Links 8/8/16

Arctic Sea Ice Getting Terribly Thin Arctic News (guurst). :-(

LHC’s new particle discovery fades away BBC

Incredible discovery reveals the truth behind an ancient Chinese legend ars technica (Chuck L)

Security Force of 85,000 Fills Rio, Unsettling Rights Activists New York Times

Tired of Waiting for Corporate High-Speed Internet, Minnesota Farm Towns Build Their Own TruthOut (resilc)

Bitcoin’s Latest Economic Problem – Market Ouvert Or Squatters’ Rights Forbes. As we’ve said, Bitcoin = prosecution futures.

U.S. lags in road safety Science News (Donald ). WTF with this data? Cars are a very unsafe means of transportation but Americans drive a ton. Needs to be adjusted for average miles driven per year per adult, or better yet, per licensed driver

US politicians are failing in the fight against the Zika virus in the United States Quartz (resilc)

What if PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological? New York Times (guurst) While this may be true in many cases, this point of view also fits with the recent predisposition to view mental health problems as physical. Just adjust the brain chemistry and you’ll be fine! But some therapists have had success treating PTSD patients with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) which would not fit this pattern. I must confess to having read only the first part of the article, but the research they present is extraordinary thin, and it seems remarkable The Lancet would publish it. Only three brains studied, and only one of them was of a guy who had PTSD? The other two died days after a blast exposure and had apparently not developed psychological symptoms. In other words, this looks like a major case of confirmation bias.

Japanese emperor to make rare address BBC

Old Blighty

High Court ruling due on whether new Labour members can vote in leadership contest Telegraph

Corbyn: I would put up taxes to fund public sector pay rises Guardian

Merkel’s Popularity Plunges After July Attacks Wall Street Journal

Tsipras vainly continues to seek alliances – this time in Europe failed evolution

Is Germany trying to set Migration “Plan B” Agenda using Greece? Keep Talking Greece


Chinese regulator acts to curb bogus banks Financial Times

Thitinan Pongsudhirak — The conundrum of Thailand’s resounding referendum result Nikkei Asian Review


Stalling Obama’s Overtures to Russia Consortium News (guurst)


UN delivers aid to Syrians on Jordan border for first time since June Middle East Eye (guurst)

Libya, not Syria, is now the frontline in the war against Isis Independent (resilc)


Austria threatens to block acceleration of Turkish EU talks Reuters (resilc)

Post Coup: Gazprom Still Eager To Complete Turkish Stream OilPrice

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

This Company Has Built a Profile on Every American Adult Bloomberg

Pentagon Tapping In to Social Science to Target Activist Movements Truthdig (Judy B). I would have assumed they’ve always been doing this…so maybe the difference is scale?

Imperial Collapse Watch

What Americans want from the world Reuters (resilc)

America’s great mistakes: Has everyone forgotten that the Vietnam and Iraq wars were unnecessary, stupid and destructive? Salon (resilc)


Bernie Sanders’ Delegates Speak Out About Convention: “They Painted Us As Crazy” In These Times. A companion piece to our guest post today from a Sanders delegate.

#HillaryCoverageIsCrap. Phil U points out this was trending…

The Elective Affinities of Hillary Clinton Counterpunch (Judy B)

Is Hillary Clinton Corrupt? An Archive of Financial Improprieties Medium (Chuck L)

Voter Discord Isn’t Over Wages Wall Street Journal. This is elite cluelessness. Jobs are less stable, there is a huge army of underemployed, hardly anyone has a pension, health insurance is getting worse and more costly for people who have jobs and Obamacare sucks for those who don’t get insurance for their employer (save for some people in some areas and income brackets where they do get decent subsidies and decent networks, but anecdotally this is not the norm). More than half of American live paycheck to paycheck. Wages are too low for most people to have any sort of reserves, and social safety nets suck. So people are supposed to be happy that income is up…..almost exclusively for the top 10%?

Donald Trump turns to economy to reboot campaign Financial Times

Donald Trump’s Campaign Website Won’t Let Some Cancel Recurring Donations MoneyMic (Dr. Kevin). Funny, I’d always go to the card provider to cancel a recurring payment precisely because I’m skeptical that the vendor end works even when they say it does. But it is really inconsiderate not to have this feature working properly.

Trump to Propose Moratorium on New Financial Regulations Bloomberg. The estate tax ban should not go over well with the working class voters who are paying attention. This makes Trump look like a bog standard Republican. But it does fit with Lambert’s thesis that Trump is trying to appeal to local oligarchs, while Clinton is targeting national/multinational ones. The reckless Trump was much more entertaining than the Manafort-scrubbed product.

After DNC hack, Minnesota braces for digital threat to election Star Tribune (steve h)

Researchers or Corporate Allies? Think Tanks Blur the Line New York Times

How America Rising Ties the GOP Establishment to the Stalkers Harassing Bill McKibben and Tom Steyer DeSmogblog (Glenn F)

How a Top GOP Lawyer Guided a Chinese-Owned Company Into U.S.Presidential Politics Intercept

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Chicago Police Officers Allegedly Caught High-Fiving After ‘Execution’ of Paul O’Neal The Root (Judy B)

Localities Opt for Less Debt Over New Infrastructure Wall Street Journal

We’re in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here? New York Times (resilc). Hard to understand only if you don’t want to understand it. 40 years of not sharing productivity gains with workers leads to more income in the hands of those with less propensity to spend, which means less demand, which means less growth. As a result, those with the $ don’t invest in the real economy enough out of a combination of having overly high return targets and growth being below potential. Add to that a huge cutback in basic R&D, both gov’t supported and paid by quasi or actual monopolies that took pride in that sort of thing (Bell Labs, Xerox Parc), as well as underinvestment in infrastructure.

Class Warfare

Laura Bush keynote speaker for the default and servicing industry conference Five Star Conference (Steve)

An inconvenient iota of truth: The third in our series looks at the Stolper-Samuelson theorem Economist (Nikki)

Two guys in a Connecticut jail cell helped change the way America does drugs Business Insider. Dan K: “I think people need to understand crime better. Crime is not a byproduct or aberration, it’s as intrinsic to process (systems) as mutation and decay. One can’t remedy dysfunction if one can’t recognize its origins and its patterns. And moralizing is not at all helpful, shows a lack of intellectual rigor and of emotional depth.”

Parenting In An Age Of Economic Anxiety New Yorker. Ugly but important. Dan K:

Ostensibly a review of “The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting: How the Science of Strategic Thinking Can Help You Deal with the Toughest Negotiators You Know—Your Kids”… read at least to the 4th or 5th para to get to a deeper review of the state of (mainly mid-upper class) parenting in contemporary/recent context. Relevant because that’s an influential sector.

They put their trust in webs of internships and institutional affiliations—crony capitalism as the new meritocracy. Even childhood can seem rigged.

Antidote du jour. Tam: “Here’s a picture of my cat P’ing (he’s a rescue cat who was originally called Pudding) cunningly disguised as a Panda!”

panda links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Pat

        I could be wrong but I got the impression that she has not been living with or near her parents during the job she was packing up to move from, nor will she be doing so with the new job. That the realization of how much love as well as science were wrapped around those specimens she was going to be discarded caused her to look at things with a new perspective which she shares.

  1. paul

    Labour members win right to vote.
    Labour NEC will appeal this affront to managed democracy.
    Owen Smith is toast.

      1. Strategist

        Giant, enormous, massive, YUGE win for the Corbynistas!! Judge’s ruling is a classic of common sense. Yippee!

        1. Strategist

          The Labour National Executive Committee ‘procedures committee’ claim they are going to appeal the decision, despite the judge only with reluctance giving them leave to appeal:

          “I have taken the firm decision that the rules do not give NEC the power to restrict the voting rights of members as it purported to do,” he said. “I am not sure I am convinced that the contrary is arguable.”

          They’ll be using the money from the post 12th January new members’ £48 subscriptions, no doubt! That is the desperation/lunacy of the old guard. At what point does it move from being bully boy tactics to being simple common sense to say “get rid of the lot of them”?

            1. paul

              Its all rather exciting and hopeful, we needed a new(ish), totally unelectable party in Scotland to get rid of these deadbeat, bedwetting flunkies.

              It’s very heartening to see the labour party do a dr who like regeneration in the rUK.

              The sight of the establishment in disarray is eerily familiar to us up here.

              It’s not that they don’t get it, they can’t get it.

              Nailed on bet: Corbyn wins.

              Rash prediction: The trappist traitors (not a word has been heard from them since their operatic resignation) break away in as damaging way as possible to the labour party and, as they are all useless,graceless no talents, they evaporate into oblivion.

              I just hope Corbyn stays safe.

        2. Strategist

          This cracks me up:

          Stand up, don’t stand by. Join our growing movement.

          [Click through]

          Join the Labour Party. Help us campaign for a fairer Britain
          Please note that this will not entitle you to a vote in the current leadership election.

          Shutting the contract law door after the horse has bolted!

          1. paul

            Only after 130,000 horses had bolted, which the btl guardian bots will point out is a tiny proportion of the electorate and therefore irrelevant.

    1. low integer

      Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, and all around poncy prick.

      (Poncy: pretentious or affected)

  2. pretzelattack

    “I don’t think they accurately represented how people felt. They credited everything we did to Bernie-or-Bust or Jill Stein and the Green Party. Most delegates weren’t Bernie-or-Bust. We all understand that, ultimately, Trump needs to be defeated, and that—especially in swing states—you need to support Clinton. They painted us as crazy.”

    so it’s crazy not to support clinton, eh. i don’t know how seriously to take that pew poll, i suspect it isn’t very accurate.

    1. andyb

      There is quite a bit of suspicion that many of the polls are rigged to promote the impression that Trump’s campaign is going nowhere and will ultimately fail. At the same time it is equally suspicious that Dem operatives are claiming (falsely, as it turns out) that Trump will withdraw from the race and that the Republicans are desperately seeking someone to take his place.

      This morning Zero Hedge has an interesting post that reflects on each candidate’s social media followers. The overwhelming take is that Trump should win in a landslide.

    2. Benedict@Large

      So they get painted as crazy, and yet they still fall in line? Well they are crazy then.

      See, this is what’s wrong with the left; too much intellectual, not enough gut. If you want my vote, you damned well need to treat me nice before the election, because I know you’re not going to do a damned thing for me after the election.

      Can you believe we’re hearing it again? We’re going to “hold their feet to the fire”. Except we’re the only ones who ever get burned.

      This is why I’m starting to like the Trump crowd.

      1. Praedor

        This is why they fail and will continue to fail. They are failures. They fall in line, as the Establishment always says they will (“They have nowhere else to go”) regardless of how many times the Establishment Lucy pulls their Charlie Brown football away.

        American voters are morons, for the most part. Pathetic and weak, complete sheep. They will ALWAYS do as they are told and will never ever EVER actually stand up for what is right. American voters have zero integrity.

        1. pantaraxia

          may be of interest:

          Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Robert Reich vs. Chris Hedges on Tackling the Neoliberal Order

          Reich: vote Clinton> good president>> lesser evil>>>we’ll get ‘em next time incrementalism is hard to listen to. If this type of deluded rationalization is all the so-called liberal intellectuals have to offer then the game is already over. Its pitchfork time.

          Hedges: “We have undergone … a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion and ITS OVER. “

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I’d love to hear about 1 (one) accomplishment the 0bama/Clinton crowd can point to. Let’s see, Hilary’s children’s rights thing in 2002. Cuba. LGBT rights. Can anyone add anything else? I’m struggling here.

            1. Spring Texan

              Obamacare, even if yes bad, has managed to insure a lot of my relatives (and MANY others), and it’s a lot better than nothing (but will need to be replaced with something better).

