Links 9/25/16

Girls’ Life vs. Boys’ Life? Magazine covers spark an uproar MPR News (Chuck L). From everything I can tell, gender role pressures are even stronger now than when I was a kid….and they were plenty strong then.

Want to Slow Climate Change? Stop Having Babies Bloomberg (Jon M)

Poor food ‘risks health of half world’ BBC

Poor Scientific Research Is Disproportionately Rewarded Slashdot

Liverpool councillors call on shops to stop selling the Sun Guardian. From last week, still of interest. Jon M: “If only this sort of corrective were more widespread… Imagine town councils and shop owners refusing to peddle the NYT and WaPo and WSJ etc. for e.g. WMD war starting government-lie-spewing …”

Google to invest $1m in YouTube Creators for Change Guardian. Resilc: “Wow, a whole one million. How generous.”


Brexit warning: US bank bosses from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock threaten Theresa May with relocation Telegraph (Dan K). Too funny. This is misleading, and looks to be the Torygraph, which pushed Brexit hard, now trying to blame the US on highly predictable reactions. Theresa May went to the US to find out what Wall Street wanted. This as we noted in a post was really bizarre. Since when does Goldman have a vote? But since she acted as if she valued Wall Street’s opinion, one should hardly be surprised that they took the opportunity to give her an earful..

Refugee Crisis

Panic sweeps Calais camp as refugees await the bulldozers Guardian

Fences and walls along the Balkan route DW

Merkel Says No Aid for Deutsche Bank; Depositor Bail-In Coming Up? Michael Shedlock (EM). This is a frustrating post. On the one hand, it’s a good catch that Merkel is saying privately that there will be no aid to DB; this is consistent with what I’ve heard from plugged-in contacts, that the hope is that the officialdom can kick the can down the road past the 2017 German elections. The fact that Merkel is also not planning to intervene with the DoJ isn’t surprising, but again soft confirmation is useful. However, Shedlock is inaccurate in saying that the DoJ has imposed a $14 billion fine. The leaked story in the WSJ was clear in saying that the DoJ was seeking a $14 billion fine in settlement negotiations. The original article also stated that DB was expecting to pay only $2 to $3 billion. As we pointed out, the very next day DB came out guns-a-blazing and said no way was it paying $14 billion, meaning it’s posturing that it will see the DoJ in court instead.


Sanctions Against Russia Contradict Serbia’s National Interests– Sputnik News. Chuck L: “It’s possible this is but the first break in the united EU front, however given Serbia’s long-standing close ties with their co-religionists who knows?”


U.S. forces are using white phosphorus munitions in Iraq but it’s unclear exactly how Washington Post (resilc). How about a more straightforward headline, like “The US is using chemical weapons…” or even using the verboten “violating human rights”?

Saudi skeptics gain strength in Congress The Hill (resilc)

Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus Counterpunch (Chuck L)

The Natural Gas War Burning Under Syria OilPrice (resilc)

Syria conflict: UN chief ‘appalled’ by Aleppo escalation BBC

Clinton E-mail Tar Baby

Huge Scandal: Obama Used Pseudonym in Secret Memos on Hillary’s Private Server Sputnik News (Chuck L). “Huge scandal” is overwrought, but this does not look good.


Clinton: ‘habitual liar’ Trump must be curbed in presidential debate Guardian. Um, a President does not get to call in a referee…they have to fight their own fights. Plus trying to renegotiate the shape of the table at this late date, when she’s not where she’d like to be, is an admission of weakness. Trump’s propensity to make stuff up is hardly new. She can win this debate, but it is more Trump’s to lose.

Poll: Clinton, Trump in virtual dead heat on eve of first debate Washington Post

Flowers Says She’ll Accept Trump’s Invitation to Debate New York Magazine (resilc). What did Clinton think she was accomplishing by inviting Cuban? Showing that Trump is a billionaire that other billionaires hate is a plus in most voters’ minds. The Gennifer Flowers move is a clever upstaging, and is also tacky enough that most MSM venues will drop mentioning Cuban because they’d have to mention Flowers. Team Hillary seems to be forgetting the basic rule: Never wrestle with a pig…

2008 Crisis Deepened the Ties Between Clintons and Goldman Sachs New York Times (Phil U)

If Hillary loses, Democrats face a long time in exile New York Post. The inability to see that the so-called left is actually the center of political gravity for voters (as opposed to Big Money) continues.

Why Millennials Don’t Like Clinton—And What She Can Do About It American Prospect (resilc). A little late to again try to reintroduce, um, reposition herself.

Frosty Zoom: “Actual Kevin Drum headline: The Clinton Foundation Sure Is a Great Charity Mother Jones. I thought it had to be irony, but alas…Looks like Mr. Drum needs to lay off the catnip.”

From Reset to Realpolitik, Clinton’s New Hard Line on Moscow Foreign Policy (resilc)

Nobody Knows What Happens Next in the 2016 Election Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc). Great phrasemaking.

I Was RFK’s Speechwriter. Now I’m Voting for Trump. Here’s Why. Politico (RR)

US Senate hopeful counters gun control criticism by assembling AR-15 blindfolded Independent (resilc). He deserves to win just on this demonstration of political infighting skills.

Introducing The Clean Money Candidates Revolution! RT (Mason D)

The Weed Industry Now Has Its Own White-Collar Crime Vice (resilc)

The outrageous North Carolina law that could stop the public from seeing police shooting videos Vox

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black men have legitimate reason to run from police, Supreme Court rules Independent (Chuck L). This is the Mass Judicial Supreme Court, which is highly respected, so it will have precedential value in other states (as it will be treated serious when cited in other cases)

Rep. Robert Pittenger of North Carolina: Charlotte protesters “hate white people.” Slate (resilc)

Charlotte Police Video of Keith Scott’s Killing Released Intercept (J-LS)

How the Jim Crow internet is pushing back against Black Lives Matter The Conversation (J-LS)

Guillotine Watch

The $1,000 date night: Has D.C.’s tasting-menu culture hit a tipping point? Washington Post. Kokuanani: “Best line: ‘Many people in Washington aren’t even footing the bill; they’re taking clients out to dinner and billing their companies.'”

Class Warfare

Finance Is Ruining America Atlantic (Phil U)

Autonomous vehicles could cost America 5 million jobs. What should we do about it? Los Angeles Times (resilc). The hype here reminds me of electric batteries for cars circa 1992. The vision of the future then was that all-electrical cars were coming soon, starting with local delivery fleets like Fedex and bus services, since the 100 mile per charge limit wouldn’t be a problem (they could go back to their garages and charge overnight). Did this happen? No. And the other impediment, charging stations for passenger cars, is no closer to reality than in 1992 (and there were other too-cute-by-half fixes, like charging stations that would swap in charged batteries for depleted ones so as to minimize driver downtime). The short problem here is we don’t have the infrastructure (as in roads) that autonomous cars require and we aren’t getting them any time soon.

Walmart’s Sam’s Club Scan-and-Go App May Make Cash Registers Obsolete TheStreet (resilc). Lordie. As of 2014, nearly 30% of the US households no internet access. How do you think that maps onto WalMart customers? Plue get outside the big cities, you see a big drop in smart phone use. Even in wealthy Mountain Brook, Alabama (yes, believe it or not, it looks like the better parts of Westchester County), you see a fraction of the device use in NYC. These analysts need to get out and see more of the heartland.

As Their Numbers Grow, Home Care Aides Are Stuck at $10.11 New York Times

Class War by Other Means: Tennessee, Volkswagen and the Future of Labor TruthOut (J-LS)

Antidote du jour (Lulu). A hyacinth macaw.


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Daryl

      I stopped reading them after they shit all over some minor environmental regulations California wanted to pass that might’ve effected agricultural business. Thinking back on it, it might have been a Kevin Drum article, but whoever wrote it it was really beyond the pale.

  1. KurtisMayfield

    Re: the street article on the Walmart app.

    #1 I am happy that the news industry has found new sources of revenue, because that story read like a Walmart advertisement. Don’t they have to disclose if they are getting paid for it?

    #2. They already have these prescan guns in supermarkets. I see a very small percentage of people us them. I doubt that it saves you any time shopping because the register person can probably scan the items faster than an amateur. If you wanted to save time at the store you would have ordered online.

    1. Carolinian

      The story says the new system is being used at Sam’s Club, not Walmart itself. Since Sam’s Club is a membership warehouse designed to appeal to the same small business crowd as Costco, then it’s quite likely that most of the customers will in fact have smartphones and may indeed embrace being their own cashiers as it adds to the “clubbiness.”

      As for supermarkets, the self checkout–if that’s what you’re talking about–is popular with some because you usually don’t have to stand in line. That’s where the time saving comes. The reason the self checkout has shorter lines is that most customers still seem to prefer human cashiers as long as those continue to be available. One could argue that retail’s embrace of these new technologies is less about screwing their workers and as much about appealing to those customers who are in a hurry. Not everyone enjoys shopping.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        They don’t save the stores money. Their theft losses exceed their cashier savings. So I’m perplexed that WalMart is going this route. Other food retailers are taking them out.

        And even though I am chronically time stressed, I refuse to use self check out. One, this is part of the service the store should provide. Two, I don’t like screwing workers.

        1. aab

          Walmart has all sorts of incentives for managers that are leading to loss of revenues. Not hiring enough people to keep the shelves stocked is an example. So this could be another result of those incentives.

      2. Waldenpond

        Costco had self check out. Already removed.

        On the other hand, went through a small N Ca town and their half full mall had just installed a block of Tesla car charging stations. I don’t get why they are only three feet apart.

      3. aab

        If they hired more staff, the lines would be shorter without the machines. So this is still, fundamentally, about using machines instead of people.

      4. Knot Galt

        Have you ever attempted to use a self checkout at Walmart? Let me tell you! First the lines with a register person is long because Walmart has cut back on personnel. There are usually about 20 closed registers and 3 or four that are open and the line is typically stacked up with 8 or 9 people per checkout, not including undisciplined kids nor multiplying in the average BMI’s of WalMart shoppers. Going over to the the self check out corral, the lines are equally long but even more depressing. Of course, the technical capacity of the average WALMART shopper swiping bar codes is sub par to begin with. The scanners WalMart uses are not the greatest either and the outcome is the lines at the self checkout are no better. in the very few times I have gone, I typically have seen a line of 5 to 11 people waiting to use the self checkout area. The store usually has a person who oversees the the self check out corral and is also checking receipts ala COSTCO style. Why they do this is beyond me because the volume of people exiting means only about 2 out of 5 customers are checked. (My guess is to raise a specter of surveillance and getting caught?)(As an aside, if you do not want your receipt reviewed, simply avoid eye contact! I feel invisible.) This results in a distraction of the Walmart employee who is unavailable to help out the person doing the self checkout. You can watch as a problem comes up for a person at the self checkout register, who looks up for help only to see the employee focused on something else. Disappointed, the wannabe purchaser tries to tackle the problem themselves and starts pushing buttons indiscriminately. It is interesting to notice that no one helps anyone else and the inevitable result is that the employee comes over, clears the register, and the wannabe purchaser has to start over again. This happen 75% 0f the time. Snail races would be more entertaining if it wasn’t for the almost constant Kafka-esque moments that shock the senses and boggle the mind. Typically, I leave after standing in line, frustrated as hell and hating all of humanity because, obviously, I feel like just so much chum.(And I’m not talking about the best friend kind-of-chum) But what the heck, I must not have anything else important to do. But given my proclivities, time passes again where I forget about the lousy customer service and Minotaur infested aisles, that I am compelled to re-enter once again just to save $5.50 on like, the next Star Wars trilogy movie set. (Which of course, is a smoking hot deal when you consider the money I saved is an hours worth of work after taxes and prorated health insurance costs.)

    2. crittermom

      I certainly agree with you on #1. It did read like a Walmart ad.

      The part that jumped out at me was: “If the item doesn’t have a barcode, it could be easily looked up.”

      Really? How is the barcode looked up? And by whom? The customer?
      It didn’t say how in that ‘ad’. (poor reporting)

      It all sounds like another way of eliminating employees and forcing the customer to do the work. Obviously ‘checking out’ is one job that can’t be outsourced, so now they’ve discovered a way to still eliminate the employees by forcing the customer to do the work instead.

      As Yves mentioned, many of us living rural don’t have dumbphones because we don’t have service.
      I’ve never had a cell phone because there’s never been coverage where I’ve lived out in the country, but even if I did, I’d resent having to ‘check myself out’ to increase the profits of the company. Oh, hell no!

      I refuse to use self-checkouts at grocery stores, as well. I see that, and this new Sam’s app, as doing nothing more than ‘outsourcing’ the job onto the customers themselves (but even better, as they have to pay no one), eliminating jobs, while increasing their profits by cutting the overhead for the company we’re patronizing.

      SS recently required a cell phone to access your account online.
      They quickly dialed that back when they realized that many of us don’t have one. Duh?

      I agree with Yves that these analysts need to get out into the heartland more.

      And I hope their vehicle breaks down while there, so reality smacks ’em hard.
      To quote a comedian, “Here’s your sign!”

      Regarding #2, I have no experience with those. My nearest Walmart is hours away so what little I do buy from them I order online and have it shipped to me.

      IMO I think we, as the public, should refuse to use such apps, forcing companies such as these to keep employees rather than allowing them to eliminate jobs to increase their profits.
      The words ‘customer service’ are rare enough in businesses these days, already.

      1. RabidGandhi

        In the same vein, I make a point of never putting merchandise back where I found it; it’s my own little way of being a job creator. And no QE is needed to do it!

      2. Carla

        Hi, crittermom — in your area, do gas stations still employ people to pump your gas and clean your windshield? The fact is, all “customer service” jobs are being eliminated no matter what we do. That train has left the station.

        Yves is right about autonomous cars requiring much better roads which in this country will be awhile coming, but a self-driving “truck platoon” has already accomplished cross-border travel in Europe: And truck-driving provides some of the best unskilled jobs left.

        1. Arthur J

          Here in rural Ontario there are actually still a few gas stations that are the old school full service, perhaps 20% of the stations. Everybody has a cell-phone (coverage is good) but generally phone usage is limited to phone calls. Now the younger generation (20 and under) are big app users but they aren’t the ones buying the groceries or the gas.

          Home Depot introduced self-checkout here years ago. I tried it once and it was terrible. The thing scanned items fine, but the goofy optical reader that checked what you were putting in the bag was terrible. It would keep saying stop, you put too many items in at once, start over. I’ve never used it since and whenever I’m there I check it out and rarely see the lanes used. People generally head for the lumber lanes and wait for the protein robot rather than fiddle with the self-checkout.

          The local McDonalds just installed the little burger ordering kiosks and reduced the cashier counter positions by half. I watched for about 40 minutes and nobody used the kiosk, while the two counter lines were averaging 11 people waiting in each line. Another failure.

          Self-checkout for retail just isn’t going to take off unless the benefit is there, either by discounting or real time saving. Today it provides neither of those things, and in fact penalizes the customer. Maybe if things had RFID tags rather than easily obscurable bar codes the scanners could be improved, but as it stands now I don’t see self-checkout making much progress. It’s been almost twenty years since it appeared at Home Depot here and it’s still a bust.

        2. crittermom

          I used to own a rural gas station and pumped the customers gas, cleaned their windshield and checked their oil.

          No, gas stations don’t do that anymore.
          But if we all refuse to use the ‘self service’ apps such as the one at Sam’s Club, their new “service” won’t get off the ground, will it?

