Links 7/20/16

Did Oil Kill The Dinosaurs? OilPrice

Mindfulness Has Gone Corporate—Why Has America Appropriated Buddhism for Capitalist Ends? Religion Dispatches. “In other words, mindfulness is a technique that asks Americans to quite literally sit down and shut up.”

Global Temperatures Are on Course for Another Record This Year New York Times

How Marissa Mayer changed Yahoo – charts Business Insider

‘Pokemon Go’ has the power to transform retail, analyst says CNBC (furzy)

Mercedes’ autonomous Future Bus just drove through Amsterdam (resilc)

When Subpoenas Threaten Climate Science New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

WikiLeaks Will Review 300,000 Emails and 500,000 Documents from Erdoğan’s AKP Michael Shedlock (furzy)


A question of leadership Red Pepper (Sid S)

Can Corbyn Survive? The Labour Party and the Electoral Turn Counterpunch

Brexit Looks Set to Ax $40 Billion From American Company Profits Bloomberg

How Theresa May Built A New PR Team To Sell Her To The Nation Buzzfeed. Taking a page from Obama’s playbook: Every problem can be solved with better propaganda.

Britain and EU consult divorce manual Financial Times

Boris Johnson accused of lying and insulting Barack Obama Financial Times


EU row over China trade Politico

EU launches case against Chinese export restrictions on key minerals Politico

U.S. Readies Push to Seize Assets Tied to Malaysian Fund 1MDB Wall Street Journal


Turkey coup: Crackdown toll passes 45,000 BBC

15,000 Education Staff Suspended in Turkey Post-Coup Purge Reader Supported News (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Why These Online Criminals Actually Care About Your Convenience Safe & Savvy (guurst)

May’s Snooper’s Charter Takes a Hit as ECJ Rejects Widespread Surveillance Sputnik

Clinton E-mail Tar Baby

Decision on Clinton email deposition expected soon The Hill (Li)


Relative of Potential Clinton VP Pick Served Dictator Wall Street Journal

11 Ways the Republican Platform Attacks the Environment Reader Supported News

Speechwriters agog at Melania Trump plagiarism snafu Politco

A Theory: Donald Trump’s Ex-Campaign Manager Deliberately Sabotaged Melania Trump Gawker

George W. Bush worried he’ll be ‘the last Republican president’ CNBC (furzy)

Public School Defenders Amend Democratic Platform to Criticize Unaccountable Charter Schools Alternet (furzy)

Hillary Clinton Is Said to Seek National Security Experience for Vice Presidential Pick New York Times. In case you had any doubt about her commitment to moar warz..

GOP Platform Calls for Revival of Glass-Steagall Wall Street Journal

GOP platform to call for return to Glass-Steagall The Hill (Li). We neglected to link to this yesterday because it seemed obvious that it was cynical (not that Hillary is any better in terms of sincerity). However, Manafort signaled less radical action on Dodd Frank than Trump has called for. Wonder what that is about. And even this lip service, and Trump bashing Clinton for her Wall Street ties, still helps delegitimate Big Finance.

Trump Goes on Offense as Republicans Try to Move Past Missteps Bloomberg. An easy Dem message would be: “If Trump can’t manage his campaign, how can he manage a country?”

US justice department plans to block two health insurance deals Financial Times. Hooray!

Federal Agents Went Undercover To Spy on Anti-Fracking Movement, Emails Reveal Intercept (Steve H)

Police State Watch

U.S. police deaths build momentum for law to treat attacks as hate crimes Reuters (EM)

Police Shootings, Economics, and Empirics Institute for New Economic Thinking

Volkswagen Scandal Reaches All the Way to the Top, Lawsuits Say

Goldman Sachs Starts to Look More Ordinary Wall Street Journal

The unintended consequences of the zero lower bound policy for the money market funds industry VoxEU

Another Bad Month for Truck Shipping Michael Shedlock

Guillotine Watch

Christie’s Sales Fell 28% in First Half as Top Consignments Wane Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Farmers Are Still Fighting For The Right To Fix Their Own Tractors Jalopnik (Brian C)

Americans’ Economic Gloom Festers as Stocks Hit New High: Gallup Stumped Wolf Richter. “Let them eat stocks.”

The Myth of Upward Mobility in America Alternet

Antidote du jour (Lysa):

pretty red water bug links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
    I am haunted by waters.” Norman Maclean/lysa

  2. Roger Smith

    Did Oil Kill The Dinosaurs? OilPrice


    Please tell me that the giant meteorite is just a metaphor for catastrophic climate change. After 186 million years of oil refining, wasteful expenditures of greenhouse gasses, and a burgeoning population the planet could take no more. The Dinosaurs inability to tackle the issues in any meaningful way thrust Earth into a period of extremely turbulent weather phenomenon, wiping out most of the dinosaurs and destroying their collapsing infrastructure.

    1. JeffC

      The piece posits huge amounts of black soot in the air “blocking the sun” and so cooling the Earth. But black soot absorbs that sunlight and heats up, warming the Earth in the net, though the heat would initially be distributed differently, with more heat in the atmosphere and less in the Earth’s solid and liquid surfaces. Albedo has decreased. To actually cool the Earth with particulates, to increase albedo, the “soot” would need to be white.

      Any atmospheric/planetary scientists out there who can tell me what I am missing here?

      1. Steve H.

        From the original paper:

        “[Black carbon] in the stratosphere efficiently absorbs solar radiation and reduces the sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface, which leads to heating of the stratospheric atmosphere and cooling of the tropospheric atmosphere (Supplemental Fig. 2). The sudden cooling of the surface temperature weakened the hydrologic cycle, resulting in an abrupt and significant decrease in precipitation”

        1. craazyboy

          Oopsie. Here we are measuring the temperature, when we should be measuring the rainfall to find out when we are going extinct.

      2. Synoia

        There they go again. It is always “black” soot which gets the blame.

        (as if there were another color for soot).

        1. craazyboy

          White soot is only found above the better neighborhoods, say, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach and the Hamptons.

    2. Arthur J

      I guess that explains the monster sized skeletons in Western Canada, They needed the big boys to muscle the giant wheelbarrows of tar sands to the processing plants.

    3. ambrit

      Okay, third times the charm.
      First, the Dinosauria had more than enough time to evolve into the Greys. At that level of existence, the Newer! Better! Dinos could technologize themselves out of the extinction track.
      Second, any self respecting meteor would supply more than enough energy to drive “extremely turbulent weather phenomena,” with its’ attendant unpleasantness.
      Third, the heirloom Dinos were adapted to live in a much hotter and humid world, better than todays’ squishy humans.
      Fourth, after 65 million years, would you expect any of the Humans’ infrastructure to survive in a recognizable form?
      Greetings humanlings.

    4. divadab

      Dubious article – two errors stand out – the author states dinosaurs completely died out – billions of birds, direct descendants of dinosaurs – would disagree. Similarly, he states humans have been around for 25k years – off by two orders of magnitude – by 2 million years ago, humans had colonized the entire planet except for the Americas and Antarctica.

      Besides that, interesting read – I would suggest that burning biomass at least as consequential as burning oil – but main point that catastrophes happen and populations also shrink catastrophically. It will happen to us, too.

      1. Indrid Cold

        Don’t forget that asteroids are whizzing around out there. They don’t care about your fossil fuel use.

      2. reslez

        > by 2 million years ago, humans had colonized the entire planet except for the Americas and Antarctica

        Predecessors to modern humans like homo habilis who existed 2.4 million years ago lived solely in Africa. By 1.4 million years ago homo ergaster reached Europe and Asia. Humans didn’t reach the Americas until 28,000 years ago.

    1. Sam Adams

      ++ I used to start my day with the Times and le Figaro. Now it’s first NC. And I’ve learned as much through the comments.

      1. petal

        Ah, me too. Now my first stop every day, and I’ve learned gobs about everything-it’s been like opening up the world. Thank you to everyone.

        1. Brian

          I was just thinking, I don’t have my coffee and NC yet. Something wrong with a morning like that, incomplete. Morning to you all!

  3. vidimi

    would classifying attacks against the police as hate crimes carry any meaning? most attackers end up dead anyway. my guess is it will only justify more brutality against protestors.

    1. Christopher Fay

      That’s the point. Insufficient enthusiastic support of 1st Responders as they put down domestic terrorists. Or as known in the Age when we tried to live under the Constitution free forming of different forms of organization and protest.

      No new political parties. Only candidates from the two political parties that follow and promote the consensus opinion as decided by the Wash DC/NY corridor.

      1. Antifa

        The people who attack police, and get killed for their efforts, won’t care if the cops call it a hate crime.

        The real use of these kinds of laws will be against people who insult, provoke, assault or write mean things about police, as well as against people who are deemed to be resisting arrest. Then the hate crime proviso adds on twenty years to what was a minor scuffle. The police hope to force instant and absolute compliance with any orders or suggestions they give a civilian, and consider anything less to be a hate crime against the gang in blue.

