Links 3/31/16

Reader RB asked:

I’ve noticed a lack of Calpers stories lately. Have they somehow swayed you from focusing your attention on them?

Hell no! I’m flattered someone misses his regular dose of the CalPERS soap opera. The short answer is:

1. I thought readers needed a break from private equity.

2. The election is taking up time that ought to be going to reporting. Even assembling the extra links takes time.

3. Despite that, I actually have been working on the PE/CalPERS front a fair bit, but none of it has ripened into a story. Stay tuned!

The Fragility Of Nature Captured By Daniel Beltrá Ignant

Japan’s Bogus Excuse For Killing Hundreds Of Pregnant Whales ThinkProgress

Study of ancient Japanese hunter-gatherers suggests warfare not inherent in human nature PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Sea-level rise could nearly double over earlier estimates in next 100 years PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Neuromodulation: Transcranial magnetic energy can now be used to make people alter their prejudices and belief in God International Business Times (Dr. Kevin)

Hedge fund ‘quants’ win heart diagnosis challenge Financial Times (David L)

Borrowing from ‘Frozen,’ Japan plans to seal Fukushima leak in wall of ice (+video) Christian Science Monitor (David L). I recall this was discussed tow years ago and dismissed as impractical.

1MDB Probe Finds Malaysian Leader Spent Millions on Luxury Goods Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong National Party: The course of HK Independence is irreversible Harbour Times (Jeff W)


Good Reason to Beware Chinese Buyers Bloomberg

Vietnam and Cambodia trying to keep China and US happy Straits Times (furzy)

Frenchman Plotting ‘Imminent’ Attack Is Charged With Terrorism New York Times


US Saber Rattling Continues With Plans to Beef Up Troops in Eastern Europe Common Dreams



US to transfer dozen Guantanamo inmates to at least two countries BBC (furzy)

World’s Biggest Bribe Scandal The Age/Huffington Post. Amazing sleuthing and a must read (Lambert put this as the lead item in Water Cooler yesterday). How could the US possibly have thought that we’d change the culture in a country where governing has always involved bribes?

Hitler’s commando Lt-Col Otto Skorzeny ‘worked as an assassin for Israeli intelligence’ Telegraph

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

To Stop Whistleblowing, US Intelligence Instructing Staff to Spy on Colleagues Foreign Policy (RR)

If the FBI Doesn’t Tell Apple How They Hacked the San Bernardino iPhone, They’re Putting Lives at Risk Common Dreams

FBI’s secret method of unlocking iPhone may never reach Apple Reuters (furzy)

Apple, Google routinely asked to help government access devices: ACLU Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

Exclusive: Most Americans support torture against terror suspects – poll Reuters

Clinton E-mail Hairball

Second judge says Clinton email setup may have been in ‘bad faith’ Reuters. From yesterday, but gives a much clearer account of the judge’s views (deservedly pissed off at the ‘tude about the law and his court in particular) than most other MSM sources.


Bernie Sanders Supporter Confronted a Superdelegate — Then Leaked Their Private Conversation US Uncut. Lambert featured this in Water Cooler, but worthy of circulating.

As Sanders Surges, Cable News Runs Prison Reality Show, Jesus Documentary FAIR (furzy)

The Disappearance of Hillary Clinton’s Healthcare Platform Common Dreams

Trump under fire over abortion remarks Financial Times. This looks like Trump is choosing to implode. He’s had his fun and he’s now going to outrage his way out. If you see another major blooper like this in a week or less, this is no accident. He did backtrack quickly but the damage is done.

Carson defends Trump: He didn’t have time to think about abortion question The Hill. Carson must have been promised something major….

The Talkers May Torpedo Trump in Wisconsin US News

US election 2016: The 40-year hurt BBC (vlade)

Causation or correlation between fracking and party change Wharton. Conor: “This seems to ignore whether fracking organisations injected a disproportionate amount of resources into the election campaigns of the districts concerned.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Minneapolis Officers in Jamar Clark Shooting Will Not Face Charges New York Times

Investment banks face sharp trading falls Financial Times. So the complaints about market liquidity look to be a function of lack of volume, not those horrible regulations.

Learning Without Theory Project Syndicate (David L)

Will U.S. Bring Cases It Promised Against Currency Traders? Bloomberg

Impatient Banks: A Real Red Flag For The Oil Patch OilPrice

Losing Count: U.S. Terror-Finance Rules Drive Money Underground Wall Street Journal

Are Stocks Cheap? Diving Further Into the Russell 2000, S&P 500, and Nasdaq P/E Ratios Michael Shedlock

Fidelity cuts many start-up valuations Financial Times

Larry Summers: Corporate profits are near record highs. Here’s why that’s a problem. Washington Post

Class Warfare

New York mulls two-tier minimum wage in push for $15/hour Reuters

Welcome to Iceland, Where Bad Bankers Go to Prison Bloomberg

Antidote du jour (@simberian_times via guurst):

ermine links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. MikeNY

    Summers’s “monopoly power” thesis is perhaps a politer way of saying the US has become an oligarchy: where our politicians are not controlled by billionaire interests, they are at least colluding in the takeover and the suspension of expected free market dynamics (profit reversion to mean).

    And the rebellion of the plebs has finally begun.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Well, we will just have to roll up our sleeves and get to work, with installing over 1,300 wind turbines a day for the next 13 years, as a small example from this post. Talk about job programs to get that labor participation thingy up and running!! Maybe some of the $bilions that went into China opening 10,000 coal mines or 27 a day, everyday for a year will be transferred to the Herculean task of not killing over 1,000,000 people every 66 days from air pollution the world over, not to mention respiratory diseases suffered by countless millions more with asthma, COPD etc. We already make the sacrifice by dying every year when we leave our cars running in the garage, and then of course, the destruction of water for farming, drinking, bathing and the earthquakes caused by fracking crude oil, that is also a small sacrifice.

      But, and here is a stock tip for the money grubbers who regular scan this site for wealth building insight, off shore equipment companies are poised to make a killing. You see, the skill set that drags heavy metal drilling equipment is the exact same skill set needed to drag out massive wind turbine structures onto offshore platforms that will collect wind power far from the sightlines of the seashore and hence not harsh the vibe of all of those vacation home owners who would have to make the degrading sacrifice of communing with nature on the beach within sight of ugly wind towers spinning. Although we will have to deal with brutish labors of transition from sickness and dying caused by fossil fuel pollution, the silver lining is some of the very same people who make a buck building giant off shore drilling rigs will now make a buck building giant offshore wind farms. I all that a wind win!!

      When has anything truly worthy of our time been anything but a huge amount of sweat, blood and tears? No pain, No gain and as we all know if we have lived long enough, pain is just weakness leaving the body. Or in the case of fossil fuels, pain is just carcinogenic particulate matter leaving the air and our lungs once and for all. A small sacrifice with big rewards, if you ask me to tell the truth.

      1. jgordon

        Chris makes the point in his post, a point I’ve made myself many times, that humans will be on 100% renewable energy soon one way or another. The only question is how we’ll go about it.

        I don’t even consider these things that we have to do to ensure a reasonably good quality of life for our descendants to be “sacrifices”. Getting rid of most automobiles, living and working locally, growing food and producing things locally–all that stuff is great. Our quality of life would be a million times better than the wretched and decaying Baron Harkonnen-esque existence we have to endure today. But there doesn’t seem to be any political will for that.

