Links 4/30/2017

Oregon police respond to report of cat armed with gun-shaped stick UPI

Swedish cows in a great moooo-d as summer pastures open AP (DL).

Is there a dark side to exchange traded funds? An information perspective (PDF) Doron Israeli, Charles M. C. Lee, and Suhas A. Sridharan. This paper at SSRN has gotten some buzz, so here is a link to the original.

How a Prepaid Card Company Emerged as a ‘Major Opponent’ to CFPB Inside Counsel (SS).

Home to World’s Biggest Wind-Turbine Maker to End All Subsidies Reuters

Keep Your Eyes on the Protests in Russia’s Provinces Foreign Policy


Brexit Negotiations: Why Bother? MishTalk (EM).

‘Phased approach’: How to read EU Brexit guidelines Reuters

Theresa May’s Pyrrhic Victory Anatole Kaletsky, Project Syndicate

Jeremy Corbyn gets personal in one-off campaign speech Guardian (DK).

Labour vows to end ‘rigged economy’ with new employment rights Belfast Telegraph

Labour faces ‘heavy losses’ in local authority elections, report warns Evening Times

Tony Blair: ‘Labour can win at any point that it wants to get back to winning ways’ Guardian


‘Death of the French left’: why voters are hesitating over Macron Guardian

Macron’s Youth Is No Lure for First-Time Voters in French Poll Bloomberg

Macron takes the fight to the far-right: Presidential hopeful and his wife tour ‘Le Pen country’ and visit site of 1944 Nazi massacre a week ahead of the French presidential election Daily Mail

Inside Macron’s inner circle The Sunday Times


South India’s Drought Part 7: Kerala’s efforts to revive water bodies bear fruit at grassroot level First Post (J-LS).

This map shows just how alarming Tamil Nadu’s water crisis is. The state barely has any water left in its reservoirs. The Scroll (J-LS)


Can China Replace the West? NYRB. “The Party is convinced that the West fomented the string of so-called color revolutions demanding democratic governance that took place during the 2000s—from Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan to Lebanon and Iran. It fears and expects similar subversion in China.”

Why China Is Not Bound to Lead Latin America The Diplomat

‘One country, two systems’ for Hong Kong could be scrapped if it is used to confront Beijing, official says South China Morning Post

Philippines’ Duterte gives China free pass over sea row Daily Mail

SE Asian summit ends in uncertainty over South China Sea stance Reuters


Marines Return to Helmand Province for a Job They Thought Was Done NYT

“If You Take East-Syria, I’ll Take That Yemeni Port” Moon of Alabama

Rouhani’s Path to a Second Term Foreign Affairs

When It Comes to Iran, Trump & Company Ignore Facts by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis (GF).

MRAs are the same all around the world Pharyngula (CL).

Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group Pew Research

North Korea

Who pays for Thaad? Korea JoongAng Daily

National Security Chief Tells South Korea U.S. Will Pay for Defense System WSJ. “Clean up on Aisle 45…”

North Korea’s army: a diminished but deadly fighting force FT

Trump Transition

Was All The “Trump is Hitler” Rhetoric Right? Ian Welsh (MR).

More “100 days” takes:

Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump: Comparing first 100 days of last six presidents Susan Page, USA Today. Useful!

Mr Market and the first 100 days of Mr Trump FT

President Trump: In my first 100 days, I kept my promise to Americans Donald J. Trump, WaPo

Trump’s first 100 days: A president’s very public education AP

How Trump Has Reshaped the Presidency, and How It’s Changed Him, Too NYT

* * *

Trump savages media as Washington roasts him from afar Politico

‘We are not fake news’: At a Trump-free correspondents’ dinner, White House press has its say. WaPo. Two words: “Judy Miller.”

* * *

A key part of Trump’s tax plan just hit a roadblock with Republicans Business Insider

Trump’s Tax Plan Leaves the Swamp Untouched The American Conservative

Ethics Rules Waivers for Trump’s Team to Get Federal Scrutiny Bloomberg

Trump Voters Explain Why He’s Doing Great, Actually Vice

With Trump in power, white-power groups try to build alliances Boston Globe

David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime FAIR (WB). Ka-ching.

Ohio family surprised when Mark Zuckerberg comes to dinner WCHM. So he is running.

Guillotine Watch

Tribune Comment: Fyre Festival Organisers Showed Disrespect In Clashing With Regatta Tribune 242. From the locals in Nassau, Bahamas.

Tom Hanks is fed up with NFL billionaires scamming taxpayers for stadiums Think Progress. Hanks: “‘Here’s the thing I don’t quite understand. And I’m not trying to — this isn’t one of the (many) causes I’m fighting for. I’m just thinking as a fan: It’s a billion-dollar industry, they have billion-dollar TV contracts. All the owners are billionaires,’ Hanks said. ‘And yet when they want to build a stadium they’re going to use for 10 weeks out of the year, they expect the city taxpayers to buy the building.'” Farfetching freely, I’m reminded of Van Halen’s famous contract rider specifying no brown M&Ms in the backstage candy bowl. They were pilloried for rock star entitlement and excess, but in fact “the bowl of M&Ms was an indicator of whether the concert promoter had actually read the band’s complicated contract.” Similarly, to a squillionaire, a wretchedly excessive stadium deal has about the same significance as a candy bowl, but the deal might be a good index into the political climate, a risk-free proxy for other, genuinely important, deals they wish to put through.

Class Warfare

Yes, giving money to very poor people will make their lives better — just ask Ecuador The Conversation

Yes, Obama’s $400,000 Speech is a Problem Richard Eskow, LA Progressive. Eskow: “Obama’s payday reflects a longstanding pattern of behavior from Democratic leaders: Talk like liberals, govern from the center, and make a lot of money once you’re out of office.”

Is $60 million really not enough for the Obamas? Ruth Marcus, WaPo

Populists Taking Power Tend to Be Good for Stocks, Study Shows Bloomberg

Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong The Atlantic

What Photographers Of The LA Riots Really Saw Behind The Lens HuffPo. April 29, 1992….

Family by Family, How School Segregation Still Happens NYT

Inside the Academic Journal That Corporations Love Pacific Standard (GF).

How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies and Decided to Fight for Science The Intercept

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Darius

    Re the Intercept article: Climate denial starts with deliberate fossil fuel industry lies. Ideological tribalism takes it from there.

    1. John k

      But encouraging that people and views are changing. Like gay marriage, views might change in an instant.
      And already maybe stay with Paris accords…

    2. Ernesto Lyon

      Climate change denialism is a corporate generated phenomenon that leverages cultural elements that easily manipulated towards their end.

      Climage change denialism is rooted in the money in the ground that holds up many nations and wealthy concerns. It is not about Cletis in Alabama saying he don’t believe the pointy head scientist shysters.

      As usual poor whites make the best scapegoats.

      1. gepay

        I am a skeptic that CO2 is a pollutant causing climate catastrophe. I became skeptical when I looked at the Vostok ice cores (you know that big graph in Gore’s movie) and noticed that CO2 lags the temperature change – it has been noted by actual scientists that it is sometimes as long as 800 years. I became even more skeptical when I read the actual science behind it and found that on its own, doubling the CO2 (which hasn’t happened yet) would raise the global temperature 1oC. Being a logarithmic function (the raising of the temperature by increasing CO2), it would take still another doubling to raise it 2oC. According to the climate alarmists, feedback mechanisms would cause the warming to go to catastrophic levels – melting the ice caps and many other bad things. The science is not settled on climate sensitivity and feedback mechanisms in the chaotic system that is the climate. Michael Mann’s fake hockey stick graph and the climate gate emails clinched it for me. Not to mention the computer climate models used can’t even model clouds or evaporation when water vapor is the main greenhouse gas. Yes the crazy conservatives and the fossil fuel companies probably spend -millions, maybe 10s of millions but the US government spends billions on research that is only given when it reinforces bad climate change possibilities . It is man made CO2 induced climate change belief that is a generated phenomenon with clickbait headlines found even here at NC. Out of hundreds of climate change believers I I have talked to about climate change – only 1 or 2 have more than a rudimentary knowledge of the actual science. Do you?