          I’ve also worked for the two biggest trucking companies in the nation as well as two intrastate firms (in the office or dispatch).

          I remember a driver calling me in dispatch one day saying he’d been robbed. A car ‘bumped’ him and when our driver got out of the cab, the thieves accomplice hopped in and they both took off with the loaded truck full of TV’s and stereos, with the one in the car following him, leaving our driver standing there.

          I wonder how a ‘self-driving’ truck would handle such a situation as that?

          I think it’s only a matter of time before we find out, as it seems they’d be easy targets once thieves figure out how to take advantage of ’em.

          1. uncle tungsten

            It will be a cinch to heist one. The algorithm that manages safety responses will be fine tuned. One car in front and one behind. Front car stops reasonably fast where there is no overtaking and rear car opens up a door if possible. Failing that a citizens slow down campaign will frustrate delivery scheduling no end. Maybe even a brave cyclist in front with a good reflective vest that bounces both light and RF wave.

            Equally I think self driving vehicles will be problematic in countries where auto drivers are aggressive overtakers and lane jumpers. I don’t think the algorithms will cope and those trucks will be prey to constant safety/evasive decisions. Self driving taxis will drive their passengers mad where lane jumpers constantly barge in front and eventually passengers will prefer human drivers.

        3. Chris

          My nightmare is when cars are treated like ipads. You are only as safe as your ability to pay for the next upgrade.

          When autonomous vehicles are really synced up, they’ll work with highways that speak only to them, with approved software, cars that can’t talk to each other using the latest requirements aren’t allowed on highways because of the potential danger. Towns which can’t support on ramps and exits capable of accommodating sizeable convoys will just be passed over. Soon after that, we won’t have to worry about the rotting of middle America. Because no one will even be allowed to see it, and no one from there will be allowed to get on the highway to come to the bigger cities.

          People probably won’t notice though, because they’ll have purchased their vehicles with the supported versions that include streaming audio and ads whenever they have the radio or entertainment service turned off. Kind of like a kindle.

          1. hunkerdown

            Well, they already are, sort of, as far as code is concerned. Just try to recalibrate (the mechanic’s hoity-toity term for “reflash”) an ECU these days without the manufacturer’s permission.

            I don’t see automobiles becoming non-durable goods anytime soon. I don’t see the various public road authorities shortening the nominal service life for an automobile (20 years) either. On the other hand, I could see them steering the automotive market away from sales and toward creepy ongoing codependency relationships aka leasing or subscription. Such (r)evolved relationships to the means of production also maintain some justifying purpose for the local dealership system.

        4. Mike Allen

          Carefull with painting with a wide brush. Your ignorance is showing. The entry level positions don’t pay that well, and the crapifacation of the industry has been in place since deregulation. Some postions don’t require a great deal of knowledge, but others do. Most do not know what is required to operate a 80,000 lb flamable, toxic, corosive bomb on our nation’s highways, not to mention, doing it for 60-70 hours a week. NC has become my source for economic information. Their is no other site like it. Please know there are others without “credentials” in this world seeking the truth about what has happened to them in the financial realm . It is my hope that this site will reach as many people as possible, including the great unwashed masses.

      3. TedWa

        Our local Albertsons tried to make customers work by installing scanning machines. I and many others refused to use them and they’ve now been taken out and replaced with real people and regular check-outs. I mean really, did you go to the grocery store to work??

          1. Knot Galt

            The theft rate was too high. Inventory losses went so high up that the costs of hiring people provided a better return than spending capital on the self checkout machines. And seeing how many of the recent Albertson’s are converted former Haggen’s stores that were bought back with pennies on the dollar, the self checkout registers were a huge loss leader that also just pissed customers off.

        1. Katharine

          The Giant did that here a couple of years ago, and it’s wonderful to see how many people would rather stand in line for a real checker. Among other things, at that point, many of the staff were like old friends (several have since retired), and who would miss chatting with a friend in order to be hassled by a computer?

        2. hunkerdown

          Good show! Proof again of the immense power of the word “Oxi”, a sentiment too uppity for the English language to entertain.

          And what does Costco think they’re doing putting in self-service checkout, if not getting ready to jump the shark? I don’t go to their warehouse to work, either.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Actually, as mentioned earlier, the real issue is the stores lose more on theft than they save on cashiers. And the point above about self-driving trucks as theft magnets is great. I hope that dispatches that idea. I’d rather have it be that than a horrific truck accident that kills dozens.

            1. JTMcPhee

              “Shrink,” and theft (whether flat out robbery or scam), were “priced in ” to the cost structure at the fairly large retail chain I did time for as a sales “associate” and assistant manager. (Though the dope senior executives “cutting costs” created some unanticipated losses, large ones, by relocating a distribution center from North to South Carolina, with some perks from local government — they fired the N. Carolina work force and hired all new locals for a couple of bucks cheaper wages, who then quickly figured out the seams in the frail defense, and backed their pickups up to the loading docks and stole pallets full of high-value gear for a couple of years).

              Since our Rulers can willy-nilly disperse “externalities” pretty much as they please, I wonder what quantum of ordinary-people horror and organized pushback will be required to stop just this one little aspect (self-driving, “autonomous” vehicles and “delivery drones” and the “tech” rest) of the profitable-by-looting-and-shedding-externalities Great Global Economy.

              Trillions disappear in FIRE and the Military Global Interoperable Network-Centric Corrupt Battlespace. Bayer to buy Monsanto. “Deals” keeping my son-in-law very busy at a commercial bank down on Wall Street. Topsoil being bought by foreigners, to rent back as it disappears downriver. Too much for us mopes to begin to keep track of, too few of us desperate and brave enough to say NO MAS!

              I don’t see corporate types worrying too much about engaging in a multi-level marketing scheme of cyber-conflict with the pirate types — as with the poor Somali pirates, all the “free trade” participants lose a little, insurance pays, prices jig up a little, but the Defence Sector gains another leg up, along with the “Security Forces.”

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Sorry, this theft was IN ADDITION to existing theft. The figures I recall were 4% shrinkage, which is huge v. 3% savings on cashiers.

                For grocery stores, which only have 2% margins, that means cutting their profits a full 50% on self scanned sales.

      4. Dave

        Morals do not apply to corporations. It is legitimate and almost the duty of every patriotic citizen to steal from job destroying, and therefore community destroying corporate stores, especially those that use “self checkout”.

        Be a Robin Hood. Our local Peet’s Coffee, once an independent small chain, is owned now by some billionaires in Berlin. Our truly local coffee house nearby is supplied with lids, cup carriers and supplies provided by Peet’s or of course, Starbucks. We always use the Starbucks bathroom when in town but never spend one cent there.

        Thank you RabidGhandi for your helpful tip on merchandise mixing. For the same reason I never return carts to the door of a supermarket. Another thing, whenever we get one of those “free dinner if you attend a retirement planning seminar” mailings, I reserve and then give the card to an out of work person I know so they can eat free and attend.

      5. afisher

        WALMART: The other problem with customer check is those hateful people who refuse to use the WalMart big oil plastic bags. The scanner bed really really really hates them and they require that a customer service person to stand by the customer and input their confirmation code to allow people to use re-useable grocery bags.

        My local Costco had a few self-check out isles and they were finally removed because the checkout staff were much faster / efficient. Having both types of isles required extra personnel as the customer had to remove items then scan then re-store in cart for taking to car.

    3. Beckmesser

      I was actually rather excited by that story.

      I frequently shop at a Sam’s Club in the New York metropolitan area and the checkout lines are usually terrible. In fact, I once abandoned my cart and left the store when the situation looked hopeless. It’s always seemed to me that Sam’s Club patrons value their time less than their money.

      Sam’s Club recently introduced self checkout (10 items or less) but that has its own drawbacks. If you want to buy beer (I am well past 70) an employee has to come over and check your ID. Good luck finding someone who is free to do that.

      I have no experience with shopping apps (I still struggle with iPhone basics) but I guess I will have to learn.

  2. Jen

    On Clinton’s millennial problem:

    “Here is my own wild take on why millennials don’t support Clinton “enough”: Many younger American voters, perhaps a sufficient number of them to seriously imperil Clinton’s chances, have significant ideological differences with the candidate. That’s my theory. Many liberal pundits seem unimpressed by this idea perhaps because it suggests that votes must be earned in a democracy, but it does have the benefit of the evidence.”


    “The Clinton campaign might be forgiven for imagining these voters would “come home” had it not spent the weeks since the Democratic Convention fundraising and playing Bush administration endorsement bingo. The trouble is not that young people are insufficiently familiar with the neoconservative horror show of their own childhoods. The trouble is that the candidate they are meant to support does not appear to find that show particularly horrifying.”


    “There are only so many times one can insist that young voters capitulate to a political party’s sole demand—vote for us!—in exchange for nothing.”

    Apparently, I’m a millennial.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would suggest the ideological differences extend past the 38 age barrier, but

      1. people under 40 or 35 grew up under title IX. Electing the wife of a lousy President isnt relevant
      2. No one under 38 voted for Bill Clinton. The youth haven’t twisted themselves into voting for that ass in the first place. Even then Bill’s 1996 campaign when he failed to crack 50% against Mumbly Joe was marked by record low minority turnout, just what is being worried about now. Gee.
      3. Then of course, 9/11 would also explain the voting problems. Fear mongering doesn’t work when fear mongering has been omnipresent in the lives of millennials for 15 years.

      Basically, a bunch of Democrats are voting against their interests because they are shallow as they seem.

      1. m

        Why the young don’t like Hillary?
        Our friends got blown apart in a war, came home w/ ptsd-missing limbs, getting little care & she wants even more war. Her husband’s trade deals destroyed the economy & we know she is pro TPP. She is pro fracking, pushing it overseas & once in office will promote it here. She is a corporatist bankster & won’t release Goldman speeches. We have no jobs, no prospects, large amount of school debt & must come of age during the second great depression. She is clearly a liar & has track record of a sell out. She & DNC cheated Bernie & we can’t forgive even if he has.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Clintons have been terrible for a long time. The question is why are (did) so many Democrats especially older ones voting against their own interests.

          Obama enjoys a relative popularity with young people despite being a disaster.

          1. voteforno6

            My guess is, that after twelve years of Reagan and Bush, any Democrat was a relief. Unfortunately, so many in the Democratic Party and in the commentariat came of age during that time, so they just assume that this is the way that it has to be.

            1. Katharine

              Actually, no, Clinton did not look like a good option in 1992, and certainly wasn’t my choice in the primary. Even then there were a lot of people who only got talked into voting for him in November on the lesser evil principle, regretted it, and did not vote for him again in 1996.

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                Plus they turned Ross Perot into a crazy loon because he kept attacking nafta, which was a big deal at the time, effectively making it a more “manageable” two person race.

                Hmmm…….Now that I think about it, that sounds kind of familiar.

                1. crittermom

                  Katniss–Looking back, I think when I voted for Ross Perot that was the last time I voted for someone I actually wanted, rather than just voting the LOTE.

                  Bernie was the only candidate since I’ve actually wanted to win. I’m heartsick and mad as hell he’s not in the running.

                  BTW, I’m still trying to figure out how DWS beat Tim Canova in FL after all the dirty dealings about DWS came out? More manipulation at the polls?

                  1. Katniss Everdeen


                    Wish I could say the same, but I fell hard for o in 2008, didn’t bother in 2012, and this time I just wanna break something.

                  2. Knot Galt

                    When Our Revolution debuted, Sanders did not mention Tim Canova in his speech. That appeared to be highly irregular and the internet buzz on Canova just fell off the face of internet pages after that. Whatever it was that they used to beat Bernie; my impression is DWS did the same number on Canova. Corrupt is what corrupt does.

            2. emptyfull

              This is definitely true of my parents (both barely pre-boomers). After watching McGovern flop, then Carter flail, they both assumed the Clintons were the best a liberal could hope for in this country. Also my mother admired Hillary for being an unapologetic career woman when, especially in the South, this was still controversial.

              Indeed, having grown up in the age of Reagan and George HW, I basically agreed with them in the 90s, even though I hoped more would be possible at some point. It wasn’t until the financial crisis (and, importantly, beginning to read NC!) that I began to realize how toxic the Clinton legacy really was. Also, as a grad student, I was teaching lots of millennials and began to realize how genuinely screwed they were by what we now all call the neoliberal (and neocon) era.

              I’ve tried multiple times to explain this to my parents, but they just can’t get how much has changed since the 90s, especially for the young. It’s key, of course, that they still rely on the New York Times and PBS to get their news. They view “blogs” with reflexive disdain.

            3. Ed

              If you look at the history of Bill Clinton’s and the Democrat’s performance in the elections of the 1990s, its clear that they were never that popular. This has not prevented a myth of Bill Clinton as this hugely popular president being constructed anyway.

              He got just exactly the votes he needed to get elected. He had a number of embarrassing primary losses to underfunded and in one case a literally dying opponent, that normally would have sunk a front-runner. His general election victories were two pluralities, one in a very low turnout election, again against opponents who were not much to write home about. The voters looked at the Clinton administration for its first two years, and them promptly kicked the Democrats out of Congress and most of the statehouses and kept them out.

              You can see this clearly by doing a direct comparison with Obama, another not very popular Democratic president who was a disaster for the party in down ticket races. On every single metric, the extent to which they got beaten in the mid-terms (Obama held onto his Senate majority until the second one), general election popular votes and popular vote percentages, ability to get their own programs through Congress, Obama comes out ahead. This isn’t an apology for Obama. Clinton was really that bad.

          2. m

            When I told “older” people I would vote for Bernie, now Trump to shake things up-all I got was a lecture. Clinton’s will protect wall street & 401ks. And I think there is a lot of fear about moving away from the token/chosen candidates.
            When I go from hospital room to room at work there are many more older folks (40+) watching fox news, expressing interest in Trump & their hatred of the Clintons. Except in CT where everyone loves their Dems, corrupt or not. This was over last yr working in CT, NY, ME & AZ. I don’t see how Clinton can win unless she cheats.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              In Philly last time around they had 53 precincts that were without a single non-Obama vote. Not one. The Black Panthers at the door shooed out the Republican observers and the magic happened, this time around it will be much easier. And then we might end up with hanging chads on steroids, with an 8-person Supreme Court that should be a fun-fest.
              So yes, lie, cheat, and steal, those are three things she and her crew excel at.

              1. MG

                Are you really pushing this old and tired Fox News Story? The Black Panthers who were actually at that polling prectinct were original members who were old and decrepit.

                The State GOP AG couldn’t even present one example of systematic voter fraud to the PA Supreme Court when they had to defend the Voter ID laws Corbett’s administration put into place.

        2. Katharine

          Or, in short form, why the young (and a lot of other people) don’t like HIllary:

          Why would they?

          The strange media delusion that the dislike needs to be explained, and is moreover terribly puzzling and hard to explain, is itself in greater need of explanation.

        1. Jomo

          One thing I never see discussed in the media is the effect of the sorry Clinton/Lewinsky/Impeachment episode on millennials. As a parent of school kids in the suburbs at that time I can tell you that I and other parents were none too pleased to see the presidents sexual infidelities on the evening news and headlined in the paper for all youngsters to see (and emulate?). A whole generation of school kids in their formative years got the message from their parents that Bills behavior was a national embarrassment. So why would they be excited about or vote for Mrs. Clinton?

          1. crittermom

            Jomo–We don’t see anything about Billy’s former indiscretions in the news anymore.
            They’d rather the millennials forget about it.
            That’s all been carefully swept back into a little box gathering dust in the corner.
            How convenient.