        Instead it looks like we’ll continue being bloated and sickly, because it’s “better”, pouring precious and irreplaceable energy down the toilet the whole time to maintain this lifestyle. And then in a few decades the few of us who are left will be living in caves in the Arctic Circle. Why? I don’t really know. It seems kind of boneheaded to me.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          If you are also following the articles about income inequality which translates into a lifestyle downgrade already achieved by about the 50% of the population already, by virtue of making about the minimum wage, the idea that there is a we that will have their bloated consumer lifestyle propped up by super cool green energy and still lay waste to the environment by other means is not a correct analysis. People already do with a lot less, because they can’t afford more.

          Take the % of home ownership in the nation which has dipped about 5%. That’s somewhere around 10 million or so families that lost their homes during the financial crash and now are renters, if they are not living in the street or their car or truck. I am not sure that there is a monolithic environmentalist argument that says solar panels will just be the nuke power plants allowing us to buy tons of crap like we used to during the heyday of middle class shop til you drop mall binges.

          Environmentalists, as opposed to poorly informed celebrities or college students who think morality begins and ends with PETA and being a Vegan have had a long standing analysis for the economy as a whole which is not to promote growth but sustainable economic activity. It begins with reusing and recycling and not throwing things away into landfills. Most people get this, and the ones who don’t usually complain about the freedom killing regulations of the state forcing them to separate their garbage and trash and recyclables.

          Then, there is passive solar design for building codes, which allow for building only highly efficient buildings that heat and cool themselves by designing with nature, the title of a famous Earth Day speech by the author, Ian McHarg. Today, Net Zero architecture is producing buildings that produce more energy than they consume. As far as car ownership goes, ride sharing coops are getting squeezed by capitalist entrepreneurs who get bought up by car rental companies. I think that self driving cars will be the mass transit of the future and car ownership will just be a waste of money.

          As far as food production, aside from the end of the world for humans due to climate change, oh well, life’s a crap shoot, deal with it. But there is in N America at least, a lot of arable land and water to support a certain population level, provided that a lot of people go back to the rural areas and farm, with machinery of course. It may take more than 2 or 3% of the population to produce high quality food, whatever that number is, it will probably produce a better quality of life for people stuck in poverty, rural and urban, if they were doing something productive and had value, like produce food that won’t poison us all, when we eat it or when we harvest it.

          So, Ecotopia may not be Utopia, but the sustainable as opposed to the unlimited and unregulated growth of the production of stuff for profits sake will probably grind to a halt, but because capitalism dies, doesn’t mean civilization will go down with it. Civilization was here before industrialization or capitalism, and hopefully, will be here long after. There may not be 10 billion people, but there may be just enough to live a good life.

        2. Praedor

          I’m all for more wind power generation but NOT going off half-cocked with it. You do NOT want to live near a standard bladed wind turbine. They generate subsonic and ultrasonic noise that literally harms those living nearby. They kill bats and birds. There is a better, more innovative way. This is where the ‘don’t do it half-cocked’ comes in. There are ways to generate wind power without blades. It can be done in a manner that wont generate sonic issue AND wont kill a single bat or bird. THOSE are the proper ways to generate wind energy anywhere where people or wildlife would be harmed by standard bladed turbines. Leave blades for far off-shore, beyond where most birds are active (and no bats exist). Everywhere else should be wind “stalks” or other means of generating wind energy without spinning blades.

      2. zapster

        We do need to get on with it before the storms become so powerful the wind farms will be destroyed by them.

      3. J

        “…installing over 1,300 wind turbines a day for the next 13 years…”

        The amount of fossil fuels required to do this plus the same or more for all the solar, hydro, nuclear, and other such projects required would guarantee we fry the planet.

        Why is it that people think building out the massive infrastructure required for a “renewable energy” future is benign or beneficial to the environment? If we started 50 years ago we might have done it but now we need to do much less manufacturing and constructing.

        How come the only possible solution anyone cares to consider is one that allows us to keep living like we do now only “greener”?

        1. optimader

          I think I’ll go into the Epoxy resin business!

          We’ll need a whole lota that nasty sht

          Or maybe building C.F. production lines?? I do already have a pretty good operational sense of the higher barrier technology aspects re: carbon fiber manufacturing. Don’t like asbestos? you’ll love industrial size quantities of this stuff.

          The infrastructure and material resources to build 1,300 utility grade turbines/day * 365*13 would be a fun cocktail napkin calculation after a couple scotches, not even considering the perpetual end of service life replacement and the recycling of just those blades–again think asbestos!).

          Boggles the mind, and I am a long term Vestas investor..

  2. Steve H.

    The following column is another figuring out Sanders might be more electable than Clinton. (Are any thoughtsters going against that flow?)

    What was particularly interesting is the exploration of a conflict between the MIC and what I’ll call the Financial-Administrative Complex. The column intimates that Trump threatens the former, and Sanders the latter.

    Call it Chuckleheads v Bubbleheads. The military way to prosperity is to build an explosion and chuck it at someone. The speculative way is to blow a bubble with someone elses air and then suck it dry while they float off into space. Neocons and Neolibs kinda look the same, except they backed different groups in Syria with terminal arguments. And cui bono, cui malo, they have different winners when you follow the money.

    1. neo-realist

      After Trump’s groveling before AIPAC and his support of torture, I think that when the MIC confronts him with the brass tacks, he would give them what they want (he’d just have to moderate his positions a bit). I think he’ll do whatever deal he needs to do to stay viable as a Presidential candidate, including adopting more Republican boiler plate policy positions to stay at the top of the ticket in a potential brokered convention.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The only thing necessary for the powerful to triumph is for little people to say nothing.

        Some grovel.

        Some remain silent by staying away.

        That’s how powerful they are.

      2. participant-observer-observed

        I’m not so sure they will think little of handing over more bodies.

        Sure, among the Cheney/Halliburton types, there will be better angling for boon doggles with Trump.

        But I suspect Pentagon brass would rather have the well-known quantity of Sanders over a hot head with a motor mouth.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          But let’s not forget the real gravy train driver for the MIC: Mme. Hilary. Had she won in 2008 we’d already have hundreds of thousands of troops in Syria, Libya, and the Ukraine, with advance teams in places like Chad and Egypt and Algeria. Rupert, HenryK, and the Kagan/AIPAC folks would be just getting warmed up, so many countries, so little time!

  3. Llewelyn Moss

    The Man Just Cannot Control HIS TONE!! Hahaha.

    Bernie Sanders Verified account (Twitter)

    I’ve been criticized for my big ideas. You know what wasn’t too pie-in-the-sky for my opponent? $700 billion to bailout Wall Street in 2008.
    11:41 AM – 30 Mar 2016

    In related news, Hellery says she’s “open to the possibility” of having a debate in NY. (Just like your mom used to say “We’ll see” when she wanted you to STFU)

    In other news, Hellery has now been “Looking into” releasing her Wall Street Speeches for 56 days. Hey I believe her. Does that make me a bad person like her. ;-)

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Video: Clinton spokeswoman on why they said NO to NY debate (2:50)

      What a bunch of weasel words. Hellery is definitely terrified of facing Bernie again in a debate.
      She’ll make a great Coward and Chief. :-)

      1. uahsenaa

        Well, in the first half of the primary cycle she went from one state to another that she had little prospect of losing, so she could maintain the delusion of inevitability and nod toward openness. Now that she’s seen just how badly she can lose, again and again, the desire to win by any means necessary has reasserted itself.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          That’s exactly it. She’s up +10 in NY and she knows the more people see her and listen to her, the more they abandon her. Trying to Play the Poor Innocent Victim of the Mean Old Man just might backfire on her (I hope).