        This completely ignores the actual problem, which is that a greater number of Americans every day fear the police.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Attacking cops was always the original hate crime.

      The problem is see here if with Resisting Arrest (Interference), which is throw around by cops like candy, and requires literally no evidence in court. Note in a police blotter some time the percentage of “resisting” arrests that have no other crime for which the person is being arrested. This can already be classes as a felony. Are we now going to gulag entire neighborhoods because someone asks, why am I being stopped? This whole concept is as thuggish as any street gang has ever come up with. And for the one street gang that refuses to police the conduct of its own members.

      1. Antifa

        And now the police unions are crying all over the country for more money for their officers, who are getting harder and harder to recruit and retain, and who only make $40,000 a year for heroically getting out there and harassing the public, especially the redlined neighborhoods full of blacks and Latinos.

        By the numbers, bartenders have more dangerous jobs than police.

        But the, police departments don’t hire bright people — they know from long experience that smart people will only stay for a year or two before they get out. Policing is a degrading, thankless, hopeless job that never ends. Only people who are willing to put up with the soul-killing nature of the work stick around to “put in their twenty” years so they can retire with a pension. Above all, the police like to hire people who will follow orders, no matter if they don’t make sense.

        And now Homeland Security has outfitted every cop in this country with 80 lbs of body armor, helmets, bomb-proof tanks, drones, helmets, masks, assault rifles, and probably even the tape they use to cover up their badges when they want to act with complete impunity. They’ve also fitted them out with a mentality that every citizen is the enemy. How can they expect a different result than what they’re getting right now?

        1. oh

          with all the body armor I wonder why the police are so afraid of unarmed citizens and ones with handguns to shoot them dead instead of making an arrest? I don’t think they deserve a raise until they can show that they respect the citizens (who pay them).

    3. Synoia

      The US power structure now has the domestic terrorism it always wanted, and should fear.

      A lone, military trained, sniper, possibly black, reacting to their perception of centuries of continued suppression, discrimination and maltreatment, focused on the police, who are perceived by them as their enemy and the instrument of their maltreatment.

      Especially under an unrepresentative Black President and his wife, who appears never to have had the actual African American experience.

      I foresee a wave of this, based on both the discontent in many communities coupled with the US’ obscene interpretation of the Second Amendment (ignoring the militia part), exacerbated by increasing inequality,

      Good luck with that surveillance, it now requires telepathic scanning.

  4. ProNewerDeal

    I read that Trump officially became the R nominee. I had thought there was some chance that R Establishment would somehow rig it to place an Establishment R like Kasich or Paul Ryan.

    I wonder if Trump has “negotiated a deal” with the R Establishment. The VP Pence is owned by the Koch Brothaz, & is pro-TPP & pro-MIC, perhaps the 2 issues where Trump actually has good policies, to the extent that the serial lying Flip-Floppa Trump has genuine policies.

    Perhaps R Establishment dropped trying to challenge this nomination, in exchange for Trump agreeing to implement R status quo Establishment Paul Ryan-esque policies in Jan 2017?

    1. ProNewerDeal

      to clarify my earlier comment, Pence & his Koch Brother owners disagrees with the anti-TPP, (moderately?) anti-MIC Trump

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The art of deal – be flexible, and what you say is possible.

      Never say never, or in this case, never say Never Trump.

      Never Trump is rigid and closed.
      Never say Never Trump is flexible and open.

      In the Art of War by Sunzi, one can probably say the same. Again, ancient wisdom prevails.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Trump is not showing his hand. It’s amazing that the “big shots” in the “Republican establishment” are going to Cleveland but not deigning to set foot inside the convention center. We assume they are pretending to call the shots in secret meetings in their hotel suites. So The Donald obviously had to make a big concession in his VP choice, “throwing a bone” to the religious right and the globalist moneybags at the same time. But I gotta believe in his debates with HRC he will be anti-TPP and relatively anti-war. He’s a brave man because if he is elected, there’s the constant possibility of assassination if he opposes the global agenda.

        1. JohnnyGL

          He really has to stick with the anti-trade, anti-war issues because 1) it’s his driving reason for getting popular (along with anti-immigration) and 2) he loses his core of support in a hurry if he flips on these issues and becomes hated by both halves of the country (instead of just one half right now).

          If there’s one thing that Trump DOES NOT want, it’s to become a laughing stock and hated by everyone. I can’t see him pulling a Holland (France) or a Dilma Rousseff (Brazil). Both of them flipped and turned on their base of support as soon as they were elected. Both of them want to be accepted by the elites and don’t care about the average people (Holland got elite acceptance and Rousseff didn’t). Trump seems like he’d rather be loved by his core of supporters and hated by the elites. After all, that’s already what he’s crafted during his campaign.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Reviving Glass-Steagall is on the GOP platform.

            I guess it’s the details we have to go over.

            Not sure if that is even on the D party’s radar.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              Yeah, riiiight…. re-instating Glass-Steagall. That’s what is known as a “shakedown”, I believe. Like when the cops “bust” somebody because they want a bigger bribe. Glass-Steagall—believe it when you see it.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Could be and I would have learned something new (and be grateful too).

                How do they shake down with Galss Steagall, and not say, opposition to TPP or other deals?

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  The fact Trump is even bringing up Glass-Steagall, the legitimacy of NATO, TPP, the ridiculousness of the media, the ridiculousness of immigration policy, and stating the bleeding obvious on the Iraq War is the real win, we operate under utterly false received wisdom on so many fronts. We drink the “globalism is good!” Kool-Aid without even reading the ingredients on the back of the pack. If we can’t even identify and name our problems and escape the “that must be the best we can ever do because that’s what we’ve done” paralysis how can we ever progress anything.
                  Talk about moving the Overton Window.

          2. clarky90

            Trump has been a public figure for 40 years already. He is not some sociopathic creep politician who has been dreaming of their big payday when he/she retires from “public service”. Rewarded for services rendered. You know hanging out on private islands with hot chicks/dudes serving them margaritas. The good life!

            Win or lose, Trump will continue to be a public figure til he passes on. It is his nature. When he is president, I doubt that he will disgrace himself like our recent presidents have (Obama, the Bushes, Clinton). He cares about how The People will remember him. I am praying that in years to come, people will look back at his presidency and see a brave man who stepped forward, into the breach, and saved The Republic. Here’s hoping, and fingers crossed!

        2. afisher

          More like, Trump not showing his face: CLEVELAND, Ohio — More than three dozen CEOs and executives gathered at FirstEnergy Stadium Tuesday morning. Some hoped for face time with Donald Trump and left with only pictures of the field where the Cleveland Browns play.

          According to Time, the group — collectively known as the Trump Leadership Council and formed to advise Trump on business issues — interacted with GOP lawmakers in town for the Republican National Convention. Three members of the group told the magazine there was an expectation to donate to the Trump campaign and that he would be there.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Probably better to stay away from money, and money’s string (which is access).

            “I will only come with Zen-mindfulness-money. No attachments with that.”

            I think anyone can form anything. For example, we can form a Hillary Leadership Council to advise her on Single Payer. That makes it sound like Hillary organized the council, when in fact, we are trying to jam it down her throat.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      So, Trump can’t manage the country? He managed to set it up that, using his wife as the target, he has a rebuttal when the Clintonites fall back on their screaming any criticism of her or her performance is “misogyny.” The vitriol coming from woman incited by the whole stupid plagiarism non-issue, and especially those who have been ardent Clinton supporters, on social media has likely provided enough ammunition to carry him through to next March.

      This isn’t an election. It’s a reality show scripted by two parties who have forgotten what they were created for.

      1. Carolinian

        And that would be different from a normal election how, exactly?

        As a grizzled cynic I’m more than ready for Trump to turn into a garden variety Republican and develop amnesia regarding much that he has said during the campaign. Again….perfectly normal. But imho this election is not about Trump but about Hillary. We really don’t want the Clintons back. Plus unlike Hillary, Trump doesn’t seem to have much zeal for playing the armchair commander.

        1. Frank Shannon

          Has everyone forgotten Bush ran in 2000 on a humble foreign policy and promised no more policing the world and no more nation building?

          1. Carolinian

            But Bush had Cheney and the neocons, not to mention Saddam’s alleged assassination attempt on Daddy to avenge. Also Bush had some notion that God had called him to rearrange the Middle East. Whereas it’s dubious whether Trump is religious at all. Also, as Yves has pointed out, Trump has a lot more to lose from wars and instability since he has an international real estate empire. The Bushes by contrast were oil buccaneers with everything to gain (they thought) from a war whipped up on false premises.

      2. clarky90

        Melania’s speech was a vow, the solemn promise to serve the People. You really can’t plagiarize a vow. They are ancient incantations.

