Links 10/15/15

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The dangerous art of the ultimate selfie BBC (furzy mouse). You have to look at the pics.

What is stupid?: People’s conception of unintelligent behavior Science Direct (resilc)

Why Is Physics Beautiful? Project Syndicate (David L). Because it is too daunting for economists to mess it up.

Tesla launches ‘autopilot’ update but urges caution BBC (furzy mouse)

The Philippines Is Still Pissed Off That Canada Is Using It as a Giant Garbage Bin VICE. I gather Larry Summers has been advising our neighbors…


Factory Owners Have High Hopes for China’s Gadget Revolution WSJ China Real Time Report

Is confidence seeping back into China markets? CNBC

Migrant Crisis

Migrant crisis: EU leaders meet with focus on Turkey BBC

Asylum Seekers Stir Commerce and Compassion in Greek Village New York Times

Victory for City as Treasury scraps controversial ‘guilty until proven innocent’ rules Telegraph

Britain’s biggest banks to be forced to separate retail banks from investment arms Telegraph. Note this is “ring fencing,” not Glass-Steagall type splits.


Obama Drops Plan to Withdraw Most U.S. Forces From Afghanistan Wall Street Journal

Putin might be right on Syria: The actual strategy behind his Middle East push — and why the New York Times keeps obscuring it Salon (YY)

Russian Military Uses Syria as Proving Ground, and West Takes Notice New York Times

Syria Daily: Iranian Troops Reportedly Gathering Near Aleppo EA WorldView (resilc)

The Battle Of Idleb Part 1 – The Northern Hama Plain Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

How Isis uses oil to fuel its jihad Irish Times (Chuck L)

The Libyan War and Clinton’s “Smart Power” American Conservative (resilc)

Clinton Wants Obama to Confront Putin in Syria Bloomberg

MAP ONLY: Where the “big one” is gonna come from Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

US Deploying 300 Troops to Cameroon to Help Fight Boko Haram ABC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Being ‘wasted’ on Facebook may damage your credit score Financial Times

Uber Exposed The Personal Information Of Hundreds Of Drivers (YY) Forbes

No thanks: JPEG images may soon have copy protection engadget (Chuck L)


Hillary Clinton’s Take on Banks Won’t Hold Up Matt Taibbl (resilc). Glad he did this.

Cable News Edits Out Rousing Sanders Attack on Vapid Media Coverage

Democratic debate: How do Denmark and the US differ? BBC

8 questions about democratic socialism and Bernie Sanders’s vision for the United States Washington Post Resilc: “Clintoon LLC is right, we are not Denmark, we’re Arkansas yaaaaal, thanks to her buddies on Wall St.”

CNN asked terrible climate questions at the debate. Here’s a better one. Vox

The Media Underestimated Hillary Clinton, But Overestimated Her Debate FiveThirtyEight

The Waaaaah Street Factor Paul Krugman. Not totally buying this. Many financial services industry donors are like real estate donors: they give to both side, and give more heavily to the winner because the winners are in a position to do more favors. Thus many limit donation until they have a good guess as to who the winner will be and back that horse. So some of this shift was caused by the fact that it was obvious that the Dems were going to take large losses under Obama, in large measure due to the crappy economy. Remember, by all accounts Obama should have lost in 2012. Oh, and more specifically, are we to believe that Wall Street is NOT a big backer of Hillary? Her records say otherwise. Intercept (resilc)

Trade Traitors

Reality Check: What We Know About TPP Makes It The Worst Trade Deal Ever Ben Swann (furzy mouse)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Hand-Picked Former Schools CEO Pleads Guilty to Brazen Kickback Scheme ReaderSupportedNew (furzy mouse)


Guns Don’t Kill People, Toddlers Do Boing Boing

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black Lives Mattered, for Exactly One Question New Republic (resilc)

Border Patrol Accused of Profiling and Abuse New York Times

Libertarian superstar Ayn Rand defended Native American genocide: “Racism didn’t exist in this country until the liberals brought it up” Salon (Dr. Kevin)


Fed rate hike could have greater global repercussions than in the past -ECB Reuters

