Links 5/18/17

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Cannes Film Festival: Will Smith and Pedro Almodovar clash over Netflix BBC. I pretty much only see movies at theaters because I too really like the “big screen” experience.

Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real, Which Means Science Is Broken. Slate (Dan K). Over a decade ago, a friend who started up Dunn & Bradstreet’s operation in Moscow told me about a book published in Russian, by a former senior scientist in the USSR. The USSR had spent a lot of time and money researching parapsychological phenomena to see if it could be used for military purposes, like long distance messaging or mind control. The book also claimed the US had a similar research program (and not of The Men Who Stare at Goats sort, which I suspect was allowed to continue to provide cover in case word of the serious program somehow got out). The Russians concluded some people have psychic abilities way way above chance, and the population with the highest proportion of aptitude was red-headed female peasants. They found they could teach people to read blindfolded through their fingertips. However, they determined that none of what they found was reliable enough to use for military purposes.

Social butterflies are more apt to stick with physics PhysOrg

A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising. Vox (UserFriendly)

A Bot Is Flooding The FCC Website With Fake Anti-Net Neutrality Comments… In Alphabetical Order Techdirt (martha r). From last week, still important.

The currency of the future has a settlement problem FT Alphaville (vlade). Izzy strikes again.

Facebook tweaks its News Feed to take another swipe at clickbait Poynter (furzy)

Apple starts assembling iPhones in India in play for the world’s fastest growing smartphone market TechCrunch

Pulitzer prize winner blocked from Facebook after series of ‘corruption facts’ posts Times of Malta (Chuck L). Nothing like having good old Faceborg stand behind corrupt officials!

The older the doctor, the higher the patient mortality rate, study finds ars technica

Mr. Market Has a Sad

Asia drops as White House turmoil hits risk sentiment, dollar bruised Reuters (martha r)

European and Asia stocks track Wall St sell-off Financial Times

Global Stocks Fall After U.S. Rout as Bonds Gain: Markets Wrap Bloomberg. The use of the word “rout” shows how investors have gotten used to unusually low volatility.

Political Concerns Reverberate Across Global Markets Wall Street Journal


China Creates Own Insurance Monster Bloomberg

Vestager set to sanction Facebook Politico


Brexit and unemployment: where bureaucracy becomes brutal Open Democracy

Osborne ridicules May’s pledge to reduce immigration to tens of thousands Sky

Theresa May to launch Tory manifesto signalling that Brexit will define the UK’s future City AM

Brazil’s President Temer hit by bribery allegations Financial Times

Home Capital woes spark fears on Canada property market Financial Times


US official: ISIS creating chemical weapons cell in new de facto capital CNN

Iran nuclear: Trump extends Obama’s ‘worst deal ever’ BBC

The Two Most Dangerous Men in the World: Trump and Crown Prince Salman Patrick Cockburn, Defend Democracy

US complains to Turkey over embassy violence BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

WIKILEAKS ATTORNEYS BLAST CITIZENFOUR MAKER POITRAS Newsweek (martha r). Good for Newsweek for running this piece. Notice they are all women, which is significant with respect to some of what follows.

Chelsea Manning Is a Free Woman: Her Heroism Has Expanded Beyond Her Initial Whistleblowing Intercept (martha r)

Trump Transition

Special counsel appointed in Russia probe CNN (furzy)

Ex-FBI Chief Mueller Named Special Counsel on Russia Probe Bloomberg

How a Special Counsel Alters the Russia Investigation New York Times (furzy)

The intelligence community hails Mueller appointment as special prosecutor Business Insider. Lambert: “Aall totally tribal and instrumental. That said, I read Rosenstein as enhancing his power by playing a straight game. A neat trick if he can pull it off!”

Who is Robert Mueller? CNN (furzy)

WikiLeaks: Egyptian ‘torturers’ trained by FBI Telegraph. From 2011, under Mueller.

Cover Story: Is the FBI Up to the Job 10 Years After 9/11? Time. Mueller profile from 2011.

Forged Under Fire—Bob Mueller and Jim Comey’s Unusual Friendship Washingtonian. Note pub date. Martha r: “A beautiful story of a historic friendship (/s).”

Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House New York Times (furzy)

Focus turns to Michael Flynn’s work for Turkey, Russia McClatchy (furzy)

A Brief Thought: the Trump Card Nina Illingworth (martha r). Lambert has pointed out Trump has one more last-ditch strategy, which is to go full Huey Long and start holding rallies. Not sure how easy that is to do in President mode, though. With his own 757, he could hit several cities in one day. He has a ton of baggage as Prez.

Pence Takes Steps to Build War Chest as White House Stumbles Bloomberg (martha r)

Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago ProPublica (furzy)

Fox News losing out in primetime ratings race amid Trump turmoil CNN (furzy)

Media to Trump: Don’t Cozy Up to Dictators–Unless They’re the Right Dictators FAIR (martha r)

Chasing Red Squirrels in DC Counterpunch (martha r)

Get A Grip Ian Welsh

The Imperial Bureau Jacobin (martha r). “….the prevailing discussion around Comey’s departure suffers from an extreme ignorance about the basic structure of the FBI. The FBI cannot plausibly be considered a check on the imperial presidency….”

Why Bernie Sanders Wasn’t Invited to CAP’s Ideas Conference Nation (UserFriendly)

Howard Dean to help lead Hillary Clinton’s new organization VTDigger. Martha r: “Dean’s animosity toward Sanders is common knowledge in VT.”

