Links 3/9/16

FUNNY: Fast ostrich chases after cyclists in Africa Accuweather (David L). Impressive stamina.

Dog-sled teams set off on Alaska’s 1,000-mile Iditarod race Reuters (EM)

Syntax is not unique to human language PhysOrg (Robert M)

Marine Life Thrives in Unlikely Place: Offshore Oil Rigs New York Times (David L)

You’ll Eat Bugs. These Investors Are Betting Millions on It Wired (resilc)

I shower once a week. Here’s why you should too Guardian

The world’s first full-fledged ‘water bar’ is about to open in Minneapolis MinnPost (Chuck L)

U.S. women push back against stigma, cost of menstruation Reuters (EM)

The actor who played Borat just nailed this Apple product launch parody Business Insider (David L)

A battle for the future of the App Store is brewing Business Insider (David L)

Taking Baby Steps Toward Software That Reasons Like Humans New York Times. Um, I’ve been hearing for at least years that AI is around the corner. First, I’m not sure we should welcome the arrival of Hal and Skynet. Second, humans are so variable and impulse in their behavior, and AI is modeled on human intelligence, which is close to an oxymoron, that I’m not sure it can (or should) be replicated. Certain tracks and tropes, yes.


China’s Expansion Spells Nicaragua’s Destruction World Policy Institute (resilc)

IMF issues warning as China exports fall Financial Times

China: The Trilemma and Reserves, Again Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

China is turning to Reaganomics to fix its economy Business Insider (David L). Wow, can’t they see what this produced 30 years later? And part of why Reganomics appeared to work is that short-term interest rates went from 21% to IIRC under 7% in a bit over a year. That gave a big boost to investment. China does not need more investment. Cutting taxes increases inequality, and China does not need more of that either.

Refugee Crisis

How Turkey held the EU for ransom Politico


Revealed: Queen backs Brexit as alleged EU bust-up with ex-Deputy PM emerges Sun

5 options for post-Brexit trade with Europe Politico

Tsipras Must Purge Cabinet to Lift Economy, Greek Industry Says Bloomberg (Sid S)

Canada Bars Goat-Sacrificing Blood-Drinking US Senate Candidate Sputnik News (Chuck L)

Somali cattle herder describes US airstrike on al-Shabaab training camp Guardian (furzy)


The Unholy War in Yemen EA WorldView (resilc)

Trial ends for U.S. Air Force vet charged with Islamic State support Reuters (EM)

Saudi Arabia’s Exploding Christmas Gifts From Hillary Clinton Truthout (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Locked iPhones, Apple, and changing law Eclectic Light Company (guurst). Important.

Daniel Ellsberg: Nixon Sent CIA Operatives To ‘Incapacitate’ Whistleblower Mint Press (furzy). You can be sure, plus ca change…

2016. The campaign is eating Links!

Trump tightens grip on White House race BBC. See Lambert’s story this AM for the part yet again not getting the main play: “Bernie Sanders pulls off a shock Democratic win in Michigan.” Notice unflattering and similar pictures of Trump and Sanders put side by side.

Inside the secretive meeting where the global establishment plotted Trump’s demise Huffington Post

Donald Trump Holds Three-Point Lead Over Ted Cruz in GOP Race, WSJ/NBC News Poll Finds Wall Street Journal. The poll also finds than anyone beats Trump in a 1:1 match, but this poll was surprisingly small, only 397 respondents, when most polls I’ve read of this sort have a sample of 800 to 1000.

Louis C.K. on Donald Trump: ‘He’s an Insane Bigot, He Is Dangerous’ Variety (resilc)

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why. Thomas Frank, Guardian (margarita)

Donald Trump Is Alienating Neoconservatives—and Antiwar Democrats Should Worry Nation

How Trump is jolting Silicon Valley politics in unexpected ways SF Chronicle (Donna M)

Trump takes aim at corporate targets Financial Times

Pastor who prayed with Ted Cruz at Idaho rally shot one day later – video Guardian (resilc)

Why Obama says bank reform is a success but Bernie Sanders says it’s a failure Washington Post

Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton in stunning Michigan primary upset Guardian. Haha, and Bernie was supposed to be over. Reader Phil Davis adds: “Read the comments below the article! I’ve never seen anything quite like the unanimity among Guardian readers.”

The Washington Post ran 16 negative stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 hours Common Dreams. Thomas Palley: “When elite media behave in this way, we lose the ability to believe in any news source and it legitimizes Fox News and Hate Radio which become merely the other side of the same coin..”

CNN, TV One to host presidential town hall – CNN. This is gonna be interesting. Even though Bernie misses some punches, he’s still gotten better with each debate. Will he continue on that trajectory? And will Clinton start breaking a sweat as Bernie keeps making her match his spending as he keeps gaining ground on her in the polls? Yes, there are those superdelagates, but many are elected officials, and a campaign targeting them would flip many if the primaries and polls keep moving in Sanders’ direction.

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders Show Me the Votes. Pat: “Electronic voting machines and election rigging. ”

Picking the Best Presidential Candidate for Markets Bloomberg

Senior U.S. immigration judge says 3 and 4 year old children can represent themselves in court Boing Boing (resilc). Only in America.

L.A. officials seeded clouds during El Nino storm in hopes of more rain Los Angeles Times (David L)

Baltimore Cop Who Slit Dog’s Throat Will Be Awarded $45,000 in Back Pay Gawker (resilc)

Pipeline investors hit by US court ruling Financial Times

The Noxious Legacy of Fracking King Aubrey McClendon Intercept (resilc)

Citigroup warns of fall in revenues Financial Times

Goldman: commodity rally unlikely to last Financial Times. Warning Jim Haygood! But Goldman’s record on its calls has been really poor this year.

Inside the Collapse of Fairway, New York’s Favorite, Failing Grocery Store Grub Street. Adrian: “A local story (if you are a New Yorker) of private equity crapification.” Moi: I shop at Fairway almost every day. It didn’t help them (in my ‘hood) that a Whole Foods opened a block and a half away (I never shop there, I go to Whole Paycheck only when on the road when they wind up being the default option).

2008 Revisited? Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate. From last week, still germane. Roubini produced numbered lists pre-crisis of scary stuff, typically 8 to 12 in number. So the fact that it is merely 7 this time is reassuring by his standards.

Class Warfare

Homeless Are Flocking to America’s Forests, But It’s Damaging the Land Vice (resilc)

The tragic collapse of America’s public mental health system, in one map Vox

More than 2,000 Boston public school students walk out of class to protest budget cuts Boston Globe (Judy B)

Our Economy Is Obsessed with Efficiency and Terrible at Everything Else Harvard Business Review (guurst)

Antidote du jour (Lawrence R). A spring bunny!

SW Cottontail rabbit for NH WAP links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Llewelyn Moss

    MI Officially Smarter Than MA!! Go Bernie!!

