issue placed before the working class is not a return to the Labour Party or the fashioning of a new pro-capitalist formation that employs socialism purely as a rhetorical trick, but the building of a genuine socialist and internationalist party of the working class.”

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Syriza was undone in the end I think not by any great lack of sincerity in their views but by finding themselves in a completely unwinnable situation, one where they had no power to implement their agenda. A Labour Party under Corbyn that came to power would operate under, still significant but, a *lot* fewer external constraints. Real change won’t happen because of political tides in little backwaters like Greece, change will happen when it occurs in big global economic players like the UK, the US or France.

      Syriza didn’t betray the left, it was muscled into capitulation by forces than no Greek government, no matter how radical, could have successfully resisted.

    2. lindaJ

      “…fashioning of a new pro-capitalist formation that employs socialism purely as a rhetorical trick…” Thought you were talking about Bernie for a minute there.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The Reuters article on hedge funds investing more in oil, and Wolf Streets reports.

    I’m finding the disconnect between the price of oil and the behaviour of investors in oil to be completely bizarre. There seems to be a strong consensus that low oil prices are here to stay for several years at least. The Saudi’s have little choice but to continue dumping on the market, they will be deeply humiliated if they back away. With more Iraqi and Iranian oil coming online and slowing growth around the world, its hard to see oil going any way but down. And LNG prices tend to follow oil (natural gas does its own thing in regional markets). But the glut from gas fracking doesn’t seem to be going away, so gas prices in many markets are still likely to stay low.

    All the indicators are that most unconventional oil sources (fracking, oil sands, pre-salt, deep water, etc) are highly expensive – all dependent on at least $60-80 a barrel for break-even, many requiring $120+ to make a profit. And yet, there has been no sign of a dropping off in production (despite dropping well counts in the US), and now we see that even more investor money is going into it. The possible explanations out there seem to include:

    1. An assumption that the Saudi’s will have no option but to reign back and push oil up over a $100.
    2. There will be a war in the mid-east which will have the same effect.
    3. Frackers, etc., have genuinely managed to pretty much halve the cost of extracting oil over the past 18 months or so, and are if not profitable, then managing to break even at these prices.
    4. The banks and hedge funds have put so much money into the oil industry, that its now too big to fail – they have no option but to keep pumping cash in, otherwise their failed investments will become transparent – i.e., they are just trying to push the margin call into the future, in the faint hope that 1 or 2 will happen.
    5. The hedge fundies know something none of the rest of us know.

    If 4. is the case, then we could be on the verge of an enormous failure.

    None of the above seem very convincing. I’d love to know if anyone out there has any convincing explanation.

    1. DanB

      I choose explanation 4. as the best overall one. Why? Primarily because oil prices are falling not because of an oil glut but because more and more people are running out of the credit needed to sustain their lifestyles. Our civilization cannot recognize -collectively, let alone come to grips with- the resource and thermodynamic limits to growth now inducing economic contraction. Visit Economic Undertow for annunciation of this explanation. (No link provided because it could trigger those dreaded spam filters.)

    2. Ed

      The official explanation would be # 3, and people probably really believe this to some extent.

      The underlying explanation is more # 4. Also the US government really, really wants low oil prices, at least in the short term, and is not adverse to market manipulation, pretty much the same as been happening with gold.

      1. andyb

        We have perhaps 5 years left of cheap fossil fuel energy, so the mid to long term prognosis is fairly dire. The current 8 month decline in prices (other than in the Chicago area–refinery problems, and in California) is smoke and mirrors predicated on keeping the ever declining US economy upright for a few more months. All the elites know is extend and pretend. The majority of assets on bank balance sheets are underwater due to the abrogation of mark to market rules, S&P Index companies are all showing declining earnings in spite of stock buybacks and accounting chicanery, and middle class incomes keep falling, falling. When, in the past 5 years, over 75% of all new employment consists of illegal immigrant hires, it is easy to see that the price of oil should be among the least of our worries.

      2. James Levy

        My guess is that they are betting on a massive government bail-out of the fossil fuel/fracking industry and so they all know they can throw good money after bad because the lender of last resort will step in and make them whole even if they are pumping at a loss (which many of the producers have to be, as are many natural gas producers). The Republicans will do it in the name of “national security” and “energy independence” while the Dems will do it in the name of “jobs” and “growth”. The price tag will be staggering, and how the system will absorb all the new “money” is anyone’s guess. What we can bet on is that the costs will be gouged out of social spending, scientific research, and infrastructure investment.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I thought the current theory said the sovereign can just move sovereign coin out into The Economy in any amount the political economy decides, through its corrupt processes, is cool and for the benefit of the Right People, natural and corporate. Apparently without consequences of an unfortunate kind. Works for banks and the MIC, apparently, no? Why not the Lifeblood of DeadEnd Carboconsumption, too? Not that all those things are separate categories…

          Not the case? Somebody ought to inform the Rulers, immediately!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. alex morfesis

      zero coupon bonds

      land provides little except expenses in upkeep until time to take capital gains…or capital losses to offset a future tax bill…

      holding gold(vs. trading) is a hope and see if people don’t realize you can not use it (even in dystopia) to buy anything except a currency that is legal tender or trade with a criminal element who might have a bigger knife than you..

      buying real estate with a negative cash flow in the path of a trending urban area…or in hopes fifth avenue rents keep going up…

      oh…and that wonderful old thing called the oil depletion allowance which, if handsomely structured, might allow up to 65% “adjustment” against other certain incomes

      all these are existing scenarios…all the crazy current pricing numericals handed out do not match what was said in 1998-2002 when tar sands were abandoned as costs were at 35-40 per barrel (or so we were told) back then…

      is there a danger that oil will turn to salt ??

      you were given a sal-ary…

      you were worth your weight in salt (not gold)…

      now salt is an item in a box on the bottom shelf of the grocery store aisle…

      life is always changing…

      will solar, wind and kinetic hydropower eventually(in 30 years) get to critical mass…probably…then all that oil and the last 100 years of oil wars will be done…

      pump it out before it is worthless ???


