Links 2/6/17

Sick whale found to have 30 plastic bags blocking its stomach Sky News (guurst).

USDA blacks out animal welfare information Science

The Mortgage-Bond Whale That Everyone Is Suddenly Worried About Bloomberg

Eurozone economy quietly outshines the US FT

Huge Gas Finds Can Keep Europe Warm If the Arguing Stops Bloomberg

Factcheck: Mail on Sunday’s ‘astonishing evidence’ about global temperature rise Carbon Brief (DK).

A whistleblower challenges NOAA’s climate data Fabius Maximus


What’s next for Brexit? The Week

U.K. Brexit Department Hires 328 Staff as It Prepares for Talks Bloomberg and Goodbye and Good Luck: U.K. Gets Brexit Message From Old Friend Bloomberg

It’s time MPs seized control of Brexit – and this week they have a golden opportunity The Mirror. “Ignoring last year’s referendum as a Boaty McBoatface poll – the result overlooked in favour of an outcome favourable to the originators – would be suicide, not a strategy.”

French Far-Right Candidate Marine Le Pen Launches Presidential Campaign by Blasting Globalization Time

Manifesti contro papa Francesco: un attacco preciso, brutale e ben pianificato. Sbaglia chi minimizza (Google translation) Il Fatto Quotidiano (DG). DG: “So someone is sticking up posters [images] in Roman dialect (probably to evoke the famous talking statues of Rome, like Pasquino). And the feelings of the Knights of Malta have been hurt. Who knows who these ‘Franciscans of the Immaculate Mother’ may be. The usual Franciscans are the hippies of the Catholic Church.” Hmm.

Trump agrees to meet NATO leaders in Europe in May Reuters

Russia, Ukraine – Neocon Ceasefire Sabotage Fails To Change Trump’s Mind Moon of Alabama


Trump’s Plan to Fight ISIS With Putin Isn’t Just Futile. It’s Dangerous. Politico. Check the bio….

Trump Administration Looks at Driving Wedge Between Russia and Iran WSJ. So, the mullahs are The Blob’s bright shiny object?

Iran says U.S. sanctions stop American oil firms taking part in projects Reuters


Farewell Chinese stimulus Macrobusiness

Overseas Chinese acquisitions worth $75bn cancelled last year FT

Superbowl LI

All the ads that ran during the Super Bowl, in order Business Insider

Amazon Echo spot ‘primes’ Super Bowl audience for drone delivery in the US TechCrunch. Nice product placement in that headlne.

5 key plays that made the Patriots’ historic comeback possible Boston Globe. Just a wee bit triumphalist….

Media Circus: Reviewing Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LI Sport Illustrated. George Bush I on the field in a wheelchair….

Did Patriots win or Falcons choke in Super Bowl LI? USA Today

Our Famously Free Press

Who supplies the news? LRB

The future of fake news is real-time video manipulation Boing Boing. Yikes!

Needed: An Order of Battle for the Newspaper War Economic Principals

2016 Post Mortem

Chelsea Clinton Is the Last Thing the Democratic Party Needs Observer (PU). One considers the source. Nevertheless!

The U.S. Megalopolis Isn’t as Politically Powerful as You Think RealClearPolitics. Important!

Trump Transition

What Does Steve Bannon Think? (audio) BBC. Useful discussion panel, including Thomas Frank.

After Trump moves to undo financial regulations, Sanders calls him ‘a fraud’ WaPo

The $100 Billion Reason Investors Loved Trump’s Bank Order WSJ

Meet Stephen Feinberg, The Private Equity Billionaire In Talks To Join The Trump Administration Forbes (DO). “In talks with” yet another oligarch, but of a particularly odious sort.

Trump Extends Timetable to Replace Obamacare WSJ. Political logic explained here. Yesterday.

Revoking trade deals will not help American middle classes Larry Summers, FT. One of my favorite jokes is the one about the genie who appears to the [insert disfavored ethnicity of choice here] peasant and grants them one wish. The peasant thinks for a moment, then: “I wish for my neighbor’s cow to die.” Point being, revoking trade deals might not help America’s middle class. But will it hurt Larry Summers?

Measuring the Obama Administration’s Historic Midnight Surge RegBlog

* * *

Trump Rips Judge on Ruling Against Immigration Order WSJ. If nothing else, innoculating himself against blame for a second 9/11…

Battle over “sanctuary cities” in Texas suggests a larger national conflict lies ahead Amanda Marcotte, Salon. Even mainstream economists now agree that the benefits of globalization, averaged, conceal hidden costs — for example, the deindustrialization and consequent destruction of Rust Belt communities — that warrant redistribution to those impacted. (Shorter: “Oopsie!”) But some elite factions favor mass immigration, legal or not, because immigration keeps wages low for workers who must compete with it (study). (The wage fixing CEOs of Silicon Valley favor H1Bs using the same logic.) So, when Marcotte starts advocating for redistribution, I’ll take her virtue signaling on “sanctuary cities” seriously. This coin has two sides.

Not just ‘bad hombres’: Trump is targeting up to 8 million people for deportation LA Times

Let’s Not Debate Immigration Stumbling and Mumbling

* * *

Republicans face anger over Obamacare repeal during town halls Politico (PU). Politico seems to be framing this is “Tea Party from the left” (i.e., liberals) but the last sentence is goid: “‘If people loved [Obamacare],’ [Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said], ‘Nancy Pelosi would still be speaker and Hillary Clinton would be president.’ Indeed. If #Resistance = #SaveACA, then #Resistance = Restoration.

The case for all-out war against Gorsuch Ryan Cooper, The Week

People Are Canceling Tesla Orders Because Elon Musk Is Advising Trump Buzzfeed. “At least five…” Come on, people!

Today’s protest signs are sharper, meaner, funnier — and live on long after the rallies WaPo. Snark being another failed strategy liberals are doubling down on. They’ve been trying it since 2003!

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. military’s stats on deadly airstrikes are wrong. Thousands have gone unreported Yikes!

Was Snowden a Russian Agent? Charles Savage, NYRB. Important.

Class Warfare

The Modi Government’s New Policy Narrative is Tilted Against the Informal Sector The Wire (J-LS).

The cashless wage ordinance has brought more distress than relief for industrial workers The Scroll (J-LS). That’s not a bug…

“In a System with Dominance, There is Built-In Resistance to Change”: ProMarket Interviews Bernie Yeung, Part 2 ProMarket (part 1).

The secret taxonomy behind IKEA’s product names, from Billy to Poäng Quartz

The Great Crime The Paris Review (JH).

Sick But Not Sick NYRB

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

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. DH

      I think people are just starting to wake up to the socialist meritocracy that Bill Bellichek runs in Foxboro. Tom Brady is the 28th largest salary cap hit in the league. The entire team runs on a mantra of “just do your job”. The expectation for each player is that they work with their position coaches to understand what they need to do in each play call and then execute that. As a result, they continually have players that nobody has heard of become key cogs in any given game. Players want to play their for less than their “market price” in order to be part of a winning culture. When players want to get paid really well, they go to other teams where they double their pay, and get to not play in the post-season. They usually wait until they have won at least one Super Bowl before they do that.

      A primary reason that Tom Brady did not win the regular season MVP this year is because he was suspended for four games and they went 3-1 (1-1 with their third string QB). They could very well have gone undefeated again if Brady had not been suspended, but they would have probably made it to the playoffs if he did not play a single game, so he is the element that helps them win Super Bowls, but not what makes them one of the best teams in the league.

      There are a lot of lessons in the current adoration of superstar executives and investors here. Many of the best companies are ones that are fairly quiet, keep their people for a long time, and have fair pay policies where everybody is viewed as important in their own way.

    2. Dave

      Polls find only 44% of Americans support Trump.
      Same pollsters that claimed Hillary would win easily?

  1. BeliTsari

    Bloomberg’s “YOOJ gas find” is hilarious! The lefty blogs were abuzz with stories of this and heated debate on the part of a pretty well informed commentariate, long before the Syrian “pipeline wars” have they bought The Guardian yet?

  2. QuarterBack

    Re the Observer link on the new push of Chelsea as political savior, it might be relevant to point out that an anagram for Chelsea Clinton is: Chosen Clan-lite.

    1. different clue

      If the Clintons can get their Chelsea elected, then the Clintons can still use their Foundation to make money by selling influence. In fact just floating rumors of maybe Chelsea running for Congress will make the Clinton Foundation a lucrative seller of influence to people who want to buy influence early just in case Chelsea runs and wins.

      I would hope every Sander backer would give all the money they can afford to Chelsea’s Republican opponent. Because you just know that the Friends of Clinton and Obama will give the Chelsea Campaign many millions of dollars.

  3. Anne

    This seems kind of important:

    Republicans Are Using Big Tobacco’s Secret Science Playbook to Gut Health Rules

    But even those keeping their eyes on the EPA may have missed a quieter attack on environmental protections now being launched in Congress.

    On Tuesday, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is expected to hold a hearing on a bill to undermine health regulations that is based on a strategy cooked up by tobacco industry strategists more than two decades ago. At what Republicans on the committee have dubbed the “Making EPA Great Again” hearing, lawmakers are likely to discuss “The Secret Science Reform Act,” a bill that would limit the EPA to using only data that can be replicated or made available for “independent analysis.”

    The proposal may sound reasonable enough at first. But because health research often contains confidential personal information that is illegal to share, the bill would prevent the EPA from using many of the best scientific studies. It would also prohibit using studies of one-time events, such as the Gulf oil spill or the effect of a partial ban of chlorpyrifos on children, which fueled the EPA’s decision to eliminate all agricultural uses of the pesticide, because these events — and thus the studies of them — can’t be repeated. Although it is nominally about transparency, the bill leaves intact protections that allow industry to keep much of its own inner workings and skewed research secret from the public, while delegitimizing studies done by researchers with no vested interest in their outcome.

    This seems to be right in line with the Trump administration’s efforts to turn the missions of various agencies upside down, and put whatever progress has been made into reverse.

    I wonder, though…do you think that after the environment is ruined and climate change accelerates, the deniers and destroyers will see any connection to their own actions and decisions? I’m guessing not.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Connections to their own actions? This would be a concern to them, just exactly how?

      C’mon, the people who are profiting from killing the rest of us and demolishing the livability of the biosphere for us and other species know the secret: There are no consequences for them. The impunity of immunity. Straight “Apres nous, qui s’en soucie?.” The live out their Living Large ™ lives, in an environment that maximizes their pleasures and protects them from uncomfortable contacts with the wider world. When they finally get sick and near death, there are kindly people to minister to them, change their diapers and wipe their spittle off their cheeks and chin, all that. And they know when they are gone that there’s not a damn thing those who remain can do about their depredations — what are we going to do, dig up their corpses and ‘dishonor’ them somehow? try to identify and collect their ashes and piss on them?

      All the incentives and vectors point in the direction of more externalizing, more short-term scamming and looting, more concentration of power and wealth in the grip of people who not only JUST DON”T CARE, they seem to delight in the power to degrade and destroy. While maxing out their personal pleasure centers.

