Links 9/5/2016

Giant Pandas, Symbol of Conservation, Are No Longer Endangered National Geographic. Unlike great apes… L

Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker Ars Tecnnica (original).

Emerging markets on track to set sovereign debt record FT

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Files for U.S. Bankruptcy Protection WSJ

How electricity providers siphoned more than $20M from Maine customers Bangor Daily News

Car Makers Scrutinized on Self-Driving Claims WSJ. Car makers? How about Silicon Valley?!

European Ruling Highlights Apple’s Corrupted Business Model iNet

The New Cheating Economy Chronicle of Higher Education

Stop ignoring misconduct Nature

G-20 Leaders Challenged to Find Effective Plan to Reignite World Growth WSJ

The World Comes to a Tiny Town: Eastport’s Lesson in Globalization The Atlantic

How Should We Read Investor Letters? The New Yorker

Refugee Crisis

Angela Merkel’s CDU ‘suffers Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania poll blow’ BBC

Immigration: Points-based system not ‘silver bullet’, says May BBC

Did We Do It? Taking Stock One Year After Refugees’ Arrival Der Spiegel

Meeting of Southern European Countries in Athens on Friday Greek Reporter

Increase in attacks by anti-establishment groups a growing concern Ekathimerini. 200 or so kids in hoodies…..

The Terrorism Tax hits Europe Global Guerillas

Jeremy Corbyn media coverage deliberately biased against him, British public believes Independent


China’s Xi at G20 says world economy at risk, warns against protectionism Reuters

So Long to the Asian Sweatshop Blooomberg

Trade Traitors

Secrets of a Global SuperCourt BuzzFeed. All four parts. Must read.

In Attempted Hit Piece, NYT Makes Putin Hero of Defeating TPP EmptyWheel

The transatlantic trade pact that risks more harm than good Wolfgang Münchau, FT. When you’ve lost Wolfgang Münchau….


An unsettling election for America FT

Trump cuts into Clinton’s lead as crucial stretch begins Politico

Election forecasters try to bring some order to a chaotic political year WaPo

Sanders: If She Wins, Clinton Should Cease Foundation Contact NBC

Meet the mastermind behind Clinton’s massive email coverup NY Post

Democracy vs. Epistocracy WaPo (Furzy Mouse).

Imperial Collapse Watch

Report: The US’s new $13 billion aircraft carrier is ‘premature’ with ‘unproven technologies’ Business Insider

Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns GQ

Guillotine Watch

Burners applaud ransacking of exclusive camp for the rich at Burning Man: Police investigate raid on luxury enclosure founded by Russian billionaire’s son by ‘band of hooligans’ who cut power lines Daily Mail

When We Loved Mussolini NYRB

Class Warfare

Fed Vice-Chairman Admits Fed Sponsors Wealth Inequality MishTalk. Must read

Who got rich off the student debt crisis Reveal

Keeping the Student Strike Alive Jacobin

Classes Start at LIU Brooklyn on September 7—But Faculty Are Locked Out The Nation

The Game of War versus the Game of Life Cryptome

WhatsApp, Trust, & Trusts Medium

Intelligent Technology Hal Varian, IMF

The many lives of John le Carré, in his own words.  Guardian

Saving the 78s Internet Archive Blogs

How to Get Another Thorax LRB. Epigenetics.

What Dakota Access Destroyed: Standing Rock Former Historic Preservation Officer Explains What Was Lost [Video] Indian Country. Pipeline fight.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Kokuanani

    “The New Cheating Economy” is available only to subscribers. The usual tricks don’t work to get it.

    Sorry, not going to pay $93/year to subscribe! Now, I’d pay that for NC . . .

    1. Uahsenaa

      The article’s gist:

      On any given day, thousands of students go online seeking academic relief. They are first-years and transfers overwhelmed by the curriculum, international students with poor English skills, lazy undergrads with easy access to a credit card. They are nurses, teachers, and government workers too busy to pursue the advanced degrees they’ve decided they need.

      The Chronicle spoke with people who run cheating companies and those who do the cheating. The demand has been around for decades. But the industry is in rapid transition.

      Just as higher education is changing, embracing a revolution in online learning, the cheating business is transforming as well, finding new and more insidious ways to undermine academic integrity.

      A decade ago, cheating consisted largely of students’ buying papers off the internet. That’s still where much of the money is. But in recent years, a new underground economy has emerged, offering any academic service a student could want. Now it’s not just a paper or one-off assignment. It’s the quiz next week, the assignment after that, the answers served up on the final. Increasingly, it’s the whole class. And if students are paying someone to take one course, what’s stopping them from buying their entire degree?

      The whole-class market is maturing fast. More than a dozen websites now specialize in taking entire online courses, including,, and One of them,, advertises that it has completed courses for more than 11,000 students at such colleges as Duke, Michigan State, even Harvard.

      As cheating companies expand their reach, colleges have little incentive to slow their growth. There’s no money in catching the cheaters. But there’s a lot of money in upping enrollment.

      That last paragraph points to one of the major causes of all this. A number of public universities have made up the budget shortfalls resulting from decreased state funding every year by simply admitting more students than they otherwise would from out of state or abroad, because they have to pay much more in tuition. Chinese credentials in particular are a joke. I would say easily half of the international students I’ve had with supposedly amazing TEFL/TESOL scores can barely construct a coherent sentence, so the incentive is strong to just pay someone for coursework that involves a lot of writing.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Online degrees. Part of the crapification of education in America. And always, always, someone with their hand out, stuffing their pocket, knowing that the product they’re offering is worthless.

        Oh, by the way. Did I mention which of our presidential candidates is pocketing money with these electron degrees? Both.

        1. jrs

          Of course some state colleges also offer online degrees. Actually they are sometimes the only viable option for non-traditional (read older people working full time) students.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s all connected: Work-Credentialism.

          You give guarantee basic income, you cut into the artificial demand of credentialism.

          People are then more likely to learn to satisfy their own intellectual needs…not corporations’ with their obsession about credentials.

          Take the Basic Income money, and go study on one’s own the primitive mating habits of college professors, instead of college professors studying the mating habits of ‘primitive’ tribes.

          Let’s see if citing poetry robotically advantages one in the (not necessarily reproducing) mating game…

          1. Light a Candle

            I agree, the real story is the credentialism and the endless soul-killing hoop jumping.

            I have a post-graduate degree and have worked in education. I wonder what we use from formal education. Anything after grade 7?

            Of course learning informally is a life long endeavor and unlearning. I had to unlearn a lot about economics and thinking that western countries were actually democracies.

            1. Bev

              The point is to ruin education, especially public education. That is also the point of the on-campus gun carrying laws passed by right-wing fascists in Texas which affect University of Texas. These laws only apply to Public Universities; Private Universities can simply opt out easily. Ruining tenure must also be a prized side effect.

              The horrible politicians who pass such horrible laws for their own and their pay masters’ profit and propaganda, never really won their elections.

              Proof of electronic voting machine tampering in Travis County Texas
              Progressive Grassroots Alliance

              Our only way out is to demand a return to a real Democracy with evidence-hand counted paper ballots counting and posted in precinct on election night.


              Election Justice USA is declaring an #ElectionAction on 9/27/16 calling for an end to #ElectionFraud

              #ElectionAction on 9//27 to support #HCPB



Coming soon from Bev Harris:

              Part 7: Whodunnit – coming –

              Part 8: Solutions and Mitigations – coming –

          2. Kurt Sperry

            Given the long history of legacy admissions of the offspring of generous alumni, and of the keeping out of Jewish and Asian students with better objective entry criteria at even the top schools, there was never really a time when degrees couldn’t be bought anti-meritocratically. The cheating thing just lowers the entry barrier from funding a new wing on the med school to paying a pro cheater, if anything making the process more inclusive and broadly meritocratic. And of course I’m sure we’ve all met dimbulbs who excelled at upper tier academia just by dint of dogged tireless effort to crawl through every hoop placed in front of them, and seriously brilliant people who were turned off by the same pointless obstacle course.

            Cheating makes perfect sense when you think of university education as primarily a way to get one’s children on a lucrative career path and meet the right people rather than as a learning experience. Almost nobody cares about learning when it comes to university education; it’s all about networking and obtaining the piece of paper that is required by HR departments so the stack of applications that has to be dealt with is smaller and whiter and more familiar culturally. Nobody in a privileged position wants a meritocracy, where their mediocre children have to compete on an even basis with huge numbers of likely smarter children who lack the privileged start.

          3. jrs

            Or if we going to stick with the credentialism, everyone needs a degree or several path, although it is questionable whether it is really just to do so as some people are never going to have the inclination or those particular talents, we should AT LEAST give everyone a guaranteed income for several years to go to school, so noone is balancing school with paying the bills, not older students, not young students from poverty or with zero family help who would otherwise be struggling to work a lot and study, not people switching careers etc..