        For me, the disturbing part was when Melania’s vow was played side by side with the solemn promise that Michelle Obama had made eight years ago. The Obamas have broken their vow. Very very sad. I had forgotten her promises to the World. I really liked Michelle Obama

  5. allan

    Obama tapes television ad for Murphy’s Senate campaign [AP]

    U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida will begin airing his first Senate campaign television ad, a 30-second spot featuring President Barack Obama. …

    Obama says Murphy is a strong progressive who stands up to the gun lobby and supports social security and protecting women’s right to an abortion.

    Obama also acknowledges Murphy is targeted by opponents and tells viewers not to believe the negative attacks. …

    Murphy is facing U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in the Democratic primary Aug. 30. The winner will either take on Republican Sen. Marco Rubio or developer Carlos Beruff.

    Campaigning for a centrist former Republican with a vaporware resume is a h*ll of a way to polish your legacy.
    Of course, in 2006 he also campaigned for the Connecticut-for-Lieberman candidate against
    the Democratic candidate, Ned Lamont, so at least can’t be blamed for inconsistency.

    1. Bubba_Gump

      Grayson f**ed up. Thought he was smarter than that…. too bad. If he loses it’ll be on him entirely.

      1. allan

        There are other candidates that the Legacy Polisher in Chief could be cutting ads for this year, but hasn’t,
        like Russ Feingold, and those choices say more than all the pretty words.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Considering the outpouring of support for “outsiders” Bernie and Trump during the primaries, I’m still finding it hard to believe that an obama endorsement is worth much of anything. Despite the “polling.”

          Maybe it’s just me, but every time I see obama do his shtick, it just pisses me off royally. The guy has ZERO credibility, and if he’s FOR a candidate, I’m against him. On principle.

          I DO make a note of the names of the candidates obama “endorses,” however, so I can remember NOT to vote for them.

        2. Davey

          Not a video ad, but on June 27th, LPOIC wrote his support of Russ Feingold through Russ Feingold’s email list.

          Here’s a snippet:

          Russ isn’t afraid to stand up for what he knows is right, even when it isn’t popular. He was the sole senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act, and one of very few who stood in opposition to the war in Iraq. Russ also took an early and loud stance in support of marriage equality for gay Americans, and he wasn’t afraid to work with me, side by side, to get the Affordable Care Act passed — helping insure millions of Americans.

          Russ is an honest, independent-minded public servant who’s not driven by what’s politically expedient: He’s driven by what he knows is right for the people of Wisconsin.

          That’s why he’s been to each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties more than once: to listen to the people he’s fighting so hard to represent at the U.S. Senate. And that’s how we progress as a nation: by listening to the hardworking people of this country — not corporate special interest groups.

          The people of Wisconsin have a chance to send a legendary progressive to the U.S. Senate. Stand with me and join Team Russ with a contribution of $25.

          We have our work cut out for us, but I know that, when we work together for the values we believe in, great things will happen.

          Thanks for standing with me,

          Barack Obama

          I was very surprised to see the endorsement. So much so that I’m starting to look at Russ with a suspicious eye.

      2. timbers

        Don’t agree with you that Greyson effed up. Why shouldn’t he be a Senator? He’s done great work as a Congressman. And Greyson has been respectful towards Obama as in being mindful that he has influence in Demo Party, yet any intelligent person can see Greyson is policy poison to folks like Obama.

        IMO this goes to the unique poison Obama represents. Because he is black he has a lock on the black vote making it especially hard for true leftists to prevail in the Demo Party. If Hillary had been SOS under President Joe Biden or Lieberman, she might not have gotten so many black votes thus making it impossible for Demo Party to commit enough voter suppression & fraud to stop Sanders from getting the nomination, or stopping Greyson from getting the Demo nomination for Senate.

        Delivering a key Demo voting block – blacks – into the neoliberal fold, is Obama’s unique poison which set back any leftist awakening by at least 3 or 4 Presidential terms (assuming Hillary wins).

        But it is speculation.

        1. TheCatSaid

          “Delivering a key Demo voting block – blacks – into the neoliberal fold” This is a current meme that may or may not be accurate. Dr. Phillips raises pointed questions about this here, in relation to the black vote in Southern states in the recent Democratic primary elections. Things may not be as they seem, but the only way to know for sure is to carry out audits in the specific locations he recommends. He explains how citizens can do it themselves.

          1. TheCatSaid

            Hmmm. . . My longer response with observations about limits at NC has disappeared into the stratosphere. Maybe it will appear later. Or maybe not.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Murphy is right wing garbage who votes eight wing when even the Blue Dog pack is ashamed to. Has anyone even shown Obama this guy’s record in Congress? (Not to mention his totally faked resume thanks to his GOP daddy.?) Just one more reason to despise Obama and his fake progressive claims. Terrible.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I was “polled” on my land line last Saturday. When it got to the Florida senate race, the question was would I vote for Murphy or Rubio.

        I just laughed and said that there were other candidates running and why was I only being asked about those two.

        No answer. Have no idea how that “response” was “tabulated,” or what

          1. ambrit

            The diminutive side kick is a metaphor for the entire lot of politicos.
            (Bill reminds me of one of the generic ‘fake’ monsters or ghosts on Scooby Doo. “Oh my gosh! *gasp* The Monster of the Oral Office is really ‘Slick Willie’ Clinton!” That’s my take on why Bill likes Velma.)
            These commercial animated shows were little morality tales from way back then. In the new improved RNC/DNC reboots, the villains now win.

            1. craazyboy

              Which reminds me. I haven’t heard the term “crime doesn’t pay” for at least a couple decades now. Betcha there isn’t even an internet acronym for it. (CDP?)

    1. curlydan

      “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican…in that order. Now let’s go f-up some Frog Men”

  6. Jim Haygood

    Neo-Fisherian denial, comrades: it may be a worse Thoughtcrime than climate change denial, says a St Louis Fedster:

    Neo-Fisherism says that if the central bank wants inflation to go up, it should increase its nominal interest rate target, rather than decrease it, as conventional central banking wisdom would dictate.

    Taylor appears to have thought, in line with conventional central banking wisdom, that increasing the nominal interest rate will make the inflation rate go down, not up.

    Macroeconomic theory predicts that a Taylor-principle central banker will almost inevitably arrive at the “zero lower bound.”

    Abandoning the Taylor principle and embracing Neo-Fisherism seems a difficult step for central banks. Given the Fisher effect, a negative nominal interest rate will only make the inflation rate lower.

    Among the major central banks in the world, the Fed stands out as the only one that is pursuing a policy of increases in its nominal interest rate target. This policy, referred to as “normalization,” was initiated in December 2015.

    Williamson doesn’t address Paul Volcker’s notorious “Saturday Night Special” victory over inflation with swingeing rate hikes. For an obvious reason: neo-FIsherism implies that Volcker’s action in Oct. 1979 should have catapulted us into much higher inflation. But it didn’t.

    Nor does Williamson address what are (to an eclownomist) exogenous variables: demographics and fiscal policy. Shrinking populations are a deflationary undertow affecting (by no coincidence) the NIRP nations the most, led by Planet Japan, where even aggressive fiscal stimulus ain’t workin’.

    A neo-aurean policy of monetizing gold, then mining more of it, might work (along with sending camp followers to the gold mines to boost demographics). But we’ll leave that for another day.

    Meanwhile, it’s Fed groundhog day all over again. Already the neo-Fisherians are out of the woodwork, speculating about a possible Dec 2016 rate hike to be tipped after the July FOMC meeting.

    They might take it a step farther by appearing in loincloths and face paint, shaking their spears in unison, and shouting “Smite the Taylorites.

    1. MikeNY

      So is this an admission that they don’t really know what the holy hell they’re doing?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Evidently. It’s cargo cult theory: raise the policy rate back to where it used to be in Leave It To Beav days, and inflation and demographics will roar back to life.

        Wally Cleaver: [Wally is inspecting his letterman’s sweater after getting it back from J-Yel] Well, she didn’t wreck it or anything.

        Theodore Cleaver: No, but you know, Wally, it smells kinda girly.

        Wally Cleaver: Yeah, that’s perfume or some kinda junk. I’ll just hang it in my gym locker for a couple days. That oughta kill it.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Admission is the first step of recovery.

        Are we that lucky, though recovery is hard work and does not involve luck?

    2. RabidGandhi

      You turn the steering wheel to the right, then you turn it to the left, but for some reason the car won’t move forward.

      Meanwhile, the car radio seems stuck repeating the old hit by Milton and the Miltonians “My Baby is Always and Everywhere a Monetary Phenomenon”.

      1. Jim Haygood

        It would be interesting to quiz Williamson on how he explains the very high real interest rates of the 1980s [gap between blue line (nominal Treasury yield) and red line (inflation rate)] in this chart:

        According to neo-Fisherian theory, inflation should have accelerated during the 1980s to bring the real rate back down to its customary 1 to 2 percent. But the opposite happened.

