Links 2/24/16

Death Valley Is Covered In Flowers PopSci (Robert M)

Australia’s Barrier Reef could be in worse shape than anyone thought Business Insider (David L) :-(

Should Dictionaries Do More to Confront Sexism? New Yorker (Dan K). Note the example that frames the piece is a case of the OED reinforcing sexism by picking a not-terribly-common usage of a word that was sexist. So one does not even have to go as far as “confront”. “Not reinforce” would be a step forward.

How women started to smoke failed evolution. For those of you who have not seen Adam Curtis’ documentary Century of the Self.

World’s First Modular Smart Phone Hits the Market Slashdot (Dan K)

U.N. agency bans lithium-ion batteries on passenger aircraft Reuters

Fukushima – Deep Trouble Counterpunch

The charts that suggest the housing bubble is out of control Sydney Morning Herald (YY). I thought housing prices were too high in Sydney (eastern suburbs) in the early 2000s when I was there, due to the negative gearing (see bottom chart) and rentals prices/mortgage servicing costs relative to incomes. Silly me for not being a true believer!


Col. Wilkerson: All War Games Between China and US Lead to Nuclear Attacks Real News Network (NV)

China’s Bond Bubble Wall Street Journal

China’s Credit Conundrum Bloomberg


America, Stay Out of Britain’s EU Debate Bloomberg. Ahem, I gather he did not get the memo, but the US and UK fit Ambrose Biere’s definition of partners: “When two thieves have their hands so deeply plunged into each other’s pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third party.” However, Obama trying to sway UK voters is likely to have the opposite effect.

Why Brexit Matters for America National Interest

Woodford: Brexit won’t hurt UK economy BBC

Tony Blair admits he is baffled by rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn Guardian (YY). OMG, more parody. And the comments are brutal.


John Kerry says partition of Syria could be part of ‘plan B’ if peace talks fail Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Latest Wikileaks documents: Irish citizen working for the UN Refugee Agency was targeted by the NSA Medium (guurst). A must read. Implications of this type of surveillance way more serious than you’d think.

Apple’s iPhone: The Backdoor Is Already There Dissident Voice (Alan C)

The REAL Reason Bill Gates Supports Backdoor FBI Access George Washington

Judge orders Clinton aides to testify on emails Financial Times. This is big. The judge is annoyed with the foot-dragging and missed deadlines. State is now being told that they may have to turn over all e-mails and that Hillary’s too-many-hat-wearing aide Huma Abedin and even Hillary herself might have to testify. In other words, unless the Clinton side gets cooperative pronto, the judge is pulling out his procedural artillery. Pissing off a judge is not wise and it looks like the Clinton side has done that. (PS I wonder if Obama is back to his 11th dimensional chess form, that he or his top advisors allowed State to play a delaying game that the Clintons pushed for, thinking it would help them, when the Administration knew playing it as hard as the Clintons wanted to play would backfire. We also have the specter of the ongoing FBI leaks, which have helped stoke media interest. On the one hand, there are no doubt conservative agents who are happy to babble to the press about the Clintons. On the other, this Administration has been particularly ruthless about going after leakers, yet we have no sign the Administration has done bupkis to tamp this down).

People in a position to hear from loose lips on her side say Team Clinton is mighty concerned and is trying to figure out the best timing for this to come out, as if the judge will let them exercise control. It’s Clinton Foundation related stuff, natch, and I gather the most polite term that can be applied to what is coming out is “crass”. I don’t see how they can drag this out past November. And that means, in case you have any doubts, no way does she get elected absent a wild card like Trump being shot or caught in bed with an underage girl. You can stick a fork in her candidacy. Please send the memo to Team Dem. To switch metaphors, they put all their chips on a horse which is turning out to be a broken down nag.


Trump wins landslide victory in Nevada Financial Times. Linking to this despite the paywall (Google the headline) because you must see the photo. His face is way harder than I’ve ever seen it.

President Donald J. Trump—It Could Happen Nation (resilc)

Hillary Clinton just can’t win: Democrats need to accept that only Bernie Sanders can defeat the GOP Salon (Judy B). But this isn’t about winning. It’s about preserving the patronage roles of the current crowd of Dem hacks. They’d rather bet on the long shot of a Hillary win than them losing their perch for sure if Bernie succeeds in making a hostile takeover of the party.

“It’s the corruption, stupid”: Hillary’s too compromised to see what Donald Trump understands Salon (Eric A)

Sanders’ ambitious growth plan might not be so crazy after all Business Insider (David L)

Illinois governor eyes blocking Chicago school debt Reuters

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black Progressives, It’s Time to Unite Against Establishment Politics Anthony Conwright


Oil prices fall as OPEC squabbles over output targets, crude stocks swell Reuters

Reaction: Oil drops after Saudi min rejects cuts CNBC

Investors fear central bank policy errors Financial Times

Not All Fed Presidents On Board With March Pause Tim Duy

Kentucky pension funds push back against fee disclosure bill Reuters (Chris Tobe)

Class Warfare

Guitar Center Tells Employees To Sign Arbitration Agreements Or Lose Their Jobs Huffington Post (Randy K)

The Immigration-Data Conundrum Atlantic

Antidote du jour (Rajesh):

yawning cat links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. allan

    Solid support for Apple in iPhone encryption fight [Reuters]

    Nearly half of Americans support Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) decision to oppose a federal court order demanding that it unlock a smartphone used by San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook, according to a national online Reuters/Ipsos poll.

    Forty-six percent of respondents said they agreed with Apple’s position, 35 percent said they disagreed and 20 percent said they did not know, according to poll results released on Wednesday.

    This is the opposite of the widely publicized Pew poll of a few days ago.
    So, the exact wording of poll questions matters. Huh. Who knew?

    1. Steve H.


      I was a pollster for a year, for an academic organization that did it well. It’s not just the exact wording of the question. The fact that it’s being paid for, the assumptions implicit in that, means that it could be argued every poll is a push poll. I still remember the plaintive “I don’t know” from a seventh grader, when I asked him what he thought would be his major in college. Poor kid thought he was behind the curve.

      I also became that guy, who’d call people who had already refused to answer twice. (People who don’t answer polls have non-independent opinions which must be included for an unbiased result.) Intonation of voice was critical to achieve compliance. It was also a factor that I believe biased responses.

      1. fresno dan

        Steve H.
        February 24, 2016 at 8:26 am

        Thats very interesting – you must write a small blog dissertation in the comments section about what you learned is critical in judging the accuracy and objectivity of a poll sometime!

  2. Robert Callaghan

    When I was a kid there were just 2 sexes, with everyone being more or less one or the other. I’m not sure but I think there are about 5 sexes now one for each sense and I can’t wait for the 6th so that we’ll have more sexes than senses.

    I think Gloria Steinem endorsed Hillary and if so, then feminism hasn’t really changed anything since they got women to smoke and vote.
    When I read that someone thought the word “feminism” was sexist, I thought how glad I am that I’m not too long for this world. I can’t wait to see how we can take the word “man” out of “woman”, but I’m sure someone’s working on that right now.

    I read the other day at Truthout how Hillary lied about the coup in Honduras. Hillary is a pathological liar and war psychopath. Trump is a dickhead with a wolverine living on top of his head. America is falling apart, physical, emotionally and mentally. Good luck folks.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Fantastic link – I love how the Thai’s have such a fluid approach to sexuality (even while not being immune to various forms of bigotry). A lesbian friend of mine was travelling there and she said she lost count of the number of Thai women who approached her and would say something like ‘oh, I’m not gay but… hey, you look interesting!’ Unsurprisingly, she said she had a very good time.

        1. Optimader

          I am all for any two people having a equally legal relationship as any one else and keeping ones “sexuality” to oneself.

          The rest is pretty simple, If you have an urgent need to go to a public lav be appreciate that its available (they arent so much in many other countries), take care of business in whichever one you’re plumbed for and STFU.

          1. cwaltz

            My personal feelings is the restrooms ought to be universally made and there ought to be stalls then it wouldn’t matter what your plumbing looks like.

            People act is if you go into a restroom to look at other people instead of eliminate waste. Just ewwwwwwww.

            1. ambrit

              I’ve had to guard the door to the mens’ room for our daughters many a time. I don’t know about the womens’ rooms, but, if you go into a mens’ room to sit down, be sure you have had all of your shots.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that America was founded by fundamentalist Puritans, and the Europeans were glad to see them go, when Henry Miller discussed the subject he said that this just bestowed a perverted quality on all American discussions of sex.
          And the nice part about Thailand and the 13 sexual categories is how little prejudice, judgement, and scorn there is about which category you feel like being in.

          1. Massinissa

            Im sure its there. But the fact that theres this sheer number is probably testament to the fact that they at least keep their prejudices either quiet or personal, while in many parts of America its actually a public political issue. I assume none of these groups are considered a public thai issue.