      2. Ivy

        There is some synchronicity between the four listed cheating websites (,, and One of them, and the four skunks in the Antidote. I’m thinking that they are the Four Neo-Liberals of the Apocalypse.

      3. Dogstar

        There is nothing stopping them from buying a degree. I’m sure everyone remembers Elizabeth Paige Laurie, heiress to Walmart’s loot. How many like her pass right on through? Maybe all these legacy appointments and nepotistic “success” stories play a part in the obviously gross incompetence we see in the ranks of the decision makers and deciders.

        1. Vatch

          I didn’t remember the story about Elizabeth Paige Laurie, so I looked it up:

          Nancy Walton was born on May 15, 1951.[5] She is the younger daughter of Bud Walton, the brother and business partner of Walmart founder Sam Walton.[3] She grew up on Versailles, Missouri, where she met future husband Bill Laurie.[6] At Bud’s death, she and her sister Ann Walton Kroenke inherited a stake in Walmart now worth over USD$9 billion.

          With her husband, she donated US$25 million to the University of Missouri for the construction of a new sports arena for the Missouri Tigers in 2001, to be named after their daughter Paige Laurie, who did not attend the university.[7][8] However, it was revealed shortly after the 2004–05 basketball season started that Paige Laurie paid her USC roommate to do much of her homework for her, even after the roommate left the university due to financial issues. The Lauries gave up the naming rights on November 23, 2004 to the university, which then renamed the arena with the university’s common nickname “Mizzou” and removed all mention of Elizabeth Paige Laurie from the venue, beyond the bare minimum required to acknowledge the Lauries’ gift.[9][10][11][12] They have also endowed the E. Paige Laurie Professorship for the Equine Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri.

          Oh my.

      1. jrs

        Cheating: learning valuable skills that will help you succeed in the real world.

        That’s what college is for, right? /sarc

        A 19 page paper doesn’t seem that hard at least if that’s the only class you are taking while working full time (not super easy but not crazy) but then the dude is not only working full time, but also doing the national guard. He’s got too much on his plate!

        People are maybe academically inclined or they aren’t. Those who aren’t often fake it one way or other, such as only doing the absolute minimum to pass the graded assignments (not even reading much of the assigned textbook if it’s not absolutely necessary for that). And that’s not even officially cheating. Well you have a society where everyone has to pretend to be academic to eat, but they aren’t all.

        Even those who ARE academically inclined, even those whose utopia would be that of the ancient Greeks where all they do is sit around and philosophize, get overwhelmed with workload, whether from college or from trying to balance college with a half dozen other life demands (work, commute, kids, spouse etc.). There are only so many hours in the day.

      2. jrs

        On the plus side I guess you can now actually bring in an income as a “professional student”, maybe that used to just be a insult, but now it’s a real money making career! You just need to cheat for someone. In some ways there is an odd justice in this, people that want to learn for a living now can for those that don’t. Of course it’s somewhat ethically questionable but capitalism doesn’t leave anyone in the 99% with very good choices anyway. And if someone who loves to take classes can earn a living that way, who am I to begrudge them?

        Of course I imagine even the professional studenting being outsourced to some low wage country for pennies on the dollar unfortunately. A darn pity Americans have to compete for those good jobs with low paid foreigners.

    2. Carla

      Electric power suppliers in Maine (and Ohio, BTW) certainly fall under “The New Cheating Economy” umbrella.

      The new “Golden” Rule: lie to customers, rob customers, cheat customers of a basic essential commodity every which way to Sunday. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Here in Florida, capture of all the levers of power by people like Skeletor Rick Scott, surfing on a meager flood of corporate money, incredible ROI by the way, has us mopes paying not millions but BILLIONS for “decommissioning” one nuke plant that Progress (now DUKE) seriously broke in a spasm of cost-cutting, but for a nuclear plant THAT WILL NEVER EVEN BE BUILT. The fraud and theft are so very massive and deep, and short of that collapsing-into-a-singularity kind of Bastille Day thing, seem impossible to remedy.

        Here’s a piece from “the state’s best newspaper,” reportage from actual investigation and reporting that the organ no longer does (straight pro-neoliberal, all the time, including of course the Politifacts (TM) (sic) organ:)

        “Settlement likely to end inquiries into Duke Energy Nuclear Plants,”

        Note that this was an article in the Business section, not the front page…

        And the bezzle is both YUUGE at the “billions” scale, and somewhat smaller at the monthly billing scale, , (this one is more subtle, though why they bother to try to hide the scams any more… Oh wait! They don’t!)

        Also, the Public Service Commission has been packed with pro-monopolists by Scott, who just summarily ousted the couple of commissioners that showed any resistance at all to the looting.

        1. inode_buddha

          Yeah. Florida is “special”. In the opposite direction from N.Y., and equally screwball to Joe Average. Thankfully I haven’t seen many redneck Yahoo’s up here tho there’s plenty of hunters.

          1. JTMcPhee

            On the other hand ( to display a bit of tribal loyalty), there’s a favorite local riddle:

            Q: “What’s a Floridian’s favorite sight?”

            A: “Why, that would be a New Yorker headed North, with a Canadian under each arm!”

      2. Bev

        Texas’ electric deregulation cost is tallied in study
        (Article was written in Feb 2011, so tally of $11 Billion, must be much higher now)

        A report released Monday concludes that electric deregulation has cost Texas residential consumers more than $11 billion in higher rates and that the operator of the state’s major power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, has been poorly managed and industry-dominated.

        The 101-page report, “The Story of ERCOT,” is the result of a research project of the Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor and the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which works with 158 cities and other governmental entities to buy electricity in bulk.

        Deregulation, it said, has resulted in higher rates for Texas power consumers rather than the lower rates forecast by lawmakers who passed the state law in 1999.

        1. different clue

          If you want to conserve electricity, thereby emitting less of the pollutants emitted by producing electricity, you want to increase the price.

  2. Kokuanani

    Re the antidote: Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, Paulson, Timmie Geithner ?

    Naw, too cute to be those guys.

    1. mg

      Skunks are unfairly maligned. We are privileged to have 3 that quasi live
      in our backyard in Los Angeles. Scary, dangerous world for them

        1. coboarts

          One night, hiking out of the back country along the Sweetwater River in San Diego’s east county, I drew down on the largest skunk I’d ever seen. It was pitch black in the canyon, the Oak trees blocking even the starlight. I heard what sounded like a man sized rustling in the waist high grasses, right on my left side. On pure reaction I stepped back and drew my 357. I had it pointed right at a fully armed, locked and loaded skunk, just two feet away. It was a real Mexican Standoff, a very tense situation. Then, cautiously, I took a step back, weapon still at the ready. The skunk also took a tentative step away. We both realized that neither of us wanted this fight, so he hurried off and holstering my Ruger Service Six I continued my hike out.

  3. Skippy

    Lmmao Burning Man….

    Devolving inevitably into Barter Town between Aunty Entity’s Penthouse and Master Blasters those who “ask for work”….

    Disheveled Marsupial…. everyone else is drunk or high….. awaiting spectacle….

      1. Jim Haygood

        Synopsis: the typical burner is a middle-class Californian.

        How long can it be before some other Californians — the Hell’s Angels — show up and rip the joint, thundering through tents on Harleys like elephants trampling a village?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Hey, easy there! That Altamont thing was the Goddam Hippies’ own fault! And besides, I imagine everywhere it’s the same as here in FL, where the bumpers of soccer mom and Supercars and back windows of countless pickups are plastered with stickers that read “Look Out For Bikers.” I mean, how much warning do we need? ‘Nuff said? /s

            Maybe there’s a market for “Watch Out For Police,” and “Watch Out For DHS…”

      2. jrs

        what happens when the .1% actually show their faces and their wealth where others can see them (they usually don’t).

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Yep, you hit a nail on its head. The Timur Oligarchov’s of our world rarely party in close proximity to hordes of shrewd, educated-but-broke young techies. Who are armed with toolboxes and maker know-how.

          It was a matter of time before something of this kind happened at our temporary Ibiza-on-the-playa. The closed, turnkey camps are not actually unwelcome however, at least not unwelcome to the founders. You all are FIRE savvy people, and may want to download and read the Burning Man organization annual report. The leadership cares for itself quite well, in a myriad of legal ways. They are………… naturally comfortable with the sybaritic elite.

  4. JSM

    Re: ‘Report: The US’s new $13 billion aircraft carrier is ‘premature’ with ‘unproven technologies,’ does any observer actually know the true state of military preparedness in this country? We all know the US can bomb defenseless countries into the stone age, sure, but a new aircraft carrier whose “launching and landing gear have problems and the dual-band radar has serious integration issues that “need to be avoided” would not even seem to have the deterrent value of a paperweight.

    1. pretzelattack

      we don’t seem to be very good at actually “winning” the wars we start, but the main idea is probably making money off defense contracts as far as i can see.