              It’s saved some lives.

        2. jrs

          Are voters elsewhere less pathetic and weak or are the systems different? I think in most cases it’s the latter, often they have parliamentary systems so voting has different heuristics than the U.S. LOTE calculations (I’m not saying voting LOTE in the U.S. system is right or wrong, merely that it’s deeply implied by the setup of the system).

          If they were to show guts ANYWHERE, because of just this, showing it just in the voting booth on election day is a complete dead end – beyond primarying who can be primaried that is (the House is gerrymandered so at best you’ll get a better Democrat than the present Dem in the minority party by primarying for instance).

          Otherwise you can vote say Green to try to move the country left in the hope that Dems will listen to the left but if the Sanders movement couldn’t do it … I’m not so sure. I think it’s fine to vote Stein just to get Greens on the ballot of course or just to register displeasure. But I’m not sure guts in the voting booth matters.

          1. Praedor

            Yes. Those other countries also have REAL parties beyond just 2. I’d like to see proportional representation brought into the US Congress. No more Dems OR Rethugs with a scattering of “independents”. I want actual, real parties with actual, real differences and the absolute requirement for coalitions to be required to rule.

            I’d also like to see voting made as close to a requirement as possible. Perhaps tie a tax credit to voting (not a deduction, a CREDIT). You vote, you get an official form to be submitted with your taxes the next year for a voting credit. ANYTHING to push voting participation MUCH higher.

      2. vidimi

        it’s hard to come up with a policy that has failed as hard as lesser evilism. i don’t think anything is better at moving the overton window to the right. if hillary wins this time, in 8 years, the dem nominee will be worse than trump just like clinton is worse than john mccain. at least mccain thought torture was wrong. clinton 1 and obama led a greater national shift to the right than either bush could.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sometimes, even after divorce, people still don’t wake up.

        For some, it does what all the threats before couldn’t do.

        “Now that I have lost you, I finally understand.”

        But only if you are lucky.

  3. Victoria

    Re: Trump campaign and recurring donations: in my experience card vendors will not cancel a recurring charge for you, you have to go to the source. I know this because of a cancellation “glitch” with an Obamacare policy that cost me nearly $1000 that I never got back.

  4. rjs

    most global banks have embraced Bitcoin technology for their Blockchain shared ledger payments system…there was quite a bit of consternation on banking sites last week after the Hong Kong Bitfinex hack

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      A comment from a reader in a very senior payments system/operations role on your comment.

      Complete and utter drivel.

      My TBTF has *no* Bitcoin (or any other Blockhain) implementation of any sort whatsoever. And it is something like like 30% of commercial and retail banking share of market in the UK (a scandalous situation but a different story!) and are in *zero* reciprocal arrangements with any other bank anywhere. We do not even have any pilot or other trial useage. Nor have other banks approached as part of an industry initiative. Give our size, if this was actually A Thing, we’d be being dragged into it. But we’re not. In terms of serious development, Bitcoin/Blockchain is just so much hot air.

  5. Steve H.

    – Is Hillary Clinton Corrupt? An Archive of Financial Improprieties


    And can we please throw the last shovel of dirt on Betteridge’s Law, please?

    1. aab

      I’ve been noticing all the violations, but aren’t they almost entirely Hillary Clinton-related? I think there’s a corollary. Headlines that end in a question mark are usually correctly answered with “no” because they are likely intended as reader-enticing bullshit, except when said headline addresses massive entrenched corruption by persons or entities who have succeeded in capturing the mainstream media. Under those conditions, the likely correct answer is “yes,” because the headline is being framed as a question to undermine its factual basis by calling it into question (and implying the assertion is bullshit by conflating it grammatically with normal Betteridge’s Law complying headlines.) The correct answer is “yes” when a headline addresses something factually accurate that must be both addressed and disputed for propaganda purposes.

  6. ArkansasAngie

    I founded Soldier ON Service Dogs. We train service dogs for PTSD and/or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) veterans. I started it 2 years ago after my son-in-law got blown up in Afghanistan and lived to tell about it.

    These dogs do amazing things for their veterans.

    Our focus is on invisible injuries. But … while they are invisible to you and I, they aren’t for the dog. And … the dog doesn’t have ESP. We train dogs to cue in on the physical manifestations … heart rate … breathing … sweating … adrenaline … repetitive motions … etc.

    I think trying to focus in on whether PTSD is physical or psychological obfuscates the simple fact that … whatever it is … it is. It is real and those who suffer from it are in fact suffering from it.

    There needs to be a whole lot more study of it.

    And … if giving them a dad gum dog will keep them for killing themselves … then …

    BTW — yoga and meditation show more efficacy than almost all over treatments

    And … and … No … I am not a dog trainer

    1. Johan Telstad

      I think the headline of the piece is misleading. What the report says, is that some of those currently diagnosed as having PTSD, may have actually suffered concussive brain trauma instead.

      PTSD is very much a real affliction, and can be treated by recalling the incident that triggered it, in a safe environment. This allows the brain to gradually re-write the memory into something manageable.

  7. Butch In Waukegan

    Re the high fiving Chicago cops.

    “F***, I’m going to be on desk duty now for 30 days”

    We know that if this case ever makes it to the Supreme Court, the Clinton or Trump Department of Justice will defend the cops. Maybe they will use the always successful Phantom Negro Weapons defense.

    1. James Levy

      And that is Black Lives Matter’s Achilles heal: the vast majority of Americans want and need the cops to be happily going about their business in order to feel that their lives and property are protect. They have no such need to protect the lives and rights of young black men, whom they fear and distrust. Throw in the fact that every politician under the sun knows this ugly truth and the cops are going to get away with it every time.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Point taken, although I’m not so sure it’s the “vast majority of Americans”, and even if it is a majority, that number is rapidly shrinking as more and more non-blacks are pushed into the same antagonistic position viz. the cops. I lived in non-128 Massachusetts (your neck of the woods?) and I saw a disproportionate number of people of all races living from one traffic violation to the next, burdened with fees and fearing that the next time they get pulled over could mean losing license–> losing job–> homelessness.

        Obviously, this population is still far, far less likely to get whacked for pulling out a phantom negro weapon, but I never saw their relationship with the police as congenial. And they are a population that is increasing in size.

        1. James Levy

          Interesting. But can you develop an interracial alliance on this score? I haven’t seen much evidence for that, and those poor whites are often related to those very police officers, so their motivation and allegiance is muddy. We’ve got 1770 people, 48 square miles, and 3 policemen in my town, so their footprint is light and the institution of the town meeting helps keep control and oversight closer at hand than in most places.

          As for “the vast majority”, I can’t swear to that–it’s a feeling–but I would contend that the politicians think it is, or their actions are hard to fathom.

          1. RabidGandhi

            There are several historical precedents where capitalists brought in black strikebreakers with the goal of dividing the working class against itself– and in many cases the blacks, in solidarity, refused. Some examples are the 1894 Pullman strike, the 1904 UMW strike in Alabama… So it’s not unthinkable to have inter-racial alliances, but concentrated capital will always fight against it.

            This is why the 2 major parties– eg the politicians you mention– are so intent on playing identity politics: they have to keep the whites who get treated like crap from joining BLM or similar. But as more rural whites get driven into poverty and the more the state recurs to traffic fees, court fees, etc., to extract rents from them, the risks of class solidarity become greater and greater. And think about it: this is why it is in the RNC and DNC’s interest to stress Trump’s racist messages over his economic messages: they both need it to be about race and not about the actual economic damage they have done to the the working classes over the last four decades.

            Also, this is why squeezing the working class with austerity on one hand and immigration on the other is great politics for the 1%: it gets people to blame their own fellow workers (immigrants) for the sins of neoliberalism.

            1. abynormal

              “According to Pew Research, most Americans believe the economic system unfairly favors the wealthy, but 60% believe that most people can make it if they’re willing to work hard.”

              this election will take care of that 60% !

     As the journalist Chrystia Freeland put it, “Americans actually live in Russia, although they think they live in Sweden. And they would like to live on a kibbutz.” Norton and Ariely found a surprising level of consensus: everyone — even Republicans and the wealthy—wants a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.
              (hilarious AND true)

              1. fresno dan

                August 8, 2016 at 11:01 am

                I’ve read that article and its great.
                I think what it proves is that there is just a massive…Oh, I won’t use the word conspiracy, but it makes one look like a crank. But there is something even more powerful, and that is the religion of economics, where so many of the tenets of the field have been proven to be totally wrong, yet we still go merrily along believing in them…


                I can remember when the country was prosperous enough that we didn’t need incessant propaganda about how great we were, and could actually face our problems and try and fix them…

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  This. We heard from Michele that “America is already great”, I guess she didn’t get the memo, maybe she was on that little handbag shopping jaunt to Venice with her daughters at $200K per hour for AF1.
                  We can’t even get an acknowledgement that a war started by lies that killed a million and cost 2 trillion only to result in massive instability and a refugee mess was a terrible idea. What possible hope do we have to solve our problems when we can’t even recognize them when they kick us straight in the teeth?
                  So policy outcomes no longer affect future policy decisions. Let that one sink in for a minute as you watch Hilary’s accelerating drumbeat for war with a nuclear power.
                  Trump is horrible but at least when something is bad (Iraq, trade, the media) he comes out and says it. Step one of the twelve step program…

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Police don’t live live in the urban communities they police. Rural deputies despite often not qualifying to be real police have incentive to keep the peace instead of wearing uniforms.

            The county north of where I grew up had a state trooper from the area who was the bane of ever 16 year old. Along with a ticket, kids received lectures. Parents loved the trooper because the kids slowed down, and he would pull over kids who he thought were out too late. He retired and a new state trooper who lived in the next county tried to adopt the tough guy image of his predecessor, but the new guy pulled over adults. The local legislators had him transferred to a desk job.

            Every teenager from that time and region knows not to let the needle cross the speed limit when we crossed into that county.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It would be nice if every police officer/deputy personally knows every family in his/her area.

              “Office, thank you for dropping in and it’s good to see you without having to worry about getting a ticket or arrested. Here’s an apple for you. Can I call you Harry? You have a nice wife and family.”

            2. Lord Koos

              In many cities, especially the trendier ones with high housing costs, cops, teachers, firemen, etc cannot afford to live in the cities they work in. It’s not a good recipe for building community.

              1. inhibi

                And then you have Chicago, where the neighborhood cop drives a Mercedes SL550, bought in cash, and you begin to wonder…..

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Buy a $2 million plus house with cash, and you will know the administration is starting to look into transactions like that.

      2. tony

        Maybe. I personally believe in appealing to people’s self-interest. If they can shoot black males then they can shoot and rape white females, and that is something whites won’t abide. So a strategy that would focus on the police violence against all races would counter that. Plenty of whites and latinos get shot too.

        But there are no jobs in that for the top activists, and it doesn’t really let you play Karpman’s victim triangle.

      3. Oregoncharles

        That’s why it’s a strategic error to focus on the racial aspect. Black LIves Matter has no choice, but they’re missing a sales point: cops kill white people, too. One in Baltimore was just CONVICTED of killing….a white man. Race hugely affects WHO they kill, but the underlying problem is the impunity.

        Politically, we need to make the case that NO ONE is immune.

        Another aspect is that these killings cost the cities huge amounts of money in settlements. They reflect atrocious management – and there are cities with properly-managed police depts. Ironically, Dallas was one of them, or headed that way.

        Politically, that’s a twofer: incompetence (or corruption) that COSTS THE TAXPAYERS MONEY – and cities can’t print it.