      Any thought that what happens after these people are dead and gone means jack-sh!t to them is nonsense. Not that the same kind of short-sightedness is not also present in a large part of the rest of the population. For so many reasons.

      1. Gaylord

        What those profiteers evidently do not know (as the vast majority does not know), is the rapidity and ferocity of nature’s immutable forces by which their Living Large (or small) lives will be disrupted.

        1. different clue

          They hope to be the only people surviving in their gated underground fortresses. They hope to come out when every one else is dead and inherit an earth which is Theirs, All Theirs.

    2. BeliTsari

      Don’t forget who basically quoted Rick Berman’s stale: Russian funded, radical anti-fracking, basement dwelling, hysteria mongering entitled millennial, leftist environmentalists trope? Give you a hint, it was part of a speech she gave for TD Bank, concerning the bitumen, clathrate & fracking boom. Of course, since then Rick Berman’s reverted to blaming the Democrats anyway. Guess, we’ll all have to lead by example?

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Combine this:

    The Mortgage-Bond Whale That Everyone Is Suddenly Worried About Bloomberg

    and these:

    Farewell Chinese stimulus Macrobusiness

    Overseas Chinese acquisitions worth $75bn cancelled last year FT

    And I suspect you have very bad news coming up for property markets all over the English speaking world, but especially in the US. Or good news if you are hoping to buy next year (and have cash).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s America First in America.

      In France, some talk of France First.

      And it looks like the same in the Land of the Descendants of the Yellow Emperor – China (Invest/Acquire at Home) First.

      Can everyone be first at the same time? Can every child be the greatest (according his/her mother)? Can every girl-friend/wife in the world be Marilyn Monroe?

      The answer is, that’s what we have had the last 10,000 years.

      “Son, you’re the smartest.”

      “Marilyn, you’re the prettiest.”

      1. Mark Alexander

        Can everyone be first at the same time?

        Kinda-sorta. All countries can be above average, like the children in Lake Wobegon.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            For me, it happened in the first grade, when I realized not every mother’s kid would come in first.

      2. Code Name D

        There is another way to interpret “America Firt,” Not that American must befirst amung all, but that Amercans need to present American intrests first, and all other considerations secondly.

        Trump has expresed the bizar notion that Putin would have his own agenda that dosn’t invalve American intrests. -gasp- And even that there is nothing wrong with this. -faints dead away-.

        In short, its the idea that American places Amrican first, French will place France first, and so forth. So yes, it is posible for all nations to be first – with their citizns.

        At least that is what I think Trump is tring to say. Its a bit like trying to chart a flies flight patern.

        1. nobody

          It’s quite explicit:

          We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

          And note the notion that comes next:

          We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

          Then again, what immediately follows that is:

          We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.

            1. Procopius

              Obviously, we sell to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States because they have an unquenchable appetite for billions of dollars worth of weapons that they have not the skill nor the will to use. Looking back over the years they must have more fighter jets than the U.S. Air Force, more rifles and artillery than the U.S. Army. I don’t know how much they buy in the way of Navy ships, but I suppose it’s proportionately high. I haven’t been tracking it (I suppose there’s somebody who does), but every year I see two or three times that the President/State Department/Pentagon has approved another record-breaking arms sale, $40-50 billion. We don’t see sales to Israel because we give them all that shit for free, and they have their own factories anyway.

    2. RabidGandhi

      The MacroBusiness article bravely declares the end of Chinese stimulus, discusses a bunch of monetary steps to curb credit, and then sort of retracts its declaration of the end of stimulus.

      Back in my day, stimulus meant fiscal policy, but whatevs.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Question regarding this bit –

      Unlike Treasuries, the Fed rarely owned mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis. Over the years, its purchases have been key in getting the housing market back on its feet. Along with near-zero interest rates, the demand from the Fed reduced the cost of mortgage debt relative to Treasuries and encouraged banks to extend more loans to consumers.

      Maybe I’m just nitpicking here as the article is presumably written for those with some financial acumen, but is it really appropriate to refer to the Fed’s policy of paying 100 cents on the dollar for ‘distressed’ MBS as ‘demand’ for said securities? I mean this was really the Fed in cahoots with the banks trying to cover up their insolvency, no? ‘Demand’ seems more than a little bit of a stretch here.

  5. PlutoniumKun


    A whistleblower challenges NOAA’s climate data Fabius Maximus

    This article is just spurious junk. The NOAA data has been subject to the highest level of peer review (as the article above it shows). Quoting Judith Curry in support of any science argument is a clear sign of bad faith, she has zero credibility among serious scientists. The article contains no facts, just makes vague allegations of precisely the same type exposed in the Charles Savage article in the NYRB linked above.

    1. craazyman

      You may be right. I don’t know.

      I would wish that an economics/finance blog cease presenting links on global warming. They do nothing but foment the worst, most immature and hate filled invective that pollutes (no pun intended) the Peanut Gallery. Usually by commenters who don’t have any idea what they’re talking about and resort to vicious ad-hominem insults and mindless citations of other scholar’s work (which they could themselves not understand if they had to and but confuse their ability to cite it, nevertheless, with having knowledge themselves).

      Really sad, ugly, toxic stuff. It degrades and diminishes this blog.

      MMT however is fair game. That’s econ/finance stuff and the heated debates there are on topic and far more accessible in their technical nature.

      1. SoCal Rhino

        Yeah, headlines as tokens in arguments is kinda silly. In the few online (not NC) climate discussions I’ve indulged in, I found a quick way to cut things short is to test how many linked citations by my counterpart they have even read. Just read a few and mention stuff that isn’t in the headline. Shortens the conversation.

        I enjoy and don’t pretend to deeply understand the articles from places like Quanta. Then again, haven’t seen a lot of trolling on quantum mechanics or dark matter, probably not looking at the right sites for that.

      2. Skip Intro

        I believe it should be possible for a clever person such as yourself to avoid sections you find distasteful, rather than showing up to scold and insult other readers. If you believe that climate chaos is irrelevant to finance and economics, or vice versa, then you would be well advised to spend some time in more basic studies.

        1. craazyman

          Economic analyses of impacts would be on topic, no doubt. They’d be more interesting than ad hominem slurs about “deniers” and “lackeys”.

          It’s well worth doing serious scenario analysis given the magnitude of the possible threat AGW poses. Be prepared! That’s good policy. But keep it focused on facts, methodologies, conclusions — not ad hominem invective and petty polemics

          If somebody pretends to be an expert and they’re not, then saying they’re not isn’t scolding or insulting — it’s simply stating a fact. They’d do well themselves to do some basic studies of statistical methods and math models and have more humility and less murderous hubris toward scholars who’ve spent a career studying a phenomenon and (perhaps wrongly, to be sure) disagree with mainstream scholarship.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Your comments seem to imply that there is somehow some level of uncertainty or gaps in the evidence. It is precisely for this reason why the BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project) was set up – with funding from, among others, the Koch Brothers, with a noted skeptic (Richard A. Muller) in charge. This is a peer review of peer review. Even skeptics acknowleged that it was as good a final say as it is possible to get (they said this before it concluded that they were wrong). And its conclusions? The concensus is correct. The IPCC report was correct and founded on firm science.

            Seriously, what more certainty do you want?

            1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


              (1) The BEST group’s work is not a peer review of the global surface temperature datasets. It produced another one, using slightly different methods of construction. This is useful for many reasons. However these datasets all use the same source data (90%-95% overlap). This is not disputed among climate scientists. Roger Pielke Sr. explains it here:

              (2) Trivia point: Muller is not and has not been a skeptic.

              (3) You miss the point of Bates’ article. You imply that the global temperature datasets are a stable base. They are not. There have been statistically significant changes between versions. Bates’ discusses the process by which NOAA’s temp data was changed.

              The changes were significant, affecting several cutting edge debates in climate science. One being the severe slowing of warming after 1999 called “the pause” or the “hiatus”. There have been many scores of peer-reviewed papers about its nature and causes. Karl 2015, based on the new version, was a big contribution to this debate among climate scientists. Bates’ is questioning the processes that produced it.

              There is debate about the pause, one of many among climate scientists about the past rate of warming, the relative weight of its causes, and forecasts of future warming. That there has been warming is not debated, nor that much of it since 1950 has been caused by anthropogenic factors.

              Exaggerating the consensus among climate scientists doesn’t help the public policy debate about our responses to climate change. It’s just tossing chaff into the air.

              1. Knot Galt

                The pause was created by different methodologies in the collection of data. “The pause”, as it is referred to, was due to the collection of data as the water went through ship turbines.

                1. different clue

                  There was no pause in glacier meltback, ice cap attrition, permafrost thawdown, etc. Those things kept happening right along. So there was clearly no hiatus on fresh heat entering the system . . . enough heat to melt significant amounts of ice and thaw significant amounts of permafrost.

      3. JohnL

        Hmmm I think the economic and financial implications of climate change justify its inclusion as a topic, especially in light of the economic and financial issues underpinning denial.

        Positioning climate change as an issue separate from the “real world” of finance and economics is part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in.

        1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

          John L.

          +100. Climate change is an issue that affects everything.

          Also, it is a screen on which we can watch the operation of our science, media, and public policy machinery. How well do they work? The years since 1988, when the issue hit the front pages, should have taught us much — and pointed to needed reforms. But we haven’t paid attention.

          1. JohnL

            Thanks for the comment and for the article. Integrity in science is key and requires constant vigilance. The real data is bad enough. Sexing it up ultimately just aids the detractors. Open data is the way to go.

            1. pretzelattack

              what data has been hidden, aside from the data that is proprietary and subject to restrictions from the start? what data has been falsified. this whole dispute seems to be about a cumbersome process for archiving data, per eli rabbett.


              bates is very upset they didn’t use his cumbersome process, so he complained to lamar smith, who predictably uses it to advance his deregulatory agenda, whether there is actually any evidence in the smears or not. the context is that the shills of the fossil fuel industry have been very upset about papers showing there has been no pause in surface warming, this is an offshoot of the campaign to deny the conclusions of those papers. fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

              1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


                The process Bates’ refers to is NOAA’s official process for updating its official datasets. I don’t understand the nature of your objection. Perhaps it should be addressed to the relevant senior officials at NOAA.

                “what data has been hidden, aside from the data that is proprietary and subject to restrictions from the start?”

                To what are your referring? I don’t see anything in this thread, or in Bates’ article, making such claims.

          2. Knot Galt

            I’ve followed Fabius Maximus since about 2006 and they are resolutely a climate-denying website. EotFMw-Is this not true? When it comes to exploring articles regarding our climate it’s always important to remember the selective biases enforced on certain websites.

            The “needed reforms” the editor talks about are related to “trashing” the science that 97% of environmental scientists support; that being climate change is happening and it is man made.

            The editor and I agree on one thing. There are enormous repercussions to the economy be it come hell or high water.

            1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


              As usual with discussions about climate, someone descends to lies and smears. Can you produce evidence to support your claims?

