Links 6/2/16

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After Tens of Thousands of Pigeons Vanish, One Comes Back National Geographic (Steve H)

11 Beautiful Japanese Words That Don’t Exist In English Odyssey (Cry Shop)

Thailand Tiger Temple to face charges over dead cubs BBC (furzy)

King Tut’s dagger blade made from meteorite, study confirms CBC

After 17 years and $12 billion, Switzerland inaugurates world’s longest rail tunnel Los Angeles Times (Chuck L)

Future – The super sponges that could help fight pollution BBC (furzy)

Forbes just cut its estimate of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’s net worth from $4.5 billion to zero Quartz (Amateur Socialist). Her expected net worth is therefore negative, since she is going to face a lot of litigation…

One Type of Brain Tumor Is Going Up , the Deadliest Kind Microwave News (furzy)

Fearing Drugs’ Rare Side Effects, Millions Take Their Chances With Osteoporosis New York Times. The problem is the side effects are not just bad, they are horrific. And I’m not sure why they are so negative on exercise, save maybe very few women (even young one) lift heavy weights relative to their strength level, which is what it takes to increase bone density. In other words, the (apparent) limited success may be due to patients that are motivated (already a small subset) not getting good enough direction.


Call for more Marxism in Chinese economics Financial Times

Economists React: China Manufacturing Activity Data Paint Mixed Picture WSJ China Real Time

Picasso and the Fall of Europe London Review of Books

The ECB’s Illusory Independence Yanis Varoufakis, Project Syndicate

EU warns Poland on rule of law euronews

French revolt against labour counter-reforms, Belgians strike in defence of public sector Defend Democracy


Support for Brexit is no longer a minority viewpoint on the British left British Politics and Policy at LSE

The Brexit Debate – EU Integration or Disintegration? Irish Economy


Brexit could spread shockwaves through global economy, says OECD Guardian

Brexit is already costing British firms, S&P warns Telegraph

Why is there so little noise about the Tory election fraud claims? Guardian (Richard Smith)

Election expenses: Allegations “on an unprecedented scale” Channel4 (Richard Smith)

UK health IT ‘glitch’: Hundreds of thousands of patients have potentially been given an incorrect cardiovascular risk estimation after a major IT system error Health Care Renewal


Thessaloniki: Thousands of needy flock to food distribution funded by the EU Keep Talking Greece

A Brief Note on Venezuela and the Turn to the Right in Latin America Triple Crisis


Pentagon: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was “Appropriate” Use of Force Intercept (EM)

How Americans Came to Die in the Middle East Michael Shedlock

Clinton E-mail Tar Baby

Clinton IT aide to plead Fifth in email case The Hill (Carol L)

William Weld Says He Sees Nothing ‘Criminal’ in Hillary Clinton’s Email Use New York Times. Carol L: “And now the NYT is so desperate to buttress Hillary that they give long interview space to the Libertarian Party! I can’t remember them ever looking for a quote from them before.”

Judge orders GOP get more Clinton-related emails before conventions Politico (resilc)

Hillary Clinton used personal AT&T email account as senator, carried practice over to State Dept. Washington Times (Carol L)


Bernie Sanders Says He Has the Money to Campaign Beyond California Primary New York Times

Hillary Clinton Holds 2-Point Lead Ahead of California Primary, Poll Finds Wall Street Journal. This is a really weird sample, since it was conducted over Mem Day weekend.

I was wrong: Trump WILL be the next president CNBC (Pat). Key point way down in this interesting piece:

Clinton’s Twitter feed and website are helping Trump immensely as they seem to pump out phrases like “a Trump presidency,” and “President Trump” more often than Trump does himself. These kinds of messages present and reinforce the idea of an actual President Trump in our subconscious brains. This is why the old TV commercials for consumer products when we were growing up used to avoid naming competing products as anything other than “brand x.”

Ronald Reagan Was Once Donald Trump New York Magazine (Phil O)

Trump angry as golf tournament is moved to Mexico BBC

Obama Bashes Trump’s Economic Policy in Indiana New York Magazine. Resilc: “Like my free trade has created zillions of non existent exceptional jobs.”

Labor Fears Partisan Defections Toward Trump Wall Street Journal. Labor leaders tolerating Team Dem sellouts are finally coming home to roost.

HP Inc. Joins Companies Declining to Contribute to G.O.P. Convention New York Times (furzy)

Foreign-connected PACs spent $10 million on the US election so far DW (Dr. Kevin)

Cenk Uygur Warns Mainstream Media: Don’t Underestimate Impact of Libertarian Candidate Alternet

Texas’ Brazos River hits century high, Houston braces for floods Reuters (EM)

Police State Watch

Oklahoma ‘Taser error’ ex-officer jailed for four years BBC


The NRA’s Insane Advice: Store Guns in Children’s Bedrooms Alternet. Darwin awards on a mass basis.

California shooting: Gunman and one dead at UCLA campus BBC

UCLA Student Shot Professor Over Grades Before Killing Himself, Say Police LAist


More Than 50 Computer Breaches Reportedly at Fed From 2011 to 2015 Wall Street Journal

Behind the Fed’s thinking CNBC

The Ex-CEO of Calpers Is Going to Prison on Bribery Charges Fortune (local to oakland)

Payday Borrowing’s Debt Spiral to Be Curtailed New York Times

For-Profit Colleges’ Students Wind Up Earning Less Than If They Had Never Enrolled Atlantic (resilc)

Class Warfare

Uber takes aim at Washington bureaucrats Financial Times. Please write or call your Congresscritters to object.

First Rise in U.S. Death Rate in Years Surprises Experts New York Times (furzy)

Use estate taxes to fund inheritance for all: Column USA Today. Taxes do not fund spending at the Federal level!!! However, the general point is valid: taxes can and should promote greater social equity.

Antidote du jour. Maulik has sent an antidote from India: “Here is a picture of Gir Lions (Asiatic Lion).”

7 Lions links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Roger Smith

    “HP Inc. Joins Companies Declining to Contribute to G.O.P. Convention”

    Why do that when they can donate to the Democrats instead?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They all do that and tell the whole world they are getting out of N. Carolina.

      A lot of them still quietly do business in birth-control-is-treason Turkey, or other slave labor Third World countries.

      “We will not shoot movies in your state, but we will gladly show them in your theaters, so we can rake in ticket money.”

    2. dano

      HP CEO Meg Whitman ran for governor of California not long ago from the right (almost far right). It is doubtful she could handle the concept of any company of ‘hers’ donating to any party but the Republican Party.

    1. Roger Smith

      Here, here! Great summary and representation. This site has the best commentariat around, hands down. One can actually learn things by reading comments and digging deeper. It was sad and humorous to encounter politico comments at the end of an article about NC.

    2. Marco

      Correct the Record is pummeling Yves in comments section. Y’all get over there and start up-voting.

    1. Roger Smith

      Side note: I often see comments of users having difficulty posting links. For those curious:

      If you just want to share the link you only have to copy and paste it in the comment box. You can skip the rest.

      1 – Highlight the text you want to contain the hyperlink.
      2 – Click the link format icon and enter the URL.

      After that your text selection should now be a link.

  2. the blame/e

    Brain Tumors and cell phones — Wow. All those minutes really do add up. Somebody came out and said non-ionizing radiation is actually good for the brain, in the same way that dogs and small children get along so well together. They share the same alpha brain wave patterns. Now I know where all my data has gone missing. This is shaping up to be another episode of modern science: just one assertion after another. Wait until the connection is made between cell phone usage and climate change; which are more deadly (or better for you), flip- or smart-phones, Apple or Samsung. Can’t wait to hear what Trump will have to say about the whole deal.

