Links 4/6/16

I’m a little behind, so your full roster of Links should be up by 8:00 AM. Early visitors please come back then!

Better Batters Perceive Ball as Bigger Scientific American (Chuck L)

Humans become aroused when touching robots in ‘sensitive’ places, Stanford University study finds Independent (Chuck L). I wonder if this reflects suggestion by the researchers.

Why Some Societies Practiced Ritual Human Sacrifice New York Times (Steve C)

Fiddling over fossil fuel while world burns Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Half of Scotland’s energy consumption came from renewables last year Herald Scotland (martha r)

Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels Bloomberg

The Inclusive Cost of Pandemic Influenza Risk NBER (resilc). If you need something new to fret about: “Estimates of the long-term annual cost of global warming lie in the range of 0.2-2% of global income. This high cost has generated widespread political concern and commitment as manifested in the Paris agreements of December, 2015. Analyses in this paper suggest that the expected annual cost of pandemic influenza falls in the same range as does that of climate change although toward the low end.”

Publication Bias Is Boring. You Should Care About It Anyway. Mother Jones

A spiritual successor to Aaron Swartz is angering publishers all over again ars technica (Chuck L). Elsevier saying it’s not a bad guy is risible.

Barclays becomes the first big UK bank to back a digital currency firm Reuters

‘Disturbing rise’ in global executions BBC

Mossack Fonseca

How tax haven fury went mainstream Financial Times

The Panama Papers’ Sprawling Web of Corruption New York Times. Wellie, the news types say they can’t say anything about the Panama Papers because they don’t have access to them, but this editorial steps into the breach.

How offshore banking is costing Canada billions of dollars a year Toronto Star (Sid S)


Massive gold heist money scheme among Panama Papers revelations MSNBC (furzy)

A Wall Street darling is buried in the Panama Papers Business Insider

Panama partners in crime Golem XIV (Qrys)

The Panama Papers: A Tropical Tip of the Hidden Wealth Iceberg Institute for New Economic Thinking. An interview with Gabriel Zucman, a world-recognized expert on hidden wealth, who is now at UC Berkeley.


China’s 450 million millennials, the new miracle Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “Capsule summary: Paid Kool-Ade drinker says ‘this time is different’. Note the emphasis on the need for ‘improved messaging’ by the government. Ignore that collapsing global demand and those robots coming for manufacturing workers’ jobs … we simply need to get better at telling da peeps how great things are!”

Fitch: Why a Chinese hard landing is unlikely CNBC

Millions of people in Bangladesh still drinking arsenic-laced water Guardian (resilc)

Refugee Crisis

EU plans radical migration shake-up Politico

European Commission to unveil new EU asylum options BBC

The Problem with NATO American Conservative (resilc)


The CIA Just Backstabbed Obama Russia Insider (Wat)


Revolutionary Guards Turn Against Nuclear Deal and Government EA WorldView (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How a federal spy case turned into a child pornography prosecution Washington Post. I’m told that whistleblowers worry about having kiddie porn planted on their computers as a way of getting rid of them. And this case reads as if the porn could have been placed.

Friends make a drone-controlled CHAINSAW and use it to hack at trees Daily Mail (resilc)


Hoisted from e-mail. Furzy’s good friend Carol L sent this to the New York Times today:

Do the Milwaukee County results mean Hillary’s vaunted firewall in the black community has cracked more than the media admits? Milwaukee County is almost 27% African-American and 14.2% hispanic, according to the US Census, but Hillary only beat Bernie in that county by about 3.5%. In New York state, 17.6% of residents report themselves as African-American and 18.6% as hispanic. Pennsylvania is 11.6% black and 6.6% hispanic, with New Jersey 14.8% African American and 19.3% hispanic. Predominantly white counties went Bernie by wide margins. Milwaukee County, which is very conservative, must make the Clinton camp at least a little nervous….

Final result per the WSJ: Sanders 56.5%, Clinton 43.1%. Note most polls had him ahead by only a couple of points. On the Republican side, it was Cruz at 48.3%, Trump with 35.1%, and 14.1% for Kasich.

Sanders deals new blow to Clinton Financial Times. One of the more positive headlines.

Clinton Can’t Get to New York Fast Enough After New Sanders Win Bloomberg

Year Of The Outsider: Why Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Rebellion Is So Significant Social Europe

17 States to Go! Democrats and Indies Can Still Register in Most Daily Kos (furzy)

Bernie To Hold Rally In Washington Square Park NYULocal (martha r). That is REALLY a small park for a metro area like NYC.


Politico (Jeff W)

Hillary Needs a Plan for Tackling Tax Havens New York Magazine. So she can pretend to be anti-something when she was demonstrably for it earlier, like the TPP and fracking?

Oil Companies Donated To Clinton Foundation While Lobbying State Department International Business Times

Cruz wallops Trump, setting up delegate brawl Politico

Cruz victory: Strategy will now focus on unbound delegates. Slate (resilc)

Trump’s defeat will not prove a turning point Financial Times

Why the Establishment Hates Trump Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Obama’s Endorsement Of Debbie Wasserman Schultz Brings In Serious Money… For Her Challenger Huffington Post

Department of Justice opens investigation into Arizona’s election disaster Salon

North Carolina’s Anti-LGBTQ Law Just Cost It a Huge PayPal Office and 400 Jobs Wired

Police State Watch

Top NYPD brass wrongly accepted splashy gifts: source New York Daily News

Inversion Surprise!

US tax crackdown provokes foreign fury Financial Times

The US finally cracked down this week on corporate tax dodging—and it is already working Quartz

Pfizer Scraps $150 Billion Allergan Deal Wall Street Journal


Low oil paradox: Why economy has not gained from big drop Financial Times

Oil prices are jumping on a possible OPEC deal to freeze output Business Insider

ASIC and Westpac face off over rate rigging Sydney Morning Herald. Davin: “I think some bank traders must just want to get caught. Why else would they say openly on tape: ‘I know it’s completely wrong but f— it, I might as well, I thought f— it. We’ve got so much money on it we just had to do it, right?'”!

The Coming Default Wave Is Shaping Up to Be Among Most Painful Bloomberg (resilc)

Negative rates deepening liquidity trap Financial Times. Very good set of stories today at the pink paper.

Puerto Rico’s Senate Declares Debt Moratorium New York Times

Class Warfare

How a billionaire hedgie hopes to fix corporate America Yahoo (furzy). Anyone who touts “free markets” as virtuous is at best intellectually incoherent and at worst a propagandist defending the status quo. I don’t trust this as far as I can throw it. And Lambert sent confirming information (and then some!) for my initial reaction:

I may be painting this picture too colorfully, but Paul Tudor Jones is that lunatic donor who helped get UVa President Sullivan fired because a cabal of board members and Deans got all excited about MOOCs and thought Sullivan wasn’t heaving classroom professors over the side with sufficient alacrity.

It was a horrid episode filled with stupid people, the only redeeming feature being the student protests that got Sullivan reinstated.

Save me from billionaires with bright ideas.

Skeptics Said $15 Minimum Wage Movement Was Unrealistic — 60 Million People Are Now Slated to Get It Intercept

Antidote du jour (martha r):

turtle mother links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. frosty zoom


    sanders by 13, cruz by 13 = headline:


    1. Harry

      I was thinking exactly the same thing! It’s not “crushing” when it happens to HRC. It’s one of her super powers, like being born with a lead in super delegates, and a monopoly in media coverage.

      I just love that phrase, the Pantsuit Panderer. Should be a Marvel comics character.

      1. hreik

        Well, to be honest, she bought all those supers w the DNC arrangement and the money “laundering”.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you think Trump is the Anti-Christ, then, he must be crushed and crushed again.


        Cruz crushes him.

        Orange(hair) crushed

        Donald can’t duck this crush

        Crush, crush, crush

        Well, you get the picture. It becomes a mantra for these very frightened people.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The Guardian did something similar – and even (hilariously) suggested it was a disappointing night for Sanders because of the delegate count (and they then gave figures which included the super delegates). And the writer was a fivethirtyeight contributor, which says something about that sites accuracy too.

        1. fosforos

          If you had been following their natterings about Corbyn you wouldn’t have used the word “now.”

    3. Vatch

      I can imagine what the articles in the mainstream press will be like: Now that Hillary Clinton has demolished Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin by a lopsided score of 43.2% of the votes against a pitiful 56.5% for Sanders, it’s clearly time for Sanders to withdraw from the race.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Along those lines, I added the Wisconsin delegate count to the results for the sixteen 2012 blue states which have held primaries to date.

        Totals: Sanders 666, Clinton 658

        This isn’t the procedure used to select the D party nominee. But electability hinges on nominating a candidate with appeal in states that can actually deliver D party electoral votes.

        New theme song for Hillary’s campaign: “Money Can’t Buy Me Love”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Over on the R side, they worry that Trump will be clobbered by Hillary, and that’s why every Republican must vote for Cruz.

          Important people from both parties have a lot to worry about this year.

        2. TomD

          I like the idea, but I’m not sure it’s actually sound. The blue states will go blue regardless, if you want a “strong” candidate, you’d look at battleground states. Clinton did well in Florida, Virginia, and Ohio. Iowa and Nevada were essentially draws. Bernie did well in Wisconsin that some times goes R, and did well in Colorado.

          Then you’d look at possible map expansion. Could Bernie pull in Indiana (went Obama in 08, Romney in 12)? Or maybe some of the western states he’s running so strong in? Likewise are Clinton’s ties to the south strong enough to do something like winning North Carolina like Obama did in 08?

          Personally, Clinton seems just so status quo, I can’t imagine her doing any map expansion, but it is something to consider.

          1. Jim Haygood

            You’re right, battleground states are more critical. But identifying them involves shifting polls and judgement calls.

            Using 2012 blue states is an objective criterion for a first pass analysis. Some of those states could easily shift red if the D party’s nomination procedure is perceived as corrupt by the party base.

          2. Vatch

            The result in Ohio was probably distorted by Democratic voters crossing over to vote for native son Kasich in the Republican primary.

      2. Bev

        Bernie did better in Wisconsin than the numbers reported:

        Democratic Primaries – Wisconsin

        Democratic Primaries – All

        Those states in Yellow (listed below in non-yellow text) that were Likely Stolen


        MA Primary: Unadjusted Exit poll Indicates Bernie won
        Richard Charnin

        Late changes to the MA Democratic Primary exit poll indicate that the election was likely stolen. As always, the exit poll was adjusted to match the recorded vote.

        Sanders led the Unadjusted MA Exit Poll Gender crosstab (1297 respondents) by 52.3-45.7%. The poll was captured from CNN at 8:01pm .

        Clinton led the adjusted exit poll (1406 respondents) by 50.3-48.7%, a near-exact match to the 1.4% RECORDED vote margin. But her 50.3% share was IMPOSSIBLE. The proof is self-explanatory: How could Clinton gain 114 respondents and Sanders just 7 among the final 109 exit poll respondents?

        Clinton won by 51-49% on electronic voting machines from ES&S, Diebold and Dominion. Sanders won 68 hand-counted precincts by 58-41%. He won 250 of 351 jurisdictions and had at least 58% in 110.

        The probability is 97% that Sanders won the election given the 3.55% Margin of Error. The MoE includes the exit poll cluster effect (30% of the 2.72% calculated MoE). Sanders 53.4% two-party share and the MoE are input to the Normal distribution function to calculate his win probability:

        P = 97% = Normdist (.534, 0.5, 1.3* MoE/1.96,true)

        Then there are the states that Bernie won where he did better than reported.

        Michigan Primary: Sanders did better than his recorded vote indicates
        Richard Charnin (with John Brakey)

        This analysis indicates that Sanders did much better than his recorded vote in the Michigan primary.

        A Preliminary Probability Analysis of the Wisconsin Primary

        Richard Charnin
        April 6, 2016

        This is a preliminary analysis of the Wisconsin Democratic primary exit poll and recorded vote discrepancies.

        Bernie Sanders had 563,127 votes (56.5%) and Hillary Clinton 429.738 (43.1%). But the early exit poll indicates that Bernie most likely did even better.

        1. TomD

          I’ve read that Sanders is doing much better on election day and a few primaries that Hillary “won” were only due to early voting too.

          It’s hard to say how many would have switched, but interesting.

          1. Bev

            In addition to the changed votes you are suggesting because as more information, more time to acquire information, voters themselves would have changed their votes within that short time between early voting and primary day voting, would be the high probability that because of the problems inherent in early voting being open to days worth of manipulation, I think it serves the public interest to count those early votes now. There is a paper trail. Like Kerry in Ohio, the counting showed tape, white out, and a number of counties reported that they had lost the paper ballot evidence, itself a indicator of fraud. Count those early votes now.

    4. sid_finster

      Trump is less.of a threat to their profits than Bernie, as Bernie is the only candidate serious about campaign finance reform.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It takes a hacker to catch a hacker.

        If that’s correct, it will take a billionaire to really contain other billionaires.

        But real-time can be difficult on the mind, and we don’t really know which threat is more threatening…often, not even afterwards, when looking at it as history.

    5. Left in Wisconsin

      I give us a B+ here in Wisco. 60% would have been nice. New York: your turn.

      I thought this was about right from The Hill (5Takeaways …):

      The simple fact of her defeat was setback enough for Hillary Clinton. But there was even more worrying evidence for her supporters as they drilled down into the exit poll data.

      Her capacity to reach beyond the Democratic Party base is seriously in question: While she ran even with Sanders among registered Democrats, he beat her by more than 40 points among independents.

      Clinton’s performance among young voters was even worse — bordering on horrific. Among voters aged 29 and under, Clinton won just 18 percent to Sanders’s 81 percent. Even among those in the 30–44 bracket, the former secretary of State lost by a two-to-one margin.

      The young are a vital constituency for Democrats, and Clinton just isn’t clicking — unlike President Obama, who commanded enormous and impassioned support from younger voters during both his presidential runs.

      If November’s general election is competitive, that could be a very dangerous Achilles’ heel.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        On the other hand (also from The Hill):

        “I think it’s exciting to be, in effect, protesting,” Clinton said later during a television appearance Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

        “I remember, I did that a long time ago when I was in my 20s, and I totally get the attraction of this,” Clinton said, adding of Sanders, “a lot of the young people like both of us.” She acknowledged, however, “they really like me” and “they really, really like him.”