    2. AC

      Also air craft carriers are just more useless contractor feather bedding and bloat. In a conflict with Russian or China, they could immediately sink any carriers close to their territory with hypersonic cruise missles for which there is no defense.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps there is a business opportunity here for rail gun makers???

        I have no idea whether it will work or not to defend carriers.

      2. Praedor

        The Russians also have nice cavitating rocket/torpedoes. Can do hundreds of miles/hr UNDERWATER.

        Carriers are all show, no go. Useful against an Iraq or Iran or Somalia but useless against real foes.

    3. Carolinian

      Well at least they picked an appropriate president to name the new stumblebum aircraft carrier after: the USS Gerald Ford.

      1. mad as hell.

        I toured the Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids this past summer. They had a nice interesting display of the aircraft carrier. My biggest take away from seeing a model of the aircraft carrier to Mr & Mrs Ford’s tomb and everything Ford related in between was how far America has degenerated in its politics and for that matter the well being of it’s citizenry.

        I couldn’t see things getting much worse after Watergate. When Nixon resigned I thought there was still hope. Today I have a hard time picturing how we are going get out of this, money laden, corrupt system when so many are working to continue it and they are constant in their greed! How things have changed since the 1970’s.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “We” and by that I presume you mean the 90%er Mopery, are most likely going to “get out of this,” per my Magic 8-Ball, by abiding by the Second Rule of Neoliberalism, which I recall is “Go DIE!” Which has been amended by the WTO to include subparagraph 13 to Catch-22, “After delivering up all your wealth and labor to the 0.01%, without effective resistance,” and subparagraph 14, “The fee for dying without contributing further to the Wealth of Post-Nations shall be equal to any undisgorged estate of the Mope that may remain.”

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With TPP or a better-disguised version offered by a not-so-boorish salesperson, it will be more of the same, only worse.

          And today we get more of the ‘jam yesterday and tomorrow’ – if elected, Clinton should cease Foundation contact. But it’s OK today.

          Of course, for example, a senator doesn’t have to resign to run, though some do. But that presupposes being-a-senator = Foundation-contact. And it presupposes ceasing contact is the key, and not looking into its activities.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Wasn’t too long ago when software problems caused a USN ship to come to a screeching halt. Microsoft’s contribution to military readiness.

      1. hunkerdown

        With apologies to Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently advanced covert cyber *spit* action is indistinguishable from software defects.

    1. mikey71

      The linked articles linked to Nature and the Chronicle of Higher Education touch upon a similar problem. The issue in academics is an increasing winner-takes-all system. When being hired, grants, getting tenure hinge on such small differences between individuals (there is also heavy racism/discrimination in hiring and other decisions such as salary, and things are not close to meritocratic) then this increases pressure to cheat. Not everyone cheats, but the rates are likely higher than reported in these two articles. It seems to be a broader trend in the economy of increasing winner-takes-all putting more pressure and stress on everyone.

      Within academia, there are some fixes. Things like hiring more faculty (instead of adjuncts, and do not say it is a supply/demand issue — there is plenty of demand for more faculty, but a refusal of administration to fund education/resaarch rather than growing administration), making tenure and grant decisions less focused on publication count and more focused on community impact and quality research, and making grant decisions lottery based (where peer-review just does an initial screen and grants are allocated by lottery — the current funding system is broken, where money just funnels based on who is personal friends/has strong contacts with people working at the funding agencies).

      For students, similar fixes would help things. For instance making admissions decisions by removing the bottom X% of students and then admitting based on lottery. Or in colleges not keeping grades. This requires students to develop relationships with faculty who provide recommendations based on student education and interactions. Medical schools are increasingly doing this, to curb cheating and the stress of taking courses.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Your suggestions are based on two flawed premises:
        1. That universities (want to) prioritize good teaching/education and what is best for the community; and
        2. That universities (want to) prioritize education for the most deserving.

        Private universities are mostly credentialing factories for the children of the elite. Public universities are mostly credentialing factories for the middle class. Any faculty or prospective faculty that don’t get this are guaranteed to have a difficult time.

        And there is a logical flaw in your first point: if it’s not a meritocracy (I would argue it is in some ways and is not in other), why the pressure to cheat?

        1. mikey71

          Many faculty (adjunct and tenure-track) at public universities absolutely care about prioritizing good education, so I disagree with your first two points. What you said is absolutely true for the top-ranked private universities, and students/families at public universities do view education mostly as credentialing. But this does not mean the faculty at public universities do not care about educational quality, and this does not mean that students (and society) are not enriched by whatever education they do manage to get from going to college.

          As for the purported logical flaw, again I disagree with your assertion. Academics is largely a superficial meritocracy. In admissions, playing a sport like rowing or swimming (that are largely accessible to the wealthy) gives a higher admissions chance than playing a sport like basketball (and here I am not counting scholarship athletes since these are such a small percentage of admissions). In academia, publishing a large number of identical papers counts more than publishing a smaller number of unique papers. However, you can only get away with publishing identical papers if you have the right connections available to graduates of particular schools. The metrics of “meritocracy” in academia are biased towards things accessible to the elite and wealthy, and so if you want to compete without these advantages then there is pressure to cheat. Hence it is a superficial meritocracy because there are metrics, but the metrics are biased or false in order to lead to desired outcomes.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            I don’t disagree that there are many, many good university faculty. And even many department chairs that will tell you they would gladly hire new faculty with working class backgrounds if they could find. But, as you must know, good teaching counts for absolutely zero at most colleges and universities (faculty that work to become good teachers are entirely self-motivated) and the combination of cultural elitism and subservience to ruling class interests are what drive the train. Thus, those that try to do the right thing are invariably outsiders with no institutional power to change anything.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “…community impact.”

        It’s all about credentials now.

        Why give credentials to financially better-equipped foreign students?

        If lecturers, administrators and politicians want community impact, teach local students (prioritize it, not necessarily exclusively)…even if they are not as smart or have money to pay for it, as foreign students.

    2. Robert Hahl

      One cause of research misconduct is the high stakes way we train Ph.D.s. After working on a project for years, your results better be impressive in some respect or you will wash out and have to find a new profession.

      1. Praedor

        The rule is always ALWAYS have an alternative project in the works, one that you KNOW (as much as is possible) will work. You do high risk research that may not pan out but also have other project-lets scattered around that WILL work. This is necessary for grad students and labs. The worst thing possible for a grad student is to spend years on some project that ultimately fails. Years of effort, late nights, lost weekends, etc, only to see crap results. No paper to write, no obvious sign of your scientific/research abilities outside the CV you hand someone.

        Every single Primary Investigator (Prof, lead of a lab) I’ve worked with or known always has side projects ready to hand to a student in case their main project doesn’t pan out. They also keep those projects around to ensure the students WILL obtain publishable results.

        (I’m a PhD bench scientist in a structural biology lab…by choice: no grants to write, no classes to teach, just do research, manage the lab, and help train grad or undergrad students in lab work)

  5. Carolinian

    “Democracy versus epistocracy.” Presumably this babbling nonsense is included for our morning laff. Of course “rule by the knowing” doubtless sounds attractive to Georgetown political philosophers and Hillary supporters and in truth the people who founded this country weren’t too enthusiastic about giving the franchise to the vulgar hoard. But the rationale behind democracy is the realistic view that governments are actually all about the distribution of power and only secondarily about the competent management of national affairs. Which is to say voting is a feedback mechanism whereby the rulers get to learn something about the desires and needs of all those citizens who they mostly get to ignore if they, say, spend all their time teaching at Georgetown.

    Still, the piece is a good indication of where our elites are going their thinking.

      1. flora

        adding: the ISDS courts are the ultimate “rule by unaccountable ‘experts’.”
        There is much philosophy already written about democracy vs aristocracy; about democratic rule being better than unaccountable aristocratic rule. Do these same philosophical arguments hold up when challenged by the idea of unaccountable ‘expert’ rule? I think they do. Substitute ‘expert’ for ‘aristocrat’, the philosophical arguments for democracy still win.

        As for Brennan… a libertarian, or at least a libertarian fellow traveler. He’s listed on the John Locke Foundation’s webpage.

        What is the John Locke Foundation? A member of ALEC, among other things.
        The John Locke Foundation (JLF) is a right-wing pressure group based in North Carolina. It describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit think tank that would work for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina.”[1] It is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN). An August 2013 board document of the related group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) alleges that JLF is a “former SPN member,”[2] but the SPN website still lists it as a full member as of December 2013,[3] and a July 2013 JLF fundraising proposal to Searle Freedom Trust was included in a packet of SPN proposals in August 2013.[4]

    1. tgs

      Alarm bells are going off in the corridors of the elites. The vulcans, to use Brennan’s terminology, are systematically demolishing the economy, education, health care, climate, and large swathes of the globe, and even the ‘hobbits’ are starting to notice and begin to line up behind populists. There is dwindling support out in the shire for endless war, austerity and reduced expectations. Despite being misinformed 24/7 by the greatest propaganda operation the world has ever seen, the MSM, the hobbits are getting edgy. Many of us are less than impressed by the non achievements of the vulcans (the technocrats and experts).