          1. LS

            When Bernie agreed to the New Hampshire debate that she requested, it was on the condition that she do another three debates. Now, through her campaign staff, she is playing her typical Clintonian lawyerly word games, as that agreement was non-binding, and she never guaranteed that an April debate would be BEFORE the NY primary. Anyone who believes that she is really against the TPP because she is opposed to it “as it is currently written” needs to look at her pattern of behavior.

            I tried to post a link for a short segment from Morning Joe today in which Jeffrey Sachs talks about Hillary’s foreign policy, but it disappeared. It’s on the playlist on the MSNBC Morning Joe website. Nothing the readers here don’t already know, but nice to see something about Hillary’s disasters abroad, rather than simply her surrogates touting her foreign policy experience.

            1. optimader

              If I were Sanders, and I’m not– I would have that debate with her in absentia, edit in her likely responses created from sound bites, post online and then pop the popcorn and listen to the howling and gnashing of teeth..

          2. Left in Wisconsin

            This must be her strategy for winning Wisconsin, since she has left and is apparently not coming back before the primary.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The Minimalist candidate.

              Trump should try that and speak less.

              Silent is golden…for some people

              Just let them think you’re the savior, the coming maitreya.

    2. participant-observer-observed

      Does that make me a bad person like her. ;-)

      I don’t like your tone!

      Just cut it out!

  4. Kokuanani

    Re CalPERS – I have friends in CA who are future CalPERS beneficiaries to whom I’ve sent an array of your links. They are always hungry for more and distribute the info among their peers. [And hopefully they write a few e-mails and letters as they’re urged to do.]

    Keep up the great work. Your fan base is ever-expanding.

    1. Rhondda

      Me too. I share the links with folks I know in CA and esp Sacramento. They tell me they would never have known had it not been for your work, Yves. And they always reiterate their thanks.

  5. diptherio

    Re: Learning without theory.

    Gee, wish I could get paid for mental onanism

    How can we improve the state of the world? How can we make countries more competitive, growth more sustainable and inclusive, and genders more equal?

    You know what the solution to all our global economic problems is? More competitiveness. Yup, if we all just knuckle-down and get more competitive…we’ll still have losers, since that’s how competitions work…

    Can someone please explain the fallacy of composition to professor Hausmann? And while you’re at it, let him know that growth is not a universal good and that “sustainable” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

    1. vidimi

      spot on. countries becoming ‘competitive’ is possibly the most despicable trope. competitive against whom? to what ends? those statements are as vapid as they are evil.

      1. diptherio

        Why, competitive against other countries, of course…it’s the war of all-against-all, donchaknow…and somehow, this multi-sided economic warfare is supposed to “lift all boats”…

    2. Jef

      “Sustainable growth” is an oxymoron.

      By definition any growth is exponential and therefore not sustainable in a finite world.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Competitiveness, efficiency, and productivity seem to all be used today simply as cynical neoliberal euphemisms for racing to the bottom, screwing over labor, and crapification of products and services. Given that, why would we want to strive for any of that?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Efficient in being a wealthy person.

        Can the wealthy enjoy life at, say, $1 million a year, instead of $10 or $50 million a year?

        That would be efficiency worth celebrating.

        “I think the master of the manor needs to be more efficient.”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Five years ago the number of persons who controlled >50% of the nation’s wealth was 400, today it’s 60. I say we wait until it’s just 1 and then just strangle him/her in the bathtub and redistribute.
          Let’s see, the national wealth is +/- $29 trillion, 50% of that is $14.5 trillion, divided by 320 million people…so every man, woman, and child gets a check for $45,312.50.
          Now that’s a stimulus program I could get behind.

    4. NeqNeq

      Gee, wish I could get paid for mental onanism

      Only mental cream-pies should be monetarily rewarded?

  6. rich

    Cheat Sheet
    How Asian test-prep companies swiftly exposed the brand-new SAT

    On the morning of Saturday, March 5, students gathered at test centers around the United States to take the SAT, the all-important college entrance exam.

    The day was momentous – not simply for the test-takers but also for the College Board, the not-for-profit that owns the exam. The organization was debuting an entirely new version of the SAT whose redesign was years in the making.

    In Asia, test-preparation companies were eager for information. Any details about what was on the new SAT might be invaluable to their clients. That’s especially true because for years, the College Board routinely has reused SAT tests overseas after first administering them in America.

    East Asian cram schools have repeatedly exploited that practice to breach the SAT, and the College Board has come to see the test-prep industry as a daunting adversary. For the first offering of the redesigned SAT this month, the organization imposed an added security measure: It banned tutors and other non-students from taking the exam that day.

    The battle to safeguard the new SAT was on. It was lost almost as soon as the test began.
    As the College Board went ahead with the SAT on Oct. 3, the tipster tried emailing admissions officers at 36 top American colleges.

    “The reliability of the test has been severely compromised since last year,” he wrote that day, using the pseudonym “China anticheating.” “As you can see from the pictures I attached, these are the reading sections of the SAT test being conducted now.”
    Some of the emails were sent to incorrect addresses. But officials at a few of the schools recalled receiving the message. Gregory Roberts, dean of admission at the University of Virginia, said his office contacted the College Board after reading the email.

    “We spoke by phone,” Roberts said. “They were aware of these emails.” The College Board declined to comment.

    All is fair in love, war, and now college entrance exams?

  7. BillC

    US expatriate Sanderistas: have you hit a new speed bump for Bernie?

    I’m a US citizen resident abroad who’s been making automatic monthly contributions to Bernie via ActBlue for about 6 months. Last night I received an email stating that my request to cancel my monthly contribution has been processed and my last month’s contribution refunded; indeed, the refund has already been booked. Very efficient, but I made no such request!

    Clerical error? Bug? Sabotage? Or maybe subtle Administration blocking to help HRC across the goal line? I’m waiting for a response to my email inquiry to ActBlue, but upon researching a bit, I fear that the last choice may be the correct one. Thus, my question to other expats above — and what I’ve found out so far below.

    A March 1 story in the Burlington Free Press. Feds flag Bernie Sanders campaign contributions, describes an FEC letter requesting clarification or correction of various anomalies in the campaign’s February contribution report listing over 125,000 contributions. The letter (PDF embedded at the bottom of the story) states at the bottom of page 3:

    [The procedures at 11 CFR § 110.20(a)(7)] must be used in all cases where a contributor or donor uses a foreign passport or passport number for identification purposes, provides a foreign address, makes a contribution or donation by means of a check or other written instrument drawn on a foreign bank or by wire transfer from a foreign bank, or resides abroad. A committee is deemed to have conducted a reasonable inquiry into the contributor or donor’s nationality if you seek and obtain copies of current and valid U.S. passport papers for U.S. citizens. [emphasis added]

    Like every on-line contribution site I’ve ever used, Bernie’s requires self-certification that the contributor is a US citizen or permanent resident. I’ve never before encountered any requirement that the campaign obtain documentary proof of that status, a near show-stopper inconvenience for the donor and an expensive administrative burden for the campaign. 11 CFR § 110.20 has been in place since 2004, but careful parsing of the definition of knowingly at ¶ (a)(4) does not support the letter’s assertion that such verification must be used in all cases, even when the contributor certifies that s/he is a US citizen.