CNN Debate: Bernie Sanders vs John Kasich Full Town Hall Debate, May 16th 2017 YouTube (martha r). 71K views so far, which is not bad. But all about Russia and Bernie apparently hewed to the standard Dem position.

U.S. Yanks Scathing Report Blasting DHS for Catching Less than 1% of Visa Overstays Judicial Watch (SS). Judicial Watch has a hard-core right wing agenda, but they also have a reputation for not making stuff up. What this might suggest is that the Administration is loath to fan anti-immigrant fires now that it seems to be checked on key initiatives like The Wall and cracking down on sanctuary cities.

Why the ‘radical center’ must be the future of American politics The Hill. Martha r:

This guy who ran in a Maryland Dem primary says a radical center is needed but under a different name. and ‘radical center’ does not represent compromise between right and left but TRANSCENDENCE OF right and left. As Macron is doing. wow! maybe this could save us. But how to come up with a better phrase than “radical center”? That will be very hard to do.

Moi: Radical Center = Third Way. The dogs already rejected that dog food.

The Democrats’ Battle for Montana Rolling Stone (martha r). “With national Democrats on the sidelines, the Republican Party is sparing no expense to win in Montana on May 25th.”

The Democratic Old Guard Jackson Free Press (martha r)

Water bill deadline looms for 8,000 Flint households WSWS (martha r)

Ex-Baylor student sues school, says gang raped by football players Reuters (martha r)


Coalition Disrupts JPMorgan Chase Shareholders Meeting: Demand they Defund Tar Sands Lessons from the Dakota Access Pipeline RealClearEnergy (UserFriendly)

America’s Largest Pension Fund Has Dumped a Fortune Into Monsanto Stock Alternet. CalPERS board member Priya Mathur has made herself the public face of CalPERS supposed leadership in ESG, as in “Environmental, Social and Governance” investing (see here for details). If you are a CalPERS beneficiary or California taxpayer, and see CalPERS’ investment in Monsanto as inconsistent with its policies, drop her a line at:

When tech negatives begin to outweigh tech positives FT Alphaville (vlade)

Trump’s Glass-Steagall May Be Less Onerous Than Big Banks Fear Wall Street Journal

Cisco revenue forecast disappoints; says to cut 1,100 more jobs Reuters (martha r)

Class Warfare

What’s Your American Dream Score? This Quiz Will Tell You Fast Company. Test here. I got a 70. And you?

“White left” — a Chinese calque in English Language Log

Investigation Reveals That Walmart and Lowe’s Have Direct Links to Slave Labor Alternet. Wowsers.

Antidote du jour (Timotheus). Looks to be auditioning for the FBI director post:

And a bonus video. Richard Smith (who as a glider pilot is even better positioned to appreciate this clip than most people):

He picks out the boss at 1:40, latest, and folds his wings. He is maybe 1/3 of the way down the tower at the time. In other words he is picking out a specific person, waving his hands a bit, from above, from a crowd, from around 1800ft: incomprehensible visual acuity.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Bunk McNulty

    Can Trump Screw Up the World’s Best Intelligence Relationship? (NYT)

    At a meeting between American and Israeli intelligence officials a few weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, the Americans recommended to the Israelis that they refrain from passing to his White House sensitive secret information, or material that could lead to the baring of sources or methods of intelligence gathering — at least until it became clear that Mr. Trump or members of his staff were not linked inappropriately to the Russians or exposed to extortion by Moscow. An Israeli who took part in that meeting told me it was “a bizarre scene” and “against all the rules of protocol.”

    So…who’s running the country? The Intelligence Community?

    1. hreik

      Well, who knows. Further on down that Op-Ed

      The apprehensions voiced at the meeting before Mr. Trump’s inauguration related to leaks not only to Russia but also to Iran. “If indeed Trump, out of innocence or ignorance, leaked information to the Russians, then there is a real danger to sources that it took years to acquire, and to our working methods,” the source who was at the meeting said. “We have to rethink what to give the Americans. Until we are sure that this channel is as secure as secure can be, we must not hand over our crown jewels.”

      Intel is not safe in his hands.

      1. s.n.

        a guy named Jim Kavanagh seems to have deciphered it all:
        Fast and Furious: Now They’re Really Gunning for Trump

        …Alan Dershowitz had called the Trump-betrayed-ally’s-secrets-to-Russia story “the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president.” It had been evident to me, in reading the coverage, that there was only one “Middle Eastern ally” (or ally of any region) which has the chutzpah to “warn” the United States “it would cut off access to…sensitive information”—while itself stealing, with impunity, America’s most closely-guarded secrets. … There is only one ally about whose “compromise” Republicans and Democrats would be so unanimously concerned, and certainly only one who would have prompted the ridiculous charge by Dershowitz. And within an hour, the NYT confirmed, again via a “current and former American official,” that Israel was the ally in question, the source of the “secret intelligence.”…

        …I also notice that, in the last week or so, there have been reports in the American and Israeli press that Netanyahu’s “honeymoon with Trump” has “ended abruptly,” that there have been “harsh exchanges” with Trump administration officials who told members of Netanyahu’s team, to their “utter shock,” that the Western Wall was “not your territory but rather part of the West Bank,” and that Netanyahu is now “wary” and increasingly mistrustful of Trump….

        I thought Kushner’s job was to placate Bibi? Did he lose out to Tillotson’s State / Oil / “realist” faction

        1. Carolinian

          This article is about as spot on as it gets.