      The vulcan solution? Dispense with the already rigged democratic process, disenfranchise the ignorant voices, and allow the vulcans to continue with their demonstrably failed policies.

    2. Benedict@Large

      This nonsense is just Plato’s philosopher kings dressed up for a time without philosophers. In the end it’s not who knows anything that matters. It’s who gets to decide who knows anything. That’s the person who really holds the power.

    3. jrs

      Of course. Really although I have not read the book I have to wonder what is added intellectually by philosophy 101 debates on “democracy” which no more exists in the U.S. than “perfect competition” does in most markets. Maybe the article would be better titled: “Democracy and the epicycles needed to model the U.S. system as democracy”. Might it not be more educational to examine the ways the U.S. isn’t a democracy anyway from the electoral college, to the gerrymandered House of Representatives, to territories not getting the vote, to DC not getting much of a vote etc.. At least not everyone is aware of such things and everyone has had philosophy 101 debates like this drummed into them.

      “Vulcans, by contrast, combine extensive knowledge and analytical sophistication with open-mindedness. They also don’t let emotion and bias cloud their judgment. But very few of us even come close to being Vulcans.

      The root of the problem is rational ignorance: because there is so little chance that an individual vote will make a difference, voters have little incentive to either acquire relevant knowledge or keep their biases under control.”

      Sure and PART of their having so little influence is BECAUSE we DON’T have a democracy. Only a few states even count much in the presidential election = no democracy. But the root of the problem if the problem is not being emotionless is that politics affects some peoples ACTUAL LIVES. It’s easy to be emotionless about say raising the minimum wage if one isn’t trying to subsist on the minimum wage. Although not everyone was in it for pure interest, no people’s movement has ever been emotionless.

      “Ignorant or illogical decisions by voters can easily lead to ill-advised wars, economic recessions, abusive law enforcement, environmental disasters, and other catastrophes that imperil the lives, freedom, and welfare of large numbers of people”

      in theory I suppose … in theory a lot of untested things *could* be true (although some of these are pretty U.S. centric which is one of the least democratic countries out there – they seem to be less true in countries with more functional democratic rule – and that’s the only way these pronouncements could be empirically tested by mapping degrees of democracy to their occurrence). In reality: what about the Princeton study that shows only the plutes have any real leverage on the U.S. government? Does he even address that? If you want to blame democracy at least separate it out from plutocracy, maybe by comparing relative power of plutocracy versus democracy in various countries. Of course the U.S. is likely to be on the plutocratic end of the spectrum.

      “But Brennan presents a variety of strategies by which the quality of the electorate could be improved”

      so we are to focus on that and not improving the quality of the voting system, from having auditable elections, to having ranked choice voting? Why?

      “we could potentially make the electorate both more knowledgeable and more representative than it is now, by using an “enfranchisement lottery.”

      I’d rather a lottery to hold office at this point.

      “Many states also exclude convicted felons and many of the mentally ill from the franchise”

      Yes and this is WRONG (to say nothing of discriminatory considering how discriminatory the criminal justice system is. Is this person really not aware of these issues?)

      “Brennan himself suggests trying out some of his proposed reforms on a small scale”

      Well if that is what we are doing I will like to try out things like a parliamentary system and ranked choice voting on a small scale. Blame the voter = blame the victim.

      1. flora

        “trying out reforms on a small scale.”


        Perfect opportunity for Brenner’s lab experiments. Maybe that’s what the guy who built that lake house(boat) “island” was doing – practicing inland before taking to the high seas. Would Ricardo Montalban captain the “island” seastead? Do seasteads have captains? Do residents vote on captain? Could Ricardo Montalban be voted off the island? So many questions.

      2. flora

        adding: interesting that Brenner uses fantasy/mythological beings instead of human beings in his analogies.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Very good point about voting as a feedback mechanism (of an inanimate subject, much like the dumb plumbing system in one’s apartment or house – inanimate or not too articulate, thus always yes-or-no or multiple choice questions, never essays…experts are guessing the voters are not too happy this year…maybe…guessing…they don’t say or, no more, are not listened to, one voter at a time…really listened to…each voter as an expert…that kind of epistocracy).

      Typically, we ignore the plumbing…until or unless it leaks and starts making a nuisance of itself.

      “Sir, guests at our soiree is complaining about overflowing toilets. You are not going to look too good among the rich or the powerful leaders of other serfs.” Soirees are where they compare productivity and efficiency over wine&cheese about how relatively well they have whipped their serfs into (GDP engrossment) shape.

      So, in this way, we let those above know where we (the dumb plumbing system) are hurting…once every 2 or 4 years (hey, that’s better than slavery). Perhaps they care enough to get a professional plumber, not to fix it or redesign, but to put duct tape over it to stop the pain, for now.

      “What? You serfs want People’s Currency? Created and put into circulation by the serfs spending it? That’s not in the description of how things work right now.”

    5. Plenue

      Georgetown crypto-fascist doesn’t think the plebs should be allowed to have a say in how their society is run. Instead, only the wise and worthy (totally coincidentally he doubtless considers this class to include people such as himself) should be in charge.

      Delusional on multiple levels, because as far as I can tell much of the Western world has been run for decades by out-of-touch cliques of ‘elites’, with little consultation with the unwashed masses. And in fact they lament when the public doesn’t let them do what they want, as evidenced by any article whining about how people are the biggest ‘obstacle’ to some bit of neoliberal ‘progress’.

      But no, let’s just blame the demos, despite for instance the very obvious fact that one of the biggest causes of our descent into madness, the George W. Bush regime, wasn’t elected; it was appointed by an elite body that had abandoned all pretense of being a detached, apolitical group.

  6. JTMcPhee

    On the Bizarre Ant Colony– link included to make us hopeful that our own “rusted vent pipe in nuclear bunker” political economy may somehow “survive and adapt”?

    Dropping new workers into starvation station.

    “Bring out your dead…. (clang) Bring out your dead…(clang)”

  7. Left in Wisconsin

    So Long to the Asian Sweatshop Blooomberg

    This article is awesome. To paraphrase Yogi Berra: Nobody is making clothes in SE Asia anymore. There’s too much local competition.

  8. timbers

    Check out Obama nervously peering at Putin & Ergodon in link giving an account of China’s reception of Obama vs Putin….

    On leader is looking rather isolated while another seems almost popular.

    Is our MSM even able to notice how “isolated” Obama is and Putin isn’t? They won’t report on that if they do, anyway.

    I liked the part of Obama forced to use “emergency exit” to get off the plane followed by a lengthy account of Xi’s appreciation of Russian ice cream Putin gifted him. More print is devoted to Xi’s appreciation of apparently world famous Russian ice cream than any other topic.

    How can anyone think that a nation that makes good ice cream be bad?

    1. Pat

      When I ran down the headlines and clickbait on yahoo earlier today, I swear there was an article about China being far welcoming to Putin than Obama, and thinking duh. Went back, nowhere to be found, not even in their search results. Oops, I guess we can’t mention that we have alienated people.
      There are headlining the Philippines leader profane warning to Obama, I’m guessing Obama doesn’t come off badly in that one despite the headline.

      On a side note apparently ABC is all about the American war games near the Russian border…two articles attached to that on yahoo.

      1. timbers

        Thanks for the info about MSM which I appreciate as I’ve gotten lazy about reading it – Guess I’ve become isolated myself! Yah, that Phillipino dude doesn’t seem to understand his is to take orders not govern his country … A future regime change candidate? At least Clinton will have bigger fish to start wars with (Russia) so she might not have time to care about him giving the bird to US instructions for quite some time – he’s got that going for him.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Now c’mon! There’s Ben&Jerry’s, fer crissakes! And lots of little interstitial-economy local craft makers of Ice Cream which they claim is made from Organic Milk and Pure Natural Ingredients Only (sugar not yet recognized as a toxin…)

      I got a long story on how some of the ‘Mrican Occupation forces staff in Japan introduced dairy farming and a taste for really rich Ice Cream from Jersey cattle imported there via off the books funding, by a McArthur staffer, to a place called Kiyosato in the Japanese Alps where the fading post-bombardment economy consisted of harvesting rice straw and making tatami mats — Japanese will drive hundreds of miles into the Alps just for a serving of that treat and the spiritual renewal of Imperial ambitions and affections engendered by a breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji… And as with “the US,” (that deceptive personification/reification/hypostatization, how can “Japan, Inc.” be “bad?”

      1. subgenius

        Ben & Jerry’s is not really ice cream (at least these days – maybe it once was, before they sold out?)

        Check the ingredients – Ben & Jerry’s is full of shit, similar to a mcshake – my ghetto 7-11 research just now shows haagen daas (at least) appears still to be real.

    3. Steve H.

      Trending O and Putin photo doesn’t look very friendly.