    Is the FEC cranking up its rigor to hinder expatriate citizens’ political contributions, which the recent DNC primary for expatriates suggests would overwhelmingly favor Bernie? After Citizens’ United’s carte-blanche for corporate contributions to PACs, that would indeed be ironic!

    1. aletheia33

      you may wish to post this info on the reddit sanders for president site, as many expats read and post there. word will be spread.

  8. jefemt

    re: Fukushima. Making ice requires a reliable power supply. Making ice to contain (I think the horse has left the barn already) fallout for millennia in a seismically unstable part of the world with failsafe reliable redundant back-up? Sounds as good as the premise of failsafe clean full life cycle manageable nuclear power. Just has not been demonstrated to be in existence or have existed anywhere in the world, evah. Objectively, not likely to ever be. Externalities and the abuse of the commons by greedy, self-interested short-sighted mo-fo’s. We must not ever allow individuals to have the means of producing distributed renewable energy– independent, free humans are a serious threat to the State, literal, and figurative power structures. Criminy.

    1. samhill

      That ice wall can only be a dodge. Sounds like the fallout shelter campaign of the cold war, remember the signs in all the basements?. Keep the populace distracted with some silly hope – and move tax money to favored contractors. Reminds me of post 9/11 security theater too, if Fukushima should degrade to some worse state the govt. can at least say, “we did our best, tried everything – even a ridiculous ice wall.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Move the Chinese Great Wall to isolate it.

          Or if, we can offer our Southern Wall as well.

  9. timbers

    “Sea level rise…” Boston’s NPR had a blurb promoting their interview with Larry Simmers saying Boston is the most important city for the future of human civilization. Maybe Larry really said HE was the most important person for mankind’s future and the reporter didn’t believe his ears and adjusted the comment, but what about Boston and rising sea levels? Will Boston still be the awesomest when those hedge funds like Blackrock relocate from Boston financial district to the Berkshire or Denver? Oh well we’ll still have Larry to kick around.

  10. Stephanie

    So, was anyone else thinking of Clockwork Orange when reading that neuromodulation study?

    (Seriously, though, is anyone able to get beyond the paywall to the actual study to see what screening, if any, they did for history of depression and/or antidepressants? Apparently this technique is used to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which makes me wonder how that may have affected the results (and, for that matter, the participants).)

    1. MtnLife

      I have a friend who uses his tCDS (the lower powered home-game version of TMS) to alleviate depression symptoms brought on by dysfunctional calcium ion channels with mild to moderate results. His other reason for use is that TMS/tCDS are also being used on the grey, pseudoscientific fringes of chronic Lyme treatment with variable success.

    2. optimader

      HAHA! indeed Clockwork Orange.. indelibly etched in my memory…

      In HSchool I brought a proper girl, way smarter than the average bear, on a first date to see that movie! Knew nothing about it beyond it being a film from the mind of Stanley Kubrick. What could be betterthan that at the time? What a laugh, who knew?!..

      Didn’t go out with her again for a while :o/

      HA!, I was vindicated tho.. it’s a classic, She ended up Director of Gov Relations for the Smithsonian(wouldn’t have worked out anyway I guess — but you go girl! ) and the story got me gig work in college on weekends w/the dept head of film & animation (who apparently had a sense of humor) making commercials for late night UHF TV in Chicago!.. good times ..

  11. Thrifted Drifter

    RE: UNAOIL story

    “Despite years of corruption not a single person has been held accountable in connection to Unaoil’s operations.”

    I hope they continue their investigations. As was the case with Stuxnet, I’m sure it could flesh out several books and still leave many questions unasked.

  12. Pavel

    Re: Hairball

    “Judge Napolitano” published his latest take today on Hillary’s FBI woes today. NB he tends to take the most pessimistic view on the matter. I frankly suspect (alas) that Obama will call off any indictment.

    The whole piece is worth a read but here is a highlight:

    Here is her dilemma.

    If she were to talk to federal prosecutors and FBI agents, they would catch her in many inconsistencies as she has spoken with great deception in public about this case. She has, for example, stated many times that she used the private server so she could have one mobile device for all of her emails. The FBI knows she had four mobile devices. She has also falsely claimed publicly and under oath that she neither sent nor received anything “marked classified.” The FBI knows that nothing is marked classified, and its agents also know that her unprotected secret server transmitted some of the nation’s gravest secrets.

    The prosecutors and agents cannot be happy about her public lies and her repeated demeaning attitude about their investigation, and they would have an understandable animus toward her if she were to meet with them.

    If she were to decline to be interviewed — a prudent legal but treacherous political decision — the feds would leak her rejection of their invitation, and political turmoil would break loose because one of her most imprudent and often repeated public statements, in this case, has been that she can’t wait to talk to the FBI. That’s a lie, and the FBI knows it.

    The Clinton Investigation Enters a Dangerous Phase

    It strikes me that her real problem is the recent revelation that she was warned repeatedly her first month as SoS that her Blackberry was not secure but she carried on using it anyway. How the hell can she explain that away? And curiously the emails discussing this were not in the ones she originally released.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Being interviewed will not move the needle for anyone, they already know the investigation is out there and the FBI is interested. Being indicted is another kettle of fish, but the chance of that approaches absolute zero, even the Fox News “legal” analysts are starting to concede that.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wouldn’t mind if Sanders does a little ‘triangulation’ now that the Southern primaries are over, by talking more about how he really feels about the last 8 weak years.

          Triangulation or 11 dimensional chess is not all bad.

          Sometimes they can help you.

          1. participant-observer-observed

            Okay, so he doesn’t mention Obama by name unless it is a case of the favorable, but dissatisfaction with the last eight years (and more) is all he talks about!

            (and that things don’t have to be that way)

            Just listen to one of the rally events online.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In one of the early debates just before the S. Carolina primary and Hillary charged that he had called Obama weak before. Bernie (wisely) refused to back up his own charge.

              Now, I think he is free to triangulate and make up for that.

    1. optimader

      Huma’s husband gives you a ride home during his Uber shift and the campaign picks up the tab?

  13. Sammy Maudlin

    The talkers may torpedo Trump in Wisconsin

    This is most definitely a thing. Wisconsin conservatives hate Trump and believe he’s nothing but a RINO carpetbagger. He stands no chance here.

    These talk radio guys absolutely control 80% of the vote in the collar counties of Milwaukee. Hundreds of thousands of votes. A few weeks ago I caught about 30 minutes of local talk radio, and you’d have thought Trump was Jane Fonda. The hosts, callers, newspeople, probably the guy sweeping the floor in the background were all unanimously and relentlessly slamming Trump for anything they could think of.