    Bernie’s FL rally was on cspan last night. Kinda fun to watch. After every policy promise, the crowd cheered loud and long. Bernie literally had to stop them each time, otherwise it would have turned into a 3 hour event. Sometimes spontaneously breaking into chants of “Ber-Nie, Ber-Nie, Ber-Nie”. These people were actually having a fun time — at a political event.

    1. Ulysses

      I’ve had the good fortune to be at a few “Musicians for Bernie” fundraising events. The sheer joy, that people obviously feel in having someone they can support in good conscience to rally around, is very heartening! :)

    2. petal

      The same thing happened when he was at Dartmouth-genuine excitement and good feeling even though it was super cold outside and the line was long.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Obama hadn’t spent the previous 30 years taking actions that supported his campaign promises. Bernie Has. Bernie may have his flaws but he is no Neoliberal scum like Obama. Let’s stop the Bernie=Obama Nonsense, shall we.

          1. EmilianoZ

            Yeah, let’s talk about his much vaunted record. He voted 98% of the time with the Dems (see Chris Hedges). What does that mean? Surely even Obama voted a few times against his party.

            Everybody wants to believe, maybe even needs to believe. I want to believe too. But sometimes you have to look at the cold hard facts. I cant picture a rebel voting 98% of the time with the Dems. Think about that, can you wrap your head around that figure: 98%?

            1. jsn

              Yes, so start your armed rebellion and I’ll consider joining it. Till then Sanders will have to do.

              And yes I can, he was part of the US government so there were only two groups he could vote with and for at least 40 years one of those groups has proposed nothing worth voting for while the other promoted tons of symbolism worth voting for, some of which resulted in real social progress. The key economic and war votes are where Sanders diverged from Dem BS

              1. Llewelyn Moss

                +100. Thank you jsn. Perfect reply to mister emilz. I really did not want to waste time replying to twisted logic that proves nothing. Chris Hedges can go count unicorns in the forest for all I care.

                1. RP

                  It really is disappointing to see Hedges – whose books I respect so much – be so anti-Bernie.

                  It seems in some of his columns he almost WANTS violent confrontation with government.

            2. Vatch

              What’s the source for the assertion that he voted 98% of the time with the Democrats? No, saying “Chris Hedges” isn’t enough. Please provide a link that shows the tabulation of votes. It might be true, but it would be nice to have documentation for this.

              Meanwhile, I guess I’ll repost my summary of some of Sanders’s most important votes, both in the House and in the Senate:

              His vote against the Patriot Act:


              His vote against the Iraq war resolution:


              His votes against the insidious bankruptcy reform act:



              Against the original Homeland Security Act:

              His votes against the Patriot Act reauthorization of 2005:



              His vote against the USA “Freedom” Act of 2015 (really just more Patriot Act stuff):


              His vote against the Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999, which repealed the Glass Steagall separation of banking functions.


              Some of his criticism of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians (these aren’t votes, but since so many American politicians are timid about this, it’s worth mentioning):



              1. EmilianoZ

                Go ask Chris Hedges. I have no idea where he got that number from. But he’s a serious journalist with a stellar reputation for integrity. Moreover he is or used to be a man of the cloth. He cant lie. It’s inconceivable that he would just make up that number, 98%.

                The votes you posted probably represent something like 0.01% of all the votes he has ever cast.

                You guys are trying to square the circle. 98% means he aint no outsider. If Obama taught us one thing it should be to look at the facts not the talks, not the reputation, not the media.

                1. Danb

                  Well, to be accurate, you are interpreting facts you think are probably correct -but you are not sure they are. Bernie is not the modern incarnation of Karl Marx. Most people here at NC recognize him as a sixties/FDR liberal.

                2. jrs

                  Saying what he has voted against like in the list above is cherry picking the data, as one really needs a full list of controversial votes and how he voted for it to have ANY meaning at all (I’d even be ok with time limiting it to the last decade so not to get lost in data). All else is propaganda.

                  Sure trash Hedges, I think some of his tangents aren’t very helpful, but he’s actually saying something much more substantial than Bernie Sander’s supporters which is what will matter in the long run is movements. But if you like, take Chomsky’s compromise position, he’d say: yea spend 5 minutes voting for Bernie and what matters in the long run is movements …

                  People say Hedges has no plan and his plans may more more extreme thoughts than anything concrete, but it’s in fact Sander’s supporters who have absolutely no plan, for the morning after, if their guy doesn’t win. They have nothing then.

                  1. Vatch

                    “98%” is almost certainly a metaphor for “most” or “majority”. It’s a bit like saying that a certain brand of soap is “99 44/100 % pure”. Unless someone provides a real tabulation of all of Sanders’s votes, “98%” is not useful.

                    one really needs a full list of controversial votes and how he voted for it to have ANY meaning at all (I’d even be ok with time limiting it to the last decade so not to get lost in data)

                    If you want to provide such a list, I would be very grateful.

                    As for the list that I provided, in every case for the period when Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, she voted the other way (with one exception, when she didn’t vote). I’ve posted that information to NC in the past.

                    Sander’s supporters who have absolutely no plan, for the morning after, if their guy doesn’t win.

                    A lot of us have expressed our intention to vote for the Green Party candidate if Sanders is not nominated.

                    1. myshkin

                      I suspect Bernie’s record may well align 98% with Dems. I would suppose that he must either vote with Republicans or Democrats since the Socialist, Green et. al. are offering up very little legislation that is voted on. Therefore he is likely to line up with the Dems or not vote at all.

                      Another bit of information, “From Jan 2007 to Mar 2016, Sanders missed 133 of 2,867 roll call votes, which is
                      4.6%. This is much worse than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.”

                    2. Vatch

                      My previous reply was eaten by Skynet.

                      Of course he missed a lot of votes in 2015 and 2016! He’s been running for President since April, 2015!

                3. Lord Koos

                  Well, if he’s not an outsider, then maybe he will be able to “get things done”. You can’t really have it both ways.

                4. Darthbobber

                  Without some standard of “significance”, and specification of what one’s standard is, 98% means literally nothing. The below links to a summary of the 339 recorded votes the Senate held in 2015.
                  As can be seen at a casual glance, a good number are neither terribly significant nor particularly divisive. And the only time voting “with” the Democrats means anything is when the leadership takes a position and whips for it. Which isn’t most votes.

                  And most of the time there is a formal Democratic position in that sense, its a binary partisan vote in which one is supporting either the Democratic or the Republican position. Not sure if Hedges means to imply that in those conditions voting with the Republicans more often would make a Senator more useful or radical, but that is the practical effect.

                5. sid_finster

                  98% has nothing to do with outsider status. It simply means that he votes on the bills that are up for vote.

                  Bernie can vote with Team D, as he usually does, or vote with Team R. He doesn’t have a meaningful third option.