    2. sleepy

      Yes, A year or so ago, I read some stats on cases that involved civil litigation brought by private parties against police departments for wrongful death and other civil rights violations. Of something on the order of 18 cases that had been brought before the US Supreme Court during the course of the Obama administration, the solicitor general of the US sided with the police departments every single time.

  8. Bugs Bunny

    Re: NYT “We’re in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here?” — it seems that 100s of commenters on the article understand exactly how “we” got here…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is low-growth bad, if we are better at distributing and sharing?

      Maybe low growth is good???

      1. fresno dan


        The people who get 99% of the pie are unalterable opposed to even the slightest suggestion that such a thing is possible….INCONCEIVABLE!!!
        (I would post a clip from the “Princess Bride”, but I probably post two many clips anyhow)

  9. TalkingCargo

    re: We’re Living in a low growth world

    While I suspect that income inequality contributes to the “secular stagnation” problem, I believe the fundamental cause comes from the Limits to Growth. We need resources to produce goods and services. Some portion of these resources are used to extract non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels and various ores like iron, copper, and aluminum. The extractive industries mostly work according the ‘low hanging fruit’ principle, i.e. they start by working the largest and richest deposits and when those become depleted they move on to deposits that are smaller and/or less rich. This process has been repeating itself for over a century and today a larger percentage of our total resources is needed to acquire the energy and materials we need to produce goods and services.

    In addition there is a lot of infrastructure to maintain. You don’t just build a road and you’re done. It will require continual maintenance. Same for bridges, ports, buildings, water and sewer systems, etc. etc. As time passes, more and more infrastructure is built, necessitating more and more resources devoted to maintenance.

    Finally, there is food and water which humans need in order to survive. Some of our resources need to be used to produce food and water otherwise we’ll have hungry people who are likely to become very rowdy. This is sort of a fixed cost to the economic system and with population growth, the cost will continue to increase.

    So essentially, more and more resources are needed to extract the resources we need, maintain our infrastructure and produce food for the people, leaving fewer resources to produce actual new goods and services. Of course, I’m not an economist, but this seems to me to be a reasonable explanation for slow growth, and I’m pretty sure that growth will inevitably slow to nothing because nothing grows forever, not even the economy.

    1. James Levy

      Good points, as is TiPs below. It’s a multi-causal phenomenon and one the people in charge simply can’t face up to, so it only gets worse.

      1. dk

        I think several of the factors associated with slow/no growth originate in lowered retail profit margins, which, increasingly from the 1980’s to present day, were used by large corporations to drive out small(er) competitors, including mom&pop stores (and brick&mortar commerce in general, thanks Amazon). Low/”competitive” retail margins have become such a common justification for withholding wage increases that they aren’t even mentioned any more, it’s self-understood, part of the economic landscape.

        The low margins equate to tighter coupling between markets (profit and investment), and increase risk for new and growing enterprises. Creative bookkeeping further clouds the picture.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It may be multi-causal but that does not mean a solution is extremely difficult.
        There is $34 *trillion* squirreled away in offshore havens, even when you shine a light (Panama Papers) the cockroaches have no need to scurry away because they are protected by a consensus of governments.
        A trillion is a thousand billion and a billion is a thousand million…so there is 34 thousand thousand million dollars in untaxed (“trapped labor”) money. A 20% tax would yield a sum of $968 dollars for every man, woman, and child on the planet, imagine the economic growth that would set in motion.
        So, no, this isn’t some incredibly complex insoluble conundrum, all that lacks is political will.

    2. DanB

      Mainstream economics does not recognize the limits to growth. Resource scarcity is supposed to produce incentives to find more of a scarce resource or, failing that, a new supply of substitute resources. However, there is a third option in mainstream economics: demand destruction because “the market always clears.” This is a logical option but never really considered by mainstream economics. In addition to Limits to Growth, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen wrote about The Entropy Law and the Economic Process. He was largely ignored by economists during his career, about 40 years ago. So we have a neoliberal political/economy -which is fundamentally exploitative and corrupt and funnels “wealth” to the 1%- at the moment the world has hit the limits to growth. We can argue all we want to about the definitions of growth and wealth, but the entropy principle churns on as we do so. If modern societies do not redistribute wealth and reduce complexity -to conserve resources- as a matter of rational policy, entropy will play out in the context of neoliberalism. Obviously, this is the path we are now on.

    3. Hacker

      The conspiracy theory view is that the elites actually know about and believe the Limits to Growth. Whereas a rising tide lifts all boats, once the tide starts going out, one needs to force more inequality to keep from having to go back down with the masses. The masses have never been in control, its just that there was a time when it made sense for the elites to share more with decent wages and progressive taxes.

      1. aet

        “limits to growth”?
        What evidence does the past provide which gives these disguised moralists the balls to claim that “Malthus was always right, and we only have to wait to see his predictions come true”?

        Every generation has said the same: this style of living can’t go on! …and every few generations, ever since people started to say so, the number of people on the planet has doubled – and yet our problems now aren’t malnutrition and the wear and tear of a body subject to endless toil – it’s the diseases and ills of obesity, excess and inactivity!
        Bah! Reaching the “limits to growth”?!… which the Preacher Malthus postulated when the world had but a ninth part of the population it now has!…. and with evidence now available that shows that as people become more prosperous, they have fewer and fewer children. But yet they believe that the “earth is running out of resources”? What evidence do they see of that? I don’t see it – instead, I see increased production of all commodities across the board. And yet their faith persists.

        Malthus was a man of faith, not a scientist. His predictions have zero predictive value, just like Karl Marx’s.

        Those who preach “limits to growth” and “overpopulation is the problem” are hair-shirt religious fanatics, disguised as reasonable people following “science”. Yet they have NO evidence for their long-repeated, ever-wrong claims and predictions.

        I say again, they are just the hair-shirt preachers of today. They offer no solutions, except the advice that people ought to stop enjoying life quite so much as they do.

        Our problem is fossil fuels altering our climate in unpredictable ways, not any shortage – or predicted shortage – of material goods.

        For more on the Reverend Thomas Malthus, see here:\

        1. Raj

          “Our problem is fossil fuels altering our climate in unpredictable ways…”

          and this isn’t related to population?

  10. Vicar Tendril

    Thanks for that classic propaganda from Reuters, a moldy civic sermon that makes the Nicene Creed look convincing. Makes you want to take a big moist dump on the flag. Isolationism = not blowing stuff up. By contrast, blowing stuff up doesn’t get a label, just a series of catchphrases for you to nod to, with associated numbers (percentages!) tied to irrelevant thoughtlets from propaganda polls. Glavlit hack Peter Apps closes with traditional pomposity to sneak in the cheapest dime-store trick of all: what America must do. Because it’s not the government that goes around smacking every hornet’s nest, it’s America, whatever that is. And whatever America is, it doesn’t give a shit what you think.

    How stupid does he think we are?

    In reality, the overwhelming majority of us, 2/3 plus, have always been what the Birchers called Eastern Seaboard Internationalists. What we want is not isolation from the outside world or US use of force.We want the US to comply with rule of law. For 81% that means exactly what the rule of law requires, a stronger UN free of continual US government subversion.

    What Americans want is this: we want to go over the head of this regime to the world: to treaty bodies, charter bodies, special procedures, international civil society, the international public at large, and to sympathetic foreign powers including but not limited to the G-77 and Russia. That gets you two main things:

    (1) Consistent, coherent, and comprehensive doctrine to supplant corporatist market idolatry and war, and law to enforce it. Development is progressive fulfillment of all our rights, civil and political, economic, social and cultural. If real resources are constrained, there’s still no balancing or allocation to done. National security is bullshit. What matters is human security – peace. And peace is the sum of your rights. Fuck guns, we want butter. There is no tradeoff.

    (2) Concerted international pressure. The government doesn’t care what you think but it’s painfully sensitive to what the international community thinks. Get together with the outside world and US state legitimacy’s gone. The US has lost control of the world. That’s why the Democratic Convention was such a frantic Nuremberg Rally.

    When Carter tried to bring human rights home Gates looked at it, turned it over, sniffed it and said, damn, this would make a great weapon. It gave him everything he needed to destroy the USSR: bulletproof cover for treason, subversion, and secession. Gates was very careful to warp and distort it for domestic consumption to keep it from destroying his regime. The Helsinki Final Act poisoned and killed the USSR as it degenerated. Now it’s the USA’s turn. One of these day we’re going to wake up and we won’t be in the USA – not because we left, because it’s gone.

  11. TiPs

    Re low growth, stagnant incomes were offset by a rise in household debt, which allowed for periods of growth close to historical average. Probably the most significant variable associated with the current stagnation is the slowdown in consumer debt since 2007.

  12. abynormal

    I want to pet P’ing.

    Japan’s Emperor Akihito has strongly indicated he wants to step down, saying he fears his age will make it difficult to fulfil his duties…also harder to RUN FAR

  13. 3.14e-9

    Re: Bernie delegates speak out, it’s all in this one line:

    [Party leaders] assume that we’re irrelevant for the long term.

    They get told to shut up, their signs are confiscated, they’re threatened with revocation of their credentials, the Clinton delegates treat them like a communicable disease, and they know the Democratic Party will never accept them. And still, they’re going to vote for her, because we must defeat Trump.

    I’ve read tweets and FB posts from by a couple of other delegates, one of whom had her arm twisted so hard by a Hillary supporter that it left her with a huge bruise. The entire time, she was surrounded by security, who even followed her into the ladies room.

    But if we don’t defeat Trump, he’ll turn our democracy into a fascist dictatorship.

    1. Benedict@Large

      You’re never going to get a real left out of the middle class. They will always have too much at risk should real change ever actually threaten.

      1. dk

        Well that’s why it took this long for this moment of self-identification, the mid-class(es) are disappearing. I remember leftists in the 60’s and 70’s saying that the middle class was numb to their own subjugation. Spouting a lot of Marxist dogma didn’t help their presentation, and the left isn’t helping itself when it invokes it today.

        1. hunkerdown

          One definition of the bourgeoisie is that class of people interested primarily in favorable asset prices and traditional respectability (i.e. reproducing their self-superior position at the expense of those who they deem owe them). Bourgeois interests are clearly not the broad interests of society.

          Good riddance to them. If they think they’re so superior, they can compete with their lords.

      2. jrs

        Yea that seems to be how they think but it doesn’t seem quite rational. What do they fear for? Their 401k balances if they have one? One medical emergency in the present system could often wipe that out or at least take quite a hit. Their secure jobs that they could lose in the next layoff? (ok maybe this isn’t true of government workers and those at really secure companies but for many). Jobs which are often pointless mind-numbing wastes of their lives in the best of times anyway, that they will do with barely a day off (less than anywhere else in the world) until they are old enough to be put on the discards pile. Their children’s future in a world of ecological collapse and run away climate change where noone is going to care about some middle class person when the SHTF? They think the risk of change is greater but it may not be.

    2. Carolinian

      Sounds like Sanders delegates were getting the roughing up that so upset many when it was applied to protestors at Trump rallies. Who’s the fascist again?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In a way, it’s similar to ‘It’s OK when the good guys have WMDs in the Middle East.”

          The Ds are also good guys and good gals.

      1. OIFVet

        It is the domestic version of liberal interventionism and R2P, don’t ya know. “We had to destroy our pretend democracy in order to save it.” Or sumtin’ like that…

        1. Carolinian

          There was reportedly some tear gas outside the convention but not much. No reports of people chanting “The Whole World is Watching.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            With noise-cancellation machines deployed all around, we can’t say for sure people didn’t chant that.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Does anybody have any concrete evidence on the noise-cancellation machines? Say, a model number of the device? I’ve seen this story a lot, but if there’s hard evidence, I’ve missed it. Thank you!