        1. Procopius

          I became even more skeptical when I read the actual science behind it and found that on its own, doubling the CO2 (which hasn’t happened yet) would raise the global temperature 1oC.

          You don’t mention where you read “the actual science behind it,” or describe the mathematical function. I’m not saying you’re wrong (I’ve never delved into those particular details), but when you claim that “the actual science” says something so different from what all the other non-deniers are saying, I think you need to be a little clearer in order to make your point. Why do you think the model is a logarithmic function?

  2. Nick

    Re: NFL stadia

    The money is not chump change and is the primary focus of this grift. Public financing runs to hundreds of millions, and owners are increasingly banking on concert/non-game revenue from the facilities.

    An interesting thing is that the really rich and entrepreneurial owners like Stan Kroenke (and Kraft too I’d say) have not sought out maximum public drain in favor of pursuing huge, expanded real estate developments around their stadium. Whereas someone like Mark Davis, who isn’t that rich outside of the team, desperately needed someplace to display supreme idiocy and throw money at the Raiders. Lucky for him NV/Clark Co. stepped up.

    I wonder if socialist organizers could drum up some support for nationalization of industry among fans in cities left by teams, e.g. Seattle and St Louis, some of which still make payments on old stadium debt!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > not chump change

      Well, with “candy bowl” I’m exaggerating a little for effect. I’m also not saying all backers are squillionaires, just speculating that backers who are squillionaires might have that motive. And those squillionaire backers, is that really their main line of work? Where they are making the bulk of their squillions? I don’t think so.

      I love the last paragraph. “The Case for Socializing Major League Baseball.” That would be a fun piece to write!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Atrios went on a tear about this once, but the gist was:

        -it’s entertainment, so it’s money that would be spent on entertainment
        -baseball/basketball/hockey stadiums can provide anchor establishments which will promote development where it’s wanted as they are continuously occupied more or less. They provide extra stability for investors. Land use is key.
        -football stadiums are awful. He might have made an exception for certain college stadiums.

        Kraft is a fan owner, not a guy who wants to own a team. He had nosebleed bleacher seats when he didn’t have relatively much money, and old Foxboro was a real dump. Call it noble largess. The Celtics owner is a fan. The Bruins owner clearly hates fans.

        Jerry Jones is like the Steinbrenners. They own the team and accompanying circus, but not much else. The Lakers. It’s a glorified mom and pop operation. They have to share a building with the Clippers.

        1. Anon

          The Lakers. It’s a glorified mom and pop operation. They have to share a building with the Clippers.

          Well, the Lakers are clearly not a mom and pop operation. 34% of the Lakers is owned by AEG (Phil Anschutz: Squillionare). AEG also owns the the building (Staples Center) shared by the Lakers, Clippers, Kings (hockey) and hundreds of other Users (Grammy’s).

          The Lakers franchise (team alone) is valued at 3 Billion$ (Clippers new owner, Steve Balmer, recently paid 2 Billion$. (His net worth is 10 Billion.) So, sports teams are big money affairs. No Mom and Pops allowed.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        The Packers are owned by the fans:

        “The Packers are owned by the fans, making them the only publicly owned, not-for-profit, major professional team in the United States…..Those holding Packers stock are limited to no more than two hundred thousand shares, keeping any individual from gaining control over the club. Shareholders receive no dividend check and no free tickets to Lambeau Field. They don’t even get a foam cheesehead. All they get is a piece of paper that says they are part-owners of the Green Bay Packers.”

        Now the interesting part:

        It’s a beautiful story but it’s one that the N.F.L. and Commissioner Roger Goodell take great pains both to hide and make sure no other locality replicates. It’s actually written in the N.F.L. bylaws that no team can be a non-profit, community owned entity. The late N.F.L. commissioner Pete Rozelle had it written into the league’s constitution in 1960. Article V, Section 4—otherwise known as the Green Bay Rule—states that “charitable organizations and/or corporations not organized for profit and not now a member of the league may not hold membership in the National Football League.”

        Owners don’t want fans to be anything other than cash cows.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          My friend the staunch Republican loves the Packers (I do too FWIW) and will often tell this story with pride.

          Gives me the opportunity to say “Socialism is a great way to deal with natural monopolies”. He then grumbles.

        2. Pookah Harvey

          I should add:

          In addition, N.F.L. teams have received $6 billion in public funds to build the current crop of stadiums. In other words, the public is already shouldering a great deal of the cost and debt for N.F.L. franchises. But these public dollars, through some sort of magic alchemy, morph into private profits that often flow away from the communities that ponied up the dough. In the United States, we socialize the debt of sports and privatize the profits. Green Bay stands as a living, breathing, and, for the owners, frightening example, that pro sports can aid our cities in tough economic times, not drain them of scarce public resources.

        3. Alex Morfesis

          Well…not exactly…the packers are run like a mutual insurance company…he who controls the board skims the racket…like the esops that tend to evaporate when management has a one too many golf outings with dip financing types…

          the packers “brand” has been profitable enough to skim for the nfl that leaving the cheese heads alone with their illusion of control works…

          Pretty comfortable nfl films does not pay out too much in terms of residuals while telling the world the vince lonbardi, work hard play hard win big story over and over again…

          Oh…and the nfl is actually a Delaware based “non-stock non profit corporation”….

          just like mers…

          you know…the mortgage 3 card monty company…

      3. Lune

        Actually, stadium deals have now become *the* biggest concern for owners. NFL tv revenue is split equally, and everyone has the same salary cap. IOW, your major source of revenue and expense are both equalized among teams. That’s why owning an NFL team is such a sweet gig: it doesn’t matter if you’re the Patriots or the Browns. Win/lose, everyone makes the same money from TV.

        The only difference now is stadium revenue. This wasn’t a huge amount before with cheap seats on bleachers in stadia named for famous dead people. But new stadia are constructed first and foremost to maximize hugely profitable boxes which rent for 6 figures a season, and the rest of the seats are monetized with PSLs (personal seat licenses), before the first ticket is even sold. Plus, teams now negotiate to keep revenue from naming rights, concessions, and even other events that the city attracts. When a football team claims a stadium is “outdated”, they’re not talking about the quality of the grass, or fan amenities like bathrooms. They’re talking about how many boxes can be crammed into a “modern” design. That’s about it.

        Stadium revenue used to be relatively minor, but now, it’s become a huge portion of a team’s profits (not that they lose money without it; shared TV rights and a stingy salary cap still guarantee profits). And when you have places like Atlanta and Vegas willing to go all-in on billion dollar monstrosities, why not?

        The only recent stadium deal that’s completely private is LA: private investors are footing the entire $1bil. Incidentally, that also shows what it takes to make a stadium actually profitable: 2 teams in the second largest media market (even then, we’ll have to see if they make money or come running for a public bailout in a few years), coupled with 300 acres of land to develop in the 2nd largest population center. That means aside from NY/NJ, every other stadium and city in the country bleeds money. We can only wish it was a small amount…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, heck. Maybe my beautiful theory is wrong! That said, Microsoft’s Paul Allen ($18.6 billion) owns the Seahawks and the Trailblazers. Surely that’s just a side gig for him, even if the Seahawks and Trailblazers make what is by the standards of dull normals huge profits?