    1. Jeff

      IIRC, re-insurers stopped re-insuring mobile operators back in 2003. Please recall it were the same re-insurers saying in 2009 (if memory serves me right, perhaps earlier) that climate change was wreaking havoc on their bottomlines.

      1. the blame/e

        Must explain why Obamacare payments are about to go up 60-percent. Everything wreaks havoc on insurance company’s bottom lines, except profits.

        1. craazyboy

          Health insurance companies now have massive brain cancer risk to cover. They’ll need to get costs on brain cancer treatment from hospitals and chemotherapy costs. That ain’t gonna be cheap. If we’re lucky, Trump will say Obamacare is a hoax.

    2. evodevo

      There are just so many variables here, I can’t even … I’d have to read the original studies…. “Young” people are the biggest users – but they text, they won’t call unless forced. Does THAT cause cancer? Their cell phones are usually not anywhere near their heads. What about bluetooth/handsfree sets – does having that headset on all day increase risk? What about just having the phone on in your pocket/purse? What about wi-fi? It’s all radio waves, after all … Can you get cancer from sitting in Starbucks or MickeyD’s all day?

  3. voteforno6

    Re: Elizabeth Holmes

    Does anyone else find it ironic that the picture in the article is Holmes speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative? Maybe she was one of those “extraordinary” women that Thomas Frank wrote about.

      1. grayslady

        Good catch! What do you want to bet Theranos didn’t want anyone sneaking into the facility to take a phone photo of her magical unicorn equipment?

  4. cripes

    The Lame Duck In Chief supports increasing Social Security…

    In other news, Obama Library’s volunteer board hires subcontractor that employs minimum-wage undocumented workers without benefits to polish presidential bust Made in China.

    Have we mentioned lately what an a**hole Obama is?

    1. Roger Smith

      Does all the fawning over him make you want to barf as well? The benefit of the doubt given to this fool is disgusting. Even Michael Moore, whom I think is an exemplary human being, cannot discredit good old Barry without following up with a nod to “accomplishments”.

      Why is it that no one can be criticized anymore?

        1. perpetualWAR

          Obama accomplished kicking 14+ million people out of their homes unlawfully without a pitchfork riot. I think that says something!

  5. hemeantwell

    11 Beautiful Japanese Words That Don’t Exist In English Odyssey

    Good article. I was aware that Japanese conceptualized some nature experiences that English allows to float by, but the pictures make the loss apparent. My thoughts now drift to experiences native to this site, like “disgust at the self-indulgent joy of those who should be in jail” and “exasperation from considering the problems facing left-wing third parties in a first past the post electoral system.”

    1. craazyman

      “disgust at the self-indulgent joy of those who should be in jail” — Yves invented that word (or one close to it anyway) several years ago “vomititious”. It was brilliant and I’ve always remembered it.

      and “exasperation from considering the problems facing left-wing third parties in a first past the post electoral system.”

      politrickondemosvexia — it’s not very beautiful. In fact, nobody would be able to remember it or spell it if they did.

      1. Jim Haygood

        “disgust at the self-indulgent joy of those who should be in jail”

        Not exactly the same, but applicable to the laughing perps: koganmuchi

        Defined by a Japanese colleague as “such thick face skin, and no feeling of shameful.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think you will not find a Japanese word for the English racist word ‘Japs.’

        On the other hand, in English, there is no word for Kamikaze, except Kamikaze. You say ‘divine wind,’ and no one understands you.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Japanese, Nihonjin, not racist? Look up “ijin.” And some history. All us humans got the disease. I wonder what all those Kanji characters on all those propaganda posters from the runup to and prosecution of WW II meant? And what do Nihonjin or Nipponjin, behind their polite hands and smiles, call Koreans,? or other lesser breeds?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I was referring to the universal fact that, though all of us humans are capable of using derogatory terms to describe others, we don’t, or very rarely, call ourselves dirty names, only others or ‘ijin.’

            Thus, the Japanese don’t have Japanese words, such as the one I cited, for insulting themselves.

            Yes, they call Korean Japanese all kinds of bad names.

        2. Plenue

          They may not have a slur for Japanese, but they certainly have slurs. Even plain old ‘gaijin’, which literally just means ‘outside person’, is frequently used negatively.

          As for Kamikaze having no English rendering, it does: ‘suicide attack’. Again, this is claiming that because something doesn’t have a direct, one-to-one word-to-word translation it can’t be translated. And Japanese punctuation and grammar is completely different anyway. Is kamikaze one word or two words? Or is it a compound word? Divine wind? Divinewind? Divine-wind?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Not that it can’t be translated, but the insight to be gained is that, to learn a language is to soak in that culture.

            So, the word kamikaze connects with their history and the 2 Mongol invasions.

            Thus, one doesn’t just learn the imperial tongue, but one adopts the imperial world-view that is only assumed, implied, and not always obvious.

            As for the Japanese insulting others, see above (6:27pm comment).

      3. low integer

        It’s not Japanese, however I often think that the English language is badly in need of an equivalent to the German word “backpfeifengesicht“.
        My lamenting this shortcoming of the English language seems to be catalysed by my glancing at pictures of smug neoliberal poiticians or billionaires.

    2. uahsenaa

      We could add a couple more untranslatable words, to make a nice round 13:

      部落 (buraku) – literally “hamlet,” but also the small remote villages where people who were considered spiritually impure were sequestered simply because of the form of labor they performed (tanning, butchery, waste disposal, etc.); nowadays also refers to the widespread discrimination visited on their descendants

      いじめ (ijime) – a systematic, mostly state sanctioned form of bullying largely perpetrated in the Japanese schools

      Then there’s the apocryphal claim that Japanese culture has no sense of irony (which is a load of crap), but that would help explain why they leveled an entire old growth forest in central Japan to set up pavilions for an Expo focused on the environment, or why it’s common practice to just dump your old appliances in a field somewhere so you can avoid the modest removal fees.

      The notion that Japan and the Japanese are “polite” or “respectful of nature” has about as much meaning as Americans saying we live in the “land of the free.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        Japan’s “construction state” has paved most of its inland waterways with concrete, and lined probably half of its coastline with giant concrete tetrapods. They look like this:

        In other words, the densely-populated islands were an environmental disaster area even before Fukushima.

        1. Clive

          I’m going to risk the unending wrath of the Naked Capitalism commentariat here by making that always inadvisable move which is to use a sweeping generalisation. But shield ready, I’ll enter the minefield.

          It has been my consistent observation that Americans, as a whole, and this isn’t to set out to cause offense so I will say from the start, you can’t really be anything else, are pretty much lacking any sense of what it is to live in a land-constrained country. How could you be? It veritably smacks the visitor to the U.S. in the face especially if you’re from a European country, just how much there is of America. There is a simply extraordinary abundance of land. The distances are vast, the flyover states almost never ending in their breadth, but because Americans are so used to it, you’ve probably never even given it any thought.

          For example, I felt like such a valley girl that when someone who lived in CA was going to fly from LA to (I think it was) Sacramento, I just did not believe it. It was the same state. But they looked at me like I was stupid when I asked “why, don’t you want to drive there?” but of course it was like you asking me why I’m not going to drive from London to Berlin. Another example, I’m not aware of anywhere here in the UK where I can’t drive for more than about an hour without coming to a reasonably sized urban area, at least a town of some scale. But in the U.S. I’ve driven for hours and hours in AZ without seeing anything. You just can’t do that in a small country with a high-ish population density.

          So when people (and, for my sins, I mean “Americans” here) say something like “oh, how terrible the Japanese are, concreting over anything an everything in sight”, they probably have no idea what it is to squeeze 100 million+ people into tiny (by comparison with anything you’re used to in the U.S.) coastal planes. And it’s not even like the non-mountainous land is just fine and dandy. It is seismically unstable, prone to liquefaction in quakes, has some massive rainfall totals, oh, and yes, then there’s the tsunami risks too.