        Now we have a Fed that doesn’t even agree on whether hiking rates: (a) slows inflation; (b) raises inflation; or (c ) slows inflation when inflation is high, but raises inflation when inflation is low or negative.

        One suspects an omitted variable problem. Hem lengths might explain all this. :-)

        1. RabidGandhi

          Exactly. The renowned Economics Historian Jerry Seinfeld explained the Fed’s thought process succinctly:

          We like women. We want women. But that’s pretty much as far as we’ve thought. That’s why we’re honking car horns, yelling from construction sites, these are the best ideas we’ve had so far. Honking the car horn, amazes me! This has gotta be the last living brain cell in this guys skull that comes up with this idea! I don’t understand – it’s so awful – she’s on the street, he’s in the car “beep beep, brrrrrrr…(drives away). I think I made my point.

          To put a finer point on it, the policymakers (ostensibly) like growth and want 2% inflation, but the only tools that have occurred to them at this advanced state of evolution are raising or lowering interest rates (honking horns at women); then they wonder why they never get laid. Eventually one must assume that they just prefer celibacy.

          1. Jim Haygood

            An extreme demographic decline occurred with the Black Death in the mid-14th century. Some of the consequences were counterintuitive:

            The undisputed rise in nominal or money wages following the Black Death was literally ‘swamped’ by the post-Plague inflation, so that real wages fell. Conversely, the rise of real wages in the second quarter of the fourteenth century was principally due to a deflation in which consumer prices fell much more than did nominal wages.

            In the final quarter of the century, the even stronger rise in real wages was principally due to another deflation in which consumer prices fell sharply, but one in which, for the first time in recorded English history, nominal wages did not fall: an era that inaugurated the predominance of wage-stickiness in English labour markets for the next six centuries.


            Money, sex and death: some grand unified theory must link these phenomena. But my empirical investigations to date have failed to uncover it.

            1. divadab

              Not sure you have the complete picture – if wage inflation was in fact smaller than other inflation post-black death, why were laws passed on a national level in England to limit wages?

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I’m not sure they just “like growth”, I think they “need growth” since they can print the principal but they can’t print the interest…so either productivity produces rising income to pay the debt service, or rates somehow go below any notion of time preference so debt service is free.
            And recall the “2%” magic target number first appeared when rates were double digit, rates going down as low as 2% were considered nirvana. But of course now they want to goose them back up there for some reason.
            It’s really instructive to see how the Fed has turned 180 degrees on it’s foundational precepts, it’s not so long ago that Fed Chairmen McChesney-Martin and Arthur Burns knew that inflation was the worst possible outcome, to be avoided at all costs. Mostly due to Bernanke’s singular focus on the Great Depression, and his wrong conclusions about that event while ignoring all of the cases that didn’t fit his little pet theories. So Grandma has to starve because a guy with a Ph.D says it’s for her own good.

        2. vidimi

          you increase the interest rate, the velocity of money goes up, you get growth and inflation.

          you decrease the interest rate, people borrow more money, they spend it, you get growth and inflation.

          so yeah, pretty clearly there is a variable missing.

    3. craazyboy

      Until they think thru what happens with Fed rates and where the current economic transmission mechanisms lead the low cost money, they might as well just retire to an old dusty library wing and read 19th century economics.

      And the economy/finance/consumer were in a very different state in Volker times.

  7. Uahsenaa

    re: Mindfulness

    Brings new meaning to the expression, “if you meet the Buddha along the way, kill him.”

    Isn’t this a common problem with religion and capitalism? The one strips the other of anything that even remotely threatens greed at everyone else’s expense, then pretends that’s what the religion was all along. With Christianity, you get the cult of “prosperity.” With Buddhism, you get self-help mumbo jumbo. In both cases, the whole idea of religion as a devotional practice, i.e. devoting yourself to someone other than yourself, gets completely set aside.

    1. DJG

      Uahsenaa: It seems to me that the reason businesses pick up “mindfulness” is that it sounds vaguely Calvinist. Further, and someone commented here on NC along this line the other day, many people believe that Buddhism is somehow highly individualistic–you’re on your own. Perfect for U.S. corporate fantasies.

      Yet I once read something about meditation in which the teacher wrote that meditation must be about metta, deep compassion (including compassion for our sentient friend the ant up top today). Buddhism places us in the web of existence. Our mindfulness should be a wise and compassionate mind–not exactly what the people in the brainstorming session want. Try bringing up ahimsa during the meeting on the new dental plan.

      The paragraph in the article about the ethics of Buddhism, the Eightfold Noble Path, deflates the whole argument that mindfulness, taken independently, has value.

      1. abynormal

        McMindfulness offer’s warm fuzzy feelings of group good, garnering a Greed is Powerfully Good group mentality…nothing new for corporate fantasies. the corporate individual can still step over the homeless with a buddha grin.

        eat, pray love was on the other night, i left it running in the background for the music…but raised my head when when the Bali healer suggested ‘Learn to select your thoughts’…marvelous. i instantly imagined the dangerous ammunition for a practicing sociopath.

        btw, what is the ant to the group without individual awareness…Thirsty? considering our conditioning the work sweats blood, therefore, it’ll probably bring a hefty price tag to assuage another capitalist trend.

        One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular. -Jung

      2. Patricia

        Hah, you might have something there. When mindfulness is about ‘paying’ attention to the present and ‘managing’ your internal responses, the locus becomes capitalistic personal responsibility.

        It can also take a parallel destructive path. Years ago, I briefly saw a therapist (for PTSD) who was heavily into yoga and dialectical behavioral therapy. She reduced that combo to positive thinking and controlling your environment/circumstances, the worst possible approach for PTSD. I ended up shouting at her but nothing could get through her arrogant haze. I’m sure she’s voting for Clinton.

        (Carefully done, yoga is very helpful for severe arthritis.)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mindfulness is not really sitting-down and shutting up.

      Meditation is often sitting down quietly; though, one can do zazen walking about.

      Finally, when done correctly, one can achieve much more when one comes out of that sitting down and shutting up.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Plus, there’s actual PET scans and research data to support the idea that it actually strengthens immunity and has other benefits for health.

        Plus, it can’t be terrible that people just ‘go quiet’ for a bit every day.
        After all, the monks did it for centuries in Europe, and are still doing it today all over the world.

        1. local to oakland

          Like any religious practice it can be both a means of social control, and a tool to help better cope with adverse circumstance. In the US in our multi cultural cities and workplaces, it works because there is no overt conflict with science and because it can replace more parochial, culturally bound religious traditions. Its own traditions are so foreign to most westerners that they don’t bind in the same way. Cultural explorers take what works for them.

          Historians describe a similar abandoning of traditional religon for new practices that occurred in the early Roman Empire. I don’t think it’s good or bad, it’s just organic to the way cultures are sloshing around the world right now.

      2. jrs

        to say it’s about sitting down and shutting up is about like saying education is about sitting down and shutting up because you know one might need to to learn anything (and school is the primary place we learned to sit down and shut up as a mechanism of control). But the fact that learning if voluntary might be balanced with action … well why not, and why not meditation as well?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To kill the Buddha is to be like Descartes.

      “I doubt (everything, including the Buddha), therefore I am.”

      Was Renee plagiarizing that Zen master (I think he remarked the above mentioned quote in the Tang or Song dynasty, either of which predates Descartes)?

    4. dots

      There are currently several trends at work here.

      Buddhism, as a serious practice, is definitely not marketable since it requires some type of renunciation of the material world. The story of Siddhartha Gautama is one of an “elite” rejecting the lifestyle of privilege in a caste society in order to find an end to suffering. The cycle is essentially ‘renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death (rebirth?).’

      While one can practice buddhism in a solitary fashion, liberation is found through taking refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) meaning that it is in the commitment of one’s self with the teacher, the lesson and ‘others’ that one finds freedom (or transcendence).

      Buddhism as a business opportunity has grown from the Western experience of the 60’s-70’s New Age Movement when serious practitioners entered the ‘teaching’ phase in a very materialistic society. I’ve always tended to view it as a compromise between Western Capitalism and Eastern Monasticism. There are serious mystics, gurus and teachers who earn (at least) a modest living from writing, speaking engagements and retreats for Yoga, Meditation and Satsangs.

      There are also strains of opportunists roaming freely in this category ranging from the cultists to the tax-dodgers to the wishful-thinking fairies and really that’s more a reflection of human nature than it is of any religious flavoring.

      Interestingly, the Dalai Lama has been openly inviting Western science, academia and business leaders to explore and invest in research on meditation and mindfulness training. I tend to think this is one of the drivers for the phenomena discussed in the article. The Dalai Lama believes that society has sort of pushed away values such as kindness and compassion, which are antidotes for violence and competition. He’s really gotten to be quite an influential religious leader (think “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” ) during his lifetime in exile.