Fed Doubts Grow on 2015 Rate Hike Wall Street Journal

Walmart’s woes: Strategy frightens more than price cuts Financial Times

Wal-Mart Shares Plunge 10 Percent; Retail Price Wars On the Way? Capital Investment Financial Engineering Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Treasury Considers Plan to Help Puerto Rico New York Times

Class Warfare

What Happens When Inmates in Solitary Confinement Blow the Whistle on Their Abuse? VICE (resilc)

New York restaurateur Danny Meyer hits tipping point Financial Times

Antidote du jour:

cute deer in snow links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ruben

    Yale researchers carry out experiments to show that economic inequality alone does not produce deleterious welfare effects such as reduced levels of cooperation and decreased overall wealth, but rather that it is the ostentation of economic inequality that yields increased downstream inequality, reduced cooperation, and decreased overall wealth.

    Akihiro Nishi, Hirokazu Shirado, David G. Rand & Nicholas A. Christakis.
    Inequality and visibility of wealth in experimental social networks.
    Nature 526, 426–429 (15 October 2015), doi:10.1038/nature15392

    This is an excerpt from the article:
    “In summary, we find that making wealth visible abets the persistence of experimentally induced inequality, compared to identical circumstances where wealth is invisible. We also find that visibility has a corrosive overall effect on our laboratory ‘societies’, reducing overall cooperation, interconnectedness, and wealth. Thus, our experiments demonstrate that wealth visibility may be an important societal force, negatively affecting the dynamics of wealth and inequality, as well as social structure and cooperation. Surprisingly, our results are quite different with respect to the effect of initial wealth inequality. Rather than inequality being an ‘enemy of cooperation’, we find, in this setting, that inequality alone has relatively little effect on cooperation, interconnectedness or overall wealth accumulation. Thus, it is not inequality per se that is so problematic, but rather visibility that adversely affects cooperation here, regardless of what can be seen (that is, regardless of whether subjects are surrounded by an initially equal or unequal economic distribution).”

    1. OIFVet

      They hate us for our conspicuous consumption. I think that the study assumed cooperation is a one-way street.

    2. JohnnyGL

      This sounds like a distinction without a real difference to me. I can’t think of any society that was wildly unequal, but did NOT manifest that inequality is visible forms. Every society I’m aware of that is unequal shows it off proudly. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this.

      1. Ruben

        I think you are right. However, according to these results a very unequal society may be stable and increase overall wealth by any of two means. By exacerbating spatial segregation among the elite and the downstream populace so inequality is less visible, or by giving rise to a sort of reverse Che Guevara new man, the new capitalist man, more modes, less ostentatious and wealthier.

        1. William C

          I wonder about Japan and the Scandinavian countries but look to commentators more familiar with these countries than I am to tell me what the truth is.

          Some very rich people are quite discreet about their wealth.

            1. craazyboy

              Don’t worry. It’s just MMT money. The Chinese government will get around to destroying it eventually. hahaha.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              ‘The richest person in my country is richer than the richest person in your country.’

              That makes me so proud.

              We are number one. We beat you.

              — another top math student from our proud educational system just aced that math inequality, a > b.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            My understanding is that tax returns are public information in Sweden. Have never had that officially confirmed. Could you imagine such a thing here?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      According to this finding, Inequality is a lot like Schroedinger’s cat.

      If we, those downstream, don’t open the Pandora’s box and peek, we don’t really know if inequality exists or not, to those at Yale.

      The rich, invariably, can’t resist opening that box, though.

  2. john

    Re: Jpg DRM – this would have very little value and basically never work, just take a screenshot. Embedded watermarks are way more effective, visible or not. They keep trying to control tech but its stupid.

  3. New Deal democrat

    I’m not sure where you are getting the idea that “By all accounts, Obama should have lost” in 2012.

    In 2011, Nate Silver undertook an examination of 43 economic variables, and their potency in predicting the election outcomes, going back all the way to the 1950s.