          Now, I’m all for preserving the beauty of nature. But it’s a bit rich for anyone who doesn’t have to live in the constraints the Japanese have to live with to start telling the Japanese that they should keep all those lovely verdant vistas but they should just jolly well be prepared to pay the price of dying in a catastrophic mudslide as a piece of hillside collapses on them in the rainy season.

          1. Lumpenproletariat


            In terms of destructive urban development, the postwar US is #1. Unending, unnecessary urban sprawl, close to zero resources devoted towards mass transit. Yet it is so easy to castigate others based on often superficial or incomplete reasons. At least it helps us feel better.

          2. Steve C

            Except that in Japan the construction companies have the government and politicians in a death grip. There’s also an anal and un-Buddhist characteristic that prevails in Japan of not being able to look at a natural stream without thinking it’s untidy and untended and that we need to “fix” it by making it uniform and clean with a concrete liner.

            1. Clive

              Oh, yes, you’re absolutely correct. I should have stressed this point. Construction owns the LDP (Japan’s monopoly-on-power (usually) perma-ruling party) lock, stock and barrel. Japan needed significant infrastructure development, but the relentless porkbarelling created the construction industry monster which has held Japan to ransom since the war.

              However, that doesn’t mean that some of the infrastructure wasn’t necessary.

          3. Jim Haygood

            My observations are based on having spent a total of about six months in Japan, primarily in the Kansai area.

            Both stream channelization and tetrapoding of coastlines, driven by pork barreling, have gone far beyond what was necessary for flood control.

            One doesn’t see such excrescences in densely populated Britain, for instance.

            1. Clive

              British geography (and rainfall amounts) are way different from Japan. There’s the odd town at risk from the sort of hilltop rainfall and runoff which can wash away a complete community but these are exceptional. In Japan, they are the rule.

              I would never say that Japan’s constitution industry wasn’t the most porktastic anywhere in the world, but equally it is a mistake to say all infrastructure, especially water management related, is unwarranted.

          4. johnnygl

            This is mostly true. Less so on the east coast, but once you get outside the big cities, everyone seems to have a ton of land to go with a given house. Canada has this going on, only a little bit less. So does Australia. The former constrained a little by cold, the latter by desert.

            I think it is easy to forget just how well endowed with natural resources the usa really is. Anyone who claims usa does better than rest of rich world economically needs to keep in mind how much advantage is from natural endowment.

          5. craazyboy

            Almost makes you wonder why Japan hasn’t invaded Siberia, The Middle East hasn’t invaded the Sahara, China hasn’t invaded Tibet, and Europe hasn’t invaded the Artic Circle???

          6. PlutoniumKun

            Alex Kerr (of the book Dogs and Demons fame) has made the argument that there is something almost uniquely perverse about the Japanese relationship to nature. Partly the utter determination that it would not stand in the way of development, along with a sort of resignation to the inevitability of its loss. Hence you get poems to landscapes by poets who simultaneously support those landscapes destruction.

            Its not a topic I know enough to come to any conclusions, but it does seem to me that there is something almost uniquely perverse about the manner in which the Japanese have destroyed so much of what is beautiful about Japan (not just nature). It would almost be understandable if it was straightforward greed or ignorance, but I think there is more to it than that. One writer who’s name I forget at the moment attributed it to the nature of the Occupation – the manner in which the traditional upper classes were stripped of their powers, leaving the much more pragmatic and dogmatic samurai class in charge. In effect, it removed a sort of civilising layer from the ruling classes (or so the argument goes). This reminded me of Ireland, where conservationism struggled for a long time because of its association with the posh Anglo-Irish (the ‘belted earls’ as one politician described them).

          7. Plenue

            You can say it’s a sweeping generalization coming from outside, but Japanese themselves have made the same point. Mamuro Oshii’s 1989 movie Patlabor had a plot entirely revolving around a plan to made a giant artificial island in Tokyo Bay. But rather than there actually being a shortage of land, there’s an entire (breathtaking) sequence in which a pair of detectives wander around a wasteland of demolished apartment buildings neighboring a whole new set of mostly empty apartments. The Japanese construction industry frequently builds stuff just for the sake of building, only to demolish it and build more stuff again later.

      2. Clive

        May I also add “引きこもり” (hikikomori) adj. which originally meant in verb form a completely anodyne “not going out” or “staying indoors”, for example, “It’s raining today so I’ll stay indoors”. But largely coinciding with the end of the bubble era in the 1990’s it came to refer to a generation (subculture might be a better way of putting it) of younger people, mostly men, who disengaged from society, refused to find a job and rarely left their bedrooms in their parents house. A complex interaction of factors such as unpleasant workplace environments, a poor economy limiting employment prospects, a lack of a convincing or appealing vision for Japanese society to the young and co-dependency between Japanese mothers and their male children are usually given as causative factors. But there is something uniquely Japanese about this phenomena and the word itself.

        If I am crystal ball gazing, I’m on the watch for similar (but not necessarily identical) traits emerging in our societies — I suspect there will be cultural and geographic variations, but the driver will be the same, a society which people don’t want to live in but don’t want to fight to improve either.

        I would add, in defence of Japan and the “lets just concrete over everything” mentality, a lot of Japanese habitable land is in what is geologically / meteorically known as a “flashy catchment” — an area where high mountains subject to significant rainfall totals then channel the runoff water down narrow rivers or valleys. The resultant watercourses then disgorge vast volumes of water into a limited amount of space. Devastating flooding which can simply wipe out urban areas is the inevitable result. Concreting the channels where water flows off the mountains and other reinforcement of the valleys and riverbeds is the only practical solution. You can’t just move the urban areas elsewhere; there’s nowhere to move them to.

        1. Lumpenproletariat

          Not that I want to oved-simplify, but the two phenomena of antisocial, demoralized young people and concrete flood protection have less to do with culture and more with peoples’ coping skills and a hostile environment.

          The younger Japanese working age population faces lousy job prospects and jobs that don’t pay enough to live. Why bother with work when it doesn’t pay off? Ideally people would organize but how many Norma Rays or Rosa Luxemburgs do you find at underpaying Walmart or overworked professional services firms? I see something similar with younger people here. What’s thee point of university when the only guarantee is debt? Why work when the take home income is still poverty level?

          The Japanese concrete flood channels may be unsightly but they serve a practical purpose. Flood barriers in New Orleans may be unsightly too, but you still want them around.

        2. uahsenaa

          Public works construction in Japan is a weird thing, as you know, and exists in part as a jobs program that, though people often talk about the long period of stagnation that characterized the nineties, it also meant that Japanese economy didn’t fall off a cliff like it could have and softened the landing for many, if not all. Unlike in the US, where the neoliberals are still gutting everything, there the social safety net largely held. Nevertheless, while paving over a river might be justified in Kanto, it is much less so in Tokai or the West. Kyushu is not that densely populated, yet you still see all the same crap. Where I lived in middle of nowhere Aichi-ken, even the tiniest tributary would be covered in cement.

          I admit I was being a little cheeky above, but the point was to remind us that the Japanese are not really all that super special different. They are human beings like the rest of us, and so do all the same terrible and wonderful things we do. Japan’s recent history is also an object lesson in how poorly other wealthy nations are likely to handle their own coming ecological disasters.

          Though, as an American who has lived abroad, I will admit that your characterization is completely fair. We do have a completely different sense of space.

          1. Clive

            Yeah, you are so right. And this is such a complicated intertwined topic. The older I get, the more I come to appreciate the Japanese way of thinking that words inevitably end up distorting thought.

            As you say, some construction is merely ruinous, gratuitous despoiling of the environment for no good reason. I’ve certainly been on bridges to nowhere and shinkansen where I’m the only passenger in the green car.