            ‘Look over there! It’s a Trump!’.
            Distractions, distractions…

            I lost all respect for Hellary (not that I had much, to begin with) when she ‘stood by her man’ following the Monica incident.
            She would have impressed me had she planted her foot up his a** all the way up to her cankles, instead.

            I’ve no doubt part of the ‘bargain’ of her staying by his side was to get her into the WH.
            I’ve thought that since it happened. Call me Nostradamus.

            1. hunkerdown

              Or, maybe it just doesn’t play with millennials, who are far less impressed with marriage and the monogamy drama as viable, useful institutions rather than sources of counterproductive drama (as all ideals turn out to be eventually). Besides, for all we know Bill and Hillary might have had a private agreement, and the only real crime according to that agreement was that workplace power relations were also operative.

        2. Pavel

          I’m pretty jaded and cynical but that photo of Michelle Obama hugging GWB shocked even me. It’s getting scathing comments on Twitter as well (cf @DavidSirota for one).

          Michelle was the only one I had any respect for… now… POOF like Keyser Soze that respect is gone.

          1. likbez

            You should probably read the book: Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas

            It looks like Michelle was a dangerous, power hungry player from the very beginning.

          2. Cry Shop

            Michelle was a legal eagle bagman for the Chicago Machine, she helped find legal ways to distribute a slice of the corruption back to the leaders of various political power-bases in Chicago. She probably learned a lot of the job from her father, and it was one of her clients and sources of funding, Valery Jarrett, who introduced her to Obama.

          3. Tom Denman

            It shocked me too. When I picked up this morning’s edition of the N.Y. Times and saw that pic below the fold on the front page (next to an article about the Clintons’ close relationship to Goldman Sachs) I did a double-take because I thought I was hallucinating. Talk about schmaltz (or in this case schmutz?).

            If every picture tells a story, that one makes the case that the Democratic Party stands for nothing at all and therefore must go away.

          4. Roger Smith

            After seeing her sort of playing along with or a thing least enjoying Bush’s (drunken?) antics at that Dallas funeral I got the impression that these two were party buddy enablers for one another.

            This picture fits right in!

      2. JCC

        The only Democrats voting against their own interests are those that vote for HRC (and also the ones that vote for Trump).

        1. hunkerdown

          JCC, way to stand around the top 10% like Secret Service Agents hiding the funky chicken. The bourgeois parties always work in the bourgeoisie’s interests. That’s what bourgeois politics is for.

    2. Light a Candle

      That Newsweek article you posted on Hillary’s millennial “problem” is an amazing read.

      So satisfying to finally see something in MSM that states obvious truths. Nice little video clip too.

    3. Synoia

      Many younger American voters, perhaps a sufficient number of them to seriously imperil Clinton’s chances, have significant ideological differences with the candidate.

      Millennials might vote for Dad or Mom. They are being asked to vote for Granny, who is wobbly, eccentric and does not even live in the same Century as them.


    4. afisher

      The idea that millenials are voting for Johnson, would only prove that millenials have not read much about his policies.

      Any woman who votes for either of the mainstream candidates would never vote for Trump.
      Any millenial who cares about Climate Change would never vote for Trump or Johnson.

      The meme: stop having children if you care about Climate Change – that is happening now – just in case some forgot or never bothered to read that the birth/ fertility rate in the US is already dropping.

      Because I am a curious person, I googled the question and it is interesting what site is near the top of the sites is Alt-Right – that wants to reinterpret the Newsweek article. Are reader’s here reading the actual article or the Alt-Right (Bannon) article? or are the assuming???

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I see you managed to miss that there are legitimate concerns about Hillary’s health and her VP is firmly anti-abortion. Her choice of Kaine alone is good reason for many young women not to vote for her.

        And a lot of young people, particularly in tech, are libertarians. You really don’t get out much.

        The reason the birth rate has fallen is not because young people are suddenly ecologically enlightened. It’s because the economy sucks and new household formation is at record low levels. If you can’t afford to live by yourself, you sure can’t afford to have kids.

        1. Skippy

          I thought the young, especially the technolibertarians, were con kids as its a tax on their time….

          Disheveled Marsupial….. sorry I could not resist….

      2. Kevin Hall

        Do I smell CTR? Yes, I see right through you afisher.

        You might want to go back to David Brock and let him know you are just wasting your time, many of us here are just a bunch of unredeemable Bernie Bros.

  3. allan

    Hispanic Dems ‘disappointed’ with party’s Latino outreach [The Hill]

    Congressional Hispanic Democrats are questioning the party’s approach to campaigning in Latino communities, as Republicans led by Donald Trump exceed expectations with the demographic. …

    Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) chairman of the CHC’s fundraising arm, Bold PAC, said many of the consultants hired by party leadership fail to fully understand the cultural nuances of the communities they’re trying to approach. …

    Alienating the base is a core Democratic value.
    Rep. Cardenas and his CHC colleagues should expect that, if Clinton loses,
    the hippie punching and millenial punching will be accompanied by Hispanic punching.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Cue Hillary is a sombrero. Of course, the Hispanic Congressman is worried about “cultural nuances” or whatever that means. Why do Quebeccers vote for a Brooklyn Jew in Vermont? It must be the cultural nuances, or because they agree with him. They might want to try that.

      Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised If Democrats were going to events in sombreros.

      Until Dean arrived at the DNC, there was tons of hand wringing about blacks not voting, despite voting at a higher rate than whites.

      1. Ivy

        Some years ago, a survey about Hispanic attitudes included one item about how much they disliked being shown the abuelita image as a dominant meme representative of their culture(s).

        Having seen a few Hispanic grandmothers in action, I chuckle at the memory of them them throwing shoes (which they would tell you is a mark of anger and disrespect) at recalcitrant kids. Is Hillary throwing shoes at us, since all of her other items landed with a thud?

      2. clarky90

        7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela (Grandmother)

        She isn’t afraid to talk about the importance of el respeto.

        It’s no secret that Hillary is loving her role as grandma. And she was thrilled to learn that next summer, her granddaughter Charlotte will have a sibling to play with.

        She’s always happy to talk about her “beautiful, perfect” granddaughter, she’s an eager volunteer for babysitting duty, and whenever she travels around the country, she makes sure to bring back a gift for Charlotte—sound familiar?

        Here are seven more ways Hillary is just like your grandmother.

        She worries about children everywhere …

    2. sid_finster

      Lord, how I do hate identity politics!

      “We can’t impeach X even if though X is a corrupt buffoon, because X is a three-headed lesbian Sandinista and we need the turnout from these constituencies in the general!”

      Just a glossed up version of good old boy politics.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Would it not be easier, then, to dissolve the constituency and appoint another?” -Berthold Brecht’s evil twin from a parallel universe. Or, Democrats.

  4. scott 2

    The Atlantic article would have been more effective if it had described a typical hedge fund deal, like, say, Guitar Center, or one of Mitt Romney’s “successes” (you know, debt fueled special dividends). It’s good to see articles criticizing financialization now and then. It would be great if our politicians would take this issue up, but alas, it would be suicide (certainly politically, and possibly literally).

  5. fresno dan

    Finance Is Ruining America Atlantic (Phil U)

    On the surface, the reasons behind Bridgeport’s poverty and Greenwich’s wealth do not seem related. Bridgeport is struggling because it is a one-time manufacturing hub whose jobs went overseas as factories moved away in the late 20th century. Greenwich became a home for New York City financiers who wanted to live somewhere a little more bucolic than New York, and later hedge-fund managers decided they could work closer to home and set up their companies there, too.

    These two towns have different fates in part because of two distinct dynamics in the American economy. Yet there are economists who believe that there is a link between the improving prosperity of the wealthy and the eroding bank accounts of everyone else. The reason? It’s two-fold: First, there is the rise of the financial industry, which has fueled extraordinary wealth for a very few without creating good jobs down the line, and, second, a tax policy that not only fails to mitigate these effects, but actually incentivizes them in the first place. It’s probably not surprising, then, that the 10 states with the biggest jumps in the top 1 percent share from 1979 to 2007 were the states with the largest financial service sectors, according to the Economic Policy Institute analysis.

    It is astounding that people still believe low interest rates mean some industrialist can get a loan and start a factory and hire employees….where it seems pretty apparent that it means a financier can move a company overseas….
    As well as the fact it seems harder and harder to be able to say that the 1%’s getting richer is NOT due to everybody else getting poorer.

    1. Uahsenaa

      It’s the neoliberal Rube Goldberg machine. Why just give money where needed when you can give it to someone on the assumption they’ll give a portion to someone else, who will give it to someone else, so that they can maybe pass some of it along to whoever needs it?

      Also, because markets.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘Greenwich became a home for New York City financiers who wanted to live somewhere a little more bucolic than New York’

      Until 1991, Connecticut had no income tax. New Jersey had walked that plank in 1976, leaving CT as the only quasi-tax haven within commuting distance of NYC.

      But then former Gov. Lowell Weicker (who had run on a “no income tax” platform — he lied) introduced one. Result: a stagnant, moribund Connecticut economy, with flat population. General Electric saw the light and bailed for Boston with its HQ.

      Jaren Dilliian, who grew up there, wrote of throwing a party in CT with a deejay. The DJ had to be licensed, plus they needed a permit, plus union electricians had to set up and take down the equipment. Hassle, cost, bureaucracy.

      What value added does contemporary CT provide for its tax take, vs pre-1991 CT? Zero. Maybe less than zero.

      1. Katharine

        “But then former Gov. Lowell Weicker (who had run on a “no income tax” platform — he lied) introduced one. Result: a stagnant, moribund Connecticut economy, with flat population.”

        Sequel, perhaps. Result, not proved, and I suspect questionable. The data here appear to undermine your claim:

        They show corporate income tax at <1% and personal income tax <5% for all but the top 5% of incomes. I find it very hard to believe those rates are responsible for Connecticut's allegedly moribund economy.

        As for not providing value, consider another point of view:

        1. Jen

          Lowell Weicker was elected governor in 1991. He left office in 1995. GE decided to move to Boston this year. That is rather a long interval between events to support a direct correlation between the two.

          Lowell Weicker also said he would not implement in income tax if there was an economically viable alternative. I lived on New Haven during this time. I knew damn well he would put in an income tax and I voted for him.

          The property taxes in New Haven at that time was .05/$1000. That would be 8.5K per year on a $170K house, and New Haven wasn’t the worst. I worked with someone who was looking at a house in East Haven. The house cost $140K and the property taxes were $11k.
          per year. The sales tax was 8% and they were looking to push it to 10%. You paid property tax on your car, my drivers license was valid for one year less and cost $20 more than my New York license.

          Weicker managed to rally enough members of the legislature to prevent a veto of any budget that didn’t include an income tax, and he kept vetoing until he got what he wanted. He did what he set out to do and didn’t run for re-election.

          Might want to look at the current governor and his giveaways to the gold coast towns if you want to establish a more proximate cause.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Keep it up , Jim! Lest we forget where you are coming from! Yah, shrink government, especially evil taxes that might put a brake on the accumulation of cancerous wealth, to where it’s small enough to drown in the bathtub…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And because we have poor people who are told they should not envy the rich their advantages because they just might be one of them someday. So we lionize this era’s robber barons from Bezos to Cook to Brin instead of roasting them over a slow fire until they agree to pay taxes in this country. Too bad we don’t have a trust-busting politician of any stripe around, Teddy Roosevelt where are you when we need you.
        Get Rich or Die Tryin is the last gasp in the American Hunger Games. It’s the same story as ever, told down through the ages, the rich squeeze the poor, then they can’t help but squeeze juuust that little bit more, and we get Charlotte

            1. hunkerdown

              JTMcPhee, anyone with a few hundred bucks, a record beyond reproach, the skill to attach an effective weapon to a copter — which could be as simple as igniting some thermite while landing on an airplane wing — and the wisdom of Emerson: “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

              I imagine assassination to be a rather complex operation, especially if the police and polite society are both aligned with them and each other and against the operators, and you wish to live to operate again. Also, ordering from AliExpress leaves a paper trail.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      >>whose jobs went overseas as factories moved away in the late 20th century

      Those jobs and factories sure have a lot of personal agency.

    4. John Wright

      It is sad to read the story of Bridgeport.

      Where I work, when we need do to some quick machining, we go to use the “Bridgeport” vertical mill in the shop.

      This is the milling machine manufactured and popularized by Bridgeport Machines, Inc of Bridgeport.

      These mills were produced in Bridgeport from 1938 until 2004, and were another important cog in the post war manufacturing economic miracle.

      The Bridgeport mill is still made by Hardinge of Elmira, NY, but the jobs are gone from Bridgeport.

      USA finance is as large as it is because TPTB allow/abet it, not because it serves the USA well..

  6. BecauseTradition

    It is astounding that people still believe low interest rates mean some industrialist can get a loan and start a factory and hire employees….where it seems pretty apparent that it means a financier can move a company overseas….
    fresno dan [bold added]

    Or automate jobs away with what is, in essence, the public’s credit due to extensive government privileges for depository institutions.

    The implicit social contract whereby capitalists shall provide good jobs in exchange for the public’s credit is broken – if it ever existed – without hope of fixing due to automation alone.

    1. fresno dan

      September 25, 2016 at 8:40 am

      good point and I agree.
      And there are probably all sorts of examples. For instance, how long did low interest rates help by stimulating home building, home buying, until shadow banking was able to super charge profits by taking a rather straight forward, dull, simple to understand thing like home loans and turning it into a giant scam? How was it that something that worked so well for so long got so totally f*cked up?
      Doesn’t it feel nowadays that in every protection, advancement, or progress is advocated by a Hillary talking clone, and that the only point of it is to weasel more money out of you???
      and that the word “protection” defacto means “screw”

      1. ProNewerDeal

        FD, nice take

        Hillary hack says “protect you”, he means “a protection racket our campaign funder/owners devised to rob you”

      2. BecauseTradition

        How was it that something that worked so well for so long got so totally f*cked up? fresno dan

        Well, point of fact, it did not work so well if one was red-lined. And philosophically, how does one justify government privileges for depository institutions in the first place? Because they work? Work for who? Not those who were redlined, for sure.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Home building” is its own kind of cancer. I am always amazed at how the “health” of the whole construction/home”building” scam is looked at as some kind of great engine of Progress or something.

          New construction eats open space, feeds sprawl, helps divide people up into little manageable chunks, paves huge patches, eats potable water, everyone has to have a lawn mower (preferably riding) and gasoline yard blower and weed whacker and trimmer, throw on the pesticides and fertilizers, all kinds of appliances that “make life easier” but even the feminist thinkers note that is a lie. And of course new construction is with crappy wood and wood products like “multidirectional fiberboard” that is not even the sh!t that passed for plywood, and of course toxic wallboard, and other better-living-through-chemistry products.

          Resales mostly benefit flippers and Real Estate Agents (R)(TM). On the way, for some people, to their 10% Dream Houses and the little participation they can get in the Great Bezzle.

          Renovation? Amazing how many scams there are in that bit. “Contractors” who take the money and run or do sh!t work. The markups on all the “deluxe luxury special” finishes and cabinetry and flooring and the rest.

          Adds to the GDP? Yassss, but don’t most folks here recognize that is a scam metric in its own distorting right?