              Here in the real world, my articles are dogmatic supporters of the IPCC and climate science institutions — defending them against attacks from both Left and Right. Esp NOAA, for which I’ve been a cheerleader — including quoting from and reposting many of their articles.

              A summary of my views, with links to specific posts explaining them, is here:

              1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                Hi Fabius,

                Readers can follow your link for themselves. I think rather than posting your full set of recommendations, it will hopefully suffice if I summarize some highlights for readers who are curious. Feel free to let me know if any of this is inaccurate. Your position features strong support for:

                (1) Greatly increased funding for climate science.
                (2) Conversion to non-carbon-based energy sources, with full conversion reached within the second half of the 21st century.
                (3) Stronger support for the IPCC and the NOAA.
                (4) Per the predictions of climate science and experience in recent years, we should consider bouts of extreme weather very likely in the future, and should prepare for them.

                1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


                  Nicely summarized, probably better for a comment than my longer statement!

                  Small note: I think “3. The IPCC and the NOAA” should be “Stronger support for the IPCC and the NOAA.” It doesn’t make much sense as is.

              2. Knot Galt

                My main disagreement comes with your point #2(which Outis does not mention); From your website, “There is a debate about the attribution (causes) of past warming — which probably varied over time — between natural drivers (e.g., rebound from the Little Ice Age, solar influences) and anthropogenic drivers (eg, CO2, aerosols, land use changes). Other that that stated in (b), the IPCC’s reports make few claims about attribution of climate activity. This remains actively debated in the literature.”

                This is a large tenet of climate deniers.

                Your new recommendation may get to the heart of our disagreement. However, Man has been using stored up solar energy, in the form of carbon, and reducing it to a lower state of energy in the form of gas. That gas is responsible for heating up the planet to a degree vastly greater than the atmosphere can balance out.

                What this portends is that, yes, Conversion to non-carbon-based energy sources, is necessary, only it must be done now. Because, Man.

                1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                  In the version of the page I link to, what you describe as (2) is actually (c), and the (b) it refers to pushes hard in the opposite direction – it summarizes the IPCC consensus with the quote:

                  “It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

                  Reading (b) together with (c), Fabius seems to be stating that there is a fraction of the warming whose attribution is debated, but there is a clear consensus that the AGW component is in any case so large that it needs to be treated as an extremely urgent problem.

        2. craazyman

          I posted a reply to Skip Intro that got eaten.

          Economic analysis of the AGW threat is on topic for a econ/finance blog, for sure. I’d welcome that if it’s well done, sober and lucid — but economic predictions are hard in general and would be pretty tough here in particular. There would be lots of room for analytical differences of opinion.

          (And all hopefully without murderous ad-hominem slurs and polemics. The debate — even about climate research methods and models — isn’t degrading and horrid, it’s the spirit in which it’s conducted by some commenters that is.)

          1. JohnL

            Your reply to Skip Intro came out of purgatory. I agree with what you say here. There are some real consequences going on all already. Neighbors near me on the beach here are suffering more frequent storm damage. They, like many other shoreline communities, may need to retreat and/or raise their houses on stilts, replace septic systems with sewer, etc. As a society we have yet to even have the conversation about how to pay for that. Miami/Dade County in Florida is paying for climate change adaptation with property taxes from building more condos on the beach. Hardly sustainable, but it’s all they’ve got. These are economic and financial questions that this blog should be airing.

            Agree that it needs to stay civil. Don’t agree with all of what FM has to say, but appreciate his asking the questions and challenging the CW, and being prepared to come here to defend that in civil debate.

            1. Aumua

              Yes, welcome to the Internet. There are going to be those on both sides of any debate who resort to the kind of tactics we find so abhorrent. And the roots of dissent, denial, conflict and coverup here go very deep here, to the foundation of our civilization and way of life. It is unfortunate. I do try personally, and probably fail sometimes, to keep it detached and impersonal.

              I also thought the Fabius Maximus piece was quite fair in presenting multiple sides of the current flap. Thanks a whole lot, John Bates. Way to go, buddy. Good luck with your new startup. /sarc

        3. susan the other

          Also, ring fencing weather as not part of climate change is a compartment too many. Weather has an enormous amount of energy pushing it around the world. And everybody’s got some. So in the real world of economics it would seem frivolous to ignore it. Climate change is happening – anybody with a sense of weather patterns knows this. I’m puzzled that there isn’t a bigger call for harvesting energy from weather phenomena. Beyond solar and wind (which have been analyzed by some to create even more CO2 and other pollution than fossil fuel derived energy) there must be ways to use precipitation, heat-cold exchange mechanisms and all sorts of stuff. Politically deciding on a solution and promoting it (wind and solar) sorta monopolize the options.

        4. Jef

          JohnL – Good comment. I would ask why is there not so much scrutiny and outrage over all of the PROVEN manipulated, misreported, falsified, omitted data from government and non-government entities on economic issues that serve to frame policy effecting everyone and everything?

      4. epynonymous

        The EPA routinely puts out fake numbers on oil pipeline safety figures. They even blur their data-tables for public release… poorly.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          Well, since it isn’t EPA’s job to regulate the safety of pipelines, I wouldn’t consider going to them for that data. It is actually the job of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a subagency of the Department of Transportation, to regulate pipeline safety. I suggest you go to their site to find the information you want.

            1. justanotherprogressive

              To be sure, the regulations in this country are convoluted, and the EPA has become the whipping horse for everything environmental that happens in this country, but other agencies besides the EPA have responsibilities for oil spills also (like the Coast Guard who responds to oil spills on nagivable waterways).
              I believe epynonymous was concerned about pipeline safety, and that is under the purview of PHMSA ( It is unfair to chastise the EPA for not keeping pipeline safety data when it really isn’t their job to do so.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        > [Global warming post] do nothing but foment the worst, most immature and hate filled invective that pollutes

        Yes, I was aware of that risk. I think we’ve got most of the comment badness under control — we’ll see! — and we also have the very dedicated Outis to keep the threads on the straight and narrow (to the extent its possible to herd the NC cats).

        However, (a) there’s no way global warming isn’t on topic for NC. See the tagline? “Fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power.” Global warming clearly partakes of all four aspects. We can’t make it central, not being experts, but the topic clearly falls under our remit.

        Finally, I didn’t link to the story on this same topic yesterday in the Daily Mail. The two links today are far more serious. If they’re wrong, they’re wrong, and let’s clean them up.

        Comments so far seem reasonably thoughtful. Let’s keep it that way.

        NOTE Thanks to the Fabius Maximus editor for showing up.

        1. Synoia

          [Global warming post] do nothing but foment the worst, most immature and hate filled invective that pollutes

          Please read that sentence carefully. And Again. Please read it with your irony filters set to “detect”.

        2. Code Name D

          Just because its NC dosn’t mean you get to check your skeptics hat at the door. The croud here is more than smart enugh to catch these denyers no mater where they hid. (Some times I think Lambert dose it on purpus, just to keep us on our toes.) Hay, you spoted it, right?

          And as Lambet said, this is an important topic. Just this Saterday, he poseted a link where the Greenland ice sheets were melting 600 times faster than the models predict. In otherwords, they got it wrong. That’s worth talking about.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                To err is human.

                And perhaps that will be the Casus Belli for robots (we’re not programmed to be wrong) to revolt.

      1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


        A whistleblower is someone within an organization (current or former) who reveals information about that organization concerning its failure to follow its internal regulations and other government laws.

        John Bates fits that, as a retired principal scientist at NOAA who had supervisory authority over aspects of the climate datasets.

        1. Jeff

          a. If he is retrired, he is no longer active within the organization, so cannot be a whistleblower.
          b. How come only idiots like Judith Curry & Lamar Smith complain, but no other scientists or scientific institutions (I don’t care about the degrees or position of either; spouting nonsense makes you an idiot).

          Merchants of doubt, where there is no longer any doubt.

          1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


            “If he is retrired, he is no longer active within the organization, so cannot be a whistleblower.”

            The definition of whistleblower rests on the person’s insider knowledge, not their current employment status. It’s similar to that used to define “insider trading”.

            “How come only idiots like Judith Curry”

            Her professional bio overflows with peer-reviewed publications, awards, and appointments to leadership positions in climate science institutions. I doubt you have the professional standing to challenge her statements. Calling her an “idiot” is a schoolyard taunt, unworthy of being in the NC comments.

            “I don’t care about the degrees or position of either; spouting nonsense makes you an idiot).”

            That you don’t care about such things tells us more about you than her.

            1. pretzelattack


              this scientist’s perspective on bates.


              for yet another respective; look at the links in the guardian article.


              your article doesn’t mention that karl’s paper has already been independently verified. curious omission. according to peter thorne bates was never involved in any part of the work.

              there has been a persistent effort by a small group at the agu to overturn its position statement on global warming, originally started by some very conservative cold warrior physicists i think.

            2. pretzelattack

              peter thorne writes that bates was not involved in the work. (link above).

              curry doesn’t publish anymore, as i understand it. when she did publish papers, she never published anything to challenge the science. she seems to prefer pontificating from her blog to actually doing science.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      “Spurious junk”? Do you think we should not be questioning the ethics of our governmental agencies?
      John Bates is a well-known scientist who is questioning the ethics of data analysis at NOAA. I don’t see him as acting politically here. I hardly think that he is saying that NOAA lied or that global warming doesn’t exist; just that NOAA didn’t follow their own ethical standards when releasing some analyses.
      I think it behooves us to listen to him and what he has to say, and ignore how his comments are being “used” by journalists on both sides of this issue.

      Data Science is becoming incredibly more important in our lives and the one thing we must insist on is that the raw data be the best it can be and that the methods used to analyze that data be the most ethical and neutral methods possible, and available to all of us – it is the only way to guarantee than we actually have valid information that we need to make decisions.

      1. pretzelattack

        i see him acting very much politically, and what “ethical standards” were violated? the scientists just didn’t want to use bates’ cumbersome process because it was slowing down their work. he seems to have gotten miffed enough at that that he makes a series of unsubstantiated allegations at a blog, while smearing karl.

    3. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


      As the bios I link to show, the whistleblower — John Bates — was a long-time principal scientist at NOAA, who played a key role in the operation of its climate datasets. He has published 45 peer-reviewed papers, and in 2012 was elected to the Board of the American Geophysical Association (AGU).

      That you believe yourself competent to dismiss his claims as “spurious junk” is odd. The President of the AGU says that scientists will review his claims. I suggest that you wait for their evaluations.

      1. L

        Given the gravity of the topic and your stated seriousness about it can you explain why you chose to compare the story to “Climategate” saying:

        This might be the most serious challenge to practices at the major climate science institutions since release of the “Climategate” emails.

        Is it your intention to imply that these charges are a motivated attack that will persist in the literature despite falling down under assessment? Or do you believe that the climategate emails represented a substantive attack that identified real problems. If so please explain what those problems are.