    Almost all of the bast metrics Silver examined were moving in the right direction in 2012, and pointed to a narrow Obama victory. Perhaps the best simple measure, the change in the unemployment rate, fell -1.2% from 9.0% to 7.8% between September 2011 and September 2012, one of the biggest YoY declines in the last 50 years.

    Here’s a graph of the YoY change in the unemployment rate, so you can see that I am not misleading you:

    Maybe the idea came from Professor of Economics Douglas Hibbs, who uses what he calls:
    “… the Bread and Peace model to explain presidential voting outcomes. The model claims that just two fundamental variables systematically affected post-war aggregate votes for president: (1) weighted-average growth of per capita real disposable personal income over the term, and (2) cumulative US military fatalities due to unprovoked, hostile deployments of American armed forces in foreign wars.”

    This model had Obama losing by about 5%, because real disposable personal income was one of the poorest performing economic metrics during Obama’s first term.

    I think that Hibb’s model has a lot of merit, but it would probably benefit from averaging several economic measures. For example, real aggregate wage growth has at least as good a record as real disposable income, and favored about a 3% Obama victory in 2012.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You of all people should know full well that the unemployment measures of today are considerably different than those of the 1950s, particularly regarding the treatment of the long-term unemployed. I don’t see how you can take forecasts that treat inconsistent measures as if they meant the same thing over time seriously. Plus that many explanatory variables with so few observations is separately spurious statistically.

      1. New Deal democrat

        Let me grant at least for argument’s sake that what you have said in your response is true. If so, it proves too much. In other words, if economic data series are meaningless over long times, and do not have enough points for comparison, then that also means that they cannot show that “Obama should have lost in 2012.”

        Best regards.

    2. Jim Haygood

      “… the Bread and Peace model to explain … aggregate votes for president: (2) cumulative US military fatalities due to unprovoked, hostile deployments of American armed forces in foreign wars.”

      The Viceroy of Vietghanistan — the Kunduz Killa — has taken decisive action today to enlarge that steady trickle of fatalities, as the WSJ reported in an article linked above:

      Mr. Obama decided—following a strategy review—to maintain the current American force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, and to leave a force of 5,500 U.S. troops in the country in 2017, when he leaves office.

      It’s the R party’s turn in the eight-year alternation. Obama is doing his bit to throw the fight. Not that it matters: there is only one War Party.

      1. Ulysses

        Great comment!

        “The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact.”

        — George Orwell, 1984

        1. Jim Haygood

          In lies we find Truth, comrade:

          “I do not support the idea of endless war,” Obama said Thursday at the White House.

          … as he launched the 15th year of the Afghan war.

          1. craazyboy

            And sent the Pacific Fleet to the artificial Chinese Islands. To keep the shipping lanes open…for China exports, I guess.

            I’ve been wondering if Nobel Peace prizes have an expiration date, or maybe they just burst into flames when they sense it’s the appropriate thing to do?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Not so much Chinese export as Chinese oil import from the Middle East (until they get it from the Russians overland one day).

            2. optimader

              Why not just let them occupy themselves trying to save face while they perpetually pump coral to race the subsidence.

    1. gordon

      The simplest explanation for Russian intervention is that Russia would like to keep its base at Latakia. Since this base was negotiated with Assad, it’s in Russia’s interest to keep Assad in power. Any other Syrian government would almost certainly demand that the Latakia base be abandoned.

      I don’t know how big a part this thinking is playing in Moscow, but in a confused situation maybe simple is not a bad approach.

      1. drexciya

        Don’t underestimate the importance of wiping out the islamists before they can return to Chechnya or Dagestan. Putin wants to keep his bases in Syria, but it’s also about taking out the Russians that are fighting for IS or other groups.

  4. fresno dan

    Guns Don’t Kill People, Toddlers Do Boing Boing

    NRA: The only way to stop a bad toddler with a gun is with a good toddler with a gun…

    1. craazyboy

      Plus as well, toddlers have a responsibility to protect their families and also too the right to form militias!