      my guess is 25 years from now coal, oil and maybe even natural gas will be useless…

      fax machines were around 100 years before they took on a life and killed the teletype number…the world is always changing…tanks are useless today…too many cars and trucks…

      the only constant is change…

      1838 the us set off on a round the world tour of its naval forces…and then handle the second sumatra conflict…the first being to avenge the hijacking of a peabody vessel in 1832…

      we fought over and then negotiated a treaty with the uk over a guatemala vessel canal that was never built…

      life is about change and noises in the dark…is the noise a palmetto…a gecko or a rabid raccoon…

      the future is always there for the taking…american economic history has almost always been a form of privateering…nothing much has changed except instead of a kid yelling out extra extra in a street corner…we have a blip sound on our phone or laptop saying tweet tweet…follow the noise…

      there are 168 hours in a week…use them wisely…time is the most valuable element

      1. Gio Bruno

        …You may be conflating the Wilkes Expedition of the Pacific Ocean (1838) with the Great White Fleet circumnavigation of the world (1909).

        The goal of the Wilkes navigation was largely oceanographic knowledge (though the Peabody did get into a serious battle with island natives). The goal of the GWF was typical (US) Teddy Roosevelt “big stick” wielding.

        1. alex morfesis

          east india squadron and gunboat diplomacy…

          what us little ole navy vessels…why we are just doing some mapping(and attacking at three places)…don’t mind us…we are just taking some samples (of what is left after we bomb you)…

          rio first then pacific later and then meet with our friends in tokyo bay…just happy happy…

        2. optimader

          The goal of the GWF was typical (US) Teddy Roosevelt “big stick” wielding.
          Well show a stick anyway. It was an obsolete fleet of tubs at the dawn of the dreadnaught era painted white so they’d be easy to see! ouch! it’s an interesting bit of history, kinda reminds me of present day China’s fiddling around w/ trying to operate a blue water navy.

            1. Gio Bruno

              ‘Big Stick’ was in quotes intentionally. It was Teddy’s own term.

              My point was not to definitively describe either maritime foray, but to note that the 1838 expedition was not a global foray (it focused on the Pacific). While the GWF did circumnavigate the globe; but not until 1909.

  6. Ditto

    Re Lawyer’s comments in the LA Times article about contractor v employee misclassification litigation hitting “share” economy companies

    The argument that companies are now moving to the employee model rather than relying on contractors bc of. desire to train etc rather than bc llitigation seems false given the fact that it is the employers exercise of control that is at the heart of the litigation

    They may now be training peopleb(whatever that means) but the share economy was always exercising control.

    They just were not doing it to help Customers

  7. wbgonne

    The War Against Change The Archdruid Report

    I think this article largely misses the mark and for several reasons. For one, from what I observe the Sanders supporters are unlike the 2007 Obama people, of whom I was one. In 2007, many people did think that Obama could and would singlehandedly institute fundamental change. After all, that’s exactly what he said and many of us naively believed it. I don’t see that with Sanders. Sanders is calling for a political revolution, yes, but he seems modest and realistic enough to state that it won’t be effectuated by his election alone. It will require a populist movement. (Incidentally, Obama knew this too and that explains why he dismantled his populist field operation immediately upon election: Obama did not want a revolution of any sort.) My sense is that, after Obama, Left-leaning reformers in America are appropriately chastened and cautious. Certainly, there will be powerful enthusiasm behind Sanders, because that is the nature of a populist challenge to the status quo, and that may resemble the idolatry for Obama but the resemblance, IMO, is superficial.

    All that said, I see very little chance of Sanders securing the Democratic nomination. It will almost certainly be Clinton and, assuming the GOP follows its recent trend, Clinton will probably beat the weak-to-awful Republican nominee, with Sanders having thrown his full support behind Clinton after she wrests the Democratic nomination. This is hardly certain but the most probable outcome. This will be catastrophic on a policy level since another 4 (or 8) years of neoliberalism will set us on course for calamitous global warming compounded by ever-increasing economic inequality and ruination of the commons. On a political level, however, Hillary Clinton’s election will be like a beacon of clarity: at least to the sentient, it will be clear beyond all doubt that the political system has been hijacked. There will be no Obama-esque illusions with the Clintons. They are money-grubbing, self-indulgent grifters and everybody knows it. No one will believe one word Clinton says and the press, which despises the Clintons, will not shield her like it has Obama, as the first black president. Things will be in sharp relief, as the Marxists might say. All the pent-up rage confounded by Obama will be released. What happens then on a political level is difficult to predict.

    And, of course, whatever our politics evolves into may be rendered largely irrelevant by the real-world of catastrophic global warming, climate disruption, climate-change refugees, species extinction, drought and food-supply breakdowns, all of which are in their incipient stages today, but ready to explode under the almost-certain abrupt climate change that is at our doorstep.

    Good luck to the children because they will need it.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Largely agree (excellent summary) but with these remarks

      1) Both parties support change and have supported change for 50 years at least. It is simply change for the worse (at least as far as the 99% go) and each party has a very particular role to play to further that change (and both of them evolve) but a role which absolutely requires the other party to succeed in any way. As El Druid pointed out, this fits within the standard definition of progress which doesn’t necessarily stand for “improvement”. The general direction of the change is toward international corporate governance and control/ownership over all intellectual and material assets. Moving from national government to global corporate control is major change happening fairly rapidly by by historical standards.

      It will certainly get it’s just deserts; no one left to control, but at the cost of species extinction which seems excessive not to mention unfair to some, say about 99%.

      2) I don’t see the animosity of the press toward Clinton. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but what I see more clearly is a ridged fidelity to corporate interests. If HIllary furthers those interests, and of course she does, then the press – by in large – will be supportive of her at least within the framework of their day to day charade.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        And I suspect the email fiasco is simply a relatively gentle reminder that while she may have dreams of rule by divine right, and yes the coronation is still “on”, the Pope with the mighty smoke stacks everywhere and the tallest buildings everywhere else, not to mention the FBI which will uncover or cover up as directed – but not by her, is still firmly in control.