      On the one hand, photos can be cherrypicked for the story being presented. On the other, microexpressions happen faster than most people can process. I feel they can be a glimpse into the soul.

      1. Foy

        Hey Steve H. If you are interested in body language and facial micro-expressions you might like the site below which puts up a short post each day analysing various players on the world stage and what their non verbal body language is saying, or body language faux pas and how it is often diametrically opposed to what’s coming out of their mouths.

        He hasn’t posted yet on Putin/Obama from yesterday, but here’s a post from when they met last year and how Putin made a faux-pas while trying to have an alpha display while shaking hands.

        I find all these non-verbal tells very interesting. Here’s one that shows one of the few times where Donald Trump was ‘beta’ mode when he met with the Mexican president recently. He did a few posts on Donald’s visit…

        And a last one on Clinton. I’ve always been off-put by Hillary Clinton’s tight collars. I could never put my finger on what it was about it until I saw this post a few days ago…

        I remember seeing our (Australia’s) foreign minister Julie Bishop talking at the UN in a black, tight high collar jacket and got exactly the same uncomfortable feeling. Bishop has worn that outfit a number of times on the world stage so it appears deliberate. It’s like looking at a Bond villain…

        I don’t like commentating on how people dress but I’m sure it does have a subconscious effect…

  9. Rhondda

    Boy, the Russia bashing/anti-Rus propaganda is everywhere these days. Even Ars Technica couldn’t resist a parting kick in the last paragraph of the ant colony article:

    Life in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker is nightmarish, even for the humble ant. It appears that the legacy of the Soviet occupation of Poland doesn’t just haunt the country’s human population. It has affected the social structures of insects too.

    So tiresome.

        1. Brian

          ah, you mean “Them”. There was ample reason to believe that 3 queen ants escaped from Dr’s Medford in New Mexico. One flew out of the range of search and landed in a remote part of Washinton State where the war industry was winding down and they didn’t know enough about nuclear material to store it properly.

        2. JTMcPhee

          A movie was made about it — speaking of the “id of things…”:

          Actually, several, on the same theme. Having done some work on legal issues and “cleanup” at Hanford, I feel sure that while it may not be giant ants, there are monsters aplenty ready to creep out of the tanks and drums and soil and groundwater at that godforsaken repository of the idiocy of science-wedded-to-warfare-and-Great-Game-Geopolitics… Human genotype has such brave new possibilities and endpoints built into it, no?

          1. JTMcPhee

            And of course the people who made the Hanford mess and have failed to contain it even, let alone figure out how to “clean it up” (not possible, even with cubic money that is going to making of more intractable messes anyway) are insulated, by death or decrepitude or “operation of law,” from the consequences. Socialized devastation, a la Fukishima, for privatized gain and/or or$asms of grim delight for the Great Gamers and corporatists and Empire minions that brought it on…

    1. timbers


      What’s Team Dem’s game plan for blaming Putin on Obamacare premium increases just before the election?

      1. HBE

        I love a good “The Russians did it!” hypothetical.

        Obviously the Russians targeted the sick with propaganda and pushed them into actually using their insurance (neoliberal scoff), when everyone knows insurance isn’t for using but only having. You must have insurance, but by God don’t use it or the Russians win.

        Also they did it because they were jealous of wonderful and effective ACA is, and of course to make sure trump wins.

        “they hate us for our insurance!”

        1. sid_finster

          You have a bright future ahead of you, working for HRC or some other Muppet.

          For all of our sakes and the sake of your immortal soul, please do not apply.

    2. Plenue

      How, exactly, is modern Poland ‘haunted’ by the legacy of the Soviet Occupation? It’s been a quarter century, any problems Poland has now are entirely self-inflicted. As far as I can tell the only issues related to Russian that Poland has now are a comically overzealous Russophobic paranoia. Russia doesn’t care about Poland. America has flyover states, to Russia Poland is an entire flyover country, the pointless landscape that lies between Moscow and places that matter.

  10. anon12

    According to Scott Creighton’s American Everyman blog (which supported Sanders until he dropped out) now even Bernie Sanders is campaigning for Hillary:

    “Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will carry out his first official activity as a drum major in the Hillary Clinton marching band Monday, when he takes part in Labor Day events in Lebanon, New Hampshire in support of the Democratic presidential nominee. It will be Sanders’ first campaign appearance on behalf of Clinton since his dismal “unity rally,” also in New Hampshire, on July 12.”

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Maybe he’s expecting a big check for “Our Revolution” from the Clinton Foundation.

        I am actually relieved Bernie lost. Naïve is way too kind.,

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Now you made me waste time checking to see if there was a video showing that. Consider adding value to the threads? There are plenty of other places on the web for drive-by one-liners; consider them.

      3. rich

        As he should….Bernie reminds me of a Judas goat.

        Hillary Clinton is Shameless

        by Norman Pollack
        For $125,000, you get dinner and a meet-the-candidate (some as high as a quarter $M)—and if under 16 years old at the gathering, for $10,000 you can ask the candidate a question. Auction-block politics, except that it is the American people on the slave-block. In this hothouse atmosphere, the host ensures Clinton will not be embarrassed. Why should she be, they’re all bosom buddies, all see eye-to-eye, gatherings of the self-righteous that make a Mafia summit look like a children’s tea party.

        What is to be done? Trump is hardly an alternative. The plebeian billionaire is capable of anything. Clinton has disqualified and perjured herself as unworthy of any office. She and her husband, the Bonnie & Clyde of Mammon worship (even Trump, hard to believe, seems to have more character). As for the decisive area of foreign policy, there is little to choose: the sophistication of liberal think-take, national-security genocidal adventurism on one hand, gut-authoritarians, simple-minded zealots on the other. Of the two, the former may well be the more dangerous.
        Is the Third Party a valid alternative? To many, yes, but here we still do not have a clean break from the Cold War mentality. (And Bernie Sanders wins a medal as outstanding disappointment with his ersatz Revolution funneled into the Clinton camp.)

      1. petal

        Boston Globe is the first write up I can find so far. I’m sure our local paper will have something on it tomorrow morning, so I’ll post what they put up. There was an RSVP for this event, but clicking on the link to sign up, it took you straight to HRC’s campaign. If you go to read the article, get your barf bucket ready. Cheers.

          1. petal

            Yes, you are right, there were/are. I guess I was reacting to what Shaheen said about Nader, etc. I’d have been very interested to be there and observe as it’s been deathly silent around here politically to the point you’d never even know there was a race on, and have been wondering about it. It’s weird. I’ve been a hermit this weekend in order to study, so I missed the articles about it or I’d have gone and tried to post some kind of report.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for the link. Apparently there is some cogent material on the WSWS to be found there, but I didn’t have time to go find it.

      That said, in general: I’m sick of reading and moderating drive-bys and one-liners. Haygood gets whacked for “cankles,” others get whacked while on the Porcelain Throne of Cynicism (and its associated noises and effluvia). The one-liners in response to this comment are literally without value except in terms of a game like Eric Berne’s Ain’t it Awful, except played in comments. There are plenty of places on the Internet to play that game and the NC comments section is not one of them.

      Links, quotes, analysis, all of that: Very welcome* (there are plenty of issues I disagree with Haygood on vehemently, after all). Try Facebook for the rest. Thank you.

      * As long as we don’t get partisan operatives of any sort using the NC comments section for a talking point dumpster.

      1. Yves Smith

        I second Lambert’s move. And I remind readers that we’ve turned off comments entirely when they’ve degraded to the point where they are low/no value added and Lambert and I have to waste too much time dealing with trolls and people who argue in bad faith. So if you test us on this, you lose.

  11. MikeNY

    Re: Mish and Fisher and the Fed.

    Grantham et al have also done some good thinking about the Fed’s policies and the likelihood that we’re condemned to “low return Purgatory”. As I’ve said before, Congressional / fiscal inaction and Fed hyperactivity is the perfect mix for oligarchs, because it makes them relatively richer versus everyone else. And ‘wealth’, for billionaires, is largely a relative notion; they already have more than they can possibly spend.

    The important question, and the one that Grantham et al poke at, but cannot answer, is if the Fed will ever allow equities and other risk assets to substantially deflate. The answer, absent, regime change, seems to be ‘No’. And they seem never to run out of imaginative new ways to prop up risk asset prices.

    A divided Congress after 2016, if that is the result, seems to augur more of the same: the best of times for the oligarchs.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      To my not-too-informed thinking, the real issue is housing. I can’t see any case in the near-to-medium term where the Fed substantially raises interest rates because it would collapse housing prices. Too many of the 10% needed to manage the economy for the 1% are living off their home equity. If the Fed intentionally collapses housing prices, they risk a revolt. Once prices collapse, and they can credibly (not) claim it wasn’t their fault, and so try to argue that the 10% should not change allegiances, then maybe.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Same thing with 401Ks, etc. The retiring class will not tolerate another crash. If it happens, the FED is toast. Richard Nixon once said “The American Economy is so strong it would take a genius to wreck it”. Well, it seems Greenspan, Bernanke, and Yellen have proved him wrong, about the genius bit at least. The last of the boomers will die off around 2050. Whether the FED can keep the party going until then is doubtful but they will certainly try. The Nikkei crashed in 89 and although it is still 60% below its high, the Japanese economy keeps rolling along. That is only 27 years though.