                  1. Darthbobber

                    One would think that with 2 organized parties in the Congress, and 2 possibilities on recorded votes (Y and N), it should be self-evident that all possibilities will put a given Senator or Representative into one of 2 positions.

                    And would a record of voting with the majority of Democrats half the time and Republicans half the time on the portion of votes that are party whipped votes make somebody somehow more “radical”? Or would it just make them a triangulating machine?

                6. vidimi

                  this is seriously twisted logic. he voted against the party on the key issues of importance to the public, but he voted 99% with the party on what’s for lunch, therefore, he can’t be trusted.

                  i can’t stand people like hedges who make the perfect the enemy of the good. i consider them to be agents provocateurs.

            3. hunkerdown

              And how much of that 98% was procedural stuff? And how much of the popular agenda is set by Congressional vote?

              You know, if you want to be taken seriously, you’re going to have to come up with something better than the same focus-tested talking points the neolibs at Salon keep vending.

              1. Gio Bruno

                Neolibs at Really?! While the Salon site allows some wacky stuff, it also has some top-notch contributors: Patrick L. Smith is priceless.

                The commentariat there is beyond help though, in my opinion,

              2. Vatch

                Excellent point! Assuming the 98% number is accurate (and I’m very skeptical about that), a lot of votes in the Congress concern unimportant or non-controversial topics.

            4. Christopher Fay

              Bernie wanted to audit the fed, Rand Paul supporter across the aisle. Bernie did not vote for the Great Patriotic Iraqi Spending Adventure. Two examples that are plenty good enough for me that he goes against the tide.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s interesting for many humans, elections are about feelings.

            “When I first encountered them, I didn’t feel like I could trust the couple. Futures trading? I didn’t even spend any time reading their position papers (mostly written by their hired experts anyway). I went by my gut feeling.”

    3. Arizona Slim

      Here in AZ, we’ve had two, yes, two big Bernie Sanders rallies. More than 11,000 people flocked to the Phoenix convention center last July. (I carpooled up from Tucson.)

      Then there was October. 13,000-plus people in Tucson city park. Per capita, that was the biggest attendance at any Bernie rally.

      And Llewlyn Moss is right, people do have a fun time at his rallies.

  2. Christopher D. Rogers

    Re: The Guardian Coverage of Bernie Sanders

    As with its coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to gain the leadership of the UK’s Labour Party last year – July to September – The Guardian displayed its full neoliberal/neoconservative colours in denigrating Corbyn with a minimum 5 stories per day – something commented upon by numerous CIF contributors.

    Its biased reportage of Bernie sander’s is following the template laid with Corbyn, hence you’ll see a load of Guardian neoliberal feminist reporters come out of the woodwork after the Michigan result to offer unreserved support to that person who has real blood on her hands, namely Ms. Clinton.

    As with its biased and unrestrained contempt for Mr. Corbyn, expect more of the same in relation to Mr. Sanders, who evidently just not get it that ‘Third Wayers’ rule the West and only Third Wayers/neoliberals are electable.

    For those desiring a less critical Guardian write-up on Bernie, you’ll have to dig back a fair bit into its archives, however, a favourable article was actually produced many years ago, with an emphasis on Sander’s support for a NHS-style health delivery service in the USA. Alas, The Guardian as a reliable news source is no more, something to do with its tilt to America more than two years ago, which has severely impacted this once respectable news outlet – one I read avidly from 1983, but one now to be avoided if you want clear headed analysis of the current Primary season and US Presidential election in general.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Alas, The Guardian as a reliable news source is no more, something to do with its tilt to America more than two years ago, which has severely impacted this once respectable news outlet –

      Or perhaps since they got that visit from GCHQ that ended with the sledge-hammer spectacle of smashed hard drives.

      1. hunkerdown

        And ground chips. Heaven forfend one might store a copy of a STRAP 1 document in a video BIOS chip somewhere.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Re: China turning to Reaganomics.

    I think that what this represents is a victory for the ‘supply-siders’ within the Chinese establishment. According to Michael Pettis (normally a very reliable source) there is a strong movement within the Chinese economics establishment which sees a focus on forcing major productivity gains as the way to ‘save’ China from a hard landing. The problem with their arguments of course is that they don’t identify who is going to buy all the products.

    It may of course be that the policy is a hybrid or mixed, but it would seem that this is a move away from creating a transition to a more domestic demand rebalanced economy, which I suspect is bad news for most Chinese people. I also strongly suspect that hoping for productivity gains to outweigh the impact of decades of malinvestment is a hopeless cause.

    1. Steve H.

      I’m recalling the previous conversations, PlutoniumKun. The critical difference here is that 10-year window Qiao Liang was talking about. What does this mean for China’s ability to disconnect a hemisphere of the globe from dependence on the dollar?

      I’m not qualified to provide the answer. But I’m pretty sure that is the question.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Well, I”m not qualified either, I’m just an amateur China watcher.

        But I don’t think that the aim is to disconnect from the dollar. I don’t think China cares about the dollar at all, their interest is in making the yuan a major currency, but they have benefited hugely from the dollar being the reserve currency and wouldn’t see any benefit in changing the status quo.

        The key issue is the transition from middle income to high income – i.e. avoiding the so-called ‘Middle Income Trap’. The Chinese have been keen students of economic development, especially the Asian Tigers. For all the nonsense written about the Chinese model it is essentially the standard Asian capitalist model (which in turn was based on the 19th Century German model) of suppressing domestic demand, rapid industrial build-up, and export led wealth generation. They have had the advantage of looking at the successes and failures – they’ve seen the stalled countries (like Malaysia, Thailand, most of South America), the successful ones (South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan), and observed with great interest how the Japanese blew it in the 1980’s.

        They have always been aware that a transition point would occur – they have always known that a pure export led and investment led approach would in the end lead to disaster. But the question has always been how to change course – I think the ’10 year window’ is just a way of identifying the crucial point where the change occurs. I think the current crack down on dissidents is the forerunner of making the necessary changes – the question is which of the various theories of reforms will win favour. From an outside perspective, I think we see that they favour the supply side approach – a rapid increase in productivity to generate the wealth to cover the transition. The methods will be a shut down of lots of older surplus capacity, increasing privatisation, and a focus on high end manufacturing. There may well be other elements – many others, but this seems to be what is taking shape.

        The crucial flaw in the supply side approach is that it will generate enormous inequalities – not just between classes, but between regions (I’ve often thought the future of China may well be as a network of Singapore style super modern city states in a sea of pollution and poverty). The other key flaw is that it assumes there is an available market for the new highly productive sectors. There is absolutely no guarantee of this, especially if they fail to create a large mass domestic market for consumer goods. And of course inequality makes the demand side even worse.