        1. wbgonne

          Yes, Email-gate is the perfect example. The press will trumpet the process violations but ignore the content of the emails. I posted this yesterday from DeSmogBlog:

          Emails released on July 31 by the U.S. State Department reveal more about the origins of energy reform efforts in Mexico. The State Department released them as part of the once-a-month rolling release schedule for emails generated by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now a Democratic presidential candidate.

          Originally stored on a private server, with Clinton and her closest advisors using the server and private accounts, the emails confirm Clinton’s State Department helped to break state-owned company Pemex’s (Petroleos Mexicanos) oil and gas industry monopoly in Mexico, opening up the country to international oil and gas companies. And two of the Coordinators helping to make it happen, both of whom worked for Clinton, now work in the private sector and stand to gain financially from the energy reforms they helped create.

          Will the corporate media attack Clinton on this basis? I doubt it. No substance attacks because the corporate media agrees with Clinton’s neoliberalism. But Clinton’s personal characteristics are fair game. This gives Clinton the perfect opportunity to trot out her victimhood and self-pity, which Hillary is already doing and all the Clintons — especially Hillary — know how to do.

          1. susan the other

            I wondered what the trade-off was. What did Mexico get in exchange for PEMEX? All very quiet and secret. Our MSM didn’t even cover the mass murder of students demanding their share of PEMEX proceeds. To hot to touch right now. Recently lotsa US businesses, manufacturing everything from Oreo cookies to cheesy clothing have relocated in Mexico. So there must be a big IRS incentive as well as cheap labor. There was undoubtedly a deal made somewhere at the expense of US labor. We need to change that so that labor gets compensated at the expense of US traitor capital. US capital wanted PEMEX, let US capital pay for it.

            1. craazyboy

              Until the recent collapse in oil price, PEMEX was 30% of Mexican government revenue. So the details of the new deal will have a major impact on Mexican government finance. Possibly even good if oil production volume and price go back up.

              1. susan the other

                But the student protesters and their subsequent execution, all ignored by our media along with the PEMEX deal (100 years in the making), happened before oil crashed and much of the resulting commentary was in effect that it was never coming back. So then, somebody knew something that they weren’t telling the rest of Mexico about.

                1. craazyboy

                  Nobody tells me anything, so I’m not surprised.

                  But I remember news reports from the mid 2000s when PEMEX forecast conventional oil production would fall by 30% over the coming years. They also announced a “Saudi sized” deepwater find, but said they did not have the expertise to drill it.. That’s what started off this whole episode.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Yep it’s the content not the form, HRC is a demon. Sweden didn’t want Monsanto’s GMOs until the Arkansas Cookie Monster muscled them into line. WHO wanted to report how deadly sugar is for actual human beings until HRC told them the US would pull $400M in funding if they released their findings. Japan didn’t want actual Fukushima radiation readings killing their food exports so HRC turned off the US radiation monitors and immediately raised the legal “safe” levels. We can only speculate what the huge list of outrageous “speaking fees” bought for such lovely actors as Goldman and Exxon.
              On oil, don’t watch the numerator, watch the denominator, a better question than “why is oil going down?” is “what was it doing at $140 in the first place?”. Answer: free Fed money now and forever.

            3. JTMcPhee

              Who is “we,” exactly, and what is “we” going to do, exactly or generally, to have even a Hope of Changing Anything?

      2. wbgonne

        Both parties support change and have supported change for 50 years at least. It is simply change for the worse (at least as far as the 99% go) and each party has a very particular role to play to further that change (and both of them evolve) but a role which absolutely requires the other party to succeed in any way. As El Druid pointed out, this fits within the standard definition of progress which doesn’t necessarily stand for “improvement”.

        Yes, I agree with this point but I deem it largely a semantic matter. Call it Leftism (or Social Democracy or whatever) rather than Progressivism and the substantive dynamics remain the same.

        I don’t see the animosity of the press toward Clinton. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but what I see more clearly is a ridged fidelity to corporate interests. If HIllary furthers those interests, and of course she does, then the press – by in large – will be supportive of her at least within the framework of their day to day charade.

        This is somewhat complicated, IMO. The Clintons are personally despised by much of the press corps, I think, because the Clintons treat the press with contempt and always have. Absolutely true that the corporate media — far more entrenched than during Bill Clinton’s reign — is fully aligned with Clintonian neoliberalism so the media has little incentive to push Leftist criticisms or promote Leftist alternatives like Sanders. And the media will not do that; it will not challenge Clinton from the Left anymore than it has done so with Obama. Moreover, the corporate media revels in Clinton scandals because they distract the population, are great for ratings, and do nothing to move policy Left, thereby keeping the corporatist juggernaut at full throttle. So the Clintons really are perfect for the corporate media. The fact that the media is not fawning over Clinton, IMO, stems primarily from the personal contempt that flows in both directions between the press and the Clinton Machine. This, too, is not completely accidental. The Clintons have made victimhood and self-pity into a political strategy and the media plays its enabling role. (Whether that political strategy is workable when the population is suffering remains to be seen, but I am dubious). So it is complicated and an overstatement (by me) to say that the media despises the Clintons.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          “So it’s complicated (Clinton’s relation with the media)…” You break down the threads very well.

    2. Wally

      At the present moment, it is likely that HRC will win the Democratic nomination and the general election. However, something that often gets lost in election polling and with “sophisticated” polling aggregators like Nate Silver/538 is that elections are fluid affairs and making predictions for an event 1 year away using only data is not very informative. My prediction is HRC will lose the election if she is the Democratic nominee. Polling for the Republican candidate will improve after primaries, and there are different scenarios that could lead to an HRC loss. For instance, if the country enters a recession (which though hard to predict is not completely far-fetched) that will make it difficult for HRC to win. Another possibility is the email issue could increase in intensity, leading to electorate fatigue of HRC. In general, my sense is that there is already increasing fatigue of HRC among the electorate beyond loyal partisans.

      1. optimader

        At the present moment, it is likely that HRC will win the Democratic nomination and the general election.
        At the present moment…no such thing is likely

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: ‘Bama sorority video worse for women than Donald Trump Birmingham News

    Everyone does understand that ” ‘Bama” refers to ALABAMA, right?