        1. katiebird

          How do you get that date specifically? If I drop dead that year, I’d be a year younger than my dad is now and I’m nowhere close to being the youngest of babyboomers.

        2. neo-realist

          We may all be dead by 2050, but between decreasing purchasing power of real wages, possible disembowelment of social security, increasing climate change fallout, and possible war hitting our shores, the 25 years or so leading up to that point might be pure hell for many of us.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Most under-reported story in the financial blogosphere: how the world’s central banks are executing a stealth leveraged buy-out of the entire economy.
            The Japanese CB already owns most of their REITs and is working their way through all Japanese publicly-held equity. All the major CBs are already powering their way through fixed income assets.
            But what happens when this new class of PE vultures own the whole country, or the whole world? Presumably they always just buy, using money they create in “unlimited” quantities. And presumably they never ever sell?
            We already have a completely fake signal on the price of money, now we’re getting a fake signal on the price of everything else. Does capitalism eventually kick back in…or do we go to some new kind of inverted hyper-communism? Inquiring minds want to know.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              But what happens when this new class of PE vultures own the whole country, or the whole world?

              Then we nationalize.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Wall Street coined the term “Greenspan put” in the aftermath of the 1987 crash. Nothing bad happened for 13 more years, until stocks declined 45% into late 2002 and (after fully recovering that loss) dropped more than 50% into early 2009.

      Compared to Fed-free pre-1913 financial markets, business and equity market cycles have gotten longer. They bubble higher, then crash harder, than they used to. It reflects a kind of conservation of economic energy, in which the central flâneurs can neither create nor destroy prosperity, but only elongate its cyclical rhythms.

      The Bernank used to scribble endlessly about avoiding the awful fate of turning Japanese and falling into a ZIRP regime — which of course, is exactly what happened to us in 2008. Today, Stanley Mellon Fischer’s yammering about NIRP risks incensing the market gods once again.

      Facing the nightmare of financial crisis and recession with only 25 bips of ammo is what keeps Stanley awake at night, screeching and rattling his cage door.

      1. MikeNY

        Didn’t one of the Fed governors just recently muse about ‘eliminating the business cycle’? Bullard, maybe? I remember reading it and almost falling off my chair.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here in California, we relate bubble return intervals to San Andrea’s Fault – the longer between its ruptures, the bigger the disaster.

        (So, maybe fracking is good, in that relative sense; though Nature is much more complex than that the best laid plans of mice and men can account for).

        On the East Coast, imagine 100-Year hurricanes.

      3. griffen

        Thankfully for the Committee to Save Us from Delevering in 1998, they sidestepped rather quickly any debacle from the LTCM debacle.

        So the ruble blew up their algorithm. Who could know such a thing.

      4. Yves Smith

        I beg to differ with your history.

        1. It was widely discussed after the horrific early 1990s recession and S&L crisis (as in in Barrons and the WSJ) that Greenspan engineered an unheard of steep yield curve to save the banks on the cheap by letting them earn low-risk “borrow short, lend long” returns.

        2. Greenspan did a put in 1996 when he reversed himself on his “irrational exuberance” remarks and talked the market back up.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg covers the Hamptons social circuit (where you need to be seen, if you didn’t do Burning Man):

    One political item made a splash this summer: Trump piñatas.

    Even children have asked for them at their birthday parties, and some have featured both Trump and Clinton pinatas.

    What are the Trump ones filled with? “Little Monopoly houses,” Brooke Shields joked.

    Beating effigies with sticks is acceptable symbolic violence for children of the politically correct; whereas letting them play with plastic guns would be way over the line.

    When they grow up, they can graduate to Stoning of the Devil. ;-)

      1. Jim Haygood

        Say can I have some of your purple berries?
        Yes, I’ve been eating them
        For six or seven weeks now. Haven’t got sick once
        Probably keep us both alive

        — CSN, Wooden Ships

  13. crittermom

    RE: What Dakota Access Denied
    What is happening there and continues to happen makes me cry.
    Just days away from a court decision and the construction (destruction) continues on with complete disregard. They had been given maps and knew they were destroying sacred burial grounds.

    Heartbreaking, but unfortunately, not surprising. The US govt has been intent on wiping out any record of the Native Americans since first claiming (stealing) this country as its own.

    Bringing in trained attack dogs was vicious in itself. Those dogs appeared out of control, as noted in the linked video which showed one attacking its handler.
    The Native Americans were peaceful. Those they encountered were not.

    1. Dogstar

      That really got to me as well. What kind of person would knowingly enter that situation, armed with vicious, probably abused, dogs, and let them loose on another human? I’m still angry this morning.

        1. crittermom

          Excellent video. Thanks.
          I was very aware of Selma, but I hadn’t seen videos in quite some time.

      1. AnEducatedFool

        Attack dogs are not abused dogs in the sense of a being beaten dog into submission. These dogs are taught with positive reinforcement and typically ONLY positive reinforcement. Attack dogs are highly trained and typically costs 10-30k or more per dog. I did not see the dog that attacked its handler but I would guess that it is the Belgian Malinios. They are notoriously difficult to handle and are eager to attack people ie they are bred to be human aggressive. I have seen videos of Malinios turning on their handlers and taking a bite out of the handler’s scrotum/penis. They are one of the few dogs that I fear.

        I saw a Cane Corso at the Dakota site too which made NO SENSE. These dogs are companion mastiffs. I do not know why it was in that situation. I know that Corsos have been trained to protect property but I’ve never heard of them used as attack dogs. Malinios on the other hand are bred for this situation.

        Also, the dog handlers were only paid 19 per hour. I do not know how to find the article. One of the Bernie groups posted a photo w/ a link. I personally do not use facebook or any social media so I can not get to it.

        1. Katharine

          Democracy Now Tuesday morning interviewed a trainer who said those dogs, and the handlers, clearly were not properly trained. There were several good interviews from South Dakota in that program.

  14. allan

    Rosetta space probe finds lost Philae lander on comet [AP]

    The European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe has located its lost Philae lander, wedged in a “dark crack” on the side of a comet.

    The agency said Monday Rosetta’s camera finally captured an image of the lander on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, weeks before the probe’s own mission ends.

    Philae touched down on the comet two years ago but bounced from its intended site and couldn’t be found, though its general vicinity was known. …

    A space robot finds its long-lost friend. Surely Disney can find a way to monetize this heart-warming story.

    1. fosforos

      Philae was designed, on the basis of the standard “dirty snowball” model of comet formation, with prongs designed to sink into the comet’s surface, anchoring it. As it turned out, the comet’s surface, which evidently had never heard of a “dirty snowball,” was so hard that the prongs failed to penetrate and Philae bounced away into that “dark crack.” The standard model of cometary formation, however, remains unquestionable to the cosmological community.

  15. allan

    Boeing gets $2 billion in bonuses for flawed missile-defense system [Seattle Times]

    From 2002 through early last year, the Pentagon conducted 11 flight tests of the nation’s homeland missile-defense system.

    In the carefully scripted exercises, interceptors of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, were launched from underground silos to pursue mock enemy warheads high above the Pacific.

    The interceptors failed to destroy their targets in six of the 11 tests — a record that has prompted independent experts to conclude the system can’t be relied on to foil a nuclear strike by North Korea or Iran.

    Yet over that same time span, Boeing, the Pentagon’s prime contractor for GMD, collected nearly $2 billion in performance bonuses for a job well done. …

    L. David Montague, co-chair of a National Academy of Sciences panel that documented shortcomings with GMD, called the $2 billion in bonuses “mind-boggling,” given the system’s performance.

    Montague, a former president of missile systems for Lockheed, said the bonuses suggest the Missile Defense Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees GMD, is a “rogue organization” in need of strict supervision. …

    Rogue? Mr. Montague has a future in stand up comedy.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Does it do any good at all to document any of the manifest examples of this kind of fraud?

      But here is another one, about the “Sergeant York (WW I Congressinal Medal of Honor winner and Hollywood star) Division Air Defense (DIVAD) weapon system:”


      On 13 January 1978, General Dynamics and Ford were given development contracts for one prototype each, the XM246 and XM247 respectively, to be delivered to Fort Bliss in June 1980. On schedule, both companies delivered their prototypes to the North McGregor Test Facility and head-to-head testing began. The shoot-off was delayed for two months “because the prototypes which arrived at Fort Bliss test range were too technically immature.”[16] In the DT/OT II test series they shot down two F-86 Sabre fighters, five UH-1 Huey helicopters and twenty-one smaller drones.