    Why? I think it’s because this area is dominated politically by a kind of conservatism that doesn’t take kindly to flashy out-of-towners telling the good folks around here how to conduct their business! Especially when the common wisdom is that his campaign is just a sideshow designed to get Hillary Clinton elected. Between that and beating up on the local boy, he done made some enemies around these parts!

    1. JohnnyGL

      “Why? I think it’s because this area is dominated politically by a kind of conservatism that doesn’t take kindly to flashy out-of-towners telling the good folks around here how to conduct their business! Especially when the common wisdom is that his campaign is just a sideshow designed to get Hillary Clinton elected. Between that and beating up on the local boy, he done made some enemies around these parts!”

      I’m surprised Trump has been so popular down south. I’d have expected the same sort of phenomenon down there. Any idea why the difference?

      1. Sammy Maudlin

        Any idea why the difference?

        Good question. I have no answer but a couple theories.

        First, the genetic makeup of the populace. Down south (esp. in S. Carolina) the white populace is primarily of Scots-Irish heritage. A group genetically predisposed to stick a finger in the eye of the King (or the Pope) given the chance and I think maybe more enamored with the “insurgent candidate.”

        In Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s collar-county conservatives are the statewide electoral force. They vote in droves and uniformly for a particular candidate. They’ve elected Scott Walker three times single-handedly. This is a group that is dominated by Germans with a dash of Polish. They are largely Catholic (or strict Lutheran). Much more establishment-friendly.

        Beyond that, people who live in these areas have it very good and see no need to rock the boat. There’s no unemployment, good schools, neighborhoods, etc. They don’t want anything to change. They’d never get behind a loose cannon like Trump.

        Overly-simplistic theories, I grant you. But it’s what I’ve got.

        1. sleepy

          Being a southerner, I think I could add that southerners enjoy political spectacle and a show. Also characters (not “character) are more widely accepted.

          Living in the upper midwest now, seems to me that folks around here are far more reserved and cautious to take naturally to Trump’s showmanship style.

          These are all just obviously generalizations.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            For showmanship, they say (and I am just quoting here), if you can make it here (meaning New York), you can make it anywhere.

            New York, New York.

          2. optimader

            I think you both pretty well nail it.
            I spend time in both places. In SC there is a subtle passive aggressive theme directed toward the Fed Gov, with the exception of their being attracted toward the military like bugs to light at night.
            In WI they are , well, many are just pinheads.

    2. phred

      The “collar counties of Milwaukee” are also the wealthiest in the state. The target audience for Sykes and Belling are the well-heeled conservatives of Wauwautosa, Waukesha, and other cities in the vicinity that form Scott Walker’s stronghold. Remember that he was Milwaukee County Executive, that’s his home territory. The rest of the state waffles from left to right with the liberal strongholds found around Madison, various university towns, and even up around Lake Superior.

      I suspect that Trump’s support in Wisconsin will be found in the blue collar areas decimated by trade policies that have obliterated manufacturing (e.g., Janesville’s closed GM plant).

      That said, I hope that with all the pain Walker has inflicted that the tide may be turning back towards a left-leaning populism that has a long history in the state. Go Bernie!

      1. Sammy Maudlin

        The rest of the state waffles from left to right with the liberal strongholds found around Madison, various university towns, and even up around Lake Superior.

        Exactly. You’ve also got some legacy Union strongholds like Kenosha/Racine and the City of Milwaukee. But with the success of the anti-Union efforts by Wisconsin conservatives, they’ve managed to tip the balance so that the collar counties have an out-sized influence these days.

        It’s a funny State, though. Despite all of that, Feingold looks like he may get his seat back. And I would not be surprised if, like in previous elections, even though conservatives are dominating the Governorship and State Supreme Court races, whoever gets nominated by the Dems carries Wisconsin in the general election.

        1. phred

          Here’s hoping (that the Dems carry the general)!

          I haven’t lived in Wisconsin for a long time, but I still have friends and family there. So it is interesting to see your comment about how political strengths have shifted over time. I would agree with your observations. The blue collar workers I knew were union and I know some are still politically active for Dems, but I wonder how many have become disaffected by the failure of Dems to return the support of the union workers. It certainly makes the political situation a lot more fluid than in times past…

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          I would say the state flip-flops, not “waffles.” There is an almost even split between “good” (mainstream) liberal Dems and “good” (mainstream) conservative Repubs, and very few true independents. So turnout is all and, depending on turnout, we either get liberal Ds or conservative Rs. But very, very few voters switch from one to the other. (Back when we had moderate Rs, there was a lot of ticket splitting.)

          I think Sanders’ increasing success suggests many D voters aren’t drinking the liberal Kool-Aid any more. (Gay “progressive” icon, Tammy Baldwin, who used to make a show of introducing single-payer in the Senate every session, is already in the bag for HRC. “Progressive” icon, Russ Feingold, who was 100% AWOL in 2011 protests, has not publicly endorsed.)

          Whereas if Trump goes down big, that will suggest that the suburban Milwaukee R’s are still happily drinking away.

          1. Sammy Maudlin

            I can tell you for a fact that the Kool-Aid is flowing like a river through here.

            A few weeks ago I went to a town hall in my little hamlet held by our highly-influential Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. Every other question was either “OMG what are we going to do about Trump?!!” or “OMG what are you establishment Republicans going to do about Trump?!!!”

            Aside from your scribe, who is undecided on the issue, every person in the room seemed to assume Trump is simply a Dem Trojan Horse. A notion strongly promoted by local conservative talk radio.

  14. samhill

    Paul Ryan Sorry for Calling Americans “Takers.”…

    Ryan’s sorry, Rubio’s sorry, Trump’s sorry, Clinton’s sorry, so far Bernie hasn’t told me what he’s sorry about. When someone asks you why you’re voting for Bernie add that to the list.

  15. flora

    re: “Trump choosing to implode…”

    Might be right. Never could see Trump agreeing to put all his holdings into a blind trust if elected. My 2 cents.

    On the other hand, if he’s trying to hoist the GOP “family values” thumpers on their own petard this is a good tactic. The GOP dodge that women shouldn’t be punished because they’re too feeble minded to make these decisions on their own and have to be protected from evil doctors – aka women’s healthcare providers – simply dismisses women as less than competent adults. Trump may be choosing to implode, but he’s making a mockery of the GOP’s “family values” platform planks. That’s good.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Maybe. On the other hand, the article by the defecting Trump PAC employee said Trump has not thought about policy at all, so it would make sense for him to stick his foot in his mouth and then backpeddle– especially on an issue like abortion where he voiced a pro-choice stance in the past. In the short clip I saw he just seemed to be groping for an answer, trying to figure out what he was “supposed” to say. And look, it’s not that clear what answer his base wants to hear to this question: Cruz was asked the same question and he dodged it.

      Personally, I suspect Yves is right that he never thought he would get this far and may be looking for an escape hatch, but I’m not so sure that this particular episode was Trump explicitly self-sabotaging.

      1. samhill

        He can no longer choose to implode, too many important people have climbed aboard, the ship is sailing into port, at least to the convention. His campaign wasn’t overnight luck, recall all the oddball birther stuff he latched onto around 2010? Attack the first bi-racial, young, cosmopolitan, product of the neo-liberal meritocracy? Pretty bizarre for a global corporate lifestyle brand incarnate. It was his ticket on the Tea Party Express to get into the GOP primaries skirting a born again dip and a twenty year career slog from mayor/gov/house/sen. His POTUS run has been in the works for a long while.