        So in short, I think we will see some very radical change – and it may well work in the short run. But I suspect it will just create even more long term problems.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China turning to Reaganomics.

      Are they thinking military spending as well? Star Wars?

    1. Steve H.

      A quick side question about your previous comments on panto, Clive – when you wrote that an actor plays dumb, did you mean silent or stupid?

      1. Clive

        Ah, the latter. The whole point of the show (and the construction of the humour in it) is that the actors and the characters they play do the exact opposite of what they are supposed to be doing or say they are going to do. And sometimes the casting is deliberately contrived in that you get actors playing parts for which they are obviously especially unsuitable but their ineptness adds to the fun.

        This reached its zenith when I saw Pamela Anderson playing The Fairy which had to be seen to be believed.

        1. Steve H.

          Thank you, Clive. ‘Much Ado’ is coming up in June, and community theater/theatre offers many opportunities for unsuitable casting.

          Followed a link in the story, too. Didn’t realize she was that clever.

        1. jsn

          A weird bit of psychology that comes with Divine Right is a tendency to identify, at least metaphorically, with the “body of the people” (I’m thinking of the cover for The Leviathan). Of course the Queen hated Thatcher: Thatcher was trying to kill of half the body!

          1. sleepy

            If I was the King, I’d speak up. I don’t care if I got de-throned or not–make the grand gesture.

            Yeah, I know, it’s just not done. But I do seem to recall an incident years back when the Queen actually did make a comment on the sorry state of British politics.

          2. susan the other

            I see the Queen as a benign force and Maggie as somewhat ruthless – but still Thatcher saw the danger to the UK of giving up sovereignty… the EU is only now gearing up to address the deficiencies. So really, Thatcher was prescient.

            1. Clive

              It’s yucky to say it, isn’t it, even for just one narrow and probably unintended reason! I did read one of her books, Statecraft which also contained some valid observations. Horrible woman nonetheless though.

  4. For The Win

    One of the most interesting parts of the Intercept article on McClendon was how he corrupted whole swaths of the professional Green lobbyist groups, like the Sierra Club.

    ….”Between 2007 and 2010, the organization collected $26 million dollars from the gas industry, most of it reportedly from McClendon. He and Sierra Club director Carl Pope at times traveled side by side to promote natural gas’s disputed environmental benefits. The Sierra Club later broke ties with the gas industry and now runs a campaign called “Beyond Natural Gas,” which argues that “total greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas are nearly identical to coal.”

    Sally Jewell, the queen of fracking and champion for arctic oil exploration, got the Good House Keeping Seal of Approval from Michael Brune of the Sierra Club. Latest rumor is Michael Brune is under investigation for not disclosing gifts, private jet rides, etc. on his Federal Income Tax fillings.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Ah, the Sierra Club. A charter member of what Jane Hamsher dubbed Obama’s “Veal Pen.” I miss Jane and Firedoglake. I hope she’s doing well. IIRC, I first came to NC via link at her place.

      1. sleepy

        Yep, that’s where I found out about NC. That and the dogging of anything Yves Smith at kos which was effectively a high recommendation.

    2. nowhere

      Thanks for this. It is always good to be reminded of how deep the tentacles of blood/oil money seep into organizations that have the appearance of being green.

      1. Cry Shop

        Sierra Club, and many of it’s ilk set out to do only good, and still do much good. The problem for them is the same as a corporation. As they become larger they become more dependent on professional managers, who’s agenda is not always aligned with the organization’s. Both national charities and listed companies by their nature create a firewall that divorces their shareholders/stakeholders from their day-to-day operation. Leadership selection becomes a anti-virtuous cycle of insiders promoting each others agenda and cooperating to isolate virtuous players. The scale and very complexity of these two kinds of organs makes it harder for small stake/share-holders to judge for themselves who is best to run the organization, or to nominate anyone – they become dependent on the slate self-selected by insiders. Those watch dog organs, charity & credit rating agencies, auditors, who are depended on by share/stake-holders to assess where to put their investments have become part of the revolving doors of both careers and money, and thus a part of the con-game applied by insiders.

        The internet, which is suppose to increase transparency, makes it worse as many green websites, particularly those run without known charity behind them, are just fronts for con-men and shills, who live off the advertising on their sites. They have no interest in popping any bubbles.

        In the end, for any charity that becomes dependent on either professional managers or professional money raisers there is a constant pressure: Money is no longer a tool to advance the mission, but rather the mission becomes a tool to get money. This pressure is like the continuous flow of a polluted river along a dike, by it’s very nature it searches out cracks and erodes the structure until the dike fails, and the pollution pours in and becomes the new norm. This is the nature of Capitalism, it corrodes the humanity of anything it touches, but the idea of the professional executive management , removed from stakeholder/shareholder concerns, applies leverage to this corrosive property.

    1. Massinissa

      If the Republicans broker the election to elect Kasich or Rubio, I wonder if the Trumpers would all stay home/vote libertarian in protest.

      If the Trumpers and BernieBros all stay home it might be one of the most unpopular elections in living memory.

  5. JTMcPhee

    Recall the wisdom of Frank Herbert re AI: “Thou shall not make a machine in the image of a human mind.” There were very good species-survival-based reasons for the (fictional, of course) Butlerian Jihad…

    Of course, if projectors and proponents and techforitsownsake lovers see a couple of apparent ten-baggers in it, who can possibly stand in the way of “progress?”

    What outcomes do “we” want from” our” political economy, again?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Take the worst of the human brain, combine it with the worst of a machine – that’s likely what we will get. Call it Murphy’s Luck.

    2. Brian

      I have been reading Sci and Sci Fi for half a century. There are few stories where intelligent machines help their creators. One contradiction is Asimov. But then he wrote the book and the 3 laws that have found their way to modern times.
      AI will not help organic I.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The tragedy is that, as we pine for intelligent machines, not-intelligent machines are taking over.

        And it’s is so, I think, because not-intelligent machines are cheaper to make than intelligent machines.

        And more money for the rich.

        “I don’t mind (as much) losing my job to an intelligent machine. But to a not-intelligent machine? What do I say to my wife and kids?”

    3. Uahsenaa

      AI research still hasn’t really overcome Dreyfus’s critique of it, which is funny when you consider how extensively Dreyfus himself works with AI researchers. In this paper, he puts it rather succinctly:

      AI researchers need to consider the possibility that embodied beings like us take as input energy from the physical universe and respond in such a way as to open them to a world organized in terms of their needs, interests, and bodily capacities, without their minds needing to impose meaning on a meaningless given, as Minsky’s frames require, nor their brains converting stimulus input into reflex responses, as in Brooks’ animats.