          1. craazyboy

            No, no. It was when the Goldwater girls were touring with the ‘Dead and protesting the Vietnam War. But a lot of young people don’t know about that nowadays, but that’s no reason they can’t still like Hillary.

            Sally Field as the Flying Nun is a dead ringer for Sarah Palin, as I used to point out on NC back in 2008, and I had youtube Flying Nun vids to back it up. Hillary could be confusing herself with Sarah Palin, but that’s a different issue altogether. (Flying is done remotely nowadays)

        1. Bas

          Yeah, millennials be really cute:

          “I remember, I did that a long time ago when I was in my 20s, and I totally get the attraction of this,”

          And then, I sold out, and the thrill is gone, but that’s the natural order of things when you become a “grownup”, ya know? Millennials gotta be slaves, so suck it up, it’s the way it is.

          1. TomD

            That was right around the time she was a Goldwater girl. So she was protesting racial equality I can only assume. How thrilling.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                A real inability to say what she, in and of herself, is, she’s just a roving power-hungry orifice that aims at and hoovers up any source of food in her vicinity.
                In medical pathology maybe that makes her a macro-phage?
                “A type of cell that engulfs and digests debris, foreign substances, and cancers”.
                The sci-fi world is full of evil creatures that behave in this manner…they’re usually very hard to kill.

        2. Dave

          Yeah, like they really like a nagging “aunt”, but laugh at behind her back.

          More Croné Capitialist Cocktail Circuit Corruption.

      2. Jerry Denim

        CNN reported last night that she lost the female vote in Wisconsin, not a slice of the demographic, but the entire block. Clinton’s support among her “key constituencies” are rapidly collapsing. Women, African Americans, Latinos. I predict her support among super-rich white democrats and the very old will hold, but I’m not seeing a winning coalition there.

        1. diptherio

          Perhaps world leaders have all been reading that new book on statecraft: How to Get Ahead Through Capital Punishment

        2. perpetualWAR

          I’m glad that my idea of making heads roll has caught on. Let’s now move this trend to Wall Street.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In ancient China, being strangled with silk rope was preferred over decapitation.

          Of course, you would want to avoid death by a thousand cuts entirely.

          In Japan, though, the situation was slightly reversed – seppuku followed by decapitation was deemed the honorable way to go.

          Today, in both countries, they would probably consider a bullet to the head more humane than decapitation.

          Proving, once again, knives are scarier than guns.

  2. MikeNY

    Good piece by Scott Minerd in the FT.

    It’s long past time for CBs to admit that they have done all they can. I was very surprised to see Roubini hint the other day that CBs may buy equities next. I guess I shouldn’t have been; we are many, many miles and years away from free financial markets, with Congress and the Fed in a toxic co-dependent relationship, and Yellen acting like Mr Market’s battered wife.

    What a mess.

    1. cnchal

      Yesterday, from this post, quoting a Mr Irwin.

      . . . The United States would keep adding jobs at a steady clip. Wages would rise gradually — enough to put more money in workers’ pockets, but not so fast as to lead the Federal Reserve to move abruptly to keep the economy from overheating.

      One wonders how a worker is supposed to calibrate asking for a raise? If one asks for too little, money is “left on the table” and if it’s too much, the Fed is startled, like a cow in a field, and stampedes in an unpredictable direction, trampling millions of ants underhoof.

      What a mess, indeed. The same people that cause the mess are supposed to clean it up, but they just can’t help themselves and leverage the mess into a great big mess. Worse than useless eaters, as the crap they leave behind is toxic.

      1. abynormal

        RingDaBell cnchal!
        Central Planners can’t wipe their ass (no historical comparison for the depth of the quagmire)…leaving Us with Nothing but the STINK of their Over Paid Thinking !

        1. cnchal

          The stink emanating from ripening financial fruit will be with us a looong time. That’s their legacy.

          The other day, I stumbled onto a Bloomberg article about the Smith Electric Motor Company, or some name like that, and the story was, how sad that workers making a top rate of around $16 per hour after decades of working there were axed and their jobs moved to Mexico, and how glad and life changing in a good way the new jobs of $1.85 per hour were in Mexico. They could live in a company compound in what looked like a 200 square foot concrete hut and enjoy themselves. According to Bloomberg, ain’t life grand in Mexico now.

          Who keeps the surplus $14.15 per hour, and how many Chevys do they buy?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Never utter ‘fast rising wages’ when surrounded by central bankers.

        Your Freedom of Speech insurance does not cover that.

      1. MikeNY

        Someone pls correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the Fed is restricted to buying AAA-rated securities, and has limited itself to buying Treasuries and MBS.

        Under ‘ordinary circumstances’, bien sur.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was thinking of the reputed ‘plunge protection team.’

          It may be just more conspiracy stuff. I have no idea, directly or indirectly.

          1. MikeNY

            I personally doubt that the PPT exists. They have plenty of other tools (conventional and unconventional) to manipulate markets, as has become patently clear.

  3. Michael McCartney

    I love the site, but I disagree with you on free markets. However, we really don’t have them, as corporations have gamed it. Pro business is not pro market. Luigi Zingales is doing a lot of great work on this. I think you have linked to a few of his posts from his new blog. May need to distinguish the pro market v pro business argument a bit more. I am definitely not defending the status quo, as changes need to be made. Citizens United is a bust. Cialdini, the foremost expert on influence, shows that reciprocity is one of the most powerful influencers. Money=Reciprocity. HUGE PROBLEM>

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There is no such thing as “free markets” and anyone who uses that term with a straight face hasn’t thought it through. Markets need outside enforcement, as in the rule of law, regulations, a state apparatus to function. This is ideological claptrap that astonishingly has worked as propaganda.

      For this section of ECONNED, I used the term “neoclassical paradigm” interchangably with “free markets,” the topic of the chapter. An extract:

      When the seller knows more than the buyer (or vice versa), commerce in the neoclassical framework becomes costly. One option is dealing only with vendors a buyer has used before successfully. Even then, he runs the risk that the seller pulls a fast one now and again, taking advantage of him in ways he cannot readily detect.

      If sellers cannot be presumed to be trustworthy (and the dictates of maximizing self-interest say they in fact won’t be), consumers have to either spend money and effort to validate the quality of their purchase or accept the risk of being cheated.

      Consider purchasing a computer in the neoclassical paradigm. The buyer has no way of being certain that the computer lives up to the vendor’s promises. So the consumer will have to bring an expert to test the computer’s functionality at the time of purchase (does it really have the memory and chip speed promised, for instance?). The seller will need to be paid in cash, otherwise the buyer could revoke payment.

      And what happens if the computer fails in a few weeks? Assuming the vendor has not fled the jurisdiction, the only remedy is litigation, or an enforcer with brass knuckles.

      But even that scenario is too simplistic. It assumes the buyer can evaluate the expert. But in fact, if you aren’t a computer professional, you can’t readily assess the competence of someone who has expertise you lack. And even if the person you hired is competent, he might arrange to get a kickback from the seller for endorsing shoddy goods. The same problem holds true in any area of specialized skills, such as accounting, the law, or finance. Many people judge service quality by bedside manner, which is not necessarily a good proxy for the quality of the substantive advice. And as we will see later, one of the factors that helped create the crisis was the willingness of investors to buy complicated financial products based on the recommendation of a salesman who did not have the buyers’ best interests at heart.

      An example of the dangers of the neoclassical model lies in the sad fate of Eben Byers, an athlete, industrialist, and man-about-town of the 1920s. After sustaining an arm injury that refused to heal, his doctor prescribed (and received a 17% rebate on) a patent medicine. Byers thought it did him a great deal of good and began taking the potion two to three times a day.

      The drink, Radithor, was radium dissolved in water. Radioactive products were in fact touted as remedies, but most were too weak to do much harm. Unfortunately, the industry had become well enough established to have started to compete on product strength, and Byers got the real deal.

      Byers lost his teeth and most of the bone mass in his jaw, and before his death, developed abscesses on his brain and holes in his skull. But the maker of the toxic potion was never prosecuted, since selling radium drinks was not against the law.

      By the time Byers had the vast misfortune to use Radithor, the risks of radium were coming to light, as factory workers who painted radium onto clocks and would use their lips to establish a point on their brushes were developing lip and mouth cancers. But the potion makers nevertheless continued to sell their tonics until Byers’s death killed the industry.

      While the example may seem extreme, the point is simple. Byers was a wealthy man; presumably his doctor was well regarded. Byers was unable to make an independent assessment of Radithor and paid for his trust with his life.

      And the sellers of the toxic product violated no law; in fact Byers got what he paid for, a radium drink. But the neoclassical paradigm simply assumes that honesty is not a problem (or that the market will weed out bad actors, despite also positing that individuals are out for number one), and that the court system is a sufficient remedy for violations of contracts or basic human decency.

      1. Harry

        Quite a punchy example of how relaxing the symmetric information axiom required by Arrow-Debreu invalidates the pareto optimality result!

        But also, what’s so good about Pareto optimality anyway. It’s not much of a basis for morality.

        1. jsn

          The language you use here only has meaning as a shiboleth, outside your tribe it prevents communication

          1. Harry

            Ya gotta know the code to get the status quo justifying scumbags engaging with you. Although, sadly that’s a necessary but not sufficient condition.

            I guess put another way, it’s about what it means to say free markets are good things. If we were ever to have free markets again.

            Probably better to say Economists gonna economist….

      2. Parker Dooley

        So, reductio ad absurdum, doesn’t the existence of a court system violate the purity of the “free market”? And can the courts be trusted not to be looking out for “number one”?

      3. Greg Marquez

        Hmmmm… Pretty sure the “free” in free market refers to the ability to enter the market and compete, not to freedom from rules or regulations. It is the competition which produces the efficient result.

        And yes a market must have rules, and enforcement of those rules to remain free, to remain a place of open competition. The mafia is always trying to limit competition so as to maximize profit.

        No we don’t have a free market, but that’s partly because the enforcement authorities aren’t doing their job.

        1. James Levy

          Um, you hit on the salient point: “refers to the ability to enter the market and compete….” We are not, and cannot be, unless we all have the same amount of capital and the same information, able to enter the market and compete on anything like an equal basis. You are asking for a return to 1776 Britain were the costs of entering markets were low, you had hundreds of firms competing with each other, little in the way of economies of scale, and technology was primitive and easily accessible. That’s a cute world but we don’t live in it and haven’t for well over a century. If Donald Trump with his dad’s money and connections enters the “free market” and I do the same (with neither), he wins and I get frozen out. Period. What you are hoping for is a return to some magic Golden Age which may have existed but certainly does not any more, and any inheritance of wealth or connections automatically nullifies your “free market” and makes it a rigged market.

          1. Vatch

            Even in the idealized world of 1776 Britain, there was at least one highly privileged firm with monopolies, the East India Company.

            1. Isolato

              The natural end result of a “free market” is a monopoly because it allows maximum pricing power. In the absence of regulation eliminating competition through acquisition or cartel is the successful strategy. The idea of small companies competing on a level playing field is utopian fiction.

              1. vlade

                absolutely, as the positive feedback effects are just too strong. It’s even utopian in a regulated market to be honest, as the most effective way to deter a competition is NOT to come with new and better products, but buying the politicians (well, the ruling elite really) to create the right regulation.

            2. fosforos

              The “squirearchy” held monopoly power over the most, and by far, important part of the economy: the land, water, and forests.

          2. Greg Marquez

            I don’t disagree but the solution to that problem has nothing to do with the market. Tax inheritances higher, raise income taxes, equalize access to education, shorten the length of patents and copyrights…

            The solution to imperfect competition isn’t to eliminate the technical openness of the market. By doing that you’re just substituting one form of limited access to opportunity for another. You’re just substituting the bureaucrats kid for the rich guys kid.

          3. Dave

            Michael Hudson’s book, “Killing The Host…” does an excellent job of historically examining all this, plus far, far more. Best book I ever read on econ.

          4. optimader

            We are not, and cannot be, unless we all have the same amount of capital and the same information, able to enter the market and compete on anything like an equal basis

            Over generalization.

            How did the Slide Ruler Monopoly work out? Innovations does not necessarily have to have the capitalization of what it makes obsolete.

            Heck, on the small scale, in Chicago which is very high mortality restaurant market, the value priced excellent hotdog or Italian beef joint will perform very favorably across the street from the corporate sht sandwich shop that carries the parasitic franchise burden..

            The persistence of a monopoly is a product of government intervention to subsidize lower marginal costs. Government subsidization is not a feature of “free markets”, it is rather a corruption.

            Of course you get “frozen out” if you try and compete beyond your scale. The Italian beef joint can knock off a Subway franchise next door, but that doesn’t scale to taking out the Corporate entity. That is notionally unrealistic and always has been.
            You successfully compete where you think you can create some advantage with your innovation, whether its a better calculator or a better sandwich.

            I doubt that trying to do an uncapitalized Manhattan real estate development startup competing head to head with entrenched participants would ever have a happy ending. I think you need a better example of the unfairness of the “free market” than that.

                1. Skippy

                  Sorry opti… I don’t confuse Physiocrats laisse faire la nature” (‘let nature run its course’) w/ its more modern re-decanting in the form of Free Markets as anything natural…. too 17th century…

                  That said at least the warning about corporations was informed.

                  Skippy…. population and environmental factors alone preclude such reductive models…. agrarian – artisan economic philosophy is a bad template in this reality…

                  1. optimader

                    Mmmm.Central planning then?

                    BHOs and HRCs and their sycophants that cant even organize and run a TARP or create decent excuse for an insurance scheme, let alone even a functional webpage should be further empowered to be turn’in the knobs and pulling the levers to balance supplys with needs and wants.
                    Or what?

                    Firesign Theatre – The Breaking of the President (1971)

                    1. Skippy

                      Neoclassical central planing has been a dismal failure, so why not try informed democratic capitalism…

                      By the way all the references above are the direct result of the aforementioned. Its not like we have had decades of ratchet effect destroying institutional memory via a wide array of nodes being afflicted [education, media, civil service, et al] with its philosophy. The term dumbing down of America is apropos here.

                      Skippy…. its not like NC has not unpacked all this over the years….