          But also blame Trump himself. He has the power to get serious and defeat this nonsense. Trump gives the black hats in the media and the blob the ability to treat him as a play actor president by often acting that way.

          Still that’s no excuse for the frankly traitorous impulses coming from many of our elites. Their patriotism goes no deeper than their flag pins.

          1. RabidGandhi

            I recall once Chomsky had given one of his usual 90-minute expositions of the disgusting deeds by those in power, and afterward in the Q&A someone asked him what he would do differently if he were president. Chomsky said, paraphrasing, that he would probably do pretty much the same things, since the pressure on him would be so overwhelming that he would have no other choice.

            I also remember drawing the same conclusion in my studies of Russian “autocracy”: the historians placed overwhelming emphasis on each Tsar’s personal whims, when they should have been focusing more of their attention on the power blocks that kept the Tsar in office.

            Food for thought for those who think electing the right president portends major change.

            1. mpalomar

              We all focus on the presidency but the state houses, local level and congress critters are where change is most likely to occurr.

              Of course one wonders how Bernie Sanders would have fared had he been elected and if we accept the premise of political determinism does it excuse Obama his betrayal of the electorate and all those Summers – Geithner – Holder – Clinonesque appointments that provided the policy framework for the further abandonment of the working, middle class & poor?

              1. jrs

                I suspect political determinism only goes so far. They are all going to be on the American imperialist project if you will, it’s just what the president of the U.S. does, he heads an imperialist government, and woe be to the rest of the world (I don’t approve but it doesn’t matter if I do). Still there may be differences in number of wars started maybe. None of them are likely to significantly undermine capitalism (Bernie Sanders might be all for worker co-ops for instance, he has such sympathies at times, but it’s not how he would govern as President of this U.S. of A – it’s a capitalist machine and that’s what it is). There is violence inherent in the system and they will ALL back it to a greater or lesser degree.

                However Sander’s wouldn’t be as bad as Trump on the environment, on healthcare etc. (even Hillary wouldn’t but Bernie is better there and on other things). So it actually DOES matter who is President but only to a degree.

              2. RabidGandhi

                With all respect, this is not Chomsky’s point. As I understand him, he is not saying that the lower levels of established government are where real power lies, but rather that power lies in mass pressure. Bernie Sanders repeatedly made this very point on the campaign trail. He was challenged by establishment journalists who argued that he would have no support for his agenda in DC. And Sanders would counter by saying that congress would support his proposals when they saw crowds of people outside their offices pushing the elected leaders’ hands. I.e., what needs to change is where leaders get pressured from. Now they are pressured mainly by accumulated capital, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

                In this regard, I believe the Sanders campaign was hugely successful because now previously unspeakable things like free healthcare and tuition for all are on the public’s tongues, whereas pre-Sanders 2016 they were way outside the Overton window. This pressure is building so quickly that even Republican congresscritters are now speaking of it. All thanks not to the right person being elected, but rather to organised mass pressure that rallied around Sanders and will hopefully continue regardless of him.

                1. mpalomar

                  “Sanders would counter by saying that congress would support his proposals when they saw crowds of people outside their offices pushing the elected leaders’ hands.”

                  -Obama said the same thing, that he would be responsive to that kind of pressure. Obama talked single payer health care on the campaign trail but abandoned it.

                  Maybe it would have been different with Sanders, at least his road toward the presidency was far different than Obama’s. At the national level there are concentrations of money and power that tend to swamp individual efforts.

                  I think I recall that Chomsky has often commented that activism by individuals at the local level may be the most effective strategy, think globally, act locally.

                  Though the Koch’s and other billionaires have been investing in state houses chances of making a difference by pressuring elected representatives at that level are greater and from there policy pressure can be transmitted upward.

                  1. jsn

                    Obama never intended to do any of the things he promised the electorate, he didn’t work for them.

                    Sanders would not have sent everyone home when he was elected as Obama did.

                    Sanders would have faced the same hit job from the Blob as Trump, but Sanders would have been talking mostly, most of the time to his voters. He wouldn’t have to triangulate the way Trump must to pursue his own interests which are wildly misaligned, like Obama, with those of his voters.

              3. John k

                Certainly Bernie could have prosecuted corp crime.
                Would have entered office with far more popularity, and would not lose it over betraying his base.
                Would not have telegraphed in advance any change in foreign policy until after installing his team throughout military, State and intelligence… and then slowly.
                Would not have shot self in foot with stupid daily tweets.
                Remember, Bernie’s politically smart and trump is politically stupid. Just because stupid is the new normal does not mean stupid is the only option.
                Bernie is far more circumscribed now than he would be if pres. Seems to be trying to keep all options open, already has enough enemies without including blob.
                I hope he soon give up trying to bring people to dems and moves towards third. Plus, he’s not too old.

                1. mpalomar

                  I agree Sanders was far different than Trump and his presidency would have played out differently but it is likely he would have been bushwhacked as Trump has been but from different angles.
                  Comparing a Sanders’ presidency with Obama’s is more germane. The resistance to Obama from Republicans despite his neo liberal tendencies and spinelesness is instructive. The hated Affordable Care Act was a Republican plan to begin with.

                2. mpalomar

                  I agree Sanders was far different than Trump and his presidency would have played out differently but it is likely he would have been bushwhacked as Trump has been but from different angles.
                  Comparing a Sanders’ presidency with Obama’s is more germane. The resistance to Obama from Republicans despite his neo liberal tendencies is instructive. The hated Affordable Care Act was a Republican plan to begin with.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Reassigning the Western Wall is reckless.