  5. MikeNY

    Some people love Ayn Rand because she validates their basest instincts, and relieves them of any responsibility to examine or develop their conscience. She fails utterly to comprehend what it means to exercise moral autonomy — in other words, to be ‘free’. She thinks freedom is reducible to a formula. What could be more ridiculous than that? It’s a sad irony that she is the heroine of ‘Libertarians’.

    Objectivism represents the reductio ad absurdum of human motivation and experience. Nietzsche (of whom I believe she professed to be a fan) would have complete contempt for Rand. He’d probably spit in her face.

    1. Massinissa

      “A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite” Ayn Rand

      Im not even going to pretend to know what shes talking about here.

      Oh yeah, and I assume everyone has heard that she modeled her first literary character on serial killer William Hickman? Lots of stuff on google about that.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hard to find rugged individuals in their 80’s.

      Even harder to find those in their 90’s.

      1. MikeNY

        Yeah, and I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that this old gasbag was ‘feeding at the public trough’, either through SS or Medicare or both, before she smoked herself to death. Quelle surprise.

  6. wbgonne

    Ed Markey just endorsed Hillary Clinton.

    My letter to Senator Markey:

    I am appalled that you endorsed Hillary Clinton and even more shocked that you make the following claims regarding her:

    “Hillary has spent her career fighting for American families and working to ensure they can achieve their American Dream,” Markey said in a statement. “She understands the challenges facing our nation – college affordability, income inequality, access to affordable health care – and has real plans for how to address them.”

    What nonsense. Hillary and Bill Clinton are the poster-children for the Democratic Party’s descent into neoliberalism and that tragic turn is what has eviscerated the American middle class. Maybe you were impressed when Hillary at the debate objected to re-instating Glass Steagall (repealed, as you know, under her husband) and claimed that she told Wall Street to “cut it out.” I wasn’t impressed. Maybe you think Clinton’s neoliberal education policies, following Obama’s all-out efforts to privatize public education, will help. If so, you aren’t paying attention to the effects these greed-infused policies have on the schools or the people who work in the schools. On health care, do you seriously contend that tweaking Obamacare (another neoliberal concoction, in fact conceived by the Heritage Foundation) is better for the American middle class than national single payer?

    And then you claim:

    “She is the only candidate to release a comprehensive strategy to address the prescription drug and heroin epidemic that is destroying communities in Massachusetts and throughout this country.”

    Really? Everyone is concerned about heroin addiction but its root cause is hopelessness, despair and the economic devastation that Clinton’s One Percent policies have visited upon the American middle class. Perhaps you have forgotten the Clintons’ role in the draconian criminal justice policies that have decimated thousands of families around the country. I have not. Clinton’s manufactured and opportunistic concern about heroin addiction is like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound.

    But here is where you have truly shocked me:

    “And I believe there is no one better to lead the effort to combat climate change here at home against the climate deniers and around the world as we partner with other nations to implement clean energy solutions.”

    That is breathtaking nonsense from someone who claims to care deeply about the environment. Hillary Clinton spent her entire tenure as Secretary of State promoting fracking worldwide and drafting the despicable TTP, whose ISDS provisions will make it impossible for future generations to protect themselves from corporate predations, including anthropogenic global warming. That you would support such a candidate speaks very poorly of you.

    As someone who has supported you in the past, it pains me to tell you that you have lost my support forever. And if the Democratic Party nominates Hillary Clinton I hope it suffers the same fate it is inflicting upon the American middle class.

    1. Ron

      Clinton is the front runner and most likely to win the nomination which doesn’t sit well with various parts of the Democrats, which reminds me of two Democrats Eugene McCarthy and Henry Wallace that were rebuffed in there bid due to there liberal leanings. Both were brilliant and of the two Henry Wallace would have changed the course of America internationally but neither one had a strong base of support. As someone that was part of the Vietnam political upheaval I have learned the hard way over time that any Democrat running for President needs a very large base of support and while there have been several brilliant people such as McCarthy that were left of center and had great visions the country the political system reject ed them and today that is true for Bernie he simple does not have the widespread political base to make the changes he proposes.