          1. Tom

            Contrast modern building techniques with those of yesteryear. We happened to buy a 150-year-old farmhouse way out in the country 25 years ago and have been renovating it ever since. What I found made me respect the work that went into building it.
            The foundation consists of fieldstone walls 16 inches thick. The floor framing is real timbers, hand-hewn into 10×10 main beams and 6×6 floor joists, all connected with mortice and tenon joints. The original subfloor is true 1-inch thich by 20-inch wide T&G pine planks. The wall framing is true 2×4 oak studs and true 4×4 oak corner posts. When I tore everything out to the framing I just described, everything was solid as a tank — amazing strength, built to last generations and generations. Of course, there were plenty of problems that had to be corrected, but the bones of the house were and remain impressive. Today’s chipboard and vinyl production housing? Despite many, many advances in construction techniques (firestopping, hurricane clips, insulation, etc.), I wonder what shape they will be in in 150 years?

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      America is like an aging, punch drunk prize fighter, so much blood streaming into his eyes he can’t even see what he’s doing any more. So we flail around with Iraq-style nation-building wars despite being smashed squarely in the face with all our previous ones. Just put your hands behind your back and stick your jaw way out. The Fed sprays free money around like its Skittles despite the fact that the only takers for new debt are CEOs buying back their stocks and heading for the islands. And precisely one candidate has the stones to mention it, and no I don’t mean the falling down, sickly grandmother who sold the business of our government for immense personal gain through her Foundation.

  7. temporal

    Scan and go.

    Swapping standing in line at the check-out for the line at the exit. And when there is an issue then the greeter calls in the check-out police thereby pissing off the customer. Brilliant.

    While Apple fanboys are willing to work for their iPhone’s company for free by doing their own check-out I doubt that is likely for people going to Sam’s Club. As well many customers, even if they have a smartphone, will not enjoy using up their data plan as they try to check and process the details online.

    All these smartphone apps have one major goal, besides collecting credit fees. Reduce store overhead by getting customers to do more of the work while eliminating employees. The winners are not the customers or people looking for a way to make ends meet.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Junior VP: I’ve come up with a way to reduce our cashier staff, make our customers do their work, and increase IT outsourcing.

      CEO: Brilliant! I’ll call our man at the NYT.

    2. Pavel

      Another goal of course is to track even further every single purchase — what, and where, and when. And then sell the consumption data to the insurers perhaps… a packet of cigs per day? Or too many bottles of booze?

      Of course they are already doing that with the store “fidelity cards”, but the mobile apps will be more precise and less optional.

      1. Ivy

        Another reason to pay cash whenever possible. Sometimes you have to use an affinity card to get discounts, however many stores match prices anyway.

  8. Carolinian

    Re the Oilprice link, here’s an article that contradicts the notion that US policy in Syria was about the Qatari pipeline as that claim–put forth in a Politico article by Robert Kennedy Jr–was little more than a poorly sourced rumor.

    That claim has no credibility for a very simple reason: there was no Qatari proposal for Syria to reject in 2009. It was not until October 2009 that Qatar and Turkey even agreed to form a working group to develop such a gas pipeline project.

    Gareth Porter says that instead

    The US decision to support Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their ill-conceived plan to overthrow the Assad regime was primarily a function of the primordial interest of the US permanent war state in its regional alliances. The three Sunni allies control US access to the key US military bases in the region, and the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department and the Obama White House were all concerned, above all, with protecting the existing arrangements for the US military posture in the region[….]

    The massive, direct and immediate power interests of the US war state – not the determination to ensure that a pipeline would carry Qatar’s natural gas to Europe – drove the US policy of participation in the war against the Syrian regime. Only if activists focus on that reality will they be able to unite effectively to oppose not only the Syrian adventure but the war system itself.

    In other words the MIC strikes again and seems to be directly challenging Obama policies with “accidents” like the recent bombing of the Syrian army. Time for movie fans to dust off old copies of Seven Days in May?

    1. tgs

      Porter may well be right about the pipeline. However, a piece that purports to account for our Syria operations and the obsession with the removal of Assad that does not mention Israel and the Israel Lobby cannot be the complete story. Breaking the ‘Shia Crescent’ is a major strategic aim of the friends of Israel.

      1. Carolinian

        Without a doubt the Lobby keeps the liberals–the “progressives except for Palestine”–supporting the fever dreams of the generals, but arguably it’s this internal, and traditionally rather Waspy pressure group that is the real menace. As the following quite accurately points out, we have a WW2 military with nothing to do with itself unless they can invent a suitable enemy.

        We live in a military world fundamentally different from that of the last century. All-out wars between major powers, which is to say nuclear powers, are unlikely since they would last about an hour after they became all-out, and everyone knows it. In WWII Germany could convince itself, reasonably and almost correctly, that Russia would fall in a summer, or the Japanese that a Depression-ridden, unarmed America might decide not to fight. Now, no. Threaten something that a nuclear power regards as vital and you risk frying. So nobody does.

        Or, to sum up

        What is the relevance of the Pentagon? How do you bomb a trade agreement?

        The generals and admirals need a Russian foe to justify their absurd budgets and their very existence. It’s ironic that our great victory in WW2–triumph of industrial America–may end up doing us more long term harm than those European and Asian nations that were bombed into ashes. You can rebuild cities but dismantling imperial hubris turns out to be harder.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Occam would probably just say that the Cold War never ended for our geniuses-in-chief, despite dissolving away in 1989 our enemy is and always was and will be Russia uber alles. The simple fact that they back Assad is all it took, yes add in a sprinkle of Tehran and Tel Aviv and goose with a little juice from Riyadh but the overnight disappearance of our existential enemy was something up with which we could not put.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Occam would take it one step further. Remember Rumsfeld’s reputed comments about WA ting more targets for the news when Afghanistan had no worthwhile targets (not even Rummy wanted to bomb weddings and first responders) or Albright’s remarks about the point of having an army if we don’t use it. They do it because they can. The U.S. foreign policy establishment is dominated by thugs.

          Russia is an enemy because “terror!”, “axis of evil”, and “nation building” don’t work anymore, so they are going back to the golden oldies of Russia. They don’t want to challenge China because again they are thugs. Thugs don’t fight anyone who might hit back, hence why Iran was never attacked. Iraq was a target because it had no wmds. Look at North Korea. If scuds full of some nasty virus started falling on U.S forward bases, soldiers might question the competency of leadership.

          These people would blow up Ottawa for a laugh if the thought the could get away with it. Standing armies are the agents of tyranny.

      3. RabidGandhi

        I’m not so convinced Israel really wants Assad out. If they wanted any of the groups threatening Assad to win, all they would have to do is deploy troops to the Golan Heights. Assad would not have been able to fight on two fronts, and his precarious position would have become unstustainable.

        Conversely, Israel has Syria in disarray, Hezbollah distracted, the Shia in a fight to the death with wahabbis, and Turkey pummeling tar babies. As it stands, the status quo chaos suits them just fine.

        1. hunkerdown

          RabidGandhi, I seem to remember Israel did mess about in the Golan at least once already, and I seem to remember some IAF action in the region from months ago (2015?) ending with IAF running like busted children from the RuAF.

          Anyway, they undoubtedly still want Assad gone, not least because the Assad administration does not put foreign investors and other absentee landlords above his own fellow citizens. I’d fully expect the IDF to get a good kick in from time to time, to keep the momentum moving in the right direction, and also, like the US, to establish a claim on the spoils by the “you touch it you take it” rule from kindergarten.

  9. fresno dan

    Charlotte Police Video of Keith Scott’s Killing Released Intercept (J-LS)

    I refer to this video (source NBC from the wife of the victim) as it appears to me to be of higher quality.

    As usual, I went to the highest aluminum continent left and right tinfoil hat sites….(why do they call them tinfoil – its aluminum!)

    look at it at 1:46
    do you see something on the ground?
    look at it at 1:39
    do you see something on the ground?

    Now I can’t say if the video has been messed with, but it sure appears to me that the guy in the red tosses something on the ground.
    Now, my answer used to be to police planting evidence: conspiracy theory.
    Than there was the Laquan McDonald case….which WAS a policy conspiracy….

    1. fresno dan

      damn auto correct. and those words were spelled right the first time…
      aluminum continent left – is suppose to be “content”
      WAS a policy conspiracy – is suppose to be “WAS a police conspiracy”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You need to get out. Gender role stereotyping is real and has real effects. Girls are pressured to be pretty and not do math and you see fewer girls in elite math programs as a result. Yet in countries where math attainment is not esteemed (the Middle East), girls show higher math attainment than boys.

    2. hunkerdown

      zabo, why would I waste my life watching television? If there’s something worth saying, write it rather than wasting ten kilobytes of bandwidth per word.

  10. Tom Stone

    So Obama sent Emails to Clinton’s private Email address that contained classified information.
    Was his handle “BBC”?
    Truly funny!

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I find this revelation to be particularly galling, how richly this entire crew deserves ankle bracelets at a very minimum for perjury. When the president and the SoS lie and break the law and nothing happens…um precisely where do we go from there?

    1. Don

      Perhaps climate change can’t be stopped because it’s part of our natural climate system, just as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were.

      How about this: instead of simply parroting what the IPCC says, we do a little fact checking? How about instead of trying to silence doubts, a la Oreskes, we actually look at those specific doubts and see what the evidence is? How about we dare to look at some “doubter” websites like and How about we actually do due diligence on the science– how about we actually subject it to rigorous scrutiny? Because if we do we might actually understand how the science on climate change is like a ponzi scheme, held up by beliefs and faith and NO ONE wants to look under the hood to see how it works lest it all collapse in a heap of shoddy and biased science led by a small group associated with the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

      1. subgenius

        Perhaps I happen to have spent a good 30 years studying physics and biosystems?

        Perhaps it is a natural result of stupid human actions?

        Perhaps you are talking bollox about a subject you have failed to engage with in any real meaningful way?

        This is why there is no solution.

        1. Don

          Perhaps you might answer how we’re supposed to trust in a group of scientists who sold the world on a “hockey stick” that was a result of cherry-picked and heavily manipulated data?

          Or are we now supposed to have “no doubt” that it’s all on the level?

          Perhaps you might explain how we’re absolutely certain that a 1C rise in temperature caused by CO2– even IF this is correct– will CERTAINLY cause a climate catastrophe? Or will you argue that CO2 by itself will cause a 3-4 C degree rise in temp, despite what the hallowed IPCC says?

          1. Synoia

            It is not a hockey stick graph. It is the bottom portion of a exponential growth curve.

            You personally exhibited your own “hockey stick” as a fetus and infant.

            Predicting an exponential growth curve is expected, and not even questionable. The only questionable parts are the estimates of the exponent value, which were too conservative.

            This year could well see an mean temperature rise of 1.5 dec C. Even if not caused by man, is raise the question:

            What is YOUR plan to relocate the 200 Million US coastal population inland?

            1. Don

              I see that you didn’t bother to read the link regarding the hockey stick debate. But calling names is, I suppose, a great way to argue science if you follow the playbook of the CRU.

              There is no debate that the climate is changing. The debate is whether this is due partly or wholly or not at all to CO2. Can the IPCC be trusted to do objective science to give us accurate answers? Would you trust the people who gave us the hockey stick and who stand by it, despite that it’s clearly a fraud?

              We may have to deal with a warming planet, yes. Just, let’s get our science right so that we don’t base policy on the wrong facts.

                1. Don

                  No one said this was a little ice age.

                  I’m all for reducing emissions and green energy. I’m not for following deeply flawed science.

                  1. Subgenius

                    Then you might want to read the papers criticizing the one you posted…

                    Also worthwhile:

                    Get your science from scientists with relevant skills etc., Rather than denier economists…

              1. Synoia

                Climate Change is partly caused by CO2. Some of it is caused by methane emissions, especially those from Oil Production, and Cow farts.

                The question: Is it caused by Man’s Civilization, energy use and agricultural practices, is to the point.

                Civilization as we know it is a heat engine. The heat engine in Climate Change.

                The next question is how many will die, because I don’t believe our greed driven heat engine could be turned off. Turning it off or having it turned off by Climate Change appears to lead us to a similar destination.

                My prediction: 6.5 Billion will die.

                1. Jeotsu

                  Either the changing climate is mostly due to natural factors, and there is nothing we can do about it.

                  Or the changing climate is mostly due to human activity, and there is nothing we are going to do about it.

                  In either case we look at an outcome like Synoia predicted above.

                  And human activity, not nature, will do most of that killing. As parts of the planet become increasingly uninhabitable (or simply unsuitable for agriculture), people will fight for what remains. It will be ugly.

                  1. uncle tungsten

                    The changing climate is mostly to do with human action and there was plenty we could have done about it 2 or 3 decades ago. What follows next with the melting of arctic ice and permafrost will be natural processes.

                    Those natural processes that follow will be mainly the release of methane hydrate into the oceans and atmosphere. Take a peek at some of the reported science by searching “eastern siberian arctic shelf”.

                    Synoia is correct the mammalian demise will be catastrophic with human demise in the billions. None of this need have happened if humans had adopted the precautionary principle long proposed by many scientists. We could plant a vast amount of trees etc in the time available but the chances of reversal are slim to none.

          2. Plenue

            “Perhaps you might explain how we’re absolutely certain that a 1C rise in temperature caused by CO2– even IF this is correct– will CERTAINLY cause a climate catastrophe?”

            Because it’s happening right now, you moron.

            1. Don

              Proof that climate is changing doesn’t constitute proof that CO2 is responsible.

              I guess I know who I’m dealing with: people who like to throw insults around.

              1. PhilU

                Proof that CO2 is a green house gas? It does not readily absorb at ultraviolet wavelengths (sunlight) but does absorb IR (Heat). Happy to explain that mechanism in greater detail if needed.

                More proof: Venus and Mars. Too much Greenhouse gas and not enough. Venus is much hotter then Mercury so lets not go down the proximity rabbit hole.

                1. Don

                  CO2 is a greenhouse gas: acknowledged and agree. Proof that the 0.04% of CO2 in the atmosphere can overwhelm natural systems remains to be seen. What we do know is that the projected temperature increases that assume that CO2 is the thermostat are wrong: we’ve not warmed up so much. We also know that Al Gore’s famous graph of temperature and CO2 actually showed temperature leading CO2 by about 800 years, not the other way around.

                  CO2 influences, it does not direct.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    We don’t welcome badly informed and argued climate change denialism here. It’s widely acknowledged that the oceans have been heating rapidly and that is temporarily buffering the impact on surface temps. Even so, we are seeing month after month of highest average global temperatures ever. The ocean heat sink effect is projected at hitting its limits relatively soon (in a matter of years, I’m not about to go dig it up for the likes of you).

                    Moreover, you are abjectly misrepresenting the predictions. We are at and in cases beyond most models in terms of the pace of climate impact. For instance, the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that climate change is progressing more rapidly than projected, apparently due more to the impact of feedback loops (like the impact of permafrost and ocean methane gas release) than due human production exceeding the forecast ranges.

                    1. Sylvia Johnson

                      “the likes of you?” i am surprised and disappointed. Don was nothing if not respectful in his skepticism, and it was ad hominem all the way from the likes of you. see you in 20 years when this episode plays out when all the fancy models prove flawed. Of course you don’t have to publish this but I am sincerely and utterly disappointed that you can’t handle dissent on this issue. ad hominen happens when you refuse to engage on the specifics. really, really, really disappointed. PS using my real name because you won’t publish this anyway.

                    2. Yves Smith Post author

                      No, he repeatedly violated our written site policies, by engaging in bad faith argumentation, making things up and persisting after his arguments were debunked in considerable detail by other members of the commentariat (see comments time stamped earlier that are physically lower in the thread). That alone is grounds for banning him. I was actually being more polite than he deserved by engaging with him at all.