      To unpack that a little, the fundamental problem with AI historically is that it tries to model intelligence entirely in a top down manner, brain/mind as cpu working its will upon peripherals/bodies. Dreyfus, following Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, shows that human thinking is 1) motivated (which was the point psychoanalysis was always trying to make) and 2) contingent in such a way that as one’s body/mind enters into relations with phenomena in the environment or “events” (in the sense of the German Ereignis) those relations take on a specific character in that moment and may not resemble relationships between the very same phenomena in other moments.

      An example: your hand, a hammer, a nail, a board. The relationships between these four things initially, when you need to set the nail is one in which the force you exert is more tentative and precise, but once the nail is set, the nature of the relationship changes in such a way that now you’re directing far more force through the hammer into the nail so as to drive it in. This is a form of thinking, precisely because the body is under the guidance of one’s active awareness but that awareness must also be responsive to the flow of condition shifts in the environment as well as one’s place in it. If your hand cramps or a loud car horn suddenly goes off, the nature of the relationships change and you have to adjust.

      1. NeqNeq

        Dreyfus’s critique was aimed at artificial “human” intelligence. His criticism does not hold up so well if you expand the definition of “intelligence”. Or, at least this is what I seem to remeber of Dreyfus….maybe I am wrong? Anyway, most AI researchers, currently, agree that human-analogous intelligence is way beyond anything they do (and perhaps ever could do). When AI gets talked about, though, the distinction is often ignored/glossed over (especially by science “reporters”) which leads to all kinds of problems.

        1. Uahsenaa

          The problem is things like the Turing Test were developed with human-like AI in mind. You can look at any number of branching logic systems, query systems, algorithms, and evaluate their “intelligence” according to a nonhuman standard, of course, and that doesn’t even take into account how much of a debate there is in the social sciences about what intelligence even is, whether it has multiple vectors, whether the distinction between rational and emotional thinking is reasonable, etc.

          I’d much rather people talk about algorithms than AI, which are far scarier in the here and now that than hypothetical robot overlords. The ways in which algorithms function as codified/commodified judgments that seem natural simply because their machinations are invisible (like Pagerank or various biometric scanning matrices) is downright terrifying.

          And then the Marxist in me always asks, who owns the equations?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            One day, robots will test humans to see if the latter can pass for robots.

            “Can we put a human beyond a screen, and by asking questions, see if that human can fool us robots into thinking that human is a robot?”

            Now, many humans think other humans act/think like robots.

            But I think only real robots can tell what it is like being a robot.

      2. participant-observer-observed

        the fundamental problem with AI historically is that it tries to model intelligence entirely in a top down manner, brain/mind as cpu working its will upon peripherals/bodies

        Historically this may be so. However, the development of brain-machine-interfaces has produced increasingly sophisticated neurofeedback devices over the past 5 years or so. There undoubtedly nefarious uses, but for paraplegics, spinal cord injured, blind, etc., the therapeutic prospects are profound.

        1. Uahsenaa

          Absolutely, when it comes to biofeedback, the advances are quite remarkable, but I think people who get queasy over ROBOT OVERLORDS are really looking in the wrong place. A mechanical arm still subordinates judgment to the person it’s attached to.

          Algorithms, on the other hand, make judgments, more precisely judgments that have the rather convenient habit of benefiting certain classes of individuals over others. That’s far scarier than an artificial eye or spinal graft.

    4. RMO

      How about the Puppeteer’s attitude? “No truly sentient species designs its own replacement”
      As far as I know Asimov’s laws only came about because he wanted to write a story where the robots couldn’t be “evil” which is why he made the imaginary physics of the positronic brain such that it was impossible to make one without the laws being built into it. Of course then he went on to figure out ways they could still cause problems even with the three (or four) laws being unbreakable.

  6. fresno dan

    It’s drummed into every police officer and federal agent during training: They must report every time they discharge their gun on duty and justify each shot.

    So Tuesday’s announcement that a member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team allegedly failed to disclose two gunshots fired at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum seemed inconceivable to former FBI agents and criminal justice experts.
    State police troopers fatally shot Finicum moments later when he reached for a gun in his pocket, according to the FBI and investigators led by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Finicum was one of the top spokesmen for the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a bird sanctuary 30 miles southeast of Burns.

    Investigations are now underway to sort out what happened with the FBI shots. A special agent from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s Office, the FBI’s Inspections Division and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office are examining whether the shots were justified and the reported failure to disclose them. Four other FBI Hostage Rescue Team agents are also under investigation.

    Premature to say the FBI shot at the Oregon standoff participants prior to them drawing their weapons….on the other hand, it can’t be discounted either. Also, just another example of the blue wall of silence in that other “law enforcement” choose not to obey laws with regard to themselves (i.e., reporting all the gunshots).

  7. Cat Burglar

    The article on the obsession with efficiency seems to conflate physical efficiency — performing a given amount of work with the least expenditure of energy — with economic efficiency: least cost production.

    These aren’t the same things, yet lots of economic reporting and commentary contains the same — I would say deliberate— confusion. So whatever price clears the market fastest must also involve the most physical resource efficient way of doing it, eh? (And I won’t even get into Pareto efficiency here.)

    1. diptherio

      This is something I complained about during my formal econ education and was duly mocked for: defining “efficiency” in such a way that whatever is currently being done is, by definition, efficient. Concepts of environmental sustainability, material efficiency (most work for least energy), and social equity have no place in the economist’s counter-intuitive definition. Using slave labor to mine plutonium is totally efficient, so long as the slaves couldn’t be made better off without the slave-owner being made worse off…

      Many specializations end up using common words in uncommon ways, but economics tends to totally invert the common meaning of many of the words/concepts it makes use of. “Efficiency” means Pareto Efficiency; “Demand” means effective demand; “Shortage” means people want to buy more than there is, not that there isn’t enough to go around to satisfy everyone’s needs, etc.

      1. jsn

        Yes! To the extent that environmental externalities are not taxed viciously and to the point of extinction, what the mythomaniacs who call themselves economists consider to be efficiency is diametrically opposed to ecological efficiency. And I know of no place or time where environmental externalities have been taxed viciously to the point of extinction, so as it stands at present the BS economic conception of efficiency is simply a program of resource exhaustion maximization, it’s the reason they can believe in infinite growth on a finite planet: they’re deluded by own mythology.

      2. Ivy

        As long as MRS = MRT, then all is right with the world.
        Forget about externalities.
        Those two lines sum up what many feel about the artifice of orthodox economics.

      3. participant-observer-observed

        I accept your point, but there may be some interesting analogous conditions when comparing to a strictly physics perspective, where the topic is classically the Carnot work cycles and the relationships between potential energy and kinetic energy.

        For example, the more “kinetic energy” is creamed out of the economy, say, for example, by off shore tax haven storage of liquid profits, a virtual black hole of potential energy, the less is available for productive work, etc., leading to a fast negative convergence of capacity to do work. Similarly, stock buy backs fail to work, i.e., do no conversion of kinetic to potential energy and vice versa, increasing the negative entropy of the system.