          Something Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Schumer, Peolosi, McConnell, McCain, Graham et al would never do.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Why reckless? Because Netanyahoo has 200 or400 nuclear weapons, and the AIPAC fifth column, and what else? Don’t make the wife beater mad, or you’ll get a worse beating, Columbia the Gem of the Ocean?

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  I’m tired of all of the insinuations that our politicians are not patriots, OF COURSE they are patriots. The question is “for which country?”.


                  Q: When they stand up and say “I pledge allegiance, to the flag…” um which flag are they referring to?

          2. John Zelnicker

            @MyLessThanPrimeBeef – In fact, the Western Wall is in the Old City of Jerusalem and was part of the West Bank before the 1967 War, so he is actually correct. This, of course, is the great dispute. Who gets to control one of the holiest locations of the three great Abrahamic religions?

        3. jawbone

          I read this Kavanagh article on Trump now facing some bigger cannons earlier and clicked on the Facebook link to see what commenters were saying.

          Alas, Counterpunch’s comments are behind a FaceBook wall now.

          Since I don’t do FaceBook, I can’t read them or comment.

          Anyone see anything interesting in the comments?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Whom do the IC people disrespect more – JFK or Trump?

        Perhaps intel was safer in Kennedy’s hands, but wasn’t he more ‘reckless?’ But people talk in their sleep (with their lady friends). Was intel really safe?

        1. Dave Chapman

          JFK had some problems with that in the early 1940s.
          One of his lady friends turned out to be a German spy.
          Afterwards, he (apparently) stayed with the American girls. . .

      3. s.n.

        late-breaking installment is that the Jordanians are casting doubt on Israeli claims:

        “… several Jordanian sources who spoke on condition of anonymity doubted this assertion. They said they don’t believe Israel has any high level spies inside ISIL and depends instead on “intelligence sharing with Arab spy services partners”.

        …Former CIA case officer John Kiriakou told Al Jazeera he too doubted the Israelis were able to run a spy inside ISIL’s ranks.

        A senior Salafist Sheikh in Jordan said that he too doubts that Israel may have spies high-up within ISIL’s power structure.

    2. DJG

      Here’s a thought: The U S of A has different interests from Israel and (especially) its current government. So what’s the story here? That the Israelis are displeased because the tail can’t wag the dog?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Read s.n.’s Counterpunch link above for an explanation.

        Russiagate has been cultivated by the Democrats and their confected #Resistance to provide a rationale for Republicans to install a more stable and predictable Republican president who will color within the established partisan lines, and with whom the Democrats can more effectively plan wars and Grand-Bargain away Social Security and Medicare. But Russiagate has not yet gained enough traction with Republican congresscritters, who would face a revolt of their Trump voters against any acquiescence to an impeachment driven by Nancy Pelosi, vagina-hatted protestors, and Steven Colbert. If, however, impeachment becomes driven by concern for our betrayed Middle Eastern ally…….
        Fast and furiously, in the course of a single news cycle, the game has changed: Donald Trump has been accused of betraying Israel. Impeachment is possible.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          And we should be oh so worried about our relationship with the people who deliberately attacked the U.S.S. Liberty, killing and maiming members of its crew over a span of hours? And the people who ran Jonathan Pollard to spy against the US, and when he gathered ultra secret information on our intelligence gathering operations against the Soviet Union, they turned around and bartered this intell for some refuseniks, and then these cheesy scum agitated for years to release the traitor Pollard after granting him Israeli citizenship? The same people who stole nuclear material and nuclear weapon triggers from the US? The very same ones who sold US military secrets to China? The ones who manipulate our foreign policy and use of our military as their big, dumb golem to ruin nation after nation in the Middle East & North Africa at horrid expense to our economy and in the lives of our service members? Those people?

          Those people with whom we have no defense treaty, because in order to do that, they would have to state their borders, but because they lust after more and more land from the neighboring states, they just won’t do that?

          Yeah, I’m really concerned about the feefees of these treacherous bastards.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Well, JJ, you may not be concerned about israel’s feefees, but I suspect it will not surprise you that some in that august body known as the u.s. congress are. In a link from the Counterpunch article we find this:

            PHILADELPHIA – April 24, 2017 – Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) will launch the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) on April 27 at 9 a.m. The caucus’ goal: to introduce a new U.S. approach to Israel-Palestinian relations.

            Cong. Johnson notes that “Israel is America’s closest ally in the Middle East, and the community of nations must accept that Israel has a right to exist – period.

            Got that? PERIOD.

            Presumably these two can’t think of anything that needs doin’ here in the homeland. (Especially the guy from Ohio.)

            Mind your blood pressure, my friend.

            1. Knot Galt

              So it’s kind of like the Hillary speech to Goldman Sachs stating that North and South Korea should never be reunited? I’m less impressed everyday with congress’s collective wisdoms with every passing day. Israel practices genocide under the disguise of politics. Never let one party have any more, or less, power than their enemies. Offer no solution; just extend and pretend to cover up the blood?Get rich off of exporting misery.

              According to Helmer, Trump was warning the Russians about lap top bombs going boom on their planes. If that is the true rationale, that makes Trump a humanitarian over everybody else in Congress.

    3. Ulysses

      “So…who’s running the country? The Intelligence Community?”