              1. polecat

                Well, if you ask the coyote nicely…….he might just come up with a serial no. in that box of ACME rejects of his…….

                of course, the Roadrunner has THE best ‘noise-cancellation’ machine………………..EVER!

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If you want to stage a fearsome rally, and film your triumph, your will, that convention far exceeded many other 20th century attempts.

    3. oh

      That only goes to show that you can’t change the D party from within. The phonies that preach that are disingenuous. And those who say that you should vote D if you’re in a swing state have the D case in mind, not change that you may want.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Trump and the estate tax: What? Do you want Ivanka to be poor?

    Of course if Republicans were true to their ideology they would favor a 100 percent estate tax since they claim the economy is created by self made men born in log cabins who hack industries out of the wilderness. As for their real views, if only there were some political party that might oppose them on this…

    1. Praedor

      I would support a 100% inheritance tax. Actually, inheritance should be taxed the same way lottery winnings are because obtaining a large inheritance is exactly the same thing as winning the lottery. The kid making big off his/her parent’s passed-on looted wealth IS winning a lottery. What did the kid do to “earn” that wealth? S/he fell out of a rich vagina. That’s it. The person getting an inheritance did absolutely nothing to earn such largess, was merely lucky in that chance fell their way like some trailer park inhabitant happening to choose the correct lottery numbers.

      The ONLY exceptions to inheritance tax I would allow are for working farms. So long as the one receiving an inherited farm will continue to operate the farm then they get it free and clear. The instant they subdivide it for housing tracts or sell it, BOOM! Taxes up the ass. They can escape the tax if they gift it to the Nature Conservancy. That’s it.

      If a kid wants to be rich then they have to get themselves rich by their own actual efforts. Simply being born doesn’t count because EVERYONE does that and it requires no skill whatsoever.

      Capital gains should be highly taxed as well unless it is applied to productive collective societal goods. Simply accumulating more wealth from wealth (looting/rent-seeking) is to be punished and discouraged.

      1. Katharine

        If you support exceptions for working farms, why not other family businesses? My favorite hardware store is far into its second generation and grooming the third, i.e. making it work in the store like anyone else.

        I don’t understand your exception under capital gains: it (reference?) is applied (how?) to productive collective societal goods (what??).

        Barring the quibbles, I agree with you. Skewing tax policy to favor the wealthy is grossly unfair.

        1. tony

          I think it would be too complex to differentiate between different sorts of assets. It is the amount that is the problem. Someone inheriting a million’s worth of assets is not really an issue. A hundred million is, since that comes with so much power and the ability to never work or contribute to society. There is no point even taxing small inheritances.

        2. Praedor

          Sure…used farm as illustration. What I adamantly oppose are the useless Paris Hiltons of the world. They are to be discouraged from being.

          But as soon as the store/chain, etc, is sold, taxes hit hard so they must either continue to be productive and useful or give up their unearned wealth.

        3. LifelongLib

          Most of us would see a big moral difference between a guy who gets up at 4 AM to take care of his cattle and one who gets up at 10 AM to check his stock portfolio, but it may be hard to distinguish between them economically if they have the same net worth etc. So maybe we’re stuck with making moral judgments?

          1. Antifa

            In which case I’d suggest that any individual person who had earned a $10 million nest egg for retirement would thereafter face a 99% tax on further earnings. We can sweeten the pot by saying that they receive totally free healthcare from that point forward, no matter their fortune or misfortune thereafter.

            Their children may inherit $100,000 for each year of an accredited college that they complete. College is, of course, free of any charge or tuition to every student who can maintain a 3.0 grade point average. Single parents get free daycare while attending, and a stipend if it is needed to feed themselves and pay utilities.

            The moral dilemma of our economy is that once you pass $10 million, it starts to grow exponentially until you have $30 or $40 billion squirreled away offshore. Your capital becomes, as Marx described it, “dead labor.” Work not done. Productivity not happening.

            No individual human needs a billion dollars, or even a hundred million. The only thing to do with such amounts is use it to hoard even more. How is that useful even to the hoarder?

            In short — wealth caps.

            1. Pat

              Not for nothing but I would also include accredited trade schools. We are still going to need plumbers, carpenters, electricians, even mechanics. And with proper changes in the law, people who repair things in general.

              Or does your version only kick in after the parent has accumulated ten million? See even though I think it is getting rarer and rarer, there are still parents who have a little left to pass on to their kids who are not millionaires. Limiting the ability to inherit to people who go to college is both elitist and fails to acknowledge that college is not the be all and end all of all things. There are some where this may be the down payment of a house, the means to start a dreamed of business, or even just to catch up on some bills without it meaning immediate ascension into a tax haven abuser level of wealth.

              Look I think we do need to rethink the ability to inherit vast amounts of wealth, including through the trust system. I just don’t know that anyone has yet found a fair way to address the situation.

              1. low integer

                Change the dominant political ideology and economists will start scuttling around trying to work these things out in a way that serves this newfound dominant political ideology. Isn’t that economist’s whole modus operandi?

                No disrespect intended to those few economists who have kept it real over the years. You know who you are.

      2. heresy101

        Rather than 100%, tie it to the median income. If they were able to save all their salary or farm profits for 20 or 30 years, then they should be able to pass that on to their offspring. So based on a $50K median income, the maximum that could be passed down would be $1.0-1.5M total. This should cover all farms and small businesses.

      3. HotFlash

        It’s odd how you can get used to the way things are and they seem right, even fair. In my country, we do not tax lottery winnings — and they are paid out in cash, not annuities. Inheritances are taxed over 100,000. Mortgage interest is not deductible, but profit on sale of primary residence is not taxable.

        Generally, we think our system’s pretty fair, except that we don’t tax corporations nearly enough.

        1. Praedor

          I’ll accept anything that forces income inequality to be reduced AND outright bars true billionaires from lording over anything. As Antifa says, NO ONE needs a billion dollars (or even 100 million). We DO need not only a minimum wage, but a MAXIMUM wage AND maximum net worth. Exceed the max in either case and that money gets taxed 100%.

  15. abynormal

    Reuters, Delta Air Lines – the second largest airline in the world – is reporting that all flights have been suspended “due to a system outage nationwide.” Social media users have posted photos showing long lines of passengers waiting to check-in at airports. “Our systems are down everywhere. Hopefully it won’t be much longer,” Delta Air Lines said in response to a passenger’s tweet.

    and they want us to use our cell phones for Social Security 411 & correspondence

        1. Jim Haygood

          As someone disrespectfully observed on another forum, “Whatever she caught from Bill that one time is finally taking effect.”

          And as someone else quipped about the portly African-American special agent who follows her around with a Diazepam anti-seizure pen, “Hope it’s Michael Jackson’s doctor.”

          1. ambrit

            Wait sweet cheeks. That “growth” was on her tongue! Monica had better get checked soon. We do tend to underestimate that lady though. I’ll bet Monica got herself tested weekly while she was working in the White House. As for H Clinton; who says she caught something from Bill?
            “Michael Jacksons’ doctor;” I’ll raise you der Fuehrers’ doctor, Dr. Morell.
            Scroll halfway down and see all the goodies Morell gave to Herr “H” on a daily basis. Madame “C” should have it so good.

          2. Carolinian

            Whatever it may be, that forum clearly populated by wits.

            Since I don’t watch much tv I’ve missed the Hillbot sputtering and shooting out sprays of hydraulic fluid but Trump was making fun and being mean to her again which of course prompted another media story on why he is crazy.

          3. Antifa

            Diazepam is a muscle relaxant, most commonly used to reduce epilepsy’s bodily contortions, though it is also issued to American troops who may be facing nerve gas attacks. This is why it is available in an Epi-Pen which can inject through clothing, usually into the back of the thigh muscle.

            A lot of patients taking L-Dopa for Parkinson’s soon enough require Diazepam to deal with the muscle tics and contortions L-Dopa treatment causes. It’s a benzodiazepine like Xanax, originally approved in ’63 for treatment of agitation, anxiety, trembling, seizures, and eventually epilepsy. It was the top selling drug in the USA from ’69 to ’82. I first heard of it in ’67 when it was given to a Vietnam vet who couldn’t stop shaking. It helped him get his spoon from his plate to his mouth, which meant a lot to him.

            Being handicapped myself, I feel the utmost empathy and sympathy for whatever Hillary is suffering from to require Diazepam. It won’t affect my decision not to vote for her. That’s based on her adoption of the 1% Cheney Doctrine of preemptive war on anyone who could possibly ever in your wildest dreams challenge America in some way — so they need to be killed NOW.

            But it is clear that Hillary suffers some episodic loss of control over her muscles, whatever the cause. Why wouldn’t she take a hint from her own body and spend what time she has left in peace and quiet?

            1. Carolinian

              Why not indeed. She did say a couple of years ago that she just wanted to be a grandmother. Apparently the MSM is ignoring all this so she can take some comfort there.

              As to whether it’s fair, if you are going to dish it out you have to be willing to take it. After all Hillary supporter Rupert Murdoch printed nude pics of Trump’s wife in the NY Post. This is going to be an election where there is no “over the line.”

              1. Antifa

                And she had tens of thousands of personal emails about cookie recipes and yoga routines on her private email server. She’s so obviously just a sweet little old lady.

      1. Butch In Waukegan

        A friend sent me this Youtube video: The Truth About Hillary’s Bizarre Behavior. It contains the linked clip, and the narrator calls attention to the startled reaction of the reporter on the left of the screen.

        Some of the video’s conjecture is over-the-top, but . . . the debates with Trump might be very interesting.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Donald, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Donald. Will you stop Donald? Stop, Donald. I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission…

        1. tony

          All of this is just speculation coming from very unreliable right wing sources. They might be true, but she might just be an aging weirdo. Or a psychopath. Psychopaths are marked by laboured normality and effortless deviancy.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        When I first saw that clip, I wondered if it had been edited somehow. It’s interesting to watch the reaction of the “reporter” as she pulls back and makes a weird face.

        With that, the photo of hillary struggling to get up the steps and her “short circuit” remark, I think there are some pretty devastating Trump campaign “ads” writing themselves just about now.

        Needless to say, the “journalists” at msnbs are so far unaware of these images. They are, however, remarkably well acquainted with narcissistic personality disorder, and its exploitation by the KGB.

        Of course, this could all be much ado about nothing, since “pharma bro” Martin Shkrelli has diagnosed hillary with early Parkinson’s Disease. And he would seem to have a few disorders of his own.

    1. RabidGandhi

      No worries folks, the crack Kremlinologists at the Carnegie Institute are all over this one. Turns out crafty Putin is occulting his evil interference, now through his dastardly proxy…. (wait for it)… Comrade Jill Stein!

    2. fresno dan

      My internet connected toaster pulled a gun on me the other day (no more pot tarts for me….yes, you read right…I said “POT” tarts….the toaster dropped a dime on me)

      But everybody thinks the internet is all grins and giggles….

    3. Vatch

      Regarding the Delta outage: Supposedly this was caused by a power outage. It astonishes me that they don’t have a backup electrical power source. For a critical system such as this, redundancy is essential. Now that I think about it, though, it’s not so astonishing that they don’t have a backup power source. That would cost money.

  16. abynormal

    A suicide bomber in Pakistan killed at least 63 people and wounded dozens more in an attack on mourners gathered at a hospital in Quetta, according to officials in the violence-plagued southwestern province of Baluchistan.

    The bomber struck as more than 100 mourners, mostly lawyers and journalists, crowded into the emergency department to accompany the body of a prominent lawyer who had been shot and killed in the city earlier in the day, Faridullah, a journalist who was among the wounded, told Reuters.

    Abdul Rehman Miankhel, a senior official at the government-run Civil Hospital, where the explosion occurred, told reporters that at least 63 people had been killed, with more than 50 wounded, as the casualty toll spiked from initial estimates.