        Thermodynamics modeling of physical systems efficiencies might have something useful to tell economics, analogously.

          1. diptherio

            Oh, it’s Shivaratri today? Enjoy that! Smoke ’em if ya got ’em ;-D

            Econ could definitely learn from thermodynamics, although given the problems physics envy has already led to, it’s probably best not to encourage them…

    2. cnchal

      Productivity and efficiency are loaded words, and context is in the details.

      Efficiency, by itself, is not the challenge of an advanced economy. What is? At a simple level, as Michael Porter has argued, productivity. Productivity isn’t just making stuff cheaper — it’s making stuff better. What do real-world productivity breakthroughs look like? Cures for cancer, vaccines, the internet, iPhones. They are not just minor-league conveniences; they truly and dramatically change lives. They create new markets and new categories. They let you do more stuff, not just get it done faster or through someone else. They create new growth opportunities for other companies who can build on top of them. Yet in many ways, it is precisely our ruthless, relentless pursuit of efficiency that has cost us productivity-creating breakthroughs like these.

      What is called real-world productivity breakthroughs are technical advancements built on previous technical advances.

      Today, economists are furrowing their brows and searching for causes of a productivity slowdown.

      The irony is completely lost. Here are the useless eaters, chowing down on six figure salaries or more, unable to determine why something as mis measured as real world productivity doesn’t conform to their models. How productive is that? Can it be measured? Can they be fired? Would firing some of them lead to better results from the rest?

      I think the answer’s hidden in plain sight. It’s damned hard to come up with life-changing breakthroughs when you’re trapped 25 hours a day on minimum wage being an on-demand insta-butler…dogwalker…chauffeur. And yet these services are in demand because the people who want them are also working 25 hours a day for the companies that make the smartphones, drone-deliver the toilet paper, and coordinate the on-demand cars.

      Crapification summarizes the above paragraph in one word. We are getting further and further from Keynes ideal work week of 15 hours. Now it’s 25 hours per day.

    3. NeqNeq

      I am not sure that such a conflation is really a problem because this is merely a silicon valley manager-speak fluff piece. Seriously. He is all about “innovation”& earth shattering “breakthroughs” which lead to “social progress” and real “value” to people… iPhones, the internet, and vaccines (he also says cures for cancer…but we dont have those). All the things he is cheer leading are so ambiguous that they are meaningless.

      Thats not to say his piece is not useful. It can be great if you have buzzword bingo games with colleagues, students, etc.

      The only thing worth salvaging from the piece is that its silly to worship “efficiency” as-if it is a standalone concept. Efficiency is always and everywhere in relation to a system. Increases in efficiency merely accelerate the natural tendencies of the system.

    4. NeqNeq

      Left a longer reply, but it looks like it disappeared into the void. Short version:

      This is a silicon valley fluff piece with no real content, therefore its safe to ignore. Author is all about “innovation” and earth shattering “breakthroughs” which bring “true value” to the people.,.like iphones. All terms which are so ambiguous that they lack any information.

      1. susan the other

        I liked the flavor of the link so much i couldn’t believe it was Harvard. But the unspoken contradiction is this: without efficiency not enough profit/capital is accumulated to invest in productivity. So this is more dancing around the bonfire of capitalism.

  8. david s

    Saw a bumper sticker this morning:
    Hillary 2016
    Michelle 2024
    Chelsea 2032
    Malia 2040
    Sasha 2048

    Heaven help us. This country will be a smoldering heap of neoliberal slag if that happens.

      1. aumua

        It seems like it, because that bumper sticker implies rather unambiguously that only women who are the wife or daughter of a man who was president.. have a chance at being president. I think that might be a little sexist.

  9. Jim Haygood

    ‘Commodity rally unlikely to last! Warning Jim Haygood!’

    Nobody actually knows where markets will go. All we can do is respond to what’s observable.

    Commodities’ fate is tied inversely to the dollar. The Fed’s trade-weighted dollar index has slid about 3.5% since its recent high on Jan. 19th. Not coincidentally, that’s when gold started showing signs of life. Dollar index chart:

    In turn, the dollar’s slide likely was prompted in part by a perception that the Yellenites, suitably chastised after their ill-timed December action, have backed off from their ‘four rate hikes or bust’ mantra. Stay tuned for the next nail-biting FOMC statement on Mar 16th!

    1. Brian

      Everyone has the right to choose water or air to breathe. If we continue to put our efforts into imaginary paper creations subject to the whims of a criminal element, we eventually lose everything. It is the “feature”. We have tried assigning imaginary value now for 160 years or more. Others have tried it too. It always fails and typically ends in war. We have borrowed enough to become desperate and paranoid about an uncertain future based upon paper and promises.
      When will our delusions end?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think imaginary value has been around since the beginning of the world.

          “The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things…”

  10. Dave

    Re Obama’s “bank reforms”, is it true that Dodd-Frank mandates paying off CDOs and other exotic financial instruments ahead of paying off depositors in the line for FDIC insurance?

      1. Dave

        Thank you.

        I’m going to close my Bank of America accounts today and shift the money into a credit union.

  11. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Re Bernie

    Does anyone have the data to compare who voted for McGovern v. who’s voting for Bernie?

    The line some push that Bernie would lose like McGovern, or the idea that he’s unelectable b/c too radical, doesn’t ring true as a matter of the underlying voters. Bernie pulls so many independents, and there’s real crossover with Trump voters, and there’s Rs who like him too. But it would be really great to get an actual data profile of each’s voters.

    Full Disclosure: I’m a Bernie Delegate for NY CD-1, so my perspective is not neutral; I firmly believe that not only is he electable in a general, he’s more electable than Hillary

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      IMO, 1972 US was much different than 2016 US. IIRC, the middle class was still ascending its standard of living. I don’t recall wall street having such a stranglehold on the govt. Not as much hatred of the status-quo as now. But I didn’t pay that much attention to politics back then except protest rallies for Vietnam.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I honestly cannot comprehend the hillary “electability” argument.

      Her “public service experience” has led two-thirds of the population to conclude that she is “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.”

      How on earth does this lead to the conclusion that she is more “electable” than Bernie Sanders?

      Is there ANY argument beyond simply stating her superior “electability” as fact?

      1. NeqNeq

        The reasoning (that I have been given…so warnings about anecdotes and small samples apply) is this:

        Bernie is so far left that “independents” and “moderate s” will be driven into the arms of the R candidate OR will abstain from voting. Hillery, though disliked, is seen as more centrist in her views…. thus MORE likely to snag some independent/moderate votes.

        Basically it plays off the “do anything to prevent a R president” trope.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          ….. is seen as more centrist in her views….

          That’s the part I don’t get. How do you convince yourself that you even KNOW the “views” of someone who is “dishonest” and “untrustworthy?”