        2. Jess

          Good points, and very accurate. However, the problem on the horizon is the issue of TV rights. ESPN is only the leading edge of the problem. With cable shedding viewers (and thus rights fee treasuries) like no tomorrow, and broadcast TV also taking it in the shorts, I would not be surprised to see TV rights packages shrink when renewal time comes around. And when the next crash comes, watch the damage be much worse than it was the last time around. You start hurting the 10%, just watch discretionary spending, corporate profits, etc., go straight in the shitter.

        3. Procopius

          My reaction is the same as my reaction to what Andy Lack is doing to MSNBC. Meh! I have never understood why people like sportsball enough to pay money to sit a couple hundred meters away from an actual game. Why would someone waste a couple hours watching a TV representation with the excruciating advertising, when they could be reading a good book? Or pulling weeds in the garden? Of course, I’m weird.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Seems reasonable those involved work things out themselves…in this case, ASEAN countries and China.

      Certainly, you don’t want Portugal, Kenya, Brazil or, say, Canada to meddle as an outsider.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The World Court already weighed in. For one thing, it’s an important international waterway, and China wants to nationalize it. That’s a precedent the rest of the world has a stake in.

        Also, Portugal would be a lot more objective and neutral than the locals.

        In practice, of course, you’re right: the locals will settle it among themselves.

        1. witters

          Portugal? More neutral than the locals?

          The Companhia do commércio da Índia (1434), just one of those marvellously neutral non-local East India Companies that brought their objectivity to the South China Seas!

          1. Oregoncharles

            600 years ago?

            Portugal was a random example, but they have little stake in the game now.

            As I’ve said before, the problem in the S. China Sea is the rankest sort of imperialism on China’s part. It would be better for everybody to counter that – but the US is the worst possible candidate, and there’s the little matter of China’s nukes.

  3. A Farmer

    Hopefully Obama is funneling all that book and speech money through a pass-through entity. If he is, that may raise grassroots opposition to Trump’s tax plan cutting the tax rate on pass-throughs to 15%. Nothing like a super-rich Democrat to focus the base on how rich people screw them over.

  4. JoeK

    The SCMP article on Hong Kong’s status isn’t really surprising, it was inevitable. The major weasel-wording in the first paragraph is, I’m afraid, classic mainland Chinese double-talk.

    Even mainland Chinese friends who like myself are old enough to have visited Hong Kong back before ’97 (an admittedly small sample of people) lament how much of a nose-dive it’s taken in pretty much every way. I feel for its native inhabitants. One friend told me many in the younger generation are very, very unhappy, even angry. Some kind of (doomed to fail again) major protests are inevitable, which is no doubt partially what this reneging on the word and spirit of the agreement is about.


    At the, ahem, bottom of the page, this (intentionally not hot): “Blissful bathrooms: smart showers, magic mirrors and fun loos keep you connected at all times.” Why would I want to be connected while on the “loo?” Isn’t disconnection the whole point of the endeavor?

  5. Linda

    Looks like $400K is what everyone is offering the required fee.
    Article only says “the Post has learned” as a source. I recall regarding Cantor Fitzgerald, they had been contacted and confirmed on those stories.

    New York Post

    Even as President Obama faced criticism for getting $400,000 for a speech to a Wall Street bank, he pocketed the same amount of money for a second speech, The Post has learned.

    Obama made another $400,000 on Thursday when he appeared at the A&E Networks advertising upfront at The Pierre Hotel. He was interviewed over 90 minutes at the Midtown Manhattan event by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in front of the cable network’s advertisers.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      As craven and lucrative as the clintons’ exploitation of their “public service” was, I predict it will be dwarfed by what the obamas will accomplish.

      I can’t think of anyone better to sell a publicly financed sports stadium to a credulous public for example, or make promises of disaster relief that are really nothing more than resource looting in an already desperately poor country such as Haiti. And they’ve been preparing for this gig for the last eight years–“fired up and ready to go” with more charisma and better teeth I guess you could say.

      As for the likes of Elizabeth Warren being “troubled,” just more roadkill with a better pedigree.

      1. Marco

        So Obama spends 8 years licking the collective nut-sack of Finance Capital and only NOW Warren can be “troubled” with a mere $400K speakers fee?

        1. John k

          She doesn’t criticize power, either Clinton when pres to be or big o when sitting. But now that he’s left his seat she can afford to be troubled.

          Never a progressive, her only schtick has been the worthy anti WS bank platform… but nothing else. Certainly little for working class.

        2. johnnygl

          I wonder if it might be a bigger deal than you think.

          1) no other dems have dared to say a word. With warren coming out early to criticize, it opens the door for others to follow.
          2) it marks a big change from 6 months ago. Obama was a saint and no one dare criticize him. Now, warren feels like she can attack him.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Kill it with fire: Hilary, Barack, Michele, Chelsea, Bubba. Grifters, perjurers, liars, phonies, carpetbaggers, drug smugglers and war criminals. Throw Warren in there while you’re at it, we need pathos and not bathos

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      There is already a “protest” meme making the social media rounds trying to shame anyone who dares criticize Obama for the Cantor Fitzgerald fee. It purports to have been written by a non-NY resident who was considering moving there prior to 9/11. And he was so impressed by the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, who missed being turned into ash because he was late, having been taking his kindergartener to school and who himself supported the families of the victims and paid their health insurance for ten years he was moved to tears. And now thinks it’s dreadful all these people are saying Cantor Fitzgerald is evil and shaming Obama for taking their money.

      One of the best BS pieces from the PR department I’ve read in years. Not that they didn’t apparently step up, but if someone can tell me what that has to do with anything, I’d appreciate it.

      1. Kokuanani

        It appears that the writers of Showtime’s hit “Billions” may have hijacked that “kind & caring CEO of a company devasted on 9/11” in their creation of anti-hero “Axe” Axelrod.

    3. oh

      An ObamaBot told me that O’s donating the bulk of the money from his speeches to charity. I wonder if it’s true?

      1. Marina Bart

        I’m sure it’s true. He’ll donate it to the nonprofit Obama Foundation. Which will presumably develop “teams” in various countries to offer “assistance,” just like how the Clintons and their charity assisted businesses in blocking a minimum wage hike in Haiti, and assisted the Saudi royal family, and the children of Honduras to “benefit” from a military coup.

        I’m sure he’ll do all sorts of good works like that.

    4. oh

      An ObamaBot told me that Lord O’s donating the bulk of the money from his speeches to charity. I wonder if it’s true?

  6. Anonymous2

    Brexit negotiations – why bother?

    Um. How about because 45% of UK foreign earnings come from the EU and another 20% are earned as a result of trade with countries under agreements negotiated by the EU?

    1. John k

      So 2/3?
      But how much of this is britains auto trade deficit with Germany, which can be replaced from Asia? And how much is with common wealth? Or US? Or Asia? I would think all of these would like to maintain existing trade… maybe no change deals not so tough to do?

      Banking might take a hit, but probably a good thing if Brit finance declines… bankers might not agree, or London, but who cares? They’re remainers.

      1. Anonymous2

        I am not sure Britain’s well-off will switch readily from their Mercedes and BMWs to driving Japanese cars. It’s a prestige thing.

        But in any event the important issue IMO is not so much who the UK buys from but who it sells to. Failure to reach agreement with the EU will severely affect the UK ability to earn its way in the world and that will affect the UK standard of living adversely. Given that Brexit was sold on the basis it would make Britons better off, this would be a very nasty shock for those who voted Leave.

        Would it all be sorted satisfactorily in the long run? Maybe, but the UK faces a tough 15 years anyway as the boomers retire, increasing the pressure on the working population and the Health Service.

        In fact the latest opinion poll suggests that the majority in the UK now want to stay in the EU.