        I ask because your chosen analogy was based largely on lifting quotes out of context all of which fell apart under multiple reviews which found no evidence of wrongdoing (see here). Yet despite taking it seriously the scam story continues to be cited by deniers as if they have found some actual proof.

        If actual data mishandling has been an issue that would seem to be serious and it would seem to call for serious handling. But if this is just a push for a specific bill (as your text seems to be) based upon one set of as yet unverified claims, then that does not seem to be an unbiased “serious” assessment.

        1. L

          As a followup point it seems that part of the criticism is about the lack of available data for verification. However one of the articles that your piece links to: Factcheck: Mail on Sunday’s ‘astonishing evidence’ about global temperature rise notes that the dataset at the center of this discussion was published online via a public FTP server for analysis:

          While I cannot speak to how well the authors followed internal protocols, they did release their temperature anomalies, spatially gridded data land and ocean data, and the land station data associated with their analysis. They put all of this up on NOAA’s FTP site in early June 2015, at the time that the Karl et al paper was published.

          As someone who works on and develops surface temperature records, the data they provided would be sufficient for me to examine their analysis in detail and see how it compared to other groups. In fact, I used the data they provided shortly after the paper was published to do just that. While it would have been nice for them to publish their full analysis code online as well as the data, I’m sure they would have provided it to any researchers who asked.

          While I agree with his comment regarding the code it does change the tenor of the discussion somewhat if the data was available.

        2. Skip Intro


          When I read the ‘climategate’ reference I closed the tab, smelling a a similar sleazy hit piece. It is interesting that the editor would show up to defend it, assuming that is an accurate handle. I am eager to hear how that comparison was intended as well, as it pretty much sunk the piece.

          1. Katharine

            If you closed the tab before even getting halfway through the summary, let alone reading a fairly long article, you are plainly in no position to make an informed judgment of the article. The way to find out what you profess to be eager to hear is to read the piece.

            1. Skip Intro

              Well I was already familiar with the problem of ocean temperature measurements that didn’t distinguish warmer ship-based readings from more accurate buoy readings, so the comment about ‘Climategate’ was enough to let me file the story as yet another FUD story meant to discredit climate scientists. What I am eager to hear is how the editor defends that statement while preserving the pretense of being serious and unbiased. Perhaps he will surprise me and I will be inclined read the full article. More likely it will remain a faux outrage story with a relatively transparent agenda, and I won’t need to waste time reading any more of it.

              1. pretzelattack

                the editor of that website seems to have taken the whole “climategate” smear seriously, despite iirc 9 separate investigations showing there was no basis to question the practices at east anglia. the only adverse finding was the scientists didn’t respond to the avalanche of foia requests from “skeptics” in a timely manner, even if they were for data that the scientists didn’t have the legal right to disseminate, or data available from other sources. it was an harassment campaign.

              2. Katharine

                I repeat: if you want to know how he justifies the statement, read what he says. How else do you imagine you are going to know?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The President of the AGU says that scientists will review his claims.

        Please refresh my memory. Is there a link to the AGU President’s statement in your post? If not, will you provide one? Thanks.

        1. Katharine

          It’s in the article:

          At a risk of quoting too extensively:

          AGU believes that the merits of the Karl et al. (2015) should be and have been discussed in appropriate peer-reviewed scientific journals. We note that the main results of that study have since been independently replicated by later work. In the meantime, we will continue to stand up for the credibility of climate science, the freedom of scientists to conduct and communicate their science.

          The purpose of our posts on this topic – past, present, and future — are to make you aware of this development affecting climate science and scientific data management. We are closely monitoring how this will play out among policymakers and influencers. For example, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology issued a misleading press release. These types of statements by policymakers that attempt to take one study/dispute and blow it out of proportion are both unhelpful and misleading. We will be working with the science committee to demonstrate the scientific consensus on climate change and to encourage them not to interfere with the scientific process.

        1. Katharine

          Probably not, but we have no way of knowing how it is relevant without much more information. “Failure to maintain professionalism” is an extremely ambiguous term. There may have been substance behind it, or it could have been a pretext. The essential point is not what bad blood there may have been between them but whether there were in fact faulty practices in data management. And as the AGU statement noted, that again is a separate issue from the quality of the research.

          Thanks for this link! In case anyone misses the connection, the Hausfather post referred to is the one Lambert linked to with the Factcheck.

    4. Norm

      The term “serious scientists” is comparable to the term “serious economists” who wouldn’t waste their time discussing MMT or anything else that does not fit into the dogma, the support of whose tenets is the basis of their livelihood.

      I generally like PK’s comments. But his aspersions against Judith Curry are inane. I’ve read some, but never enough, of Ms. Curry’s work and believe that whether she is ultimately right or wrong on where she sits on the climate debate, PK’s nasty dismissal of her says more about PK than it does about Dr. Curry. If PK has some clear evidence that Dr Curry’s work is unworthy of “serious” consideration he should cite that evidence. My guess is that in response to such a citation Dr. Curry could defend her work quite vigorously, even in the event that any of PK’s “serious scientists” chose to support his contentions.

        1. Norm

          Quite right. Then again, nobody put a gun to PK’s head and forced him to make gratuitous comments about Dr. Curry. The larger point, despite what’s commonly booted about on too many internet sites, is that there are many “serious” scientists who don’t agree with PK, Al Gore, Michael Mann, etc. And to just dismiss them all as non-serious to the point of not even being willing to consider their contentions is a very effective way undermining the whole scientific enterprise.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Can being a scientist be a state of mind, rather than credentialistic?

                I observe my cat.

                I form hypotheses about the cat.

                I conduct non-harmful experiments with the cat.

                1. Skip Intro

                  Meanwhile the cat performs experiments on you. Your observation changes the thing observed. Cats are ideal for uncertainty experiments, just ask Schrödinger!

          1. pretzelattack

            it’s easier to dismiss the politicised scientists who don’t publish actual papers in actual journals. blog posts aren’t peer reviewed.
            what precisely is the area of disagreement with the much smeared michael mann, for example? where are the papers refuting the “hockey stick”? they don’t exist.

            1. Norm

              A simple google search reveals that Dr Curry has published over 200 papers. There are papers galore and books and even congressional testimony that challenge the Hockey Stick. Try reading some of them, although it isn’t easy. Note I use the word “challenge” not “refute.” It would be nice if science were so simple that all contestable propositions could be definitively refuted once and for all, but that’s not the case. While there are a small number of scientific laws (e.g., the laws of thermodynamics) that probably won’t be challenged convincingly in our lifetimes (at least not in mine), so much of science, especially climate science is still in the “unsettled” category and the debates would proceed more constructively when both show each other more respect.

              1. Plenue

                Name a paper. Go on.

                “and even congressional testimony”

                You mean the ‘hiatus’ that was the result of two hacks who ‘accidentally’ screwed up their satellite measurement calibrations?

                “is that there are many “serious” scientists who don’t agree with PK, Al Gore, Michael Mann”

                The reference to Al Gore is a tell. As for Mann, no, there aren’t “many” who disagree with him.

                Do I really have to point out that the Arctic and Greenland are literally melting away, as I type this? AGW is happening, right now; it’s no longer a topic for debate. That time was decades ago, now we need to be facing the problem head on, and attempting to mitigate the damage.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            I have no problem making gratuitous comments about Judith Curry, because she repeatedly insults scientists and makes false statements about them.

            For scientists to go against a concensus is frequently admirable, and essential for science to go forward. Scientists should always be called out for bias, errors, or unsubstantiated assertions. Good scientists acknowledge their errors and change their minds in the face of new evidence, so should always listen to peers, even ones outside the mainstream. But when a ‘naysayer’ has been repeatedly called out for numerous errors and misunderstandings, it is incumbant on that naysayer to either produce firm evidence and get it comprehensively peer reviewed, or withdraw their statements.

            Other skeptics have had the good grace to acknowledge when they are wrong – a prominent example being Richard A. Muller of Berkeley. Thats proper skepticism – being able to stand up to a concensus, but studying the evidence hard, and changing your mind if necessary.

            Curry stands apart in repeatedly attacking the evidence, but never acknowleging when, it has repeatedly been shown, ad nauseum, that her criticisms are incorrect. Well, I say never acknowledging, she has recently taken to saying its all been a big mistake, and what she really meant is that its too late to do anything anyway or she is the victim of a plot. Or something. Its hard to know what she really believes now. She may once have had a few valid points to make, but they’ve been lost a long time ago.

            1. Norm

              I see. Skeptics who come around to your way of thinking are good, or at least redeemable, skeptics. Others not so much.

              I have no idea how true your allegations about Dr. Curry’s dismissal of her critics are. For all I know she may be a very nasty, snarky lady, and if you do not like her, then by all means wail away. But your initial thrust in this thread was, I believe, an attempt to undermine her scientific credentials because she dared to take a viewpoint different from yours. That’s not the same as having valid responses to her arguments. Nor is it very useful to say something to the effect of “I’m right, because my scientists are serious and yours aren’t.”

              Sadly, the debate, which you and your ilk prefer to call a non-debate, over climate change has descended on both sides into the personal animosity that is characterized by your comments and, perhaps, by things said by Dr. Curry re her colleagues as well.

              OK, enough. I should have known, and in fact do know, that it’s futile for anyone outside the tent to have a civil exchange about climate change. Sorry that I expected better of you.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                Let’s assume anthropogenic climate change is false – I don’t think it is, but let’s assume.

                The debate around this subject is whether we should do something to slow down the amount of fossil fuel we are using. I believe there is an extremely strong argument to be made that we need to stop using fossil fuels regardless of whether the climate changes or not. We are still poisoning the environment and fouling one’s own nest isn’t a particularly smart policy. We all need clean water, air, arable land, etc.

                Then there are the economic aspects. In about 150 years we have used let’s say roughly half of the fossil fuels that took eons to be produced. They aren’t making any more of this stuff. Our entire global society is based on the use of fossil fuels. At current usage rates, it will take a lot fewer than 150 years to use up the remainder and we don’t have an alternative that would allow society to continue under present circumstances, ie the same population with the same standard of living.

                So what, we put our foot on the gas so to speak, burn it all up ,and then let the chips fall where they may?

                Not very bright if you ask me.

                1. River

                  Pretty much my view. If we (the species that is) don’t contribute to climate change then 1) we at least tried something to slow it down or stop it, 2) less pollution, 3) new infrastructure 4), new technology and 5) new jobs/livelihoods.

                  If we are a driver for climate change, the we may slow it down or arrest it. In addition to the above.

                  Seems win/win if you ask me.

                  I can see corporations who may lose out like the horse and buggy manufacturers of old, but for people in general I fail to see the resistance aside from using for/against as a ridiculous tribal marker and yet another means to divide people into smaller and more digestible bits for TPTB.

          3. Isotope_C14

            In Science there is a great spectrum of competency, and largely successful scientists are actually professional grant-writers (Thanks to Capitalism) and may in fact not be terribly good at extrapolating trends.

            It’s one thing to buck scientific consensus like Woese, et. al.