        1. HotFlash

          Woperson was tried in a group I was involved with long, long ago. There were objections and woperdaughter was suggested but voted down. Then they went on to the real wrangle, how many washrooms and what to put on the doors. This really happened!

    1. craazyman

      I count 6 sexes, which I’ve grouped below into 2 categories. Note that weirdos is a sex independent of male or female.

      Men – Manly men, girly men, weirdos
      Women – hot women, lesbian women, regular women, weirdos

      A critic might say “That’s not 6 sexes, that’s only 3: Men, Women and Weirdos”.

      They might be right. I’ll have to think about that.

      In Thailand they may be counting 11 categories of weirdos and calling them all different sexes. It helps to have math skills when studying this topic or all hell breaks loose. It may be math skills aren’t well developed in Thailand. If they keep going, somebody there may come up with 200 or 300 sexes if they’re not careful.

        1. craazyman

          It had occurred to me that sexuality could be a vector space in two dimensions — M and F, where M and F are the bases of the space.

          What some may confuse as additional sexes may simply be linear combinations of M and F.

          This would clearly allow for an infinite number of sexes although the differences between any particular 2 may be so slight as to be imperceptible.

          They should review the Thailand data and see if a vector space construct can explain the observation as well, or better, than 13 sexes. There are no Weirdos, there are only linear combbinations of M and F.

    2. alex morfesis

      The world is full of buy sexuals.
      whoever is paying for the party they are having sex with…

      peace hope and sobriety…it will probably not happen in our lifetime but one can always dream…

    3. cwaltz

      Are you talking about gender or are you talking about sexuality? Because, they aren’t the same.

      I would bet money that anomalies in both of those areas have been going on since before you were alive even if you didn’t notice it as a child . Personally, I’m a little sad that the world appears to be coming more and more complex and I can no longer rely on childlike simplicity to define things but happy that slowly there seems to be an understanding from the majority that there should be tolerance towards others. It’s not right to tell others they have no right to be happy and can’t be themselves simply because they don’t fit into the little boxes that society has decided work for the majority of us and the fact that they are anomalies can make us uncomfortable and a little afraid because we don’t understand them. That’s OUR problem, not theirs.

    4. Plenue

      “I can’t wait to see how we can take the word “man” out of “woman”, but I’m sure someone’s working on that right now.”

      Oh, that one’s been around for decades:

      Critical language failure on their part, since Old English ‘man’ just meant ‘person’. The word for adult male was wer, preserved today in the word werewolf. ‘Woman’ comes from wifman, ie female person, partially preserved today, obviously, in ‘wife’.

      1. vidimi

        interesting as it shows the latin origins of this english word. homo was the word for human, or person, whereas vir (wer in olde english) was the word for man (as in trium-vir-ate or vir-ile).

  3. Pavel

    Re Clinton emails: looks like carrying two devices (heaven forbid!) would indeed have been more convenient than this totally Clintonesque scandal Hillary has concocted for herself.

    And her BFF Huma (a/k/a Mrs Carlos Danger) — working simultaneously for State, the Clinton “Foundation”, a third consulting firm… what could possibly go wrong?

    I just read that Sanders and Trump are the only declared opponents of TPP. (Of course Hillary no longer is sure if it is “the gold standard” of trade agreements, so who really knows what she would do as president?)

    On that basis alone, I’d support Trump over HRC.

    But lets hope Servergate does indeed explode in her face, and she’ll have to withdraw for “health reasons” or the like, and no doubt the DNC will parachute in Joe Biden.

    Interesting times!

    1. ProNewerDeal

      Yves “You can stick a fork in her candidacy”

      Wow. I’m glad I read NC. Pro-H Clinton BigMedia will not report/explore this topic.

      Yves, perhaps you could write about some scenarios of the timing of an email scandal/indictment, & what that might mean to the D nomination or general election process?

      1. Roquentin

        I agree completely. The blog posts and articles linked here have been first rate the entire primary season, especially with so much of what is usually termed the “liberal media” publishing straight-up garbage any chance they get.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I ventured into the smug echo chamber of HuffPo yesterday and there was lots of coverage of Trump’s victories, there were 3 articles about why Bernie is so deluded/dangerous, and almost nothing on Hilary. So even THEY can’t find anything good to say about their gal…maybe they should finally prepare that list of her “accomplishments” over at State.
          And it’s hard to imagine Obomba’s Justice Dept, that has so vehemently and forcefully avoided any prosecution of anyone except whistleblowers and junior-level scapegoats, doing anything at all to let this proceed. The Basketballer-in-Chief is all about legacy now and I bet there might be some embarrassing testimony that could come out on a number of fronts.

      2. Ed S.

        PND —

        My long shot scenario has been that HRC wins enough to defeat Bernie, but knowing that she can’t win (email scandal or something else) she withdraws for “medical” reasons and Big Joe parachutes in as the nominee. Imagine HRC giving a speech a few weeks before the convention and collapsing on stage. Regretfully can’t continue. Asks Joe to carry the torch forward.

        Everybody in the D party wins. And I don’t think it’s such a long shot now.

      3. optimader

        I do enjoy the fork metaphor! Good imagery.

        Actually, I prefer the below phraseology, I first heard it from a guy in South Carolina referring to himself. Another good one was “ahmmm so tired I heard somthin draggin behind me, ahh turned around and it was mahh asss”

        October 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm
        ….even if she knows..
        This is just another data point on my assessment that’s HRC is one of those walking job title resumes who thinks she’s the smartest (guy) in the room.

        I wonder if she knows what ” so cooked you don’t need to stick her with a fork” means.

      4. susan the other

        interesting too, and unreported, is Hillary’s threat (not sure if it is even true she made it) to make public her J. Edgar Hoover file on everyone and their dog in politix if the DoJ actually indicts her.

    2. YY

      The carrying two devices was such a lame excuse, though the real sad part is that these made up tropes never get challenged by the fourth estate. The real problem is not the security or lack thereof of a “private” mail server, but the probable real reason of the desire for manipulation and concealment (from authorized official access) of ALL non-personal communications.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The Congressional staffers I know carry two devices all the time and make a big point of church/state separation. But I gather HRC regards that level of inconvenience as being fit only for little people.

        1. Pat

          Hell I always thought the idea was ridiculous because I have multiple email accounts on my current android and my previous blackberry. The fact that pictures later came out where she had both a blackberry and an iPhone was just icing on that lie.

          But lets face it, it was never about multiple devices. It was always about two things – control of the information and the ability to say screw you to FOIA requests. If a stupid and unnecessary choice finally ends her political career, I’ll just consider it just desserts to an arrogant entitled corrupt ass.
          Not to mention keeping friendly foundation support correspondence on a private server where you had a firewall for any communication with State would have been smarter since I’m thinking we are weeks away from the Judge forcing State to just turn over everything and taking all control of it out of their hands. But foresight and judgment are hallmarks of Hillary Clinton.

      2. tiresoup

        Yes to YY! What amuses me about Hillary setting up a private server and not using dot gov: the proactive coverup of such a move. She knew in advance she’d have stuff to hide.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      This email scandal reminds me of the movie Primary Colors about Bill Clinton’s 1992 run for president. In the movie Governor Jack Stanton (John Travolta) was trying to hide the scandal of sleeping with an under age teen.

      Now the punchline is that I saw a photo of a Hillary campaign lead (in NH I think) and he looked like a dead ringer for Henry Burton (Adrian Lester) who was Stanton’s campaign manager. But dam I can’t find the pic now.

      And ya gotta wonder if the deleted emails would have revealed unseemly dealings between the Clinton Foundation and govt agencies.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And ya gotta wonder if the deleted emails would have revealed unseemly dealings between the Clinton Foundation and govt agencies.

        I don’t wonder about that at all. I’m absolutely certain of it. As far as “unseemly,” I’d be more inclined to use the terms raw influence peddling, solicitation of bribes and extortion.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Very under-reported was the pressure she put on Sweden to accept Monsanto poison, with explicit quid-pro-quos, or the pressure she put on the WHO when they were about to release a report declaring that refined sugar is a dangerous toxin. In that case she made a direct threat to pull the $400M the US gives to WHO.

          1. Pavel

            wow OTPBDHal (love that BTW!)
            That is under-reported indeed. Esp re the WHO and refined sugar. So much for caring about “women and children” I guess.

    4. TsWkr

      Paul Jay over at the Real News has been predicting Biden vs. Romney for a while. He thinks either Clinton will secure the nomination, or just keep enough pledged delegates away from Sanders to need the Super Delegates and then the email scandal will hit the fan — of course they wouldn’t turn to Sanders.

      Romney would be a fairly plausible result coming out of a brokered convention, an outcome Rubio and Kasich are banking on by sticking around.