                      In addition, I do not tolerate anyone using this site as a venue for disseminating propaganda and persisting after they are called out. Frankly, I should have ripped all his comments out but that would have been more work and would have also required that I rip out all the comments of the people who went to the considerable trouble of rebutting him, which would therefore be punishing the people who behaved well more than the offender.

                      Trying to plow over the arguments and information provided by quite a few members of the commentariat was disrepectful in the extreme and you are off base to suggest otherwise. This site is not a chatboard. We have clear written rules and those who violate them repeatedly get the treatment they’ve asked for. Lambert calls it a “reader assisted suicide note”.

                  2. Plenue

                    Wow, really? The ‘there’s so little CO2, does it really matter?’ argument. You’re really pulling out all the tired denier cliches. There’s even less ozone as a percentage of our atmosphere, are you going to deny it’s impact as well?

                  3. PhilU

                    Ok, so if you admit that CO2 is a greenhouse gas you must admit that there is bound to be some warming from it, even if it is tiny. So, lets take that fraction of a degree warmer the planet gets. Warmer gas is less dense then cold gas so the atmosphere becomes ever so slightly less dense (there are reasons to assume this is negligible though). Less dense slightly warmer atmosphere means that water evaporates quicker. Even a slight change will have a huge effect purely due to the amount of water we have on the planet.

                    Water vapor is a much, much more potent greenhouse gas. Every little bit of CO2 gets automatically amplified. That is where the warming comes from.

              2. Plenue

                We’ve known that CO2 traps heat since freaking 1859 when John Tyndall proved it with his experiments:
                Christ, this basic bit of physics is nearly as old as the germ theory of disease.

                If you’re going to deny that, than you have to a. explain how our atmosphere retains heat in the first place, and b. give us an explanation for the changing climate that doesn’t involve CO2.

                You deserve nothing less than insults and mockery.

                  1. Jeotsu

                    Just a quick clarification- they were wrong on the low side. They decided to be hyper-conservative in their predictions of change (and yet were still called alarmists). Psychology plays a very strong part.

                    I wonder if for some people (not saying this is you, Don) criticism of climate change arises from a cognitive dissonance. America (and American-influenced cultures) have a very strong ideology of the rugged individual and the value of growth (and the associated relative evil of government intervention). Addressing anthropogenic climate change will require global cooperation and global sacrifice, which is ideologically abhorrent. It also means that if you believe in personal responsibility you need to admit your own guilt in being part of that self-destructive CO2 generating system.

                    Much easier to pick nits around a large and complex problem than to face the personal and philosophical consequences of its truth.

                    1. Don

                      No Jeotsu, they were wrong on the high side. We’ve not warmed up as much as the models projected, and thus the “hiatus.”

                      I was a believer. I’m a greenie. I’d have been (and was) a supporter of Bernie Sanders despite his energy policies.

                      I’m all for working together and lean more toward socialism than a lot of people. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to be hoodwinked by junk science, and if you want the truth you should read some of the links I’ve provided very carefully.

                      If we’re not careful, Oreskes will have the dissenters jailed– for the greater good. We can have renewable energy– fine. We can get off oil–fine. But let’s not let bad science lead the way, and let’s use our reason to see the truth.

                      And … thanks for being civil.

                    2. Skippy

                      wattsupwiththat + Anthony Watts – ?????

                      Willard Anthony Watts (Anthony Watts) is a blogger, weathercaster and non-scientist, paid AGW denier who runs the website He does not have a university qualification and has no climate credentials other than being a radio weather announcer. His website is parodied and debunked at the website Watts is on the payroll of the Heartland Institute, which itself is funded by polluting industries

                      Anthony Watts is listed as a signatory on the “Leipzig Declaration”, which said “there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide. In fact, most climate specialists now agree that actual observations from both weather satellites and balloon-borne radiosondes show no current warming whatsoever.”

                      The signers of the Declaration are described as “climate scientists”, although they include 25 weather presenters.[30] An attempt to contact the declaration’s 33 European signers found that 4 of them could not be located, 12 denied ever having signed, and some had not even heard of the Leipzig Declaration. Those who verified signing included a medical doctor, a nuclear scientist, and an entomologist. After discounting the signers whose credentials were inflated, irrelevant, false, or unverifiable, only 20 of the names on the list had any scientific connection with the study of climate change, and some of those names were known to have obtained grants from the oil and fuel industry, including the German coal industry and the government of Kuwait (a major oil exporter).

                      Sprinkle some — Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (born 1952) is “a caricature English peer”.

                      Monckton’s father Gilbert was one of those kicked out in 1999 when the hereditary complement of the House of Lords was cut to 92, thus leaving Christopher’s status as Viscount of Brenchley a matter only of interest to the aristocracy nerd contingent on Wikipedia. Since Christopher inherited the title in 2006, he has consistently misrepresented himself as being a member of the House of Lords. He has various pseudolegal theories as to why this is the case, usually revolving around the notion that a hereditary peerage can only be withdrawn by the Crown on an individual basis, as the letter patent was granted on an individual basis.[15] This may well be true, but has nothing to do with whether said hereditary peer gets an automatic seat in the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[16] The main point appears to be to represent himself in other countries as having governmental power and status that he does not when talking up climate change denial.

                      The House has asked that he desist in his frequent habit of implying, or outright claiming, to be a member in any way whatsoever. They have also requested, rather forcefully, that he stop using a personal insignia closely resembling the portcullis insignia of the House of Lords, and are presently ‘”taking steps with a view to ensuring that Lord Monckton does not in future either claim to be a member of the House or use the parliamentary emblem or any variant thereof.”[17] Buckingham Palace (who control use of the insignia) did not directly comment on the claims, but just happened to point an enquiring journalist at the relevant trademark laws and the possible penalties for their violation.[18]

                      The House finally got fed up and wrote an open letter to Monckton in July 2011, telling him in unusually blunt language that “you are not and have never been a Member of the House of Lords.”[19]

                      Disheveled Marsupial…. Seems Don that grousing on about intellectual rigor would not be a strong stance from the bottom of the loon pond…..

                    3. subgenius


                      You need to look at the energy cost of phase transitions (ice to water) and the thermal characteristics of water.

                      This is where the energy has been going.

          3. Plenue

            Your belittling of the IPCC tells me all I need to know about you. The reality is that the IPCC is a group based around consensus and is by its nature very conservative in its published conclusions. Its predictions are not extreme at all; in fact they represent an absolute baseline minimum. There are plenty of reasons to expect things to be much worse than what the IPCC predicts. That’s been the general trend with global warming: things happen both sooner and to a worse degree than the majority of scientists thought they would.

            As for the hockey stick, it was and remains accurate. It’s been reproduced multiple times by different teams using different sets of data.

            I’ll save us all some time. This is the part where you go “But but, no warming in 17 years!” to which I respond “No, that’s based on faulty satellite measurements done by two academically bankrupt scientists who ‘accidentally’ forgot to account for orbital decay of the satellites in their calculations. And then they ‘accidentally’ had the measurement of day and night temperatures reversed. Fix the errors, and suddenly not only was there never a pause, but the temperature increase had continued unabated.”


            1. Another Anon

              I thought the relative flattening in temperature increase from the late 90’s till a few years ago was because of a very strong EL Nino event in the late 90’s.
              1998 was at the time the hottest year in recorded history so anyone pronouncing
              little or no trend in temperature increase from the late 90’s till a few years ago is
              being dishonest as the overall trend is certainly increasing if one uses the
              data from previous years.

              1. Plenue

                That’s another part of it, yes. The deniers expressly choose to start their graphs on a year in which there were abnormally high temperatures. They can then go “see, every year since has been cooler!”. The reality is if you have a full measure going back many decades the clear trend for average temperatures is up.

      2. Harry

        Do you know, I asked that same question who runs the environmental studies department of a Cambridge college. She ran me through the evidence and arguments super fast. It was pretty clear that the issue of climate change itself was unambiguous, and the issue of whether it was related to human activity could only be considered unsettled by those who think Noah decided against rescuing the dinosaurs.

        Feel free to have your own doubts, but is it ok if I don’t debate you on this or evolution? I have better things to do.

        1. Don

          My advice is: don’t go through the arguments “super fast.” Take your time, look at them carefully, see what the other side has to say, and see what makes sense. Use your reason and don’t treat climate science like a religion that has to be followed on faith and can’t be questioned.

          Try reading slowly and carefully, for starters. But be careful … your reason might lead you to question your faith, unless you’ve already abandoned your reason to groupthink.

          1. tiresoup

            Welcome, fellow skeptic! Manipulated data is bad science. Fear mongering is bad science. Lack of empiricism is bad science. If the alarmists are so right, why do they have to shout down the skeptics? Because the sky is falling! The sky is falling!

            1. Plenue

              Because the ‘skeptics’ are a mix of paid agents and useful idiots who trot out the same dumb, long disproved talking points over and over again.

            2. Skippy

              Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming – by Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway

              The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.

              Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly—some of the same figures who have claimed that the science of global warming is “not settled” denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it.

              Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, historians of science, roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how ideology and corporate interests, aided by a too-compliant media, have skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.


              Disheveled Marsupial…. AGW is gonna take our freedumbs away…. sigh*

          2. Ernie

            Don: The paper you link to is from 2005, complaining about supposed mis-analysis of data series from the 1990s. We seem to have had quite a few years of record-setting warmth in the past decade as well. If an 11-year-old paper using 16-year-old data is the best support you have for your argument . . .

  11. HBE

    Bloomberg population link

    Population is the number one driver of global warming, in addition to decreasing arable topsoil at an unimaginably fast rate. Currently the world has between 60-200 years worth of topsoil left that will take 1000-2000 years to fully renew in “ideal” conditions.

    In addition to acidification from population driven climate change, the oceans have faced so much demand as a food source that 85% of the world’s oceans have been fully exploited as a food source.

    These are unsustainable trends that cannot be ignored and part of the reason I absolutely hate all the “green energy” (which isn’t really green) miracle cures. Even if 100% renewable carbon free energy existed, it would not matter, we would still face environmental and ecological collapse due to the pressures of unsustainable populations.

    Honestly, (in a selfish sense) I am glad I was born when I was, it looks like nothing will ever be done about population and population driven Global warming, soil collapse and empty oceans will all likely make the perfect storm just after I kick it. That’s not to say I don’t practice personal sustainability; no car, local shopping only, limited meat, no fish etc. But that doesn’t really matter on the macro level.

    1. pretzelattack

      fossil fuel emissions is the number one driver. going to solar or wind would absolutely help, and no it is not hopeless, at least as far as global warming is concerned. but it is bad.

      1. nippersdad

        Not to mention wave farms and geothermal. It is unimaginable to me that with both the Gulf Stream and the Humboldt Currents just off our shores, and most of the population living within 150 miles of the coasts, that we still routinely destroy aquifers fracking gas and mining oil sands rather than harness those currents to supply our population centers with clean baseload power.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I think the lack of innovation might be related to the relative lack of basic research. I believe we might consider the capture of science by our major corporations as another reason for the lack of invention. Big Business does not like innovations. They undermine existing investments.

              I don’t believe we’re running out of interesting or important problems to solve. I don’t believe we’ve lost our innate abilities to create and invent. I most certainly don’t believe we’ve discovered everything and reached a point where we just need to refine the constants we use in our computations. What’s left to explain the lack of invention? I blame the latest evolution of our economic system.

            2. Another Anon

              Yes, that is a good website. He has one particularly nice
              post where he shows that if the current temperature trend
              continues, then in a few centuries the surface of the Earth will
              be as hot as the surface of the Sun. Obviously civilization will crumble way before that temperature is reached so one way or another the trend will change.

      2. subgenius

        It IS hopeless – the solution is unacceptable to the vast majority in the first world, being that it is to revert to a pre-industrial way of life (and even that probably isn’t enough at this point)

        We are as a species/culture simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and that isn’t going to change.

        1. nippersdad

          If the irretrievable tipping point is, indeed, in fifteen years then I suspect that what the vast majority of the first world wants to accept will be irrelevant. There aren’t really all that many of us in the aging first world compared to the young refugees from the second and third who will be making that decision for us. Europe is just a small taste of what is to come, and fifteen years of watching and paying the price for that will have a surprising effect upon what people find acceptable.

          I don’t actually think that a reversion to a pre-industrial world is necessary, just a lot of common sense backed up by the necessity for real change.

          1. subgenius

            Actually, I was being a little flippant – the potential solutions look much more pre-industrial than current arrangements, but involve a lot of advances in understanding gained in the past 50-100 or so years.

            The big issue is the use of power systems – of all forms (gas / petroleum / nuclear / hydro / solar / wind / etc) – and modern materials (concrete and aluminum are the biggies)

            There are too many factors to explain, but essentially it comes down to the simple fact that these systems at root all degrade an already degraded environment further and all will rely on petrochemicals for exploitation for at least the foreseeable future.

            The stuff that’s good is more in understanding biosphere interrelationships – permaculture, etc.

            The good won’t make any difference vs the bad. Whether there is enough biosphere left to sustain large mammalian life in a thousand years is an open question.

            1. nippersdad

              “The potential solutions look much more pre-industrial than current arrangements, but involve a lot of advances in understanding gained in the past 50-100 or so years.”

              Exactly! The fossil fueled industrial revolution has interrupted/replaced many traditional methods of achieving the same ends. The possibility of going back to those methods, reinterpreting them in light of the past hundred years or so of technical advances, makes me confident that the worst case scenarios can be avoided. Not saying that they aren’t likely, but that optimism is not totally misplaced.

              For example: the water wheel has been around for millennia, but no one ever thought to sink one in the Gulf Stream; new turbine tech could render energy outputs that the person who first thought of it could never have imagined, and they would have the added benefit of providing places for reefs where none previously existed. New energy sources on platforms that engender new biomes! Creating energy producing, natural carbon sinks that serve to increase oceanic plant and animal diversity over the course of thousands of miles of coastline.

              Likewise, healthy soils are the single greatest carbon sink in the natural world, and organic matter (the likes of which humans produce and dispose of into landfills every day in abundance) makes the difference between healthy soils and poor ones. Carbon capture needn’t be thought of as just the injection of liquified waste gasses into an aquifer with all of the noxious side effects such processes entail.

              Things like this are doable. I honestly believe that pessimism is the worst obstacle to actually implementing them.

              1. subgenius

                Re. Water wheel in the gulf stream…

                This kind of thing is where the engineering (based in the physics of reality) tends to totally screw you – it’s a great idea in principle, but the physical reality of manufacturing and installing a large enough device to pull significant energy is untenable.

                Tidal power is easier, but still hugely complex.

                And both require the ongoing industrial base to create, install and service. Thus not solutions.

                1. nippersdad

                  I have often thought that if our progenitors were anything like modern Americans we might have made it onto the beach but would never have moved much more than a mile beyond it; you know, just far enough to discover that there were bears in those woods.

                  The “physics of reality” have changed with the millennia, and somehow I do not think that they have ceased to do so yet. Challenges were made to be overcome, and until we test out all of the options I think retiring to a mud hut and waiting for death is premature.

                2. PhilU

                  Trying to tap the Gulf Stream for energy would be catastrophic for Europe. Changing the flow of the Gulf Stream is what created the Little Ice Age… so maybe a good idea at this point.

                3. JTMcPhee

                  Having lived on a boat and cruised some of the ocean, I’d have to note that corrosion is a massive stumbling block to “engineering progress.”

        2. Ivy

          Hello, Waterworld?

          I expect that there will be more interest in floating timeshares, mega-yacht provisioning and such during the lead-up to rising sea levels. That, and more investment in those ELE pampas estancias.