            Some of it saves tens of thousands from being swept away in a torrent of water, mud and rocks. Some of it is still not warranted but gave employment to rural areas thus preserving them and saving (even worse) migrations to the big centres like Osaka and Tokyo.

            It’s never black-and-white so I was always playing with fire trying to do justice to the topic in a quick comment. I think I’d better quit while I’m not (too far) behind !

            1. Jim Haygood

              “The older I get, the more I come to appreciate the Japanese way of thinking that words inevitably end up distorting thought.”

              Many times, male Japanese colleagues went on about how they valued a wife who could intuit her husband’s thoughts and needs, without him having to resort to words.

              Funny how this concept does not go over AT ALL with western women. They want conversation, and get quite upset when a man adopts the “intuit my needs” silent approach.

              1. cwaltz

                That would be because many aren’t very adept at mindreading. So yeah, conversation is a prerequisite to a healthy relationship.

                And for the record it isn’t Japanese WOMEN who say they value intuition so you are comparing apples to oranges. I’m willing to bet many American MEN, like their Japanese male counterparts, wish they could have a psychic wife able to meet their every whim.

                This might have been an apples to apples comparison if someone had bothered to ask Japanese women how they felt about having to be married to men who are too lazy to verbalize and expect women to play perpetual guessing games to meet their spouses needs.

              2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I will just add a comment that many may despise, but it seems women are much less efficient with their words than men. The average man speaks 2,500 of them per day, the average woman 10,000, to accomplish roughly the same set of tasks.
                I am reminded of the teacher on the old Charlie Brown cartoon, when she spoke it always came out “wah wah wah, wah wah, wah wah wah wah”. Women: do not take this personally, it may just be the the extra word volume overflows men’s speech comprehension filters. It may not be their fault that “they don’t listen”.

                1. cwaltz

                  Women are more verbal. Our brains are wired that way. For the record, speaking less doesn’t make you more efficient, it just means you speak less.

                  Oh and guys, one of the reasons we are better at “intuiting” is we’re better at reading nonverbal cues than you are and we tend to be better at adapting our communication as a result.



                  So yeah, definitely NOT more efficient at communicating as a whole.(Take heart though because apparently you understand math and visual spatial reasoning better than the girls as a whole.)

              3. aab

                Building on cwaltz’s comment, that’s not a Japanese thing. That’s a hierarchy thing. The epitome of a “good servant” to a British aristocrat was also their ability to intuit their employer’s thoughts and needs without being told.

                There’s lots of social science research indicating that those lower in hierarchical position are better at intuiting the beliefs and desires of those above them than the reverse. Which makes sense: if your survival depends on understanding and pleasing someone with power over you, you’ll be or get good at it, or you won’t survive.

                So longing for a wife who can intuit your needs and desires without your having to speak has nothing to do with Japanese culture. It reflects a longing for the hierarchical power of misogyny. If that kind of wife is getting harder to find, it reflects the weakening of misogyny driven hierarchy.

                Sorry, boys.

                On a somewhat related note, that’s why any good romantic comedy that is implicitly egalitarian (from Shakespeare to Hawks) portrays two highly verbal partners. It’s implicitly acknowledging that if both parties get to speak and be heard, both parties matter equally.

            2. Uahsenaa

              I, for one, would never want you to quit the field. Your perspective is always valuable, even when incomplete. After all, it forced me to be clearer and more precise as to what I was driving at.

              Besides, the mutual benefit of rivalry is a very Japanese thing as well. Manga stories are rather hackneyed and trope laden at times, but I always liked how they presented a worldview in which you could have contest and striving to be better without the grotesque animosity one sees in, say, competitive sports in most of the developed world.

        3. Jagger

          a lack of a convincing or appealing vision for Japanese society to the young

          Very good point.

          The Western/American neoliberal vision of happiness through material accumulation and consumption does not meet the needs of the soul/psyche. The soul wants companionship, sharing, understanding and meaning rather than the pointless competition and materialism of capitalism. At one time, religion and community met those needs but today, they have been replaced by a mindless, greedy, consumerist media openly hostile to any competition to the socially engineered, ideal materialistic consumer. Our society has not just lost sight of the needs of the inner being, but is openly hostile to those needs. Is it any wonder that people withdraw and give up on society?

        4. Gio Bruno

          Concreting the channels where water flows off the mountains and other reinforcement of the valleys and riverbeds is the only practical solution. You can’t just move the urban areas elsewhere; there’s nowhere to move them to.

          This is just the problem that Los Angeles has with the LA River.

          1. craazyboy

            I thought they were gonna convert the LA River to a freeway? It’s paved already…they just needed to add the on ramps? Then the billboards, of course.

      3. Plenue

        If we’re talking about disreputable Japanese words and phrases, I’d throw in shikata ga nai/sho ga nai from the original list. It’s essentially the unofficial motto of the country. While under certain circumstances the attitude of ‘well, shit happens, just suck it up and move on’ is to be applauded (like after an earthquake; something that literally can’t be avoided) it illustrates a cultural attitude that is far too willing to just roll over and be kicked. A country in which one party has had almost a total monopoly on power for 60+ years needs to stop sighing and shrugging its shoulders so damn much.

        As for Japanese politeness in general (but not specifically regarding nature) East Asian cultures are big on petty passive-aggressiveness as a way to work around nigh-mandatory manners. And looking from the outside in, with the Japanese I mostly see a society where manners has been so ingrained that they’ve become essentially meaningless. It becomes a social reflex, not a genuine display of sentiment. When you say ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ constantly it becomes a meaningless set of sounds. The Japanese themselves seem to have some appreciation of this, because when they’re genuinely remorseful about something you often get these comical displays where someone bows dozens of times and repeats ‘sumimasen’ like a mantra, as if to really get across the point that “I actually truly mean it this time, I’m not just saying words because that’s what you’re expected to say”.

    3. Plenue

      The whole concept of an untranslatable word is bunk to begin with. Especially when you’re talking about English. I imagine that if you looked hard enough many of those words would have direct counterparts in the vast repertoire of English vocabulary. I once saw a similar list (also about ‘untranslatable’ Japanese words) that claimed English didn’t have a word for “a moment of perfect, indescribable emotion”. It does: pathos.

      Everything can be translated; we’re all humans, we all have brains that fundamentally function the same way. It may take a sentence (or several paragraphs) but the meaning of any word can be adequately conveyed to a speaker of any language. And when it comes to something like “itadakimasu”, claiming it’s somehow untranslatable is especially foolish. Many (most?) languages have phrases said right before eating that convey the same meaning of giving thanks. What they’re really claiming is that because a language doesn’t have literally a one word equivalent something in Japanese is ‘untranslatable’ What utter rot.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Yes indeed about the ‘untranslatable word’. As much a myth as the single translatable word, or that towering absurdity, the “word-for-word translation”. As a working translator for more years than (etc…) I’d say that a statement — sentence, paragraph, essay, detached clause or line of verse — is always translatable, although if the syntax of the translation outwardly resembles the original, something has quite likely gone wrong.
        Untranslatable statements occur only when the text is a.) so extremely idiomatic that it approaches ‘private language’, in which case it needs to be explained, not replaced with an idiom from a dialect of another language, or b.) nonsense — meaning not that I disagree with what it says, but that it declines to say anything, being written in such a way that pronoun identification is impossible, subject-verb-object agreement absent etc.
        a.)” is occasionally finessed by brilliant translators of, say, Kelman, Khlebnikov, Nanni Balestrini, Chester Himes (the best finesser of all by the way, at least into English and broad Scots, was the late Scottish poet Edwin Morgan), but “b.)” is insuperable without either writing some sense into the place where it was missing, or (unwisely) asking the writer to try to explain him/herself. “b.)” is also shockingly common in the academic and arts writing, etc., not to speak of bureaucratic documents like — it just so happens! — employment contracts.