    1. Beth

      Yes, that video explains why I left AL 52 years ago before going to college. My decision has been confirmed many times over, not least by attending my high school reunion a few years ago and reading the comments to this article. So very happy I did.

      Also, Don Siegelman, the 51st governor, is still in prison in AL:

      Nothing has changed. Unfortunately. So sad.

  9. diptherio

    Web-based “gig economy” start-ups moving away from “independent contractors”. From the article:

    In the last two weeks alone, on-demand food delivery service Sprig, valet parking service Luxe and grocery shopping and delivery service Instacart said they were phasing out some of their independent contractor roles and bringing on those workers as employees, complete with benefits such as workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, social security and Medicare payments and, depending on hours worked, health insurance. Those benefits, experts say, can easily add 30% to each employee’s compensation package.

    With two big players in the on-demand economy, ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft, facing class-action lawsuits over worker misclassification, it’s easy to blame litigation for the sea change. [emphasis added]

    Blame?!? I think the author meant to say “credit” instead. Workers are now being properly classified and receiving large increases to their compensation packages…the question is who is to blame for their low pay and mis-classification in the first place, not who (or what) to “blame” for improving the situation for the workers.

    Also, note the header image: bearded guy with hands in pockets watching two women hard at work…so f’ing typical it makes me sick.

    1. Ditto

      The lawyer is clearly drumming up business in the article and that is the sales pitch. It is typical “business lawyer” speak to help the c level execs feel better about hiring the lawyer as counsel. It’s not enough to provide correct or sound counsel. One must sound like a true believer when one is talking. It is a reflection of the modern practice of law , in which lawyers are a dime a dozen. It is even worse in house. If you ever want to know how these companies with counsel can mess up so badly , it is bc a misstep regarding the party line can mean the lawyer does not have a job. Part of the job is to reassure management and to know which risk related battles to fight.

  10. optimader

    RE:HRC wouldn’t stick as a post yesterday but in essence my two cents is that HRC is fully poached but the news hasn’t penetrated the bubble membrane.

    Professionally managed server? For the SOS “private email”? Not mirrored on a cloud farm here or there?

    Seems patently absurd.

    Everyone in the know surely knows it’s out there. The longer it remains unresolved, the more HRC drowns in negative black ink. People don’t need to understand what its about beyond the negative tone of media presentation.

    Sanders sht talking Trump’s helicopter? Not productive. Trump may be objectionable and bombastic in style but at the brainstem reaction level, the American public likes to feel an association with “success” or a “winner”. That’s why august professional sports institutions like the NFL exist. Witness the morbidly obese fan with no shirt, painted in team colors, that pays a stupid amount of money to sit in a little plastic seat to cheer for his team. Tribalism.

    BHO and BClinton golfing? What did they talk about? Is Bill naïve enough to really want HRC elected, putting the magnifying glass on his presently excellent foundation carny gig?

    On Yves insightful “Poison Chalice comment BHO appointing HRC was directly out of BClintons playbook w/ his Jessie Jackson appointment to “spiritual advisor”. My take is that in both cases, their vanity could not resist the appointments. Couldn’t HRC have soldiered on in NY politics instead of becoming the political equivalent of a policy Sineater for BHO?

    SOS is possibly the worst role someone w/ future POTUS intentions could accept. Her only play was to pick any singular BHO policy blunder, get in front of it and use it as a reason to resign.

    HRC’s fatal flaw is being one of those people that thinks she is the smartest one in the room when she isn’t..

    1. andyb

      Chances are better than even that her server was hacked by a foreign entity. That should automatically preclude her from any high office due to blackmail possibilities.

    2. Carolinian

      HRC’s fatal flaw is being one of those people that thinks she is the smartest one in the room when she isn’t..

      But wouldn’t that apply to all of our so-called elites?

      And taking a ride on Trump’s helicopter–sounds like fun.

      1. optimader

        But wouldn’t that apply to all of our so-called elites?
        Right off hand, not the ones than firewall themselves from close scrutiny, andexpress their agendas through their (inexpensive) political handpuppets.

        The TRUMP helicopter thing is kinda funny. I saw him doing the ostentatious helo entry somewhere in Europe, maybe it was Ireland. with the block letter TRUMP placard on the turbine nacelles. Dollar to a donut he’s just buying lease time and makes them put the diecut sticky letters on when he’s using one. Its all about veneer of image.

        1. craazyboy

          Double-sided sticky tape works well, and they carry it at the 99 cent Store.

          I think you have to go to Michaels for the block letter cut outs.

          1. craazyboy

            I can’t help it. I’m making lunch here and sometimes my mind wanders when I do that.

            But picture this – rotor wash blows the “T” off and the copter lands with the letters “RUMP” remaining. hahahaha. That is kinda funny.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It is also a problem when

        1. The most ruthless in the room realizes she/he is, removing all prior restraints.

        2. The most powerful in the room realizes he/she is, again, removing all prior doubts.

        3. The smartest in the room realizes he/she is.

        On the other hand, when the wisest realizes he/she is the wisest, help is on the way for the rest of us.

        Unfortunately, the world is full of many smartest people, as evidenced by those all innovative financial mass weapons of destruction, among other disasters and potential disasters.

    3. Jim Haygood

      From the Washington Times:

      While media coverage has focused on a half-dozen of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal emails containing sensitive intelligence, the total number of her private emails identified by an ongoing State Department review as having contained classified data has ballooned to 60, officials told The Washington Times.

      As the number of suspect emails grows and the classification review continues, it is clear that predictions contained in a notification Mr. McCullough sent Congress this summer is likely to hold true: Mrs. Clinton’s personal emails likely contained hundreds of disclosures of classified information.

      Aside from the issue of classified information, if it’s true that a wiped server was turned over to the FBI, while a backup server with all the migrated data was withheld, there will be hell to pay.

      On another front, if the FBI can obtain work-related emails from recipients that Hillary filtered out as personal, that would be another smoking gun.

      1. wbgonne

        On another front, if the FBI can obtain work-related emails from recipients that Hillary filtered out as personal, that would be another smoking gun.

        It depends on how hard the FBI looks.

        President Obama Plays Golf With Bill Clinton on Martha’s Vineyard Time. Hmm. I wonder what they talked about?