      1. wbgonne

        Times have changed, dramatically and for the worse, so we no longer enjoy the luxury of hoping for incremental progress. The plutocracy now has a near death-grip on our country. What the American people want has become effectively irrelevant to the policy-makers. The American middle class is collapsing. And global warming looms like a Sword of Damocles. Even assuming Clinton would inch us in the right direction, that would be woefully inadequate under the present circumstances.

        Further, the assumption that Clinton would in fact move us in the right direction is without support. Clinton will simply follow — amplify, I suspect — Obama’s relentless drive toward a neoliberal dystopia. The American people were ready for radical change when we voted for Obama in 2008. Despite Obama’s abject betrayal — and to the credit of the American people — we still have hope for that radical change. Bernie Sanders could beat whoever the GOP nominates.

        The American people are ready. The Democratic Party is not. And lame Democratic politicians like Ed Markey, spouting Beltway drivel and endorsing the status quo, are a very large part of the problem.

      2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

        Please examine what has happened to the Democratic party since it was taken over by transactional Dems, Ron.

        This is, however, the tip of the iceberg. When you look at the states, the collapse of the party’s fortunes are worse. Republicans now hold 31 governorships, nine more than they held when Obama was inaugurated. During the last six years the GOP has won governorships in purple and even deep blue states: Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio. In the last midterms, only one endangered Republican governor—Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania—was replaced by a Democrat. (Sean Parnell in Alaska lost to an independent.) Every other endangered Republican returned to office.

        Now turn to state legislatures—although if you’re a loyal Democrat, you may want to avert your eyes. In 2009, Democrats were in full control of 27 state legislatures; Republicans held full power in 14. Now? The GOP is in full control of 30 state legislatures; Democrats hold full power in just 11. In 24 states, Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the legislature—giving them total control over the political process. That increased power at the state level has already led to serious consequences for Democrats, for their political future and for their goals.

        This is no coincidence. The Clintons and Obama are happy to sell out the party and its voters every chance they get for future corporate payola.

  7. Carolinian

    Re the debate/Libya/”Smart power”–Awhile back Harpers did what may be the definitive piece on Hillary and called her a raging mediocrity pretending to be a wonk. The somewhat vainglorious phrase “Smart power” is a typical example. She is, after all, thereby boasting of her own smarts rather than answering the question. What’s so dangerous about Clinton and her fellow neocons is that they operate on a plane of intellectual vanity that makes it almost impossible to admit their own mistakes. You saw this with the email controversy where she had to be dragged kicking and screaming to say that it was a “mistake” and of course what she means is a political mistake–mere legalities not for the likes of her.

    Here’s hoping that the public sees past the snow job or perhaps simply doesn’t want another President named Clinton. After eight years of the narcissistic Obama a little humility in the White House would be a big step up.

    1. James Levy

      Trouble is, humility does not get you into the White House in an era of self-selecting candidates. A bunch of guys in a smoke-filled room might get you that, but when the candidates have to all believe in their hearts that they are the best person for the job out of 310 million fellow citizens, and then devote 2 years of their life to kissing ass and saying whatever it takes to say in order to grab the job, humility is never what you are going to get.

      1. Massinissa

        Thats why we should select leaders based on a lottery like the founding fathers talked about…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I like to see a minimum standard and if no one qualifies, we let the office unfilled.

          Maybe hard with governing a nation, but they should try it with the Nobel prize or the Oscar.

          “All bad actors this year. And we have no winner. Better luck with your entertainment next year.”

    1. Ulysses

      From the article linked above:

      “Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an overreliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront.”

      1. James Levy

        The trouble is the cost and the motivation. The policy is evil and dumb but exists because the cost (compared to actually conquering a place, occupying it, and paying to administer law, justice, and promote education and civil society in the occupied land) in real terms are low and the motivation to be seen as doing something is so high. Americans are sold on the idea that we must control the world or darkness will reign, and that international laws and treaties are for lesser peoples who need them because they can’t be trusted to do the right thing. It is beyond self-evident to everyone in a position of power in this country that America is above such laws and we must never let them “stay our hand” from “protecting the American people.” Bernie Sanders may not, deep down, believe this, but he accepts it as being axiomatic when it comes to making public policy.