  6. the blame/e

    Estate taxes — Basically, all taxes paid by Americans go to fund the interest payments on the debt, and that is it. The federal, state, and local budgets are funded by borrowing. If this doesn’t sound insane enough, it bears reminding everyone that when the IRS was first established in 1894, the tax rate was 1-percent. One percent. What is it now? Honestly, with everything added together, Americans are parted from at least 32-percent of their incomes in taxes; 50-percent if the coin of the realm was shaved fine enough. This number is only going to go up. The saying use to be how there was only “death and taxes.” The American taxpayer use to be free by April. Then it was May. Today it is June. Along with “death and taxes” the above article proposes there be just “death and death.”

    1. diptherio

      On the federal level, taxes don’t fund anything. The Fed. gov’t taxes (and borrows) in order to off-set it’s spending, to ensure that it isn’t increasing the money supply.

      1. Benedict@Large

        I prefer to view federal bonds as taxes that pay interest (that are occasionally refunded). This is a useful view because most federal bonds are simply rolled over at maturity, and so the funds invested in them disappear from the economy, just as tax receipts do.

        1. John Merryman

          A big part of the problem is that we think of money as both store of value and medium of exchange. One of the primary ways it is stored, is as government debt.
          What money allows is personal savings. Without it, personal wealth would have too high carrying costs and we would be forced to create and store value as a community function. What used to be called the Commons. Nowadays, the Commons is strip mined so everyone can have a bank account. Unfortunately those running the system are now strip mining everyone else.
          Money functions most effectively as a medium of exchange, not a store of value. As such, it is a public utility, like a road system and if the public institutions maintaining it threatened to tax out the excess and not just borrow it, we would be forced to go back to storing value in stronger communities and healthier environments.
          Then people would have to rely on each other and not just a financial umbilical cord.
          In the body, the medium is blood and the store is fat. It doesn’t work to store fat on the circulation system.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          The Federal government does NOT sell debt to fund itself! The mechanism of issuing bonds is a holdover from gold standard days. Greenspan and the Bank of England both have acknowledged this (it’s now even in BoE primers).

          Treasury bonds functionally serve as a risk-free asset for dollar investors. The Fed could just spend directly, but then cash would pile up somewhere, and the bonds are an alternative way to hold financial assets safely.

    2. Lumpenproletariat

      I personally find estate taxes, capital gains taxes, financial transactions taxes, taxes on natural resource extraction and all sorts of windfall profit taxes to be positives for society.

      Conversely sales taxes, social security withholdings, and income taxes only serve to make life difficult for the lower 99%.

      Yet these patently unfair taxes are a reflection of who wields influence–A parasitic oligarchy. Today’s links had an FT article about Marxist Chinese scholars. I wish Marx’s theories were more prominent here too.

      1. J

        And yet they’ve managed to brainwash a majority of the population into supporting a repeal of the estate tax. I think most people simply don’t understand just how huge an estate has to be before it kicks in.

        1. Lumpenproletariat

          Yeah, False Consciousness. Get everyone to think they are special and will somehow (through their own superhuman effort and intelligence) become deserving millionaires, and any form of social welfare or even compassion rewards laziness and stupidity (often employing racist code words.)

          Lots of Ayn Rand/Thatcher/Reagan zombies out there.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We inherited Marx’s theories tax-free.

        That’s one exception to the inheritance tax.

        And if one gets one’s long legs from one’s parents, and becomes a famous model, that’s another tax-free inheritance.

    3. Adam Eran

      We have debt-based money. If you pay me with an IOU, and I use that IOU to pay someone else, that debt becomes a “money thing.” We’re most familiar with debt-based money as bank accounts. Yes, our checking and savings accounts are our asset, but they’re the banks’ liabilities–and that’s how they record them on their books. We assign the banks’ debt to the payee when we write a check.

      The national “debt” has a non-interest-bearing component we call “dollars,” and another that does bear interest (T-Bills / Bonds), just as banks have checking and savings accounts. The difference between those personal IOUs and government IOUs is that the latter are far more widely accepted.

      Notice: The “debt” *is* the money. Reduce the “debt” and it sucks money out of circulation. Doing this historically causes enormous pain to debtors. Creditors seldom say “OK, we’ll reduce your mortgage payment since fewer dollars are in circulation.” See Randall Wray’s piece for more. Among other things, Wray notes that significant National Debt paydowns like the Clinton Surplus *always* precede Great Depression-sized holes in the economy.

      Paying interest on those T-Bill/Bond/Savings accounts is *never* a problem. We make the frickin’ money! There is literally no limit to how much we can make.

      If you doubt that, ask yourself where all the “fiscal responsibility” was when the topic of conversation was Middle East wars, or multi-trillion-dollar bank bailouts (the Fed’s own audit says it pushed $16 – $29 trillion out the door in 2007-8). Somehow this “we’re outa money!” sentiment only arises when the conversation turns to social safety nets.

      To answer the inevitable objection “B…but if you just print money you’ll cause [gasp!][hyper-]inflation!”…

      Let’s admit there’s a theoretical possibility that government, with its unlimited dollars, could get into a bidding war with the private sector and raise prices–hence, inflation. But notice that bidding has to actually occur for inflation to happen. If Treasury minted a few trillion-dollar coins and deposited them at the Fed, that isn’t bidding (paying off debts is un-spending), so no inflation would result.

      Similarly, if government were to be the employer of last resort, employing the unemployed, no bidding would occur. No one is bidding for the labor of the unemployed by definition. So no inflation there, either.

      …and since taxes do not provision government, no tax rise would be necessary, either.

      The “fiscal responsibility” fad began with Democrats … Edmund Muskie, among others, discarded the legacy of the New Deal, like Carter, Clinton and Obama. In treating currency for the currency creator like it was in the hands of a currency user (households), they have sold us down the river. Heck, this misunderstanding is what is at the root of Dilma’s impeachment in Brazil.

      1. GlennF

        Very well said. These points need to be repeated and repeated again and again on a daily basis so it will sink into peoples’ consciousness. There is no worse spectacle than to hear Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell spew out lie after lie about government debt and deficits in order to scare the electorate into backing social safety net cuts and reductions in government spending on infrastructure. Thanks again for this comment.

    4. reslez

      The federal government is the source of money. It can’t run out. The federal deficit is an indicator of sectoral balances in the economy — the investing and savings decisions of the private sector and households vs our trade deficit with the rest of the world. It’s more of an accounting legacy than something the government can or should try to directly control. In 1894 the government was on a gold standard and relied mainly on tariffs for income; neither is true today.

      Taxes are beneficial when they decrease the ability of the rich to purchase elected officials. Otherwise taxes are how the government requisitions resources from the private sector and manages the money supply.

      1. nothing but the truth

        you guys keep confusing technical details of the money system with real things. money is a way to make sense of the world. it is not the world.

        yes the country cannot go bankrupt in its own money, but that is not the only undesirable outcome possible. if the financial system comes unhinged from the real world, very bad things can happen.

  7. cripes

    The Lame Duck In Chief supports increasing Social Security…

    In other news, Obama Library’s volunteer board hires subcontractor that employs minimum-wage undocumented workers without benefits to polish presidential bust Made in China.

    1. Steve C

      Just like he wants to eliminate nuclear weapons while he spends $1 trillion on new ones.

    1. petal

      I’m at work, but I feel like standing up and cheering. Beautiful. Thank you for all that you do, Yves, Lambert, and commenters. You guys are the best.

      1. diptherio

        This article was meant to penetrate the DC narrative all sensible people will fall in line and vote for Clinton when Sanders is knocked out of the picture (probable but not a given). If it succeeded, it will get people in the Clinton bubble riled up. ~YS

        That comment section is a sign of success. If they weren’t so touchy about it, it would be a sign that the analysis is off the mark. The screams of protest show it struck a nerve. That was the idea…

      1. Roger Smith

        The contrast between here and that dreck is sad and humorous. When NC meets the average facebook commenters (and infiltrated Correct the Record posters).