      1. Carolinian

        Since media celebrity is proving to be the big draw I think the Dems should dump Morgan Freeman endorsed Hillary and just run Morgan Freeman. I’d vote for him. Plus he’s already played the president in movies. Twice.

        Morgan Freeman as president would be very soothing.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I wish George Clooney would run, he has the right politics, can speak in complete sentences, has the name recognition, a very presentable and effective wife (ethnic background), and the wow factor would be good for the country.
              Compare that to a shrill war criminal harridan virago whose big backer is Rupert Murdoch and whose ideological mentor is fellow genocidal war criminal Henry Kissinger.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The death of the Roman political establishment was on display when a horse was made senator.

                Will they nominate a donkey?

                An elephant?

                Anything but Trump/Sanders.

        1. fresno dan

          February 24, 2016 at 10:25 am

          I second that!
          Other than advertising saying how wonderful are candidates are, and plenty of empirical evidence that they are incompetent, corrupt scum, there is NO serious argument that any of the professed party candidates would match Morgan Freedman in ability – – and quite a bit of evidence that they would not match Morgan in judgement…

          1. Carolinian

            There’s a funny comedy from the 90s called Dave where a lookalike is brought in to sub for the real president after a stroke. The joke is that this man plucked off the street as it were is a better president than the real one.

            So really, why not Morgan Freeman? Where is it written that our presidents all have to be lawyers?

            1. EmilianoZ

              That was Kevin Kline. The movie seems to be a remake of the Prisoner of Zenda. Kevin Kline would make a good prez too although my preference would be for Bill Murray since he played FDR convincingly.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              People as a group are far too stupid to be trusted with elections. Government by lottery is the only sensible solution.

              1. cnchal

                I second that. It would be a job a normal person would hate to win, but did anyway, just like jury duty.

        2. craazyman

          The asteroid hit in his first term! The earth exploded!

          I saw it myself. I’m not making this up.

          As John McEnroe said back in The Day, “You must be joking.”

        3. optimader

          Get a VFX film crew out to film Morgan F. rolling “The Beast” in a ditch –(the POTUS limo, not HRC) on a late night liquor run

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Mittens would beat Biden. Biden is Hillary without the celebrity and nostalgic appeal. Oh great, a pre-war Democrat who is largely the single most responsible individual for out of control student debt. Democrats are this stupid.

      3. neo-realist

        I don’t see how the heck an ego like Trump is brokered out of a nomination at the convention. I could see one of the aforementioned unfortunate circumstances knocking him out, but not a brokered one that hands it over to a Mormon mannequin with minimal appeal to the common American who would lose GOP votes.

  4. Llewelyn Moss

    re: The REAL Reason Bill Gates Supports Backdoor FBI Access

    “Micro$oft programmers have allowed NSA backdoors in all Windows software since 1999 or before.”

    Micro$oft was a prominent building block in most of the Snowden NSA flowcharts. And lest we forget that even after you turn off ALL of the Windows 10 privacy settings, Win10 still phones home to Micro$oft 4 times per hour with “Telemetry” data. Micro$oft refuses to say exactly what’s in the Telemetry data (it’s encrypted). They call it system health and security data, whatever that means. Micro$oft is taking a lot of flack in the tech forums for not giving a way to opt out and the secrecy around what data is collected.

    Now I ask the question, why does Micro$oft offer a free Win10 upgrade to current windows users? — An unprecedented offer. Did they suddenly become hippie commies offering free love and software? Or is it because someone is paying Micro$oft to push it on an unsuspecting public? Is it someone like the National Stasi Agency? Hey, I’m just askin questions here.

    1. human

      “He Who Controls the Bootloader

      End of an Era

      Scot Hacker, August 2001

      The day before I submitted this column, news hit the net that the other shoe had finally dropped. After months of waiting and wondering what was to become of Be, we learned that Palm, Inc. will be purchasing Be’s technology, intellectual property, and assets. While we don’t yet know exactly what Palm plans to do with Be, my guess is that the company intends to beef up and extend its product line — make palm-sized devices more media-friendly, and possibly build appliance-like units for the home. As analyst William Crawford recently said, “Where they have to go, Be already is.” Be’s lightweight footprint and excellent media handing capabilities make the technology a good fit. Be will receive $11 million in Palm stock, which they intend to liquidate to pay off debts. Considering that Apple allegedly once considered paying $125 million for Be, Palm got Be for a song — a fire-sale blowout.

      Palm initially stated that they don’t intend to develop a desktop version of BeOS, which means the version of BeOS you’re using now may be the last one you’ll ever see. However, users who have corresponded with Palm’s top ranks have been met with an open ear, and BeFAQs is currently preparing a full report on the state and potential of the BeOS user base for the big cheeses at Palm. Whether the report will have any effect is anybody’s guess, but barring a miracle, it seems that BeOS is now officially dead in terms of its prospects for further evolution. That, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dead to the users who already have it installed. The BeOS userbase will likely become similar to the Amiga userbase – hanging on to those souped-up boxes out of sheer love for years, maybe decades.

      Some in the community met the news with relief. Others simply seem exhausted by the endless process of battling ridiculous odds, and are ready to move on to something else. But many still believe deeply in what Be is and what they’ve created. Believe that there is a way to best Microsoft at its own game (without having to tread the open source quaqmire). Believe that there is no better desktop user experience, period.

      But the reality is that Be’s failure has made a point to the world, to whit: “Don’t bother trying to create a better commercial desktop OS — it doesn’t matter how hard you try, how many engineers you throw at the problem, how much money you spend, or how many years you put into it. Microsoft owns that space and, worse, the public is totally complicit with that fact. People will not stop using Windows. It is a losing battle.”

      Read the rest:

      1. Daryl

        Good news, Microsoft is a dead company walking at this point.

        Bad news is that Microsoft Windows has been replaced by software-as-a-service.

    2. Arthur Wilke

      It’s been reported that the older Microsoft business model was of declining value and there’s hope to get users to purchase items at the Microsoft store and annually subscribe to what used to be stand-alone suites (Word Perfect, Excel, etc.).

  5. DakotabornKansan

    How women started to smoke [failedevolution.blogspot]

    As one who has worked many years caring for victims of tobacco related diseases, I found the prominence of cigarettes on seven seasons of “Smoke Gets in Their Eyes” Mad Men – Betty Draper, Sally Draper, et al. – quite fascinating. Seeing all that puffing made me wince and wonder if they too would eventually become victims.

    “Everyone else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strikes are toasted.”

    “When the EPA took steps to limit indoor smoking, Fred Singer joined forces with the Tobacco Institute to challenge the scientific basis of secondhand smoke’s health risks. But they didn’t just claim that the data were insufficient; they claimed that the EPA was doing “bad science.” To make this claim seem credible, they didn’t just fight EPA on secondhand smoke; they began a smear campaign to discredit the EPA in general and tarnish any scientific results that any industry didn’t like as “junk.” – Naomi Oreskes, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

    I saw victims of tobacco related diseases who did not smoke, victims of secondhand smoke, women whose husbands were heavy smokers.

    Betty Draper’s diagnosis of aggressive lung cancer in the final season brought back memories of the countless needless losses experienced by so many others that I had witnessed.

    Smoking and tobacco use pose a serious risk of death and disease for women. Annually, cigarette smoking kills an estimated 201,770 women in the United States. Today, with a much smaller gap between men’s and women’s smoking rates, women share a much larger burden of smoking-related diseases.

    How we still struggle today to end the lies and mass mind manipulation ushered in by Edward Bernays.

    1. Bwilli123

      Does anyone else remember the catchy jingle from the days of women’s lib?
      “You’ve got your own cigarette now baby,
      You’ve come a long, long way”
      Virginia Slims, I believe.

      1. ambrit

        Oh yes, I do remember it. No ‘guy’ in my highschool would be caught dead smoking a Virginia Slim, even a free one. Sexism starts early.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Homer: What’s your brand?
          Bart: Anything slim!
          Homer: Doh!

          The whole point to cigarettes is to make you look cool. At least my dad told me this. He then said it wouldn’t work for me.

          1. ambrit

            I sincerely hope your dad was trying reverse psychology to keep you off of ‘smokes.’ And yes, in school, the urge to be ‘cool’ leads to too many poor decisions.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Dad just pointed out I would never be cool, so why try? They didn’t believe in lying, withholding information is a different matter. We had a creek and a natural spring at our old house in the hills. They didn’t tell me or take my collie there, so I never found out. My mom is legally blind, so as a result, I was a free range child with no oversight except a collie who would pull on my clothes when I went too far.

              1. fresno dan

                February 24, 2016 at 1:42 pm

                “….except a collie who would pull on my clothes when I went too far.”