        It is all the most extraordinary mess.

        1. Procopius

          If that majority gets big enough it might make a difference, but if it’s, like, 52% the elite aren’t going to care. I presume lots of very, very rich people beieve they are going to get lots richer from leaving. I’m pretty sure they’re wrong, but hey, what do I know?

    2. Oregoncharles

      I thought Mish was thoroughly confusing on the subject. I share his suspicion of the “divorce” negotiations, but don’t pretend to know who has the advantage, so go by Yves’ opinion.

      The biggest problem, as I see it, is likely to be the N. Ireland border. I suspect there are very quiet negotiations going on between the parts of Ireland as we type, even though that may be illegal for both of them.

    3. Inert_Bert

      Yes. And apart from the power-dynamics, the piece seems to be yet another case of commentators treating Brexit as merely ripping up a trade agreement, necessitating a replacement. In fact, the British want to extract themselves from an entire legal order, large sections of which exist specifically to facilitate trade to a degree that is not possible with an FTA. It’s not just about “access”, it’s about a constant process of harmonizing legislation.

      Most of what the author describes as “EU’s desire to punish the UK and set rules in the name of solidarity” are merely the direct consequence of the UK themselves declaring unilaterally that they no longer wish to be subject to a large body of law. By insisting on leaving the ECJ-jurisdiction and declaring the intention to end the freedom of movement of people it is the UK government which adopts a hard-line position.

  7. a different chris

    >Suppose that, in the meantime, the EU continues its economic recovery. Suppose further that, after the French and German elections this year, a stronger Franco-German partnership drives the eurozone toward the closer political integration that is obviously needed for the single currency to succeed,

    Forgot to suppose a pony whilst he was at it.

    So the putative Left cares only about the issues of economically servile people from far away (Bulgarian plumbers) and the putative Right intends to pat the good old English sods hard enough on the back that they go over a cliff. Awesome.

  8. allan

    Brad DeLong has up a transcript of the symposium on Trades, Jobs and Inequality
    that was held at CUNY on Wednesday.
    The whole thing is worth reading (or watching on the linked video), but the following caught my eye:
    The moderator, Eduardo Porter, starts off a discussion with

    Eduardo Porter: We have got 15 minutes for questions. I would like to start with this, which seems a great topic for you people to take on. Let me start with this one. The belief is that service sector jobs will always pay less than manufacturing jobs. But is that guaranteed? Should we put the government’s energies into making it so the service sector jobs are highly paid and good jobs rather than focusing on manufacturing, which will always be a small part of employment in the future?

    Brad DeLong: I don’t think that “manufacturing” and “services” are the way to partition it. If you asked me to partition it, I would say that there are people who add value with their strong backs, but that began go go out with the domestication of the horse. And there are people who add value with their nimble fingers, but that began to go out with the invention of the spinning jenny. […] The problem now is that robots proper are getting rid of the microcontroller jobs and software ‘bots are about to start getting rid of the accounting another white collar Jobs keeping track of the stuff and what it is good for. The graduate admissions committees whose jobs could be better done by an algorithm…

    Paul Krugman: We doing know that live job interviews make a fundamental contribution: they destroy information…

    Brad DeLong: You’ve seen economists go on the job market. People have long records of what they have done and what they have worked on and what their advisers and peers say about them. And that gets an interview in a hotel room for 30 minutes. And then with the five people in the hotel room for 30 minutes say about you wipes out all previous information. And if the five people turned from’s up then you get if fly out and get to give a seminar. And then what happens in that seminar wipes out all previous information…

    David Autor: I think that what Eduardo was asking about was not “service sector”—which is 80% of everything—but rather personal services, helping, assisting. Those are rapidly growing. Those are low paying. Those are low paying in every advanced economy…

    Brad DeLong: Sheryl Sandberg and other managers—it’s a social-engineering-organizing job…

    David Autor You added “social engineering”: I was talking about food service-security-cleaning-home health aides. 15% of employment. Very low wage. They are intrinsically low wage because they use a very generic skill set. You can be productive in those jobs in a couple of days without a lot of training because labor is not intrinsically scarce for them, they cannot be high wage jobs. They tend to be at the bottom of the ladder. You can cause there to be higher wages for those jobs with subsidies, or through regulations, and then you will tend to have less of them. It is a very challenging problem. …

    So, Porter brings up the problem of service sector jobs being generally low wage,
    and the first things that pop into DeLong’s mind upon hearing the phrase “service sector”
    are (i) Ph.D. economists in academia and (ii) the COO of Facebook.

    1. diptherio

      Yeah, that’s hilarious. And then Autor seems to think that raising wages will reduce the amount of toilets that need cleaned and food that needs cooked:

      I was talking about food service-security-cleaning-home health aides. 15% of employment. Very low wage…You can cause there to be higher wages for those jobs with subsidies, or through regulations, and then you will tend to have less of them.

      Yup, ’cause people’s need for food, sanitation and health care is so very price elastic….oy…

      Also, only someone who’s never done those jobs can actually think that they are “low-skill”. There is a huge difference between a real professional janitor who is systematic, detail oriented and quick, and someone who you just pulled in off the street and handed a broom. The idea that only skills acquired through higher education count as “skills” is more than a little elitist.

      1. Ignim Brites

        “The idea that only skills acquired through higher education count as “skills” is more than a little elitist.” It is not just elitist. It is part and parcel of the meritocratic legitimation of inequality. It is the core ideological column of neoliberalism and vigorously promoted by the chief institutions of the state ideological apparatus, namely the publuc universities. This is an indication of why Bernie Sanders “political revolution” is such a joke.

        1. diptherio

          It is part and parcel of the meritocratic legitimation of inequality.

          Exactly. And the meritocratic myth is alive and well on the so-called Left as much as it is on the so-called Right.

      2. Mel

        “higher wages for those jobs [ … ] and then you will tend to have less of them”

        I think he’s just taken the old “Supply and Demand” mold and poured some words into it.

        1. RMO

          So that’s why the number of CEO’s, CFO’s COO’s etc.has declined so dramatically over the last thirty years in inverse relation to the soaring compensation for those executives! Seriously, they’re like an endangered species here in 2017. I think a captive breeding program will be necessary to prevent them going extinct…

        2. Marina Bart

          and then you will tend to have less of them

          “Tend” is doing an awful lot of potentially evil, yet passive work in that clause.

          Just like neoliberal economists!

    2. tegnost

      Interesting, thanks…never thought of a personal face to face conversation as a destruction of all previous info, but I’m not an sconomist…they seemed to know all about it

      1. diptherio

        Oh, I’m sure they’ve got some behavioral study that shows that temporal proximity has a large effect on the weight that people give information. The way he phrases it is definitely a little broad, though, as you say.

        But having been on a few hiring committees, I have come to the conclusion that an interview provides essentially zero useful information about the likely aptitude of the candidate for the job. Hired people who on paper looked great and interviewed even better…and they turned out pretty bad. Others looked bad on paper and interviewed ok, and only got the job after two other choices backed out for other offers…and they were great. Problems of informational asymmetry are paramount. So I can kinda agree with the overall gist of what they’re saying, but I think what they’re implying is probably even worse (i.e. it sounds like they’re suggesting that we simply go off of resumes and CVs).

        1. Oregoncharles

          My son encountered an actually rational “interview”: he was asked to sit down and do some of the job (drafting), right then. He wouldn’t have interviewed well, but he could do the job. I think it was his boss being lazy – had no idea how to interview someone, so did the logical thing.

          The next time, he was picked up as a temp based on his resume. It amounted to the same thing, only the test period was longer.