        1. uahsenaa

          You might recall Yves has gone on the warpath a view times to make sure comments remain constructive and civil.

          I realize there are some real complaints about how moderation has worked, mostly the automated things, but it’s helped make sure the comments don’t devolve into another partisan bitch fest.

    2. mad as hell.

      Modesty? The comments in the comments section are especially infuriating and depressing. But the site attracts that particular reader. I quite reading Politico some time ago.

      1. Lumpenproletariat

        I just assume Politico’s comments section attracts a disproportionate number of shills.

    3. Amateur Socialist

      Well done Yves. I would only add that I have made my peace with a Trump inaugural for another important reason: It permanently weds the GOP to what I expect will be a disastrous administration. So it’s a twofer, undermining the worst elements in the Democratic party while also associating the GOP with the presidential equivalent of Trump Steaks, Trump Air, Trump Mortgage et. al.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The optimist believes that if Bush was not enough to make the GOP a permanent disaster zone, perhaps Bush + Trump will.

        The pessimist sees the other way – if after Bush, Trump can still ascend to the highest office, perhaps we have not seen the last of it.

    4. Jess

      Best comment (made in response to comments belittling Yves’ article) is:

      “Does Corrupt the Record pay shills per comment or per hour?”

      Love that “corrupt” the record.

  8. craazyman

    maybe the pigeon never went anywhere. hahahahahah. he was too lazy! he hung out in a tree down the block and ate breadcrumbs at the park a few blocks over. that would make it easy to show up again “out of the blue”

  9. ck

    Obama Bashes Trump’s Economic Policy in Indiana:

    In the same speech Obama called for strengthening Social Security: “Not only do we need to strengthen it, it is time we finally made Social Security more generous and increase the benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they have earned.”

    Now that there’s no danger he might actually be able to do something about it…

    1. craazyboy

      We can still call it Neo-Grand Bargain, can’t we? For the record and the #O_Lib tweet repository, I mean.

  10. tyaresun

    Thank the heat wave that broke 100 year records for that picture of lions drinking from a man made pond.

  11. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re CNBC video clip “Behind The Fed’s Thinking” about “normalizing” interest rates by keeping interest rates low on the long end of the yield curve in order to contain the USG’s total interest payments on rising total federal debt… (Which can be considered a functionally irrelevant issue since the USG has the power to create money; and setting aside the magic of QE, the need for sector balances, and the increase in total reported debt stemming from the transfer of trillions in Fannie and Freddie debt onto the USG’s balance sheet):

    This would have the added hidden benefits of limiting future potential writedowns of the Fed’s MBS portfolio, thereby keeping the Fed’s reported profits and remittances to the Treasury high; and also showing overall U.S. corporate profits growth – which would otherwise more accurately be reported to have again declined further:

    Besides reminding of the massive monetarist policy fail in terms of generating organic growth in the real economy, it is clear that those who subscribe to this Administration’s and Wall Street’s mantra: “There is no problem which cannot be solved through ‘better messaging’,” continue their inexorable march onward toward that presidential library mentioned above.

  12. Kurt Sperry

    The new Gotthardbahn tunnel, like the old one built at the end of the 19th century, is an astonishing engineering achievement. I made a point of taking the old one a few years back, I was a little disappointed that the radii of the spiral ascents and descents were too large to perceive. At several points the old tunnel did corkscrews underground to gain or lose elevation under the mountain; the new tunnel is laser beam straight. I still recommend taking the old tunnel if possible, both approaches are spectacular and the tunnel even has brief moments of alpine beauty where it comes out into the open between mountains.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Yes! I took that route in the late 80s and the views are astonishing. Almost like being in an airplane flying through the Alps.

  13. dots

    Clinton’s Twitter feed and website are helping Trump immensely as they seem to pump out phrases like “a Trump presidency,” and “President Trump” more often than Trump does himself. These kinds of messages present and reinforce the idea of an actual President Trump in our subconscious brains. This is why the old TV commercials for consumer products when we were growing up used to avoid naming competing products as anything other than “brand x.

    Surely they jest!?!? Who’s running her campaign?

    That reminds me, I saw a lovely Bernie Feel from Instagram yesterday from Fresno, California.


    1. diptherio

      Saw what appeared to be a home-made “Money Out, Bernie In” bumper-sticker on somebody’s beater the other day…haven’t seen a single Clinton anything, that I can remember.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      We all know Trump’s key slogan/promise is “Make America Great Again.” I’m still not sure what Hillary Clinton’s key slogan/promise is and I follow her campaign very closely. Is it “I’m with Her?” If so, it’s not very good in that it doesn’t seem to have anything in it for the person who isn’t “her.”

      Pretty much sums up the clinton worldview. It’ all about “her.”

      1. Brindle

        Hillary Clinton is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

          1. Brindle

            Socks and Buddy intertwined with The Manchurian Candidate (my quote ).
            Ya never know…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        She may not be for you or me, but she is persistent.

        And that’ll be a good slogan: “She is persistent.”

        She endures…she has endured Bill.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not unlike a girl complaining constantly about a guy.

      “I hate him, I hate him.”

      And the next thing you know, they’re married.

      At least that’s how I remember it in romance movies.

      The key factor here is someone is paying attention to someone else.

      That’s how psychologists or researchers study babies (who can’t speak yet) – they look at how much time the baby stares (or pays attention) to an object or a phenomenon. Babies do stare (or stare longer) when they are interested (or more interested).

      So, are they making you pay attention to someone?

  14. Jim Haygood

    Bryan Pagliano invoking the Fifth amendment in his deposition next week invites an obvious response from Judge Emmet Sullivan: approve Judicial Watch’s motion to depose the ‘beest herself, since her IT guy won’t cooperate.

    It’s a dream scenario: the ghastly old dragon lady being obliged repeatedly to either invoke the Fifth herself, or else lie her ass off — as the video rolls.

    This will be even better than “Bill” disputing what the meaning of “is” is at the Paula Jones deposition. Hope the JW attorney has the foresight to yank a silver cross out of his pocket at the end, so viewers can see the ‘beest bare its fangs and shriek in horror.

      1. grayslady

        Grant of immunity to Pagliano is for the FBI investigation. The Judicial Watch lawsuits are civil complaints regarding FOIA requests.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Oh, thanks. It’s getting kind of hard to follow.

          I’d probably be more well-informed if this was as important an issue as Trump University and the “news” media was as concerned.

          1. fosforos

            I have been confused about his immunity grant. Was it “transactional,” making his answers off-limits as evidence at trial, or was it “personal,” protecting him from federal prosecution altogether? If the latter, wouldn’t that invalidate his fifth-amendment claim in regard to the whole e-mail affair?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “It’s a witch hunt.”

      Repeat it often enough, if it’s true, it stays true, and if not, it will be.

      That’s just PR 101.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Which means that the closer the investigations get to pinning Hillary down, the closer she gets to her Christne O’Donnell moment.

  15. fresno dan

    The NRA’s Insane Advice: Store Guns in Children’s Bedrooms Alternet. Darwin awards on a mass basis.

    “Why would you consider staging a firearm inside a child’s room?” Pincus asked of the “few hundred NRA members in attendance,” reported Kira Lerner in ThinkProgress. “It’s the first place I’m going to go! As I’ve said…many times, if your kid is going to break into the safe just because it’s in their room, you have a parenting issue, not a home defense issue.”

    Parenting issues, home defense issues; notice how guns are never the issue.