    “There are many wounded, so the death toll could rise,” said Rehmat Saleh Baloch, the provincial health minister.

    Television footage showed scenes of chaos, with panicked people fleeing through debris as smoke filled the hospital corridors.

    The motive behind the attack was unclear and no group had yet claimed responsibility.

    1. Mike Mc

      It seems possible that the lawyer was killed to draw the crowd, no? The one/two that has become a terrorist mainstay seems to be evolving somewhat (if one can call it that).

  17. James Levy

    The article about the failure of the scientists at CERN to confirm a new particle is well done and shows that the scientific method can at times actually work (every incentive for them to stick with the “we’ve found one!” claim yet as the data rolls in they bow to the evidence).

    When I turned 10 my precocious friend Kassie, four years my senior, told me all about the November Revolution and that fact that Charm (and therefore quarks) had been discovered. I was hooked on high energy physics from that day forward. Yet as the years pass I both marvel at the accomplishments of the Standard Model and shake my head at the inability to go beyond it. The obsession with beautiful mathematical models over physical intuition is troubling. The Higgs “discovery” is unsatisfying because from everything I read they found a massive particle but haven’t observed it interacting with anything yet, and since the Higgs is a Boson viewing its interactions with other particles is the defining point of the exercise. When they found the Z particle that carries the Weak Force you could see the actual process of it changing a particle into its decay product in the bubble chamber pictures. I’ve seen nothing like that from Higgs.

    Perhaps this is all a puzzle our minds are inadequate to crack.

    1. Isolato

      Somewhere there is a new Copernicus waiting to be born who will take the Ptolemaic complexity of current particle physics, turn it around and look at it from another dimension and go, “See, it is so simple!”. I await that day.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the mean time, we are applying our partial knowledge as much and as often as we can.

    2. MikeNY

      Perhaps this is all a puzzle our minds are inadequate to crack.

      Made me think of both Noam Chomsky and Nicolas of Cusa… I think that’s good company.

  18. crittermom

    Regarding the story #HillaryCoverageIsCrap, that’s the first pictures I’ve seen of Hellary being helped to walk up some stairs.
    It leaves me wondering why her emails were hacked, the DNC was hacked, so why has no one hacked her medical records? There’s been much speculation about her health, yet all we seem to know for sure about the health of the candidates & those close to them is that neither Trump nor Bill Clinton suffer from ED.

    I must confess that each morning I awaken & check the news, hoping Hellary will have stroked out & Trump will have imploded, leaving us to get back to politics for the PEOPLE.
    Dastardly thoughts, but no worse than either of them have planned for us as a nation.

    1. Carolinian

      Pat Lang recently had a post saying that all the candidates should be required to have independent medical exams. Perhaps psyche evaluations would also be appropriate (for all of them).

      1. Steve H.

        I was on the Psych Crisis Ward to visit my mother last week. She had a serious head injury three years ago and {redacted: tmi}

        I take head injuries seriously, and the videos of Clinton are appalling. If anyone finds an analysis without the squacky cherrypicked conjecture, please post.

        Her smile when she is seizing terrifies me. It does not look like social masking.

      2. Katharine

        I think independent medical exams sound reasonable and desirable, but most of the hyperventilating I’ve seen about Hillary’s health is ridiculous, and some of it probably ageist. She slipped on unfamiliar steps–shocking! She has been in environments where catching cold would be easy, and overusing her voice for months, and she’s hoarse and sometimes has coughing fits–how dreadful! She may or may not have seizures, and that could be a concern, but just how great a concern? Most of the comments I have seen seem to imply that any seizures at all would be totally incapacitating and disqualifying, which is a judgment by no means obvious and surely a disservice to all workers everywhere who have been or might be denied a job on the basis of similar ill-informed judgments.

        I hold no brief for Hillary and do not plan to vote for her, but do please let us focus on what is demonstrably relevant to her candidacy!

        1. Raven on a Coyote

          The evidence that she has a history of strokes is clear. Leg thrombosis in 1998, the fall she had in 2012 was claimed to have caused the brain clot but she had no fracture so they think she was predisposed. Not only her weight, but her weight distribution suggests stroke risk. As does here high stress job. She also seems to have a peculiar startle response (there are several videos which show this), which could signal amygdala or temporal lobe issues. The veins she had the clot in drain blood from that area of the brain.

          Does it disqualify her? I don’t know. But part of a democracy is letting people decide based on all available information.

          I think there are more valid reasons for not voting for her.

          Both Hillary and Trump are well over the median age of past presidents. As is Bernie. That strikes me as interesting.

        2. Carolinian

          Well there is the example of Reagan who turned senile in his second term.

          As for the making fun, “politics ain’t beanbag.” In America it was never beanbag.

    2. RabidGandhi

      With Trump and HRC gone, what do we have… Pence v. Kaine?

      Eliminating the 2 Satans du Moment would hardly mean a return of politics for the people.

      1. crittermom

        Sorry. Yes, you’re correct about that.
        I guess I’ll have to widen my circle of wishful thinking!

        Ineptocracy best describes this election, I suppose…
        …And it makes me heartsick.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Pepe Escobar on the Full Spectrum Dominatrix:

      Considering the Queen of War’s instincts, all signs point towards Iran [as her target].

      The manual/blueprint/roadmap for Hillary’s wars is arguably at Center for a New American Security, a very dangerous intersection between US neocons and neoliberalcons. The CNAS think tank is led by one-third (Michele Flournoy) of what I have dubbed The Three Harpies; Hillary Clinton, Flournoy and – the most terrifying words in the English language – Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the possible lethal trio in charge of foreign policy under a Clinton Three administration.

      This is, in fact, PNAC (the Project for a New American Century) on steroids.

      For all her bluster, and that will be elevated to unheard-of hysterical levels, the Full Spectrum Dominatrix won’t be foolish enough to launch a war – which will inevitably be nuclear – against either Russia (Baltics as a pretext) or China (South China Sea as a pretext), the Pentagon’s top two “existential threats”.

      As the Queen of War is in AIPAC’s pocket, and considering the Clinton Foundation’s by now legendary cozy ties with the House of Saud, the war target would have to be the Saudi/Israeli preferred target, on top of it pro-Damascus and in close touch with both Ankara and Moscow: Iran.

      1. Pavel

        I’m continually bemused how we keep reading now about Trump and EVIL PUTIN where there are various vaguely documented ties and perhaps compliments back and forth.

        Meanwhile, Hillary’s “Foundation” has accepted millions of dollars in “donations” from the Saudis, who we know were linked to the 9/11 attacks (and 15 of the hijackers were Saudis), and she along with Obama sold billions of dollars of armaments to the Saudi regime — which happens to have one of the worst human rights records on the planet. The Saudis are right now committing genocide in Yemen, with the assistance of the US and UK (arms sales and military guidance).

        Somehow Trump is portrayed as the evil and reckless one linked to “fascists” and Hillary is the wise, experienced, foreign policy expert?

        I challenge anyone to compare Putin’s body count with that of the Saudis (or, for that matter, the Israelis — or, the US’s). Did he kill 500,000 children in Iraq?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I still worry Trump will expel Muslims, like Ferdinand & Isabella, or should there be a conscription, exempt them.

          But Hillary seems to have no qualms about the West Bank Wall, such exemption in Israel, or refugees in Jordan.

          An ocean is a wall.

          “If you are not for building a bridge to China, you’re for a wall.”

          Any natural barriers, we gladly (or silently) take them.

      2. abynormal

        and away we go…Friday prayer leaders accused the U.S. of being “unfaithful in practice” to the nuclear deal. Qom Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Mohammad Saidi stated, “With the JCPOA issue, we are seeing that the nuclear deal still exists on paper, but the U.S. and the West are beginning to be unfaithful in practice.” Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Alam ol Hoda claimed that the U.S. is “now not only failing to fulfill its commitments, but it has imposed greater sanctions as well.”
        Kerry had stated that the U.S. and its allies have told Iran they are “prepared to work on a new arrangement to find a peaceful solution” to issues such as Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile tests, but that Iran must first “make it clear to everybody that they are prepared to cease these kinds of activities that raise questions about credibility… and intentions.” In response, Jazayeri stated, “We are stressing what has been said several times: [our] missile power has been non-negotiable and among the red lines of the Iranian nation. Iran does not get permission from anyone to develop its defense capabilities.” Jazayeri said that Iran’s “diplomatic establishment is expected to show a timely and decisive reaction to American impudence, especially by the U.S. secretary of state.” (ABNA) (E) (Mehr News Agency)

        1. Praedor

          Uh, I fail to see by what right the US gets to dictate to Iran that it cannot conduct research and development of defensive/deterrant weapons. The US does it. Israel does it. Britain does it. China does it. Australia does it, etc, etc, etc. Iran has an absolute right of self-defense and with that comes the absolute right to upgrade and develop all weapons needed to ensure their ability to defend themselves.

          Anything Israel does, ANY and ALL other countries can do. Same goes regarding the USA. ANYTHING the USA does means that ALL other nations can do the exact same things. Testing ballistic missiles is not the same thing as developing nukes (but then, Israel does so so ALL other nations have that right too).

      3. Carolinian

        Yes let’s start a war with Iran (population 77 million). It will be the Iraq war squared. Real women go to Tehran.

        And Hillary probably will settle for a Cold War with Russia after the missile silos and Trident subs are put on alert. For those of us who remember the first Cold War this doesn’t seem appealing.

        1. James Levy

          Completely true–it would be incredibly stupid, destructive, and criminal. Yet we’ve got Trump saying he would “tear up” the deal and Clinton obviously angling, through her proxy Kerry, to undermine it. Is this all about placating the Israelis (and, in the minds of Trump and Clinton, securing the Jewish vote), or are they serious? My guess is both of them are serious, and that’s a bad thing. My question, therefore is: what the hell can we do, if either of these two candidates win (and chances are 99% it will be one of them) to head them off at the pass? Arguing over which is worse doesn’t get us anywhere on the critical issue of thwarting the worst instincts of either of them once they get in power.

          1. Carolinian

            Trump said he would renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal which many in Iran think the US isn’t honoring anyway. I’m not aware that he’s threatened them militarily. However Trump would be unlikely to continue our current course on Russia, from all thathe’s said.

            1. James Levy

              Do you for an instant believe that Trump wants to renegotiate the deal to make it fairer for Iran? And since he obviously doesn’t, why would Iran agree to such a process or a new deal? And if he doesn’t get his way, what do you think Trump’s response would be?

              1. hunkerdown

                James Levy,

                From the Iranian perspective, it seems more probable that Trump will follow through with whatever deal happens to be struck than Democratic neocons who are getting a head start on the Cold War as farce. Not to bring out hoary old Democrat talking points, but the country of the “bazaar” may just be able to meet Trump’s mind better than some senile church lady from Arkansas with three million dollars of Zionist media-magnate money puppeting her.

          2. Jagger

            My guess is both of them are serious, and that’s a bad thing.

            If Trump were serious, why are so many Republican neocons going Hillary? Neocons are putting their money on Clinton and abandoning Trump. Clearly, neocons don’t feel they can accomplish their goals through Trump. To me, watching this move by the neocons is a telling signal as to who is most likely to implement an aggressive, belligerant foreign policy.

            Here is a quick google using the phrase “republican neocons supporting Hillary Clinton”. Goes on and on with story after story after story.



            1. pretzelattack

              the neocons are opportunists. they go where they are welcome. as others have pointed out, drowning out “no more war” chants with “usa” is reminiscent of past republican conventions, with purple fingers and such.