      I’m not sure if anyone is “in charge” in any meaningful sense. As we slouch deeper into a neo-feudal nightmare, it appears as if even foreign goons think they can do whatever they want on “our” soil.

      “Police in the nation’s capital say diplomatic immunity won’t keep them from investigating a “brutal attack” on “peaceful protesters” Tuesday by men believed to be bodyguards for visiting Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
      Four international law experts, three of them former legal advisers at the State Department, tell U.S. News that if police identify the assailants, they may be able to make criminal charges stick, even if the men are on the Turkish government payroll.
      Footage from the melee shows men mostly in suits, some reportedly armed, bypassing police officers separating pro- and anti-Erdogan activists. The men physically attack a group of protesters in Sheridan Circle near the Turkish Embassy, repeatedly kicking some.
      A police officer and 11 other people were injured, authorities say, including one critically.”

      1. jsn

        The Saker has made mention several times to a word the Russians use to describe governments like ours. I can’t remember the word, but it translates to something like “not commitment capable”. This is what we’ve become…

        1. sid_finster

          Недоговороспособный, is I think the word you are looking for.

          “Not legally competent” is a good English translation.

          1. Olga

            Well, no – it means ‘not capable of making an agreement.’
            (I often think that English is the most “efficient” language (i.e., most meaning for the least number of words) – but the more I compare Russian and English, it seems the Russian language wins – at least in these crazy times.)
            That the govt is not competent – legally or otherwise – would be just an additional detriment. One that we are increasingly more aware of… but then, was that not a goal for some parts of the oligarchy (or rather, plutocracy/plutarchy).

      2. hunkerdown

        FIFA and F1 set the precedent: if Sessions won’t prosecute DNC Services Inc. d/b/a the Democrat Party as a continuing criminal enterprise, Russia can just walk right in and extraordinarily render them. Here’s hoping.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    I was wondering if you would consider adding a segment titled “Just Shoot Me Now”. Dad, a doctor, alerted me to an interview given by la dauphine at 5 am today, London time, to the BBC World Service. Nominations to head the World Health Organisation close next week. Chelsea was pontificating about the qualities needed to head the WHO and what challenges lie ahead. Dad studied at Oxford and often covers at the hospitals affiliated to the university, half an hour by car from home in Buckinghamshire. It’s not a secret there that Chelsea’s masters and doctorate were not what other, i.e. less well connected and wealthy, students have to write. As per the link, Chelsea is a regularly consulted as a public health expert by the BBC. Readers may not be aware that much of the UK’s third world development programmes / aid budget is outsourced / allocated to the likes of the Gates Foundation. One wonders if the Clintons want a piece of that action. As the former jockey and media pundit Willie Carson told the BBC when he became a bloodstock agent for some middle eastern potentate, “It’s great spending other people’s money.”

    I will let the following speak for themselves, but just add that the Tory and MSM hatchet jobs on Corbyn seem to be coming thicker and faster this week, as if they are worried:

      1. RabidGandhi

        The upside to shooting you now is that when you’re on the floor bleeding to death we can consult Public Health Expert Chelsea Clinton for the best way to save you.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Chelsea’s no-show $600K job at NBC didn’t have much impact on the lives of people. Presumably, the WHO job specs are written to include some actual experience in medicine and related fields beyond yoga and latte sipping. Or are there markers being called in by the Clinton Global Initiative?

      I am reminded of the discussions a few decades ago around the presidential aspirations of Steve Forbes. Campaign observers asked if someone could just take him aside and say that he was unqualified to run and had zero chance at winning. Who these days has the stature or death wish to take Chelsea aside for that little chat, and will they provide the world a two-fer by telling her parents to just retire already?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, EM.

        Or are there markers being called in by the Clinton Global Initiative? I think you are right, unfortunately.

        A friend works for the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Dad worked for its predecessor in southern Africa from 1991 – 2. The former and the latter’s former colleagues are scathing about the Gates Foundation and worry about the Clintons sniffing around.

        It won’t surprise you and other readers that the Gates Foundation, usually fronted by the more attractive Melinda rather than the geeky Bill, are calling the UK government to maintain the aid budget at 0.7% of GDP, a UN target. It’s estimated that of that 0.7%, about a fifth goes to Gates to dispense how it sees fit. China, India and Nigeria get about a fifth each. Some of the rest can go to Gates, but the use / cause is specified by the UK government.

        Melinda, a Catholic, has recently been used by some anti-Catholic UK feminists as an example of what a good Catholic should be, not Pope Francis. WTF!

      2. Adamski

        I am hoping that the WHO, a UN agency, won’t be stupid enough to appoint Chelsea but her getting onto the BBC makes me pessimistic. It would make sense the Clintons would try and wangle a job like WHO head for her so they can use it as a stepping stone to a political career with “does good work” crap.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Yves, further to my suggestion for a Just Shoot Me Now segment, could you, please, also consider one called “Jerk Of The Day”. The reason I ask is Carl Bildt’s continued and juvenile trolling of Trump. Yesterday, the Scandi clown tweeted: “Reports of White House been in lockdown after someone tried to climb over the fence. Doesn’t say in which direction.” Ye, gods. How did this chump get elected PM in Sweden? He has been handsomely rewarded since, a feat not lost on his fellow Scandis as so many get worked up about bears from the east, a threat on a par with that of the reindeer farmer from up north.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat


        While it’s clearly self-indulgent for a European politician to make these kinds of public quips…….. I laughed out loud at that one. It’s probably not your best pick if you want to see him condemned in any way. Americans of many political persuasions would find it achingly funny, and deadly accurate.