                    2. optimader

                      mmm.. ok, I would like to see a model for democratic capitalism that has been organized successfully in a large economy..

                      What we have now is Corporate Socialism in a state of denial. So, how to get there from here.

                    3. Yves Smith Post author

                      Look at Japan. Despite the Western hand-waving about how terribly they’ve managed their post crisis economy (and the crisis was due to the US forcing very behind the curve Japanese banks to deregulate rapidly, never forget that Japan is a military protectorate of the US), everyone who visits Japan says it looks prosperous and they see very few signs of distress compared to the West.

                    4. optimader


                      informed democratic capitalism…
                      If achievable it would is a credible ideological alternative to the Representative Democracy we once had I suppose, but isn’t a “free market” still the operative organizing market principle in the Democratic Capitalism form?

                      If not, what is?

                      If we rewind the history of the US tape a bit, isn’t the underlying root problem really the corruption of our Representative Democracy rather than the particular ideological flavor of representative government we engage?
                      To be blunt, we really only have a shadow of the Representative Democracy and free market alleged.

                      From my perspective, our Representative Democracy has been substantially bought off, all three branches to some degree, to sustain and advance Corporate Socialism. This is the root dysfunction that needs to be confronted.

                      This POTUS election cycle should be provide at least two stark object lesson for any objective citizen that cares to receive
                      –our representative democracy is being/has been largely bought. Some vestigial kicking and gnashing of teeth, But still. largely bought and no longer in pursuit of honest representation of the best interests of the citizens (electorate).

                      — the “market”, is substantially NOT a free market.

                      Soooo. whether ideologically organized as an informed Representative Democracy with a free market or informed Capitalist Democracy (Democratic Capitalism) with a free market doesn’t matter a whit when the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches are all operating for the benefit of special interests rather than to execute the will of the electorate.

                      Or do I have this all wrong?

            1. optimader

              Nordic Capitalism ( Sweden Denmark) are interesting reference points. Similar to Japan, they do deflect from the US with their common cohesive cultural values and homogeneity of population.

              Admirable standards of living/healthcare and they are free market economies that notably lack the pervasive corruption and huge corporate socialism/MIC parasitic drag the US is saddled with.

              Bernie was right to call them out as admirable economic success case studies, but implying they are socialists is incorrect, or at least an incomplete generalization.

              They do operate with free market economies BTW

        2. inhibi

          Maybe we should change “free market” to “business tax equality”.

          There is no reason a larger corporation should pay lower taxes. None at all. In fact, the only way I can see to mitigate massive corporations getting a foothold would be to criminally prosecute management for whatever illegal actions a company commits, be it fraud, bribes, etc, REGARDLESS of the person at fault.

          This would essentially promote smaller businesses, because the larger the business, the more responsibilities that begin to pile up on management, and the greater the risk of potential prosecution.

          Just my 2 cents.

          1. optimader

            There is no reason a larger corporation should pay lower taxes.
            Exactly right. “free market” should not mean no rules, or rules by class.

            Rules of the game should be uniformly applied, by a government (think: referee) operating with a reasonably expected level of integrity.

        3. optimader

          Pretty sure the “free” in free market refers to the ability to enter the market and compete, not to freedom from rules or regulations.
          Absolutely. And we don’t have that, so laying the blame for our socioeconomic dysfunction on the concept of “a free market” (as opposed to any other market approach has it’s eventual limitations)

          because the enforcement authorities aren’t doing their job.

          or are, but as directed by legislated asymmetric benefit, which is surely not a principle of “free market”.

          Case in point, the developing “alternative energy” industry as opposed to the fossil fuel industry. The former has been fighting a adversely legislate headwind for decades as opposed to the latter which has traditionally had the runway foamed by asymmetric codified legal, advantages,and I mean lopsided advantages, with Municipal, State and Federal subsidization every step of the way from the tax depreciation of the depleting resources (much of which trace back to rigged federal auction giveaways) that have no relation to the resource value, –all the way to the point of consumption.

          So no, from my perspective much of the angst about “free market” is unrelated to “free markets”, more reasonably directed at corruptly legislated special benefits and ignorantly, evilly distorted or utterly ignored enforcement of well intentioned legal framework.

          Considering the consumer computer example, If the seller intentionally misrepresents the product, in a “free market”, is that no longer fraud?
          If the hypothetical”free market” were to theoretically to eliminate codification of what constitutes fraud (not sure there is any logical reason to think that) then I suppose that would be a “free market ” opportunity for a fraud prevention industry. Think: Consumer Reports/ Fraud prevention Insurance)

          The radium example from apprx.100 years ago was either a tragic illustration of ignorance at the threshold of scientific knowledge, or fraud, if the intention was to poison people. More related to health, safety and welfare policy than market approach I think.

          At that time many people were taken out by ignorance of the toxicity of radioactive sources, M Curie being a notable example.

          An interesting sidebar: You can book you visit at the Radon Spa of your choice:

          1. Alejandro

            That seems like a long comment to say that “free markets” depend on the government, but it’s the government that disrupts its “freedom”. May be wrong but it seems like a catch-22 or a “dog chasing its tail”…or maybe “free markets” is another one of those lofty abstractions that can’t seem to find real world referents.

            1. optimader

              I consider “free market” to be mostly red meat jargon, subject to suit the particular axe being ground by the user. BTW, you do appreciate that “free market ” is not a synonym for capitalism, right?

              Sorry for the elaboration er.. “long comment”, I know they rarely happen here! HAHAHA.

              If you prefer a pithy approach, Try this:

              1.) (We agree?) a hypothetical “free market” indeed depends on government implementation of uniformly applied codified law.

              2.) it’s the government that disrupts its “freedom”. is vague. It could be that government is what ensures free markets by performing as a third party referee ( law enforcement). Are you suggesting that extralegal “freedom” or special interests are inextricably a feature of free markets, I don’t want to put words in your mouth.

              At a practical level, the notion of utterly equal access to information at the time of a transaction is unlikely, but in modern times dealing in peer networks subject the individuals (buyers/sellers) to the assessment of the peers. That’s the way my business works anyway. If I am perpetually screwing buyers I am culled by the peer network and visa versa.

              sorry if I wrote and overly “long comment ” again

                1. optimader

                  Certainly subject to rhetorical interpretation, no?
                  Define free market, then explain an arrangement you prefer as a better alternative.
                  Do you prefer regulated markets and consequent regulatory capture? How’s that working out now on price discovery?
                  How about a Nixonian Price and Wage control scheme?

                  Not saying I have all the answers, but OTOH using the term free market as an epitaph because there are disagreeable people that use the term to excuse bad behavior -without suggesting a better scheme is …unrevealing.

        4. Jerry Denim

          “No we don’t have a free market, but that’s partly because the enforcement authorities aren’t doing their job.”

          Hhmm. Now why do you think enforcement authorities aren’t doing their jobs?

      4. Antifa

        And even the court system is going away with the spread of binding arbitration : “If you buy or download this product you agree to give up any right to sue us. We get to decide if we’re wrong or right. Awright?”

        And North Carolina’s new transgender law removed the right of any citizen to sue for discrimination of any kind in their State courts. Gotta go to a Federal court now to even state your case.

      5. subgenius

        So, Byers experience was an early taste of “civilisd” society’s response to the climate fiasco….?

      6. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Excellent punchline about the premise that for necons “honesty is not a problem” and “the courts offer sufficient remedy anyway”. Would that either statement was true.
        If you don’t get your premises right then the entire model becomes worthless.
        And re: CB’s buying up equities, there is not nearly enough through-the-looking-glass stunned outrage at that practice. Our “money mechanics” have gone from simply adjusting the carburetor to ripping out the entire drive train…and nobody seems worried in the slightest. “The car’s running rough…I know, let’s rip out the differential and put in a rubber ducky, that might work”. It’s utter madness.

      7. Plenue

        Well David Graeber said that there have been examples of true (or near enough) free markets in China and the Arab world, but precisely because there was little to no government oversight they never advanced beyond a certain relatively crude point. When cutthroat competition literally involved slicing peoples throats, everyone was cautious and hesitant.

      8. RMO

        Once again I find myself considering just how odd the economics professors I had must have been. They all made the point that “free markets” don’t really exist. One of them said that the ideal of “free markets” that’s so common now was foolishly like trying to think of them as some fundamental force of the Universe – that a particular type of market was something we simply had to deal with, like gravity or the laws of thermodynamics when they are actually an artificial structure created by humanity and that we have had many types over the years. It gets doubly funny when a “free market” fanatic describes them as virtuous, as you’ve pointed out. That would be like saying the phenomena described by quantum chromodynamics are virtuous…

  4. Llewelyn Moss

    Hillary Clinton has ‘lost patience’ with Bernie Sanders, will ramp up attacks

    The Hillary Clinton campaign has “lost patience” and will start going after Sen. Bernard Sanders much harder and hoping to destroy his campaign, CNN reported Tuesday night.

    In a report after Mrs. Clinton’s latest defeat at the hands of the Vermont socialist, reporter Jeff Zeleny said the Clinton campaign has decided that party unity can come later.

    Ok perfect. Bernie, you heard Hellery. The lady who lives in the glass mansion wants to destroy you. Hahaha.

    1. Dr. Roberts

      The problem is that Clinton’s attacks will get media play and Sanders’ will be met with silence. He can use the debates, but those only reach a limited audience. The only possible positive for Sanders might be that Hillary will look bad going after him, and it might just backfire so badly that it does more damage to her than Sanders.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        I hope Bernie wins NY. Then we can watch everybody say that victory is meaningless also. I think HRC is starting to lose her monolithic hold on the black vote. Black people can vote for whoever they want to. If their preacher stumps for HRC, they should tell him to go to hell.

        1. roadrider

          If their preacher stumps for HRC, they should tell him to go to hell.

          Actually, in that case, his church should lose its tax-exempt status and he should be subject to whatever civil or criminal penalties pertain to using a tax-exempt institution for political purposes.

          1. Antifa

            Sadly, the IRS has studiously ignored the most egregious violations of its own rules on churches politicking. It was widespread and organized in the 2012 election.

            A few recent news stories mention the IRS finally responding to citizen pressure and going after a few highly political churches. But it sure isn’t a trend, or their favorite thing to do.

          2. fosforos

            The preachers did their stumping long ago when they taught little children that The Jews (cf. Bernie Sanders) murdered Baby Jesus

      2. nippersdad

        That is the likely result. Every time she is even perceived as having attacked him, it only serves to give him further ammunition for fund raising. I’m not sure who she thinks this will persuade, but it won’t be the Sandernistas.

        Just thinking about it makes me wonder if we have donated this month….It’s almost Pavlovian. We salivate at the thought of attacks now.

        1. nippersmom

          We’re on an automatic donation plan, so we donate every month. We’ve not yet done any “extra” donations this month, but it IS only the 6th :)

      3. Harry

        I wouldn’t worry. If the HRC campaign had it in their power to really deal with Sanders they would have done it already. I think they just recognised that Sanders supporters are not going to be good little girls and boys just cos Krugman and HRC say. Lets see if threatening them with Cruz or the Donald fixes that.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          Hillary: “All we have to do is get our big-time surrogates (eg Barney Frank) to tell the Bernie voters they’re “uninformed.” (ie “stupid”). That will “bring them to heel.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            it makes one wonder if Sanders would have been better off running as an Independent.

            Some people are just beyond redemption.

            “You must destroy a party, in order to save it.”

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Sanders’ profile was too small. I think he would need to be the senator of Florida, Texas, California, or New York to do that or have a John Glenn or Chuck Yeager caliber non political career to make up for not having access to local Democratic meetings in Iowa and New Hampshire.

              Or connected to the right person, such as Jesse Jackson with his connection to King.

            2. Jerry Denim

              No way. Sanders has had to struggle to be taken seriously even as a very solid candidate on the Democratic ticket. An independent run would have meant a complete and total media blackout, no debate coverage because no debates, and very serious ballot access problems. he probably would have missed the ballot in half the country.

              If Sanders doesn’t clinch it this year and his health holds up, an Independent run could be feasible for him in 2020. With his greater name recognition, brand, and 2016 campaign infrastructure/donor list Sanders would be a real contender, but the ballot access problem would remain. If his supporters stay engaged and energetic I have no doubts those issues could be overcome.

      4. James Levy

        It is unfair that women normally get hammered for “going negative” (it should either apply to all or no one) so in this case I think it unfortunate that Clinton will be hurt by it. Lord knows she has enough negatives that she should never be nominated, but if I were Sanders I would try to steer this thing back to the issues and ignore how “mean” Hillary might get. Sanders has avoided condescension and patronization up to this point and he’s better off if he does so straight through the convention. A shrill Hillary is her own worst enemy.

        1. TK421

          It is unfair that women normally get hammered for “going negative”

          Do you have a source for that claim?

          1. James Levy

            Do you live in the world? How many times have you heard women who are assertive be described as bitches, or who are not all smiles derided as “nasty” or “shrill”? Men who act like Donald Trump get fortunes and television programs. Women that gauche and nasty get the Leona Helmsley treatment.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Anything further on the story that John Podesta (just HRCs campaign head) was caught up in the Panama Papers?
          (I think it was a glancing blow, with the company Podesta founded with his brother implicated or something)

    2. MikeNY

      Can’t wait for Krugman’s hissyfit and schooling of the dumb voters on this result…

    3. Kulantan

      This makes sense of the Administration’s push to rebuild a miniaturised nuclear weapon stockpile. Much like the SADMs were meant to be used by commandos to blow up bridges to halt the march of the USSR across Europe in the event of war, Hillary is no longer content with merely burning her bridges and must go nuclear.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Yes. One nuclear option, which goes active if New York primary results disappoint, is to retire her consort “Bill” from the scene.

        Somber scenes of Hillary looking presidential in her widow’s weeds and veil, amid the pomp and circumstance of a state funeral, would provide an immeasurable boost to her flagging campaign.

        “Kill Bill” — it’s just such a sensible idea, it almost has to happen.

        1. craazyboy

          Except the mental association of Hillary = Uma Thurman is hugely disgusting. That would ruin one of my fav flicks of all time.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Second nucular option, ok, nuclear option:

          Bill got caught cheating again (on purpose this time, probably staged, but many will not believe it), generating sympathy votes for Hillary, as she is forced to finally divorce him.