              1. Jagger

                Sometimes when it comes to politicians, it is best to ignore the words and poll tested messaging and just follow the smart money. In this case, the smart money, those that have successfully implemented a neocon based foreign policy for the last decade plus, are putting all their money on Hillary. By following the smart money, those with much more intimate knowledge of the candidates than I can possibly have, are telling us who to fear the most when it comes to a belligerent, neocon based foreign policy. Neocons are telling us it is Hillary. All I really need to know.

                1. Jagger

                  From the nation:

                  Prominent among this number is the neocon scholar Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, who took to the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times on May 6 to inform readers that “the Republican party is dead…. it has been killed by Donald Trump.” For Boot, Hillary Clinton would be “far preferable” to Trump, since, according to Boot, Trump champions a foreign policy of “isolationism and protectionism.” That fact that Trump has repeatedly denigrated the Iraq war, for which Boot was among the most prominent cheerleaders, surely helps fuel Boot’s disillusionment.

                  I have found several articles doing a google using “why neocons dislike Trumps foreign policy”. Apparently, Neocons define him as an isolationist and thus unacceptable. Personally, I would take an isolationist any day over a neocon.

                2. Carolinian

                  As I pointed out the other day per Scott Adams, Trump has a record of being very cautious in his deeds if not his words…the pre-nups, business partners etc. I believe he did have a big business setback when he rashly bought the Plaza Hotel. But in confrontations like the one with the Republican elders he backs down when it is expedient.

                  Hillary on the other hand seems very rash indeed and has been restrained (but not by much) by the more cautious Obama. Of course we can’t know what either of them will do once elected but knee jerk assertions about Trump could be quite wrong.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    “Only the penitent man will pass.”

                    That was Trump endorsing Ryan recently.

                    “Only the penitent man will pass.”

                    For Hillary, it’s more like Piaf: “Non, je ne regrette rien

              2. vidimi

                i think that’s just it, the reality of the situation is so scary we don’t want to accept it and it’s easier to believe that the neocons are flocking to hillary because trump is a madman, not because trump might not give them what they want. time will tell.

        2. Plenue

          In my opinion an invasion of Iran would be the single most evil act this country has committed since Vietnam. And yes I know Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya have set the bar very high. Iran manifestly is not a credible threat to us, or anyone else. They have 2% of our annual military budget, and every single one of our intelligence agencies is certain that they have no nuclear weapons program (and probably never did). Far from being the ‘#1 supporter of terrorism on the planet’ (in reality that’s our ‘ally’ Saudi Arabia), Iran funds exactly one group: Hezbollah, and they’re aimed squarely at Israel. The vilification and fear-mongering of Iran is entirely political, and our leaders know it’s a bunch of crap.

          Iran has bent over backward to cater to our unreasonable demands in this deal, and we still refuse to keep up our end of the bargain, all the while blaming them. Absolutely disgusting.

        3. vidimi

          i don’t see how a war with iran isn’t also a war with russia, which isn’t also a war with china…ie world war.

    4. Pat

      That whole thing is fun. Largely because I’m pretty sure the Clinton campaign thought they had a winner and yet…Brock must be hitting his head against the wall. The Bernie people managed to twitterfu their hash tags pretty quickly, but it usually meant they got Twitter to make sure they disappeared. The Trump people just partially hijack them and post embarrassing Clinton material over and over, amid the pro Clinton stuff so it remains longer. He may have to hire more people.

  19. Watt4Bob

    From the Star and Tribune article;

    Minnesota Republican Party chairman Keith Downey, who previously consulted in the development of three state voter registration and balloting systems, is more worried about voter fraud and a failure to require photo identification.

    “That is by far a bigger concern than someone hacking into the equipment or the voter rolls,” Downey said.

    Minnesota employs the gold-standard of election security, the hand-marked paper ballot, in re-counts, counted by hand.

    The link is to an article that explains how despite the demonstrated superiority of Minnesota’s election laws, they are under constant pressure from those, like Mr. Downey, who seek to suppress the vote, and to sow doubt where there is none.

    These efforts are focused on doing away with laws should be a model for the whole nation; hand-marked ballots, common sense registration process, and hand recounts if necessary, and replacing them with more voter suppression and easily hacked electronic voting systems.

    Our election processes are everywhere under attack by those who would degrade our democracy in the interests of the rich and powerful.

    1. Watt4Bob

      …and, as always the Star and Tribune can be trusted to carry water for those sewing the seeds of doubt.

      A system built on hand-marked paper ballots, back-stopped by hand counting in the case of a re-count, cannot be electronically hacked.

      However, that does not stop the anti-democracy right from using the ironically named HAVA, Help America Vote Act to attack Minnesota’s un-hackable election systems and replace them with easily hacked electronic systems and more and better voter suppression laws.

  20. Pespi

    Re: PTSD

    The article isn’t about all PTSD, it’s about the PTSD suffered by veterans. Their thinking is that a lot of it may be CTE, the same thing NFL players get.

    They aren’t saying that all PTSD is caused by physical trauma. The trauma suffered by abuse victims wasn’t actually classified as PTSD until the middle or later 80s because there are some differences in symptoms and expression. It’s a question of classification.

    I do agree with your hesitation in accepting new more material causes for various things.

    1. Isolato

      I wonder if there isn’t an inherent propensity to PTSD which becomes apparent after the trauma. PTSD seems to be an inability to “let go” of the emotional charge associated w/memory. Two people subjected to the same trauma (say, combat) will have very different reactions and to me that suggests an underlying predisposition.

      Of course I am not a brain scientist, I just have one.

      1. Pespi

        There are a lot of intriguing factors. For instance, a sense of control leads to lower rates of ptsd in people who’ve suffered traumas. If you believe you’re doing something to handle the situation, even if it doesn’t work, you’re less likely to catch the old ptsd. Training, routine, religion, ritual, all become important when things are going wrong.

        From Sebastian Junger’s “War”

        The Navy study compared stress levels of the pilots [who have to land on tiny aircraft carrier landing strips] to that of their radar intercept officers, who sat immediately behind them but had no control over the two-​man aircraft. The experiment involved taking [cortisol] samples of both men on no-​mission days as well as immediately after carrier landings… Radar intercept officers lived day-​to-​day with higher levels of stress — possibly due to the fact that their fate was in someone else’s hands — but on mission days the pilots’ stress levels were far higher. The huge responsibility borne by the pilots gave them an ease of mind on their days off that they paid for when actually landing the plane.

        The study was duplicated in 1966 with a twelve-​man Special Forces team in an isolated camp near the Cambodian border in South Vietnam… There was a serious possibility that the base would be overrun, in which case it was generally accepted that it would be “every man for himself.” The two officers saw their cortisol levels climb steadily until the day of the expected attack and then diminish as it failed to materialize. Among the enlisted men, however, the stress levels were exactly the opposite: their cortisol levels dropped as the attack drew near, and then started to rise when it became clear that they weren’t going to get hit… “The members of this Special Forces team demonstrated an overwhelming emphasis on self-​reliance, often to the point of omnipotence,” they wrote. “These subjects were action-​oriented individuals who characteristically spent little time in introspection. Their response to any environmental threat was to engage in a furor of activity which rapidly dissipated the developing tension.”

        Specifically, the men strung C-​wire and laid additional mines around the perimeter of the base. It was something they knew how to do and were good at, and the very act of doing it calmed their nerves. In a way that few civilians could understand, they were more at ease facing a known threat than languishing in the tropical heat facing an unknown one.

        You have to be trained not to be a coward, trained to do something even when the truth is that your actions don’t mean much.

        The problem with late capitalist ideology and its partner in infantile narcissism is that the realization of the our own limits is more shocking and traumatizing than it was to past generations.

        To change a Michael Jackson lyric: If you we want to make the world a less traumatizing place, we’ve got to look at ourselves and make a … Chaaaaaaynge

    2. JTMcPhee

      Re PTSD therapies: as one with some unfortunate experience with that condition, might I note that a VA primary care doctor with an interest in the phenom prescribed an older blood pressure medication for me because anecdotally it mitigates recurrent nightmares of the sort I used to have. It is called prazosin, Maybe it is just a placebo effect, but it sure appears to have given me relief. From that aspect of it.

      It also appears to help with another old-f@rts disorder, benign prostatic hyperplasia. A nice trifecta for many of us, maybe? And it is cheap, I believe.. So far…

      1. kareninca

        A close relative of mine has PTSD, and at one point I looked into stellate ganglion block treatments. Supposedly they have decided they do not work (, but looking at how the study was done I wonder if the “sham” injections might have helped (thus making the “real” injections look useless)(both the “real” and the “sham” groups were “significantly improved” by the treatment). Have you looked into that or tried it?

  21. RabidGandhi

    The op-ed on the Thai referendum is well worth a read. One key paragraph that can be extrapolated to other countries:

    Thailand’s constitutional outcome evokes the result of the country’s first ever constitutional referendum, in August 2007. Voter turnout back then was 57% and the approval rate was at the same level, compared to the 74% average ratio for key general elections since 2001. With the weight of officialdom, from the bureaucracy and armed forces to elements of the pro-coup coalition against the previous elected governments of the Shinawatra clan (led by former Prime Minister Thaksin and later his younger sister Yingluck), the lower the turnout, the more effective was the organized pro-charter campaign and accompanying propaganda against graft-prone politicians. This time around, the government’s coercive tactics against dissent and a new law against anti-charter movements also neutralized and subdued those who would have otherwise mobilized to reject in greater numbers.

    A couple of points here:
    1. Note how turnout is the decisive factor in the elections. NYT reported that in the US, 9% of the electorate voted for HRC/Trump. Meanwhile, the RNC and DNC both expend an outragous amount of effort on voter suppression. One of Lambert’s policy pillars is publicly counted paper ballots, which is excellent. But wouldn’t mandatory voting (as is done in many countries) be an additional measure that would be far more effective at mitigating voter suppression? It, presumably, would have flipped the results in the Thailand referendum; imagine what the US 2016 elections would look like if voting were mandatory.

    2. Note how the rightwing argument against a “populist” leader, like Thaksin is always “corruption!”. It’s a rallying cry that the élites use to get the working classes on their side, to vote against their own interests. The biggest example now, of course, is Brazil. Dilma Rousseff has been removed from office after 1) the corporate media leading a smear campaign claiming she was corrupt 2) mass demonstrations against corruption 3) a constitutional coup in which Rousseff was replaced by elite oligarghs, most of whom are under investigation or convicted of corruption: i.e., they replaced the least corrupt politician in Brazil with the most corrupt politicians.

    But there is something to be said for the right wing’s strategy in these cases. People know they are being screwed– in the case of Brazil under Rousseff’s austerity programme–but, thanks to the misinformation in the press, they do not understand why. So it’s a very effective tactic by the right: change the subject from macroeconomics to corruption. Take advantage of the fact that people generally don’t differentiate between millions allegedly embezzled and hundreds of billions definitely sucked away by austerity. Then when you combine this tactic with the voter suppression above, you can turn back left-leaning revolutions in Thailand, Brazil, Venezuela, Iran, Argentina…

  22. Juneau

    re:PTSD physical vs. psychological.

    I have learned to view Times articles on public health and veteran’s health with a grain of salt.

    What is the point of the study? Anyone with a truly traumatic brain injury is entitled to both physical and psychological sequelae. Of course the brain is injured. And even the most resilient soldiers are changed psychologically by these events in my view.

    The better question is how to best care for these men and women. If calling it a brain injury de-stigmatizes the soldiers and allows them to get needed care in a respectful manner then wonderful. The classic image of PTSD or shell shock is someone who is homeless, completely disabled and unable to cope. So I think it is good to call it a neurologic disease to remove the stigma of the psychological label and that stereotype.