                If only I had had a collie like Garry Shandling named “laffie” who would have kept me from investing in all those mortgage back securities…

                Laffie: Barks, than growls, than whines
                fresnodan: What’s that laffie – little timmy is in a well?
                Laffie: NO, NO, NO you imbecile – little timmy geithner is a shill of corrupt financiers who promote a housing bubble and know after complete carnage, only the squillionaires will be bailed out due to the fact Washington gets the best congressmen money can buy. Now, how about buying dogfood somewhere besides the dollar store????

                But alas, I never owned a dog – just the occasional cat. And cats are Randian….

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          i always found, “You’ve come a long way baby” positively revolting with implied sexism! Who the hell is a poison tobacco company to tell women that “baby” has come a long way cause they can give themselves cancer now all by themselves?

          1. Massinissa

            Most of the women that are not Toms could or would I think, plus the Ladyboys. I dont think gay men would smoke those things, but then, I dont know any gay men who also smoke.

            1. optimader

              I dont know any gay men who also smoke.
              Good for them! Why does anyone still smoke? Its not like the data isnt in on it at this point, or what?
              Even if a smoker dodges the cancer bullet, I saw a graph of Smoking (years) vs Emphysema and it was basically a straight sloped line going to a bad place. Not much to debate on that one.

              A couple weeks ago walking into my office I saw a guy outside. smoking a cigg pulling a little dolly w/an O2 bottle with the clear tubing coiling up to his nostrils. . WTF in the wide world of sports is the guy thinking ??

              On gay men ..Wizened with age, I have found when having to go to some large catered socail function like a reception where you really don’t know anyone, picking out the table with a few gay guys will usually be the most fun

    2. Jim Haygood

      Remember the Clinton administration’s “tobacco settlement” in the late 1990s? How did that work out for us?

      Result: in the past 25 years, the S&P 1500 tobacco sector (constituents from Compustat; returns from CRSP) has delivered a 21% compounded annual return. Better than high tech. Better than health care. Better than anything.

      Having a government-enforced oligopoly is the next best thing to the Federal Reserve’s license to print money. Only three players are left in the U.S.: Altria, Reynolds American and Imperial Tobacco (up 15%, 41% and 10% respectively in the past 12 months).

      They really should build a bronze statue of Joel Klein (the Clinton admin’s tobacco settlement point man) in downtown Greensboro NC, in honor of this Democrat shakedown artist making Big Tobacco and its investors rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

      1. Propertius

        I remember the tobacco settlement quite well, since I was sitting in my mother’s hospital room watching her die from small-cell lung cancer when it was announced. I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t want their money – I want them dead.”

        I haven’t really changed that opinion. Okay, I’d settle for a few million counts of voluntary manslaughter with sentences to be served consecutively, but I really want them dead. Preferably by several months of cisplatin and etoposide

  6. OIFVet

    Way off topic, but I’ve been looking for an antidote from last year, of these beautiful golden horses, and I can’t find it. Could anyone help direct me to it?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They are legendary…linked, maybe, to the Heaven Horse that sweated blood and treasured so much by the ancient Chinese they sent numerous expeditions into Central Asia to obtain.

        1. juliania

          A wonderful book, if you can still find it, is “Sacred Horses; The Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy” by Jonathan Maslow.

    1. vlade

      it’s very simple.
      Short of a major miracle, Trump WILL win the GOP nomination.

      The people who didn’t vote DT in primaries are unlikely to vote either BS or HC, at best the stay at home.

      HC has absolutely nothing to offer to Trump voters. I suspect that a non-trivial number of Sanders voters would see Trump as representing them more than HC, and those that detest him would just rther stay at home, as they couldn’t decide who was a lesser evil.

      On the other hand, with Sanders nomination, few if any HC voters would flock to Trump, and most would rther vote Sanders than Trump. And Sanders can take Trump’s votes.

      The logic of the decision here is really simple. HC win hands the Presidency to Trump and on,y then will the real fun begin.

      1. Pat

        Not if you talk to Clinton supporters. Turnout is down because she is a shoe-in. No self-respecting Democrat will vote for Trump. She will wipe the floor with him in a debate. Women will flock to her, and he has alienated every minority in America. The Denial about both her liabilities and his abilities is at 50 year flood levels. The funny thing is they have seen the future and refuse to understand it. It is in front of them on a daily basis, with the GOP establishment, they just haven’t realized that even as Democratic supporters they are just the flip side of the same coin.

        1. Pavel

          There is a lot of “denial” in politics but I can’t remember as much as is exhibited by the HRC supporters. Over at Daily Kos, for instance (where I go for amusement at times) I see them regularly:

          * excusing the Goldman Sachs speech payments (“she deserves it”, “everybody does it”, etc)
          * horrifically, and astoundingly, they excuse her praise of and friendship with war criminal Kissinger (“he did some good things”, “he did the China deal”)
          * re the emails: “what’s the big deal?”, “Rice and Powell did it also”
          * all the Super PAC money…

          you get the point. There seems to be so much blindness to her hypocrisy — and to their own: if a Republican did these things they’d be screaming blue murder.

          1. Propertius

            * horrifically, and astoundingly, they excuse her praise of and friendship with war criminal Kissinger (“he did some good things”, “he did the China deal”)

            Well, apparently Henry really did save the world during the Sino-Soviet War when he discouraged the USSR from launching a ~500 MT first strike against the nascent Chinese nuclear weapons infrastructure. According to most models, that would have produced enough cooling to have wiped out agriculture (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) for several years. That probably counts as a “good thing”, although I don’t think it was enough to excuse the rest.

            I’m not going to provide links because it will place me in moderation hell forever, but a quick search on:

            sino-soviet war nuclear

            ought to be informative (although the best documents are a little harder to scare up).

              1. Propertius

                Not quite. In 1969 the USSR approached several US diplomats inquiring what the US reaction would be if the USSR launched a first strike against the PRC to remove what they viewed as the Chinese nuclear threat. They suggested that they were prepared to discontinue aid to the North Vietnamese in exchange for the US remaining neutral in such a conflict. This is all pretty well documented declassified documents from both the US and the USSR (many of which are available on-line from the National Security Archive at George Washington University). Of course, at the time nobody was aware of what the climate implications of such a strike would have been because the computing power necessary to do the modeling wasn’t available in 1969 (and wouldn’t be until after 1976, although no one thought to try to evaluate this sort scenario until 1982 or so).

                Kissinger and Nixon certainly didn’t intend to save much of the world by turning down the Russian offer, but they seem to have done so almost purely by accident.

                I fail to see how this is the equivalent of the administration that was in office on 9/11 claiming to have “kept us safe”.

                1. Cry Shop

                  I suspect most of those sources have been contaminated by Henry. It’s not the first time he’s had the history written his way, and he’s not alone it it either. Also, Kissinger didn’t have that kind of power in those days, and he was not an Asian wonk.

                  After all, this is the same Kissinger who is on record as threatening North Vietnam with nuclear attack to get them to the negotiation table in Paris, he had no qualms about using Nukes; and if he said anything to the Russians, it would only have been because he wanted to fish to then sell the info to China.

        2. rich

          She also seems to have “strong arms”?
          Pro-Clinton union threatens labor official to back out of Sanders event

          A union supporting Hillary Clinton reportedly pressured a labor official to back out of speaking at an event held by Bernie Sanders, the former secretary of State’s rival in the Democratic presidential race.

          Jeff Johnson, the head of the Washington State Labor Council, was scheduled to speak in Seattle during a “Labor for Bernie” rally, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday. But an international labor union threatened to take away funding from Johnson’s group if he spoke at the event, an emcee told the audience at the event.

          The silent majority?..hmmm…

        3. fresno dan

          February 24, 2016 at 11:12 am

          I remember when the dems were ITCHING to run against Reagan….
          for people that is chock full of geniuses, it is amazing how frequently they lose to the stupid…

    2. Steven D.

      Hillary’s Nevada win was engineered largely by Harry Reid and the SEIU. Don’t want to discount the importance of organization but it’s not like Hillary’s appeal suddenly became apparent to people. Anyone know what Hillary’s South Carolina organization is like?

  7. allan

    From the FT article on Trump’s win in NV:

    In one of the most surprising developments in Nevada, NBC News exit polls found that Mr Trump had won 44 per cent of the Hispanic vote, compared with 29 per cent for Florida senator Mr Rubio, who is a fluent Spanish speaker, and Texas senator Mr Cruz on 18 per cent. Mr Trump has repeatedly claimed to have strong support from Hispanics despite his signature policy to deport 11m — mostly Mexican — illegal immigrants and to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

    Of course, this is 44% of Republican Hispanics, but still.
    How long before the MOTU give up on Rubio and Cruz and pretend they’re leading the parade?
    The GOP will be sitting pretty for the Fall, with an energized base
    and a candidate who the media can’t get enough of.
    Clinton would be their dream opponent.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It would be interesting to see the break-down of those hispanics – many I suspect would be Cuban-Americans who have, to put it mildly, a very different perspective than most other hispanics.