          1. Procopius

            Is there some set way to interview people that can be explained? In that case it could be converted to an algorithm and a computer can do it. Yay! Sounds to me like if you’ve got a job to fill and it’s possible for someone to demonstrate in a short time that they actually have the skills to do that job, that’s all you need, unless you think “knows how to kiss ass” and “plays well with others” are important components of the job. Used to be you could get an entry job in computer programing if you could sit down in and write a “hello, world” program.

    3. jrs

      haha, I thought he was going somewhere with the talk of an interview and at least Krugman maybe was talking about something that maybe more than 1% of the population can relate to, in that for the average job interview, that what the people interviewing you think matters more than the resume or personal references (however if one can land enough interviews it tends to be neutralized some, given that there is no great fairness in the job market to start out with) and then no Brad really is stuck in academia.

      1. LT

        I think one of the reasons long-term unemployment has become even longer is that algorithims unceremoniously throw out resumes with employment gaps and based on age.
        Anyone of a certain age or with gaps have no option but to try to get a face to face to be able to state their case…call it an appeal to humanity.

        1. robnume

          Thank you for saying that, LT. I am, myself, having problems re-entering the employment market – even with a great set of skills – because, I assume, of the several year gap in my history. I took time off to raise my children – heaven forbid! – because my husband is a highly educated skilled professional who made enough money, then, and we preferred one parent to be home with our boys so they wouldn’t be “latchkey” kids.
          I kept up with my software skills, etc. while at home and now that my husband is nearing 70 – I am over 10 years younger – he would like to retire and I would like to go back into healthcare services or some similar job but cannot get an interview. It really sucks. What’s a body to do?

    4. John k

      Internal bias.
      People he might hire to clean his own house or watch his kids take care of his lawn should be low paid no matter how trustworthy or dependable they are, else the higher cost would reduce his ability to consume other goods and services.

    5. LT

      The economists may have well just shouted “TINA” in unison and jumped up and down and stamped their feet in a tantrum. That’s really their answer, perculating quietly, under the programmed, technocratic cool.

  9. diptherio

    This phenomenon eventually turns stocks into drones that move in lockstep with their industry. It makes life harder for traders seeking informational edges by offering fewer opportunities to capitalize on insights into earnings and other signals.

    Apparently, Bloomberg is unaware of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, which assumes (and thereby proves) that all market actors have access to the same information. EMH states that informational asymmetries can’t exist, so any trader trying to take advantage of them is obviously delusional.

    1. Synoia

      Efficient Market Hypothesis, which assumes (and thereby proves) hat all market actors have access to the same information.

      When at university, I used to visit my sister, a stockbroker in London. Her phone was constantly ringing. with news of this and that in the market, customers, and rumors.

      I concluded that stockbroking, and investing, were businesses where you had to have access to “inside” information, and I knew I was outside of this stream of information, with actually knowing any definitions of “insider trading.”

      Efficient Market Hypothesis? Just that, a hypothesis with experimental proof it is an invalid hypothesis.

      The Economics Doctrine appears completely compromised by its allegiance to dogma.

      1. diptherio

        All good orthodox economists know that the proper way to prove a thing (like the efficiency and beneficence of markets) is to assume it from the beginning. Saves one from having to do any difficult thinking.

        You should tell your Sis about EMH…it would save her a lot of wasted effort ;-)

        1. Anonymous2

          Lo has just brought out a book on adaptive rather than efficient markets. I have not read but the review i read made it sound a more realistic take than EMH.

      1. diptherio

        Goes to show you who’s got an interest in convincing the rubes that everything is totally on the up-and-up, and the market really does behave as if the impossible were true and everyone shared a single mind.

        The guy at the three-card monte table can be relied on to assure you that there’s nothing crooked about three-card monte.

  10. DJG

    Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post (and when you’ve lost the craven Washington Post, you may truly have a problem):
    Good column. But there is a particularly perplexing detail, if one has a moral compass. What kind of excuse is it that the Obamas plan to give part of their $65 million book advance to charity? First, there is the financial and managerial problem: I have serious doubts that the publisher stands to make back the advance. And if both the publisher and Obamas believe that part of the advance goes to charity, what’s the point? I’ve never heard of a book advance predicated on the author giving money to charity.

    Further, “charity” at the 1 percent level has many strings. I tend to doubt that Obama plans to hand over $5 million to Doctors without Borders so that they can continue their work (and continue to be bombed by the U S of A). So the charity will end up being the billion-dollar library or the family foundation.

    The mysteries of charity.

    This election has indeed been clarifying. But what the election showed is that there is little difference between the two parties, that Obama is just plain tawdry, and that Trump is a particularly petulant Mad Ludwig CEO. The up side of this electoral turdblossom is that we can now engage in some creative thinking. See Ian Welsh’s column, also in the listings above.

    1. Synoia

      Obama is just plain tawdry, Trump is a vulgar and common, and the Clintons are venal.

      Peas in a pod?

      1. Pat

        If by peas in a pod you mean they are all tawdry and venal, I’ll vote yes.

        Limiting Obama to tawdry is severely underestimating his greed and corruption. I agree with Katniss Everdeen above:

        As craven and lucrative as the clintons’ exploitation of their “public service” was, I predict it will be dwarfed by what the obamas will accomplish.

        The Obamas will “trump” them all and be the biggest peas in the pod.

        1. tegnost

          my prediction is that his fall from grace will be epic, so it’s fitting that he’s starting from such a great height.

          1. Pat

            We can only hope, but considering that the Clintons still got invited to the dance, and apparently may even weather this last disastrous obvious grifting deeply incompetent Presidential run I’m not so sure.

            No matter how great we consider the fall nothing sort of killing them with fire appears to stop the con. And as slick as the Clintons are, the Obamas are silicone coated chrome plate.

          2. different clue

            Maybe he will fall from social grace, but he will keep collecting his reward money all the way down.

      2. jqpublic

        It’s all about style. Obama has great style so no matter what he does it’s great(cool) while trump has an awful style so whatever he does it’s awful(uncool).

        1. jrs

          well that and that some of Trump’s polices are definitely objectively worse than under Obama, like Trump’s environmental policies (and frankly worse than we’d get not just from the big zero but from many Republicans probably even as horrible as they tend to be). At this point I wonder if we would be better off under Jeb Bush,that’s how bad things are.

        2. johnnygl

          Absolutely on the mark!

          This tells you how superficial the media are and how superficial big chunks of liberal voters are, too. They just want a nice family in the white house that doesn’t make them feel ashamed. No substance needed!!!

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “Oh look Bunny, our 401(k) went up, must be because of that nice blackish man in the White House (who incinerated a destitute five year old girl in the desert so his military arms merchant and Wall St pals could make even more dough selling missiles)”. Lament the day when the world became a conscience-free zone.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Great comment by “Keith in Oregon” on that article:

      “We keep hoping for Gandhi and keep getting someone else.”

      1. HBE

        That’s probably because Gandhi and his achievements are largely a myth.

        The Gandhi myth (and it’s spawning of the myth of the effectiveness of Non-violence) was largely a British diplomatic and imperial effort in saving face.

        Instead of the world seeing a dying imperial power being forced out because of increasing guerrilla efforts and violence (Indian National Army, and many other bombings and attacks), and its inability to meet its imperial obligations (especially the financial costs).

        The British used Gandhi to turn the narrative from “empire in decline” to a narrative of “benevolent empire”. The effectiveness of Gandhi’s non-violent movement would have been nil (without the contrasting violent movements) or had the British had the slightest ability or desire to retain India as a colonial possession.

        This British exercise in diplomatic face saving has had the unintended consequence of making non-violence on it’s own appear effective, when in reality non-violence is an exercise in futility without a violent contrast.