    This is one big reason psychiatrists support biological diagnoses. Not just to medicalize or prescribe but to de-stigmatize their patients.

  23. hemeantwell

    Parenting In An Age Of Economic Anxiety New Yorker. Ugly but important. Dan K:

    In the bygone, a worry was that parents, by evoking guilt and shame to channel behavior, created neurotics plagued by harsh superegos. Now it’s apparently goodbye conscience, hello sociopathy, and that’s not considered a worry.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Please don’t take this flip, smarmy little piece seriously. I’ve been reading the same sort of tripe in upper-middlebrow publications like the New Yorker since my own child was young, & I could pretend I had control of her life experience.

      It is diagnostic of some defining social ailments of our time, sure. But, it is a stupid, hackneyed piece designed to keep the adult target audience in a state of nervous despair and mental servitude. It’s important in terms of it’s intended effect on it’s audience, not anything to do with kids. Gotta keep the professional class strivers good and fearful you know, especially the wimmins. Otherwise they might focus their attention on the present, and actually upset the elites’ applecarts.

      1. kareninca

        My neighbor has a son who is in 11th grade, and one who just finished his first year of college. As far as I can tell she of course cares about her kids economic success (for survival purposes), but her main concern is mental health issues. Her younger son told her that he was considering killing himself by dropping headfirst off their balcony (we live in a condo complex). So she slept by his bed for six months straight, and she and her husband did not leave him alone for that six months (he is now on Prozac and seems okay). Her older son had to break up with his girlfriend last month because she became literally hysterical (screaming and crying) if he tried to be away from her even briefly (e.g. to study). She just emailed me about a recent grad classmate of the older boy, who was just pulled from the railroad tracks and thereby kept from suicide (this is in the vicinity of Palo Alto, and it is the Palo Alto schools).

        She does say that a lot of the Asian parents at the school are “Tiger Mom” types (who pay a fortune to companies that claim the ability to get kids into high status colleges), so maybe the article is not entirely untrue. But certainly her focus is just kid-survival, not wild status-grubbing.

        (I find jumping to be especially appalling form of suicide. I have an elderly friend who lives in a low income elderly complex in Palo Alto. Last year one of her fellow residents killed herself by crawling over a railing and dropping down a high distance. My friend was there when it happened; she had been wondering what the woman was doing with the little wicker chair (which she climbed onto). It took the woman a fair amount of time to die.)

  24. Pat

    I think that Clinton has more health problems then I do, but frankly I cannot get up a set of stairs right now without a railing, and wouldn’t attempt going down one as well. My knees are not good and I’m fighting a hip issue as well. Some arthritis or other joint problem is not my concern. Obviously, if her ‘concussion’ is effecting her balance that is something else.

    Since I would love to have FDR back, obviously being able to climb a stair is NOT one of my big criteria. That doesn’t mean I don’t have serious concerns about Clinton’s brain function, and would like a full and complete independent medical exam by someone they don’t like or would not pick.

      1. Jim Haygood

        This alarming scenario has been ably limned by commentator Conax elsewhere:

        She’s got demons running all through her. They are jerking her strings this way and that.

        Watch the debate, I bet her head will crank plumb around.

      2. Pat

        That, too.

        Look I just consider it one more thing on a long list of reasons that Clinton is unfit for office as dmv clerk much less anything else.

        1. abynormal

          seriously, aging ‘well’ is a major challenge living today’s environment. BUT Clinton has the wealth and network to do better than she looks. some days her weight balloons…she can’t hide chemical side effects. if she was under my care i would be seriously alarmed. her daily appearance is exactly what we caregivers pay mind to.

    1. crittermom

      I wouldn’t care if she were in a wheelchair. I would just prefer a little transparency and truth rather than speculations regarding any health problems, but the only way to obtain transparency and truth seem to be from hacking.

      Silly me, I’d foolishly thought a medical workup was required somewhere along the line when running for president. A physical is required for a CDL, yet apparently not in regards to running the nation.
      That’s food for thought.

      1. Praedor

        Her mind is degenerating from the syphilis that Bill gave her, no doubt. She will be outright insane by the time she becomes Prez and happily starts WWIII with that “evil” Putin.

        1. local to oakland

          Whoa. Your snark is kind of rough. Not every reader may know that syphilis is very treatable. I have every reason to know and be concerned about neurologic issues personally. I don’t support Clinton. But I doubt it’s syphilis.

          1. Praedor

            I WISH it were untreated syphilis. That would be perfection. Barring that, I’d accept her brain being infested with tape worm larvae (it can happen), or to be infected with prions.

  25. Cripes

    Re: voter discord and obama care; has anyone tried to report an income or “household” change to between the jan1 enrollment periods? Watch out, if you are planning to, instead of simply adjusting your subsidy level up or down under you current insurance plan, which would be the obvious thing to do, no, you get a whole new insurance card and welcome book from the insurance company.

    Everything’s the same, except they have made you a new enrollment, and triggered your annual deductible again, anything paid towards the annual deductible this year doesn’t count! And if your income changes again, brand new deductible starts again!

    If you don’t report, tax liability! With all the lower income people in and out of part time, fantastic jobs, this has got to be affecting a lot of people.

  26. allan

    Can Clinton corner Condi, Kissinger? [Politico]

    As Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign reaches out to Republicans alarmed by Donald Trump’s national security blunders, there’s a group of high-profile GOP hold-outs whose endorsement would be a major coup if the Democrat could win them over.

    Condoleezza Rice, James Baker, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger are among a handful of so-called Republican “elders” with foreign policy and national security experience — people who have held Cabinet-level or otherwise high-ranking positions in past administrations — who have yet to come out for or against Trump.

    A person close to Clinton said her team has sent out feelers to the GOP elders, although it wasn’t clear if those efforts were preliminary or more formal requests for endorsement, or if they were undertaken through intermediaries. …

    The birth pangs of a new United States.

    1. Pat

      I suppose it might be interesting in a train wreck sort of way to watch the various must stop Trump Dems and the Hilbots twist themselves in knots to make those endorsements about Trump and not about how little Clinton represents traditional Democratic positions and values if they happen.

      At some point, the reality is going to have to set in with people that the real bait and switch is not Trump, but Clinton, unfortunately it has happened way too late for the good of the Country.

    2. fresno dan

      August 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

      To me, an interesting way of looking at things is always to inverse them.
      So, how many dems will withdraw their endorsements of Hillary once they realize that Hillary is more beloved by repubs who supported the Bushes, Reagan, and even Nixon….?????
      (uh, ZERO I imagine…)

      HA HA HA!!!! HO, HO, HO!!! Ha, ha, … O OH! peed my pants…that will teach me to take too much joy in political contradictions….

      Of course, the repubs are putting the screws to Trump, to get him to put down the memory hole any rapprochement with Putin, and keep the NATO money to the MIC flowing….but for a small window of time, the best nominee for making heads explode was….Trump.

      1. ggm

        Looking at Trump’s twitter account this morning, he insulted Morell and now he is changing the subject back to domestic economic policy. He doesn’t seem to care about winning back the neocons … so far.

    3. pretzelattack

      ah yes, the traditional democratic attempt to get henry kissinger’s endorsement. keepin it real politically.

  27. Jim Haygood

    From a Bloomberg editorial prompted by the departure of yet another CEO from the troubled Hahhhhhvid Management Company:

    HMC is now on to its sixth CEO since 2005.

    In recent years Harvard’s investment returns have dropped off. The endowment lagged a 60/40 U.S. portfolio by 1.3 percent annually over the five years that ended in June 2015. Harvard’s ten-year returns peaked 16 years ago.

    The endowment model worked wonders for a while because private equity and hedge funds posted astonishing returns. But success breeds imitation.

    Nothing squashes investment returns like a stampeding herd of investors. The HFRI [hedge fund] Index returned just 5.2 percent annually over ten years through June 2015, and the Private Equity Index returned 13.1 percent annually over the same period.

    Harvard helped lead the move into private equity and hedge funds. It should now help lead the move back into traditional investments that have long stood the test of time.

    As Mr McGuire might have told young Ben in The Graduate … “Just one word: Vanguard.

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      August 8, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Well, though sorely tempted to again post the example of Wilt Chamberlain hitting free throws much better when shooting “granny style” and the incredible economic incentive to do so, he just couldn’t bring himself to continue to do it because it detracted from his machismo, I will refrain from linking to it yet again.
      If you just deposit funds into Vanguard, how do you justify your high pay???? – – I mean, other than by not telling anyone that you are simply depositing all the money into Vanguard, and than collecting a huge bonus year after year after year after year (you get the idea) by beating the pants off almost all the hedge funds with super secret proprietary scientific based trading system …

      And again, I always use this as an example – if the most easy to evaluate investing methods and results by people who are supposedly the most rational and driven to use one, and only one criteria to evaluate it by (i.e., total return), how is it that such hedge funds continue to exist???? Maybe there are much, much, much fewer “economic men” out there than supposed…

      1. Jim Haygood

        Nothing prevents Harvard from “being their own Vanguard.” It probably takes a billion under management to do it efficiently in-house; Harvard’s got 37 billion.

        Trouble is that David Swensen over at Yale convinced his peers that putting a third or half their endowment into “top quartile” hedge fund and venture capital and timberland partnerships was the road to outperformance as far the eye could see.

        Unfortunately, when legions of copycats enter these once elite-dominated fields (while copying their astronomical fees as well), the deals get overbid in price and returns come tumbling down.

        Things fall apart; the top quartile cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s hard to have a smart brain and not use it.

          That would mean the (humble) heart is controlling the brain.

          “Forget the robotic indexing. I am a self-driving-car owning human!!!”

  28. Fred

    Once again an author at Salon fails to notice that Hilary voted for the Iraq war. I’m very glad to know the author thinks that South Vietnam should have been conquered by the Communists much sooner.

  29. fresno dan

    The fact that we members of the intellectual professions are quite atypical of the societies in which we live tends to distort our judgment, when we forget that we belong to a tiny and rather bizarre minority. This is not a problem with the hard sciences. But in the social sciences, intellectuals — be they professors, pundits, or policy wonks — tend to be both biased and unaware of their own bias.
    This can be seen in the cosmopolitanism of the average intellectual. I was the guest of honor at an Ivy League law school dinner some years ago, when, in response to my question, the academics present — U.S. citizens, except for one — unanimously said they did not consider themselves American patriots, but rather “citizens of the world.” The only patriot present, apart from yours truly, was an Israeli visiting professor.

    So it is natural for academics to view a borderless world as the moral and political ideal — natural, but still stupid and lazy. Make-believe cosmopolitanism is particularly stupid and lazy in the case of academics who fancy themselves progressives. In the absence of a global government that could raise taxes to fund a global welfare state, the free movement of people among countries would overburden and destroy existing national welfare states, or else empower right-wing populists to defend welfare states for natives against immigrants, as is happening both in the U.S. and Europe.
    The views of intellectuals about social reform tend to be warped by professional and personal biases, as well. In the U.S. the default prescription for inequality and other social problems among professors, pundits, and policy wonks alike tends to be: More education! Successful intellectuals get where they are by being good at taking tests and by going to good schools. It is only natural for them to generalize from their own highly atypical life experiences and propose that society would be better off if everyone went to college — natural, but still stupid and lazy. Most of the jobs in advanced economies — a majority of them in the service sector — do not require higher education beyond a little vocational training. Notwithstanding automation, for the foreseeable future janitors will vastly outnumber professors, and if the wages of janitors are too low then other methods — unionization, the restriction of low-wage immigration, a higher minimum wage — make much more sense than enabling janitors to acquire BAs, much less MAs and Ph.Ds.