          “Men run the world. Women are second class citizens, if they are lucky enough not to be chattels.”

    4. different clue

      Is the Washington Times still a Sun Myung Moon front paper? If so, can it be trusted to report truthfully on this matter? Or might it exaggerate the “coming Clinton nastiness” as a ratfuckery excercise in sowing
      deeper bitter division in the Democratic Party social-space? Is that a fair question to consider?

  5. Carla

    Innumeracy: from Salon story on Arizona primary:

    “In 2012, Maricopa County had 600 polling precincts but cut that number down by more than two-thirds to just 60 four years later in 2016.”

    Uhm, that is not a two-thirds reduction. Other sources have cited a number of 200-odd polling places (which are not the same as precincts BTW) in Maricopa County in 2012.

    So I stopped reading there.

    1. ewmayer

      To be fair, 90% is “more than two-thirds”, so the Salon piece was factually correct. Whether they were deliberately engaging in soft-pedaling, that we can indeed debate.

  6. Brooklin Bridge

    Huff Po puts a Rethuglican on it’s splash page. Meaning, of course, Bernie won!

    In other news, the US has extradited the leaker who first brought Hillary’s email scandal to light and, I imagine, they are now focusing their attention on extradition of a journalist who mouthed Bernie Sanders name out loud on a national television station in his country. The charges will be decided upon and possibly even announced to the defendant long distance abuser of free speech at an as yet undetermined date after the conviction has been handed down by the judge.

    1. gary headlock

      I noticed that at HuffPo yesterday, also. Cruz wins what, his 2nd state out of the 20 or so that have gone, and the banner headline: “It’s A Race!!”. Sanders’ win relegated to a tiny sub-header box.

  7. Swedish Lex

    Personally I do not see any value in NC providing links to sources more or less linked to the Kremlin. While it is obvious that that NATO, the Pentagon, Obama, or whoever, have agendas that drive them to tell versions of each story that are not positive for Kremlin, it does not increase the value of adding pure Russian propaganda. Adding tons of BS where there already is kilos of it does not create balance it only makes things smell worse.

    Russia a couple of years ago started a media/propaganda war against Sweden (see the latest annual report of the Swedish security police). The web is a fantastic tool to spread disinformation en masse, in Swedish, to a Swedish audience. If these sources are to be believed, Sweden is embarking on a unilateral arms race with Russia, creating provocations by flying too close to Russian aircraft that incidentally do fake nuke attacks on Stockholm and turning around only a few kilometers before entering Swedish air space, being duped by NATO into believing that Russia actually could constitute some kind of military threat to Sweden, sinking in a tsunami of Muslim immigrants who have raped every Swedish woman ten times over and generally approaching a point where the Swedish state stops functioning altogether.

    Will NC soon begin providing links to Assad’s propaganda too, “for balance”?

    1. Skippy


      Information arb serves noone and this blogs motto has always been to develop critical thinking skills…

      Skippy…. seems most of your problems stem from being a buffer or a moat for past neocon policy’s, which emanate from a geographical secure location imo…

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Pretty much all of the US and UK reporting on Russia, Ukraine, and most of the reporting on the Middle East is propaganda. Reporters in the Middle East are all embedded unless they want to go out on their own (put their lives at risk) and most US journalists are fall in line. That means they get guided tours, seeing only what their minders want them to see. And that’s before you get to the pervasive use of access journalism to keep the MSM in line.

      So if the fact that something is propaganda or not is your basis for not reading something, you might as well stop reading the news altogether.

      1. Swedish Lex

        Yves, sure, a lot is distorted. Hence I read sources from different European countries with widely diverging agendas, views, visions and history. Reading a French analysis of Russia/Syria has very little in common with reading a German or a Swedish one, for that part.

        There are however different degrees in hell. Putting the European/US average at the level of what Russia is fabricating and presenting as information will simply lead you in the wrong direction.

        1. Ivy

          Shortwave radios are useful in finding out differing views on global events. Coverage from non-US sources, for example, often brings to light information that would be otherwise ignored.

        2. Cry Shop

          Head in the sand / positive ignorance / selling arms to thugs (Assad has to be in there) worked for Sweden in the past, probably will continue to work well for it in the future. (As US MIC and Bofors know, It’s good to be isolated from your customers by many countries/oceans, someone else pays the clean up costs). That method of ignoring profitable evil doesn’t make the Swedish way an admirable universal model, much less a model of enlightened liberalism.

          It’s useful to know what’s being said, even propaganda from North Korea contains useful information for those with the intelligence to harvest it.

          Lastly, is there a spyware on your browser that opens every link when you open NC’s home page? If so, then a better solution is getting your computer cleaned. If not, then stop clicking on those sources that upset you. If you can’t, then don’t expect others to compromise their lives to solve your compulsive disorder issues, that would be too Swedish.

        3. sid_finster

          So what do you think is fabricated? How has Russia declared a “propaganda war” on Sweden in a way that Sweden has not?

          Right now, from my.observation of facts, I would say that they generally favor the “Kremlin narrative.”

        4. susan the other

          Lex, watched PBS’s Frontline last nite. A show about The Vladimir. They showed rare pictures of him as a small child on his mother’s lap and referred to him as “strange”. He really did look like an alien! Frontline selected the strangest photo they could find no doubt. Frontline is usually more honest than the way they portrayed Putin as a clever con man, sociopathic, multi-billionaire manipulator. Which he may well be but look at what he and Russia have gone thru at the behest of Harvard since the 90s. Who wouldn’t? The worst thing Frontline did was insinuate that Putin’s riches were stashed away via a Panama tax haven, when in fact Putin is not referenced in the so-far published records. And Frontline did not mention Soros’ connection to the whole story. No doubt Soros knows about it because he has zillions ferreted away there too. Then the cherry on the cake was an ultra brief accusation about Malaysia flight 117 saying the missile was “of Russian origin” and letting a brain-dead audience infer that Putin ordered it. It was a hatchet job from beginning to end. So it is virtually demanded that we listen to a few things from the Russian press to counter all the garbage given to us by such a “trusted source” as Frontline. Shame on Frontline.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            if Frontline is ‘usually honest,’ it is because it reports more domestic affairs than foreign.

            And often domestic positive policies have negative international consequences – printing more money for the government to spend (on both domestic and foreign).

            It’s for the that reason that any revolution should spell out both domestic as well foreign affairs positions right from the start.

    3. JJA

      I doubt the Russian propaganda war against Sweden is anything like as pernicious as that waged by the editor of Dagens Nyheter against Russia on an almost daily basis.

      1. Swedish Lex

        That was really funny. I would be happy to read those texts by the editor of DN that constitute “a propaganda war”. Please send links.

        As a reminder, this is a general definition of what propaganda is and whatever link you provide should live up to this (wiki):

        “Propaganda is a form of biased communication, aimed at promoting or demoting certain views, perceptions or agendas. Propaganda is often associated with the psychological mechanisms of influencing and altering the attitude of a population toward a specific cause, position or political agenda in an effort to form a consensus to a standard set of belief patterns.[citation needed]

        Propaganda is information that is not impartial and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (perhaps lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or using loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information presented”

        1. Skippy


          Historically China and Russia have experienced more “flying too close” operations than one can count, hell China has that tourist attraction C-130 on display.

          If I were you I would be more concerned about Stefan Löfven pushing the Wallenbergs neoliberal cart [thank you SAF] than cold war Raygun hand wringing.

          Skippy… just saying…

          1. Swedish Lex

            Löfvén is pushing the Wallenbergs’ neoliberal cart in the same way that the Swedish neoliberals’ profits continue to be handsomely taxed in Sweden, providing for a Welfare state that is not perfect but still not worse than most on the planet.

            That “you push my cart and I will push yours” has been going on for 150 years or so and has transformed Sweden from Europe’s poorest country to one of the wealthiest, healthies and most democratic, in the world.

            In addition, most new growth and jobs in Sweden are created by start-ups run by young Swedes who count among the most entreprenurial in the world.

            And Sweden plans to be fossil free by 2050.

            If there is a blueprint for how to better organise a country and an economy, please send since the Swedes generally are open to new ideas on how to improve things.

            This description of Sweden, more or less, is in my view supported by 80% of Swedes. You may not share the view that while not perfect, it continues to work well for Sweden. The remaining 20% are either far-left or far-right. The are either high on “anarchy now and nationalise everything” or “Hitler was right”.

            But I presume that Sweden constitutes a threat to Russia and that Russia is correct in sending its subs deep into the Stockholm archipelago as a precaution.

            And IKEA is building a death star behind the moon disguised as a meatball

            1. YankeeFrank

              If I were you I’d be far more upset at US encroachment on Russian borders than Russia flexing against Europe. The Russian behavior is largely a reaction to the threats to its sovereignty the US has manufactured, and this after promises in the 90’s that we wouldn’t encroach beyond the then current NATO borders. We’ve been squeezing Russia for 20 some-odd years now. It is useful for us to understand their position on these matters. If you’re worried about Swedish sovereignty and Russian encroachment, you should be focused on what is making them act defensively. Hint: its not all about “Russian evil”.

              And given the propaganda blanket over all US mainstream media, I have welcomed some of the perspectives from RT and Russia Insider over the years, and I was introduced to those here on NC.

              1. Swedish Lex

                Exactly the response I was expecting.

                So totally historically ignorant about the specifics of the region.

                1. Clive

                  What regional nuances are missing from this summary ?

                  Okay, I’m a few hundred miles to the west, but here in the UK, we get periodic tests by Russian bombers of the RAF’s interception abilities that do little apart from cause Cornish landladies to complain to their MP about the noise. Meanwhile we have fully armed and combat ready Trident submarines (a recognised both first-strike as well as retaliatory capable weapon system) sent on courses which have them loiter in the Arctic Circle and the consequent ability to hit Moscow with a surprise attack in less than 20 minutes.

                  Tit, and, if I may be so bold, for tat.

                  Provocative silliness on both sides, but what is it you think that makes Sweden and Russia and different from the UK and Russia ? And what did YankeeFrank get so wrong ?

                  Or am I just being a Useful Idiot ?

                  1. Swedish Lex

                    Like all empires, the Russian one is exansionist and has simply rediscovered its old habits, fooling nobody in the areas with experience (wiki):

                    “The Soviet Union ostensibly sought to claim parts of Finnish territory, demanding—amongst other concessions—that Finland cede substantial border territories in exchange for land elsewhere, claiming security reasons, primarily the protection of Leningrad, which was only 32 km (20 mi) from the Finnish border.[28][29][30] Finland refused and the USSR invaded the country. Many sources conclude that the Soviet Union had intended to conquer all of Finland, and use the establishment of the puppet Finnish Communist government and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact’s secret protocols as proof of this,[31][32][33][34][35][36] while other sources argue against this idea of a full Soviet conques

                    1. Clive

                      Yes, and Spain wants Gibraltar “back”, Argentina wants the Falklands “back”, China wanted — and got Hong Kong “back”. China wants the Japanese Senkaku Islands “back”. The Republic of Ireland wanted Northern Ireland “back”. The Soviet Union (now no longer in existence) wanted Finland, presumably it would have added “back” to that sentence. There’s a list of territorial disputes as long as your arm.

                      What’s that all got to do with Sweden and Russia and why should Sweden have a particular chip on its shoulder about Russia ?

                      When it comes to defending itself against disputed territorial claims, if Sweden has to do so, it is hardly unique in that. And I can’t find any evidence that it does.

                    2. Robert Dudek

                      I have to think that this is Swedish paranoia at work. If Russia was indeed rekindling expansionism, the tanks would have already rolled through Kiev. Let me know when the tanks get to the eastern Polish border and then we’ll start talking about Sweden.

                    3. Plenue

                      Ah yes, so expansionist. Which is why their entire military has been built around independent brigades ill-suited for the kinds of operations that a war of conquest would necessitate for the last 20 years, until about a month ago when they finished reforming a single tank army. Which I will bet you anything will sit near the western border doing nothing other than the occasional war game exercise until such time as Russia is actually invaded. Which was, incidentally, the exact doctrine of the Warsaw Pact for the entire Cold War period: NATO strikes first, then Russia counter-attacks hard head on into the European offensive.

                      Let’s go down the list of Russia’s recent military ventures shall we?

                      South Ossetia: Georgia, apparently under the wildly mistaken belief that the US would back it up, attempts to annex a disputed region. They attack first, at which point Russia curb-stomps them and then goes home. They don’t conquer Georgia or remove its government, nor even claim the disputed region.

                      Donbass: Russia provides covert support to ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine under attack by their own government. It restrains the federalists from their more ambitious goals of full separation and either independence or integration into the Russian Federation.

                      Crimea: Russia annexes a traditional part of Russia, detached from the mother-country without the consent of its people half a century ago, after its people overwhelmingly vote to leave Ukraine.

                      The above two cases would never have happened had there not been a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Russia was perfectly content to continue having a key technological/industrial hub (Donbass) be Ukrainian, and to continue essentially renting their Black Sea ports in Crimea.

                      And Syria is Russia responding to a call for aid from an ally and conducting operations in a country with the permission of the recognized government of that country. The ‘civil war’ in Syria is a conflict that wouldn’t even be happening if not for the United States and its Gulf State ‘allies’ arming and training proxy armies. Russia doesn’t want another chaotic failed state in the middle-east, much less one a step closer to their southern border.

                      So their recent record is very consistent: they never hit first, they respond. I have no doubt they run attack exercises against Sweden. I also have no doubt they won’t strike first, any Russian attack on Sweden will be in response to Swedish cooperation in NATO action against Russia. If I were you I would be angry with your vapid, morally craven leadership that has rendered your country a defacto NATO member.

            2. Skippy

              That sovereign wealth fund is just one big PE firm running around the planet buying up critical national systems and engaging in un-competitive bottle necking markets with consolodation. Not to mention exporting manufacturing to China like Volvo – Saab – Nokia histrionics, so if your not a budding entrepreneurial engaged in increased financialization or technoglibertarian job killers…. your future is not so bright.

              Don’t understand your inference to far right as Stefan Löfven and party are far right historically. Which when neoliberalism is folded in translates to the rentiers taking over.