        Always possible that the overlords found something to break him, and will force him to perform seppuku – what better way too than to force him to humilate his way to oblivion. For myself, I can’t believe he’s kept so clean all these NYC decades, not a single pict of him shaking John Gotti’s hand at a steak house or something of that sort. Luck? Astuteness?

        1. vidimi

          few people seem to doubt that trump is a narcissist and an egomaniac. what greater allure for a person with his afflictions could there be than the presidency of the united states? leader of the free world. commander in chief. trump is going to willingly give up on that now that he can practically taste it? fat chance

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            He’s already got what he was seeking in spades which is greater brand power for the Trump name. Ahead (if he was serious) is a really tedious largely figurehead job with very long hours and little financial upside for him. If he had a genuine calling to address the nation’s problems he would stick it out but I don’t think that was ever his motivation, he wanted to make a few points, thumb his nose in every direction, then fade back into private life where he can continue to say and do whatever he pleases.

        2. RabidGandhi

          And another issue is even if he does want out (cue Al Pacino in Godfather III), the picture we get of him personally is that he’s all about winning. So he would need an escape route that does not involve some kind of Lefty Williams shenanigans that would make him look like a loser.

          And how does that play out? If it looks too overt that the GOP or Washington Establishment pushed him out, the party would be almost certain to split definitively and there would be a serious threat of disturbances. This means neither of them can back off: a game of chicken that could land Trump in the White House.

          1. Kokuanani

            I continue to be very VERY concerned about who Trump’s VP will be. I can see him “going Palin” — i.e., walking away and leaving that person as “president.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That’s a slight variation from the traditional Manchurian Candidate, who does not walk away, but stays to carry out his/her assignments.

              Like many things, the traditional ways may be more preferable.

    2. Vatch

      I’m not convinced that Trump is choosing to implode. His comments about abortion are highly offensive, yet they appeal to a sizable portion of the Republican voters. Do a web search for:

      arrested for having a miscarriage

      and you’ll see that in some countries, such as El Salvador, this actually happens. And there are anti-abortion activists who want to make it happen in the U.S. It already is happening in Indiana, and could happen under Tennessee law.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Let’s hope he’s bluffing.

          Probably covered that in Negotiation 101 at the Trump University.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Good thing Obama has significantly increased America’s production of nuclear warheads and has funded programs for small nukes “that make their usage much more thinkable” (to quote the general Obama put in charge).
          And good thing he stores them in places like Tikrit, Turkey (the next Syria) and that security sieve called Belgium.

      1. Antifa

        And states around the country pushing bills requiring every miscarriage and abortion receive a cremation or funeral ceremony, as if a person has died.

        After a while, the herd will just accept that a clump of cells three days old is a person, a citizen, and that they have been murdered. So . . . whodunit?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Clump-of-Cells personhood.

          If they can monetize, similar to buying and selling eggs, they would come up with a way to harvest, instead of aborting.

          “Yes, we will suction the whole clump of cells into a petri dish and grow it to sell to robots eager to adopt human kids on Mars. The mother will never see it again…as good as an abortion. And the pro-lifers will be happy.”

        2. Massinissa

          “And states around the country pushing bills requiring every miscarriage and abortion receive a cremation or funeral ceremony, as if a person has died.”

          Did the cremators or religious organizations lobby for this? I mean seriously, someone has to be making money on that.

      1. fosforos

        As I’ve constantly reiterated since early last summer: Nothing but a Trumpe -l’oeil.

  16. flora

    re: Hillary email server
    “From yesterday, but gives a much clearer account of the judge’s views (deservedly pissed off at the ‘tude about the law and his court in particular) than most other MSM sources.”

    Wonder if Hillary finds the judge’s “tone” objectionable. Is the judge being too mean? Maybe the judge needs to lower the tone. Shorter Hillary, “le etat cest moi.” /s

    1. Jim Haygood

      A couple of excerpts from a Washington Times article:

      The FBI is focused on documents [Hillary] and her aides sent rather than received, because sending them demonstrates deliberate intent much more than receiving them would. It’s been reported that over 100 highly sensitive documents originated with her.

      If there are major classified emails that were sent by Mrs. Clinton, then one of my sources said “there won’t be escape from prosecution”.

      There is also big political jeopardy. The calendar is a problem for the FBI and DOJ. The longer the investigation goes, the more manageable it is for the Clinton campaign. An impending nomination is her greatest weapon.

      It’s equally true that an active FBI investigation is Hillary’s greatest Achilles heel in obtaining a nomination.

      1. Antifa

        Hillary has another Achilles heel — all these classified emails were sent between and by and through her dozen or so very loyal, longtime aides.

        Any Presidential pardon-in-advance or failure-to-prosecute deal that Hillary negotiates in the back room has to include them all, or her aides are going to enjoy going to Leavenworth while she goes to the Convention.

        Or they might see the FBI agents as their friends, like Bryan Pagliano does.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If the indictment comes after the convention, her VP is going to have to be able to take Trump, or whomever the GOP nominates.

    2. polecat

      Hillary needs a safe space…….

      maybe there’s some faux campus sjw cubbie she can hide in …….till things ‘blow’ over !!

  17. diptherio

    Guilty as charged:

    Study: People Who Point Out Typos Are Jerks

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Me too.

      The team reported that extraverts were more likely to wave off spelling errors, whereas introverts were basically like, “You’re a fucking idiot, learn to construct a goddamn sentence, Christ almighty.”

      Did the author misspell “extroverts” on purpose? Just sayin’.

      1. diptherio

        One thing I’ve learned being a proofreader: you’ll always miss something until after you’ve posted…always. I try to remember that when I get too critical of others. Still, while actually correcting, I often end up silently cursing people I absolutely love…it’s a strangely passionate thing for some of us.

      2. Antifa

        The Typographer’s Lament

        A Baker’s mistake gets covered with icing;
        A Surgeon’s with six feet of clay.

        A Carpenter’s error gets plastered and painted,
        “I planned it like that,” he will say.

        A Chef’s snafu will get more sauce;
        An Actor can ad lib his lines.

        But a Typographer’s errors get printed and published
        In cold type, for all eyes, for all time.

      3. hunkerdown

        extro- 1. variant of extra- (used to contrast with intro-).

        We’ve been spelling a variant form all these years. Extravert is apparently the non-variant (albeit newly aggressively fashionable) form.

        1. ewmayer

          Depends on whom you consult … my MacDicApp has the following note on

          USAGE The original spelling extravert is now rare in general use but is found in technical use in psychology.

      4. polecat

        everyone’s been a f#cking idiot at least once in their lives……..yours’ truly included…..

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          IQ is a relative term.

          So, too, often, is idiocy.

          If the whole species is not-so-smart, then, the average or the median can’t be smart (defined as 100, if we wish), and even with respect to those above average/median, there is no guarantee of smartness, whether it’s on the idiocy-scale or the IQ spectrum.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Or as Einstein once quipped “the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits”

  18. Cry Shop

    Fukushima Ice Job: You’re memory is right, in Sept 2013 the Japanese began construction of the system, which they then estimated would come on line in March 2015.