    To me, the above article ties into the “Matt Taibbi: Thomas Friedman Goes to the Wall” article in that the idea of a one world cosmopolitanism or internationalism appears to help a high income elite than it does the mass of people in most western societies. It seems never to occur – – or is it more accurate to say it does occur, but is never spoken of ??? – – to these wealthy elites that the policies they espouse “coincidentally” just happens to defang unions, undermine hard won labor protections and anti monopoly powers, and undermine class solidarity….

    As I’ve said before, people in the academy don’t change their views because of payoffs….but the university ecology only allows the breeding and survival of those who buy the benefits of internationalism.

    1. Skippy

      Science Mart covers this terrain well imo…

      by Philip Mirowski

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

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

      Consequently, patent and intellectual property laws were greatly strengthened, universities demanded patents on the discoveries of their faculty, information sharing among researchers was impeded, and the line between universities and corporations began to blur. At the same time, corporations shed their in-house research laboratories, contracting with independent firms both in the States and abroad to supply new products. Among such firms were AT&T and IBM, whose outstanding research laboratories during much of the twentieth century produced Nobel Prize winning work in chemistry and physics, ranging from the transistor to superconductivity.

      “Science-Mart” offers a provocative, learned, and timely critique, of interest to anyone concerned that American science once the envy of the world must be more than just another way to make money.

      Disheveled Marsupial… sprinkle some – Merchants of Doubt – on top and its profitlcious…. latent side effects not withstanding…

  30. Roger Bigod

    This article

    has good pictures of the brown dust representing glial scarring.

    I’ve read that during and after WW I the British military decreed that there would be no research on shell shock. The kind of willful stupidity they sometimes come up with. But developing histologic stains isn’t particle physics. It’s pathetic that it’s taken so long to get Perl’s result.

    The title of the NYT piece is screwed up. The definition of PTSD refers to psychological trauma. It has physical correlates like steroid metabolism and weak connections between brain areas. But these don’t change the basic understanding.

  31. Don

    RE: Zika
    The Utah man who died with a massive Zika viral load also had an underlying condition: did the underlying condition cause the Zika overload? This we don’t know yet.

    The entire microcephaly issue is framed in terms of a disease vector as the causative agent. In truth, the area of Brazil with elevated microcephaly is a poor region with heavy pesticide exposure, and not just pyriproxyfen. I suspect it was a very cursory examination that led to a dismissal of any role of pesticides with microcephaly, including some calculations of pyriproxyfen concentrations in water tanks that were based on the capacity of the tank when this insecticide was added, and not on the actual (sometimes much lower) water levels.

    Not to be too cynical, but … if you frame health problems in terms of microorganism causation and ignore poverty, poor sanitation, and pesticide exposure, as with the Brazilian cases, then the chemical companies are off the hook and public health services and conditions for the poor are off the hook, too. Coincidentally, I mean.

  32. fresno dan

    Lots of data about voting by race and sex over the years, how it has changes, as well as by states.

    I was surprised that voting by state is tenth best in North Carolina – I would have thought it would have poor voter participation like all the other southern states except Virginia. (Virginia came in 8th, barely ahead of Massachusetts at 9th – – and California does worse than Alabama)

  33. diptherio

    Convenient story about the US Cocaine trade….totally leaves out the role of the US authorities.

  34. Enquiring Mind

    Combine the PTSD and Parenting themes.

    Consider that young people are experiencing variations of PTSD. That is transmitted through all those creative destruction stressful economic events that hurt their families (parent laid off as job goes offshore, health care unaffordable, student loans for a degree that is meaningless and doesn’t lead to a job beyond barista, ad infinitum ad nauseum) and limit their job prospects, and greatly supplemented by the barrage of media (Snapchat, Instagram, etc, showing what the cool kids are eating, drinking experiencing, lying about, attempting to survive) via their ever-present smart phones.

    Observe young people in their native habitat. You will see differing reactions by age bracket. The younger ones first getting exposed to phones see their First Adopter Opinion Leaders and look to them for yet another painful peer-learning experience, while their brains produce more stress chemicals. They learn how to develop their own Pareto-suboptimal behaviors, by acting and reacting in ways that will keep them from being flamed, shunned or otherwise separated from meaningful human contact, however fleeting.

    It isn’t much of a stretch to see the vulnerability and self-preservation modes in effect, and how that could lead to such recent headlines as Teens and Young Adults Not Hooking Up As Much. Some kids grow out of the media trap, and see such diversions as time-wasters, as they can be somewhat resilient.

    1. kareninca

      “Consider that young people are experiencing variations of PTSD. That is transmitted through all those creative destruction stressful economic events that hurt their families (parent laid off as job goes offshore, health care unaffordable, student loans for a degree that is meaningless and doesn’t lead to a job beyond barista, ad infinitum ad nauseum) and limit their job prospects, and greatly supplemented by the barrage of media”

      That makes a lot of sense.
      When I was growing up in the 70s there was loads of awful stuff (crime, bad economic times, social class misery), but it wasn’t constantly in your face. You didn’t have to read the paper or listen to the news, and I didn’t back then. Now kids can’t escape it.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        Kids can’t escape the onslaught, so they tune out and self-medicate with short-term, instant gratification placebos available through social media.

        Another trend that I have found telling is in the look of Hollywood actors and actresses. Today’s version seems immature and unseasoned in the ways of the larger world, when compared and contrasted with prior generations. Today’s fully-grown, middle aged adolescents don’t seem, act or look like men and women.

  35. Raven on a Coyote


    With all due respect, you should keep this blog focused on economics. Your forays into mental health are no where near as complete as your understanding of economics.

    PTSD is has a genetic component which puts some at higher risk than others. There is a flood of glutamate and other neurotransmitters after an dramatic event. This is a survival response. Some people, genetically, cannot clear the glutamate as efficiently. This extended glutamate signaling triggers long term potentiation among other things which give rise to PTSD.

    EMDR, and in fact any external stimulus, changes the physiology of the brain. Evidence points to it clearing glutamate receptors.

    1. Oregoncharles

      You really need a good link for that.

      In general, while Yves’ expertise on health issues is not as deep as on finance, the same kind of sceptical, analytic approach is very useful.

      In this case, it’s brought out what may be good information from you, but needs a lot more elucidation (as in, I didn’t really understand it) and references.

    2. kareninca

      Raven, since you seem to know something about the condition, could you say what treatments you think are presently most promising? I’m asking out of need (for a relative).

    3. Yves Smith Post author


      Your dismissive comment does not refute the point I made, but in fact confirms it, in that I voiced skepticism of a study based on a remarkably small sample of brain studies, not all of them even of victims of PTSD, that asserted that brain trauma was not just a cause of PTSD but potentially THE cause. I pointed out that if that were the case, EMDR would not seem able to provide relief in as many cases as it does.

      You further assert that there is a single, known cause of PTSD when the mechanisms are very much in dispute.

      Finally, you’ve got no business thought policing this site.

  36. dk

    Tim Canova’s campaign’s petition calling on FEC to investigate DSW:

    It is now clear that our opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, improperly and illegally abused her position at the Democratic National Committee to coordinate against our campaign. There are numerous instances revealed in these emails, including an extensive series of messages between Wasserman Schultz, her staff at the DNC, and her campaign staff coordinating their response to Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of our campaign.

    1. Synoia

      The FEC? A part of the executive branch led by Obama? To investigate Wasserman Schultz?


      Better to ask Judicial Watch. Oh wait, that won’t work either, because the uni-party is being revealed, in the election of the Democratic Nominee, a Goldwater Golem.

        1. hunkerdown

          Does every door open for you once you’ve gone through the whole book of liberal/pick-up-artist psychological abuse protocols?

          Regulatory capture exists, and no matter how much of your precious believerism you put into it, that’s not going to change without telling authority to f itself. Please learn the difference between a knife and a gun so that you might prescribe a weapon for the occasion when weapons are called for.

          1. dk

            Telling authority to f itself, that works every time. Why didn’t anybody ever try that?

            Knocking on doors doesn’t have to open them. A door that never opens means something, as you say, regulatory capture. How would you know about that, if nobody knocked on doors? Battering on a closed door attracts some attention. Sanders knocked on a locked door (heck, maybe that door was just painted on the wall).

            And by the way, I didn’t sign the petition, I just thought it was interesting. Sorry if that’s offensive.

  37. Goyo Marquez

    FWIW on PTSD:
    A naval doctor, on a list I subscribed to cause the sons in the Military, said years ago, at least 4, that they were seeing lots of undiagnosed micro brain injuries returning from the wars. Her concern was that most of these injuries, though quite serious, were going to remain undiagnosed.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Pretty surprising that urbanized Japan, with its strict DUI laws, ranks so high.

      Prolly it’s because they drive on the wrong side of the road.

  38. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China to curb bogus banks….

    It doesn’t hurt anyone to curb non-bogus banks as well. They can be just as risky, if not riskier.

  39. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    The link to experiences of Bernie Sanders delegates at the Philadelphia Convention makes me think that DNC apparatchiks are real.

  40. JayM

    RE: A Guide to Guerilla Parenting
    It was the development of childhood nuclear weapons that finally stabilized the upper middle class domicile in the United States. Small neutron bombs that didn’t chip the paint in the siblings bedroom revolutionized child rearing in a competitive age. Millions of families quickly worked out a Nash equilibrium that created peace and family progress out of MAD. The toddlers were so cute, little boys with a blue nuclear football, little girls with pink, or special snowflakes with the my little pony model. Pregnant moms would play book recordings of Co-opetition, or Schelling’s The Art of Conflict while sleeping to have a leg up as a helicopter parent. Who knew that fusion heralded a Golden Age?

  41. ewmayer

    o Re. Voter Discord Isn’t Over Wages | WSJ — Looking at just one specious claim about wages vs inflation: By far my largest expense is rent (Sillycon Valley tech bubble 2.0, thanks, Fed!), which has been averaging an 8% annual increase for 6 straight years. Annually compounded that’s up 1.08^6 or nearly 60% over that timespan, so the WSJ’s propaganda about recent-year ‘pay increases [being] well above inflation’ certainly rings false to this prole. But hey, what do I know? I’m sure ‘serious economists’ agree with WSJ’s take.

    o Re. Researchers or Corporate Allies? Think Tanks Blur the Line | NYT — More elitist propaganda. In fact there is very little ‘blurry’ about it – the overwhelming majority of tank-thinkers are blatant corporate-establishment shills pretending to be researchers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s not hyperinflation (60% over 6 years), but definitely inflation, especially for those interested in avoiding becoming homeless.

  42. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Tragedy in Sinking, PA,

    It mentions PTSD:

    In the post on the website devoted to families dealing with congenital heart issues, Megan Short said anxiety over her daughter’s condition had left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. She said she suffered from “anxiety and nightmares” triggered by smells, hallways or even the beeping sound of a phone. She also said she experienced “survivor’s guilt” when children with similar problems from other families passed away.

    Because they couldn’t afford medication?

    he couple’s youngest child, Willow, reportedly underwent a heart transplant in 2014 when she was less than a week old. A New York Times article last year said the family had trouble obtaining anti-rejection medication for her

    1. hunkerdown

      Because of insurers playing bureaucratic games with people’s lives, as usual:

      SINKING SPRING, Pa. — As the end of each month nears, Megan Short frets. Her 1-year-old daughter, Willow, cannot afford to miss even a single dose of a drug she takes daily to prevent her body from rejecting her transplanted heart.

      Because of stringent rules from her drug plan and the pharmacy she is required to use, Ms. Short cannot order a refill until her monthly supply is three-quarters gone. Yet processing a refill takes about seven days, making it touch and go whether the new shipment will arrive before the old one runs out.

      Obamacare’s death toll can now be confidently placed at no less than five.

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