              I think this quote covers it nicely:

              Winding down the manufacturing base in Sweden did not mean an end to capital accumulation. Like Great Britain that had liquidated its coalmines and steel mills, Swedish capital would find other profitable outlets. As Thomas Murphy, a former CEO of General Motors, once put it: “General Motors is not in the business of making cars. It is in the business of making money.” This could apply as well to the Swedish bourgeoisie.

              In a March 1993 Monthly Review article titled “The End of the Middle Road: what happened to the Swedish model?”, Kenneth Hermele and David Vail describe where Swedish capital flowed:

              There was no special need to invest those profits in domestic productive ventures, since business was going so well anyway. Instead, the growing profits bred speculation and inflated the prices of real estate, art, stamps, and the like. In order to find an outlet for all this speculative capital, the Social Democratic government thought it necessary to eliminate the little control over international capital flows that it had previously exerted. Within a year or two, Swedish capital had spilled over into Europe and helped push real estate prices in London and Brussels to record highs.

              During the latter half of the 1980s, total direct investments virtually exploded, reaching 84 billion SEK (14 billion U.S. dollars) in 1990. The outflow of capital amounted to as much as 7 percent of Sweden’s GNP, or 60 percent of its domestic investment in 1989 and 1990. Approximately 35 percent of those investments were for speculative purposes (real estate and portfolio investments) and centered on London and Brussels. Swedish capital in fact became one of the most active investors in the EC at the end of the 1980s.

              This outflow of capital constituted a drain on Sweden’s financial resources, and it also meant that productive investments at home were kept low by the giant and quick profits that could be made on speculation both at home and abroad. As we know now, the bubble burst sooner rather than later, and the losses turned out to be enormous. In Sweden, the banking system lost an estimated 90 billion SEK (18 billion U.S. dollars) on the collapse of the real estate market. Here, private and public commercial banks and the normally-conservative savings and loan institutions had all participated in the scramble. Their enormous losses are now covered by the Swedish state, i.e., by the taxpayers. Thus, wage earners have paid twice for the policy of the Third Road: first, when their wages were sacrificed in favor of profits, and then again when the banks’ losses are covered by the state.

              Even as the economic basis for a “Swedish model” was unraveling, the social democrats in office appeared to have little interest in swimming against the stream. In fact, they seemed eager to embrace “new thinking” with relish.”


              Skippy…. now we have echos of the red scare.. et tu Lex… sigh****

              1. Swedish Lex

                I have written extensively of the Swedish banking crisis on NC over the years. The crisis was 25 years ago.

                Talking of present times, Sweden continues to be one of the countries where wealth is distributed most evenly in the world.

                As I wrote, just send me the link to the blueprint on how it can be done better

                1. Skippy

                  Lex the deal is not with distribution, its how its income is sourced and the inevitable consequences of neoliberalism. Back to the point tho, the Russian thing, which like Raygun used to usher in full blown neoliberalism and the international repercussions of it, and how humanity views its self…. as individuals and as groups.

                  Its completely unable to forge a path to deal with the projected fall out from AGW and a plethora of emergent dramas with non renewable resources. Because its based on rentiership and just because the effects are not localized does not mean its not happening somewhere else – see PIIGS.

                  Better plan… sure… democratic capitalism which is informed by facts or the best approximation of facts and no profit does not equate to facts nor does privatization and monetizing everything on this planet.

                  Skippy… Yves has linked to the econ4 group as well as NEP, as alternatives to the mainstream neoliberal economic paradigm.

                  1. Swedish Lex

                    We are making progress. It it not about distribution but about generation and the “consequences of neoliberalism”.

                    As I wrote, Sweden plans to be fossil free and 100% renewable by 2050 (first country in the world, to my knowledge, but please tell me if I am wrong). In that target, it is included that Sweden drives towards being fully sustainable. This is not an empty political aim but a concrete policy target that, basically, the entire Swedish society stands behind. Including the Wallenbergs.

                    How do we get there? Not by being pathologically allergic to any idea, including “neoliberalism” or, alternatiavely, “the GOSPLAN method”, although I suspect that neither of those will be at the forefront of how things will pan out.

                    It will not be perfect and it will be not be evident. Hopefully, those carrying it out will not be blinded by ideological blinders.

                    Meanwhile, the Swedish neoliberals, or not, continue to take in more refugees per capita than many other countries.

                    There is more to Sweden, like any country, than just pasting a label on it.

                    1. Left in Wisconsin

                      No cars? Or just no auto manufacturing plants? Steel? It seems to me an indirect aspect of globalization (or not) is to outsource the intensive energy usage, which allows pretending that it is really reduction.

                      Which is not to say that Sweden, if this is the case, is any worse than others, and may be better for all I know.

                      To Skippy: Thanks for the Proyect link – a very informative series – highly recommended.

                    2. Robert Dudek

                      Does this mean that all imports will be sourced from 100% non- fossil fuels by 2050?

                    3. Skippy


                      Neoliberalism is a concocted ideology, out of whole cloth, to support its benefactors desires. The CrazyMacHitlerpants part is its proselytizing paranoia about totalitarianism invariably results in just that, totalitarianism and plutocracy overseen by aristocratic financial overlords.

                      One would think just looking across the Atlantic would clear that all up as well as its international track record.

                      All your saying is reminiscent of Larry Summers exportation of legacy issues like toxicity to EM or low regulatory regions for profit.

                      Its no different than the allegory about cholera distributed by a river through out the region it flows through. Eventually the cost benefit becomes a net loss bigger than the one time profit bump which then is socialized whilst the profit has been realized and consolidated by a fraction of the population.

                      Skippy….. can’t hide my shock at your embracing neoliberalism after all the years spent here unpacking its origins, methodology, and eventual outcome.


                2. Alex morfesis

                  Sweden is nice and all and you should not have to defend it…as to growling at the queen bee…probably could have been a more subtle approach…but for all the talk of tankless countries hoping their cruise missles dont become useless if one dim sun in north korprea sends a shrapnel bomb into orbit to take out everyones eye in the sky comm systems…most “wars” in the last 70 years have been actually civil war type situations bleeding over from the british, french, and spanish royalists refusing to give up economic as well as political control of their former colonies with a splattering of A-O mercenary types who were never de-Nutzified and the ww2 german intel types having split in two going to russia and usa…With both ??former ?? germ intel branches going to great lengths in 1962-1963 to create a global mess we are all still recovering from…

                  All that to say, if russia “invaded” europe…no one would notice…it would just look like a few more vehicles on the road…no country in europe even has enough military hardware to hold a decent parade…Russia would have to “announce” they have arrived and most would think it was an Onion or national inquierer story…

                  I invest energy reading the (north east west south) News to see what is being placed for public consumption…most if not all “media” “stories” are placed via some form of press release…no book read nor movie I have seen has ever honestly portrayed how the “news” goes from “idea” to finished product…it is a business designed to attract attention in a bernazed world…when I want some real news, I watch keith Hernandez snark about the Mets hitting game…the rest is just, at least for me, a wave analyzer…honesty is not what I am reading into anything…have been in too many back room meetings to be concerned about what passes for the facts or the truth…

    4. Clive

      If it wasn’t for NC’s coverage of the Russia / Ukraine / US / EU nexus (and the shifting balance of power in Ukraine between the big blocks) I would never — and I mean never — have given it a second thought and would have, as a result, bought the conventional media reportage hook, line and sinker. Outside of NC’s editorial policy and the information it disseminates, there are simply too many sources of information and, for me, too little available personal bandwidth to get a comprehensive view of everything.

      Naturally, as with any source, its a case of reader beware. And everyone, everywhere, all the time, has an agenda. NC has one. Russia (and its state media) has one. The US has one. The EU has one. Their tame media channels parrot it verbatim, the not-so-tame ones are a little more critical but still frame their output in the cultural and political norms in which they operate.

      I’d rather have consolidated and varied information presented, that I can review and accept or discount as necessary than either have no information at all or information so diffuse that I struggle (and usually fail) to find it.

      And where you get a lack of information from official or conventional sources, but then you get information from other off-beat or “tainted” sources which nevertheless turns out to have some factual basis, then it makes it look, rightly or wrongly, like something is being concealed. The sinking of the Estonia is a good example. No-one really trusts the official sources of information — from Sweden, Estonia, Russia or the US — so you get the riot of conspiracy fuelled gibberish. But then it turns out the domestic reporting in Sweden wasn’t, lets just say, quite as frank and candid as it could have been. If you only got your information from official domestic media, you’d have been short-changed. Yes, you do though have to wade through a lot of stupid, ridiculously obvious nonsense to find the useful stuff.

      Far better, then, to for NC to serve us by collating information, warts-and-all. If I am interested, I’ll review all the material, assign relative weights to various sources according to how much I trust them or how dubious I find them, assume nothing, figure that even reliable sources make mistakes or mislead and unreliable sources sometimes get it right — then make up my own mind.

      I think the process I’ve just described above is what the site aims to facilitate.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yep, good comment. All news has some amount of manure piled up on it. It’s hard to see what’s underneath, but I’m better at seeing what’s beyond the manure than I was many years ago. NC deserves a lot of credit for it.

          1. abynormal

            another example for why Clive is a Favorite target of my heat-seeking scroller


            1. curlydan

              Agreed. Always wear a cynic’s hat and dive into multiple sources. If the source is just too crazy (and there are some blogs linked by NC that I no longer dive into), then stop reading it.

      1. Steve Heise

        Pissed off people tell the truth.

        That was from a comment on another thread, but it serves here too. Putin going to the presses about Bandar threatening the Sochi Olympics with Chechen terrorists. That probably pissed him off as much as Patrick Gray was pissed off at being passed over for FBI director. The latter led to a President resigning. The former led to Russia threatening to bomb Saudi Arabia.

        It’s usually an enemy with a stake that outs a hypocrite.

        1. Ruben

          Ok but 3 times the rates of rape of Norway, 6 times the rate of The Netherlands? That cannot be explained by a wider definitions of rape. Of course it is terrible what the Russian are saying, that “every single Swedish woman” has been raped “10 times over” (I don’t have reason to think you are not reporting accurately) that would be materially impossible I guess, that didn’t happen not even when the Red Army was marching towards Berlin.

          1. TK421

            “That cannot be explained by a wider definitions of rape”

            Of course it can. That’s how you get a survey which says 1 in 4 women at American colleges get raped, a number that is a hundred times bigger than reality.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              I believe the US survey data refers to “sexual assault,” which is a much broader category than rape.

            2. Kulantan

              Nope, you are wrong. When looking at the most recent survey of collage women that I could find the average yearly rate of women being raped (defined by as “any unwanted and nonconsensual sexual contact that involved a penetrative act, including oral sex, anal sex, sexual intercourse, or sexual penetration with a finger or object”) was 4.1%.

              Over a four year degree this comes to 1 in 5 which is hardly “a hundred times” less than 1 in 4.

              1. vidimi

                that’s ridiculous. 1/25 is already an unacceptably high number but to multiply it by 4 for a four-year degree is bonkers as it assumes different women being abused each time. the reality is that some women are raped repeatedly while most are lucky enough not to experience it.

                1. Kulantan

                  Do you have data to back that up? Because the survey I linked to above found that most women who had been sexually assaulted in the year studied had only experienced one incident in that year. Which, while not directly addressing your claim, is suggestive.

    5. JohnnyGL

      Swedish Lex, you’ve been an important contributer to this site over the years, but I think this comment is off base. Are you unhappy with the Russia Insider story link (if it’s something else, please correct me)?

      That’s a perfectly valid piece. It cites a report from NBC News (are they trustworthy?) which references a former CIA agent who wrote a book with detailed that was combed over with the publisher and reviewed by the CIA, itself. There’s no issue with the facts, here.

      The article itself is mostly editorializing. You can disagree with how they interpret the facts, but the facts aren’t really at issue, here.

    6. PlutoniumKun

      It is confusing I think for anyone (such as myself) who doesn’t follow Russian related news closely to distinguish between real and fake sources. But I think regular NC readers are smart enough to be able to recognise that the closest you can get to the ‘truth’ of what is going on is the read the slant put by the other side, balance it with the propaganda from the western mainstream media, and so come to some sort of reasonable conclusion. It would be useful if NC could highlight certain sources as being, say ‘kremlin friendly’ or ‘Washington Friendly’, etc., but thats a lot to ask such a thinly resourced site. I think most of us are aware that genuinely neutral writers about Russian and her allies are very rare birds indeed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It gets a little murkier, and the real masters of the game know this, when they deploy reverse psychology, double reverse psychology, etc.

    7. Lexington

      I share your dismay. One need only go back and read the comments on the Ukrainian crisis to see how easily many people were duped into believing six impossible things before breakfast – most of which had been spoon fed to them by Russian propagandists who skillfully managed to persuade people that mindlessly supporting Russia was somehow equivalent to striking a blow against the neoliberal establishment. If the idea is that absorbing equal quantities of propaganda from both sides results in reaching a happy equilibrium – which btw hints strongly of the “he said, she said” journalism the MSM is often accused of practicing – then the verdict is in, and it’s an epic fail.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Huh? Sorry, Ukraine was going to have an election a mere six weeks after Yanukovich was ousted. It was widely expected he’d lose. So why wasn’t democracy allowed to run its course?

        US fingerprints were all over it. 15% of the Poroshenko’s party, roughly, is neo-Nazis and they are disporportionately represented in senior government posts. Soros was active in this. He proudly says that everyone in the new government directly or indirectly (close family member, like a wife) got a grant from his Open Society. This is first hand, I saw him say that in an interview with Cyrstia Freedland at INET.

        1. Robert Dudek

          Not to mention that the Kiev regime shelled civilians who were ostensibly their countrymen and women.

        2. Vatch

          I wasn’t aware of an election scheduled for only 6 weeks after Yanukovich’s ouster. He was inaugurated as president in February, 2010, for a 5 year term of office. His ouster occurred in late February, 2014. The election was scheduled for January, 2015, but it was moved up to May, 2015, because there wasn’t an elected president any more.

    8. Pat

      I can get the American propaganda on Russia on my own just by turning on the nightly news.
      Is Russia a trustworthy player in everything. Hah, no. Are they under subtle and not so subtle attack by my country. Yes. Is it important for Americans to understand how much their country is behind much of instability now being seen in Europe, and how this is directly attached to their actions against the nefarious Putin. Also Yes. And if we depend on the American news media that will never happen. Ignoring that America is poking the angry bull is beyond stupid. And far more dangerous for Sweden than it is for our country.