        1. Jim Haygood

          Probably marking up Ford’s pardon of Nixon. Latest draft:

          It is believed that a trial of Hillary Clinton, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until a year or more has elapsed.

          In the meantime, the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former Secretary of State.

          The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a woman who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing her campaign for the highest elective office of the United States.

    4. Michael

      I’d say that HRC’s problem is that she generally is the smartest person in the room. She also tends to be the person picking the rest of the room.

    5. Ulysses

      “HRC’s fatal flaw is being one of those people that thinks she is the smartest one in the room when she isn’t..”

      Yes! This is the direct result of our meritocracy mythology. She simply can’t admit to herself that a whole lot of luck, and much less real accomplishment, went into making her the “player” that she is today.

  11. DJG

    Tim Wu: Facebook paying its members. This proposal was made by Jaron Lanier in his two books, which I recommend: “You Are Not a Gadget.” “Who Owns the Future?”

  12. Jim

    After the disaster of Syriza in Greece it is important to begin to seriously consider some of the issues raised in the Stumbling and Mumbling post on “Fairness, Decentralization and Capitalism.”

    For all the traditional Leftists on NC– do you continue to believe that a centralized agency like the state is still necessary to achieve fairness?

    What are the important differences between between a fairness of opportunity and a fairness of distribution?

    Does a more radically decentralized and citizen-centered government offer the best chance for creating fair rules of equal standing in the areas of property, law and security?

    Is there an important linkage between fair rules and the creation of wealth?

    1. wbgonne

      With respect, I fail to see how Syriza’s betrayal and failure suggests that the state is ineffectual. If anything, it suggests to me that the state is so vital that the plutocrats are terrified to lose control of it anywhere. As for decentralization generally, it is great for local issues but totally useless for the worldwide problems like energy use and global warming that will set the course of human history in the Anthropocene Age.

      1. tegnost

        Yes, the state is so effective those who would control things see that as the best method, look at patent protection as one example, add to that a global military presence which would be difficult without the state to carry the mantle of “moral authority”. In theory, I think we have a decentralized system that has been hijacked and centralized for profit seeking enterprises. Fairness is not in their best interests. Fair rules make people more willing to participate, when rules are unfair the power of the state is effective in enforcing the unfair rules, again under the guise of moral authority. Take your pick of asymmetrical applications of state power, from to big to fail to confiscation of cash in traffic stops, etc…

      2. Jim

        i would argue that the center of power within modern Greece has consisted of intimate linkages between financial/corporate interests, corrupt politicians and political parties (from right to left (including Syriza) and appointed and career bureaucrats within the Greek national state. This structure of power was never actually threatened by Syriza’s top-down, traditional left, State centered reform policies.

        All of these groups are primarily involved in rent-seeking operations which focus on the appropriation of wealth via non-competitive mechanisms.

        For example, Syriza, despite its rhetoric, was apparently a part of it own rent-seeking strategies. Recent articles cited in Links have discussed, how when Syriza came to power, the retirement fund for pensioners of DEO (the State electrical company whose union Syriza is close to) continued to receive an annual state subsidy of 600 million Euros at a time when most pensions were being cut.
        Syriza, upon gaining power, also threatened to check the licenses of the powerful oligarchs who own the key media but shelved that pledge after a few weeks in power, which seemed to result in media coverage which was more supportive. And it also appeared to be the case that once Syriza”s negotiation strategy failed there was talk among some prominent Syriza associated individuals of some potentially undemocratic moves to gain control of the financial/taxing structure of the State–simply, from my perspective, a continuation of top-down State-centered political thinking largely uninterested in grass-roots democratic citizen mobilization, independent of the existing corrupt public/private structure of power.

        Wbgone you assume that the State is the most effective/perhaps only agency of liberation for the Left. I have been arguing for the past 7 year, that it is now necessary to put this assumption under critical scrutiny taken the modern merger of public and private power.

        i see the Stumbling and Mumbling article cited above as a step in the right direction.

        1. James Levy

          What a hierarchy of authority does that localism does not is give one a chance to appeal to a less interested/farther away party who is not beholden to the local interests that have historically always dominated smaller communities. I find the idea that the linkages you discuss will magically go away at the local level bewildering. What I know is that if the local cops here in Becket (all two of them!) prove problematic, I can appeal to the Massachusetts State Police or the FBI. If all we have are those two cops, and they go rogue (and what’s to stop them if there is no higher authority over them?) I can either try to take them out in a running gun battle or I can yield to their depredations. You see, if people all played nice, then we wouldn’t have the problems we do. But people don’t always play nice, and localizing that nastiness doesn’t make it easier to manage–on the contrary, as Europe after the fall of Rome easily demonstrates, it makes it just as tough or tougher with lots of other concomitant problems.

          1. Ulysses

            Excellent summary of why people who are unfazed by a neo-feudal future are kidding themselves! The medieval city-states of Northern and Central Italy were lucky in that the nominal suzerainty of the Holy Roman Emperor, or the Pope, could be used by Ghibelline or Guelph cities to keep the local elites somewhat in check. Marsilius of Padua’s political thought grew in an environment of strong local autonomy, tempered by the possibility of occasional appeals to higher authorities to prevent tyranny at the local level.


  13. alex morfesis

    hillary email decamillis…

    oh well…it really is over then…she will probably try to be un chief or head of world bank…

    decamillis anthony…tony decamillis…planet airways…so did bernie get this story out there ?? the donald..?? or joe biden…

    or just one of the million hillary lovers out there in hateland…

    pearlman is a third rail…b of a head of “financial fraud” was deposed on a touchy case where i have done some legal support work for lawyers…aside from his insane statement that fdic insurance is to serve the bank and they dont have to listen to fdic rules(video depo so dont suggest it was misunderstood)…he also glossed over how b of a totally missed pearlmans actions and activities…

    now with planet air I see why pearlman story was never much reviewed in depth…

    planet air…the air seems to have just left the sails of the planned coronation…

    lalah lala

    lalah lala…

    hay hay hay…good bye…

  14. Gaylord

    I think the overriding question is: how do we stop capitalism from hastening the destruction of habitat for life on earth? The re-posted article currently on this site featuring an interview with Dahr Jamail and Guy McPherson highlights the biggest issue of all time: accelerating climate disruption. The vast majority of people are uninformed on this issue and keep pursuing the same old failed linear thinking. It is a failure to observe reality and an unwillingness to change our ways. We don’t need another general election; we need a GENERAL STRIKE.