      But it actually doesn’t surprise me that many hispanics would vote for Trump. Sometimes the most hardline on immigrants are actually first generation immigrants – the motivations are often complex, but its often a mix of not wanting their own status undermined by too many of their countrymen arriving, and a sort of ultra nationalism that you often find among people who find their own status insecure. Plus wealthy hispanics really don’t have any emotional connection with their poorer compatriots.

      1. trinity river

        Try to remember that a very large portion of the US was once Mexico. Many Hispanics have been here longer than Europeans. They are not and do not feel like immigrants, despite the discrimination they have suffered and in some times and places still suffer.

          1. ambrit

            The dirty little secret is that ‘Hispanics’ differentiate between Hispanics, Mestizos, and Indios, internally.
            To see racism in action, look into the histories of various ‘Native Peoples’ throughout the New World. “La Layenda Negra.”

      2. different clue

        Cuban-ancestry hispanics in Nevada? How many Cubans ever went to Nevada?
        Any at all? Even one?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think one factor may be the exporting of jobs to China, forcing many people of all races to move from California to Nevada.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Many Cubans who left after the revolution worked (or had businesses) in the gigantic Cuban gambling industry. One reason Las Vegas grew so much was that Havana was no longer available for gamblers. So I would imagine quite a few made a straight move to Las Vegas

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            But those in Miami seem to be more vocal, giving the impression, falsely perhaps, that there are not too many outside of the area.

            1. ambrit

              A lot of the ‘vocal’ Cuban politics in Miami was the result of CIA fomentation of anti-Castro movements. Miami is right next to Cuba, Las Vegas is not.

  8. paul

    There is, fortunately, now a viable alternative to the coffin nails. Electronic cigarettes (95% safer according to Public Health England).
    Unfortunately, the EU decided to regulate them out of existence through the onerous article 20 of the tobacco products directive.
    One more little reason,on top of the disasters visited on the Eurozone, to quit the EU.

    1. vidimi

      vaping is everywhere in europe. in paris, there’s an e-cigarette store on every street. how did the EU regulate them out of existence?

      1. paul

        Arbritrary limitation of nicotine strength,costly testing and notifications, limitations on the container size of liquids (max 10ml) to start with.

        The TPD doesn’t kick in till 20th May this year,
        Clive Bates (ex director of Action on Smoking and health) explains what’s wrong here

        1. Pavel

          Can’t speak to the regulations, but just to confirm what vidimi said–I was in Paris recently and there is indeed an e-cigarette shop on just about every corner. Amazed they can stay in business.

          The flip side: I was in France when they banned smoking in restos and cafés and elsewhere. I was prepared for major rebellion, but the clients all took it in stride. Amazing!

      2. trinity river

        I have tried to find the article I read about vaping having a chemical in it that might be seriously dangerous in the long run and is used with tobacco & cannabis. It sounds good, but . . is it another win for marketing.

        1. susan the other

          I remember stg. about e-cigarettes like that too, a chemical or too-fine smoke that gets down into the tiniest capillaries of your lungs – and yes e-smoke does bother bystanders, i knew the minute my husband lit up in the back room because i could smell the fumes, they smelled just like nicotine. honest, my nose is phenomenal.

    2. optimader

      Back in the 1980’s I worked on the carbon fuel pellet for what I believe was the first smokeless cigarette, RJR’s Premier.

      It ended up being a complex little widget – pressure drop/burn time/ temp. Heated gas was pulled through a “flavor capsule” that vaporized all the things smokers crave, all contained in a little aluminum capsule (why not just eat the capsule I asked? –dirty looks…)

      RJR spent a serious amount of dough,like $1BB at the time – (how was that even possible!?? Not knowing this, probably why I got the dirty looks) developing, test marketing and further tweaking.

      Ultimately the effort was foiled by a lukewarm consumer acceptance and threats that the FDA would rule it to be a drug delivery device requiring prescription. In the end, these little Frankenstein cigarettes would have been a recycling nightmare :o/ but at the time I thought they were a great idea.. Hated Cigg smoke in the music venues.

      So what’s changed regarding the sensibility of not considering those Steampunk looking Vapping thingees I see people huddled around on the sidewalk in the City sucking as drug delivery devices I wonder? That is precisely what they are!

      I will call it a small incremental victory for us nonsmokers, as well perhaps for the incremental acceptance of allowing people to ingest what they want without a government entity interfering –while also thankfully improving my breathing experience in The Commons

      1. vidimi

        i have a theory…

        originally, vaping was supposed to allow smokers to smoke indoors again as, technically, they didn’t produce smoke. however, most countries quickly put the kibosh on that idea but, by then, a lot of people had already bought them. a lot of smokers don’t like to smoke at home, and vaping allows them to do that without going on the balcony or opening windows. now, we’ve reached a critical mass and most smokers have an e-cigarette in addition to traditional fags. back in the 80s, everyone smoked indoors in offices and public spaces anyway so the appeal wasn’t there.

      2. For The Win

        …”why not just eat the capsule I asked?”

        Those dirty looks were because you were too close to a sensitive deeper truth. The difference between nicotine in a cigarette and digested/skin patch is the same difference between “crack” cocaine and cocaine up the nose. The former method of ingestion is far more addictive.

        Only direct IV injection has greater impact on the addictive properties of stimulants (and the other extreme – Opioids/Barbiturates) than a pathway through the lungs. Hence “smokeless” tobacco never took on smoking, though both are filthy, but injecting heroin overtook smoking opium, though the former is far more risky to life and health, as well as messy.

      3. ambrit

        Back in the day, heads would paint a line of hash oil down a cigarette and put it back in a pack of smokes. “I’ll take the one with the line” was code speak for “light up!”
        Vaping has become literally a drug delivery device. Mix some of what you like in with the fluid you inhale, and, “lets light up!” This dynamic has been playing out for as long as there have been humans.
        The famous citation is from Herodotus:
        “The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp seed, and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed, the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy…”
        Everything that is old is new again.

        1. paul

          In the same way as a coffee cup is a drug delivery device.
          The main difference between vaping and smoking(weed or tobacco) is combustion.
          Cannabis oil is not something I would want to inhale as I do not know of any mechanism for the lungs to clear it.
          There are ‘dry herb vaporisers’ for that sort of thing, but I don’t really know anything about them.
          Smoked for 30 years,vaped exclusively for four. I am confident that that it is an extremely safe substitute for smoking.

  9. jgordon

    “You can stick a fork in her candidacy.”

    Actually last night I was feeling a bit disappointed that Bernie seemed to be going nowhere. But then I was reading about how hilariously vicious Trump has been to his Republican stepping-stones in the primaries so far and I had a thought: wait a minute. If Trump is being this nasty to Republicans over relatively minor stuff, just what would he do if Clinton is his target? And then I thought: Holy CRAP this is going to be AWESOME!

    It does suck that Hillary will get the nomination… but think of the entertainment! Every dirty dark secret and verboten topic that Sanders has been too yellow to hit Clinton on is going to be fair game for Trump. Not even Rubio or Cruz would eviscerate Clinton like Trump will; after all, Rubio, Cruz, and even Bernie (really) are all beholden to the establishment and therefore can’t mention anything specific or of real significance. But Trump doesn’t give a crap about that! Trump will gleefully start out each of his debates with Clinton pointing out that as soon as he’s elected he’ll be indicting her–and that’s just the start! How many (former) Bernie supporters will be right there with Trump, lighting candles and praying to God for Trump’s victory and for the indictments to come down. Only Trump can do it!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope he doesn’t say crazy things like he’s going to nuke some country. But there is no guarantee.

      What he said about blood and bullets was really nasty, that contrasting with calling the decision to go to Iraq an American mistake. (I suppose that can lead to reparation and apologies).

      Being bombastic about blood is gory, but actual bombing and maiming is the worst.

      And one more thing – his Great Wall of America is not a good idea, even if he can get Mexico to pay for it. At least twice it was breached in the history of China.

      Once, 16 northern provinces were ceded to the Khitans. The Great Wall went through some of them. There went the defense with that ceding Once the Mongols defeated the Jurchens, they were inside the Wall.

      The second time was when a rebel captured Beijing and the Ming commander of one the key passes along the Great Wall opened the gate to Nurhachi and his soldiers, in order to put down the rebellion.

      Perhaps that’s a ploy to strengthen border patrol. You stake out an extreme position in order to compromise on one you can live with. Still, border patrol is secondary to solving that problem, because we have to work the Mexican government to defeat neoliberalism and NAFTA that is converting Mexican peasants into cheaper labor for the people in the north.

      1. jgordon

        The key to understanding Trump’s popularity is that few people actually believe that he’ll build this wall. People who are arguing that he really won’t do it because it’s impossible are misunderstanding something important.