        The Gandhi myth has been damaging movements and distorting the history of effective independence and change efforts for decades and needs to end.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          The gandhi myth is that he was non violent…he was never non violent…he was the most violent person in india…he just was quietly violent and understood that the rentiers and kleptokrats of the world care about their abilty to skim and tax while talking cricket…

          He also insisted one not confuse impotence with non violence and that the weak and feeble can not actually project non violence, since without the capacity to bring violence, non violence is just the fearful talking up their book…

          There is a difference of being willing to take a beating and laugh while allowing the beating to happen to make a point vs. taking a beating because one has no capacity to do otherwise…

          One projects self discipline…

          the other feeds beer muscles…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s like, with confidence (of the opponents’ impotence), the elites can self-discipline themselves into taking a (verbal or written) criticism beating, and laugh while allowing the criticism to continue.

            Weaker elites and weaker regimes take a beating because they are weak, or they react feebly and unsuccessful, and are denounced as suppressing freedom of speech.

          2. dcblogger

            I have read Ghandi’s book, My Experiments With Truth. I recommend it. Ghandi certainly believed in fighting, but not with violence. Ghandi prefected the technique of non-violent non cooperation. And it is why, in addition to a Labor Gov’t taking power in 1945, that the British went of their own accord. It was much nastier in their other colonies where guerilla war was employed. From India, to Alabama, to the Philippines, to Eastern Europe, non-violent non-cooperation has a solid record of success.

            1. HBE

              Every single one of the nonviolent success stories you mention had a violent contrast, without that violent contrast, Non-violence is absolutely useless.

              India as mentioned had the extremely violent Indian National Army as a violent contrast.

              Alabama: The Era of this period marked the a massive uptick in extremely violent riots within cities and a growing violent miltant action within the US black community, which contrasted the nonviolent civil rights Marches and actions.

              The Philippines: I believe you are referring to the people power revolution. Some history: Marcos was a US puppet and the US feared if he clamped down on protests, protesters would quickly revert back to the communist insurgency (so there was a very recent contrasting violent movement) which disrupted US military bases and operations in the country in the decade prior. Hence the nonviolent protests actually had the indirect support of the world’s most violent hegemon (only because of the contrast of recent violent movements which caused disruption). Which rewarded Marcos with a lifetime of comfort in Hawaii for just stepping down.

              As to eastern Europe since you don’t get specific I can’t address them other than saying non-violent success stories only achieved success when the regional and local powers became so weakend that they would have quickly failed with or without protests, and or had the support of local power players who latched onto the protests not to make the country’s better but because they saw the movements as a once in a lifetime opportunity to loot and pillage national concerns, if they were successful. Without these power players backing they non-violent movements would have been dead in the water.

              Non-violence on it’s own does not work. It never has and it never will. Power gives up nothing without a struggle (and if they do its because they nolonger want or need it), nonviolence alone engenders no struggle, those in power view it completely accurately for what it is, an illustration of extreme impotence.

              1. witters

                ‘Non-violence on it’s own does not work. It never has and it never will. Power gives up nothing without a struggle’

                This is true. But still, there are entire ‘Peace Studies’ Departments built on – and who insist on – this manifest power serving delusion. This means their PhD output is untruthfulness dressed up in the threadbare clothes of in-house virtue-signalling.

        2. Gaianne

          Gandhi himself was clearly aware that violent movements were covering his flanks, and making his non-violence possible and effective.

          Basically, he gave the Brits a route of retreat, that probably saved losses on all sides.

          But Gandhi’s movement took casualties. They had the discipline to take casualties. Liberals can talk non-violence but they have no discipline for taking casualties. They pretend that conflict can be won with no costs. Liberal nonviolence talk is bogus nonviolence talk.


          1. perpetualWAR

            Civil rights fight had 3 elements:
            1) MLK = non violent
            2) MalcolmX = by any means necessary
            3) Black Panthers = open carry & threats of violence

            We should take a lesson from this play book.

            1. Alex Morfesis

              The 3 elements of the civil rights victories were:


              would you please stop picking my pocket

              El-Hajj malik(x):

              Thats my damn wallet…and it is mine to keep

              Blk panthers(761st):


              we ain’t got no wallets…

              we dont need no stinkin wallets…

              We aint got to show you no stinkin wallets…

              Violence was not a requirement…

              the last two basically said there were no more cheeks to turn at this time..

      2. Annotherone

        “We keep hoping for Gandhi and keep getting someone else.”
        Perhaps a better hope would be to get someone like Eugene Debs. Highly unlikely the way things are going though, in view of treatment accorded to Bernie .

    3. Kokuanani

      Seems clear to me that one “charity” will be the Clinton Foundation — even though Obamas hate the Clintons.

      Or perhaps Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein or others of their ilk have “charities” that need help.

      Finally, how many opera houses or colleges will offer “naming opportunities”?

      The possibilities are endless.

  11. ambrit

    From the Junkanoo beat in the Bahamas; it is funny that the writer of the article should ask why no one from the Ministry of Tourism stepped up to straighten out the Fyre Festival promoters. The Bahamas have always been a poorly run Banana Republic. (I lived there for two years as a child, at the tail end of the colonial period.) The fact that the American Mob moved in and started the casino empires in the sixties should say it all. (They had to do something after Tio Fidel kicked them out of Cuba.) Really, the Bahamas is two countries; New Providence Island, where Nassau is, and the “Out Islands.” America should not feel too smug about the supposed “backwardness” of the locals there. Many of the white inhabitants are the descendants of Tories who lost out in the American Revolution. The black inhabitants are descended from slaves bought over from Africa to work.
    For a somewhat neoliberal view of the places politics, see:
    The Bahamas are a classic “Offshore” venue. Venality has always been a virtue there.

  12. Allegorio

    In re Madam LePen’s proposal for dual currencies in France. Does it have traction? Having a local currency without leaving the Euro, would make the eventual exit from the Euro much less painful and likewise give France the advantage of a sovereign currency in the meantime. Is this not what Veroufakis proposed for Greece. Will not the EU come down hard on this proposal? Is it not already banned under EU rules. What does the commentariet think?

    1. Anonymous2

      Looks to me like a recipe for an immediate run on the French banking system. Who is going to leave their euros in a bank if there is a risk they will be converted into weaker francs?

  13. rich


    All The Plenary’s Men

    “The King can do no wrong.”

    —William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

    “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

    —Ex-President Richard Nixon, interview with David Frost

    The question at bar is why the U.S. Department of Justice has failed to prosecute any too-big-to-fail banks or—more importantly—their bankers, even for admitted crimes.

    It’s a crucial question, because after eight straight years of unremitting prosecutorial failure, it looks very much as if a select group of top banks can, in fact, do no wrong. If that’s the case, then our constitutional republic isn’t merely in trouble. It’s dead.

    A person or group of people who satisfy Blackstone’s criterion for ultimate sovereign power—the power to commit crimes with impunity—can’t exist in a nation where the law reigns supreme. And yet here we are a decade after the financial crisis began in earnest, and not one TBTF bank executive has gone to jail.

    Legally, the TBTF banks are indistinguishable from the King, since the power to commit crimes with impunity swallows all other sovereign powers; such a power isn’t even supposed to exist in the U.S., and yet it does.

    Large pools of capital are our new city states….Kneel!

    1. John k

      They already had the power to create credit at will. This power if not regulated is more than sufficient to buy politicians of all stripes, which they do, and once they’ve done that they get to write the laws and own the regulators.
      Only way out is third party because both dems and reps are owned, lock, stock and barrel. There is a reason Bernie is independent.

  14. jqpublic

    It’s been 100 days of the Trump crime family and it looks like bidding on American policy is now closed. And the winner seems to be . . . Saudi Arabia! Expanding Obama’s Syrian and Yemeni wars, demonizing Iran and Russia: the best explanation for Trump reversing himself on most of these issues is a big payday from the winning bidders.