          1. subgenius

            Well, it should be possible to pick up a container ship cheap right about now…

            But the containers would be penthouses, rather than homeless shelters!

        3. Waldenpond

          Not necessarily pre-industrial as earlier tech? Things like canning rather than refrigeration. Growing your own greens and herbs. Walking and riding rather than driving etc. Smaller communities. Should be opportunity in composting waste to build soil rather than sewage systems/treatment sending it to water systems. Some think large cities are the answer for efficiency, I just have difficulty seeing how they get resources in a system that is abandoning infrastructure spending but my time has been spent on learning to grow food and raise a couple of chickens.

          1. subgenius

            Canning is difficult without cans – which require large amounts of energy and substantial ecosystem damage to create. Root cellars, salting, fermenting are closer to the solution.

    2. John Wright

      I watched an interview in which an environmentalist stated her estimate was that about 100million was the sustainable population of the USA.

      There are 38.8 million in CA alone…

      I suggest that school conditions people to believe all problems CAN be solved, because soluble problems are usually given in school, but the climate change problem is not solvable while preserving/promoting an advanced country lifestyle.

      The only carbon dioxide negative country, due to forest growth and low economic activity, is tiny Bhutan, population 750K, representing 0.01% of the earth’s 7.4 billion human population.

      The two candidates sum up the USA approach, deny climate change is a valid concern (Trump) or state that it is a problem, but be unwilling to make any “Hard Choices” about it (Clinton).

      1. HBE

        1-2 billion is what is believed to be the sustainable global population for long term ecological and environmental survival, that we are 5 billion over that and growing ensures things are not going to turn out well.

        But hey, slap up some solar panels and turbines, problem solved! No lifestyle changes or population limits needed. A solar panel a day keeps starvation away! /S (general Sarc not aimed at you in particular JW)

        9 billion here we come.

        1. nippersdad

          Re: “9 billion here we come.”

          Things have already not turned out well, as your references to depleted fish stocks and soil banks attest. I would argue your points about the soil. It only takes five or so years to renovate depleted soils, not one or two thousand, and one could have asked any medieval peasant how to do it.

          Your posts do not take into account HOW one goes about decreasing the fertility of people that do not live within our own realities. How does one tell a South Sudanese mother that the five babies that she had so that she could potentially keep one into maturity, her personal retirement policy, is perceived an unacceptable addition to the planetary population by some guy sitting behind his computer here in the US? Not to be snide, but she would be the first to tell you that mother nature has means for population control, and you are no less subject to them than the four babies she potentially might have lost to any number of realities that we for the most part don’t have to deal with. A few flu pandemics and your ultimate problem will be solved without the need for condescending to those who already have nothing.

          Solar panels and turbines are an answer, however partial, to an immediate need in the very parts of the world that create most of the problem greenhouse gasses that lead to desertification and the spread of disease. Making light of the few genuine contributions the first world can make right now towards ameliorating the problems it has done so much to create is not helping your cause.

          1. HBE

            You are operating on the basis that we are retaining soil in a depleted form. That is not the case it is actually being used to such an extent that there is NONE left to “renovate”. 1 inch of topsoil takes ~500 years to produce and you need more than one inch to successfully cultivate large scale.


            2. I have gone through this in a half a dozen posts here in the past, the short version.

            Redistribute wealth globally, use education/propaganda to make consumerism something to be looked down upon, put in place a system where having more than one child has serious economic and personal consequences. In that order.

            Ah, The third world argument of population control as I like to call it (always the first argument against population limits), easy push money into helping develop those countries instead of exploiting them. But this is besides the fact that Africa is experiencing a population growth explosion of 2.5% per year (way over necessary replenishment rates). Meaning yes even the developing world can cope and even improve their standards by having fewer children.

            What this type of argument really is though is that the developed world shouldn’t work to reduce their population, because the third world isn’t either. There is always an excuse for not making the tough and personally impactful choice no matter how necessary.

            1. nippersdad

              As a Master Gardener, I spent months of my life advising people how to make their cotton monocrop depleted soils and subsoils productive again. Show me the place that will be down to bare stone in the near term. What they have lost is the organic matter in their soils not, by and large, the mineral soil constituents themselves. Soil erosion is a huge issue that affects soil horizons adversely, but not to the degree that you suggest.

              Proper soil conservation techniques can be had in pamphlet form at any Agricultural Extension Agent’s office; the problem lies in the business incentives to actually follow them. If the farmers along the Mississippi River and adjacent streams, for example, actually had to pay up front for everything they allow to erode into the river you would soon see changes to the kinds of runof………………………………………………………………………………………………..

              And so on and so forth. Really, what ever gave you the impression that sneering at people was a viable way of reaching hearts and minds?

              1. HBE

                You cannot conserve soil with a massive and growing population. Decades of work rebuilding and renewing soil can be destroyed in 1-2 seasons, and as growing populations in combination with severe droughts and other global warming induced weather place further strains on soil, renewing it becomes even harder. Soil renewal depends on surplus land, income, or food. If the cotton farmers you worked with didn’t have the land or economic means to survive a season (seasons) of soil renewal, what then? How about the undernourished family whose survival depends on utilizing there degraded soil to survive, with no land to spare because it’s all being utilized by other families in the same predicament. How are they going to survive a season planting a crop they are unable to survive on to renew their soil.

                And if you are using fertilizer or other imported organic material you are just transferring the degradation and erosion to where it was imported from, creating an externality that isn’t directly visible but still exists.

                Overpopulation puts untenable stress on the entire global ecosystem, I am so tired of people giving unsustainable alternatives to avoid the one effective solution, which is simply limiting population growth.


          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I’m as “eco” as the next guy and in fact rode my bike to school in support of the very first Earth Day in 1969 at the age of 13.
            But I keep thinking we are just doing our job as a species, exploiting an ecological niche to the fullest. Soon “the fullest” will mean we die back massively and get closer to an equilibrium carrying capacity level. And eventually of course we will just be a very interesting layer in the geological record.
            It’s OK.

            1. nippersdad

              I’m really glad you said that! Just because something is not politically correct, or tactful or whatever does not make it any less true. Mankind will either survive or it won’t. Mother Nature really doesn’t give a damn either way, and there is something comforting in that.

            2. hunkerdown

              But I keep thinking we are just doing our job as a species, exploiting an ecological niche to the fullest

              Yes, but we’re ostensibly sentient life forms with skills in symbol manipulation, tool creation, and empathy, and destructive activities are facultative once we put words (and resolve, and the community’s resolve to resist Jevon’s paradox) to them.

          3. lyman alpha blob

            I ran across this article earlier today – just throwing it out there as it seems related to your discussion. Unfortunately I can’t seem to read the whole article, just the abstract, but it claims that research shows soils will not be able to sequester as much carbon a previously thought over the next several decades:

            Via Science: Radiocarbon constraints imply reduced carbon uptake by soils during the 21st century

            PS: What goes into becoming a master gardener? I’ve been toying with the idea of doing that for a while but don’t know what goes into it.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Many county extension services (socialism!!!) run master gardener certification training programs. A great place to meet Eco-people in a lot of cases ( not so much where the customers are mostly Big Ag corporate or large farms).

            2. nippersdad

              Thanks for the article! This is one of my “things”, so I am sure it will be most interesting.

              The ways of joining the organization and what you would be working on within it are as varied as the extensions they work with, so I really couldn’t answer that one with any precision. Usually, though, one signs up for a course which covers most different areas of horticulture; some of them quite in depth with ongoing specialized educational opportunities for further study.

              Once passed it is a given that you agree to put in a minimal number of hours per year working with the public (not businesses, the agent will handle all of that), but there are a variety of different public oriented activities that you can choose from (or you can just design a program for yourself and get it OKed by the Board) so it only gets as tedious as you allow it to become. I, for example, work with the public up at the demonstration garden that I help to manage. Others worked on the nature trails with the Native Plant Society. Some people prefer to work in the office answering questions from the public or working with schools and churches to teach kids….you can do pretty much whatever you want as long as it represents some form of horticultural/educational outreach to the public.

              Something to remember is that there is really no such thing as a “Master Gardener”, per se; everyone has their disparate interests, and It soon becomes second nature to refer to others in the community with specialties/activities that you have no real interest in. For example: if you get calls asking for in depth information about growing varietal grapes in the backyard then it is always handy to have a member with a vineyard who is happy to take them through the process of finding out which types suit your climate and growing them properly; they get the information they need and the member gets hours that count against his quota. That takes a lot of the pressure off so that you can have fun with it, and you would be amazed at the number of interesting contacts you can build up through the network. I have been growing things my entire life and some of these people can still amaze me with the things that they do.

              If you have a little time to spare it would be well worth the effort of looking into.

            3. lyman alpha blob

              Thank you both for the replies! I really need to look into this – my garden is so hit and miss and I can’t figure out whether the problem is the weather or me when things go wrong. I’ve grown just about everything I’ve tried well at least one year but can’t get it to be consistent. I’m infested with tomato/potato blight and mildew and can’t seem to get rid of it with what I’ve tried so far so more education is definitely in order.

          4. Waldenpond

            Five years just doesn’t seem possible. I started a garden and wanted to see how long it took to repair after reading gardening books suggesting 3 – 5 years. I have chickens, grow cover crops, plant crops to feed the soil, keep every leaf and twig on site etc. It has now been 5 years and I still have to bring in outside compost and blood and bone meal.

            I enjoy learning new skills. But it’s scary when you don’t see the worms, beetles, bees etc come raging back. Try not bringing in the compost and the yield drops. It’s a very slow and continuous process.

            1. nippersdad

              Just judging from the list you have given me of imports into your soils, they sound a little heavy on the nitrogen. A (really bad!) metaphor might be that you may have too much protein and could use some more carbs and fiber to provide some bulk to your soil’s diet.

              A couple of things I would suggest:

              First get a soil test. That will give you a broad overview of the kind of soil you have achieved to date and will give you suggestions as to what you can usefully add in the near term which would improve any trace mineral deficits, PH alterations, etc. You are prolly REALLY good there already, but at six bucks for the test it is usually well worth the investment every couple of years.

              Second, I would do a tilth test to find out what kind of bulk organic matter your soils actually hold. Good drainage and the oxygen availability that it confers is often as important, or moreso, than soil fertility. Beetles and worms, for example, need something to break down, and turned under crops often rot too quickly for them to go through their full life cycle. You may need something bulkier than that. You might, perhaps, contact tree firms and find out if they have bulk chippings going begging. If you have room for a large compost pile, some of these would be perfect to turn in a year or so after you receive them. If you don’t, you can sheet compost your garden paths with them and then use the rotted duff layer that will collect at the bottom later (just rake the larger chunks off to get at the stuff you want). Even rotted wood chips will eat some of the nitrogen you have banked, but what you lose there you will gain in potash and tilth; again, well worth the time investment if you can swing it.

              Finally, you may need to inoculate your soil to get more of the critters you seem to be missing. Excess nitrogen, as is found in fresh chicken manures, can and will burn out the worms and soil microorganisms so necessary to healthy plant growth, and the composts that one buys have often been pasteurized specifically to eliminate the molds and fungi, for example, that can cause dieback in the seedlings it is used on. You might find a nice bottom somewhere in the woods and fill a two gallon bucket with the duff layer soil you find there. Spread it thinly over your garden this Fall just prior to your winter mulching and see where that takes you. If your soil is healthy and well balanced, the bad stuff in your inoculant will have parity with the good stuff and you should have minimal difficulties from the importation of something like that into your biome.

              Soils are like any other single organism in that it needs all of the same things that they do. They need food, water, shelter, etc., in order to be fully productive. Once providing those things becomes a habit you will find that it gets a whole lot easier and relatively worry free. There will always be inputs necessary, but the process ultimately need not be either slow or expensive to achieve phenomenal results.

              1. nippersdad

                Failed to mention: Should you go the free wood chip route, it is a good idea to find out what types of wood the truck contains before they dump it on your property. Ideally you want something like pine or fir; something that Mother Nature specifically designed to rot and build soil volumes quickly. Seriously, pines were designed to die and build soil; that is pretty much their sole function. Avoid like the plague anything with walnut or other trees with lots of juglone in them as it is a natural plant inhibitor, or anything with lots of seeds. Most everything else will prolly be fine, some species may just take more time to rot than others. This is the fastest and cheapest way to build soil volumes quickly, though, so it is well worth the trouble in the end.

                If you do this often enough, you may ultimately find yourself adding clay fill dirt just to get some trace minerals in there! If you get to that point you will then know that you have succeeded in making some truly great soil.

            2. subgenius

              Crushed rock dust for remineralization, Terra preta (weathered charcoal, compost/manure, crushed bone – or fish) to help bind the minerals and make them more avaable to root systems) and dead animal/fish materials all help hugely, too.

              1. nippersdad

                Just to expand upon your point: If he adds the animal remains, though (and I would say the same for the chicken manures he is using as well), unless he is going to go to the trouble of implementing a deep trench composting system he will need to make absolutely sure that they are fully composted before adding them to the soils. NOTHING is worse than fresh animal bits for making smells and attracting big critters and flies. If he lives in a subdivision this could be cause for the neighbors to break out the tar and feathers!

                Barrell composters are excellent for this purpose, and I would highly recommend them to anyone who wants to fully utilize all of their kitchen scraps. Lots and lots of brown stuff added to the finely ground animal remains will keep the smells down during the process.

    3. Nobody (the outcast)

      The too-many-humans argument is nihilistic and a deflection. Increased CO2 into the atmosphere and oceans is the number one driver. Poor farming methods, deforestation, over-consumption of fossil fuels (and everything else) are to blame, not numbers of humans per se. It is perfectly possible to feed the world and sequester carbon without destroying soil and destroying forests. Soil can be maintained as long as there are rocks for soil life to dissolve. It is perfectly possible for humanity to survive and prosper without turning insane amounts of energy into atmospheric carbon and heat. The argument amounts to humans are too ignorant and/or stupid to live with nature, so the amount of humans is the problem. No, it is human ignorance and/or stupidity that is the problem. It’s not the numbers, it’s how those numbers behave, and Western humans behave the worst and they are exporting their behavior all over the world. Yes, the negative behaviors are amplified by more humans doing them, but reducing the numbers does nothing to solve the negative behaviors. The economic system the west, and increasingly the world, lives under (exploitative “Capitalism”) was designed to ignore thermodynamics, biosphere services and externalities. So is it any surprise that these negative behaviors have become accepted as normal and considered a birthright? We won’t be screwed because there are too many of us, we will be screwed because we fail to challenge our assumptions and recognize and correct our mistakes.

      1. HBE

        Yes better more sustainable methods are important. but you are saying by implementing these we can have infinite population growth which is insane.

        9 billion no problem
        12 billion no problem
        20 billion no problem
        Ad infinitum, right?

        Do you really believe that?

        All the factors you mention are amplified beyond sustainability because of the size of the world’s population.

          1. HBE

            I have seen the video before, so the fact we already have runaway overpopulation means we should do nothing right?

            (in general) The pretzels I see people twist to avoid even admitting in the possibility that maybe they shouldn’t be having so many kids amazes me.

            Very few ever say yeah let’s push for green energy and try to limit population growth, or let’s live more sustainably and try to limit population growth.

            It’s almost always some variant of “let’s do this this and this, then we don’t have to limit population growth, or then population growth is sustainable”.