    Hong Kong (HK) Independence Party: The BigLychee Blog covered this item with a bit more balance.
    Harbour Times is a vanity blog run by two Ayn Rand neo-conservative libtards. These two nutters, between writing rants against government** give softball interviews to diplomats, etc; are trying to ingratiate themselves into a bit more money by pushing f*ck the poor “free market” ideology, as if HK’s wealthy didn’t already have enough levers of power.

    ** one of the libtards behind Harbour Time, Andrew Work, did that classic about face of self serving interest that Ayn Randians have built in, and used his blog to press the HK government to interfere in the running of the “private” international school that his child cum investment was attending.

    1. Jeff W

      Oops. thanks. I was the one who suggested the link and was under the impression that Harbour Times was just a “leaning pro-democracy” publication—I didn’t realize the libertarian/Ayn Rand part—so my bad.

      I’m not sure what the relationship, if any, is between Joshua Wong (who floated the idea of a party dedicated to having a referendum on “autonomy” a week and a half ago), Marcus Lau (who, with other students at HKU, published that “manifesto” calling for independence at the same time), and National Party convenor Chan Ho-tin—it would be interesting to find out.

      I happen to like Big Lychee. I think he’s right when he says this: “The extreme impracticality of the HKNP’s aim will make ordinary localism seem all the more moderate and mainstream”—it makes Joshua Wong’s call for a referendum on (“mere”) autonomy seem quite reasonable and that in itself might be significant; the various calls for “autonomy” and “independence” from the younger generation indicate to me that they view their identity as “Hong Kongers,” distinct and separate from the mainland Chinese.

      1. Cry Shop

        That okay, Jeff. Even the Harbour Times might get it right some times. It’s just that this particular editorial needed to be seen against their other agendas, particularly their desire to provoke and embarrass China even at the cost of the common people of HK, and so I just gave some background.

        If you have the time to keep following that blog, one other item to keep in mind when reading them is Work’s partner is also a fellow mouth piece for the Lion Rock Institute (an anti-think tank). Andrew Shun is a regular on government radio (RTHK), even though he’s an anarchist, because he backs government policy to drive the less useful poor out of Hong Kong. He joked (but I think secretly he believes it) that the handicapped/physically/mentally challenged of Hong Kong should be “recycled”.

  19. rich

    Spotify raises $1 billion in debt with devilish terms

    Today Spotify raised $1 billion in convertible debt from TPG, Dragoneer, and clients of Goldman Sachs, as first reported by Wall Street Journal’s Douglas MacMillan. By raising debt rather than equity, it doesn’t have to worry about poor signaling from a down-round raised at a lower valuation than the $8.5 billion it set in June 2015.

    But here’s the catch.

    If Spotify doesn’t perform well, some aggressive deal terms could cost it a lot of money.

    TPG and Dragoneer get to convert the debt to equity at a 20% discount of whatever share price Spotify sets for an eventual IPO. And if it doesn’t IPO within the next year, that discount goes up 2.5% every extra six months.

    Spotify also has to pay 5% annual interest on the debt, and 1% more every six months up to a total of 10%. And finally, TPG and Dragoneer can sell their shares just 90 days after the IPO, before the 180-day lockup period ends for Spotify’s employees and other investors.

    This all could screw employees

  20. For The Win

    Both Carson and Trump initially did not get into the race in order to win, For Carson it was most the money and a bit about the ego, for Trump it was mostly about the ego and a bit about the money.

    If Team Hellary ‘s fraudulent gaming the nomination succeeds, then I hope Trump does win if for no other reason than the Bill part of Hill-Billy thought he was doing a clever thing his golf games with Trump of encouraging Trump to run for the Republican nomination. Ah to be a fly on the wall when Billy Boy has to aw-shuck Hellary into not killing him on the spot.

  21. Jim Haygood


    “The S&P 500 as reported P/E is 23.53. Willingness to pay 23.53 borders on the absurd.”

    Invert P/E to E/P, and it gives an earnings yield. At the July 1982 secular low, when E/P registered (1/7.7) = 13.0%, the 10-year T-note yielded 13.6%. That is, despite their higher risk, stocks provided an earnings yield a little lower than Treasuries.

    Today, stocks’ E/P is (1/23.53) = 4.2%, while the 10-year T-note yields 1.8%, meaning that stocks offer a slight premium in earning yield to a competing fixed income investment.

    E/P and P/E adjust to prevailing inflation and interest rates. When inflation and interest rates are low, P/E tends to be correspondingly higher, and E/P correspondingly lower. With E/P and interest rates both around the 10th percentile level of the last half century, neither is notably out of line with the other.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No choice.

      Spending money on gas to stimulate the economy is not a choice.

      Can’t prepay health insurance for the next ten years. Not a choice there.

      Can’t have paper money cash. There is a war on cash coming.

      Can’t buy gold. Only if you want to be called indoctrinated.

      Can’t stock 10-year supply of organic vegetables. Not a healthy choice.

      Can’t buy a house. The housing bubble is overdue to be busted. Not a choice.

      Donate to Sanders. Maybe 1% of your nest egg (100% donation is not recommended) Not a scalable choice.

      Either stocks or 0.5% (bordering on absurd) CD, for your self-financed retirement plan.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Don’t try it at home.

          Leave it to the indoctrinated and indoctrinating ‘professionals.’

        2. Massinissa

          Just because a central bank can do something doesnt mean an individual can or should.

          Central Banks create money. That is not advised for individuals unless youre able to not get caught.

          Just because the banks are buying up gold doesnt mean it makes sense for preppers to buy a bunch and stick it in their basement.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Good enough to be (robot) sons-in-law.

          “Give her a diamond ring, but no gold rings. It’s less controversial. You don’t want the neighbors to condemn the marriage over some gold.”

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Not sure I agree with all either but here is the key paragraph, and it is spot on:

      The fact that concerns about robots taking all the jobs can persist side-by-side with concerns that we are running out of workers says a great deal about the state of debates on economic policy at present. Apparently, few of the participants in these debates even recognize the fundamental contradiction involved. This is like worrying that we will simultaneously be afflicted with record rains and a severe drought. Either is in principle possible, but they cannot occur at the same time. That shows a great deal about the quality of modern policy debates.

      1. For The Win

        I can imagine a scenario where this might occur. If Robotics wipes out the low level jobs, and the only jobs that are left for humans to fill require an IQ** of 125 or above, then only 5% of the population would be employable. Just increase than IQ requirement a further 5 points and it gets very grim.

        Robotics actually drive high demand for this “elite” part of the population to deploy the robotics in an ever more competitive non-virtuous cycle. Also, Robots might even replace humans as prime consumers, prime markets.

        **Stanford Binet Test

  22. rich

    Pin the Value On the Unicorn

    Now, after a year of volatile equity markets and a drop-off in IPO activity, fund companies are pulling back on making private deals. Even so, funds still have to update their estimates of what existing investments are worth. Their disclosures have become one way market watchers track the rising and falling fortunes of Silicon Valley’s “unicorns”—private companies that have touched $1 billion or more in investor valuation. But putting a price on shares that aren’t regularly traded is neither easy nor absolute.

    “You can put three experts together and come up with three different answers,” says Jeff Grabow, head of the valuation practice at consulting firm EY. “Valuation is as much an art as it is a science.”Josh James, founder and chief executive officer of business analytics startup Domo, says announcements of fluctuating valuations can be distracting for employees. Domo’s backers include BlackRock, T. Rowe Price, and Fidelity. In January, Fidelity marked down its valuation by 9 percent following a series of markups.