      “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” Dalai Lama

    5. jrs

      truthfully I don’t think most people have TIME to devote themselves to anything much. Even religion only worked because their were monasteries and nunneries to escape to to enable this.

    6. Larry Y

      Buddhism, while having devotional practices…. hell, it’s a lot of things.

      Anyway, one of the few things that most Buddhisms agree on is that the three major causes of people’s problems are greed/craving, aversion/hatred, and ignorance/delusion. Supposed to be aware when that’s going on, and decrease them, not increase. If increasing them – then doing it wrong.

  8. cwaltz

    Trump Goes on Offense as Republicans Try to Move Past Missteps Bloomberg. An easy Dem message would be: “If Trump can’t manage his campaign, how can he manage a country?”

    The problem with that is that Clinton is facing her own insurgency and it doesn’t say much about the Clinton campaign when the guy who can’t “manage his campaign” polls within the margin of error with you.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The basic problem with the Clinton strategy is people are partisan and most of the Clinton critiques of Trump are true about Clinton.

      -racist speech…check
      -poor campaigns based on negativity…check
      -a vast array of vile creatures called campaign allies…check
      -too close to the super rich…check
      -incompetent campaigns…check
      -high negatives….check
      -multiple and contradictory positions on the same issue…check
      -desire to control the media…check
      -creepy cultish demands from followers…check

      Clinton’s other problem is independents with records of voting Democratic are largely independents because of Clinton style politicians or else they would probably support generic “tax and spend” Democrats if there were still any.

      300 million people and this Is the best America can do. I wonder how Romans felt about later emperors, and now we know.

      1. Optimader

        Hillary’s Forbidden Planet- from the screenplay
        With Hillary starring as Altaria Morbius
        And Huma as Robby the Robot

        Scene opens , Hillary in a fever dreamstate hallucinating about election eve and her acceptance speech
        Altaira Morbius: Where have you been? I’ve beamed and beamed.
        Robby: Sorry, miss. I was giving myself an oil-job.
        Altaira Morbius: Robby, I must have a new dress, right away.
        Robby: Again?
        Altaira Morbius: Oh, but this one must be different! Absolutely nothing must show – below, above or through.
        Robby: Radiation-proof?
        Altaira Morbius: No, just eye-proof will do.
        Robby: Thick and heavy?
        Altaira Morbius: Oh, no, Robby. It must be the loveliest, softest thing you’ve ever made for me, and fit in all the right places, with lots and lots of star sapphires.
        Robby: Star sapphires take a week to crystallize properly. Would diamonds or emeralds do?
        Altaira Morbius: Well, if they’re large enough.
        Robby: Five, ten, and fifteen carats, and on hand. I will run the dress up for you in time for breakfast. Sleep well, miss.
        Altaira Morbius: Thank you, Robby. I don’t care now whether I do or not!

    2. polecat

      mismanagement of ‘security’ of classified e-mails thru a homebrewed server trumps (sorry) mismanagement of a political campaign !!

      1. Pavel

        How about “mismanagement” of an entire country — Libya? Hillary’s “smart use of power”.

        And the amazing thing is that Team Clinton are spending $50M per month or something like that on ads versus almost none by Trump and she is only a few points ahead nationally.

        I watched a bit of the odious Chris Christie’s convention speech. Mr Pot and Ms Kettle, I realise, but it’s an indication what this campaign is going to be like. Mind you, she deserves all she gets.

  9. John Wright

    Re: Volkswagen Scandal Reaches All the Way to the Top, Lawsuits Say

    Anyone who has been involved in corporate product development should not be surprised by this.

    It seems inconceivable to me that a lower level engineer would decide, on their own, to add code to defeat air pollution devices. possibly putting a large corporation at financial risk. The same logic should extend up the management chain. The engineer making the code change probably has the greatest chances of finding an equivalent job elsewhere if they quit in protest, while the more senior managers are likely far less mobile in the job market.

    It seems very likely there was buy-in at a high level.

    Then there is the possibility the scandal extends into the quality assurance department of VW, as one would expect them to test their vehicles independently to guarantee they meet the design requirements with some margin.

    Furthermore, in any cost competitive industry, when one participant has apparently found a way to achieve diesel air pollution requirements at a lower cost, the engineering departments at the worthy diesel competitors will be asked by management “how did they do that?”.

    Patents will be searched, industry papers will be read, and It is not costly to buy/rent a competitor’s car, test it to see if it really does what they claim, and to tear it apart to see how they did it.

    It will be interesting if other companies, with a diesel passenger car offering, knew of VW’s actions and kept silent.

    1. a different chris

      To all who aren’t totally interested in this, at least click on the link and scroll down to look at Matthias Müller’s facial expression. It is a classic child-caught-with-his-hand-in-the-cookie-jar expression.

      Our “betters” simply aren’t better, are they? Is “worsers” a word?

  10. DJG

    Unfortunately for the Turks, who deserve better, every report now indicates that Erdogan has pulled off some kind of self-coup. Maybe there was a barracks rebellion, but the response is too well planned and much too severe.

    I was in Istanbul 4.5 years ago, when there was still some relief, some desire, some recognition that the Turks may have been able to pull off a major change in “paradigms”–a functioning democracy, industrialization, influence in the Middle East that tended toward peace, some kind of pluralism. The AKP has squandered all of that.

    I recall sitting in large middle-class restaurant along the border of the Sultanahmet and Fatih neighborhoods. They had an ayran fountain. (Imagine.) The pide was delicious–they had a pide usta. Like a lot of middle-class Turkish places, they had a TV up over the kitchen. The news was on. All of the Turks suddenly looked up: There were demonstrations and repression in Syria. (So much for the benevolent influence of the U S of A in the Middle East.)

    1. notabanker

      I was there right around that time as well and to this day it is one of the best trips I have ever taken. I learned more about Islam from a 8 hour tour with a 28 year old native than in all my previous years on the planet. It was a vibrant, safe place with fantastic (and affordable) food.

      The natives I talked to were deeply religious but proud to have a secular nation. They feared an Arab Caliph. I remember our guide telling us that certain artefacts kept in Tokapi Palace are required to be in the possession of the Caleph and it was their job to ensure they stayed there so that could never happen. Whether its true or not I have no idea, but that is what he believed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ask not what the market can do for you; ask what you can do for the market.

      “Will you starve yourself to do that?”

      1. Jim Haygood

        The S&P 500 reached a fresh record high of 2,172 this morning.

        Many market watchers live in fear that one day the shoe will drop, when Dr Hussman finally issues his dreaded “go leveraged long” call, to mark the exact top.

  11. IDG

    “Global Temperatures Are on Course for Another Record This Year” – New York Times

    And your preferred crony H.C. won’t do anything to change that.

    1. Vatch

      Neither will Trump, who is a climage change denier. Pro-fracking Clinton and climate change denying Trump are both odious.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        But Trump has not been prepaid to take particular positions, and there is no treasure trove of email from a hacked private basement server with which to blackmail him.

        He’s still free to reevaluate the evidence and change his mind. If he even believes it in the first place.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Somehow I don’t think the Pence position will control when Mar-a-Lago is underwater.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Is it binary (denier, not denier) when it comes to climate change?

            Can a person be mixed?

            “Don’t be scared. You are not under attack. Not all Green people are from Mars*.”

            “I am 49% Green.”

            “I am 73% Green.”

            *I’d like to put that on a T-shirt, except I don’t know how to print T-shirts.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “I am 100% green, pure blood.”

              The superiority of that particular race of men and women.

              Most people come from a mixed background though, and cannot trace 100% to a green, Martian divine ancestor, metaphorically speaking.

          3. Synoia

            Trump can change his mind

            Assertion not supported by facts: Trump both has a mind, and cares more than about himself.

          4. optimader

            I seriously doubt one way or the other “Climate Change” was a litmus test for choosing Pence. I’m guessing more a case of Trump triangulating to raise the barrier on avoiding impeachment/assassination attempts against him?

            If he does win, there should be a one penny IRS tax free donation to pay for keeping a cardiologist at his side 24/7 for his term..

            I would envision Pence’s two primary responsibilities as VP will be:
            1.) wait for Trump to die
            2.) be in charge of scouring Turkey farms across the country of the lucky bird POTUS will pardon for Thanksgiving Day;

            On the bright side, he’ll be able to catch up on reading and ponder what the faaak Cheney built under the VP residence.
            Maybe spend cool winter evenings on the roof of the Naval observatory smoking doobs and tinkering with the Celestron?
            All in all, not bad work if you can get it.

            1. Vatch

              I suspect the litmus test for the Republican choice of VP was rather simple: pick a troglodyte who will appeal to the primitive Cruz wing of the party. That leads to an anti-science young Earth creationist like Pence.