            1. PhilU

              Lets rule out the horrible ideas of forced sterilization and China’s one child policy (that generation of way to many men is a time bomb waiting to explode). The only option is to increase standard of living and access to birth control. Going from living on $1 a day to $10 is sufficient to cut the birth rate and not substantially increase CO2. You’ll want to head to Africa and start fixing that.

              That 11 Billion figure doesn’t count all the natural disasters we have already created from our careless CO2 emissions. Or the millions that will die in the pointless wars that Hillary Clinton will start. Or the inevitable fighting over resources once the Climate starts wiping them out.

          2. Synoia

            You need to review life death curves.

            Not only is there exponential growth, there is also exponential decline.

          3. Jeotsu

            As we grow towards 11 or so billion the pressure to clear ever more “wild” land will be near unstoppable. We must have our mono-culture crops and cheeseburgers.

            If we get to the point where fundamentally destabilize the underlying ecology of the planet we’ll cross right past “exponential decline of human population” and into Permian extinction event-equivalent time.

            If nothing else that will certainly ensure the Anthropocene leaves a nice big mark in the geologic record!

        1. Nobody (the outcast)

          I never claimed to know the exact number of sustainable human population and no one knows. It is the wrong question. Like I said, it is deflection. All those numbers are based on living the way we live without questioning the way we live. You could just as easily say, “If you want to mitigate climate change, kill yourself (preferably before you reproduce).”
          Poverty and insecurity increase birth rates. So the logical response, if you want to decrease birthrates, is to reduce poverty and insecurity. The U.S., its “owners,” the IMF, World Bank, multinationals, etc. create poverty and insecurity in a delusional effort to maintain hegemony, satiate greed and make the world fit their models. Of course, they are not alone. They are aided and abetted by so-called leaders around the world and the implicit support of U.S. citizens. IMO, over-population concerns are a deflection from the deeper issues. (FYI, I have no offspring.)

          1. hunkerdown

            the outcast, both/and. There, solved the problem. Give up your toys (in which middle Americans would include spawn, if they were being honest with themselves) and pick up your tools, and maybe we can all have a healthy, honest standard of living with some modest comforts and enough space to find pleasure where we find it.

            To the Whig, the arrow always sets in the northeast…

        2. subgenius

          Ahhhh, but reduce the actions creating the issues by a percentage that is sufficient…and you will as a side effect lose most (if not all) industrial capacity.

          At which point modern technologies will fail. Modern medicine will fail. Modern industrial farming will fail. The ability to project force to distant lands will fail. The ability to use buildings over 5-6 floors will fail. The ability to reside in massive cities will fail.

          Don’t reduce, and the ability of thr biosphere to maintain large mammals will fail.

          At which point you won’t need to worry about an increasing population for very long.

      2. HBE

        Some basic info, you cannot reach sustainability by lowering consumption alone at current population levels, let alone a growing one.

        If 7 billion is somehow sustainable to you, at which point does overpopulation become an issue for you, or is 12 or 20 billion just as sustainable as 7 appears to you? I would really like an answer.

      3. Anonymous

        Nope. It’s not a question of can we feed all the humans.

        It’s the reality that growing human population—where every human is clawing its way to a middle class lifestyle or better—-results in the destruction and extirpation of all other living species on the planet.

        Habitat destruction, pollution, over-fishing, fragmented forests, etc. spell doom for all other species.


        There would be drastically LESS global climate change if we had drastically fewer humans on the planet.

  12. ProNewerDeal

    anyone have any “best practice tips” on evaluating state & local office candidates on the upcoming Nov ballot?

    I am a habitual low-info voter on state & local issues, although I feel well informed on national & international/geopolitics issues.

    It is amazing that it seems that so much attention in this election has focused on the Pres race, with hardly any attention on the other offices, even say US Senate races.

    I typically request a mail ballot, so at least it gives me time to internet-research some of the candidates. When in doubt, I vote for the Green (on the very few offices they actually have a candidate for, I think only Pres, US Senator, & County Water District Commissioner this election), then Ds as Lesser Evil Voting. If it is a nonpartisan race, I see if some group like the ACLU has made endorsements & just “copy exactly”.

    1. DJG

      Try, which also originates in Illinois but serves the whole country.

      The Green Party of Illinois already has a list of its endorsed candidates at its site.

      And as marym writes, IVI IPO.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg picks up the same public pension underfunding theme raised by the L.A. Times in its ongoing series on Calpers:

    The unfunded liabilities of U.S. public pensions — measuring how much more they need to cover all the benefits that have been promised — are already rising. The obligations stood at $1.95 trillion at the end of June, an increase of $510 billion since the end of 2013, according to the Fed’s figures.

    The resulting strain has led to credit rating cuts to New Jersey, Kentucky and Chicago, which in 2015 was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service. Illinois, the lowest-ranked state, has been downgraded twice by S&P since 2013 and three times by Moody’s.

    In places like Chicago, where the pensions are short a combined $34 billion, the dwindling returns may diminish efforts to pull them out of the hole.

    The [Chicago] municipal fund assumes returns of 7.5 percent. “If markets are flat or negative in upcoming years, we will continue to lose principal at a double digit rate,” Jim Mohler, executive director of the fund, told lawmakers in Chicago on Monday. “The projected insolvency for the fund will escalate.”

    Jim Mohler in Chicago sounds like Rukaiyah Adams of Oregon’s investment fund, who broke down in tears when describing how poor they are.

    Remember, these dire warnings are coming during the eighth year of a bull market. Years, in other words, when pension funding should have been improving from better investment returns.

    States have screwed the pooch on an epic scale by overestimating returns under lax governmental accounting standards. If the recession that I have penciled in for 2017-18 occurs, it’s gonna be like 1932 all over again in statehouses across the land.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Oops, the Oregonian has corrected its article:

      Rukaiyah Adams, the vice chair of the Oregon Investment Council, made an impassioned appeal for Oregon leaders to address the public employee pension fund’s $22 billion deficit.

      She did not break down in tears, as The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Wednesday. We regret publication of the error.

      Okay, she didn’t cry. She just whimpered a little.

      1. Brian

        It is bad when an Oregonian finds out about the pension problem from Jim on Sunday morning. I heard a small burb that there was a fact finding mission to determine how bad it is. (buffet lunch) And I even stomach the state newspeddler each day to scan for things of interest. But since all the papers in our state are “connected”, we don’t expect much.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      No, states have mainly chosen to underfund. Illinois and NJ are poster children. Christine Todd Whitman chose to stop funding the NJ pension despite advice otherwise. These were bad political choices, not inherent defects of public pensions, as you try to insinuate.

      And many public pension funds also got no funding in the years they appeared to be overfunded, in the late 1990s. That was the case with CalPERS and other CA public pension funds. You as a believer that market prices are every and always virtuous no doubt would have backed that action.

      In the most fabulously underfunded pension system, Kentucky, the bigger driver is outright corruption. And who is their longstanding outside counsel? None other than our favorite, Robert Klaunser, recently booted from CalPERS.

      And you airbrush out the impact of the crisis on pension funds. They had to keep paying benefits out of depleted assets in 2008 and 2009. A lot of otherwise healthy systems became underfunded as a result, such as CalPERS and CalSTRS.

      1. John k

        But weren’t we clearly blowing bubbles in2005-7?
        So pensions logically looked pretty good st the top of the bubble, back to earth mid 08, and negative early 09… But looking at the long term trend, we only got back to trend then, at which point fed hastily blows bubble back up to today’s near record.
        Pensions look healthy only when equities bonds far above trend, like now…

        Wait… They don’t actually look so great, how did they avoid being fully funded with long term bonds and equities both at all time highs? Where, exactly did they park their assets? As a Calpers beneficiary I’d like to know.

        Certainly funds underfunded just now will look a little worse in the next recession.

  14. allan

    Down the Charlotte PD’s Memory Hole: From @davidmackau,

    Charlotte police @CMPD just deleted ALL their tweets from today. But here they are for reference:

    Once Twitter is assimilated, will tweets like this be allowed? Or will they violate the Terms of Service?

    1. hunkerdown

      Good to see Bank of America’s finest have a solid pattern and practice of preserving digital evidence against interest. /s

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: I Was RFK’s Speechwriter. Now I’m Voting for Trump. Here’s Why. Politico

    Flawed as he may be, Trump is telling more of the truth than politicians of our day. Most important, he offers a path away from constant war, a path of businesslike accommodation with all reasonable people and nations, concentrating our forces and efforts against the true enemies of civilization. Thus, to dwell on his faults and errors is to evade the great questions of war and peace, life and death for our people and our country. You and I will have to compensate for his deficits of civility, in return for peace, we may hope as Lincoln hoped, among ourselves and with all nations.

    No doubt, clinton supporters will snicker and deride efforts to treat Trump’s positions seriously as this essay does.

    But for anyone who is the slightest bit aware of how the maniac imperialists have hijacked the public means of persuasion for a generation to the detriment of countless foreign countries as well as our own, the obsession with turning Trump into a cartoon character with joke “policies” should sound an alarm.

    No “politician” was ever going to buck this system. Bernie Sanders, fiery and committed though he was, proved that. It was always going to take an over-sized personality with an over-sized ego to withstand the shit storm that a demand for profound change would create, and some “incivility” seems a small price to pay to break the vice grip of the status quo.

    I, for one, have no intention of squandering this opportunity to throw sand in the gears. There has never been a third candidate allowed to plead their case in a presidential “debate” since Ross Perot threw a scare into TPTB in 1992. Should clinton manage to pull this one out, the lesson of Trump will be learned, and we may not be “given” the opportunity to choose an “outsider” again for a very long time. It’s worth taking a minute to separate the message from the messenger.

    1. subgenius

      No doubt, clinton supporters will snicker and deride efforts to treat Trump’s positions seriously as this essay does.

      Read the comments…

  16. Alex morfesis

    Charlotte protesters hate white people…so what…even if true, so what…why do black people have to be all balanced, loving, forgiving Buddhist monks and white people get to blurt out “their feelings”….

    1. craazyman

      you better get a tan soon, if you’re white and wanna save your sorry ass.. they’ze comin for ya.

      tanning salons could be in for some booming business. Or tan cream. I remember they used to sell tan cream so you could just lather up and make it look like you were at the beach

      It would make me nervous if I was a redneck living near a hood. I’m not sure even having a tan would save you. Just glad i’m in New Yawk where the cool, beautiful, smart, successful people live.. We’re way to cool for race riots in New Yawk. (At least in Manhatttan) (At least south of about 110th street)

      I’m just waitig for when the nail salon girls finally rebel. That could get bad fast. But hopefully if one comes running at me I’ll be quick thinkin and find a way to go have a glass of wine with her in a bistro and talk it over.

      They remind me of Woodie Guthrie pastures of Plenty:
      “On the edge of your cities, you’ll see me and then
      I come with the dust and I’m gone with the wind”

      all the people whose souls you don’t see, they could have their own country somewhere, maybe even their own planet.

    2. nippersdad

      Or even Christian pastors like Reverend Wright, for that matter. The stricture to love your neighbor does not mean that you must ignore your neighbors faults when they can be used as teaching moments for the greater good. The early Catholic Church did not maintain a martyr list to make the Romans feel good about themselves.

  17. timbers

    Dronemaster69 — Our Nobel “peace” President’s pseudo email name in Clinton email. What more needs to said?

    1. katiebird

      I wonder if the President’s pseudonym had it’s own account on Clinton’s server …. or if it had a .gov account … or what.

      1. timbers

        Sorry My mistake I was reading too quickly and mistook snark, I withdrawn this comment have no indication what Obama’s pseudo is.

        1. katiebird

          I wasn’t being snarky. I’m seriously wondering where his pseudonym’s email lived. And (while I’m at it) how many messages it sent. And more. I want to know everything about it.

  18. HBE

    Just watched Samantha powers speak at the emergency UN security counsel meeting on Syria, how she managed to keep a straight face is completely beyond me.

    Basically Russia needs to take responsibility for its actions in Syria and the war would be over if those damn Russians would GTFO and quit disrupting the US and GCC regime change operations.

    It appears everything would be going swimmingly if Russia would just leave the “rebels” alone and let the US turn Syria into Libya, I mean is that so much to ask for? /S

    1. tgs

      The people Obama has chosen to represent him are almost all fanatics. Samantha Power and Ash Carter stand out as true psychopaths. Carter actually openly defied Obama on the Syria ceasefire.

      Robert Parry has an excellent piece out today on the rush to judgment about the attack on the humanitarian convoy.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      It has been particularly infuriating to see the Chanel-suited Berkeley types be the ones to embrace imperial fascist war-making with such glee.
      I happened to recognize Susan Rice travelling sans bodyguard with her girlfriend at the airport in Chiang Mai Thailand and had a delicious time giving her a full piece of my mind. Unedited truth to power with nowhere to hide, she reacted with a glaze that said “you are just an idiot peon” but I could see she was shaken.

  19. Roger Smith

    From the Clinton Foreign Policy article:

    “I’m trying to figure out what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. You know, diplomacy is not about getting to the perfect solution. It’s about how you balance the risks.”

    Right there Clinton proves that she has absolutely no idea how basic diplomacy or negotiation (what the democrats like to call “compromise”) works. You start from your best possible outcome (without treating your partner as a subhuman piece of trash or calling them by 3rd grade slanderous names) and work your way down to an agreement. You don’t start from the worst possible outcome and work your way up like some crazy sadist. No wonder her judgement is so terrible. Her “success” measure is set just above ” complete and utter failure, destruction”.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      “Get Russia to the table”? Why would Putin want to “get to the table” when he knows very well the menu consists solely of a sh*t sandwich and the dinner host is calling you “Hitler”?

  20. Dale

    Here’s the thing.

    “But when he saw his 7-year-old daughter looking at the cover of Girls’ Life magazine, he felt he had to do something…A few rows up sat Boys’ Life magazine.”

    The Boys’ Life and the Girls’ Life magazines were both on the same rack. The girl herself picked up the Girls’ Life Magazine, because she liked what she saw on the cover. And that’s ok.

    1. Ivy

      Elsewhere in many libraries, curious youngsters may find the following:



      Or, as many households may call them, helpful references for Childhood 101 in an age where experiences otherwise tend to be curated. Free-range kids and their spirited lives are still out there, and it takes a little more research to find them.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Really? Women’s salons are also full of fashion magazines, despite the fact that studies have repeatedly found that reading a fashion magazine makes a woman depressed. Looking at models who look impossibly good due to having fake boobs, living on cocaine, cigarettes and uppers, and being photographed with tons of makeup and great lighting, and routinely having the pix airbrushed will do that.

      Why do women read them then? Short answer: internalized peer pressure. You are supposed to look a certain way, know what’s cool, wear the current “in” clothes and makeup colors. And there’s also the fear of not being able to attract or keep a man (even though a lot of fashionable looks don’t appeal much if at all to men).

      A parent is responsible for (among other things) trying to have their child be mentally heathy. That sort of magazine undermines that aim. Footbinding was once “normal” in China and was necessary for a woman to be deemed attractive enough to be marriage material. Your blindness to the damaging effects of the pressure on women and increasingly men to look good (and for women, to not be threatening to men by being too smart or too assertive) is remarkable.

      1. Roger Smith

        Gender stereotyping is awful, ever present, and seemingly impenetrable as a sort of policy movement. It’s amazing how nothing seems to have changed beneficially since Goffman. I can’t wait for ethics to become law… one day…

        Doug Fieger wrote a Knack song called ‘Mister Magazine’ about the slag that is garbage journalism, that includes the great line and almighty defense of poor practice, “Of course it’s the public’s right to buy it…”

  21. Dave

    Want to Slow Climate Change? Stop IMMIGRANTS FROM Having Babies IN THE U.S.