    One woman at Pincus’ talk brought up the idea that it should be the gun owner’s responsibility to “ensure” there is no unauthorized access. Pincus’ responded, “Ensure is a strong word. So I’m going to say we have an obligation to try to prevent unauthorized access.” He went on to suggest that instead of locking guns away, owners can instead simply hide their guns in secret compartments.”

    Impossible to satirize….

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    msnbc is burnin’ up the airwaves this morning. They have discovered that there is EDUCATIONAL FRAUD in this great country and it is………….Trump University.

    Not corinthian colleges, university of phoenix, or charter schools with uncredentialed tfa kids as “teachers.” Not massive unpayable, high-interest, non-dischargeable student loans for worthless “degrees.” Not ever-increasing tuition used to pay for sports stadiums, climbing walls, luxury dorms or massive administrative salaries and bonuses.

    Trump University.

    eric scheiderman is spittin’ mad. “The law protects the gullible as well as the sophisticated.”

    At least he’s finally learned the word “fraud.” hiillary has apparently learned the word too and it’s just rollin’ off her tongue. Fraud, fraud, fraud.

    So, about this clinton foundation thing……

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘hillary has apparently learned the word too and it’s just rollin’ off her tongue. Fraud, fraud, fraud.’

      Positively ortellian! (as in Charles)

    2. fresno dan

      Kaplan was still a test-prep company when the Washington Post Company bought it in 1984, after Richard D. Simmons, the president, convinced Katharine Graham of its potential for expansion and profits.

      Over the last decade, Kaplan has moved aggressively into for-profit higher education, acquiring 75 small colleges and starting the huge online Kaplan University. Now, Kaplan higher education revenues eclipse not only the test-prep operations, but all the rest of the Washington Post Company’s operations. And Kaplan’s revenue grew 9 percent during the last quarter to $743.3 million — with higher education revenues more than four times greater than those from test-prep — helping its parent company more than triple its profits.

      But over the last few months, Kaplan and other for-profit education companies have come under intense scrutiny from Congress, amid growing concerns that the industry leaves too many students mired in debt, and with credentials that provide little help in finding jobs.

      Reports of students who leave such schools with heavy debt, only to work in low-paying jobs, have prompted the Department of Education to propose regulations that would cut off federal financing to programs whose graduates have high debt-to-income ratios and low repayment rates.

      Though Kaplan is not the largest in the industry, the Post Company chairman, Donald Graham, has emerged as the highest-profile defender of for-profit education.

      Together, Kaplan and the Post Company spent $350,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of this year, more than any other higher-education company. And Mr. Graham has gone to Capitol Hill to argue against the regulations in private visits with lawmakers, the first time he has lobbied directly on a federal issue in a dozen years.

      His newspaper, too, has editorialized against the regulations. Though it disclosed its conflict of interest, the newspaper said the regulations would limit students’ choices. “The aim of the regulations was to punish bad actors, but the effect is to punish institutions that serve poor students,” Mr. Graham said in an interview.

      He said the regulations’ emphasis on debt would make it harder for Kaplan to serve older working students who must take out loans to attend school.

      I am POSITIVE the inadvertent, unintended, unwitting, chance, irreflective, unthinking, unplanned ignoring of pay colleges (until Trump) has NOTHING at ALL to do with the Washington Post owning Kaplan.
      Only a cynic would believe that….
      Geez, why don’t you people believe our illustrious free press, the best news gathers money can buy…

      1. shinola

        “…the newspaper said the regulations would limit students’ choices.”

        Where have I heard this line before? It seems quite a bit like the rationale used by payday lending supporters. Just substitute “consumers” for “students”.

    3. ewmayer

      Very much like the MSM were “shocked, shocked!” to find (alleged) charity fraud this week Trump’s fundraising for veterans …maybe they ignore the Clinton Foundation because they knew it wasn’t a charity [“oh, that’s just for legal purposes, ignore it!”] all along?

  17. Jim Haygood

    More on the broken CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model) … and how it feeds private equity investment:

    “Risk Neglect in Equity Markets” by Malcolm Baker looks at an obvious flaw in the CAPM. The model suggests that stocks which are more volatile than the overall market (high beta in the jargon) should display higher returns while stocks that are more stable (low beta) should deliver lower returns. More risk means more reward.

    But that is not what has happened. Mr Baker assembles two portfolios from 1967; one consists of the 30% of US stocks with the lowest beta; another of the 30% with the highest beta (the portfolios are adjusted as betas change).

    By the end of the period, $1 in the low-beta portfolio had grown to $190, while the high-beta portfolio rose to just $18. The difference in compound returns is huge—5.5% a year. The low-beta portfolio is a lot less volatile and the maximum drawdown (peak-to-trough loss) is 35% compared with 75% for the high-beta portfolio.

    Think about that; lower risk meant higher reward. It was the equivalent of finding $20 notes lying on the street.

    Fund managers want to beat the market and deliver higher than average returns; so they buy high-beta stocks, as academic theory suggests. This makes high-beta stocks too pricey and drives down their returns. The answer should be to buy low-beta stocks and combine them with leverage. But investors are generally constrained from using borrowed money. So the anomaly persists.

    Mr Baker thinks part of the reason that private equity has been successful is down to this strategy; the likes of Blackstone and KKR are buying less volatile (cash-generating) businesses with borrowed money.

    CAPM assumes that all investors have access to leverage at the risk-free (T-bill) rate. But it’s emphatically not true. Margin lending rates at retail brokerages are so usurious that it destroys the return of levering up low-vol stocks using a DIY approach.

    At the institutional level, losing money on a leveraged portfolio presents intolerable career risk. Better to outsource the task to Blackstone and KKR — who conveniently provide “valuation smoothing” to make low-vol investments look even better than they really are.

  18. Alex morfesis

    Ah…reality, what a sidebar…german parliament today demands turkey acknowledge armenian deaths…there probably will never be an honest conversation on the loss of hundreds of thousands of armenian lives from the collapse of the sultanate ottmans from 1908 to the push back against the greek big idea and the rise of ataturk…the armenians will never speak of ARF or mister five percent…the germans forget they were allies with the three pashas who destroyed the ottoman empire as attaturk predicted, between 1910 and 1919…and an honest assessment of the armenian deaths is they occured during the dictatorship of the 3 pashas…the dictatorship supported by the grandparents and great grandparents of the current germen government…so if they were being honest in Germany, they might throw in an apology of their own for their part in supporting the three pasha during world war 1 when the armenian people were destroyed during the final collapse of the last othmans…

    Not that attaturk the second is doing anything to deal with the obvious culpability of those turks who did nothing to prevent that slaughter or to get past the past..what would it take, oh “big master” to give armenia mt ararat ? Are you not adult enough to seize an opportunity ?

    Buyuk usta…right…

    more like globaloni…

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fearing drugs’ horrific side effects, millions take their chances with osteoporosis.

    Let’s see…

    Fearing tent-burning horrific side effects, millions take their chances with neoliberalism.

    Or this:

    Fearing building teardown’s horrific side effects, millions take their chances of steady decay.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    First rise in death rate surprises experts.

    There is a documentary about a small French town giving organic meals to their students (don’t recall the name of the movie just now), and there is a town hall kind of meeting, where one person explains that, while we are living longer, the stats are based on people born in the 1920’s and 1930’s who are now in their 80s and 90s and so, on average, statistically, they are living longer than people before, that their childhood was spent before the massive use of chemicals in agriculture.

    And, sadly, today’s kids are no so lucky and in Europe (the film was made in France), child cancer rates have been going up for decades.

    It’s possible, perhaps probable, today’s children will not live longer than their grand parents.

  21. fresno dan

    “That there are gains from free trade is a core belief of economists. Trade theory shows that if countries specialize in making some products, and then exchange some of those products through imports and exports, they end up richer than if each country were to go it alone. But there is a catch. When the United States decides to specialize in producing Hollywood movies rather than textiles, its textile workers stand to lose. Not to worry, trade theorists respond, our analysis shows that the gains to the Hollywood producers will be sufficient to make up for the losses of the textile workers.