              1. optimader

                So far what I’ve read about him, which is fairly modest he is bible thumper. I as a policy don’t believe much of what Bible thumpers say. (file: Elmer Gantry).
                From what I have read so far, the little voice is telling me that he is the craven manipulator sort that works a hive mentality constituency. Is he really a young earth/anti evolution believer? As he seems to dodge the question, I’m thinking more manipulator that true believer. In the end does it matter? Only if he is willing to sell to his constituency which in the end is its own character flaw,

                1. Vatch

                  I’m thinking more manipulator that true believer.

                  Kind of like Hillary. Many of her supporters think that she will actually fight for their rights against the billionaires and giant corporations. A different deception, but still similar to Pence (assuming he’s an Elmer Gantry style fraud, and not a true believer).

                    1. Vatch

                      Clinton v. Trump? Eeeww!! I need a hand sanitizer!

                      That’s why I expect to vote for a third party candidate, who will almost certainly be the Green Party candidate.

                    2. optimader

                      I admire your principles. So far I am planning on, however modest the effort, do everything I can do to make sure HRC is sent home to Bill

                    3. different clue

                      Let us remember that Trump was not the Republan that the Duopoly had in mind. Unless this has all been a bunch of elevendy mentional kayfabe for the last year.

            2. ProNewerDeal

              “I’m guessing more a case of Trump triangulating to raise the barrier on avoiding impeachment/assassination attempts against him”

              I think with VP Pence, Trump INCREASES to probability of a “removal” attempt. Pence is a Koch-owned Establishment R; & thus is pro-TPP, pro-MIC, etc. Pence will do what his Corporate/Billionaire Owners want.

              IN Gov. Pence at heart is a social conservative Christian theocrat, but he flip-flopped on the “Discriminate Against LGBT people” er “Religious Liberty” IN Law, when his Corp Owners threatened to move out of IN.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Is this a case of ‘Keep your friends close and enemies closer’ wisdom?

        1. jrs

          How do you know Trump has not been prepaid to take certain positions? Prove it. While Trump funded his own primary he is NOT funding his own general election. So do we know who is? Have you traced all the money and found out it’s not coming from fossil fuels? Because that’s the only factual way to make such a claim.

          1. optimader

            How do you know Trump has not been prepaid to take certain positions? Prove it.

            You’re absolutely right, should be framed as ..”…there is no reason to believe Trump has been prepaid to take particular positions”

            As restated isn’t the burden of proof on providing positive evidence that he is prepaid?

            OTOH, if we are doing a comparative evaluation of HRC… Well, IMO a Surgeon Generals Report on the prepaid hazards could be written.

          2. EndOfTheWorld

            I agree with you jrs—–Trump is an utter and complete wild card. That’s why I want to vote for him, on the “Whatta we got to lose?” theory. Can’t possibly be as bad as HRC, and promises to be more entertaining.

  12. Optimader

    Mercedes’ autonomous Future Bus just drove through Amsterdam

    I think if i were wrting that as an optimistic press release i would frame it as drove across rather than drove through…just sayin

  13. Terry

    Having been prescribed a mindfulness course on the British NHS I think the truth lies somewhere in between the extremes.

    Will it be seen as the “next cure-all” for depression/anxiety (just like CBT was)? Yes

    Will that be challenged? Of course, and rightly so. It was very obvious during the group course I attended that some people have the ability to integrate it into their daily lives – which you *must* do to get the benefits – whilst others, due to the constraints of modern capitalism, don’t. Thus, we’ll end up concluding that for a certain group of people it works, and for others it is a waste of time and resources.

    I don’t buy the line that divorcing it fom buddhism makes it less powerful – Matthieu Ricard’s book seems very in tune with mindfulness and IMO is more evidence to support this.

    However, I do agree that there’s a danger it becomes the latest “think positive” rubbish spewed out by corporate America to push the blame onto you if the system fails you.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think mindfulness should be done for the sake of mindfulness, and nothing else.

      To engage in mindfulness for some sort of purpose is to become attached to that purpose, and one can never be mindful still attached to something.

      “To want to or to desire enlightenment is an attachment and is, by that very desire, a hindrance to enlightenment.”

      1. different clue

        As soon as one knows what enlightenment even is, one will more-or-less desire it at some level. Thereby ruling out the possibility of ever attaining it.

        Gotcha! Too bad. And sorry about that.

  14. allan

    Turkey bans all academics from travel in latest post-coup measure

    Turkey issued a blanket travel ban on all academics in the country just a day after suspending more than 15,000 education workers and calling for the resignation of all university deans, reported the state broadcaster TRT on Wednesday….

    A senior Turkish official described the travel ban on academics as just a “temporary measure.”

    “As you surely know, universities have always been crucial for military juntas in Turkey, and certain individuals are believed to be in contact with cells within military,” he said.


    1. RabidGandhi

      Is this just a mass historical re-enactment of Chile 1973, going so far as to fill a football stadium with “subversives”?

      History fans will remember how well that one worked out… for the US and Chilean élite.

      1. Alex morfesis

        Sultan erdo is just trying to figure out who stole his Norwegian Blue during the mayhem so that he can return it…

      2. ambrit

        I don’t seem to recall Pinochet being a fan of Fr. Lefebvre.
        I don’t know enough about the Churchs’ activities concerning the Pinochet Coup. Erdogan seems to be championing a ‘fundamentalist’ version of Islam. I would not be surprised to learn that Erdogan has studied Pinochets’ career.

        1. RabidGandhi

          It’s a good question. I didn’t think of the religious aspect, although there may be a parallel as well. The problem is in ’73 it was the godless commie subversives who got locked up, whereas Erdogan has pointed the finger not at Marxist atheists (or even Kemalist laicists) but rather at a fellow Islamist, the cleric Fethullah Gülen.

          Either way, for me, the image of a stadium full of political detainees is harrowing down to my bones.

          1. ambrit

            Agreed about that feeling of helplessness and doom.
            I seem to remember a story about the Spanish Civil War that made a point of highlighting the fact that very few people, even when reasonably expecting the worst, made any serious attempt to escape or fight back. (The tale was about a column of prisoners being marched out of town to be shot en masse.)
            Both examples, Pinochet and Erdogan, exhibit the property of using fear as a basic motivational tool. Those denounced fear personal extinction and the duped “masses” fear the ‘Other.’ (A tactic very much in play up here in El Norte.)
            Earlier, you mentioned winter issues where you live. Any progress?

            1. RabidGandhi

              Yes! Thanks for asking.

              There was a series of nationwide protests including a “casserole” protest last week. In response to mass outcry, the federal courts have issued an injunction limiting the utility increases to 400% (!), but the government is appealing to the Supreme Court to get them restored– one of Macri’s 1st actions in office was to pack the court by decree so they’re confident they can have the injunctions overturned and continue with the price hikes.

              The big question remains how much austerity the government can impose without incurring overwhelming popular pushback. The media monopoly is on the administration’s side big-time, so they parrot back the lame excuses Macri and his ministers make, consitently blaming the 40% inflation, the mass layoffs and the utility hikes on the “heavy inheritance” they received from the previous regime, but it seems fewer and fewer people are buying the neoliberal song and dance churned out by the media and the regime.

              Meanwhile we had a slight respite from the cold, but it hit 0°C here yesterday, which sucks even more when you don’t have a job and can’t afford anything at El Piggly Wiggly.

          2. different clue

            He “says” that. But does he believe it? Lets see if every detainee and purge-ee and disappeared-ee is a Gulenist and precisely zero of them are Kemalists or younger Westernistic secularists.

    2. nobody

      It’s not just Turkish academics. Non-Turkish academics working in Turkey are also banned from travel.

  15. none

    Here’s an old link I saved:

    “Research has made discussing meditation socially acceptable amongst
    the self-serious. With data in hand, mindfulness is no longer woo-woo:
    there is a chart, and the line on the chart goes up and to the right,
    and so the monk is given a badge and pointed towards the office
    cafeteria.” Whole article is good.

    1. diptherio

      The original Buddhist aim (as I understand it) was freedom from Samsara, whereas nowadays, many Western Buddhists seem want to gain power over Samsara.

      There is an old Buddhist monastic text that lays out the many benefits of living under a tree, as opposed to in a house. All of the reasons given are legitimate, if one’s goal is gaining freedom from attachment and desire. As a homeless friend quipped me the other day when I mentioned that to him, “you have to spend a lot of time sitting under trees just thinking to come up with something that profound.” Most Western Buddhist practitioners (and most of the cradle-Buddhists I know in Nepal) would write you off as crazy if you suggested to them that what they really needed to do to make their practice more effective is to find a nice tree to live under…which just shows to go ya what most people’s goals in life actually are — and they have nothing at all to do with what they say want to accomplish (see also, the anecdote of “the rich young man” in the Gospel of Matthew).