      Here’s the thing we have two not so innocent bullies in this scenario. And unfortunately there is no truly independent outlet to report on this. It is best to look at many. And that includes RT AND WaPo with some other not so unprejudiced players from France and Germany.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Even when we experience something personally, a good lawyer will challenge its validity and try to make us doubt ourselves, or our Rashomon perspectives.

        To follow events around the world, we have to trust people we assume to be trustworthy.

        That’s argument from authority. Because they (we trust) say so.

        And we do the best we can. But how certain can be we?

    9. Plenue

      The reality is that biased or not, Russian English-language media reports on a hell of lot more things related to Russia and Syria than Western English-language media does. It’s one thing to say that you should read multiple sources on an issue and contrast and compare, but on so many things there aren’t any sources that aren’t Russian. Especially Ukraine and Syria; anywhere Beltway plans have gone awry the standard media approach is to either just not talk about it at all, or to be impressively obscure about what is happening and who is involved and doing what. If I followed the Western MSM I would probably think things like Ukrainian Nazis being an invention of the Kremlin and that the SAA is subjecting Syrian civilians to siege, rather than breaking year long sieges by militants.

      “Russia is ISIS’s air force!” they cry. “Oh, what’s that? The SAA, with Russian air support, killed hundreds of ISIS fighters and liberated those famous ruins that we, the media, talked endlessly about when they were first captured and partially demolished? And now Russian demo teams are disarming hundreds of explosives left behind? What, you think we’re going to report that?” *crickets*

      And of course if you’re inherently suspicious of anything published by a Russian source, which is exactly what the Pentagon and White House want, pretty much nothing said about issues like ISIS smuggling oil through Turkey (or, in fact pretty much anything related to Turkey’s elephant-in-the-room status vis-a-vis Islamists in Syria) is even given a second glance. Simply being Russian instantly discredits a source, and anyone who references such a source.

    10. vidimi

      is there any solid evidence that russia has been performing fake nuke attacks on stockholm, or is that spin? framing a bomber training flight that way is sure to skew the narrative in a certain direction. it shouldn’t be surprising that russia has resorted to peacocking its military muscle as nato belligerance has increased on its frontiers. a threatened animal, even a bear, makes itself look bigger. sweden may not be an official nato member, but stockholm is only a few bomber minutes away from oslo, which is.

  8. Skippy

    Ref – Millions of people in Bangladesh still drinking arsenic-laced water Guardian (resilc)

    Posted back in the day here on NC that the wells were the result of a religious philanthropy out of the US, bringing water and evangelism to the natives. Sadly they neglected to do any scientific studies which would have easily informed them of the high water table and geological propensity resulting in arsenic poisoning, before blazing ahead.

    Skippy…. which brings into question the fundamentalists in public services, especially federal, where it over rides more rigorously informed policy formation i.e. just the thought of – Cruz the Foretold – is quite scary… imagine administrating the highest office in the country with that stuck in your head and those that feed it and on it….

      1. different clue

        Well, that’s why I would vote for Clinton if its Cruz v Clinton . . . to avoid living under a Thousand Year Reign of Biblical-Law Dominionist President. Some evils are just too evil.

    1. Plenue

      Missionaries being ignorant, idiotic fools and causing immense harm while they cynically exploit peoples suffering and misfortune to peddle their metaphysical lies? Say it ain’t so! Next you’ll tell me Ugandan homophobia is largely a foreign import and pre-colonial Ugandan kings had gay lovers. Oh…wait…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve read this story in a few papers, but one thing that struck me is that none of the sources state whether or not she is justified in pursuing this story of an alleged murder. If there is something dubious there, then well done to her. But if this is a case of a precocious girl being allowed to hurl accusations of murder at an innocent man… well, thats not really so cute.

  9. Jim A

    Jim A. On scientific publishing…
    The way to keep Elsevier and other publishers from preventing us from accessing scientific knowledge is to not give it to them in the first place. The PLoS journals and the open access movement are a beginning, but what we need is for the universities and funders of research to INSIST on open access to research. There’s nothing about the peer-review process that requires a commercial company with large profit margins.

    1. Skippy

      Seems a lot of this is reminiscent of B. Gates ‘Common Core’ which at the end of the day is just a runaround to secure the IP rights to education as a monopolist or majority holder of the market share.

      See: “This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II.

      During the Cold War, the U.S. government amply funded basic research in science and medicine. Starting in the 1980s, however, this support began to decline and for-profit corporations became the largest funders of research. Philip Mirowski argues that a powerful neoliberal ideology promoted a radically different view of knowledge and discovery: the fruits of scientific investigation are not a public good that should be freely available to all, but are commodities that could be monetized.” – Science Mart – Philip Mirowski

      Skippy… file under bottle neck – toll booth neoliberal economics….

      1. dombs

        Some of your key assertions are incorrect. Since the end of the cold war, US government funding in basic research briefly expanded and then has stayed stagnant/slightly decreased. However, corporation funding of basic research has plummeted — much of what corporations calls basic research is just accounting relabeling product development as basic research since there can be certain tax benefits for doing so. Simply put, the US is not adequately investing in basic research — for the time being, the US is still the leader because of historical inertia, but a number of countries are working to pass the US by expanding their investment into basic research.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Does investing in surveillance and hacking make up for not doing basic research ourselves?

          “Just download that thing from the other guy!!!”

        2. meeps

          Is basic scientific research part of the outlay category, Physical, human and community development? Because for FY 2014, the US allocated an exceptional 5% for everything in it.

          Source: 2015 Instructions 1040 p. 101

    2. dombs

      Having been involved in academic science, I can tell you that the real issue is not funders or universities. The real issue is senior academics that have a stranglehold on hiring/promotion/tenure/funding/publishing processes. The current for-profit publishing system benefits senior academics because it means they get more research funding, more publications, more prestige, and more power. And they will not allow changes to the system. So junior academics are free to publish in open access journals, but they simply will not be hired, granted tenure, or receive funding for their research because they senior academics will say that publications in open access journals have lower quality. This divide is real because, though there are of course senior academics that want to publish open access, much of the push and interest in open access is coming from the younger generation.

      1. Ruben

        Though there is some truth in what you are saying it should also be noted that senior academics do a large amount of work for free (no money, no prestige) as anonymous reviewers of mss. submitted for consideration and that senior academics (paradoxically) get their mss. rejected more often than junior academics (a result from a survey published in Nature, sorry for not providing the reference).

    3. Ruben

      In PLoS journals as well as other open access outlets the author has to pay to publish, that’s why they are open to readers, because they charge up front. It’s the same business as Elsevier’s with a different business model. The open access business btw creates incentives to publish too much.

      1. Jim A

        All true. But I’m not sure whether the pressure to publish too much is markedly greater. Page charges are generally not huge compared to the cost of research, so that is probably not insurmountable. The ease of access should increase citation rates, so the impact factor of open access journals should improve over time.
        There ARE some fly-by-night fraud-y “similar title” Indian publishers that are essentially vanity presses masquerading as open access science journals. But those aside, I’m not sure that the incentive to publish too much is much worse. Since citation patterns tend to be very concentrated, the impact factor of a journal depends far more on its ability to capture a few superstars than on its ability to publication to poorer quality works. So there isn’t much disincentive to publish for commercial publishers.

    1. jhallc

      I can’t believe people are really making this an issue. I’m not worried about it at all. He can just ask Elizabeth Warren. I’m pretty sure when the time comes they can figure it out. What’s Hillary’s plan? Oh wait….

      1. Antifa

        The government’s chief role will be to reinstate Glass-Steagall without any watering down. Tell the banks to separate commercial and investment, and give them two years to downsize into much smaller business entities. Multiple smaller banks, just big enough to go bankrupt when they become insolvent, without being able to threaten the economy.

        Bankers know how to take apart a bank. Bernie just needs to tell them to get it done.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      Robert Reich (on facebook)

      In an exchange with the New York Daily News editorial board a few days ago, Bernie said he didn’t know if the Fed had authority to break up the big banks but the President does have such authority under the Dodd-Frank Act.

      This drew an onslaught of criticism from the media: “Bernie Sanders Admits He Isn’t Sure How to Break Up Big Banks,” read Vanity Fair’s headline. “This New York Daily News interview was pretty close to a disaster for Bernie Sanders,” said The Washington Post. “How Much Does Bernie Sanders Know About Policy?” asked The Atlantic. The Clinton campaign even said in a fundraising email “on his signature issue of breaking up the banks, he’s unable to answer basic questions about how he’d go about doing it, and even seems uncertain whether a president does or doesn’t already have that authority under existing law.”

      The criticism is bonkers. Bernie was absolutely correct when he said the President has the authority to break up the big banks under Dodd-Frank. He’s repeatedly specified exactly how he’d use that Dodd-Frank authority to do so. His critics are confusing the Dodd-Frank Act with the Federal Reserve. Whether the Fed has the authority on its own to break up the biggest banks is irrelevant.

      Clearly, Bernie has the Democratic establishment worried enough to try to twist his words into pretzels.

    3. Anne

      Robert Reich, from his Facebook page:

      The criticism is bonkers. Bernie was absolutely correct when he said the President has the authority to break up the big banks under Dodd-Frank. He’s repeatedly specified exactly how he’d use that Dodd-Frank authority to do so. His critics are confusing the Dodd-Frank Act with the Federal Reserve. Whether the Fed has the authority on its own to break up the biggest banks is irrelevant.

      Clearly, Bernie has the Democratic establishment worried enough to try to twist his words into pretzels.

      Is it wrong of me to admit that I’m getting a mental picture of Clinton as the Wicked Witch of the West, cackling as she compiles headline after headline from her good friends in the media establishment with which to attack Sanders in the next debate?

    4. Carolinian

      The Daily News editors are clearly trying to catch him out in some damaging statement about Israel/Palestine. So part of his vagueness is undoubtedly caution.

      However some of us have always said that Sanders doesn’t seem particularly well versed in foreign policy–an area that would of course be a major if not the major part of the job. One can also point out that the (valid) claim that Bernie will have people for that will also apply to Trump who has been widely ridiculed for his ignorance.

      Probably the only candidate who would shine in this sort of oral final exam interview would be Clinton who always comes across as the diligent student with her hand up for teacher. Unfortunately her answers would all be bs.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        My sense of it is that Sanders knows far more about foreign affairs than he lets on, but he realised from the start that getting caught in advocating specific policies, especially when they are outside the mainstream consensus, is something that would needlessly give ammo to Hilary, and allow her to distract from his real concern – his domestic agenda. He is, in other words, being deliberately vague.

        I think its a reasonable – and probably correct strategy if this is the case.

        1. aletheia33

          i agree. the interviewer was clearly just trying to get him to step on oiled spring mechanisms hidden under the hastily piled-up leaves. he’s not about to.

          nonetheless i confess i am now trembling in my boots at the prospect of what his opposition’s machine, fully unleashed, can and no doubt will do. with WI, the stakes have raised, and the whole thing is going to really escalate.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am not sure if the stakes have been raised with WI…no more than where they were last week, when Hillary shifted focus to her home state.

            It’s a good, solid win, but not say, 65%-35% or 70%-30%.

            Crushing is 80%-20%. Solid is the 56%-43% win, given the strategic decision to pull out and put money and resources for the upcoming showdown at N.Y. Corral.

            In fact, some might have expected the result to be better, say in the 60’s, percentage-wise.

            1. aletheia33

              you’re probably right. still, one more solid win, that they did not plan for, coming after a few other solid wins, i speculate, has rattled them enough to start digging deeper into their plan B. i am very afraid of plan B. perhaps unreasonably. i hope so.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          His domestic policy proposals are alarming the establishment and mainstream enough.

          Why not go full frontal assault in foreign affairs as well?

          Things thrust up unexpectedly often globally. A good strategy would be to get in front by confronting any false perceptions that he is not well versed in that area.

    5. Harry

      You are right. It’s a complicated thing. It’s something you announce as a policy goal and then instruct civil servants to look into. It’s enough to identify the goal. Anyone who thinks they knew how it should be done should be taken with a punch of salt.

  10. Desertmer

    Carla: Well you shouldn’t have…. People use words wrong – fact.
    Another fact is that 4 years ago there WERE 600 polling PLACES in Maricopa county. I know that because I lived in Phoenix (Ahwatukee village) at that time and have been previously active in the AZ Democratic Party .
    And it’s Salon for goodness’ sake not a filing with DOJ! 2/3 was clearly used as a gross measure to give a vivid picture of the measure of the election fraud to their readership… not a number in a legal document …..

  11. Adam1

    The interesting thing about Wisconsin versus NY is how the primaries differ. The analysis, in general, that I’ve seen shows that early voting has helped Hillary and that open primaries has helped Sanders (via independents). Wisconsin is an open primary state and I believe allows early voting. New York does not allow early voting (absentee only, but restricted as an excuse is needed) and is a closed primary. Who will net benefit in big delegate count NY?!

    1. Gareth

      As a resident of Wisconsin I have two observations. First, after looking at the WSJ interactive map of County vote totals it’s apparent that the poorer the county the greater the Sanders margin of victory, in the twenty to thirty percent range. This might spell trouble for Clinton in upstate New York as well as among the black and hispanic electorate.

      Second, the relentless political warfare waged in Wisconsin by Republicans has resulted in such polarization that the whole notion of a moderate middle is disappearing. The Democratic party base is moving rapidly to the left and the centrist mopes who have been moving to the right for thirty years are out of touch with this reality.

      1. aletheia33

        ”This might spell trouble for Clinton in upstate New York as well as among the black and hispanic electorate.”

        i am close enough geographically to upstate ny and have heard enough to be confident that this is the case. bernie will probably take all of upstate ny with a decent margin. it may well not be enough.

        the lack of early voting in ny also does seem promising. i believe early ballots have played a pretty hefty part in hrc’s wins in states that offer them.

        sanders did say last night that he believes his campaign has an excellent” chance of winning ny. i do think he usually calls them pretty accurately.

        1. Pat

          Unfortunately, it also is a closed primary where registered voters would have had to changed their party almost a year ago and even new voters would have needed to be registered long before the primary. This probably offsets most if not all of the value of the lack of early voting.