    1. PhilM

      watching the man get tamed in such a short time shows how little all of us know about what actually goes on at the top. some forces can’t even be nudged, much less controlled, and a trillion dollars, or a drug epidemic, are examples of those forces. is the best thing just to open the floodgates and let them go; is resistance really as futile as it appears?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If done scientifically, today’s best explanation can only be replaced with tomorrow’s.

      Maybe tomorrow, the best explanation is ‘because Russia.’

      1. montanamaven

        Just finished all four parts of the Truthdig series “Universal Empire”
        Part 4 was linked here a couple days ago, but I think it’s well worth reading all four parts as we continue to be plagued with this “because Russia” deal and everywhere we look the propaganda machine’s fake or misleading news is at full volume. It’s a nice summation of the influence of the neo cons starting with John Burnham who I knew nothing about. Yikes, it’s right out of “Eyes Wide Shut” as these meetings and dinner parties sound like a cult to me. (The authors allude to this as a secret “double government”. Is this what we are now calling the deep state?)
        It was quite cunning to use writers, teachers, and artists as unpaid propagandists abroad as well as here.

        Key to turning these “free” intellectuals against their own interests was the CIA’s doctrinal program for Western cultural transformation contained in the document PSB D-33/2. PSB D-33/2 foretells of a “long-term intellectual movement, to: break down world-wide doctrinaire thought patterns” while “creating confusion, doubt and loss of confidence” in order to “weaken objectively the intellectual appeal of neutralism and to predispose its adherents towards the spirit of the West.” The goal was to “predispose local elites to the philosophy held by the planners,” while employing local elites “would help to disguise the American origin of the effort so that it appears to be a native development.”
        While declaring itself as an antidote to Communist totalitarianism, one internal critic of the program, PSB officer Charles Burton Marshall, viewed PSB D-33/2 itself as frighteningly totalitarian, interposing “a wide doctrinal system” that “accepts uniformity as a substitute for diversity,” embracing “all fields of human thought—all fields of intellectual interests, from anthropology and artistic creations to sociology and scientific methodology.” He concluded: “That is just about as totalitarian as one can get.”

        1. nobody

          “There is a moment in Eyes Wide Shut, as Bill Harford is lying to his wife over a cellphone from a prostitute’s apartment, when we see a textbook in the foreground titled Introducing Sociology. The book’s title is a dry caption to the action onscreen (like the slogan PEACE IS OUR PROFESSION looming over the battle at Burpelson Air Force Base in Dr. Strangelove), telling us that prostitution is the basic, defining transaction of our society. It is also, more importantly, a key to understanding the film…

          “The slice of that world he tried to show us in his last–and, he believed, his best–work, the capital of the global American empire at the end of the American Century, is one in which the wealthy, powerful, and privileged use the rest of us like throwaway products, covering up their crimes with pretty pictures, shiny surfaces, and murder, ultimately dooming their own children to lives of servitude and whoredom.”

          Tim Kreider, “Introducing Sociology: A Review of Eyes Wide Shut

    3. JTMcPhee

      I’d say Israel is a co-winner.

      I offered it as a joke yesterday, the duffelblog bit on Bill Murray doing a Notagainistan reprise of “Go=roundhog Day.” That’s been morphed to grim MSM content by the Grauniad today: “‘It feels like Groundhog Day’: US Marines return to Helmand province,”

      Amazing how grunt Marines, the best of the best, can get suckered into buying the Brass’s narrative again and again and again…

      On a personal note, a little help from an older blood pressure med, prazosin, helped me dispel recurrent dreams where I had been drafted, at advanced age and in ny decrepit condition, despite having “served my country” for the legally required period and being discharged honorably and released even from the “inactive reserve” at age 35 or something (can’t find the letter right now.) Last night, back to Dreamland, getting dressed down by some shave head sergeant for showing up in the ill-fitting bits of uniform (old khaki and old-style fatigues and leather flat-soled boots) that I was sent home with, on being discharged in 1969, told to F— Off about whining about past service, no excuse, get up on the truck and GO. One of the many costs of what Gen. Smedly Butler so correctly called it: “War is a racket.”

      So what? Who cares? Some folks are getting rich off it all… How many here “own” Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics and General Atomic…? All part of a prudent portfolio, right?

      Please do not “thank me for my service.” Anyone who reads here enough knows that is pure Narrative bullsh!t, and cruel and insincere to boot… But I’m smart enough to know that there’s no remedy or repair or end (other than a really bad one, for individuals and the species, to all of this. “Go-roundhog Day:” a typo, but such an apropos one…

    1. Linda

      Doesn’t mention a particular speech so may be just rumor right now. If it happens, poor Hillary. She is going to feel downright ripped off. A simple First Lady going for 200K, when she with her Vast experience received only 225?

      Also noted Barack’s 2 400Ks and one Michelle at 200K – their first million in speaking fees.

  15. Ignim Brites

    ‘Death of the French left’: why voters are hesitating over Macron

    Obviously Macron will be even more of an empty suit than Hollande. He will likely be a lame duck after the National Assembly elections in June. But this will be an opening for Melenchon if he is willing to move in a Leninist direction and bring down the Fifth Republic.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is the average age of a French Republic?

      As we say here in California, Is the big one due?

      1. Ignim Brites

        At 58 years, 5th Republic is in 2nd place by a wide margin. Still a dozen years to surpass the 3rd Republic.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘We are not fake news’: At a Trump-free correspondents’ dinner, White House press has its say. WaPo. Two words: “Judy Miller.”

    Is Trump going to come back with a “Everything is fake, including ‘the’ and ‘and?'”

    1. diptherio

      Now, now…orthodox economics is a form of brain damage. Marx, Kelton, Keen, Veblen, Minsky, et al. were/are trying to understand how our society actually functions. Orthodox economics, otoh, is an exercise in mental gymnastics and willful blindness whose goal is to provide a panglossian analysis of the current situation — to prove, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we really do live in the best of all possible worlds.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        That is a powerful insight and depressingly true. I recently struggled through Das Kapital, wow what a thinker, the midgets who run the economics narrative today (Krugman et al) should just hang their heads in shame.

        1. Anonymous2

          All three volumes? You have my respect. I stopped after volume 1, partly as I understood the last two were published by Engels rather than Marx and that Engels changed some of the text to fit in better with his own views, which to my mind is a no-no.

          And Karl does go on a bit does he not?

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            I pretend I’m a time traveler, to an age when people took their time. But yes, lots of repitition, or should I say making the same point in many different roundabout ways

        2. skippy

          As always follow the money e.g. whom funded the creative writing class to concoct orthodox economics [cough…. theoclassical].

          disheveled…. we are all corporations ™ unto ourselves….

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Macron’s Youth Is No Lure for First-Time Voters in French Poll Bloomberg


    Is it implied that first time voters are, er, gullible?

    You have math child prodigies, music child prodigies, etc. But with age, come wisdom…hopefully. You know better once you’ve been two-timed, or given false promises (including left leaning ones, not just promises in one’s personal life).

    Also with age, comes conservatism. No appealing explanations here, especially given the above wise quote, check that, platitude.

    In any case, first time anything is vulnerable to being taken advantage of, by the more experienced…except first time backgammon players (they have been known to win the first time).

    So, an interesting question is this – Is there an ulterior motive for a political party to ‘lure’ first time voters, native or born in another country?

    Also, does it make that party more likely to abandon its existing customers (that is, long time party members)? In with new love, out with old love, that sort of two-timing act.

    Should we question why a party focuses so much on young voters and immigrant voters?

    It is that they are easier to lure?