      1. Vatch

        Many of the converts to Buddhism in first few centuries are said to have belonged to the Vaishya merchant caste. They definitely weren’t ready to reject Saṃsāra in their current incarnations. Maybe a few centuries down the road. . . .

      2. hunkerdown

        Oppression is a fact of life, and everything works out better* when the credentialled control it. Those tenets of bourgeois liberalism combine with any spiritual practice to yield a reliable caste system.

    2. ewmayer

      I suspect this is just the latest profit-seeking ‘movement’ reaponding to the ‘market opportunity’ created by the very real, dire lack of ‘quiet contemplation time’ in our pathologically – but to a great extent counterproductively – busy modern society. You see, the relentlessly self-actualizing monied twits can’t just do something banal like putting down their fvcking e-gizmos, loading up the car with supplies and going fishing … or doing same and just spending a quiet evening at home curled up with a good book. Not enough faceborg Likes™ in live-blogging that! Ever trying to ostentatiously fill a hyper-busy life devoid of real purpose, and willing to pay good money to do it! The national self-help industrial council thanks you for your generous donation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is truck shipping being replaced by drone shipping or ships landing on the Gulf/east coast, instead of the west coast (then overland via rail cars or trucks), through the new and improved Panama canal?

      Personally I feel the economy is slowing down, but I wonder how much of that truck shipping year-over-year slowdown is related to factors mentioned above.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          If not drones, I wonder what all those un-identified flying objects are.

  16. F900fixr

    The story writers are missing the point about Ivanka’s speech.

    Most stories are discussions of “how could this happen?”, with further details of how the politicos have armies of people writing and vetting speeches.

    The truth is that this is what you get when you run “government like a business” in the Real World in 2016.

    What you probably saw was what happens in the US business world every day……. one or two overworked individuals, wearing multiple hats, who got tasked with throwing something together in a hurry.

    Anybody who starts blabbing about “running government like a business” is an idiot. They have no understanding of what a government is supposed to do, nor of how business is actually currently conducted in the USA.

    1. Benedict@Large

      And then there’s the idea of a Republican copping a passage from a Democrat and how seamless it all was. This could only happen if Michelle was using right wing memes to begin with. The copy in essence is not the superior crime. That it could be so easily copied was.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A: It’s a fine day. Let’s go chase butterflies and be one with Nature.

        B: It’s a fine day. Let’s go chase ourselves some butterflies and be one with Nature.

        Do we say B plagiarizes A?

        A; I just invented the Theory of Gravity.

        B: I just discovered new theory. I am calling it, hmmm, maybe The Theory of Gravity.

        Here, B is definitely plagiarizing A.

        What is the difference between the two cases?

        I think in the second case, A has said something new, exceptional and truly remarkable, whereas in the first instance, what A said was bland, everyday stuff many people would say.

        “I will work hard or he will work hard.”

        “He’s a good husband.”

        “We never, ever give up.”


        More importantly, it is not what you say, but what you do. Do you walk the walk, put your money (unless the money was donated to your foundation, in that case, it’s not really your money) where your mouth is?

        Here, the irony is the passage about ‘He will never, ever give up.”

        Talk about shooting oneself in the foot (unless your MSM friends are helping, you should want to forget this incident ASAP, much less persist in focusing on it).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Make that ‘new, unique, exceptional and truly remarkable.”

          In any case, it’s not smart to remind people you are a smooth talking professional politician who has failed to deliver what your wife said 8 years ago (never give up – what’s that?).

          And it’s not nice to be mean to be a woman who speaks with an accent, and who is not a professional, smooth talking politician, giving a public speech in front of a national audience for the first time (I think).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The status quo way of speech giving is to rely completely, from the beginning to the end, 100%, on the so-called ‘experts’ and ‘professionals.’

      It seems to me that Trump is trying to break that, and as it usually happens, you make mistakes. If you learn from that, (and it doesn’t kill), what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger (in breaking up the status quo).

      “Get out of my way, you serpents, you brood of vipers, experts and professionals*.”

      * I hope I am not plagiarizing someone.

    3. Lambert Strether

      “Government should be run like a business” is a horribly destructive category error on the lines of “government is like a household.” Oddly, although the two contradict, they are often espoused by the same individuals.

    4. cwaltz


      I want to strangle people when they say the government should be run like a business.

      We wouldn’t have electricity, clean running water or millions of other things to begin with in a variety of places if everything was about profitability instead of about the general welfare of the citizenry.

      Government is not only supposed to step in when it can be profitable, but it’s supposed to step in when business won’t and it isn’t profitable.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Government, at least in a country like the United States, is of an enormously larger scale than businesses. Start with the headcounts! And in fact, business practices don’t scale to government, as we’ve been discoverering over the course of the neoliberal dispensation.

  17. cm

    Good article about the issues with electronic medical records (EMR) here. My favorite user comment:

    So, yeah. I’ve come through my training early in the era of EMR’s and have seen this clusterfrack evolve over nearly a decade and a half. I’ve worked with more than half a dozen EMR’s over the past 15+ years, and have not only not seen anything more than improvements in appearance (because in large institutions and hospitals the paper-pushers that are actually going to approve an EMR can really only go by how it looks, since they rarely truly understand what doctors need from a record system), and I would go as far as to say many EMR’s are becoming actively more difficult to work with, demanding more repetitive entry of questionably valuable data, more and more “billing” specific entry, and, as noted above, more and more URGENT ALERTS that only rarely are actually relevant to my patient.

    As also noted above, patient interactions have become the absolute smallest fraction of my work. I spend easily 2-3 times the amount of time I spend seeing and talking to patient in documenting those interactions, and new patients can far-to-often take an hour or more to document “adequately” in many EMRs I have had to deal with. I have colleagues that work from 7A to 6-7P, go home, and then after a few hours with their family, they resume “charting” until 10PM, 11PM, or even later. I’ve even had emails sent after 1AM from colleagues when I know they were in clinic that day, and have clinic the next day. And these are not periods of “unusually heavy utilization” like flu or RSV season, this is their typical clinic. Visit documentation, lab orders, lab confirmations, insurance issues, finding results in the system. It’s disgusting that I spend so little time actually BEING A DOCTOR. It’s even more disgusting that I’m told the problem is I’m not “using it right,” or that I need to “be more efficient with my documentation,” but every time I’ve requested assistance with “using it right” or improving efficiency (god what an infuriating phrase), I’ve been either blown off or had someone come by to “listen to my concerns” but never actually stayed to OBSERVE practical use, so nothing continued to change.

    The core problem is, I have YET to see an EMR designed by people who actually have gotten down-on-the-ground with medical providers. None of these programers have followed us around, have watched the nurses, have shadowed the medical assistants, and so of course none of them can really meet our needs! Can you imagine the absolute HELL that would be raised if this is how coding was done, for example, in the aerospace industry? If the guy responsible for setting up the pilot’s computer never set foot in a cockpit?

    I’ve struggled with bad and worse EMRs (on top of other issues admittedly), and personally I’ve partially given up. I’ve left my full-time sub-specialty practice. I’m considering part-time now, though even that would be close to 40 hours a week. Frankly I’m tempted to leave medicine altogether, though I really don’t want to give up patient care. As corny as it probably sounds to the /. crowd, I *love* (most of) my patients. I loved being able to help people figure out how to live with chronic issues, helping them get healthy and stay that way, talking with families about their fears and helping them come to terms with major diagnoses or deal with worse… It’s an honor and a privilege to have been given this much TRUST by people, and I’ve done my damnedest to be worthy of that privilege. However, modern medicine has become so obsessed with documentation, and EMRs have become the worst reflection of this documentation, that medicine is becoming ever more toxic a field to work in.

    TLDR version; EMRs are not user friendly (they are fairly Admin and billing friendly, though), they are not getting better, and they (in my humble experience) are demanding more and more time for less and less benefit, and in many ways they have become a problem WORSE than the problem they were intended to solve. This is not a “doctors hate technology” problem, this is a “doctors are not being given GOOD technology” problem, and I don’t see anyone actually ADDRESSING the problem, just people “explaining” without changing.

    Even shorter TLDR; Current EMRs are complete crap, making doctor’s lives more difficult with limited benefits, and arguably interfering with patient care.

    1. katiebird

      This must be the explanation for why a month after my biopsy, I haven’t received the results from my doc. I guess I won’t hound him….

      1. Jim Haygood

        Probably they need your fax number to send it. /sarc

        Seriously, I had to FAX a document to a bank the other day. They couldn’t accept it as an email attachment.

        Faxes are still used a lot in the health field. This innovation was forced upon them after the carrier pigeons died off.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry Comrade, but Carrier Pigeons fetch a higher price on the Racing Pigeon circuit now. The Market has spoken. A pigeon profit maximization plan has been implemented.
          Unfortunately, pigeons do not ululate. No infernal skills set in sight. Pigeons communicate via coo-relation. Pigeons also practice their legendary navigation skills through coo-ordination and abscissal ideation.
          Let us not get into the subject of why the healthcare “consumer” cannot carry his or her own records around from practitioner to practitioner.