        I think you – like much of the elite in our country – under-estimate the wit and capacity for irony that exists here in flyover. We are not all, despite the best efforts of the recently departed Mr. Ailes, the drooling imbeciles that our well-credentialed want us to be.

        The kind of insiders Bildt may have to deal with in his official capacity however…… I can’t vouch for them. They can be real peevish little shits.

    3. John Zelnicker

      @Colonel Smithers – May 18, 2017 at 7:18am:

      “la dauphine”

      Best title yet for Chelsea, heir to the throne. /sarc

      1. Olga

        Funny you should say that… is almost too appropriate. Last time I came across the word – in its male form ‘Le Dauphin’ – was as the common name for the son of Louis XVI … and we know how that ended up (but then – maybe that is exactly what you meant).

  3. SufferinSuccotash

    “Radical center?”
    That doesn’t equal Third Way.
    It’s just another euphemism for “Right”.

  4. Andrew Foland

    When I first saw the ESP link I was disappointed in NC; but the headline (and the comment with the link) don’t convey the content of the article, which is really about the replication crisis in psychology. It’s a good article on the subject. Key quote: “I was shocked,” he says. “The paper made it clear that just by doing things the regular way, you could find just about anything.”

    Science isn’t broken. The “regular way” described (of making hay out of an immaterially-sized p=0.05 effect in an ill-defined procedure) is not the regular way in say, chemistry, or physics.

    1. vlade

      I wish this part of statistics was never released outside of math. I’d say that almost all people who use it misinterpret it, don’t understand the assumptions behind it and limitations.

      If I see a social-science paper with mensions regression or confidence intervals, I stop reading. The likelyhood of the experiment being miscronstrued is too high to spend my time on.

      My main worry about this is that the same is applied to other machine learning stuff, and there it gets even worse as managers who often may be barely numerate are using highly assumption-driven algos w/o having a clue.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Applying any scientific finding (with its limitations stemming from the assumptions made, along with the scientific method itself being only a tool on one’s way to formulate today’s best explanation, that is, partial knowledge) these days to the world is like discharging the CO2 exhaust of an internal combustion engine…mostly toxic, indiscriminate and polluting.

        The exceptional findings are, of course, exceptions.

      2. cocomaan

        My main worry about this is that the same is applied to other machine learning stuff,

        Oh, it already is happening. I always go back to my favorite fiction book, Dune, where a jihad was led against AI’s because somewhere along the line, we screwed up. Later, their bible has a commandment that reads: Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man’s mind.

        All our shitty assumptions will get put into the AI of the future. They’re already there, in fact.

    2. Clive

      I’m about as rational and scientific as they come (my first words are usually “where are the facts” and “show me the robust proof”) but every decision that has paid off for me (either doing something that led to a good outcome or, more usually, avoiding calamity) has come about because I have listened to intuitive hunches which form in my consciousness or just below it and from unexpected “hits” from people, places or things that resonant in some discernable but not altogether explicable way.

      And the more I volitionally or intentionally learn about this subject and give it some credence the more accurate and reliable it becomes. In fact, I wished I paid more attention to it and acted on it in more faith — I had a “hunch” about Brexit and Trump but didn’t follow it up.

      So, all I would add to the interesting article in the link is, try to keep an open mind.

      1. DJG

        Clive: I’m not persuaded about ESP. Yet I have found that Jung’s ideas about synchronicity, the collective unconscious, and Jungian archetypes have much validity. And Jung was fond of natal horoscopes as a diagnostic–which I was highly skeptical of till I began looking seriously at my own natal horoscope and having it analyzed.

        So: Think Jung. Who was a scientist but also a physician, which means that he had to act on hunches about what would work for his patients.

        1. Clive

          Yes, my thinking is similarly skeptic, but yet I can’t ignore what I’ve experienced. It defies what the rational side of my brain is tellingly me, but I can’t in all honesty reduce this to simply explaining it away as all so much synchronicity.

          Maybe we can do a little experiment. I don’t know you, I’ve not read your previous comments and I can’t remember much if anything about what you might have offered here before by way of personal information. I vaguely recall you as being a regular here or at least a semi-regular, but nothing more than that.

          So I want to offer the following intuitive whack I get when I consider your past history. Can you tell me if this is right, or miles out in terms of accuracy? Be honest, no offence taken if I am off base! Here goes…

          In the past, not too far back but not recent history you suffered a big setback. It was completely unexpected, a real bolt from the blue. It rocked the very foundation of your world and everything you held dear to you.

          More recently, you’ve had to clear away the debris that was left, metaphorically speaking. But still, you’re lost, a little adrift and still heartbroken. Bereft, even. But you’re kind-of moving on, just in the past few months or so and today, finally, for the first time in quite a long while, you’re making new plans and getting a hint of what your new future might be.

          It isn’t the future you planned and not what you’d had in mind at all. But other people have come into your life and are helping you build it. These others — there are two individuals in particular — are giving you the assistance you need and contribute what skills you lack yourself. What you’re building has the potential to be something rather special.

          … how am I doing?

          1. DJG

            As a tarot reader once said to me, You’re psychic but you won’t be able to make a living at it.

            In your case, I’d say that you have indeed made a trip to the U S of A, because you are describing the first and second acts of American lives rather well.

            But don’t quit the day job just yet.