    Americans have already done their part to limit population growth and reach a sustainable level of population. People that are promoting third world immigration into the U.S. are undoing that.

    Five children in the Third World gathering sticks for firewood or living a subsistence life in a Central American village affects climate change far less than four, three or even as little as two of that same family’s children children in the U.S. riding around in a ten year old SUV, living in an air conditioned then heated low income apartment, buying the latest Icrap and then having children repeating the process to the point where the proud grandparents may have produced 30 plus grandchildren all demanding the fossil fuel and electricity consumed in the United States.

    1. subgenius

      Oh, that’s right, it’s all the fault of the OTHERS.

      History repeats, but some are too fkn stoopid and unedumacated to see…here come the fascists (as if they ever left)

      1. Dave

        Climate change is base on numbers of molecules of carbon. It’s arithmetic. You are throwing emotions and personal opinions in as though they were superior to or even equal to arithmetic. It’s about numbers, not your feelings. Love your avatar!

        1. Subgenius

          Hmmmm. Obviously you miss the point.

          The ENTIRE first world population needs to reduce energy use and related pollution to the level of third world peasants…

          …at which point it becomes IRRELEVANT where people live…

          Americans have done all they can to screw the environmental and climate balance – I will give you that.

        2. Roger Smith

          Human life, arguably most organisms at some level (just look at some of our beautiful antidotes), is inextricably linked to emotive behavior and feelings. Just because they are abstract and do not fit into number sheets is no reason to disregard them. If we are all numbers, what is the point? Might as well just punish or kill everyone by that logic.

    2. hunkerdown

      Americans have already done their part to limit population growth and reach a sustainable level of population

      By creating television channels devoted to unsustainable broods? Because one Eight Is Enough isn’t enough?

      You merely want to create a class of undeserving to contrast with your essential deserts. Try again, this time without treating unnecessary consumption as a right or as a given.

      1. wilroncanada

        And also by killing millions of them before they are able to follow their stolen resources here, and by diverting millions more into permanent nomadism, or into Europe, our poodle states.
        One day the poodles will bite us.

  22. Andrew

    The boycott against The Sun in Liverpool started in the late 80s after their slanderous coverage of the Hillsborough disaster and has continued to this day, good to see it’s still being (offically) encouraged. If only they could widen it to include the rest of Murdoch’s empire (including Sky Sports).

  23. crittermom

    Alex morfesis–
    Maybe it’s because those in power prefer to keep a ‘race war’ going so it diverts attention away from a govt that is screwing all of us except that 1%, and keeps us divided?

    Note your own question: “why do black people have to be all balanced, loving, forgiving Buddhist monks and white people get to blurt out “their feelings”…”
    Doesn’t your question serve to further perpetuate that division by race?

    ALL people, no matter their race, should be pissed and protesting about cops killing innocent black men (or innocent people of any race, for that matter).

    The biggest fear of those in power is that of all of the people uniting, no matter our color.
    Together, we have strength in numbers. Divided, we’re only fighting each other.

    MSM is happy to oblige in turning us against each other, hence, the division only worsens with each new story and headlines such as this.
    Just as planned.

    1. ilporcupine

      Calling out the existing and purposeful divisions of people is not “divisive”. The divisions were made by one segment of the populace, and imposed on another.
      See: Sundown towns, redlining, and on and on…

      Crittermom, I am sure your heart is in the right place, but we cannot just hide from reality. Unity? YES, PLEASE, but it will not happen if we do not acknowledge legitimate concerns in the present, as well as the past. We can only be united, or at the very least cooperative, if we can trust each other. I see forces at work trying to prevent that happening, as apperently does Alex.

      As for myself, a very poor, white human, all I can do is try to understand what others are feeling, as I cannot feel it, with them. It is their experience, not mine.

  24. torff

    Regarding the point that gender pressures are stronger now than in the past, I’m not sure I’d generally agree with that. (Not necessarily because I strongly disagree either, but simply because I’m not sufficiently versed in the evidence.) But in support of that point, there was an article a few years ago about how gendered toys are now compared to the past.

    1. temporal

      Having grown up in that far gone era of 50 years ago my memory is that toys by gender was pretty much the same as now. Except that boys had dolls called GI Joe and girls had technology called an Easy Bake Oven.

      My sister and I did not generally use each others toys except when we played war with the neighbors. Then everyone had some sort of toy gun to bring. But then I grew up in Montana and had real guns as well, as did my sister. Now both genders tend to focus on smart phones and tablets for much of their entertainment so I’d call it a wash on toys.

      I have noticed that many parents today seem to really go all out to dress girls in the kind of extreme feminine attire that my sister wouldn’t even have worn on Halloween. Whether this is by pressure or marketing is hard to determine.

      1. hunkerdown

        Might that be a class thing? Most of the women and girls in my lower-middle class block seem to dress in chav chic in their off-hours: loose-fitting cotton leggings (or too-tight sweats), a T-shirt or some sort of dress, and blonde highlights on shoulder-ish length hair in a bun and/or ponytail. Jeans aren’t very popular on women in the neighborhood.

        I wonder if the trend toward school uniforms has something to do with this. I do suspect that the commodity fetishization of youth, evidenced by parents’ expressed interest in having a doll to play with, and the gentle discouragement of maturation as a result, have something to do with it.

    2. Buttinsky

      The 1960s were my “formative” years. Here’s my report card on that long ago revolution:

      Equal rights for African Americans: Significant progress, though racism still poisons us and our society.

      “Gay rights”: The progress that’s been made by all the gender mavericks who get lumped into the “LGBT community” was, quite literally, unimaginable back then. Still, work to be done (see the immediately following item).

      Gender equality: The lack of progress in ending social disparities between men and women has been shockingly disillusioning. Men are still expected to be “men” and women are still expected to be “women.” The gender dipole, even more so than “race,” poisons everything as much as ever.

      Transportation: The flying cars that The Jetsons promised me has been an even bigger bust.

      1. Buttinsky

        For those unaware of the fact, it bears pointing out that gender stereotypes remain as important to same-sexers (like me) and the transgendered as to anyone else. Only the proudly intersex — those born with ambiguous genitalia and reluctant to claim “male” or “female” — seem to be genuinely willing to go without such stereotypes in 2016.

        1. Bubba_Gump

          Trans people are given a hard time for declaring trans-ness yet not embracing gender stereotypes, especially the silly ones. Historically the gatekeepers have used it against us… so you do what you gotta do, even if your mind falls closer to the middle of the spectrum.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      When I was in college, women wore no makeup, jeans and sweatshirts. Guys wore jeans and sweatshirts. The women who wanted to still got laid aplenty.

      I was shocked to see when I was doing campus recruiting in the early-mid 1980s how women overwhelmingly were wearing makeup and much more feminine attire just to go to classes.

      1. Bubba_Gump

        I think much of it goes to status indication, in a culture that has become more disparate between classes.

  25. Synoia

    Fences and walls along the Balkan route

    “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”

    The defeat and dismemberment of the Soviet Union is having all the appearance of the hand of the Goddess Hubris. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

    I do wonder in the NeoCon planning of “The Project New Century” if there was any consideration given to the people of the region and their actions in fleeing from the conflicts ignited by the policy. Open discussion of the suggestion would have raised all manner of this an similar issues, embarrassing the authors by at least asking the questions.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The spectacle of Europeans scratching their heads and wondering “why are so many refugees coming?” is hilarious, zero connection between raining bombs on their countries for 15 years straight and the fact the people there might be desperate to leave the vicinity.

  26. Synoia

    Want to Slow Climate Change? Stop Having Babies Bloomberg

    The quickest mechanism to cutting population growth is promoting poor people to the middle class. This involves higher pay.

    It does not involve massive, increasing rent extraction by the wealthy.

    Do I note cognitive dissonance at work here?

    Aka: Copulating Peasants – It’s all your fault?

    1. Paper Mac

      Population is the favoured red herring of genocidaires who wish to justify their consumption. 5% of the global population’s consumption is responsible for 50% of the emissions.

      1. Vatch

        I was too busy on Sept. 25 to read the links or to make comments, so I’m a little late, but I have to respond to this.

        People who recognize the harm caused by overpopulation are not “genocidaires”; indeed, most are the complete opposite. Overpopulation causes poverty, pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, over fishing, the over use of fresh water, and increases competition for resources that adds to the risk of war. There’s nothing remotely genocidal about calling for lower birth rates.

        You are correct that a small part of the world’s population is responsible for a disproportionate amount of emissions, but so say that 5% of the people cause 50% of the emissions is a gross exaggeration.

        The poor majority of the world only cause a small amount of emissions, but don’t they have the right to improve their lot in life? And if they become richer, they will certainly increase their emissions. So what’s the solution? Do we insist that the poor remain poor, because their emissions will increase if they become wealthier? That’s a repulsive idea. People need to stop having so many babies, whether they are rich, middle class, or poor. And yes, the rich need to drastically reduce their emissions, but as that happens, we can be sure that others will increase their emissions.

    2. subgenius

      …and by promoting people to the middle class, you massively increase their energy and material demands – thus negating any reduction in numbers…in fact making them HUGELY more of an issue.

    3. hunkerdown

      Synoia, you’d be destroying the very threat that makes an orderly middle class possible: penury. Surely you don’t think those people are given all those privileges without some sort of recourse?

      Still: finance needs forced breeding to make up for the times when whipping the peasants harder doesn’t deliver their entitled 3%. It is because of finance that mass media broadcasts a culture to favor replacement rates of reproduction (or more, as needed).

      Besides, isn’t Abrahamism just an overgrown fertility cult, once you strip all the feels off of it?

  27. John k

    Wanna slow climate change? Plus, we emit 3x more carbon per capita than Western Europe…
    Some here say climate change is our biggest existential problem, and the real issue is too many people, So
    Guns kill, gun control bad?
    Wars kill, more wars good? Plus less breeding in war zones. (May affect your vote.)
    Starvation kills, stop food aid?
    Disease kills, stop research in deadly diseases?
    And it’s past time to tell all the third worlders to stop all that dreaming about higher standard of living, they need to stay on their rice paddies.

    Yes, women’s education/birth control would help in those countries lacking same, but as the world gallops towards 9 billion the US would need to pull out all the stops… our country’s massive per capita sinning mean we emit as if 1 billion or so live here. We have a lot of extra miles to go. Think about what we would have to do to cut emissions here 2/3 and get down to Western Europe levels.

    Of course people find the topic uncomfortable, who will step up and cut first? Or make the ultimate sacrifice and jump off? And now, back to the election, sex, action movies and other fun stuff.

    (Imagine we discover a large asteroid will hit us, but not for another 100 years…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      So, one middle class person consumes 3x a middle class western European.

      And one middle class European consumes ?X a poor Third World person?

      Hopefully, a middle class Third World person is wiser than a middle class western European, so when more Third World poor persons becomes middle class Third World person, there is no increase in carbon emission.

      I think we need to address inequality.

      Regarding climate change, those already in the middle and especially, the 1%, need to reduce consumption.

      1. subgenius

        Everybody in the first world needs to reduce energy use.

        To almost zero.

        If you want to really get down to reality…

  28. Paper Mac

    The AR-15 blindfold ad is pretty funny for anyone familiar with the design- great, you can drop a bolt in an upper and mate an upper to a lower blindfolded… I can assemble lego blindfolded too!

    1. wilroncanada

      My son-in-law ran a game convention for seven years. One of the games operated by the local lego users group was trying to create a finished figure blindfolded.

  29. fresno dan

    California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation that requires certain entertainment sites, such as IMDb, to remove – or not post in the first place – an actor’s age or birthday upon request.

    The law, which becomes effective January 1, applies to entertainment database sites that allow paid subscribers to post resumes, headshots or other information for prospective employers. Only a paying subscriber can make a removal or non-publication request. Although the legislation may be most critical for actors, it applies to all entertainment job categories.

    Its hard to imagine that someone wouldn’t be able to find out an actor’s (of any stature) age if they were so inclined, so it strikes me as a waste of time. A much better law would be that any actor could have his/her performance from a Michael Bay movie expunged from all media for eternity upon request. Undoubtedly, there are many other actor’s performances in particular movies that should also be subject to the law…

    1. hunkerdown

      fresno dan, NO. You work for Michael Riefenstahl, you own it for eternity.

      And that’s exactly what Edmund G. Brown liberalism is all about: comforting the comfortable and giving the afflicted false hope.

    2. RabidGandhi

      A better one yet would be an app for me to expunge certain actors from all media for eternity. Just imagine, Kevin Costner movies would actually be watchable, Michael Bolton songs would actually be listenable… Hey now that I think of it, there are so many things to expunge Jerry Brown from. I’m gonna need more RAM.

    3. wilroncanada

      An old joke from the telex days, using abbreviated language:

      Newspaper: How old John Wayne?

      Studio PR person: Old John Wayne fine. How you?

    4. Daryl

      This is pretty bizarre. Can I request that Facebook not display my age or birthday? (Not that they have my real ones anyway).

  30. Plenue

    “Syria conflict: UN chief ‘appalled’ by Aleppo escalation”

    Translation: “Oh no, our proxies are surrounded and being ground into dust. Human rights! Human rights! Please stop bombing!”

      1. Plenue

        Not sure what you’re getting at. Kurds have little role in the battle for Aleppo. They have a small bit of territory in the north of the city and helped to secure the Castello road, but that’s it.

        1. ewmayer

          Synoia wins the NC hipster-quipster award of the day for his clever working-in of a pun-reference to the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme.

  31. Kim Kaufman

    I haven’t seen this posted here (which doesn’t mean it hasn’t been and I missed it):

    The PennyStock Chronicles

    “David Dayen, a persistent chronicler of how oligarchs exploit the financial system to enrich themselves at the expense of others, writes about Chris DiIorio, a stock analyst who for 10 years has obsessively investigated how exactly he came to lose $1 million on one penny stock. A remarkable story ensues.”

    It’s a seven-parter, presently at Part 4. I’m waiting for them all to start reading.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      *Sigh*. I have to tell you, this may be interesting from a gumshoe perspective, but in terms of abuses, this is literally a penny-ante, long known scam. Anyone who knows the most basic things about investing knows that penny stocks are pump and dump operations. And anyone who invested in them does not deserve to call himself an “analyst”. He should be properly called a “mark”. You’ve got much better odds of making money by going to Vegas than “investing” in penny stocks. Investors are told repeatedly to stay well away from them, but the same way some will fall for get rich quick schemes that are obvious cons, so to are people attracted to penny stocks, since the price swings are so huge, and they similarly fantasize that they can catch the pricing right or believe the promoter/scam artists’ pitch, and think they will get a 10 or 50 bagger. I find it very hard to muster any sympathy for investors in penny stocks.

  32. Kim Kaufman

    Dunno if this has been posted here but this is part 3: “The following is adapted from the new book Superpredator: Bill Clinton’s Use and Abuse of Black America.

    The Evictor-in-Chief

    Bill Clinton’s crime policies left many poor people with only two options: prison, or homelessness.
    by Nathan J. Robinson

    It’s really, really damning on Clinton. Heartbreaking meanness for political gain. #NeverHillary

  33. vidimi

    re russian sanctions not in serbia’s national interest, i wasn’t aware that serbia is a member of the EU

  34. Procopius

    These analysts need to get out and see more of the heartland.

    LOL! You mean, actually visit flyover country? Hahahahahahaha. They make their own reality.

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