      2. aab

        My fancy rich people’s medical group a few years ago misplaces a crucial test result for over a year. I can’t remember whether it was cancer or heart disease, but I was supposed to immediately get a follow-up. Oops. It was one of those deals where I thought since I hadn’t heard anything, it meant I was fine, so I never checked back. When they found it and called me back in, the nurse looked pretty panicked. Turned out to be a false positive. (Not the false positive where they cut me open and made me pay for it myself even though I had incredibly expensive private health insurance; a DIFFERENT false positive.)

        When I was forced to switch to a non-rich people’s group when I switched insurance, the first one I tried was horrible. But the next one was great — better in every way than my fancy doctors. It’s almost like status signaling through elite credentials and presentation is meaningless. But how can that be?

        1. nothing but the truth

          it is expensive so it must be good.

          this kind of “hope” invites many scammers.

    2. Synoia

      Just a picky point:

      None of these programers have followed us around, have watched the nurses, have shadowed the medical assistants, and so of course none of them can really meet our needs!

      That discipline is System Analysis, who write specifications, which get approved by management. I reasonably positive that you statement “they are fairly Admin and billing friendly” is both correct and management’s emphasis (they vote in dollars) in the EMR systems.

      What you doctors need is a either good Union (as employees), because what you express is a grievance, and only solidarity and collective action changes management’s priorities, or a professional review of your contract (as contractors) to determine if you can bill the extra hours worked.

      If you are self employed, you would bill the Management for you time, at your agreed rate.

      If you are an employee, complete the EMR immediately and fully after treating the patient, because anything else could be construed a negligent behaviors, and pass the cost to the management by seeing less patients per day, which affects revenue.

      The last action is know as “working to rule” or a “go slow” in a Union shop.

      1. allan

        I have been told by one provider (M.D.) that ordering a completely routine lab test
        requires them to either enter text or data or check boxes on 16 separate pages.

    3. Propertius

      Interesting counterpoint to that: my doc is downright thrilled with his new electronic records system. In particular, he’s very pleased with the way it organizes and displays lab results (basically sorting the last four labs by test type so it’s very easy to see trends). I think whoever designed it must have actually spoken to a couple of physicians and nurses in the process. Now *there’s* a novel concept.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And the doctors I worked for, until I recently had to stop working, have to know how to work in at least three different EMR systems, none of which are remotely like any of the others. The office one is a pain, but the functions that are actually used are mostly polished by multiple interactions with people in India we collectively referred to as “Bappu,” pounding on the code until it worked the way the docs wanted. (Though just TRY to remove a medication from the patient’s medication list — looks like it was done, only to reappear a week or a month later — tell me that is not an invitation to medical error.) They also practice in hospitals, which have EMRs that do not interface, except with the Unsurance Horde. (It is possible to move documents as an image into the office EMR from the hospitals, but no tabular or text data.) My docs have been adjusting, their equable temperaments and relative freedom from greed are helping them keep going, but many others in the area are “getting out of medicine” (actually, fleeing the “market” that I sense you have an affinity for.

        The staff has to always be searching for errors, forced and not — with everything, dictation, labs and procedure reports, and of course billing. So glad your experience varies. Too bad it’s not universal. And giving the individual his medical records to carry around: Even the Army would not let us troops do that, for all kinds of reasons — But of course the MArket will soon give all of us nice RFID chips implanted, with all our medical and personal and financial information readily available to the scanner…

  18. grizziz

    US justice department plans to block two health insurance deals .
    FWIW this looks more like a victory for the Obama and the ACA and the illusion of a marketplace. 3 or 4 suppliers in a market does not provide the competition which is supposed to drive profit out of the system. It will simply create a cartel which will join with the doctors and the hospitals to provide higher prices for the users who have zero power to negotiate prices.
    I would speculate that the faster the insurance companies consolidate the quicker a de facto single payer arises and the sooner a belligerent population would force the monopoly to succumb and merge with medicare.

  19. afisher

    Climate Change: headline from the Guardian: Conservative groups push back against Republican party’s climate denialism

    Being the inquisitive type, I looked at the group mentioned.

    The link above is who is actually promoting this group and if you scroll around you can view the ads, etc.

    Anyone here familiar with these individuals.

    Sadly, I don’t hold out great hope that any of the people in Cleveland that this is supposed to reach will notice.

  20. Synoia

    Farmers Are Still Fighting For The Right To Fix Their Own Tractors

    IBM Unbundeling applies:

    Forcing the “owner” to have only an authorized John Deere representative look at equipment can cost a farmer serious time and money.

    That’s a Tie in Sale and Tie in Sales are illegal.

    IBM unbundled its hardware, software and service business because it was an illegal bundling.

    1. hunkerdown

      Yet, OS X tests for Macintosh hardware and refuses to start if it doesn’t find it. I think tying graduated from vice to habit some time ago. I jokingly suggest that farmers register their equipment for road usage. There is a well-established right of repair choice for passenger auto owners; perhaps some of that law would rub off.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mrs. Trump is not really politically sophisticated (neither is Mr. Trump, unfortunately or maybe to his supporters, fortunately).

      An author, any author, will claim ownership of a book, though some parts may have been altered by several editors. So, it can be nuanced.

      Perhaps she should have said, “I wrote most of it” or “it was my speech” (whatever that means), or some other more ‘professionally smarter’ ways of fudging it – but hey, she was only a fashion model – and one with a funny accent too – and let’s all fill in the stereotypical blanks.

      1. kareninca

        My father said that he recently saw an interview with Melania in which she was asked if she was nervous about her upcoming speech, and she said she wasn’t, because she had written it. But he didn’t remember what station it was on (he watches all of them), or what program. That would make sense of this. Since they wouldn’t fire the speechwriter (not his fault, plus then he would complain about it being Melania). Also, you could see how someone who is not a native English speaker would look at what had been done before to get a sense of what things are supposed to look like. It’s all a nothing-burger. Biden is the king of plagiarism (“My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours”, LOL; that’s one of many) and Obama has done plenty of “copying” himself. That MSNBC et al. had to make such a big issue of this is the most telling thing; they were hoping for riots in the streets and for a ferocious political battle inside, and they got neither so they had to inflate this.

  21. tony

    When people talk about upward mobility they strangely mention downward mobility. It’s as if everyone can be in the top 20%. Since downward mobility by definition happens at the same time as upward mobility, those at the top have a vested interest in making sure mobility stays as low as possible. Since the need for downward mobility is not even recognized, no real solutions can ever be found.

  22. Elliot

    @ Synoia .[pedant alert :D ] There are different colors of soot. Some are down to reflectance (some are more matte than others), but different burning conditions and combustion products can mean a range of colors. As a painter I have used bone black, and lamp black, and they are different. I received some bamboo charcoal recently that had a decided brown cast, too. [/end pedant alert]

  23. Starveling

    Not to reinvent the wheel, but I don’t understand the big deal with this so-called plagiarism scandal. If Mrs. Trump were a student or an academic or an author or the like, sure, but why does a speech from a figure, especially not the person running for office, need to be 100% original material? How many ways are there to say “I love my husband he’s amazing” anyhow?

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems rather odd to me that a group of people passionately defending a known crook would pile on the wife of their adversary so hard?

    I take it if Mrs. Trump is fair game, then so is Mr. Clinton and his escapades?

    1. hunkerdown

      Because plagiarism means stealing from the “cweative cwass”. They’re flex net union, you know.

  24. low integer

    Re: Boris Johnson accused of lying and insulting Barack Obama Financial Times

    In case anyone is worried that Boris has something against Obama in particular, here are some of his musings on other US politicians:

    In 2003, he wrote in The Spectator about George W. Bush: “A cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomises the arrogance of American foreign policy”…

    Reacting to one of Trump’s rants in December 2015, about radicalisation in some of London’s muslim areas, Johnson wrote in The Sun in December 2015: “The only reason I wouldn’t visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump”, whom he also accused of possessing “stupefying ignorance”.

    In 2007, he said this about Hillary Clinton in The Daily Telegraph: “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.

    A World Map of Boris Johnson Insults

  25. JohnB

    Don’t normally comment on days-old link threads, but the article on mindfulness is a load of bollocks. It’s reading into things far too much, in the same vein as Marxist analysis of literature, and how it tends to get over the top in a self-parodying way.

    Have any of you suffered from anxiety, of any kind? I have/do – and mindfulness is a tool, which is pretty handy for tackling it in the moment.
    In my view, it’s nothing more – just a tool to be used, in aiding relaxation. You don’t need to be sitting down and silent to do it either.

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