            1. Clive

              Quit the day job? Not bloody likely! TBTFs pay too well… yes, ill gotten gains and all that notwithstanding.

          2. aletheia33

            how strange. this is an exact description of my life–right up to this very day. except the big setback was more than 20 years ago, so the recovery period has been quite long. OK, and the heartbrokenness and bereftness are pretty much faded into the past now. so it’s not actually exact. i did n’t even notice the similarity, though, until i read DJG on the first and second acts of american lives, below.

            and i thought my life trajectory was rather unusual… must revisit that idea.

            thanks clive for the experiment–it looks like your intuition is tuned in to “the times”, aside from the individual hits you may get.

            and you’ve revealed how it is that a single life can be described in any number of ways, and there are times when one way resonates more than another, depending on the current orientation of the person living it, and psychics, like other empaths, can be very tuned in to that. the language used may not matter so much as the extent to which the client feels preternaturally “seen” by the consultant. the client may fill in a lot via projection, without being aware of doing so.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              The English scientist Rupert Sheldrake has been investigating ESP for at least the last 30 years. Fascinating in many respects, although I do not go along with his Morphic Resonance theory.

              His work with dogs who appear to know when their owners set off for home is pretty amazing & I would say from the evidence he presents, pretty much proven.


              1. Olga

                I once watched a dog poke through a curtain and sit by the window in anticipation…(of something). A car appeared at the other end of the street (way in the distance) and slowly made its way towards me and then pulled into the driveway of the house, where the dog was eagerly waiting. What accounts for that? Maybe the man came home everyday exactly at the same time and the dog was thus trained… or maybe the dog had a sixth sense. My experience with dogs would argue for the latter.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          It has been well documented that Australian Aboriginals know when someone in their extended family dies pretty much to the minute, when they are physically remote. Please explain that.

          That is different from pattern recognition, which people may interpret as hunches or gut feeling because they can’t pull up to the conscious level what they’ve put together.

          1. local to oakland

            I had a close friend, of Oklahoma scotch irish cherokee descent, who claimed to that experience re her mother.

            I had an unusual remote experience re the death of my grandmother. I never checked the times exactly, but it preceded anyone telling me of her death on the day she died.

          2. HotFlash

            I knew the minute when my mother died (verified by hospital records) 50 miles away, and I have *on occasion* been able to tell complete strangers details about themselves. I have predicted the death of a friend’s father, including the name and age of the attending physician, and advised her to clear her VISA since she would need to get back to Scotland shortly. My kitties would come out to meet me when I came home, no matter what time, whether in my car or otherwise, and several friends report similar experiences with their animals (familiars?)

            Oh, yes, and I am a red-hair peasant woman ;).

            “There are more thing in heaven and earth…”

      2. Skip Intro

        Hunches and intuition are, IMHO, messages from our subconscious or pre-rational minds that alert us to patterns we have perceived without necessarily being consciously aware of them as such. Much like results of Machine Learning programs, which can’t necessarily be ‘reverse engineered’ into rational deductions based on a subset of the inputs, our intuitions represent knowledge based on observation, but not conscious rational deduction. In a formal sense, they could be considered examples of the ‘statements we know to be true that cannot be proven in a closed system’ that are posited by Gödel’s Incompleteness theorem. Not that our minds are closed axiomatic systems…

        Anyway, ignoring one’s intuitions seems counterproductive.

        1. ChrisPacific

          If a statement is Gödel incomplete, then it means you can arbitrarily decide that it’s either true or false, take that as one of your axioms, and build the rest of your world view on that. You are guaranteed not to run into any anomalies or contradictions as a consequence, because if you did it would mean that your axiom was wrong, and that would mean that the original statement was either provably true or provably false (contradicting Gödel incompleteness).

          You can think of Gödel incomplete statements as splitting the world into two parallel universes, one in which the statement is true and one in which it’s not. Both universes are complete, logical and internally consistent by their own rules, but you can’t ever know which one you are in.

          While I think this is pretty cool, it does make the analogy with intuition a bit less apt.

      3. Annotherone

        Oh yes, an open mind is essential! Carl Sagan said or wrote “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”. He was highly skeptical about most in the “woo-ish” category, but still realised that we simply do not, and probably cannot, know everything – at least not until the human mind has developed further.

        I don’t see the problem in being able to believe that ESP can happen, in some individuals – just as some can run ridiculously fast, paint well, or write great novels, play or sing music ridiculously well, with little effort. So, why wouldn’t it be likely that some humans can use parts of the brain not easily accessible to all, to see things others cannot?

        i’ve had too many strange experiences myself to discount at least parts of much that’s labelled pseudo–science. Parts of astrology, for instance, have been proved to my satisfaction to have some validity – but not all of it….and I have studied it in detail, unlike many who dismiss it, knowing hardly anything about it other than reading badly written newspaper “horoscope” columns..

        1. subgenius

          It is worth bearing in mind that although you might not be an athlete, or capable of training to the world level, you have generally the same resources….it’s a difference of aptitude, rather than a fundamental lack of the biology.

        2. 3.14e-9

          Parts of astrology, for instance, have been proved to my satisfaction to have some validity – but not all of it….and I have studied it in detail, unlike many who dismiss it, knowing hardly anything about it other than reading badly written newspaper “horoscope” columns.

          Annotherone, if you’ve studied astrology in depth, then you probably know that newspaper “sun sign” horoscopes are a relatively new invention, having been created in the 1930s as a marketing tool to sell newspapers. They’re now used to draw traffic to websites.