          This is all about long term registered Democrats picking the candidate. The good indication is that those same registered voters gave over thirty percent of the vote to the little known and lightly funded Zephyr Teachout in the gubernatorial primary. Many, many more of those same voters know who Bernie is.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Machine of Rome was not built in one day.

            It takes long range planning.

            If you don’t succeed at first, try, try again.

            Wave after wave – it should be easier for the next candidate or the same candidate next time.

            Voters can be reminded to act a year prior.

    2. ahimsa

      Like you say, NY is a closed primary with restricted absentee voting and an ethnically diverse electorate, i.e. the result should accurately reflect the actual current level of support among Democrats in a large, ethnically diverse, ‘blue’ state (this really differentiates it from Sanders’ last few bad losses in FL, OH, AZ).

      Because Sanders is overwhelmingly the favourite Dem candidate among Independents, if he can tie or even clinch a win, I think it becomes patently obvious he is the stronger candidate. So the outcome in the New York Democratic primary should dictate the overall result.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As they say, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

        It’s the big apple of the tournament (except CA where oranges are grown).

      2. ewmayer

        @ahimsa: Ha, on first scanning your comment I thought you’d written “ethically diverse electorate”.

  12. Aleric

    Cringely has been digging into the possibility (perhaps more the possibility of proving) age discrimination in the recent IBM layoffs, and it looks like he may be hitting pay-dirt. Necessary reading for any other IT grey-hairs, but of interest to many: here

  13. aletheia33

    ”One thing that’s definitely gotten better over time: not as much ritualistic human sacrifice.” (nyt)

    i agree. in modern times, we understand that people need more, and all the time, so we use war, genocide, and mass internment to deal with social problems. all on a much more impressive scale, and so much more civilized. it’s organized and monitored! afterward, we even have ritual trials, for just a touch of oldtime sacrifice, of a few chosen scapegoats. people still need that, and we recognize that we have to be realistic about it.

    1. Eclair

      Well said, aletheia33. On a more local level, Denver ‘high priests’ are enacting policies guaranteed to result in a slow and painful death for hundreds of unhoused folk; confiscating their belongings …. clothing (Denver can go from 75 degrees at 3 PM to 30 degrees at 4 AM, so you need lots of ‘layers’), tarps, sleeping bags, tents, as well as precious documents. In they go, into a mammoth garbage truck.

  14. Christopher Fay

    Poroshenko, I believe, gave the single largest contribution to Clinton Family Foundation kitty, $17 mil. So direct link Hillary to @PanamaPapers

  15. rich

    Re: Hillary Needs a Plan for Tackling Tax Havens New York Magazine.

    Ask John?…

    Clinton campaign chief linked to Russian bank listed in Panama Papers
    The head of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is linked to a Russian bank involved with an emerging international scandal, according to documents reported on Tuesday.
    Registration forms indicate that the Podesta Group signed up to lobby for the Sberbank of Russia in Washington about a month ago, in early March. The bank has been implicated in a scheme unearthed on Sunday in which leaders worldwide illegally stashed their assets overseas.

    The Podesta Group was founded by John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s 2016 campaign for president and a chief of staff to former president Bill Clinton. His brother, Anthony Podesta, is listed as a lobbyist for the account on the March filing.

    maybe MSM can ask HRC during NY visit?

    1. JohnnyGL

      CNN better ask about this in the debate on the 14th!!! Almost a full 2 weeks for this story to ripen before the NY primary. Corp media better cover this!!!

  16. nippersdad

    Re: Washington Square Park rally, this looks like a not-so-subtle nod to the Occupy Protests there a few years ago. Good thing the DeBlasio Administration is supportive this time.

    1. aletheia33

      yes. maybe there is an intention to put it as close to wall street as geography allows.

      1. Antifa

        I’d purely love to see a simple photograph of Bernie Sanders sitting on one of the benches in Zucotti Park, under the beautiful, dappled green of sunshine filtering down through new spring leaves.

        Just sittin’ there thinkin’, with his paper bag lunch beside him.

        That’s a poster that will light a whole generation on fire.

  17. Carolinian

    Sounds true to me.

    American conceits are, of course, delusional. They are all the more unpersuasive to foreigners because everyone can see that America is now in a schizophrenic muddle — able to open fire at perceived enemies but delusional, distracted, and internally divided to the point of political paralysis.

    The ongoing “sequester” is a national decision not to make decisions about national priorities or how to pay for them. Congress has walked off the job, leaving decisions about war and peace to the president and turning economic policy over to the Fed, which has now run out of options.

    Almost half of our senators had time to write to America’s adversaries in Tehran to disavow the authority of the president to represent us internationally as the Constitution and the laws prescribe. But they won’t make time to consider treaties, nominees for public office, or budget proposals.

    Politicians who long asserted that “Washington is broken” appear to take pride in themselves for finally having broken it. The run-up to the 2016 presidential election is providing ongoing evidence that the United States is currently suffering from the political equivalent of a nervous breakdown.

    More of this very astute analysis by Chas Freeman.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Washington is broken, claims Mr. Freeman.

      The money creation machine, though, is working just fine for our Wall Street boys…and girls.

      That’s so important that we thank God…because these people are doing God’s work.

  18. Cry Shop

    Half of Scotland’s energy consumption came from renewables last year Herald Scotland?

    Nope, not even close. Good news, yes, but to be correct Half of Scotland’s “electricity” came from tapping “renewable” power sources (with carbon intensive technology), Unfortunately electric power generation is only about 18-20% of total energy consumption, so roughly only 10% of energy was obtained from renewable sources. ie: it’s not time to give up trying to constraining consumerist.

      1. Cry Shop

        Actually, the original article link had the same information. Good to have redundant sources though, so thanks for that.

          1. Bas

            you originally referenced Scotland, but if you are determined to be a downer, I can’t stop you… ;-)

            1. Cry Shop

              Do you know where Scotland is located?

              Since when has realistic pragmatism been a downer compared to anyone who refused get useful things done instead of contributing to the problem (by continuing to ignore reality).

              Get the facts. And when you get them, get them right, or they will get you wrong. Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia,

              I’ll add in this case, getting them wrong will speed the extinction of humanity. As George Carlin put it, we’re not saving the planet. It will continue on without us just fine.

                1. Cry Shop

                  So, when your wrong, you resort to name calling. That will solve the problem. You’re no Bernie Bro, because Sanders grounds his policy in facts.

                  1. Bas

                    Hills? is that a bad name? LOL! And you have been so complimentary towards me so far. shame on me.

                    And you strike me as a goal-post mover. First it’s Scotland that’s doing nothing, then it’s Scotland a drop in the bucket compared to the UK totality. I don’t waste my time futzing with that kind of debate, so never mind.

                    1. Cry Shop

                      Scotland is part of the UK. Simple math, Scotland is 15% of the UK population, but lets just give them 10% of the total carbon output. Electricity still makes a tiny drop in the bucket.

                      As to name calling, you won’t find where I’ve used it anywhere. Saying someone is wrong isn’t name calling, its just pointing out where the facts have gotten them, and in your case wrong, and every step you take, you get more wrong. That makes you part of the problem, and certainly not part of the solution.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The term ‘renewable,’ does not itself necessarily imply anything about carbon emission.

      Maybe we can come up with a better one.

      1. Cry Shop

        Agreed. Labels are often more problematic than they are helpful. I have the same issue with the label “organic” for foodstuffs.

        In general, labels have some of the same problems as combined indexes, they simplify things too much. Energy efficiency labels on consumer goods don’t give any information about the total environmental impact of the production and end of life of the goods, the standard of treatment of labour, human rights(privileges), etc.

        The idea that the consumer as a watchdog is going to force these issues onto the right track is one of those neo-liberal cons right up there with “personal financial” and other personal responsibility (like healthcare) for social issues outside the control of the masses.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Why the Establishment Hates Trump Counterpunch (Chuck L)

    A must read.

    The public money stakes may be bigger than the US corporate stakes behind the foreign wars the US state has initiated since 1991. The takeaway promised by Trump’s policies threaten almost every big lobby now in control of US government purse strings.

    There is a reason for the unprecedented alliance of such disparate actors, from george soros to bill kristol and everything in between, to stop Trump.

    A candidate with this much toxic human slime so maniacally determined to silence him deserves and demands serious consideration.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Perhaps an amendment to the Constitution banning Trump from political office would do the trick. I’ve never seen such well coordinated, persistent and intense demolition of an individual by the MSM; the amendment might draw less attention.

    2. abynormal

      …THE cornerstone of the present predicament:

      ~African Proverb
      (consider the example of a 100yrs of corporate owners fighting over Africa’s resources and one can’t help realize: THIS TIME THE WORLD IS ‘THEIR’ GRASSLAND)

      Trump is dropping his steaming pile on our suffering..shame on anyone that takes advantage of the situation, but most importantly SHAME ON THOSE OF US THAT ALLOW IT TO CONTINUE…

      we got to BE more SHOVELshitREADY…the clock stops for no one

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The idea itself belongs to no one.

        Any progressive candidate is free to use it.

  20. simjam1

    One of Hillary’s flaws is that she seems unable to make major policy changes that would enlarge her voter base. For example, she could decide to support single payer, which would chip away at Sanders growing support. Perhaps her reluctance stems from a likely reduction in her corporate donors. Or, it may have to do with her rigid mind set. Or both.

    1. Pat

      I think you need to add in Campaign Strategy to your assessment of Clinton’s reluctance to make policy changes. It is only in the last month that the Clinton campaign is getting that Sanders is not going to take what they consider a crushing defeat and go away. If you were watching there was a brief period where she was starting to pivot to the center. Here’s the thing, in the Clinton brain trust, Sanders and his supporters are just annoyances, they don’t really want to court them. Every time she has to step left, it moves her further away from the positions she wants to stake out in the general. Some of it is the myth of the independent voter, some of it is that frankly she is a Republican at heart, but most of it is that like Rahm, they are sure that the lefties that still vote will hold their nose and vote for her and they owe them nothing. And they cannot win with them, but need the ‘moderate’ Republicans that they believe will come out for her because Trump/Cruz. And they cannot win them with ‘single payer’ or ‘expanded Social Security’ or even anti-free trade agreement stances. Which is ridiculous because all of those it turns out are centrist moderate POPULAR positions.

      I think the Clinton brain trust is highly overrated. And they forget that Bill only got elected because Perot got 15% of the vote.

      1. Bas

        IMO, Clinton and her world operate on the belief that Progressives (or the Lefties) or the Grassroots or whatever, have no “real” power whatsoever, and if they stop believing that for a second, their world will fall apart.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps she’s not a good enough liar – a good one would have made so many empty promises that she couldn’t/wouldn’t intend to keep, and behind the scenes, in private speeches that she will not release to public, and would have assured her supporters that NAFTA is here to stay, or whatever other assurances, to calm them down.

          Secondly, maybe she’s also not a good learner, refusing a key lesson from 2008 about progressives or the grassroots (who have been yearning for the coming Maitreya, and can be quite gullible, at times, especially when presented with a suave figure).

          1. Bas

            I think Obama burned up the Second option. Fool me once. He has not exactly been subtle about his hypocrisy, and Hillary has grabbed his coattails. And Bill did the same thing, and admitted it.

            1. Antifa

              Resulting in an electorate that doesn’t see “the lesser evil” as a real threat any more. It’s the same evil. It’s the same Money Party but with a different letter on their lapel.

              Resulting in so many of us admitting that we cannot, in good conscience, pull the lever for Hillary, ever.

              1. Pat

                This faction may not be as large as you and I might like YET, but I do believe it is far greater than the Democratic regulars realize. And that many of those disaffected former Democratic voters also are aware that staying home helps those Democratic regulars – so we might vote Republican strategically or third party or even write in someone but we are NOT going to disappear.

                And if you give us someone to actually vote for…

  21. Qrys

    WNYC’s John Hockenberry interviews Barbara Lawton, the former lieutenant governor of Wisconsin (who endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2008) on why she is endorsing Bernie Sanders in 2016:

    Lawton: “Will the Democratic Party be smart enough to capture that [the aspirations of Millennials]? And I think it’s really important.”

    Light on substance, but since public radio has been biased toward Hillary for months, here’s a refreshing kink in that armor – in NYC – when it counts.

    1. diptherio

      Ugh, “Milennials.” Because only people born between 1980 and 2000 care about universal health care and education. If there’s one thing 16 year olds and 36 year olds have in common, it’s their desire for enhanced financial regulation! Somebody, please just kill me now, the intellectual suffering is just too much….

      But yeah, good to see some recognition of non-neolib feeling amongst the proles and that maybe it shouldn’t just be ignored.

      1. theinhibitor

        Well seeing how Baby Boomers had the belle-epoque of America in terms of newfound wealth and the insane Stock Market rise from the 80’s to the 00’s, and yet still managed to ship off all the jobs to Asia, ruin the financial sector, ruin the education system, let the banks and oil companies run wild (while only cracking down on the tobacco industry), fabricating a war on drugs, building the largest prison state in the world, running around the Middle East like children, smashing things, instilling coups, destroying the middle class/letting the .01% take over, letting corporations rise to unforeseen size and power, letting the tax code and patent laws favor the elites/big corporations, etc. then yeah. I think I have more hopes for the Millenials than I do for the previous generations.

        And are you saying that 16 year olds are not for financial regulation? Because Im pretty sure the talk around the American dinner table these days is woes at the workplace, the almost illegal college tuition prices, the lack of savings, and how much they hate the banks. If anything, 16 year olds today will be more pro financial regulation than any other generation before them!

        1. diptherio

          So I see you’re unfamiliar with the fact that generations do not have agency. Generations don’t make decisions and so cannot be blamed for political or economic policy decisions that were made by individuals of various ages.

          Try economic or social class as an analytic tool, you know, something with more than just conceptual reality. I think you’ll find it more useful.

          1. Steve Gunderson

            Generations do make decisions.

            The ‘I’ve got mine, screw you’ mentality is alive and well in the Baby Boomers.

            1. aumua

              And since Boomers always exhibit that behavior, and Millennials never do, then your point is proved I guess.

              It’s a fact that Millennials never have the “Screw you, I’ve got mine” mentality. It’s something to do with genes, apparently, they just aren’t capable of it, the dears.