            It’s another thing to look at graphs that show this place is cooking. If you can’t see that from the data, perhaps you also aren’t good at extrapolation, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

            Some Scientists are actually not that good at Science. I know quite a few!

            I’m not good at fashion, and you won’t find me on fashion blog sites complaining that skirt X is the wrong length or the pants have the wrong pin-stripe pattern.

            The consensus is clear, now we need to protest every day where you can and get some meaningful change to happen, or donate to 350 or sierra or whatever if you don’t like yelling or holding signs.

      1. pretzelattack

        dr. curry has proven unable to defend her blogposts with an actual paper in an actual journal. i think that is where the actual scientists prefer to debate matters of science, correct me if i’m wrong. if pk dismisses her as being considered a hack, he/she is joining almost all climatologists, from what i’ve read at sites like

      1. Aumua

        Unfortunately the net effect of of this is that it just gives untold ammunition to the worst, most smug and trollish aspects of AGW denial, far more than fostering any reasonable discussion about data handling. I’m sure John Bate must know this.

        The ‘pause’ was never anything but an artifact of variance, but they had climate scientists questioning and second guessing themselves over it there for a bit, until the last 3 or 4 years came along and just demolished the illusion. The truth is what remains when you stop believing in it, eh?

      2. L

        I suspect that the timing of this becoming news again may be partly indicated by the reference to the Open Government Data Act. The Republicans are currently planning to hold hearings on a related bill called the “Secret Science Reform Act” (see here) that would force scientific data to be public and analyses replicated before analysis.

        Per the discussion in the Intercept the challenge with that lies in the fact that medical data would thus be excluded from use for policymaking which would in turn inhibit efforts to regulate pollution.

  6. integer

    Trump’s Plan to Fight ISIS With Putin Isn’t Just Futile. It’s Dangerous. Politico. Check the bio….

    IIRC Molly McKew recently wrote about sitting around in a US city shooting the breeze with her neo-Nazi “Ukranian freedom fighter” buddy (the article was linked to at NC). To be fair, she is correct that the US allying with Russia to fight ISIS would be dangerous… To Poroshenko’s ambition to increase US support for his neo-Nazi backed regime in Ukraine, that is.

    Regarding the article, this paragraph seemed like a particularly audacious attempt to spread disinformation:

    Second, Russia provides material support to ISIS to manipulate the war. Credible reporting from Russia suggests that Russian security forces helped recruit for ISIS, which now has thousands of Russian-speaking jihadis in its ranks. The arrival of the first group of several hundred Russian-speaking fighters was a key turning point in the Syrian war — turning the war away from Assad and toward Iraq. The largest current source of ISIS revenue, according to US and European officials, is from selling oil to Assad — and Assad cannot act without Russian approval. ISIS requires Russian ammunition to fight, readily acquires it from stocks sent to Assad, and seems to find fortuitous resupply when necessary.

    Russia recruiting for ISIS? Assad supplying ISIS with ammunition? Gimme a break.

    1. The Trumpening

      Hey if Robert “4th” Reich can accuse Milo and Breitbart of arming and coordinating with Antifa to beat Trump supporters in the streets of Berkeley, then it makes Russia and Assad backing ISIS seem ever so less ludicrous in comparison.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It only feels like Reich has been around 1,000 years.

        Time doesn’t really fly when he’s around.

    2. cwaltz

      It flies in the face of logic considering Kerry is officially on the record as admitting the US purposely allowed ISIS to grow in hopes of deposing Assad.

    3. Plenue

      The notion that Russia is supporting ISIS is downright laughable, given that they’ve been bombing them with scores of airstrikes a day for weeks around al-Bab and Deir Ezzor. In the case of the latter they’ve even sent long-range strategic bombers from bases in Russia, multiple times. Claiming to fight someone while secretly helping them involves only hitting a few token targets and conspicuously not bombing things like their economic infrastructure, and leaving them free use of scape routes. Which is what the USAF, not the Russian Aerospace Forces, have done for ISIS, especially in the battle for Mosul.

      On the topic of Trump fighting ISIS, ISIS increasingly doesn’t exist anymore. They’ve been kicked out of Libya, they’re about to be kicked out of Iraq, their capital of Raqqa in Syria is in the process of being surrounded by the Kurds, their stronghold in eastern Aleppo province, al-Bab, is trapped between (the admittedly largely useless) Turks and the rapidly advancing Syrian Army, their big offensive that retook Palmyra failed to take the key T4 airbase, and is in the process of being rolled back, and finally their advance against isolated Deir Ezzor in the east of Syria has ground to a halt and is also being reversed. Mosul, Raqqa, al-Bab, Palmyra, Deir Ezzor. Too many simultaneous fronts, not enough manpower to go around. They’ve had to cannibalize their forces to shift them from front to front. Their recruitment is in the tank (no one wants to join a losing cause), and I’ve seen multiple reports that they’re increasingly relying on child soldiers.

      Oh, and in yet another bit of evidence for MMT, as the Islamic State visibly collapses, people increasingly refuse to accept its gold currency.

  7. katz

    The Mortgage-Bond Whale That Everyone Is Suddenly Worried About

    What in God’s name is the Fed doing re-upping its investments in the mortgage-backed securities market?

    Thank you for sharing. I had no idea we were still playing along with this particular form of institutional avarice.

  8. Ignim Brites

    “The Mortgage-Bond Whale That Everyone Is Suddenly Worried About” Have to wonder how tanking the housing market will play with Trump.

    1. Arizona Slim

      He is a CRE guy. Why would he care about overpriced residential properties?

      It is time to stop propping up the residential market. Let the prices fall to levels that people can actually afford.

      If this leads to cramdowns of existing mortgages, so be it. Let the banksters take the hit — for a change.

      1. Pat

        When your business includes selling high priced condos…

        The thing is that even commercial real estate may be facing a crash, at least in NYC. I don’t know what it is connected to or all the reasons, but there is a growing number of empty store fronts here. This includes areas that should be okay, as in occupied by those who really have recovered. I haven’t yet looked up available office space figures, but a glut there would not surprise me.

        IOW I think there may be multiple real estate mine fields for the economy, this mortgage bond thing being only a part.

  9. RabidGandhi

    Ecuador election may be Latin America’s next big score: investors [Reuters]

    LatAm is– quite fortunately for me– relatively easy to cover because, as the above article shows in spades, when it comes to the US’s backyard the press is unabashedly frank about who should be pillaged and why. This is in contrast to stories about the US, Europe, and Japan (sorry Clive!) where each news article has various levels of dissimulations and niceties to put a Bernaysian glaze of dulcet obfuscation on what are essentially the same plans for pillage.

    The Reuters article, however, sees no need for such niceties and cuts straight to the chase:

    After seeing big payoffs in Brazil and Argentina following market-friendly leadership changes, some fixed-income investors are betting on a similar bonanza in Ecuador where a presidential election takes place this month.

    “Should Lasso win as expected, he will move quickly to improve the policy outlook,” Eurasia Group analysts Risa Grais-Targow and Agata Ciesielska said in a note to clients this week. “This includes going to the IMF for a full program and aggressively looking to attract foreign direct investment.”

    Going to the IMF… that should be great for the economy! /sarc. But seriously, investors would be looking for improved economic fundamentals, right Señor Reuters?

    The country’s economy is also highly dependent on oil prices.

    Oh that’s bad… or is it?

    “It’s really an oil story,” said Rahmila Nadi, co-head of Deutsche Bank’s Enhanced Emerging Markets Fixed Income Fund. “But when you’re talking about 8-plus percent yields, it’s hard to not be excited about.”

    Well I’m glad somebody’s excited. Meanwhile, the regime changes in Brazil and Argentina were followed by market jubilation and flurries of dolar-denominated debt issuance. But the jubilation left the vast majority of the countries’ populations well behind. In Argentina real wages dropped by 12% in 2016 and 1.2 million families found themselves suddenly below the poverty line. In Brazil the economy has shed over 3 million jobs leading to crime waves in Río and in the impoverished north.

    But these horrid stats are not side effects; they are rather the reason for the market jubilation. Think about it: if a worker faces a 12% real wage decrease, impending poverty and a sea of competitors for a dwindling number of jobs, he will be more docile in ceding to management’s demands, he will be less insistent on benefits like health care and unemployment insurance, and he will sell his labour and dignity for less.

    So silver lining, at least Reuters doesn’t pretend like all this is being done in our benefit.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      But these horrid stats are not side effects; they are rather the reason for the market jubilation. Think about it: if a worker faces a 12% real wage decrease, impending poverty and a sea of competitors for a dwindling number of jobs, he will be more docile in ceding to management’s demands, he will be less insistent on benefits like health care and unemployment insurance, and he will sell his labour and dignity for less.

      They just can’t help themselves. And it reveals that the investment world sees South America purely through the lens of being either a source of cheap production or a financial cow to be milked, not as a source of demand and growth. I remember a few years ago an article in the Economist of all magazines reluctantly admitting that Lula’s social welfare expansion had driven growth in Brazil by the simple means of creating an extra couple of million people who were now middle class consumers who could help drive domestic markets. This simple lesson – that greater equality means greater consumption of goods which means better economies – is not exactly rocket science, but seems beyond most economic commentators who have been thoroughly subsumed to a narrative of production costs and financialization.

      1. JohnL

        And then a source of illegal immigration. Surprise. If we could just stop treating Latin America as a colony we’d all ultimately be better off. Of course that was the promised intent of NAFTA, but that wound up as a tool of neocolonialism. It needs renegotiating, but not the way it will happen.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Another note on the upcoming Ecuador elections:

      The right wing was able to come to power in Brazil and Paraguay via constitutional coups. They came to power in Argentina via an enormously deceptive electoral campaign and extreme ratf**king in Buenos Aires Province. And now right on schedule for Ecuador, Shenanigans:

      Leaked videos in which a disgraced former minister accuses Ecuador’s vice president of taking part in corruption at the state-run oil company is [sic] heating up the final stretch of the country’s presidential campaign.

      In one of the videos, Oil Minister Carlos Pareja is seen taking a lie detector test in which he affirms all decisions at Petroecuador were made with the consent of Vice President Jorge Glas. The videos were posted Friday on social media by an anonymous user going by the name “Capaya Leaks” in reference to Pareja’s nickname.

      Basically, Pareja was caught red handed embezzling from Petroecuador, was chased by Ecuadorian justice and fled to Florida. There he joined up with the rabid right wing press (note the Fox article dateline) to try and cast mud on current VP/ VP candidate Glas. The charges are completely spurious from an utterly unreliable source, but the Ecuadorian press is very oligarchical and rabidly anti-Correa/Glas. So they will try the same bag of tricks deployed in Argentina and Brazil: publish endless corruption accusations in the press with no evidence (with said spurious accusations amplified by the US press and Comrade Haygood), and try to use them to unite the right-wing opposition behind a single candidate in a second round runoff.