      After the 29-month Phase One trial, Ford’s entry was selected as the winner of the DIVADs contest on 7 May 1981, and given a fixed-price $6.97 billion development and initial production contract for deliveries at various rates.[13] The system was officially named M247 Sergeant York when the contract was awarded.[17] The decision was controversial, as the GD entry had “outscored” the Ford design consistently in testing, nineteen “kills” to nine by most accounts.[15]

      Ford’s prototype vehicle started demonstrating problems almost immediately. The main concerns had to do with the tracking radar, which demonstrated considerable problems with ground clutter. In testing, it was unable to distinguish between helicopters and trees. When the guns were pointed upward to fire on high-angle targets, the barrels projected into the radar’s line of sight and further confused the system. Additionally, the reaction time was far too slow; against hovering helicopters it was 10 to 11 seconds, but against high-speed targets it was from 11 to 19, far too long to take a shot.[6][18]

      The RAM-D (reliability, availability, maintainability and durability) tests ran from November 1981 to February 1982, demonstrating a wide range of operation concerns.[16] The turret proved to have too slow a traverse to track fast moving targets, and had serious problems operating in cold weather, including numerous hydraulic leaks. The simple electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) suite could be defeated by only minor jamming. The used guns taken from U.S. Army stock were in twisted condition due to careless warehousing. Perhaps the most surprising problem was that the 30-year-old M48 chassis with the new 20-ton turret meant the vehicle had trouble keeping pace with the newer M1 and M2, the vehicles it was meant to protect.

      In February 1982 the prototype was demonstrated for a group of US and British officers at Fort Bliss, along with members of Congress and other VIPs. When the computer was activated, it immediately started aiming the guns at the review stands, causing several minor injuries as members of the group jumped for cover. [Cue that scene from the original “Robocop:” ] Technicians worked on the problem, and the system was restarted. This time it started shooting towards the target, but fired into the ground 300 m in front of the tank. In spite of several attempts to get it working properly, the vehicle never successfully engaged the sample targets. A Ford manager claimed that the problems were due to the vehicle being washed for the demonstration and fouling the electronics.[18] In a report on the test, Easterbrook jokingly wondered if it ever rained in central Europe.[15]

      As early production examples started rolling off the production line, the problems proved to be just as serious. One of the early models is reported to have locked onto a latrine fan, mistaking its return for a moving target of low-priority. Reporting on the incident in another article on the vehicle’s woes, Easterbrook reported that “During a test one DIVAD locked on to a latrine fan. Michael Duffy, a reporter for the industry publication Defense Week, who broke this aspect of the story, received a conference call in which Ford officials asked him to describe the target as a ‘building fan’ or ‘exhaust fan’ instead.“[19]

      Nevertheless, the program’s manager within the Army was cautiously positive. Major General Maloney said, “The DIVAD battery-eight systems plus one spare-activated 1 November 1984, at Fort Bliss to prepare for tests, has been demonstrating 90% reliability for full systems capability. The systems have been able to operate in a degraded manner a further 2% of the time and have had an 8% inoperable rate.”[20] He later stated that the “gun still had problems with software and electronic countermeasures, but my sensing was that it was certainly no worse than many weapon systems at this period in their gestation.”[12]

      Omitted is the episode where at another demonstration, the Congresscritters and generals were treated to a live-fire that was to show destruction of a drone aircraft (I may misremember but it was an out of service Navy jet IIRC) by the weapon. So the drone enters the field of fire and apparently the operator, a “grunt,” was nervous or maybe just honest and pushed the self-destruct button that was supposed to only be activated AFTER the weapon started firing, so the plane blew up before the first round was fired.

      In my very humble opinion, adding up all the bits of it, we humans are just Fokked. There is no fixing the disease of corruption and “creative destruction” and “innovation” and the motivations of self-pleasing that afflict all of us, decent ordinary people and Fokkers and Fuggers alike.

    2. Isolato

      Hey! Batting over .400 would get you a bonus in MLB! Everything is mindboggling about the MIC. 13 Billion for a useless aircraft carrier. Hundreds of billions for a new fighter aircraft less capable than its predecessor…just give us an excuse to spend money!

      War is a racket. War is a racket. War is a racket.

  16. John k

    What are you complaining about?
    They’re spending money. Money = jobs.
    Course, money also = corruption.
    Anyway, isn’t it better if all that crap doesn’t work?

    The alternate view is there’s way too many people for Gaia to support, in which case the more wars and guns the better, especially if it’s mostly somewhere else.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps a new Messiah had come and left and we only need better, more energetic and persistent storytellers for a new faith to replace our Senate.

  17. crittermom

    Regarding “Meet the mastermind behind Clinton’s…email…

    I have never been able to wrap my head around (without it spinning off) the fact Clinton even still qualified as a nominee after the first confirmations regarding her private server.
    The fact she took 2 years to honor the FBI’s request to turn it over and had wiped it all but ‘clean’ before doing so, should have disqualified her. Every disclosure since then has only served to further confirm that.

    With this latest report, I find myself shaking my head even more vigorously while thinking ‘you’ve gotta be kidding me!’.

    It’s blatantly obvious the FBI needs to be disbanded and run through the shredder.
    Absolutely outrageous that she still qualifies—to be walking free!

    1. katiebird

      I have nothing to add except, me too.

      Oh, and I will never consider myself a Democrat after this. I am totally insulted by Clinton’s nomination this year.

    2. Jim Haygood

      It’s hard to read the FBI’s report as anything other than satire. One is reminded of the Marquis de Sade, interspersing solemn cautions against vice with lovingly detailed descriptions of it, making clear that his purpose was anything but a defense of conventional morality.

      Likewise, the FBI invites us to consider the rich contrast between Comey’s “no reasonable prosecutor …” and its lurid depictions of premeditated insider crimes, which could literally be cut and pasted into the charging documents of multiple indictments.

      In effect, the FBI has gone Dada on us, in a document that screams, “Folks … read between the lines!” While the MSM pretends not to get it, Trump is the little boy rudely pointing out that the empress has no clothes. The rest of us gawk in appalled fascination.

      1. crittermom

        Jim Haygood-
        “The rest of us gawk in appalled fascination”

        I can think of many words for what I’m feeling (concerned, disgusted, infuriated…), but ‘fascination’ isn’t among them. I’m ready for someone to declare the circus over and tear down the Clinton tent.

    3. Pat

      And me. There are numerous items from her career following ‘First Lady’ which make it clear that she is unfit for office, But choosing to have her own private server while obviously being uninterested in anything but her own security, and then lying repeatedly in order to keep her work product ‘private’ regardless of numerous regulations, and her every action regarding this once it was discovered makes it clear she is UNQUALIFIED for any office where public trust is concerned.

      BTW some mob guy was quoted in the NY Post saying that electing Clinton would be a Marie Antoinette moment for the US.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Responsibility to not do nothing to stop the Foundation.

        It’s better than ‘Let’s get her elected, so Bill or Chelsea can run it, but Hillary will cease contacting the Foundation.”

        1. katiebird

          I HAVE to reread those novels. I remember them having a huge impact on me when I read them in 1975, but I need a refresher.

    4. NYPaul

      And, Don Corleone made his living as an Olive Oil Importer unless, of course,

      you can proooove otherwise.

      Also, I would be less harsh with the criticism of the FBI. When the top of the food chain, Don Obama, let’s you know what he expects the verdict to be I don’t know what alternatives were left them. When The Boss signaled to Director Comey his “suggestion” for, “an offer he couldn’t refuse,” trust me, he couldn’t refuse.

      As it was, Mr. Comey, stated publicly, unequivocally, and, in the only way he could that Sec. Clinton was an incorrigible, serial, lying, incompetent, felon who, if there was any justice in the world, would spend the last days of her miserable, corrupt life in Federal Prison, but, sigh,…………. you know.

    1. Pat

      The Clinton delusion is well documented. If Krugman considers the focus on the Foundation as bizarre and others don’t recognize that as delusional there is not much that can be done. I particularly like the comments appalled at the supposed lack of coverage of Donald Trump’s every changing policies – apparently they haven’t bothered looking at Clinton much on that score.

    2. Propertius

      Perhaps if she explained these wondrous policy proposals to someone who didn’t fork over $50,000/plate (pun not intended) just to listen to her, she might have a more sympathetic audience.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s nothing like Gore. The Daily Howler is the go-to source on the 2000 campaign, but I disagree that the treatment given to Clinton is anything like that given to Gore.

      For one thing, Gore didn’t privatize his email server while in office and then throw half the mail on it away*, before erasing it, and turning the rest of it over to the FBI.

      For another, Gore wasn’t responsible for the Libya debacle (where Clinton tipped the balance in the administration for war), not to mention voting for the Iraq debacle.

      For a third, Gore wasn’t running a family foundation with appalling record keeping that has all the marks of a reputation laundry (for the donors) and an influence peddling operation (for the Clintons).