        So the murderous futility of drone strikes and other forms of targeted killing will go on. They serve a useful purpose–they convince the American public that the elites are “serious” and “doing something”, and they remind the world that America means business and isn’t going to let a little thing like the killing of innocents get in the way of us throwing our weight around. Since the US can’t “lose” a war to al Qaeda or the Taliban in any meaningful sense (i.e. they defeat our armies and occupy this country) then “winning” this “war” in the old-fashioned sense isn’t that important or compelling to the policy makers. So long as they are seen to be “keeping us safe” and sending the message they want sent, the killing will continue unabated no matter who wins any elections here in the States.

        1. Ulysses

          I believe, sadly, that your analysis is correct. This empire is determined to keep creating more new enemies than it can kill.

          1. Massinissa

            Thats because without enemies, there is no MIC.

            Creating enemies is a goal, not a side effect.

        2. Jim Haygood

          ‘we must control the world and darkness will reign’

          Blood sacrifice is the health of the jackal state.

        3. fresno dan

          It is the threat of the use of force [against Iraq] and our line-up there that is going to put force behind the diplomacy. But if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.
          Stated on NBC’s Today Show (February 19, 1998)

          Words fail me

  8. JEHR

    First, a little background about the relationship of Harper with Louise Arbour who spent a “four-year term as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, considered one of the most politically sensitive and thankless jobs in the world.” Harper treated her with disdain and I think he had in mind a way to attack her integrity:

    See: )

    In 2014 in one of Harper’s omnibus bills, new regulations were passed under the auspices of Bill C-31 called “Amendments to Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering Legislation.”


    One amendment in the above document reads:

    “In that regard, the proposed Regulations expand certain of the regulatory requirements that currently apply to foreign PEPs to include domestic PEPs as well as the heads of international organizations or family members or close associates of such persons.

    “In respect of the requirements on account opening (for financial entities and securities dealers) the proposed Regulations now require the regulated entity to take reasonable measures to determine whether the account is being opened not only for a foreign PEP, but also for a domestic PEP, a head of an international organization, a family member of one of those persons or a person who is closely associated with a PEP (PEP Related Person).

    “Moreover, the requirement in the Regulations imposed on both financial entities and securities dealers to take reasonable measures to determine if existing high risk account holders are foreign PEPs has been removed. Instead, financial entities and securities dealers will be required to take reasonable measures on a periodic basis, to determine if an existing account holder is a PEP Related Person. It is significant that there is no mention of “high risk” account holders in this provision, but rather, this periodic monitoring requirement applies in respect of all account holders. As a result, regulated entities subject to this requirement will have to build processes and procedures to address this monitoring requirement.“

    In any case, it has come to light that Ms Arbour and her family have been affected by these new rules and they been asked to account for themselves under the new financial regulations. Ms Arbour has been described as a “politically exposed domestic person” (PEDP See link below) a description that has implications for her family, friends and associates.

    Here is Ms. Arbour’s article explaining how the rules affect her (published by The Globe and Mail):

    The letter from the financial institution to her daughter:


    So her daughters have been caught up in the law to explain their finances through no fault of their own because of their relationship to a “politically exposed person.”

    There are probably a few other laws hidden in his omnibus bills that may not see the light of day until someone gets nabbed by new laws or new regulations. Harper has been known to hold a grudge and is quick to anger but this passing of laws to ‘get’ to other people is really not how we like to think of our Prime Ministers.

    This slow, imperceptible erosion of our civil liberties may go on for years as we gradually lose our civil liberties. You see how he does it? He attacks a supposed criminal activity in such a way that anyone who doesn’t meet his political criteria must pay a price!!

    What a horror show.

  9. craazyboy

    “Tesla launches ‘autopilot’ update but urges caution BBC (furzy mouse)”

    Elon Musk drops plan to go to Mars. Announces we’re going to Heaven instead.

    Issues warning to customers – you still must drive the self driving car. Insure, insure, insure. Tesla accepts no responsibility for accidental boo-boos.