      1. Carolinian

        But is Soros involved? Ok that was a joke but our neighbors to the south have always functioned as a mad scientist laboratory for techniques that might later be applied to the mother ship. That’s why some of us see more than a few color revolution echoes in the current agitation against Trump, however much he may deserve it. As always the media, and now social media, play a role.

  10. oho

    Pentagon stats on airstrikes don’t include Army airstrikes.

    The American military has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted over several years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, a Military Times investigation has revealed. The enormous data gap raises serious doubts about transparency in reported progress against the Islamic State, al-Qaida and the Taliban…..

    In 2016 alone, U.S. combat aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded as part of an open-source database maintained by the U.S.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its interesting that the article then goes on a digression about the cost of the ammunition used in these uncounted air strikes. I presume the point is that the costs of the wars may be underestimated and there is some dubious accounting going on which only benefits the manufacturers.

      There seems to be an iron law of modern warfare whereby tactics become distorted by the need to use up surplus weaponry or test out new systems. At the end of WWII enormous damage was caused in an already defeated Germany by orders given to air crews ‘not to return with any bombs or bullets’. There were no more targets left, so they ended up wiping out civilian targets. Much mass area bombing in Korea and Vietnam seemed to have no other purpose than soaking up old bomb stocks. The Russians have been openly using Syria as a marketing test for their latest weaponry, just as the French used Rafale fighters in Libya for the same purpose. One can only wonder to what extent on the ground tactics in Iraq/Syria/Afghanistan etc., is been driven by the need to generate hardware turnover.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I’ve heard there is some sort of connection between supply and demand.

        Maybe more to the point, I’ve also heard it said that supply creates its own “demand.”

      2. Bill Smith

        Plenty of times aircraft returned during WWII and dumped their bombs elsewhere (not on any target) as they could not land with the weight. They usually got dumped into the ocean. Plenty of aircraft also returned with cannon and machine gun rounds left.

        Just finished reading “The Fleet at Flood Tide” and this is mentioned. Must have been an Army thing as compared to an Navy thing?

      3. Antifa

        In early 1945, we still expected to invade mainland Japan, and incur a million casualties, so we ordered a million Purple Heart medals to meet the coming demand.

        But an invasion became moot, so all those Purple Hearts went into storage, and we’ve drawn upon those million medals as needed for our lesser wars, ever since. We’ve still got most of them, which creates the continuing need to produce wounded American troops.

        Meanwhile, the little old lady who knew how to make Purple Hearts has passed on. Perhaps in about 200 years we may have to order some more from China or Japan. They can copy just about anything, those guys.

  11. PlutoniumKun


    The U.S. Megalopolis Isn’t as Politically Powerful as You Think RealClearPolitics. Important!

    There seems, at least in the English speaking world, to be a widespread delusion among electoral analysts that there is an inevitable demographic shift to younger salaried urban workers, with the assumption that these are economically centrist and socially liberal. The Dems of course were convinced that this was why their future with HRC was assured, as were the Blairites (and arguably the Cameronites) in England, with a few other notable casualties (such as the virtually decimated Labour Party in Ireland). One obvious reason is that neo-liberalism has meant that just because you are highly educated and white and young doesn’t mean you aren’t part of the precariat and subject to the same pressures as the old white small town working classes. I’ve also thought that the old assumptions of rural/urban and small town/big city splits were becoming less useful in determining peoples voting patterns.

    That study posted is interesting – its long been known among urban geographers that the urban structures of cities don’t always follow obvious economic growth paths. Cities and towns are incredibly resiliant – any league list of, for example, European cities of today and of 200 years ago is surpisingly similar. It takes a major shock to force a city to decline in real terms relative to the overall economy – the exception being those relatively recent industrial revolution cities which can be seen as a long term anomoly. But even those cities are showing signs of revival.

    But I think the broader lesson is that political strategists who rely on demographics are doomed to get things wrong. Politics at its heart is always about economics. How to grow the cake, and how to share it. All else is noise.

    1. Altandmain

      Generation Y is screwed economically. Left between high student debts, a job market that leaves many underemployed, high rents, and other obstacles, many are trying to keep their heads above water. Many are not succeeding.

      Most are more likely to be sympathetic to Bernie or Cobryn than to anyone else. Most people in my generation know we have been screwed over by the rich.

      It was an arrogant, self-serving assumption.

      An example of a decline may very well be the Mongolian invasion. It took cities like Baghdad many years to rebuild from their sacking. That level of destruction has not happened on that level since perhaps WW2. Even then most of the destroyed cities rebuilt.

      Ironically it is the US that has played a role in depopulating much of Baghdad again.

  12. Olga

    On WSJ about peeling Russia from Iran – one can only say that the neocons are as daft as they are unwilling to learn anything, ever. “The issue is whether Putin is prepared to abandon [Ayatollah] Khamenei,” said Michael Ledeen, an academic who advised National Security Council Advisor Michael Flynn during the transition and co-wrote a book with him last year. “I think that might be possible if he is convinced we will ‘take care’ of Iran. I doubt he believes that today.”
    Russia will not “abandon” Iran precisely because it is concerned that US would “take care” of it (kinda like it did in 1953 and early 80’s). Plus calling Ledeen “an academic” completely debases the word.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It never ceases to amaze me the depths of ignorance shown by people who are (presumably) considered foreign policy experts in Washington. Do these people never read books outside their tight little bubble? Do they have even the slightest intellectual curiousity about the countries they are pontificating about? I’m never quite sure what is scarier – their lust for war, or the fact that so many of them really, truly are semi-literate idiots.

      1. RabidGandhi

        The Iraq wars, the Wahhabi alliances, the “moderate” rebels and contras…. The US ForPol establishment clearly selects for such incompetence so as to maintain the desired course. Anyone with the intellectual curiousity you mention would be excluded from the outset or subsequently expelled.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          As evidence of this, consider Col. Patrick Lang’s ‘blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis. Col. Lang was, in his later career in the military as area head for the DIA, continually exposed to the idiocy of the NeoConservatives, or Israel-Firsters as I have come to think of them (Oded Yinon Plan, anybody?). He attainted fluency in Arabic and was well-versed in the cultures, even serving for some time in Yemen. He abominates the unipolar focus of the NeoCons (Israel-Firsters), and regularly shoots great, gaping holes in their pretensions to knowledge of the Middle East and Southwest Asia in general. And he was shut out of policy discussions in Washington because he didn’t bend the knee to these fifth-columnists responsible for so much death and destruction. His blog is a useful corrective to much that is raddled with stupidity in our foreign and military policy.

      2. oho

        >depths of ignorance shown by people who are (presumably) considered foreign policy experts in Washington.

        sounds like you haven’t turned to the dark side of 100% cynicism.

        Like many subcultures, advancement in DC isn’t about merit or discovery/advancement of some metaphysical truth.

      3. Expat

        While I suspect that your comment is intended to be exaggeration on your part, you are, unfortunately, fairly accurate. Policy makers (lawmakers, lobbyists, and advisors) live in a bubble where, certainly for the most senior of them, everything “negative” is filtered out. The are fed a strict diet of belief reinforcement, alternative facts, and lies designed to promote an agenda that would be unjustifiable if analyzed in the light of day.

        Politics is a bit like religion and sausage. If you question what went into the product, you won’t every buy it.

        So, yes, you are correct. Cynical, certainly, but fundamentally correct. Sorry about that.

      4. River

        Ledeen has wanted war with Iran since the 90’s. His remarks are unsurprising. The “real men go to Tehran.” quote is attributed to him.

  13. oho

    >All the ads that ran during the Super Bowl, in order Business Insider

    another year of being mindless zombies for Super Bowl advertising.

    Arguably it’s even worse now as Corporate America has become the darlings of the Left w/their virtue signalling adverts. sigh.

    1. polecat

      ‘Zombie fans for Superbowel !’ ….

      or, in other words : ‘Sports above ALL else’….


  14. Sensitive Union Squirrel

    Ads from the thugs at the National Right To Work committee are appearing on this site, which is hilarious and infuriating at the same time. Any way to control what ads get displayed? Let’s keep it family friendly!

    1. Yves Smith

      Sorry. However, I am sure those are remnant ads, which means only you are getting them based on your past viewing, and you’d get them on any site that uses Google Adsense. Our ad service solicits ads from financial services industry providers and other businesses, not political interest groups. However, we can block certain ads and I asked our service to bar that one.

  15. DJG

    From today’s NYTimes e-mail blast of headlines:

    Executive Power Run Amok
    Even those of us who support a strong president are concerned.

    This is the same John Yoo who should be in prison for advocating torture. But President Cool Cat decided to look forward not backward, and then he also deflected Dianne Feinstein’s attempts to get the U.S. Senate committee report on torture published. As if that took much doing, because the Senate Democrats aren’t exactly dogged defenders of human rights. And now we have Trump appointing Gina Haspel and the Democrats in a tizzy.

    If all of land-of-the-free-and-home-of-the-brave Americans had called for trials, we wouldn’t be in the, errrr, pickle. But now torture has thoroughly corrupted all U.S. institutions, and notably the tottering two major political parties. So Trump is somehow way out there and especially dubious become John Yoo’s vestigial ethics have experienced indigestion?

    File this under: How nations fall

  16. DJG

    Charlie Savage on Epstein on Snowden: Many so-called liberals have wanted to get out the long knives for Snowden for years. After all, he embarrassed the Democratic Party. The article is worth reading for the effort to discredit Snowden and the disregard for the facts by Epstein. (And I noted the recent article by Malcolm “Glib” Gladwell in The New Yorker that also went down the same route.)

    So much fake news, so many unfounded opinions, so little time.

    1. susan the other

      Agree. And so many simultaneous self enforcing pieces of nonsense. Savage on both Epstein and Stone is really savaging ;-) Snowden… not really that subtle… and full of red herrings about the shortcomings of Epstein and Stone so as to sound objective. It reads like a CIA piece. It’s not Epstein v. Stone, it’s propagandist v. propagandist… by propagandist.

      1. Isolato


        James Jesus Angleton as a source! One of the sickest minds in the CIA, he nearly destroyed his own institution w/drunken paranoia. Everyone was a mole to him except one favorite low level defector who kept “promising” to reveal them. Never did. Oliver Stone may be a bit over the top…but this guy has got “The Rooskies”.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          Angleton “was” the mole he always claimed he was looking for…but epstein is plagiarizing himself…he already wrote this book, but in that one he claimed oswald was a Russian agent…next Epstein will write a book claiming jfk committed suicide on de gaulle’s birthday as a gift…

      1. oho

        basic physics. it takes a lot, lot more energy to move 1 mile in the air than using 4 rubber wheels.

        Oh wait. the top American 0.5% are rich enough where they could support the economics of a flying car.

        just don’t tax CO2 or BTU/watts.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Paragliding is the green way to commute.

          Find a place to sleep at night above the city, then you can use wind energy to go to work (going home is a little harder).

          The energy to move 1 mile in the air by paragliding is much less than using 4 rubber wheels.

        2. Dogstar

          Actually the rubber wheels work against you vs. flying. There are small planes tuned to get 100+ mpg.