    1. Eureka Springs

      In many ways I’ve been on General Strike for over a decade. I highly recommend it…)

    2. hunkerdown

      Throwing all the bums out at the same time, along with their bedbug-ridden, smallpox-infused blankets. I like it.

      Though there is something very worth emulating about the Chinese taking their bosses hostage for a few days. Having a live aristocrat in your possession makes it very difficult for the police to just MOVE the place, not because it’s just not worth the paperwork, but because, deep down, people employed by police departments know exactly who they serve and protect.

  15. Jess

    The Amazon story is disturbing and appalling in all respects except one: encouraging workers to attack plans and ideas if they see problems. I think that is actually refreshing in contrast to what is all too familiar in many corporate environments: A project has a champion and nobody dares point out the flaws even as they clearly see that the end result is going to be a train wreck. How many of us have sat in on project meetings and just knew the whole thing was an unworkable clusterfuck with the potential for catastrophic blowback, but said nothing because to do so would be career suicide?

    The only thing that’s worse is the frequent propensity for the authors of these boondoggles to be rewarded with continued employment, if not a promotion.

    1. hunkerdown

      The point of the baccalaureate in Bourgeois Studies and the student loan system set up to finance them is to ensure you are still subject to the tyranny of hunger. That’s one of the nicer things about tech: it’s still very much a portfolio-driven employment market, so honey badger don’t need to care as much.

    2. flora

      I agree with your main point. But that article made Amazon sound like a cult; or like Mao indoctrinating the cadres through ‘speaking bitterness’. ( NYT is a WaPo (Bezos) competitor.) Wonder if this harnessing of real human minds and actions to digital surveillance and control is the AI future – the new assembly line. Hope the Amazon employees are well paid.

  16. tegnost

    Speaking of Sanders, go to the seattle times sunday paper and view the heroic spread on the envoy of disruption. Full disclosure I couldn’t bring myself to click on it, just marveled at the front page exposure…

    1. Brindle

      Interesting profile. Sounds like she has experience in shouting down others in public forums.

      Seattle Times:

      —Then, during the question-and-answer period, a white member of the audience said that he was put off by Johnson’s use of the term “white supremacy.” He preferred the phrase “white privilege.”

      Johnson snapped. “Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever tell oppressed people how they should resist their oppression,” she said during a tongue-lashing that lasted several minutes and included her admonishing the man to stop smiling and refrain from speaking further.

      She has shown this side of herself repeatedly over the past year. At a series of public meetings, she has yelled, chanted and berated officials, sometimes putting a stop to whatever proceeding was under way.—

      1. tongorad

        She comes across as quite the upper middle class chancer/looney. An SPU graduate in other words.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is financial success a product of inherited genes?

    The other questions: Is romantic success a product of inherited genes?

    Or, is athletic success a product a product of inherited genes? Can a tall person ever jockey a triple crown horse?

    In both cases, financial success often follows (maybe not the former, but quite common the latter – with a good financial advisor).

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fake weed & Home brewed morphine-like drugs…

    From 2 days ago – Fade weed from China turns users zombie like, triggering alarm (in Yahoo and BusinessInsider, please Google).

    Seems like a good case for the government to regulate, in order to ensure consumer protection.

  19. aumua

    I’d like to make a comment addressing the previous entry “Climate Change: Have We Reached the Point of No Return?”

    Guy McPherson is not a valid source of information, in my opinion. This is someone who was a professor at the University of Arizona, although you wouldn’t know that from the article, since University of Arizona is paraded all over the page after McPherson’s name, as if he is sitting right his office at the school presenting some important academic research. It’s disingenuous, but not surprising considering that McPherson has basically elected to become a spokesperson for the deep green eco movement, a movement which by their own manifesto has no compunctions about distorting the truth, outright lying, causing harm or even death to people to further their aim of dismantling civilization.

    This is a “doomer”: a man who claims he knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that humans will be extinct within 20 years. This is someone who claims to know the future. I disagree.

    Don’t get me wrong, the danger is real and present, and if we are to survive as a species, we need major change. I’m totally with that ideology, and there is a real question as to whether we are going to pull our collective head out of our collective butt in time, or even at all. I respect that McPherson left academia to try and live sustainably. But he seems to have an overriding need to be recognized as being right in that choice.

    I’ve seen this guy pop up here and there in the comments, but to see an actual article dedicated to this doomer stuff, as if it’s the irrefutable truth.. it does a disservice to the credibility of this site, in my opinion.

    1. craazyman

      the good thing in my view is the headline

      It made me think of “the punt of no return” and that made me think the NFL is about to start another season.

      so now, when a team faced with 4th and 9 boots a beautiful 60 yard spiral and pins the opposing offense back around it’s own 5 or 6 yard line, because the punt returner calls a fair catch (or the ball bounces out of bounds), well, from now on that’s “a punt of no return”.

      having said that, green energy is the way to go. no arguments there. I don’t like to breathe exhaust fumes or see mountains and creeks destroyed from digging coal. few people will be prepared to admit an ice age is coming. the sun is losing its spots and soon it will be freezing cold. coats may get appropriately long again. I’ve noticed the fashion these days is for mens coats to stop about mid thigh. To me, that looks like a skirt. I man’s coat should come down to the knees, or a bit lower. Otherwise it’s a petticoat. Only a girlyman wears a petticoat. A real man wears a coat that looks like a coat. QED

      1. craazyman

        nobody would call a fair catch at the 5 or 6 yard line, I was getting caught up with the idea and lost track of where everything was. so let’s say the 20 or 25 yard line.

        it’s still “a punt of no return”. that’s the point.

        if the ball goes out of bounds at the 5 or 6 coinciding with the punt returner catching it, just slightly out of bounds, the announcer can say, when the punt returner catches it that “he’s reached the punt of no return”. There’s other circumstances where the expression can be used too.