              My personal favorite generation of course, that of X, is simply beyond reproach. We don’t understand what you guys’ problem is with each other, honestly.

              1. meeps

                High 5, aumua! I’m surprised anyone mentioned genX. Much like Xrays, we are invisible to the naked eye and generally go unnoticed.

            2. flora

              yeah. right. tell it to coal miners, field workers, low wage home health workers, the homeless, the disabled Vietnam vets, blacks and latinos and native Americans who were denied opportunity because of racism, unemployed blue collar workers, all the people born between 1946 and 1964 (?) who are living in poverty. Or are they not who you mean when you generalize by age group.

              Imagine the entire Millenial generation being judged by the examples of Chelsea Clinton or Martin Shkreli. Then there are Gen X politicians Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Yes, everyone born after 1964 is a paragon of decency because they were born after 1964. (Is this some new kind of Astrology?)

              Some boomers are awful, no doubt. So are some Gen x and some Millenials. Don’t confuse ‘some’ for ‘all’.

              1. flora

                shorter: “The ‘I’ve got mine, screw you’ mentality is alive and well in “… a subset of every generation, and always will be.

        2. flora

          Pretty sure Chelsea Clinton and Martin Shkreli couldn’t care less about Main Street and high college prices. Why would they? The offspring of the Kochs, the Sciafes, the Johnsons, etc don’t think about it at all, is my guess. ;)

      2. inode_buddha

        Yeah, I remember when the older voters “thought of the children” back in the “greed is good” 1980’s. And now the children are thinking of them. (I’m from the 1960’s myself. BTDT and seen all this already)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Every life is precious.

      Old senile voters also have aspirations too.

      Without them, why live at all?

      Is it some sort of propaganda to ‘erase’ older people by assuming they can’t be excited?

      1. polecat

        Yeah, I agre————————-oh wait……the palm of my hand is showing red————-time to attend the ‘Carnival’


    3. Qrys

      The strategic point is young voting-age citizens are growing in their numbers again (as percentage of adult population, whether you buy the arbitrary generational titles or not). It’s a demographic fact. What does a Political Party do about that fact? They figure out a strategy to attract those votes… which is Lawton’s concern.

  22. Bas


    They used to cut pot with oregano. Now they are cutting Oregano.

    The oregano test was conducted following an investigation by UK consumer group Which? last year that found a quarter of 78 samples were contaminated with other ingredients.
    Hoyt’s oregano product was found by Choice to contain 11 per cent oregano leaves.
    Its results showed olive leaves and myrtle leaves could constitute 30 to 70 per cent of the final product.

    1. Vatch

      A few weeks ago, there were articles about grated parmesan cheese contaminated with large amounts of wood chips (“cellulose”). Now this. What next? Will pet food be tainted with poisonous melamine? Wait, that already happened. . . .

  23. polecat

    Re. today’s link above to drones and chainsaws……….

    what could possibly go wrong……..

    Can you imagine Freddie straddling a drone ??

    don’t sleep alone…..without some serious body armor !!

  24. DocG

    re “Fiddling Over Fossil Fuel . . . “:

    “The recent supposed pause in rising temperature was relative to the sudden jump at that time. A comparison between 1998 and today shows temperature continues to climb, together with atmospheric stocks of carbon dioxide. This reminds us of the realities of climate change.”

    No, temperatures do not continue to climb. Not to any significant degree at least. According to a recent paper published in no less influential a journal than Nature Climate Change, the much worried-over pause is alive and well: “It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims.”

    A co-author is Michael Mann, widely known for his advocacy of the “global warming” meme.

    In fact there have been well over 60 attempts to “debunk” the global warming hiatus, each undercutting those that came before. From the recently published “The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers”:

    “There has been no lack of similar efforts to account for the hiatus by considering, or reconsidering, certain factors (and conveniently ignoring others), or adjusting the data in such a way as to produce the desired result. Each new publication offers a different explanation. Few attempt to replicate any of the earlier ones. As time goes by, and carefully contrived models fail to mesh with the most recent data, new factors and adjustments are retroactively stirred into the mix, so the most up-to-date findings can be represented to the world as definitive.”

    Now if there has been no significant increase in warming over the past 16 years, as Mann himself argues, then how can the extreme weather events touted by media alarmists be caused by warming, due to CO2 emissions, or anything else for that matter?

    1. TomD

      I do like the audacity, rather than make some tortured argument about how human activity doesn’t cause warming, just claim the Earth isn’t even getting warmer.

      1. aumua

        Yes, well denialists have an odd tendency to switch their stance from “It’s not happening”, to “It might be happening, but it’s not manmade”, to “It’s happening and it might be manmade, but it’s not a big deal”, to “there’s nothing we can do to change it” etc.

        Sometimes they will switch tactics in the middle of a debate, depending on what’s convenient, or in which direction the goal posts need moving. They will throw up link after link from questionable sources, repeat talking points that have long been debunked, and often times resort to all manner of personal attack to keep up an atmosphere where their points almost make sense. I’ve been considering lately whether it’s even worth it to engage them at all.

      1. DocG

        Sorry about the broken link. I’m not sure what went wrong. Thanks also for the link to Hawkins’ blog post, which is helpful. But I’m wondering what it is Jason thinks I’m misrepresenting. To make my position clear, I’ll quote from a comment I just put up on another site:

        “Yes, there has been some small degree of warming, which is why we’ve seen so many “record-breaking” years recently. But, as has been widely noted, the year to year warming has been minimal since the turn of the century.

        ‘The “record breaking” year 2014 was only one tick warmer than the preceding record breaker: a mere .05 degrees. And every single one of those record breaking 21st century years were within only two ticks of one another: .1 degree. That is: one tenth of a degree Celsius. The late 20th century rise that initially concerned so many was thus 8 times greater than the rise over the last 16 years, any “record-breaking” years notwithstanding. This is the hiatus.’ from ‘The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers’ (Kindle Locations 217-221).

        Mann explains the “pause” by proposing certain mitigating factors that tempered what in his view would have been a considerable temperature rise during the last 16 years or so, due to increase in CO2 output. And maybe he’s right (he could also be wrong). But that does not change the FACT that temperatures have risen only very slightly during that period — for whatever reason. And if that’s the case, as this paper most definitely argues, then how can all these extreme weather events be due to an increase in warming that has not taken place.”

        In any case, this paper is now being widely discussed and debated. If you do a search on the title, “Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown,” you’ll find plenty to chew on, from both sides of the abyss.

        1. Jason

          I think you’re misrepresenting two things.

          First, you’re equating a minimal increase with “no significant increase”, which doesn’t appear to be what the paper in question actually says, judging from what I’ve read about it, and by its authors (still can’t access the paper directly, though thank you for trying).

          Secondly you appear to be generating your own (faulty) narrative regarding extreme weather events. Starting with treating as fact that “warming below prediction” equal “no warming worthy of the name”, then setting up a simplistic straw man 1:1 correlation between global warming and increasing frequency of extreme weather events, and finally writing as though knocking down your own straw man just proved something.

          Perhaps I’m overly cynical after watching deniers perform for years. But when you take a paper that says, roughly “the rate of increase truly has dropped below what our models would predict, and as climate scientists we need to pay attention to that, not try and explain it away” and then try to contort it into disproving global warming via your own take on extreme weather events, it looks to me like you are not interested in objectivity, but rather in, well, denying global warming.

          And on top of all that, it’s very difficult to take you seriously after you write, “how can all these extreme weather events be due to an increase in warming that has not taken place”, because you’re ignoring the roughly century’s worth of warming that happened before the pause!

          1. DocG

            OK, first of all, by using the term “denier,” you are forfeiting your right to speak from a scientific point of view. “Denier” has nothing to do with science, it’s pure rhetoric. Someone incapable of dealing with skepticism is not a real scientist.

            Secondly, you do have a point when you bring up the increase in warmth over the course of the 20th century. 1998 was definitely warmer than 1900 — and things haven’t cooled down much since then either. But what we are hearing continually in the media is not simply that things have gotten warmer (and by the way all that 20th century warming amounts to little more than .6 degrees centigrade — see, but that “global warming” is now out of control, that the Earth is now heating up “drastically” to the point that the planet will be virtually uninhabitable in 50 years unless we do something drastic NOW! As this new paper reminds us, this is simply not true. While there has been some warming in recent years, it has been modest and is most certainly not out of control. What’s out of control are the greatly exaggerated, and unfounded, projections for a catastrophic future, comparable to the “rapture” we used to hear so much about. (Not so much anymore, thankfully.)

            1. Jason

              Holding up “what we are hearing continually in the media” at its most absurd exaggeration, and then presenting a reputable scientific paper which is not in complete agreement with the shallow hyperbole does not discredit global warming either as scientific theory, or as a danger to our civilization. Adopting the pretense that it does suggests that you are writing in bad faith or from a worldview that has only sporadic contact with reality.

    2. theinhibitor


      What data are you looking at? Global temperature, which is usually calculated from many sources, including ocean temperature, has indeed been on the rise. While year to year and month to month may vary (obviously), over any 10 year period, global temperatures have increase dramatically.

      If we look at temperate regions, they have gotten hotter and dryer. This is validated many different ways including aerial photography (via satellite or plane), temperature data, gravitational data (NASA’s new technique for looking at aquifer levels), etc.

      How could anyone think that the loss of 16 million hectares of forest a year, deoxygenation and pollution of the seas, dredging of aquifers, the immense scale of mining, the use of petroleum, all gearing up exponentially in a time span so insignificant to the history of Earth as to leave any knowledgeable person breathless, would somehow NOT affect Earth in any way? And you talk about 16 years? Are you serious? Who cares if the global temperatures DECREASE for the next 30 years? Are you still going to deny that humanity will in the VERY NEAR future face serious consequences for its consumption of resources? Do you realize that in the past it took huge asteroids the size of a state and thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years to reach the state we are in? That it took essentially less than 1000 years for humans to inhabit almost ever last bit of livable space on this planet? That it took less than 200 years for us to begin mining on the level of billions of metric tons a year? Do you realize how serious things are when people like you argue about climate temperature data in a time span of 16 years? When my grandparents speak about the weather patterns changing drastically, do you have any idea how serious this has become? For a single generation to be able to remember and quantify climate change?

      Your arrogance is a microcosm of humanity on earth: so all-important and above all other living things to assume that all their consumption played no part in changing Earth for the worse.

      1. DocG

        “Global temperature, which is usually calculated from many sources, including ocean temperature, has indeed been on the rise.”

        Take your argument to the authors of this new paper. According to them the rise in temperature has been far less than expected. And according to the source I quoted, the difference between each succeeding “record breaking” year has been minimal. What you fail to realize is that extreme weather is not by any means unusual. Extreme events and situations of the type you describe have occurred many times in the past, both recent and distant. You are a victim of what is known as confirmation bias. Pay attention to the evidence and for God’s sake, calm down.

        1. vidimi

          the difference between each succeeding “record breaking” year has been minimal.

          seriously? isn’t the very fact of having succeeding record-breaking years enough cause for concern?

      2. vidimi

        How could anyone think that the loss of 16 million hectares of forest a year, deoxygenation and pollution of the seas, dredging of aquifers, the immense scale of mining, the use of petroleum, all gearing up exponentially in a time span so insignificant to the history of Earth as to leave any knowledgeable person breathless, would somehow NOT affect Earth in any way?

        this. this is the argument i always use when dealing with climate deniers.

    3. different clue

      The glaciers, ice fields, edges of ice caps have been persistently melting/shrinking, not growing over the past few decades. Including right through the so-called “hiatus” years. Oh, and . . . permafrost thawing at the lower latitude and altitude edges of its range. It takes persistent net heat to persistently melt ice features and thaw permafrost. So where is all that heat coming from? Global Warming, perhaps?

  25. JEHR

    RE: Why Some Societies Practiced Ritual Human Sacrifice

    I listened to a five-part series on CBC called “Scapegoat: The Ideas of Rene Girard” which put forth some interesting ideas on how scapegoating was a way of controlling violence by using a person or a group or an animal as a scapegoat upon which all anger and violence would be visited in order to preserve peace and order throughout the rest of society. Scapegoating developed and changed over a long period of time and still works today according to the author. You can find the series on iTunes under “Ideas from CBC Radio.”

    1. DocG

      Oops. For a moment I read: “Why Some Socialists Practiced Ritual Human Sacrifice.” We would never do a thing like that, would we?

  26. toolatr

    Did I miss any posts calling into question the whole PP narrative?
    Can’t wait to see what draconian measures aimed at average Americans come of this…
    The possibility of boatloads of blackmail seems to me most compelling

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There isn’t any “PP narrative”. And in case you missed it, at least 6% of world wealth is hidden from taxes via being put illegally in tax havens, by the wealthy and those taking bribes, skimming money from governments, etc. You are seriously defending that? In case you missed it, the surveillance of little people is already justified by invoking terrorism. The officialdom doesn’t require a narrative for that.

      Better trolls, please.

    1. polecat

      I sure hope that photo was staged……seriously!

      I’d find it rather disconcerting, to be blissfully driving along, only to find a few ‘climbing torti’ clambering upon the hood of my truck !

      ‘Hard Shells from Hell’

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Only when one is moving at Hare speed.

          Tortoises live longer because, I am guessing, they don’t get excited often.

  27. ChrisPacific

    The headline on the ‘positive’ FT piece has changed. Google still has it indexed under the old headline but it’s now “Clinton attacks Sanders over banks break-up proposal” and is much more of a hit piece on Sanders. A glimpse at the MSM spin machine in action.

    1. vidimi

      the media is ramping up the attacks. vox published a hit piece misrepresenting sanders’ stance on trade; his threat level has increased.

  28. just_kate

    Yves – i made a donation today in Blake’s name… i work from home and cannot get out of my head your description of him as considerate, should i be so lucky! i have 3 cats who are perfectly happy to sit between the narrow desk space and keyboard to stare at me or scooch the keyboard out of the way and lay down for a nice afternoon nap, or kick me out of my nice office chair altogether. they give me so much joy i just submit and work around them. thank you so much for all you do, there are a lot of mostly lurkers like me who would be feeling crazy w/out you and Lambert and the NC commentariat (water cooler donation as well today).

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