      2. BeliTsari

        This way, our sublime overlords will be better able to avert their verklempt gaze… not see all the BADNESS going on in our pathetic, tormented debauchery, as they trickle-down munificent intentions upon us from above… or, some bored kid hacks the autonomous guidance computer?

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Let’s Not Debate Immigration Stumbling and Mumbling

    From the article:

    One reason for this is that the debate is largely dishonest. Rather than admit the brute fact that many people just don’t like foreigners, anti-immigrationists hide behind claims that immigrants are bad for wages or public services. Except in a few pinch points, or to a small extent, such claims are false.

    I’ve no idea who this blogger is, but one thing’s for sure. If he read the Zero Anthropology article linked here a couple days ago, he was “unpersuaded.” From that article and the link for those who missed it:

    The most important thing we should do now, in broad political terms, is to subject immigration to democratic decision-making. It needs to be debated thoroughly, and there should be broad public consultation. Simply shaming people into silence, with the aid of facile and sometimes hypocritical charges of “racism,” will not do as a substitute for democracy. The public needs to know how immigration can impact wages, prices, employment opportunities, social services, and union organizing—given that the subject is so deeply tied to economic, welfare, and trade policy.

    The oligarch neoliberal agenda is “existentially” threatened by any immigration discussion that strays outside the “racist and bigot” parameters, and will move heaven an earth to shut it down. How anyone could think that clinton, pelosi or schumer give a flyin’ eff about immigrants beyond the votes they or their families might cast, or the surplus labor they provide their owners is beyond me.

    Far less threatening are vague, toothless indictments of “capitalism” in general, and promises of saving “growth” that are always just over the horizon, if only this cash could be “repatriated,” or that regulation rolled back.

    Hopefully the deplorables have heard enough empty promises, and will stand strong in the face of the cultural beatings that are bound to continue, until the actual truth breaks through.

    1. Tom

      Same thing jumped out at me, bigly, in connection to the “Immigration and Capital” article on Zero Anthropology a few days ago.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not only surplus labor for owners.

      But also surplus sheep for the flock, for many priests.

      If we apply the conflict of interest analysis universally. “He needs to get rid of his business ties.”

      Is it more students for your school? Is it the prospect of more future or present voters for your party that influences your policy position?

      For whose benefit, potentially?

      We are less likely to give the benefit of the doubt. And we question the ulterior motive of altruistic acts (I run to serve the country).

  18. Tertium Squid

    Superbowl ads

    What a lot of greenwashing. “Better marketing” is the Powers’ answer to every ill in our times.

    1. Pirmann

      Yes! This year’s Super Bowl ad collection could have been packaged and repurposed as a corporate diversity and inclusion seminar.

      Some people are badly in need of a hug.

  19. L

    Battle over “sanctuary cities” in Texas suggests a larger national conflict lies ahead Amanda Marcotte, Salon.

    It is worth pointing out that the term “sanctuary cities” has rather broad meaning. The term implies a place where illegal immigrants are sheltered or even protected from the law. But if you look into the details of Austin, the working behavior is much narrower.

    In essence Austin appeared to earn the moniker after doing two things: 1) withdrawing from ICE partnership whereby they ran their own enforcement in addition to their existing work (see Joe Arpaio); and 2) Austin police require warrants to hold individuals suspected of being illegal immigrants rather than doing so on the word of ICE.

    While in practical terms this does mean that some people here illegally will not be caught, this is a vast difference from guaranteeing safe harbour. And while IANAL #2 seems to be a sensible decision since holding someone, even a noncitizen, without a warrant would seem to be begging for lawsuits.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can we expand the Sanctuary City or Safe Harbor City concept to protect

      1 Unjust Federal Taxation victims (We think income up to $80,000 should be exempt, giving the high cost of living in this state. You will be safe in our city)

      2. Those subject to federal income tax withholding

      3 Conscientious objectors if draft is reinstated in a future war

      4. Those under surveillance (basically everyone). “Our city offers surveillance-free phone and internet.”

      It seems a great idea to use for all sorts of disagreements with the federal government. And left-leaning and right-leaning cities can all use it.

      The universality of the idea really makes it great.

    2. DH

      Oddly enough, local police think they are local police. They have enough problems now getting neighborhood residents to open up about criminals. They know if they are viewed as an arm of the Border Police and ICE, then every neighborhood with Hispanics and immigrants will totally shut down for them. that will make addressing crime very difficult and will make their cities less safe.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      If lawsuit avoidance is the Austin sheriff’s excuse, she may want to re-think her strategy, as the ex-sheriff of San Francisco found out after an illegal immigrant murdered Kate Steinle. An incident, she may remember, that was a big winner for President Trump.

      The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, names the city and county of San Francisco, former county Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and the United States “for their failures to perform mandatory duties and/or for the unconstitutional and/or negligent acts and/or omissions of their officers, officials, agents and/or employees.”

      And I’m not sure portraying legal immigrants as standing in solidarity with illegals against the laws of their “adopted” country does them any good in the greater scheme of things. It pretty much reinforces the argument against the open borders some so fervently support.

  20. Jeff N

    you may be surprised that, despite living in Chicago all my life, I am a massive Falcons fan, since 1990. Last night was so awful. For the final hour of the game, my muscles were all taut and flooded with adrenaline. Afterwards, my body felt so sore. Took me over an hour to fall asleep.

    It has me doubting whether I should even keep watching sports. Is “watching sports” just a shortcut to trying to accomplish something in life through your own effort?

    1. james brown

      I lost interest in professional sports some years ago, right after my Bucs finally won a SB. I’d only recently, over the last several years, started half halfheartedly following pro ball again. After last nights game I realized I really just don’t enjoy it anymore. I’ve probably watched my last pro game and I don’t think I’ve lost anything.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He was describing something very close to what many experienced on the night of Nov. 8, 2016.

    2. Jagger

      Anybody remember the Texas Rangers-St Louis Cardinals World Series of 2011? That was a heartbreaker. Still like baseball, still watch baseball but it just isn’t quite the same after that fiasco. Never get your hopes up. And the Cardinals are still on my Sh_t list. Probably for eternity.

  21. RabidGandhi

    So Romanians are still takin’ it to the streets.

    True, I’ve got my priors, but my spideysense says there is something more going on than the Grey Lady’s protestations of corruption. In my few years of life on this planet (22 and svelte) I have found (1) people generally don’t turn out to mass protest corruption unless they themselves are hurting economically; and (2) cries of ‘corruption’ are too often a facile way for the truly corrupt to get into power: vid. colour revolutions, Poroshenko, Vem Pra Rua in Brazil. And frankly the word ‘coruption’ has lost all meaning in a world where Hank Paulson is not in an orange jumper. So I wonder what it is that is keping people in the streets in Bucharest.

    Again, these are my priors, and Romania may be a whole ‘nuther ball of wax, but I find the explanations in NYT, BBC and Bloomberg sorely lacking granular detail. If anyone has better in depth sources, please post.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


      Here is an article from Michael Hudson from 2014, which although focusing on Latvia, illustrates the then general situation in the Baltic states, which are basically Neoliberal hellholes. There were actually large demos in 2012, to protest a planned privatisation of health care & according to Michael, Romania & Bulgaria are in a worse state than Latvia.

      Hope it helps.

  22. Jim Haygood

    Excerpt of Bernie’s remarks on Trump’s executive order delaying the Labor Dept fiduciary rule, from WaPo link above:

    This guy is a fraud,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    “This guy ran for president of the United States saying, ‘I, Donald Trump, I’m going to take on Wall Street. These guys are getting away with murder.’ Then suddenly he appoints all these billionaires, his major financial adviser comes from Goldman Sachs, and now he’s going to dismantle legislation that protects consumers.”

    “Man, this guy, he is a good showman, I will give you that,” Sanders continued. “He is a good TV guy, but I think he’s going to sell out the middle class and the working class of this country. … You have a president who I think in a totally fraudulent campaign said that ‘I’m going to stand up for the working people.’”

    Testify, Bernie. Call out the false populist, who sold out his base to Wall Street like sheep for the shearing. Where are the customers’ yachts?

    1. Toolate

      Bernie and Tulsi telling it like it is.
      As Burns said:
      ‘Here’s to us, who’s like us Damn few, and they’re all dead.’

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Why is it that, no matter how many times it happens, it comes as something of a shock when the pot actually does call the kettle black. Out loud and without embarrassment.

      1. Anne

        Just curious, but who would you prefer to step into some kind of leadership role? Is there anyone whom you don’t believe to be fatally tainted and have deemed ineligible to have anything to say?

        I get the objections to people like Schumer and Pelosi, and to some extent, Booker. I get that those now jumping on the populist bandwagon are making political calculations, and I have no reason to trust them. But, Bernie? The man has a long-standing record of being on the side of the people, and not in the pockets of corporations and lobbyists, and it’s clear that he still has the ability to energize and inspire.

        What makes no sense to me is that after the entire DNC conspired to keep Sanders from getting the nomination, and after he was, we believe, threatened with being relegated to the back bench of the Senate if he didn’t vocally support the nominee, he is now to be considered ineligible for the role he seems to be serving? Why do I have the feeling that if he had disappeared from view after the convention, he would now be pilloried for having the chutzpah to want to get involved in pushing back against a deranged president and a GOP that seems to be deciding that perhaps they can work Trump’s insanity to their advantage?

        Maybe some people really are okay with sitting on the sidelines watching this thin-skinned, mentally unstable and unpredictable “president” ruin the lives of millions of people in the belief that somehow, that’s going to result in an as-yet-unidentified leader coming along to build something better, but I think those who really do think that’s okay must be people who don’t think they are going to suffer the pain that Trump is going to visit on the country and the world.

        Sanders has been and continues to be explicit in explaining what he is for; in some ways, that’s an easier task now that we see Trump and his cronies getting bold and unapologetic about what it is they intend to do. I don’t know why anyone would want to delegitimize Sanders’ voice at a time when we need more voices like his, not fewer.

    3. Pirmann

      Yeah, okay Bernie. Like you didn’t sell out the middle class when you wholeheartedly endorsed the belle of Wall Street.

      And if that wasn’t enough, wait till tomorrow night, when he debates the many merits of 0bamacare with Theodore Cruz. Speaking of selling out one’s base…

      1. Local to Oakland

        Maybe I’m just a glass half full rather than half empty person. I was also disappointed. But the perfect is the enemy of the good. The man accomplished more nationwide inspiration against more opposition than any political figure since Martin Luther King Jr.

        Also, he is being pretty brave about calling the shots as he sees them here and now. It would take a lot for Bernie to be dead to me at this point after all he did.

        1. fritter

          the perfect is the enemy of the good.

          Nothing against you, but this is what you tell someone when you give them a shit sandwich. We can’t afford caviar so be happy with your turd strudel. Its a false choice and should be removed from intelligent discourse. When was the last time some group of people even tried to do something perfect, all I’ve seen is half-assed mediocrity but maybe if that’s your definition of perfect then “good” is what the commoners will end up with. The punishments will continue until morale improves would be a more accurate replacement 99% of the time.