    2. ewmayer

      @aumua: Propagandize much?

      I suggest you look up the word ’emeritus’, because it’s clear you are unfamiliar with its usage.

      And the U. of Arizona is mentioned precisely twice – once in the introduction of guests, and once more in the written transcript of the discussion, preceding the first quote by Prof. McPherson. Similarly, Dahr Jamail is first introduced as ‘a staff reporter with TruthOut’, then listed as ‘Investigative journalist and author’ preceding his first transcribed comment.

    3. Gaylord

      McPherson is not claiming to be the source of information, merely the aggregator and messenger, so your ad hominem attack with name-calling is therefore insignificant. He gets his information from a broad array of other climate scientists who work to gather data, present evidence, and understand the effects on climate stability. This is not “doomer stuff” but actual data and observations of what is happening. His projections may be inaccurate and uncertain regarding the timeline (although his sense of urgency is well founded), but his conclusions are based on facts. Anyone who doubts this should read the full Climate Change Summary & Update and then judge for oneself whether the facts add up to those conclusions. Don’t attack the messenger — pay attention to the message.

    4. Tenney Naumer

      aumua, normally, I would absolutely be the very first one to agree with you about McPherson since he is almost always very shaky on the science and makes a real hodge podge of it, as well as using unreliable sources, but this time, he managed not to do any of that.

      What he said is pretty much it.

      1. alex morfesis

        sinners repent the end is nigh

        the great reverend elmer mcphearson and his end of the world follow me revivalist tent congregation..the temple of the holy baloney is coming to town…

        so now tomatoes wont grow in colorado because sea levels are going to go up 2 thousand feet…

        dipping into the bernaze sauce there rev ???

        mankind adjusts…it is beginning to feel as though atheists need a religion that is end of the worldish…so mother nature with the help of global warming will just do the trick…sad…

        i mention the tomato as it is a perfect example of mankinds ability to not think…

        most do not realize it is not from italy…the romans did not know of it…in the same way they did not know of dinosaurs and thought those big bones they found must have been from an ancient giant species of men or gods

        it came from it appears mexico…the conquistadores brought it over to spain but no one ate them at first as people thought they were poison….

        and it appears they self mutated once in europe…long before the gm industry had a chance to grow in dr. mengles laboratories

        just like the tomato…we too shall adjust…too much data…not enough peace…

        i am a big advocate of full throttle solar, wind and kinetic hydro power…regardless of the costs…the hoover (yuck…give it back its old name) dam was built when there was not much of a reason to build it…

        we need to lose carbon fuels over the next 25 years because it is smart not because some eco religious end of the world stuff is being passed around like heroin at a school yard to create a need for a supply…

        1. aumua

          Yes. I admit that I am guilty of some conjecture here, and a little exaggeration. But my stance remains the same (of course). I assume yours will too, after reading what we all have to say.

          I think for me what it comes down to is that I used to be the kind of person who was ready to buy what McPherson is selling, but I’m just not buying it anymore. I’ve been through the end of the world several times already, in fact, and I can tell you for certain that we all are going to f’n die. Every single person, cat, and cockroach reading this sentence is gonna DIE. Welcome to life on Earth, ain’t it grand?

          @Gaylord see here you say that “He gets his information from a broad array of other climate scientists..” except that he is not a climate scientist, nor was he ever. He just acts like he is the foremost climate expert on the cutting edge today. One can read through that interminable diatribe you linked and chase down all those links, but it’s so much easier to assume his foregone conclusions that he is spoon feeding you every step of the way are the only conclusions to be drawn from all those endless links, isn’t it? But if one does read through the links with a skeptical mind, one may find that they don’t inevitably add up to one inevitable conclusion.

          Believe me, I am someone who is prone to err on the side of alarmism when it comes to what we’re doing to our world and ourselves, as a species. I’ve been talking about this for decades, to anyone who will listen. And I tuned in, turned on, and dropped out, thank you very much, in my 20’s. Good for Dr. McPherson that he’s doing that now, in his early retirement. That just doesn’t make him a prophet though, in my mind.

          The “Guy” is an extremist, with an extreme message which I don’t deny may be in the realm of possibility. The damage that is happening is very real. But I don’t like extremists, or fundamentalists of any stripe. He does not know the future, he just acts like it.

  20. tongorad

    A victory for the scab aka “sharing” economy:
    Lyft coming back to San Antonio for 9-month pilot program following council vote

    Mayor Ivy Taylor said the approval sends a resounding message to the U.S. “We are saying, loudly, that San Antonio is open for business,” she said. The mayor’s comment reflects on the urging from TechBloc and other tech businesses that having transportation-network companies such as Lyft and Uber is a barometer of progress for the city.

    Uh, “transportation-network” companies?

    1. jo6pac

      Or they gave me a big pile of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ so screw you working people.

      Good catch

      Everything is on schedule, please move along.

  21. bob

    “How to See Invisible Infrastructure The Atlantic”

    Great story, but I have to take issue with a few sexed up points.

    “A locator can do thousands of solid locates a year, for decades, but that one time he or she is a half-inch off when marking a cable will be the only thing that matters.”

    Half-inch? They get a 6 foot liability free window.

    “At some point in the development of underground infrastructure, someone decided that it was easier to repeatedly send people into the field to spray paint the street and put tiny flags in the ground than it was to have accurate, precise records of what exactly was underneath it.”

    This is back-assward. The problem with “maps” is that they reference what is on top of the land. People don’t realize how much that stuff can and does move, especially over decades. Telephone poles, fire hydrants and pipes banged into the ground as markers get hit, moved or even just plain lost.

    Without some sort of reference point, any map is useless. GPS? 3 meter resolution. Again, 9 feet? That’s an entire street in some spots. It’ll get ya in the neighborhood, not much else.

    Streets, sidewalks, curbs and other “immovable” type objects move a lot more than people realize over time.

    And dowsing rods (metal) do work, for metal pipes. Gas and water pipes especially Gas is usually not to far below the surface, so metal detectors can be of use. But any deeper than 3 feet and you’re making an educated guess, at best. Even coat hanger type wire, bent at a 90 degree angle, will tend to align itself with a metal pipe 10-20 feet below ground.