    Fidelity declined to comment on its process.

    “People that aren’t experts at valuing private companies are trying to act like experts,” James says. “Even when they have less information than the VCs.”

    The bottom line: Depending on which mutual fund you invested in, a share in Dropbox was worth about $10, or maybe $15.

    One firm’s process might use a wind vane, another a wind sock?

  23. Jim Haygood

    Like MetLife, General Electric seeks to escape the plague of SIFI-lis:

    General Electric formally asked to be released from supervision by the Federal Reserve on Thursday, saying it has sufficiently shrunk its once-massive financial-services arm so it would no longer pose a systemic threat to the financial system.

    Being categorized as a “systemically important financial institution,” or SIFI, required GE to submit to financial supervision by Fed staff and rein in leverage.

    GE Capital’s total assets have declined from $549 billion at the end of 2012 to $265 billion today, the company said. Excluding cash and insurance assets that the company has been running off, GE has about $50 billion in finance assets remaining in the U.S., it said in the filing.

    The company has also slashed its dependence on commercial paper, once a major funding source for the company’s loans, from $43 billion outstanding at the end of 2012 to $5 billion now. GE Capital was once the largest issuer of commercial paper, and now has less than one-tenth of 1% of the market, the company says.

    Two more non-banks with SIFI status are AIG and Prudential. As insurers, they may try to follow Metlife in deSIFIfication.

    Of course, the downside of no longer being a ward of the Fed is the possible loss of an automatic Fed credit line in the next crisis.

  24. rich

    John McCain Linked Nonprofit Received Million Dollar Donation From Saudi Arabia
    Michael Krieger | Posted Thursday Mar 31, 2016

    For just and obvious reasons, it’s illegal under U.S. law for foreign governments to finance individual candidates or political parties. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop them from bribing politicians and bureaucrats using other opaque channels.

    A perfect example is the shady, influence peddling slush fund known as The Clinton Foundation,which entered the public consciousness last year and was the central topic of multiple posts here at Liberty Blitzkrieg. Although they remain the reining champions of cronyism, being a shameless corrupt fraud isn’t limited to the Clintons.

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a John McCain linked nonprofit has been found accepting million dollar contributions from the most barbaric, backwards nation on planet earth: Saudi Arabia.

    Naturally, the absolute monarchy remains a very close ally of the U.S. government.

    Bloomberg reports:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the best training institutions for serving the Machine, for climbing the ladder of the System are in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, that government does not have to finance candidates all over the world.

      Even without such overt operations, the candidates in many countries will be friends of the Duchy.

      Why waste good money? It’s not a very neoliberal thing to do.

      Not efficient, they might snicker.

  25. trinity river

    Most professionals today have read the NYT and listened to NPR for their news for the last 40 years as I did until I retired. Life over the years became more difficult to navigate trying to keep my/our income above our expenses. Now that I have awaken to the why of all the changes I had no control over, I find most people are still believers in the lies being told them. The NYT has become pablum and propagada. NPR has become the best outlet to propagate Fear and War. It continually tells us the economy is on solid ground and we are at full employment.

    Given that people are working long hours, they do not have the time to do what we are doing here. Waking up to the immense corruption really is a bummer and no one in my world wants to hear about it. Some people do not believe me if they are comfortable, and if they are hurting, they feel even more helpless. Some hide from it in their religious beliefs. God helps the good people.

    We at NC see the increasing amount of pain, but as one friend said to me to get me to shut up, “The ways of the world.”

    1. Antifa

      The ways of the world can take us beyond common sense and natural laws.

      ‘Twas an old Russian farmer in the Thirties who walked over to the adjoining farm his good friend Jakob owned. He had a bottle of vodka, and figured they could share it and their woes, as old friends should.

      When he got there, he was astonished to see Jakob’s hound dog voraciously tucking into a big pile of cabbages.

      He asked Jakob how a dog could like cabbages so much.

      Jakob replied, “Oh, he didn’t, at first. But after a few months . . .”

    2. jhallc

      I finally dropped my Sunday Subscription to the Boston Globe in February. The price went up and I couldn’t stand the pro HRC bias. I dropped my subscription to the WSJ years ago after R. Murdoch took over and after listening to the shilling that NPR is doing for Hillary I won’t ever send them another dime. My donations will go to WERS “Emerson College ” radio here in Boston and sites like NC in the future. Keep up the good work.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The plan is to encourage people to work longer (but not billable) hours, so, that way (by not billing), they are ‘more productive.”

      Just say no to productivity and efficiency.

      The rich can be more efficient.

      And remember, playing with butterflies out in the park is as virtuous (or productive, as in producing good energy for the world) as putting 8 hours in a Satanic Mill. And that should be counted as ‘working.’

      I guarantee you that I have worked 8 hours today.

  26. cassandra

    Not that I think any of this is a good idea, but instead of torture, which is criticised for being inhumane as well as unreliable, why is there no mention of chemical techniques for interrogation? Not only would it appear to be superficially humane, but it would seem that not only would it be more reliable, and likely there are ways to make the target forget what was spilled. Actually, I’d guess that this is already being done. (Perhaps a reader who has some in-depth knowledge of such matters might be able to explain why not; legal objections do not apply.) This leaves the threat of torture as an intimidation tactic for the yet-to-be-interrogated, and the practice of torture as a means to satisfy sadistic inclinations of the ruthlessly powerful. Pretty horrible picture.

  27. Dale

    Re: Trump under fire over abortion remarks, I think you are misreading what is happening here.

    Trump is easily diagnosed by mental health professionals as a malignant narcissist. Narcissists will always push the boundaries of acceptable behavior, because to do so increases their power and control over their victims. Essentially, they try out what works as they go along, but they are always pushing for more freedom and control.

  28. Jeff W

    I find the $15/hour minimum wage talk in New York and California a fascinating case study in “agenda setting.”

    Just a bit over four years ago, Jamie Galbraith appeared on The Real News Network and, rather than support an increase of the minimum wage to $10 or so (which was the “high end” at the time), he went for a “substantial” increase to $12/hour—which, at that time, did seem high.*

    A year and a half later, the SeaTac initiative was the first ballot measure to pass with a $15/hour minimum wage. Fast food workers later made $15/hour minimum wage their rallying cry.

    The point is — until something (like $15 as a minimum wage—or independence for Hong Kong, as another example) is “on the agenda,” it can’t occur—it’s, in some sense, “unthinkable.” (That something is on the agenda does not mean it will occur, obviously.)

    That’s the benefit of a lot of what Bernie Sanders is doing—he is putting stuff on the agenda (e.g., single payer, free tuition for higher education) that simply wasn’t before. That is not a case of, as Clinton says, “holding out for the ‘perfect’” (a mischaracterization if ever there was one), it’s about expanding the range of options that can even be considered.

    *Historically, though, it is not. The 1948 platform of the Democratic party called for—and Harry Truman did sign into law—a near doubling of the minimum wage (from 40¢ to 75¢ per hour) and, if the minimum wage at the point where it had its highest value, in 1968, had kept pace with productivity, it would be around $22 per hour now.

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