          1. NeqNeq

            Oh sorry, looks like i glossed that part. Her actions are used as a proxy for her “real” views. She acts more like a republican than Bernie talks, so she is more likely to get votes.

            Not saying its good thinking, all else considered, just reporting what i have been told.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          This is nonsense. “Progressive” positions like ending the warz, strengthening Social Security, higher minimum wages, regularly poll large majorities or at worst healthy pluralities. The problem is the media and the political apparatus are well to the right of where the voters are, hence they have a huge vested interest in depicting what are actually mainstream view as far out leftie.

          1. NeqNeq

            Agree with polling point. Weirdly, though, when push comes to shove people seem to abandon their stated preferences in voting booths.

            Wrt to voters being left of media/parties… I don’t know anymore. More and more I am convinced that people don’t have collections of preferences which are robust enough to be easily mapped. *shrug*

      2. shinola

        “Is there ANY argument beyond simply stating her superior “electability” as fact?”

        Well the obvious one, of course, is that IT IS HER TURN.

    3. Bev

      No, but some information about 1972 election from Richard Charnin is important:

      1968-2012 Presidential Election Fraud: An Interactive True Vote Model Proof
      Richard Charnin
      Jan. 22,2013

      The 1968-2012 National True Vote Model (TVM) has been updated to include the 2012 election. Anyone can run the model and calculate the True Vote for every presidential election since 1968. Only two inputs are required: the election year and the calculation method (1-5). These deceptively simple inputs produce a wealth of information and insight.

      In the 1968-2012 elections, the Republicans led the average recorded vote 48.7-45.8%. The Democrats led the True Vote by 49.6-45.1%, a 7.4% margin discrepancy.

      The calculation methods are straightforward. Method 1 reproduces the Final National Exit Poll which is always adjusted to match the official recorded vote. It is a mathematical matrix of deceit. Consider the impossible turnout of previous election Republican voters required to match the recorded vote in 1972 (113%), 1988 (103%), 1992 (119%), 2004 (110%) and 2008 (103%). This recurring anomaly is a major smoking gun of massive election fraud.

      Methods 2-5 calculate the vote shares based on feasible returning voter assumptions. There are no arbitrary adjustments. Method 2 assumes returning voters based on the previous election recorded vote; method 3 on total votes cast (includes uncounted votes); method 4 on the unadjusted exit poll; method 5 on the previous (calculated) True Vote.

      In the 12 elections since 1968, there have been over 80 million net (of stuffed) uncounted ballots, of which the vast majority were Democratic. And of course, the advent of unverifiable voting machines provides a mechanism for switching votes electronically.

      Final election vote shares are dependent on just two factors: voter turnout (measured as a percentage of previous living election voters) and voter preference (measured as percentage of new and returning voters).

      The TVM uses best estimates of returning voter turnout (“mix”). The vote shares are the adjusted National Exit Poll shares that were applied to match the recorded vote.

      It turns out that the Final Exit Poll match to the recorded vote is primarily accomplished by changing the returning voter mix to overweight Republicans.

      Also, the Guardian article is trying to count superdelegates for Hillary:

      Bernie Supporters please read:

      Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s Super Delegate Fraud.
      The AP headline read: Super delegates Help Clinton Expand Her Lead Despite NH Loss.

      It was and is a complete fabrication. Another way of putting it would be fraud. Initiated by Clinton and the DNC and unfortunately aided and abetted by two ignorant AP reporters (and others like CNN) who didn’t know ( or maybe didn’t care) that they were being snookered and simply swallowed what was thrown at them. It would help if people who actually think they are reporters would check DNC rules regarding the use of super delegates.
      Clinton saying she picked up 87 super delegates after New Hampshire has the same affect and same weight and real influence on the nomination as if she had picked up 87 empty beer cans. Well,no, that’s not true because the beer cans would be worth more if they had a 5c deposit.
      ADDENDUM: This article has been updated to include the 1984 Democratic convention which is the only time super delegates have ever voted and then voted for Walter Mondale who won the most pledged delegates during the primaries, 1606-1164 confirming that pledged delegates won during primaries is the standard for nominating a presidential candidate. And does not change the fact that super delegate votes do not count unless cast at the convention and non-binding declarations that Clinton included in her totals are completely bogus.
      NOTE: CNN is still showing super delegate totals for Clinton included with her pledged delegate totals that don’t actually exist and may never exist and for now and until the convention and they are cast, if ever, are pure fiction. John King is one of the worst offenders but so is Wolf Blitzer. The Sanders campaign needs to hold them and other media outlets accountable.

  12. Arizona Slim

    Bernie has a track record of doing well among Republicans in VT.

    Why? Because VT’s Rs are like the Rs in many rural states. They’re farmers and small business owners. They like how Sanders stands up to big corporations like Dean Foods.

  13. fresno dan

    Donald Trump Is Alienating Neoconservatives—and Antiwar Democrats Should Worry Nation

     The danger in Kagan and Boot’s professed support for Hillary Clinton is this: Should even a few influential neocons return to their party of origin, the marginalization of progressive-realist foreign policy voices within the Democratic Party would continue apace. How could that not be the case, in a party that plays host to both liberal interventionists and neocons?

    I’m having a tough time with the Nation’s logic. I don’t think marginalization of “progressive-realist” foreign policy with the dems is because of Kagan and Boot’s past SUPPORT for Hillary, or that it would appreciably increase with their future support. They support policies (Nation admits that neocons started out non-partisan), and when Hillary is for mid east adventures, they are right behind her (to the extent they disagree with her, it is because they want MORE war). But those two individuals (or the entire neo con establishment) voting for Hillary or supporting Hillary I think has precious little to do with the diminution of the anti interventionists in the dem party.

    Its high time that the neo con strangle hold on repub foreign policy be challenged. Collapsing the myth that every repub genuflected to “Bush kept us safe” and that Iraq worked out well was long overdue to being acknowledged as ridiculous. Maybe it took Nixon to go to China, and it takes the brash, brazen, outlandish and outragous Trump to say it, but I am very glad people in the repub tribe at least got a choice.

    The idea that as a whole giving sanctuary to neo cons in repub land makes dems less susceptible to neo con influence is silly. The neo con argument should be challenged and refuted everywhere – giving neo cons an impenetrable base in no way weakens them – it makes them stronger. If Trump were to actually show how unpopular neo con policies are with the American people AND repubs, I would say it would be the most important thing to happen in this country in 20 years.

    If dems don’t want “progressive-realist” foreign policy advocates marginalized, than dems should CHOOSE to NOT MARGINALZE them!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just like making the klan unwelcome, you start with realizing that you disagree with what they want.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If I recall correctly, there was a recent link, South something, that talks about the neocons have every candidate covered…they have their ‘man’ in each team.