      In retrospect, Gore would probably have been a better President than Bush as an administrator; even though his re-inventing government initiative was IMNSHO just another neoliberal excuse to break down government for parts and sell it off. The key question, which we can’t know, is what would Gore have done after 9/11 (or equivalent, given that blowback was surely coming in some form). We can’t know, but given the virtual unanimity in the political class for war, then and very obviously now, I’m not sanguine that an Iraq-level disaster would have been avoided. I know the Democrat narrative is “If only Gore [genuflects] has been elected, nothing that happened on Bush’s watch would have happened,” but that seems unlikely. For example, a Grand Bargain would seem more likely under a Democrat administration than a Republican — thank you, Monica! — so we dodged a bullet there.

      So I love the Howler, but on this one I think he’s as wrong as Krugman (although wrong in good faith, unlike Krugman).

      * The yoga lessons and Chelsea’s wedding part, we are told.

      1. Pat

        I somewhat disagree. Invading Iraq wasn’t on Gore’s wish list. IF 9/11 had happened I’m pretty sure the blowback would have been limited to Afghanistan. Prior to Obama I would have hoped that the assault on civil liberties would never have happened but of that I cannot be sure. And I wish I didn’t agree about the Grand Bargain.
        But see the biggest thing I believe is that unlike Bush, whose agenda didn’t actually include a war on terror, Gore would not have ignored the multitude of warnings about the various plans (or as more likely happened decided to Let it Happen On Purpose). Much as I don’t have much use for Israel, they apparently were so aware of the plans that they tried approaching the Bush administration directly, AND through Britain. Just for one. Could a different administration have stopped it. Maybe not, but I’m pretty sure they would have tried and it is very likely to have at least been far less deadly.

    4. crittermom

      You asked for our opinions so here’s mine:
      I saw it as nothing more than a shallow fluff piece in support of Clinton.

  18. Plenue

    Looks like it wasn’t mentioned here either yesterday or today, but the Syrian Arab Army and its allies successfully recaptured the Artillery Academy yesterday, rolling back the much vaunted militant breakthrough of several weeks ago and reimposing the siege on the ‘rebels’ in eastern Aleppo. The jihadis seem to be in disarray right now and the SAA is taking full advantage of it; expanding both west and east of the Artillery Academy. Meanwhile the militants inside Aleppo have launched a desperate offensive, probably in an attempt to punch a new hole. It’s very doubtful it will succeed.

    Current battle map:

    It was a bloody slog, but the SAA has all the momentum now. The militants lost a lot of people and a lot of difficult to replace hardware in their failed offensive. It’s very doubtful they’ll be able to lift the siege of eastern Aleppo again, which means it’s only a matter of time before the militants there run out of supplies and are forced to surrender. The ‘moderate rebels’ will lose their one big prize of the whole war, ISIS is essentially done in Syria, and the various militant groups are getting increasingly fratricidal with each other (oh, and the Kurds have revealed themselves to be quite inept in the absence of US support). Things seem to be moving towards the next stage, which will be centered around whatever Turkey plans to do in Syria.

  19. ewmayer

    Drug-naming conspiracy alert!

    So was watching the evening n00z last night, lots of ads – as usual – for overpriced lifestyle drugs with book-length lists of nasty-sounding side effects, courtesy of our drug-pusher friends in Big Pharma. One of them, however, struck me as odd – not because I hadn’t seen it before, but rather because something about the name of the drug in question suddenly rang a ‘wtf?’ random-connections bell. You know how they typically give the stupid Sillycon-valley-tech-startup-soundy brand name of the drug in bold, with the laboratory (or whatever it is) name in smaller letters beneath it. In this case: HUMIRA (adalimumab). Took me a couple seconds to figure out why that rang a mental bell … ‘Humira Adalimumab’ happens to sound an awful lot like the name of crooked Hillary’s crooked go-to aide, Huma Abedin, a.k.a. the future ex-Mrs.-Anthony-pop-goes-the-Weiner. A big-dollar pharma drug named kind-sorta like a Hillary aide … coincidence, or [dramatic pause] something more? Clinton’s for-the-39th-time-I-have-no-recollection-of-having-IT-with-that-man homebrew-server-setup guy Bryan Pagliano is probably wondering when he’s gonna get that high-priced Alzheimer’s “forgetfulness drug” named after him, with suitably happy-lucky-techy naming flourishes added, e.g. “Get grandma back with Bryanza (Paglianozolimafubaroclinazolimide)™.”

  20. ewmayer

    o Re. Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker | Ars Technica — Time to break out the ol’ DVD of Phase IV again, it seems.

    o Re. Burners applaud ransacking of exclusive camp for the rich at Burning Man — To borrow a line from Aliens, we could always nuke the site from orbit…

    o Re. G-20 Leaders Challenged to Find Effective Plan to Reignite World Growth | WSJ — Executive summary: “We just need our CBs to buy up every financial asset in existence!”

    o Re. Sanders: If She Wins, Clinton Should Cease Foundation Contact | NBC — Shorter Bernie: “In the meantime, it’s perfectly OK for Team HRC to continue using the money-laundering facility which is the CF to help fund her campaign-related costs.” But we promise to go totally legit once we win!

    o Re. How to Get Another Thorax | LRB — On my way out the house today, encountered a pair of large dragonflies flying in tightly-paired mating formation, which consisted of the male (based on iridescent coloration) in front and slightly above, with the end of his tail somehow locked onto the female about a half-inch behind her head. It reminded me of nothing so much as an Air Force in-flight refueling operation.

  21. Jeremy Grimm

    The Buzzfeed series on the Global Supercourts details some terrible stories of how the ISDS feature of the TPP and other “trade” treaties can be used. I don’t see how anyone other than an attorney specializing in ISDS cases or a corporate CEO could be in favor of the TPP. The Senators and Representatives who vote for this treaty and the President who signs it will be inviting angry mobs with pitchforks to their door.

    I wonder how many ostensibly U.S. corporations will seek a new flag of opportunity so they can get in on suing the U.S. for lost profits. All the legal fees should give a nice up-tick to the GDP. The new threats from ISDS suits will make it much easier to orchestrate political kabuki for blocking labor and environmental laws and though the widespread capture of most regulatory agencies already throttles regulation the ISDS can be applied to manage even weak tea efforts at enforcement. Austerity combined with a few nice settlements draining the U.S. Treasury should go a long way toward dismantling what remains of non-defense discretionary spending.

  22. Tom Finn

    Indian Country pipeline article unavailable. Actually been running into this problem more often than in the past on NC. I can always go looking for myself though. Love you guys.

  23. rich

    Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘honorary chancellor’ of a for-profit college

    In addition to his well-established career as a paid speaker, which began soon after he left the Oval Office, Bill Clinton took on new consulting work starting in 2009, at the same time Hillary Clinton assumed her post at the State Department.

    Laureate was the highest-paying client, but Bill Clinton signed contracts worth millions with GEMS Education, a secondary-education chain based in Dubai, as well as Shangri-La Industries and Wasserman Investment, two companies run by longtime Democratic donors.

    All told, with his consulting, writing and speaking fees, Bill Clinton was paid $65.4 million during Hillary Clinton’s four years as secretary of state.

    The company has been intertwined over the years with the global financial elite.

    Once publicly traded, it was bought out for $3.8 billion in 2007 with investments from, among others, a private-equity firm founded by liberal philanthropist George Soros, as well as the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

    The contract itself became public through a records request by a different conservative group, Judicial Watch, but descriptions of Clinton’s exact consulting role were blacked out in the publicly released document and labeled as trade secrets.

    Laureate and Clinton aides declined to release an unredacted copy of the contract.

    Laureate, meanwhile, pursued close ties with the Clinton Foundation. The company paid to send a group of international students each year to the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, where they conducted video interviews with CGI attendees such as actor Ted Danson and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright for broadcast to fellow Laureate students around the world.

    “We’re here with one of the most remarkable world leaders. We’re here with Chelsea Clinton,” said Daniel Rubio Sánchez, a student on a Laureate campus in Madrid, as he began a video interview with the former first daughter at the September 2015 CGI gathering — a few months after Bill Clinton’s contract ended — sitting in front of a glass wall inscribed with the logos of Laureate and CGI.


  24. crittermom

    The title of the story on Giant Pandas sounded great but is actually terribly misleading as the article states:
    “However, Marc Brody, senior adviser for conservation and sustainable development at China’s Wolong Nature Reserve, says “it is too early to conclude that pandas are actually increasing in the wild—perhaps we are simply getting better at counting wild pandas.” and “…… there is no justifiable reason to downgrade the listing from endangered to threatened,” he says.

    “In fact, ‘suitable’ or quality panda habitat is in fact decreasing from ongoing fragmentation from highway construction, active tourism development in Sichuan Province, and other human economic activities.”

    Not such a ‘feel good’ story after all.
    It then proceeds to discuss the rapid decline of the great apes and other species. Even more depressing.
    Yet the title had sounded so promising…

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