      2. Robert Dudek

        I don’t understand all this anti illegal immigrant stuff. All you have to do is levy heavy penalties on the EMPLOYERS, up to and including closing down the business and seizing all assets, plus jail time for senior management. No jobs, no reason to cross the border.

        1. trinity river

          I agree, Robert. It was the employers who brought them in in the first place. Lots of processing plants in the midwest. In fact, after Katrina, the people in Oaxaca did not arrive to help rebuild until they were asked to come. I had an attorney in TX tell me that his yard was so big that to hire someone to mow it cost him $200 a week, but w/o immigrants, it would cost him upwards of $800 a week.

          1. cnchal

            Isn’t that the same guy that charges $8.00 per minute.

            Only 25 minutes of “work” to pay for the Mexican. An eternal 100 minutes for the American.

            Cheapness doesn’t come any cheaper.

        2. Steve Gunderson

          Its very hard for a business, especially a small business, to identify applicants that are not eligible to work. Fake documents, IDs, and identity theft are very prevalent.

    2. tiresoup

      Best case scenario in my opinion is Hillary gets indicted and goes out fighting. I gotta believe she knows some deep sh*t. It’s the only way the American people get a glimpse behind the curtain.

      1. optimader

        A guy I know that did business with Trump in the late 1980’s told me last Friday evening . “Yeah the guys hair, no kidding.. But when you meet him it’s his ass. The guy has a huge ass!

        Just putting it out there as a public service for anyone that takes this sort of thing into consideration when making a POTUS selection decision. Personally I’ve never seen it. but for a guy to point out the size of another guys ass, well draw your own conclusions.

        Rendered to Bumper Sticker lingo:
        Trump has Back!

        So far I am still occasionally displaying my “God Bless Spiro Agnew” sticker in the rear window.
        Call me old school. I will say, it does elicit some looks

        1. vidimi

          given that trump has indulged in the odd fit of misogyny now and then, perhaps it would be only fair if opponents started commenting on his full, child-bearing hips.

    1. Friar Tuck

      “Hillary Clinton has a far worse approval rating, is loathed by Independents, couldn’t land a millennial voter if she turned into an anime version of Kanye West and Gangnam-styled across America”


      Okay, I laughed.

  10. Brindle

    re: President Donald Trump It Could Happen–John Nichols The Nation

    Nichols is a smart journalist, although too accommodating to the Dem establishment for my taste.

    Here we see what the HRC strategy against Trump will be–surprise—Identity politics. Ilse Hogue is president of Clinton supporting NARAL:

     —The challenge to Trump must address economic anxiety while also emphasizing pluralism, says Hogue. “Where Trump’s weakness is, and where his opponent will have an advantage, is that the way this country genuinely experiences economic inequality has everything to do with your race, your gender, your treatment as an immigrant—all these issues.” Clinton has begun speaking to this. Even if Wall Street is reined in and economic challenges are addressed, she warned in the Democratic debate in Milwaukee, “we would still have racism holding people back. We would still have sexism preventing women from getting equal pay. We would still have LGBT people who get married on Saturday and get fired on Monday.”—

    I think Trump will beat Hillary—she is just a weak candidate.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I don’t believe Trump will just “beat” her, I think he will dismember her. She and bill WENT TO HIS WEDDING.

      They both run in the same circles, but Trump was SUPPOSED to be there. She was not.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Income Guarantee guarantees equal pay, for all races and genders.

      Job Guarantee doesn’t do that. It would need another guarantee – equal pay guarantee. I suppose we can do it, though it’s already on the book to not discriminate.

      Back to the point of economic inequality – the writer makes a good point that economic inequality has always been there, not just looming large in the last few decades. I think they need something more than ‘This time, we are fighting for all of us,’ given the broken promises.

      “You just want our votes and you will forget about us.”

      “Our economic challenges remain.”

    3. ewmayer

      @Brindle, thanks for the Ilse Hogue quote. LOL at “Clinton has begun speaking to this.” Sure, but only HRC’s deluded supporters believe that is anything other than tell-em-what-you-think-they-want-to-hear verbiage. As I’ve long said about Hillary, to her, words are wind. Stick a damp index finger up before the speech, figure out which way the breeze is blowing (or whither direction the $$ are coming from), lie shamelessly in that direction. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  11. Steve H.

    Relevant to the storms in the southern U.S. yesterday, this site is both beautiful and useful:

    Very impressive at the moment. NW of the low, there is icing happening over a huge area.

  12. ambrit

    As for Trump being caught in bed with…
    I like Edwin Edwards, the still much beloved Democratic ex-Governor of Louisianas’ quote about that subject: “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”
    Trump is a lot like “Fast Eddie.” For all his faults, Edwards, not related to todays Governor Edwards, is still remembered as a having been a good governor for the average Louisiana denizen.
    I hope Trump gets the lesson from the saying attributed to an early Cuban Dictator: “When the Shark (el Tiburon) takes a bath, he splashes a lot.”

      1. Clive

        I think you’ve touched on quite an important point there, Trump could sodomise a donkey in Times Square and it would only augment his mainstream-thinking-can-go-take-a-flying-frig-at-a-rolling-doughnut aura.

        It gets even more bizarre if you think, as I do, that the more Hillary tries to clutch her emeralds warmly around her neck and portray herself as the sensible, reliable and proven candidate, the more alienated people seem to get. It’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect.

        U.S. politics is certainly interesting right now! Most everyone I talk to on this side of the Atlantic gets a look of total bewilderment at what has come to pass. It’s like Italy, only uglier and stranger. And without the fashion sense.

        1. Jagger

          It is clear as day the objective of support for Trump is simply to give the finger to the establishment. So the worse he is, the better, because the more horrible Trump is, the bigger the finger to the establishment.

          Of course, he very likely would be a disaster as a president. It is a sign of the times that people are willing to risk disaster to slap around the establishment.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            clinton 1.0 was a disaster as were baby bush, obama and ronny raygun.

            It’s not a disqualifier.

            Maybe it’s time to play the expectations game the way wall street does–set the bar low enough and “beat by a penny.”

            1. fresno dan

              Katniss Everdeen
              February 24, 2016 at 11:43 am

              I agree with you.
              To the extent ANYTHING is getting done, it is only what Wall Street /Military Industrial Complex want done. The US government has NOT done anything for the likes of me in…..hmmmm, I remember about 40 years ago my mom got some cheese (she gave some to me – I don’t actually much care for cheese, but it was free). I forget what the program was called.

              With the caveat that all the politicians are lying, I would say Trump is on record as more sympathetic to social security than most repubs/many dems.
              Could Trump get anything through???? But if he stops even half the crap that gets through now that would be a big improvement!

              Now, all he could do is STOP what wall street and the MIC want, and eventually …oh what is that called????? Where people negotiate????
              The ART of … hmmmmm – – The compromise? …..Oh, I got it – The TRADE!!!….No, no that’s not it either. Is it The bargain????
              Well, the word escapes me now – but really, I don’t see where the average person would be any worse off than what has been accomplished under Obama…

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Trump has said a few scary things (for me anyway), but he’s got the skillset to toy with Congress, like he did with Jeb.

                1. Massinissa

                  Caesar was a scary guy, but at least he was able to horse the Senate around.

                  You know, until they all killed him and stuff.

  13. DakotabornKansan

    Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

    The line between democracy and a darker social order is thinner than we think.

    The time has come to view ignorance as regular rather than deviant.

    What were the odds a great nation like Germany would look to a demented street bum and former corporal to be its heroic leader?

    Today we have Trump and the modern day “Know Nothing” Republican Party. Agnotology is alive and well in America.

    One cannot help but think of the great Roman satirist Juvenal’s scornful words, “Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the people have abdicated their duties; the people, that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddle no more and long eagerly for just two things – bread and circuses.”

    Just as the Romans lost the capacity to govern themselves by being so distracted by mindless self-gratification, we also have our bread and circuses as well as many other outlets for mindless self-gratification.

    According to Juvenal, writing about the Rome of his time, it was hard not to write satire. It is hard not to write satire these days, when we and our government are so consumed with bread and circuses. We constantly satirize ourselves.

    At some point will the audience begin to realize that there is no longer any bread, just circuses?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump is a one man circus.

      That’s better than attempting some beer hall putsch with his followers.

      “My struggle to build a great wall for my country.”

      1. EmilianoZ

        The Great Wall of China is 13,000 miles long. The US-Mexico border is just 2,000 miles. Surely the Chinese could be persuaded to ship the least touristic parts of their wall. It would surely beat building a new wall from scratch using US labor. It would save us a bunch of money.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They will sell us a fake Great Wall, but so genuine looking that even experts are fooled.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Unlike the mega structures in the Middle East, the Great Wall (the first one, built by the first emperor) was erected by forced laborers, many died and were said to have been buried in it.