          Think of it this way. If you were to ask Dr. King would he said he was after caviar for the oppressed, or the basic diet that every human being deserved?

          1. Local to Oakland

            My point was more that if you decide too many mistakes are unforgivable, then over time you erode to a very small group. Religious and political history are full of examples. Bernie has earned my respect.

            But as you say, nothing personal. I hope enough people feel like you do that someone soon outdoes Bernie.

          2. Skip Intro

            Purity trolling is also a standard disruption technique, and a favorite in the David Brock playbook.

            1. different clue

              Perhaps one could respond to it by saying . . .

              Purity trolls gonna troll.
              Purity jerks gonna jerk.

    4. crittermom

      I believe this has been discussed before, but I still cringe every time I hear/read our SS & Medicare referred to as ‘entitlements’, as stated in the WaPo article.
      “”…he appoints all of these guys who are precisely going to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” Sanders said in an apparent reference to Trump’s nominees to lead the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services — both of whom have advocated for cutbacks in entitlement spending.”

      I worked & paid into it since age 16, thinking I had the ‘security’ of SS to help pay the bills in old age, as we were all taught to believe. Now age 65.

      The govt enabled the bank to take my home & future retirement income (B&B) over 5 yrs ago.
      Now I feel like my SS (which I now realize is a misnomer), is akin to a carrot being dangled in front of me saying, “Be good & you may get a second spoonful of sh*t to eat, as we take away the rest of your meal”, whenever I see the word ‘entitlements’.
      Kinda makes it sound like a little ‘bonus’, to me, rather than something paid into for all those years.
      How ‘convenient’ to make it sound like ‘fluff’ now.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Some history: “entitlement” actually means exactly what you thought SS was: something you’re entitled to, that you own. I suspect liberals, then defending such programs, started using the word with just that meaning. However, conservatives went on a campaign to demonize the term, to give it the association you now have. It didn’t help that the same word was used for programs, like welfare, that recipients are “entitled” to because of their status or condition, not because they paid into them. Unfortunately, you’re probably right that “entitlement” now means it’s at risk.

        As a matter of strategy, we’d probably be better off to own the word and insist on its real meaning, as in “Yes, I’m entitled to it, because I paid into it and because I live and work here.” Loud and proud. This is the same strategy as Wiccans calling themselves “witches;” it detoxifies the word.

  23. DawnSorrow

    Anyone know a way to read WSJ without paying? I can’t seem to get past their paywall using my conventional methods…

  24. DH

    “The U.S. military’s stats on deadly airstrikes are wrong. Thousands have gone unreported”

    This is a dog bites man story. These are air strikes in a war. Why would anybody have thought they were being reported accurately? Historically, war and disinformation are hand in glove. Good is played up for propaganda. Bad doesn’t exist. During the first Gulf War, there was lots of footage shown of precision strikes. It didn’t come out until several years later that there were also a bunch of misses and that most of the bomb tonnage was actually just old dumb bombs dropped form high altitude.

    1. Jeff

      The issue at hand is that none of the Army’s strikes are counted – probably because the Army is not expected to have planes to strike with. Counting errors from the Air Force, Navy or Marines are possible, and probably accounted for elsewhere.

  25. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    It looks to me like India was chosen for the ‘cashless society’ trial balloon because, lets’ face it, the people on Wall Street, the City and Frankfurt don’t care if the Indian economy is a train wreck or the poor there are miserable. But you can be certain they mean for it to be enforced in the west ultimately. Get ready for the World Without Sin or resist it, but they mean to impose it.

    1. polecat

      Yes GvH … I think so as well. i would almost bet, that if/when outright demonetization occurs here in the US, the ‘libruls’ will concede with open arms, virtue signaling to, and thus vilifying, anyone in the 80% class who doesn’t want to see their personal assets, such that they are, diminished to zero !

  26. Jim Haygood

    The great bear, Dr John “Ursus Major” Hussman, ups the ante:

    A few weeks ago, we observed the single most extreme syndrome of “overvalued, overbought, overbullish” conditions we identify at a level on the S&P 500 4% higher than the syndrome we observed in July. The S&P 500 has climbed about 1.5% further since then, and all of the features of this syndrome remain in place.

    Two weeks ago, we observed a fairly rare set of “crash signatures” that we associate with the risk of market losses in excess of -25%, generally over a period of about 6 months.

    Last week, an additional class of risk signatures, typically active in only a small percentage of historical data, shifted to warning mode.

    Well, that just sounds like DEFCON1, don’t it?

    Being a trend-following simp, I assume that a market reaching new highs almost every week is probably … going up.

      1. Isolato

        One of these days! They DO say trees don’t grow to the sky. I have never seen such systemic risk faced w/such extraordinary complacency. Gross had a post at ZH today. There is no escape from QE. As he points out the money being borrowed by Europe at essentially 0% is being understandably recycled into 2.45% USTs. Were that support to be withdrawn he says we might immediately see a 100 basis point rise…one of these days

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          No escape from QE.

          No Qexit?

          Does Colin Powell then say, this is another Vietnam? We went in without an exit strategy?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The good doctor is very thorough but unfortunately is fighting the last war, looking in the rear view mirror, etc. Today central banks print stocks, even the ones not buying equities outright just sell the VIX and let the algos do the buying for them. They never have any economic reason to sell. And they never get a margin call. Sometime in the future we will have a new name for stocks, we’ll call them Enterprise Participation Notes or something. Instead of earnings, profit margins, and market share analysis, equity analysts will just forecast central bank money creation. (Recall that the Zimbabwe stock market was the world’s top percentage gainer, priced in Zimbabwe dollars, that is). Boiling frog “investors” will not notice that it’s the numerator ($) that is changing value, not the denominator (per share). Since the denominator in the rest of your life (rent) (utlities) (food) reflect the same, you have no choice but to climb aboard. That will work until the last rube is in, then Wall St will reset and make a bundle on that, too.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Well said. Don’t seem to recall a public policy debate in Congress or supporting legislation, though.

    2. John k

      Stopped clocks are right twice a day.
      He’s been wrong for a long time now…
      And p/es are at various records…
      Infinite for Russell 2k for nearly all the past year…

      I agree with him that equity risks outweigh rewards just now.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Dr. Hussman’s clock is not a 24 hour clock; otherwise, I’d be thrilled.

        “Mark my words, he’ll have the last laugh. I will break even then, and finally get out.”

  27. The Heretic

    The article on ‘US Megapolis …’ . Has a minor flaw, although not related to the central gist of the article (which i agree with). It states that data about city size distribution follow’s Ziff’s Law… this seems to me like physics envy. A Law in physics is statement about the fundamental behaviour, a characteriatic that affects everything in the universe. (Note, einstien’s theiry of relativity is still only theory, Newtons Laws have been observed from galaxy scale down to the sub atomic scale) Ziff’s law about the population size and number of cities should be renamed Ziff’s Rule of thumb, as it model only applies where there there many random forces shapping the size and number of cities with no human agency activley dictating the size of cities. Law is too grand a word.

    There should be no math worship. Especially in the social sciences.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many are conditioned to the word ‘law’ with Divinity…something you don’t get too skeptical about.

      It’s sort of like the bones in the book “Zen Bones, Zen Flesh” and gives the rigidity many science pursuers need.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By the way, I am trying home-school myself.

      Googling ‘Ziff’s Law,’ I got ‘Zipf’s Law’ instead.

      So, today, I learn that the word ‘the’ occurs twice as often as the word ‘of,’ per Wikipedia.

  28. The Heretic

    The article on ‘US Megapolis …’ . Has a minor flaw, although not related to the central gist of the article (which i agree with). It states that data about city size distribution follow’s Ziff’s Law… this seems to me like physics envy. A Law in physics is statement about the fundamental behaviour, a characteriatic that affects everything in the universe. (Note, einstien’s theiry of relativity is still only theory, Newtons Laws have been observed from galaxy scale down to the sub atomic scale) Ziff’s law about the population size and number of cities should be renamed Ziff’s Rule of thumb, as it model only applies where there there many random forces shapping the size and number of cities with no human agency activley dictating the size of cities. Law is too grand a word.

    There should be no math worship. Especially in the social sciences.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “The Mortgage-Bond Whale That Everyone Is Suddenly Worried About Bloomberg”
    The Fed. I see two effects: 1) flooding the mortgage-bond market, which seems to be what the article is worried about. Increase the supply, prices go down and less mortgage money will be available.
    2) By selling bonds, the Fed withdraws money from the economy, yet another way to invite a recession, although there is a lot of evidence, per NC, that stuffing funds into bank balance sheets has little effect except on the balance sheets.

    If they want to trash Trump, that would be one way to do it.

  30. Oregoncharles

    From the Bates Climate Whistleblower article, Bates himself: ” In this case, and for assessing archives, I would advocate a metric such as the data maturity model that I and colleagues have developed.”

    FWIW, he’s talking his book. OTOH, the demand that datasets be properly vetted and archived makes sense, especially given some of the scientific fraud or incompetence discovered in recent times. As in medical/nutritional science, there’s a lot of money at stake, as well as careers.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “So, when Marcotte starts advocating for redistribution, I’ll take her virtue signaling on “sanctuary cities” seriously. This coin has two sides.”
    I used to respect Marcotte, before she joined Salon as one of their Dembot hacks. But the campaign derangement is extreme.

    That said, I do see two conflicting sides to the mass immigration issue. One is economic, just as Lamber’s(?) comment indicates. But the other is humanitarian. Once they’re here, we’re responsible for their wellbeing; and in many cases, US policies are responsible for the misery that drove them here. So I don’t favor permitting mass immigration (though my party does), but I do favor protecting those who are here, at least until good ways to repatriate them can be found. And to me, that’s what the “sanctuary cities” are about. It’s also localization: there is no reason for local police to waste resources on a purely federal responsibility, especially since it’s going to interfere with keeping the peace.

    In the bigger picture, the real solution is to fix the policies that are driving people from their homes, which include globalization. But I don’t think “sanctuary cities,” of which my own city is one, are just virtue-signaling. The conflict with federal policy is a bonus.

  32. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the link to the federal court ruling regarding the executive order on immigration. Whether intentionally, or not, seems to me that in addition to other Constitutional issues, this president has opened a Pandora’s box of state’s rights issues with this executive order on immigration.

    Pam and Russ Martens have detailed some of them in their piece today at the Wall Street on Parade blog, in addition to posting a related video of the lower court hearing.

  33. Demented Chimp

    I sent an email to Trump on Medicare for all as below:.

    Suggest everyone else do likewise and spread the thought through the various channels. If enough send it may float past his eyes long enough to capture his attention.

    Only Trump could……. give Medicare for all. Treat everyone as a patriot veteran!

    Scaleable system, leverage to cut costs and create a loyal base.
    Give the insurance industries profits to Hospitals and Pharma to get their buy in.

    Take the leap. Make America Great!

Comments are closed.