  14. barrisj

    Lost in all the Wed. a.m. blather re: Bernie/Hills/Trump is the abysmal performance yesterday by Marco Rubio, who no longer surely can get any traction on “significant third-place finish” interpretations of his basic lack of popularity. I suspect his SuperPAC will fund him through FLA, then shift support to Cruz…oh, well, there’s still some funding available for Rubio’s planned B&B in Cienfuegos, Cuba…sherry and biscuits in the afternoon, full “American” breakfast, and an autographed copy of “American Dreams:Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone” for all guests…now accepting bookings.

      1. fresno dan

        That’s why there’s microwaves. Plus, wine gets aged, cheese, gets aged, even beef gets aged….I don’t see why spaghetti and meatballs can’t…

        1. Synoia

          I too age food, then I pass it. You are welcome to my aged food, post an address and it will be all yours.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Louis C.K. on Donald Trump: ‘He’s an Insane Bigot, He Is Dangerous’ Variety

    Louis C.K. used a few other choice words as well.

    And in a “related” story, George Clooney Calls Donald Trump ‘a Xenophobic Fascist’.

    So much name calling.

    So, after decades of hobnobbing with the likes of the clintons, bushes and obamas at black-tie fund-raisers and White House Correspondent’s galas, and basking in the reflected glow of each other’s importance, these entertainers have finally woken up to the fact that “governing” is more than star power and the people are angry.

    Where were the high profile mass boycotts of these star-studded events in protest of, say, the Iraq War or the Patriot Act or TPP? Or how about denouncing the obvious propagandizing of “films” like Zero Dark Thirty or American Sniper?

    Now that the people have decided to fight back by voting for Trump as a protest against the establishment, these paragons of “entertainment” virtue are going to call BS?

    Go to Haiti.

    1. fresno dan

      I agree.
      But these are the “serious” people, and when they speak with big words in earnest tones….why enhanced interrogation is not torture. And they have thousands upon thousands of pages of rationale for that conclusion.

    2. clinical wasteman

      Actually perhaps the entertainers should stop going to Haiti, or at least keep their Charity to themselves until another Dessalines is waiting for them.

      1. RMO

        From the Louis CK email quoted on RS:

        “implored fans to vote anyone besides Trump. “And I’m not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal,”

  16. Propertius

    Wow, can’t they see what this produced 30 years later?

    Of course they can, but that will be someone else’s problem. Elites everywhere are masters of “kick the can”.

  17. ekstase

    That’s a shame about Fairway, legendary among foodies. Maybe they should have stayed smallish and local. But I do remember someone saying to me, in recent years, “I guess that’s where you’d go, if you were up there,” meaning that by then, there were so many other options in other places in the City.

  18. ekstase

    That ostrich video is just begging to be a metaphor for insanely chasing your political opponent down the campaign trail. Funny, they don’t show how it ended.

  19. Gio Bruno

    RE: Cloud seeding in LA

    Just a few months ago LA spent several million dollars to increase the height of levees on a particular segment of storm channel (adjacent to high-priced homes) to prevent flooding from large rainstorms. (Left hand meet your right hand.)

  20. ewmayer

    o Re. Why Obama says bank reform is a success but Bernie Sanders says it’s a failure | Pravda-on-the-Potomac: Because Obama’s metric for successful bank reform is that there be none, simply put.

    o Re. Senior U.S. immigration judge says 3 and 4 year old children can represent themselves in court | Boing Boing (resilc) — Presumably they can be tried as adults, engage in enforceable legal contracts with corporations, erm I mean other people, and be drafted into the military, as well. Why should the American Dream™ of debt slavery and militarism be selfishly arrogated by the 18-and-over oldsters?

  21. Synoia

    Our Economy Is Obsessed with Efficiency and Terrible at Everything Else

    “The Economy” (note lack of agency) is pretty terrible at efficiency. Look at the Health sector at twice the cost of equivalents.

    Efficient for whom, one may ask? Rentiers?

  22. Veri1138

    Our Economy Is Obsessed with Efficiency and Terrible at Everything Else

    Actually, I am dealing with Dell. Computers are not high margin items. Dell sent me two of everything using 2nd day shipping. A total of three items being returned, that were sent 2nd day. And they are paying for the return. The CSR offered me $150 off if I kept the kit. I declined. Think they made a profit?

    An apparel company doesn’t stock the most popular size of jeans. Apparently, they don’t want to make money. Have to wait 7-14 days to get jeans. In America.

    Same goes for shoes in my size and even cheap orthopedic inserts. Hardly efficient. Wait… wait… wait…

    Many items I find overseas? Good luck finding over in The US. At least not without tremendous markups and lots of searching. Once went looking for an item at a decent price. Three States, two years, one item (out of two stocked) in a store in the middle of nowhere. And at a decent price. In Europe? Walk down the street for 15 minutes or less… and… no problem.

    Argued with a guy over the Internet about efficiency. He claimed he could go online, look at the pictures. Order the item. And get something within five days to four weeks. The item I can get in about an hour, no it is correct and of quality, and returns are fast and efficient… overseas. In America? Wait… wait… wait… hope you don’t have to return the item and then go looking for a replacement… all over again. His justification for American “efficiency”? He could look at the pictures.

    America? Buy cheap sh*t. Replace it multiple times. Ending up costing multiples. Overseas? Buy quality once and save money.

    Think about the resources used in the above examples. The gasoline used to send everything willy-nilly. The amount of time, wasted. Etc.

    Band t-shirts? Western companies make cheap band t-shirts at large markup. In E. Europe, knock-off companies were producing illegal band T-shirts. At much better quality. At much better prices. The clothing company I know about wanted to know how they could co-opt the knock-off businesses. Our verdict? The marketing companies can’t compete in price or quality.

    Recently bought an item manufactured in Europe. High quality and wanted by hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Problem is, shortly there will be no more of that item in The US. Regulations and the company doesn’t wish to sell in The US, anymore. Once the stock is sold, there will be no more in The US, except ones obtained overseas and maybe smuggled back into The US. Reminds me of unlocked GSM phones available overseas, well before The US ever got to buy them.

    There are many like this.

    American efficiency is a myth, when it comes to delivering good quality products in a timely fashion. Among the worst I’ve ever encountered. I take that back. They are the worst.

  23. ira

    I’m originally from the UWS, and I used to shop almost every day at Fairway when that was their only store. Now that the ‘wall street is greedy and fraudulent’ memes seem to be widely accepted, it’s time for an equally important concept to be unleashed: way too frequently, finance is parasitic on real value-creating economic activity.

    ‘The company borrowed, and borrowed some more, growing on a foundation of debt that hugely eclipsed its capital. Eventually, Fairway decided to go public, a move that many say was disastrous’: bugs for production and service, features for finance.

  24. evodevo

    “China is turning to Reaganomics to fix its economy”
    Does that mean they’ll be shipping our jobs back??

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