              Most likely it was the same for many pre-Columbian pyramids, given that they raided their neighbors for prisoners to sacrifice to their gods.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Australian property bubble.

    I’ve been telling people for years that Australia has a bubble as bad as Irelands in the 00’s. If anything, it seems even worse (even Ireland didn’t have interest only mortgages). And its been ongoing for a very long time, as Steve Keen has pointed out. If you subtract the contribution of investments in bank bonds which is feeling the bubble, Australia has actually been a very poor economic performer for several decades. A combination of a bank crash, property crash and low commodity prices could get very nasty for Oz.

    1. Kulantan

      Listening to the debate going on at the moment here about negative gearing has been pretty scary (if not unexpected). The pollies are going about how important and valuable the housing industrial complex is and how we must support it. Nobody is talking about the bubble or how to deal with it.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Whenever I read the Oz media on house prices, it is all too reminiscent to me of the sort of things that were in the Irish media around 2005-2007.

    2. trinity river

      After looking at the graphs, my question is, wouldn’t the US graph on price of housing vs income be approximately the same?

        1. Skippy

          Its just the Calif RE portfolio scam of the 80s taken to absurd heights and enabled by all the credit dramas the US experienced.

          Sydney and Melbourne are the majors w/ mining towns spread out nationally a close second.

          Skippy… High density is the new rage in all urban and near CBD locations.

    3. Micky9finger

      Do the banks’ have excessive CEO compensation?
      Are the banks selling CDOs, derivatives and other investment instruments loaded with bad loans?
      See William Black’s writing and interviews on the subject of the criminal behaviour of the “banksters”.
      Is the situation similar to the way the to big to fail US banks crashed the world financial
      Further, see the movie or read the book: “THE BIG SHORT”

  15. ChrisFromGeorgia

    It isn’t possible to overstate how clueless and behind-the-curve the GOP establishment is. The latest “secret weapon” to stop Trump was supposed to be a flood of endorsements from the likes of Lindsey Graham, Bob Dole, and other assorted beltway apparatchiks and nursing home residents for Rubio.

    They don’t seem to understand that every mainstream endorsement from the likes of these clowns is like super-fuel for Trump mania.

    Then there was the crazy idea that if only Rubio/Cruz could meld themselves into one candidate, that would stop the Donald. Sounds an awful lot like the “bargaining” stage has been reached.

    Last night’s results from Nevada put an end to that fantasy.

    I think we should all enjoy the next week, after that I suspect the party insiders will get past the bargaining stage and move to acceptance.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      That Dole endorsement video is creepy. I guess I should show sympathy to an old man but the notion that it would fuel Rubio enthusiasm was, like, really?

    1. Carolinian


      It is for this reason alone you can read a smidge—but only a smidge—about the events now unfolding in Ukraine in the New York Times and all other media that reliably do as the Times does.

      Marty Baron, the current Washington Post editor, had a column in this morning’s Post immodestly celebrating his role in Oscar nominated Spotlight (a good movie). However the Catholic pedophile scandal was 16 years ago and 2016 Baron, like his colleagues at the Times, is doing a very poor job of informing the public about Ukraine. Lacking meaningful competition, our current crop of journos don’t even realize how bad they are. Big media have always had a dubious history when it comes to war–Iraq, Vietnam are modern examples–but cheerleading a confrontation with Russia is the height of irresponsibility. I guess there’s some cold comfort in knowing that should the ICBMs ever fly our East coast media overlords will be sitting at the center of the bullseye.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        According to Col. Wilkerson above, those on the west coast will not be exempt from the show.

        What will be the trigger – some atoll in the South China Sea, or some other atoll east of China/north of Taiwan/south of Japan?

  16. DJG

    I haven’t been following the debate, but let me put this as seriously as I can: What do the English (and it mainly the English) expect from withdrawing from the E.U.? What does England make anymore besides the occasional Cadbury Creme Egg, money-laundering scandal in The City, and heir to the throne as tourist attraction?

    I read that column by Tony Blair and his Cloud of Unknowing in the Guardian. Even by U.S. standards, the guy is clueless. Does he think that cluelessness and a plummy accent are going to save England from the depredations of its upper classes? (And I do mean England here, given that the Scots appear to be the most highly educated nation in Europe.)

    1. Clive

      I’ll try to answer this as best I can, which isn’t unfortunately to give an “it’s because of x-, y- and z-” type of answer but rather to illustrate with a contrast in how people here tend to think when confronted by this sort of decision.

      I was speaking with a Japanese friend who lived in England and we were discussing about the (as it was at the time) question of whether Britain should join the euro. I asked my friend how, if the same question were being debated in Japan, would the Japanese consider what to do for the best. My friend said that the Japanese would review the question, consider the information that was available to them and then vote, after some consultation with people who’s opinions they trusted, on what was in Japan’s overall long-term interests.

      At which point I laughed out loud. My Japanese friend’s undoubtedly accurate description of the method that the Japanese would tend to use in arriving at what they hoped would be the best way forward threw into sharp contrast how most English people are making their “in” or “out” choice. Which is to say, based on the most cockamamie, ridiculous, trivial and short-term load of old bollocks non-reasons reasons you could possibly imagine.

      My mother in law doesn’t like the EU, barely tolerates foreigners and makes occasional references to how much better the world was when the British Empire helped “backward people” (her words, groan) run their affairs. An archetypal “little Englander” then. So she, naturally (not!), is voting to remain in the EU because you don’t want to go doing anything rash. My partner is also voting to stay in the EU because, apparently, so I was told, the EU does a lot of good things for animal welfare so cats will be worse off without EU legislation (I wish I was making this up; I considered for a moment looking up whether in fact any EU regulations do improve standards for domestic animals, I know there are welfare standards for livestock in EU but I don’t know if there is anything specific for non-farm animals — but in the end, my poor enfeebled brain couldn’t be bothered to try and come up with a fact-based argument (or agreement)).

      My Dad is voting to leave the EU purely on the basis that the local (conservative) MP is a rabid pre-EU greasy political pole climber who is only trying to gain favour in the Tory party so my Dad is voting to leave, even though he thinks on balance we should stay in the EU, just out of spite.

      And these are amongst the more sensible examples of the maturity of the British people’s thought-processes on the matter. So don’t expect any considered, intellectual analysis. Overall, it (the referendum) is all viewed as a bit of harmless fun and a good excuse for the electorate to settle some political scores in a (so they think) not too significant or impacting way. It’s like we’ve all entered the Twilight Zone and woken up in Donald Trump’s mind.

      1. DJG

        Thanks. So it is just like U.S. politics, without bubble-and-squeak. Of course, you may just have explained where several very strong strains of Unknowing in U.S. politics derive from. In the English-speaking world, it is always 1740.

        [Does your father think that if the U.K. leaves the EU, the Tories will leave England? You’ll have a Tory on every street corner.]

          1. DJG

            I was searching for a period with a kind of stasis: After the Glorious Revolution, before the Seven Years War and American Revolution. Not quite into the First or Second Great Awakening.

            [Vivaldi’s last years (?).]

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Your partner is right.

        Cats are very important.

        Without them, we wouldn’t have Soseki’s “I am a cat.”

      3. inode_buddha

        Well, just to put things in perspective (from a US viewpoint) the welfare of cats *is* quite important compared to the EU. And to the UK I say: Bless You for considering your independence, this kind of thing is important.

      4. susan the other

        Maybe I was reading my own skepticism but I thot that the article above in National Interest implied that the “British Political Class” of mostly conservatives actually wanted out of the EU in order to sever ties with us because they don’t want to be our go-between with the EU and would rather be footloose to wheel and deal internationally (I read that as internat. finance) without obligation to either the EU or the US and the Transatlantic Alliance. And knowing full well that the US will always maintain trading ties with them, etc. That actually makes sense, Cameron’s theatrics included bec. motives are always so well hidden.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    “…….absent a wild card like Trump being shot…….”—–Yves

    I read somewhere that Trump always wears a bulletproof vest. I guess it’s not like he hasn’t considered the possibility.

      1. ambrit

        Also consider an ‘inside job’ for such an “accident” to happen. (Small aircraft have short circuited many a career.) A la Huey Long, bodyguards have always been suspected of double dealings.

        1. Carolinian

          Unlikely an air incident will send him the way of the Kingfish. Trump has a 757….probably has a chaff dispenser for surface to air missiles.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Oh, small planes are much more accident-prone, and he’s going to be flying it to all sorts of airports where it will at least have to be refueled.

            1. Gio Bruno

              As a longtime passenger in small aircraft (State plane) it’s usually pilot error that brings them down. (It’s not the drop, but the sudden stop that hurts.)

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I don’t think this country could survive another “shooter” with the magical marksmanship of Lee Harvey Oswald.