  18. Frank

    Re the Fyre Festival,
    It’s hilarious that the creme of the .01% got scammed by a bunch of hustlers, “Up to $250,000 luxury tickets”.

    I propose that the name of the event be changed to “Burning The Man Festival.”

    The whetstones are slowly sharpening the guillotine blades.

    1. jrs

      it’s perhaps the only thing that will work against the 1%, make them fear the masses including the fact that the rest of us know our enemy and can’t wait to do them harm by any means at our disposal, that might temper their looting a bit.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group Pew Research

    Population as a competitive advantage?

    “We have a billion people in this country. Even though the GDP per capita is low, ours is the world’s biggest economy. When our alpha guy talks, the world listens.”

    On it goes.

    “There are more and more our country men and country women in this state or this county. We can look forward to making this place our home, and maybe making bullfighting legal. We so miss it.”

    “No, we must out law beef eating once we have enough here.”

    It’s all about strength in numbers…people numbers.

    Or it becomes BlitzPeopleKrieg. WIth mobility, people are moved around to different places to vote in their politicians. This year, here. Next year, there. This is one way to overcome numerical inferiority. If this has not been done, my guess would be that fiction writers have not published them yet.

    1. Ernesto Lyon

      When I take my daughter to the public pool I see the local families, life long residents, mostly white and asian. We have one or two children.

      The muslim men bring their children and their hijabed wife to the pool. They bring three or four boys to the pool, and who knows how many are at home. The wife gets everyone settled and she hides away somewhere until it is time to collect everyone and get them home.

    2. Altandmain

      “We have a billion people in this country. Even though the GDP per capita is low, ours is the world’s biggest economy. When our alpha guy talks, the world listens.”

      The closest nation to that quote would be India to be honest. The ethnicity of India is mixed, but over 80% of Indians consider themselves Hindu.

      China is firmly a middle income nation and the GDP growth is still relatively rapid.

    1. Isotope_C14

      I’ve been tweeting him up some, says he’s for single payer. Fight for 15, and is willing to talk Universal Basic Income. Apparently bregman’s TED talk got a standing ovation regarding UBI, very anxious to see it. I think he’d like to see it as well. Who knows, perhaps he’s reading “Utopia for Realists”.

      One of my memes hit 200 RT’s in aggregate, 250 likes. He’s pulled in over 5k in donations and has over 3k followers. He had a talk with the young man who made Pelosi sound like quite ignorant: “We’re capitalists and that’s just the way it is”. (Trevor Hill @SpawnofGluten)

    2. Ned

      South Beach is a recently built fake neighborhood in San Francisco. There’s nothing authentic about it, just condos and apartments miles from anything real, except the corporate named ballpark.

      So much for the place. Now, how to define “Democratic”…

  20. Alex Morfesis

    The trump casino algorithms…ok…it’s been 100+ daze and the myths are amusing…especially with bob woodward channeling mickey dugan(we speak the truth…what a kidder that bobby boy…that penthouse view from the watergate looked swell while taking a drag after your “briefings” didnt it bobby boy)

    Trump is extremely easy to follow…he is a casino owner and we are the marks…those inclined to gamble imagine the odds will improve on fifty fifty up or down situations…it never does…

    most people can hardly balance a bank account but imagine they can think thru gambling probabilities…

    If one has or gets casino algos sold to owners, one can easily parameter donald trumpioni…

    And cousinfa

    $hillary did not have the capacity to be the breakthrough female president to deal with misogyny around the world…

    we have taken our bernoulli medicine and it is what it is…

    Blackjack is the only thing one can try to milk at a casino…

    Trump is not and will not be the worst criminal to shake change loose from the oval office…there have been worse and this democratic delusion still keeps falling forward…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A general boycott is more effective than a general strike.

      Where are they going to get scab customers?

    2. Arizona Slim

      Websites require people who know how to set them up and monitor them. And those people don’t work for free.

      1. Katharine

        Thank you! This has spread more than I’d realized. And people are talking about boycotting, not buying things, which even those out of the work force can do.

  21. Oregoncharles

    Why Muslims are the fastest growing religious group:

    ” To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven other major religious groups analyzed in the study. … In all major regions where there is a sizable Muslim population, Muslim fertility exceeds non-Muslim fertility.”

    Because they make women 2nd-class citizens and forbid birth control. A very good strategy to outbreed everyone else, even in a world that’s running out of everything. Except people.

    No wonder there are anti-Muslim movements in Europe, one of those “major regions.”

    Feasible response is limited by Enlightenment values. Two possibilities: make contraception, including IUDs and implants, as available as physically possible. At least in areas where they can be publicly available, a considerable number of even Muslim women will sneak off and use them. Unofficial programs to smuggle them into Muslim countries would make sense.

    And 2nd: educating Muslim women, out of the control of the mosque, should be a very high priority, no questions asked. The idea is to subvert the paradigm. One thing this means is that measures to drive them out of schools, like the French ban on headscarves, are self-defeating.

    Not sure how much of this can be done internationally, in Muslim controlled countries. Besides smuggling, you’re pretty much stuck with a Radio Free Europe-style propaganda campaign, and it has to be private. Alliances and aid could be conditioned on rights for women – they aren’t now. That’s really tough in areas where there are famines or other disasters, but should be applied otherwise.

  22. ewmayer

    o Too few of the India-water-crisis articles say anything about that great taboo of the mainstream political/economic/media establishment (because GDP groaf über alles), population. Droughts come and go, and while some of the current one may be attributable to unprecedented human impact on climate, rampant population growth is guaranteed to greatly exacerbate such crises. From the Wikipedia “Demographics of India” article:

    India is the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.271 billion people (2015), more than a sixth of the world’s population. Already containing 17.5% of the world’s population, India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, its population reaching 1.6 billion by 2050.[5][6] Its population growth rate is 1.2%, ranking 94th in the world in 2013.[7] The Indian population had reached the billion mark by 1998.

    India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India’s dependency ratio should be just over 0.4.[8]

    Over half a billion more mouths to feed in a 50-year span … yikes.

    o “Marines Return to Helmand Province for a Job They Thought Was Done | NYT” — The greatest part of this headline is that it could have been written 15 years ago and still be true. Brought to you by the paper that has arguably done more than any other in service of the Permanent Global War Project.

    o “Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group | Pew Research” — See note above re. India population trends. Note that scary as India’s growth rate is, it only ranks 94th in the world according to that metric, and is scary because the baseline number is so huge. Spot any patterns in the 93 countries with higher pop-growth rates?

    o “Who pays for Thaad? | Korea JoongAng Daily” — Where are Thaad’s parents in all this? Did they just give poor Thaad up for adoption and wash their hands of the matter?

    o “Ohio family surprised when Mark Zuckerberg comes to dinner | WCHM.” — The Mr.Ollie-Garch-meets-The-Deplorables road show!

    o “What Photographers Of The LA Riots Really Saw Behind The Lens | HuffPo. April 29, 1992” — A camera body, one would hope.

  23. Dontknowitall

    Mish Shedlock says regarding Brexit: “Only by walking away – showing a willingness to let time expire – does the UK have a chance at reasonable negotiations.”

    Never have I read a more dubious piece of tripe. No nation on the planet will risk its trading position with the EU to deal with the U.K. out of turn and in defiance of EU demands. Remember Trump asked Merkel eleven times (!) to make a trade deal with him leaving the EU out of it and each time she refused. In the end he realized its the EU or nothing. May knows it’s the EU or nothing as well and being an ass will get May a worse deal, not a better one. Running out the clock will not get you a nice fresh clock only a bad deal as the EU will take anything that’s not nailed down and leave you feeling thankful they didn’t take Scotland and Wales too.

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