    The amount of plastic (or better, non-metal) being used these days is what slows things down a lot. The people who install these pipes are supposed to run wire or “tape” directly above the pipe, within 3 feet of the surface. But, the tape can be on one side of the trench, and the pipe on the other. 4-5 feet right there, on a small, not very deep, trench. The deeper it is, the harder it is to locate. Sewers are normally the lowest. Water next lowest, then gas, electricity and telecom barely covered.

    The idea of the UFPO is to give diggers a 6-10 foot caution area. They are not supposed to use mechanical digging machines in that window. Digging 6-10 feet long, and who knows how deep, by hand, is not very quick. Again, this assumes a perpendical crossing. Digging parallel to that “zone” is even more difficult.

    And then you get into cities and metropolitan areas where every single square foot to ground is, in theory, dig by hand.

    It explains why EVERYONE always sees 10 guys looking into a hole. “not working, lazy slobs”. 10 guys in one hole is #1 very dangerous, and #2, not going to help anything. More eyes do help.

    I saw one major mistake in my time doing road work. The utility was supposed to move a fiber run outside of the road ROW. They even hired a contractor to do it. Well, when they guard rail crew came in, with their pile drivers, to push the anchors in, they broke the cable 30 times. It wasn’t where it was supposed to be, and marked out as being. Shut down ATM machines for 60 miles.

    1. bob

      Also, private sprinkler systems. They never mark them out, or record and report anything, and constantly run them right to the edge of the road. Most roads have another 10-20 feet of ROW outside of the road.

      If your sprinkler installer runs the line into the ROW, it is not the contractor who is digging who is at fault. It’s the installers fault. Most don’t mark anything, and aren’t required to. “it’s just plastic”.

      If you are going to have a sprinker system installed, make sure to steer clear of any ROW’s. Do some research, and make sure that the installer keeps the pipes out of harms way.

      I’m not sure how many of those I’ve “accidentally” dug up. Not that hard to fix, and in most cases, to keep the peace, the digger will repair the pipe and/or sprinkler heads, but they don’t have to.

      Also, straight lines. That’s how sewers work, and it would make everything a lot easier if everything underground were like that. Between known access points (manholes, for sewers) it’s a dead straight run. The manholes are just an indication of a course change, or a slope change. Manholes are not meant for storage, they are meant for access. Ideally, if it is installed properly, you can look out the bottom of a manhole and see all the way up the pipe to the next manhole.

  22. susan the other

    We can’t give up the system without a new one. Piecemeal won’t work… spreading “capitalism” around generously to save capitalism when in fact capitalism is killing capitalism. God, I do love Karma.

  23. ewmayer

    President Obama Plays Golf With Bill Clinton on Martha’s Vineyard Time. Hmm. I wonder what they talked about?”

    Things Overheard During President Obama and Bill Clinton’s Round of Golf on Martha’s Vineyard. We pick up the conversation on the tee of 17th hole:

    Bill: Ha, ha, you said ‘hole.’

    O: Hee hee, we just washed our balls.

    Bill: That’ll make your putter stand up, LOL.

    O: Hey, didja ever meet that campaign bundler of mine, Ben Dover?

    Bill: Ben Dover? Can’t say I did…

    O: Ben Dover, I’ll drive! [gales of laughter from both]

    Bill: I love that joke…

    [Holes 17 and 18 are played. Discussion of post-presidential monetization strategies and influence retention redacted by [redacted], for reasons of [redacted] and [redacted [redacted]. While filling out scorecards…]

    O: Dude, we suck at golf but with less than 10 Mulligans between us, we both just scored lower than Tiger Woods at this week’s PGA Championship!

    Bill: Poor bastard. He should have listened when I tried to give him some tips on how to cheat on your wife and get away with it…

    O: Guess that Swedish gal wasn’t into ‘marriage Mulligans’.

    Bill: Yeah, those Nordic hotties are fine but proud – I mean even someone like me, a total pro at sneaking around that I am, would never dream of cheating on Brunhilde, ha ha.

    O: Man, you had it good.

  24. allan

    Tory Boris Johnson concerns trolls Labour:

    How did it get to the point where a Sinn Fein-loving, monarchy-baiting Leftie could lead the Opposition? Conservatives can’t believe their luck

    Taking strategic advice from David Brooks the enemy is something that only Democrats fools do.

    1. Yonatan

      This would be the same Tories training the so-called moderates (aka ISIS – thanks to DIA FOIA answer) in Syria and neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The guys make Blair look respectable.

  25. frosty zoom

    maybe those utility locators could vet the “differing” candidates.

    see if they have hearts’n’stuff..

  26. Kurt Sperry

    “Could we grow our own painkillers? Genetically modified yeast is used to produce home-brewed morphine-like drug” Someone needs to tell these guys that growing Papaver somniferum is as easy as broadcasting seed onto soil in the spring (or even the previous fall) and simply waiting. The seed is easily obtainable. The resulting seed pods are rich not in a “morphine-like drug”, but morphine. Grows like a weed, it does, it’ll self sow and come back year after year if it is happy with where you threw the seed. No GMO anything required. Sheesh.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Gorgeous, too. Lambert should look up apicture of it – huge pink and white flowers.

      You don’t have to score the pods; brewing a tea from them or chewing the leaves is quite helpful.

      If asked, just call them “breadseed” poppies, which they are. the seeds are a staple food where they’re grown.

    2. ambrit

      Sorry Kurt, but the sap of the poppy seed pod is opium. That’s smoked, while the seeds are eaten.(Anybody here remember the Burger King buns with the poppy seeds that would give a false positive response on the old drug tests?) The poppy is a really beautiful flower too. A field of them is a sight to behold. (Don’t get caught harvesting the sap.)
      Happy trails campers!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Harvesting the sap as opium is unnecessary and unnecessarily laborious if you just want a jar of dried seed pods in the cupboard to make tea from when your back is out or you get an injury or whatever. Which will do essentially the exact same thing as all opioid prescription pain pills.

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