    Next week, announces free iPhone 7 with every self driving car purchase.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If he could get people to Heaven, he’d be more omnipotent than many other omnipotent beings.

      1. craazyboy

        Yup. Much more so than Guv Moonbeam, er, Guv Raindance.

        Teslas still seem to be mainly a CA thing, so you guys get to be the proving ground there. ‘Course they may work fine in stop and go rush day traffic, where the go speed never exceeds 20mph.

        OTOH, back when I lived there I always thought everyone should just hook their cars together with a bungee cord, turn the engine off, and throw it neutral. But then I could never figure out what to do with the frontmost bungee cord. So I gave up on that idea. That’s also the reason I’m not rich. Never realized at that age that stuff doesn’t have to work.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think we don’t have to be famous or rich.

          That 3 minutes of fame, that’s just brainwashing.

          And that 3 minutes of wealth, well, hopefully we get our 3 minutes worth of wealth.

          But greatness, each of us has greatness inside.

          And that lasts forever.

          You won’t get cheated with some gimmicky 3 minutes of greatness. You, and every one of us, can be great till the next best species comes along (kind of like how science works…best until something better takes over).

  10. susan the other

    Thanks for the top links. The one on “what is stupid” – ScienceDirect. Stupid is what people perceive as irresponsible behavior, both intellectually and behavioral. If you are overconfident and not self critical, if you are inattentive to reality, or if you “lack control” then you is stoopid. Rings true. We humans react to what we perceive as stupid with disgust. An innate, bone-deep reaction. The other link, from Project Syndicate admits economix is truly ugly by contrasting it to the Laws of Nature which are beautiful. And we love beautiful. Especially eternal symmetry. But it’s all anthropic hedonism bec. if the laws weren’t beautiful we would never have found them. “Love was meant for beauty Queens.” So the conclusion is that economics is both stupid and ugly.

      1. susan the other

        they are starting to do history textbooks in Japan in comic book form – now this funny but true stuff. The furry freak brothers do economix.

  11. workingclasshuman

    re: FT/social media trawling

    you have to appreciate all the ways that credit and lending agencies are interested in interrogating the lives of poor people compared to all of the ways they’ve found to ignore their own malfeasance

  12. Daryl

    > Obama Drops Plan to Withdraw Most U.S. Forces From Afghanistan Wall Street Journal

    Does anyone other than me remember that they had the stones to hold a VICTORY CEREMONY when they announced the troop withdrawals? Don’t count your insurgent chickens until the occupying army leaves, is how I think that saying goes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The theory goes that there are times that you have to destroy hospitals in order to save lives.

  13. ProNewerDeal

    I heard C”N”N stenographerate/”report” that Walmart claims lower profits because of higher worker wages by raising their employees’ minimum to $9/hr, and the stronger USD in relation to other currencies.

    I wonder if US MegaCorp “Investor Relations” are jackin the steez of the Pres poli-trick-ian candidates like Trump/Hellary, & just blatantly lying on certain statements?

    Wouldn’t the stronger USD tend to INCREASE Walmart profits? Isn’t the majority of products sold in Walmart, manufactured by suppliers with factories in low wage nations, especially China? Isn’t the majority of Walmart’s sales at US stores? At least at a local geographic level, and for specifically a 24-hr open store that has both household items & food (more specifically, a few veggies/fruits & mostly packaged food-like substances), Walmart has a monopoly in many US localities. For example, a working adult at 2am could need OTC cold medicine for himself or his crying sick child, in many localities, Walmart is the only (monopolist) retailer open within a 5-10 mile drive. With the strong USD, Walmart gets better pricing in USD terms from its suppliers, which it already has a dominant “hardball” negotiating position per media reports. OTOH, given Walmart’s monopoly/near-monopoly position, it might maintain the same sales price at its US stores, with no “passing along”/”sharing the savings” to the end USian customer.

    Thus, wouldn’t USD strengthening tend to increase US profits? Am I reasoning incorrectly? Or am I correct that Walmart Investor Relations is resorting to a Trumpish blatant lie here?

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