    In practice, though, losers seldom share in the winners’ gains (redistribution in economic parlance). Rodrik says that “to this day, there is a tendency in the profession to overstate” the gains from trade while paying lip service to the need for redistribution. But trade theory shows that “the larger the net gains, the larger the redistribution [that is needed]. It is nonsensical to argue that the gains are large while the amount of redistribution is small.”

    In his 1997 monograph, “Has Globalization Gone Too Far?” Rodrik pointed to the failure to push redistribution seriously as one reason for the gap between economists and laypeople in their attitude toward trade.

    And he outlined several other tensions created by trade. Rodrik wrote that trade “is exposing a deep fault line between groups who have the skills and ability to flourish in global markets” and those who lack them. Without retraining or education, the latter would understandably be opposed to free trade. Rodrik also emphasized that trade “fundamentally transforms the employment relationship.” If workers can be more easily substituted for each other across national boundaries, “they have to incur greater instability in their earnings [and] their bargaining power erodes.” Trade could also “undermine the norms implicit” in domestic production, for instance, if child labor in a foreign producer displaced U.S. workers.”

  22. Synoia

    11 Beautiful Japanese Words That Don’t Exist In English

    Hmm… don’t quite agree. Englisg uses (and borrows) phrases as necessary:

    Grace: Itadakimasu: Benedictus bendicat (Before Dining) – Beneductus benedicatur (After Dining). Yes, it is Latin but its use was common place in England by the English.

    Yuugen: Donald Trump at work?

    Kogarashi: Sea Fret.

    If English does not have a word, the English speaking will just use one from another language.

    1. craazyboy

      “If English does not have a word, the English speaking will just use one from another language.”

      I’ve heard that used as the reason English spelling is so f*cked up.

  23. Pat

    I admit to not reading the article in the NY Times about it, but I did just see the quote from William Weld regarding Clinton email. It includes this gem:

    “I’m not buying it,” Weld said. “You can’t indict somebody if there’s no evidence of criminal intent, and I don’t see any evidence of criminal intent.”

    Well I’m sure many of us can show that particular assertion is bullshit (especially from an ex Prosecutor), and can even provide examples. But I’m more interested in WHY it was said. It was apparently volunteered. So this was something that Weld, in his capacity as the Libertarian candidate for Vice President, wanted out there. Why. Of what value is it to seemingly help Clinton that a brand new Libertarian whose ascension on the Presidential ticket was massively divisive to the Party members would do it. I’m sure someone drinking the kool-aid would decide it was because it was right (and since I saw the quote at a Clinton friendly site, it is being taken that way there). I’m not that naive anymore.

    My first thought was harming Sanders by herding scared NJ and CA Democrats back to Clinton. And though the Libertarian Party might benefit from discouraged refugee Sanders supporters, it isn’t as natural a transition as the Green Party..

    I’m sure it will become clear at some point what the strategy is, but it was not just a simple throwaway the media blew up.

    1. craazyboy

      My theory is it’s all part of the “Stop Trump” program. The “conservative” GOP will try and herd their true believers into the Libertarian party, fracturing the Trump vote and throwing the election to Hillary – the neocon/neolib the GOP can really get behind!

      10 years ago I would have thought this theory would make a good Hollywood plot. But this is today.

    2. Ignim Brites

      More prosaically it might just be that Weld is the kind of intelligent guy who needs to signal that he is easily shepherded. It is comparable to what Sanders did when he took interest in the “damm emails” off the table; although granted Bernie wanted to signal that he was too smart and had more important things to talk about (and had no expectation or interest in actually winning the nomination?)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think Bernie was smart to let his supporters go (or not hinder them from going) after the emails.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just looking at the matter itself, to me, unless it’s a clear cut, no doubt about it, criminal case, and not just some gray-area negligence/incompetence/ignorance act that will allow the Clinton team to scream ‘witch hunt,’ they will all sit down to work out a deal, so that Hillary can’t argue ‘political interference.’

      Diplomats do enjoy immunity, so perhaps any attempt at reforming the two tiered justice system should include that as well.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      He’s wrong on this. For security matters (this is a crude summary) the standard for criminality is negligence. I assume that is because getting the clearances presupposes you’ve been well briefed on the risks and the need for vigilance.

      1. Pat

        It isn’t just in security cases where negligence can make an action criminal regardless of intention, that is why I can’t even cut him any slack. He very clearly knows what he said was b*ll sh*t.

        So once again the real question is why? Although I will say if the goal is to stop Trump, giving Republican voters who would never vote for Clinton a stop gap isn’t a bad idea, but unfortunately they might draw from the hoards of moderate Republicans who might have voted for Clinton and is her victory plan. Perhaps they need to talk.

  24. Ignim Brites

    “How Americans Came to Die in the Middle East.” Pretty standard bill of particulars of the US desultory history in the Middle East. Left out Eisenhower’s suppression of the French, British, Israeli effort to seize the Suez canal and topple Nasser. That is pretty much the moment the US assumed responsibility for the “security” (against the Soviet Union) of the Middle East for the duration of the cold war. Did the US at that point really have an existential interest in securing “peace” in the Middle East? Does it now have any existential interests in the Middle East? In the absence of asking and answering this question, the present course will be maintained indefinitely.

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to T.J. Clark’s critique of Picasso’s mural that is displayed in the UNESCO lobby. His retrospective of the 20thC horrors and creative tension that confronted the artist and underlie this work brought to the fore how daunting this task must have been. However unlike Picasso’s “Guernica”, the photo of the mural that accompanied Clark’s review did not evoke any particular sentiment or feeling in this viewer, although the mural appears to be memorable in the sense of being unique.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. NYT on osteoporosis: I’m not sure why they are so negative on exercise… — Mayhap because the folks at NYT consider it part of their core mission to carry water for Big [Pharma|Ag|Finance|Military|…] ?

  27. ewmayer

    Re. 11 Japanese words — it would be interesting to examine other languages similarly. For the European languages English was built from, in many cases such ‘we need a word for this’ have simply been appropriated as loanwords. Let me try my hand at German, dividing things into 2 subcategories:

    Already present as loanwords:
    Caterwaul [Kater = tomcat, ‘waul’ is imitative of their pre-fight or looking-for-a-mate yowling]
    Delicatessen [‘k’ in the original German]
    Hügelkultur [a fovorite of Lambert]
    [I’m sure there are many more such, plus a large via-the-Yiddish corpus – Wikipedia has a laundry list.]

    Need to come into regular use as loanwords: This one is harder … fellow readers, suggestions?
    Arschkriecher [“ass crawler” in the “crawling up yours” sense, connoting a sycophant]
    Backpfeifengesicht [cf. the ever-smirking Martin Shkreli]
    Fettwanst [derisive dismissla as “fat belly” … a word which tastes deliciously insulting when spoken]
    Holzweg [“wood path” … auf einem Holzweg describes someone pursuing a wild-n-crazy notion]
    Maulheld [“mouth hero”, i.e. braggart]
    Streicheleinheit [“petting unit”, roughly equivalent to the English initialism TLC]
    Vorschusslorbeeren [“advance laurels” … think GW Bush’s “Mission accomplished!” speech]
    [Das passt] Wie die Faust auf’s Aug [‘like a fist in your eye”, in reference to something grossly misplaced or inappropriate with respect to its setting.]

    And lots of other languages to be done here – for example, Spanish has plenty of fun and interesting words, e.g. the words for killjoy, aguafiestas [literally someone who rains on your feast or parade] and the catchall term for any strong distilled spirit, aguardiente, literally “tooth water” or “water with a bite”.

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