        1. alex morfesis

          Trump need only worry about character assassination…he lost key casino employees and working multi generations with mafia influenced nyc construction and bldg mgmt trades he had to learn to be careful at a young age…certainly his not keeping to a tight schedule makes it harder for a lone gunmEn to catch an opening easily…

          He is vulnerable if he does not get ahead of the curve after super tuesday and comes up with a tagline to deal with his need to try to explain himself…maybe…

          I am not running for sainthood…
          I am running for president…

          And then basically hide behind an i used to be young and dumber and was in rooms with people i should not have tried to deal with

          Maybe some public disclosures before anyone digs too deep…

          If billary steals the demok rats coronation he will be fine enough since she will have a hard time convincing her ad media stenographers that her “honesty” contrasts with the teflon dons “past”…

          Although he and colonel sanders will be a battle of contrasts, he wont be mugging the mental midgets hes been shadow boxing with in the primaries anymore…

          Either way…

          We are living in interesting times…

      3. myshkin

        If he’s wearing a vest it would have to be a head shot but with all that camouflage hair it would require quite a sharpshooter with a minor in coiffure, anyway it’s his least vulnerable point. More likely he shoots himself in the foot though that’s proven impervious to date.

      1. fresno dan

        Just as a rose by any other name smelling as sweet, how many dems/repubs already are in the same interest group, only distinguished by color designators?
        Wall street bail outs
        Lack of wall street prosecutions
        more and more mid east involvment

        I guess they get to disagree on gay marriage and abortion rights.

  18. rich

    Black thinkers like Bernie Sanders. They’ve studied the Clintons’ true cost

    Steven W Thrasher

    Spike Lee is the latest black public intellectual to endorse Bernie Sanders and to question the sanity of black voters and politicians pledging their allegiance to the Clintons, who have done as much harm to black America as any living political couple. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am mystified by robust black support for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing helped me wake up about race in America when I first watched it as a teenager. That’s why I was delighted to read that Spike Lee encouraged South Carolina democrats to “wake up” in a radio ad on Tuesday and to vote for “Brother Bernie”.

    Bill Clinton governed through playing to white fears by hurting, locking up or even executing black Americans.

    Much less intellectually sound are the arguments of Clinton’s black surrogates. When she was endorsed by the corporate-funded Super Pac of the Congressional Black Caucus (not by the CBC itself or by its members), the only reason seemed to be political expediency. The black members of congress seemed intent on maintaining their relationship within the Clinton power structure, no matter how deeply invested it may be in white supremacy. Like Clinton, much of the CBC is beholden to Wall Street. So Sanders – with no connection to Wall Street or to a global foundation ripe for harvesting political chits – offers CBC members little possibility of power except by way of his gamble for the White House.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Malcolm X infamously said: “You can’t have capitalism without racism.”

      Curious that this quote is not more widely repeated and circulated.

  19. trinity river

    Why would a private equity deal gone sour prove so instructive? It indirectly proves a pet theory of mine: that a lot of what is wrong with US management generally comes out of the leveraged buyout wave of the 1980s.
    I wasn’t sure how you felt about private equity. I definitely agree. What I saw in the 80s has become so common that I am always amazed that they can find more companies to fleece. Early on I naively assumed that congress, or the business world itself, would limit this practice. Thanks for this article.

    1. cwaltz

      I’m not underestimating him.

      I think he’ll win if Clinton is the nominee and he’ll be another disasterous 4 years. *shrugs*

      I’m sure I’ll survive no matter who wins. It’s others who are less secure that I worry about. Personally, I think the South should be worried. President Trump is going too cut social programs AND he thinks you make too much money.

  20. aletheia33

    i’m a vermont resident and longtime NC reader. i’ve watched bernie for years, and i am not about to give up on him. starting tonight, i’m going to be doing an hour of phonebanking for bernie every evening from now through the SC primary this saturday. from what i’ve heard, it is very easy to do. i can’t afford to donate much, but volunteering this way clearly makes a real difference in the outcomes at the polls.

    i think that now through march 1 is the crucial moment, and i feel that volunteering is our only hope to keep bernie out there speaking the truth to a wide audience, maybe even up to getting the nomination/winning the election.

    i realized that if i didn’t do it, i’d always regret it. i don’t think any major change to our broken system/establishment can happen unless the people make it happen. and we can.

    i have always wanted the thrill of participating in a big political movement that is actually accomplishing something. i believe that is what is taking form now. were it not so, bernie would not have taken NH with such a historic margin. whatever happens with his campaign, i’m sure whatever energy and time i invest now will bear fruit down the line.

    if you are not already volunteering, i invite you to join me.

    1. Vatch

      I, too, was skeptical of the “only in America” comment. I don’t have a specific example convenient, but just about any patriarchal culture will have examples like the one in St. Louis, US, and the one in Toledo, Spain. In other words, just about every country in the world.

  21. Brooklin Bridge

    I still strongly suspect that Trump got into the race on behalf of Hillary. The scare man. The American house of mirrors that makes Hillary seem almost human. He may have been nearly as surprised as anyone -well maybe not- regarding his success and at some point he simply shifted naturally into actually running.

    1. MichaelC

      I’ve been perplexed about what Trump has been playing at since day 1.

      I don’t believe he’s even remotely interested in being President. I ‘ve assumed his run was always about excercising his option to raid the Govt purse. The feckless Rs are ridiculously easy marks. As a successful spoiler, he’d be well positioned to negotiate a lucrative blackmail severance deal with the Rs. And as a twofer, Hillary would owe him a huuuuge debt for clearing a path for her if their deal came to fruition. Easiest (and probably the most fun) deal of his life.

      If he did get into the race on behalf of Hillary, which is plausible, he did it for a price. But at this point I doubt Hillary (or the D party establishment) can afford that escalating price anymore, and worse for her (and any of her strategists who signed off on the deal) she may not ever be able to pay it thanks to Bernie.

      Initially I thought his price was Dept of Interior via proxy (to dominate (or save/protect/resurrect)/consolidate his gambling empire), but with each primary victory combined with Hillary’s fading prospects his going away spoils are looking richer and richer.

      Trump is interested in collecting chits, not votes.

      They are the same thing in his book, but as long as he continues to be seen as a viable Presidential candidate (which he is not) rather than the grifter that he actually is this race will be continue on its bizarre path until he closes his deal with the R establishment.

      I’m pretty sure Trump will exit when its most profitable to Trump. Both parties are now hostage to that reality.

      That bodes well for Bernie I think.

  22. cwaltz

    Hillary Clinton just can’t win: Democrats need to accept that only Bernie Sanders can defeat the GOP Salon (Judy B). But this isn’t about winning. It’s about preserving the patronage roles of the current crowd of Dem hacks. They’d rather bet on the long shot of a Hillary win than them losing their perch for sure if Bernie succeeds in making a hostile takeover of the party.

    I have to wonder how much “patronage” is going to be occurring for a fairly irrelevant party IF THEY LOSE. They won’t have the Senate, House or WH. Or in short, they’ll have virtually no control over policy. Now mind you the Senate is not filibuster proof but short of stopping something in Senate they’ll have no political power.

    If I’m smart money, I’m not paying payola for virtually nothing.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. Trump wins landslide victory in Nevada | Paywalls-R-Us. “His face is way harder than I’ve ever seen it.” — If you suffer a facial hardening lasting more than 4 hours, see your doctor.

    Re. Illinois governor eyes blocking Chicago school debt | Reuters — “How dare you interfere with our death-spiral financing, sir?”

  24. Gio Bruno

    Hey, thanks for the Death Valley link. The video was the most peaceful moment of this day.

    I’ll call my botanist/naturalist friends for a ride out.

  25. For The Win

    So our physical analogy has to change somewhat. What Apple has done is produce a lock which is already compromised — compromised by design. It has a second keyhole, if you like, to which Apple has the key. The cops are demanding that Apple give them that key, a key that they can copy at will, and share with whomever they please, and use on whatever lock they please.

    Now I am not a lawyer, but if I understand the matter at all, this state of affairs means that Apple has already forfeited, for these phones, whatever tenuous legal protections privacy still has in the United States, and moreover, has forfeited them on behalf of who knows how many of its customers.

  26. Gaylord

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people still eat fish caught in the Pacific Ocean and risk getting cumulative doses of Fukushima radio-isotopes. Death wish?

  27. Cry Shop

    On China:

    Anyone who wants to understand why Obama’s China policy is so completely wrong need only read this paper at Brookings by Jeff Bader, his former Asia czar. It’s a long apologetic for Xi Jin-ping, terrifying and deeply depressing as it comes from a former Administration official. Bader had come from Stonebridge, the consulting firm that does tons of business with China, into the Obama Administration. Wonder what door he’s revolved to now?

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