          It’s unfortunate that many intelligent people close their minds to astrology based on what they think it is, and because of that, reject the very notion that it’s worth studying in more depth. Another major factor is the misconception that astrology is “the belief that the planets cause events on earth,” which leads to arguments about gravitational forces and magnetism, and from there devolves into calling anyone who believes such nonsense a moron (or worse).

          FWIW, I don’t try to convince anyone, and that goes for psychic phenomena, too. On the latter point, all I I have to go on is my own experience, which couldn’t be replicated in a lab. In fact, I don’t think the scientific method is appropriate for “proving” either psychic phenomena or astrology. I’m not convinced it’s that useful for studying human psychology, either, for many of the reasons stated in the article — which, by the way, is excellent and well worth reading to the end.

          1. Annotherone

            Yes, I think it was a guy called Naylor in the UK who was one of the first newspaper astrologers. The best of them (not many) do foster interest in the subject, which could well have died a death decades ago without their input.

            I agree with your views – the only thing that will fully convince a person, about any of those “pseudo” type subjects, is personal experience – even then, a hardened skeptic will say “It was coincidence”. ;)

      4. Pat

        Clive, not promoting him believe me, but one thing that struck me during security expert Gavin DeBecker’s long book tour promoting his first book about security was his insistence that you should listen to your instincts – largely regarding fear. Hell it was entitled “The Gift of Fear”. His premise was that you unknowingly process a vast amount of information, and often have real tangible reasons to be afraid that you cannot explain beyond ‘instinct’, ‘a feeling’ and ‘just knowing’. I realized that was probably pretty accurate. If you just think about the amount of information that you process without really thinking about it when driving, or even in any large family get together it is clear that we process and put together things unconsciously all the time.

        While it is true that we can fool ourselves, I would posit that the majority of times we do that is because we don’t know what subtle clues we used to get there and/or we don’t want to think that what our ‘instincts’ are telling us are true.

        1. HotFlash

          In a martial art I have studied, there is a test for a higher blackbelt that is based on one’s ability to detect evil intent. This is a very important ability, and paying attention to ones feelings can develop it. Or it could, of course, develop paranoia. The proof is in the pudding, and the simulation, by definition, is not the real thing.

      5. georgieboy2

        The message is, listen to redheads, step-children or not.

        They have more Neanderthal DNA than most of us.

    3. cocomaan

      I’m hazarding a guess that the “Science is Broken” part of the headline was the editor talking. As you say, this is a problem in social science, not “science” as a whole, or the scientific method. But clickbait sells.

      If anything, the hard sciences are feeling the sting of pressure from their lack of profound discoveries lately (see lackluster results in enormous projects, like the LHC, or the US Gov Brain Initiative as an example). That’s because of their stringent methods.

      1. Brian

        I have always wondered at how the inexplicable can be described, documented, duplicated, dissected. What if everyone has a different trigger for what they might inititially consider bizarre or unreal? How many have tried to describe their connection to a phenomena that surprised or frightened them? What about those that go about their lives with a different temporal reality? Or those that have adapted due to their own inexplicable experiences? Do they discuss with others?
        Can we quantify the experience of another? Science can use a regrooving if it will help reduce the artifact that gets in the way of a version of reality accepted by some, alleged to be applicable to all.

        1. cocomaan

          Kant called it “The Sublime” in his third critique, the critique of judgment. It’s the place where judgment fails and wonder sets in.

          That is sublime in comparison with which everything else is small.

          I think Kant would say that it’s a humanist question, because the sublime (to me) is where you suddenly objectify reason, rather than be a slave to it. Suddenly it’s a faculty that is in comparison to something else.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        As you say, this is a problem in social science, not “science” as a whole, or the scientific method.

        The problem extends well beyond the social sciences. I’d suggest a read of Lee Smolin’s book ‘The Trouble with Physics’ for a perspective on the ‘hardest’ of sciences. EO Wilson has also written extensively on the poor use and interpretation of statistics through much of the sciences, in particular in his specialist area, biology.

        1. cocomaan

          Thanks for the recc, that’s a little frightening. It goes to what vlade said above, that statistics are being thoroughly misused.

          Also, we throw out the precautionary principle at every chance we get on various scientific endeavors.

        2. JTMcPhee

          And this:
          O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
          And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
          There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
          Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

          On the “hard sciences:” I helped deliver a sailboat half way across the Pacific two decades ago. Four of us on board, one was a German particle physicist who worked at CERN. He related the story of two big-ego superphycisists competing on some “breakthrough discovery” of I forget which particle. One was getting better results, up to a point, when the detector equipment started getting “random,” for no detectable reason. The principal decided to follow his hunch, and installed a “physicist cam” to see what was happening to the equipment in the off hours. Sure enough, his rival was caught on tape, sneaking into the lab, and urinating on the detector and related apparatus. My fellow crewman, with a wry smile, made some witty remark in German under his breath that I didn’t catch, and he declined to repeat it for me.

          The more we think we know, the less we really know. I guess.

        3. Mark P.

          PK wrote: ‘I’d suggest a read of Lee Smolin’s book ‘The Trouble with Physics’ for a perspective on the ‘hardest’ of sciences’.

          Eh. While Smolin is almost certainly right in most particulars of his attack on the string theorists, he’s essentially attacking them because he’s upset by — as in, can’t get his mind around — a view of the nature of time’s arrow that modern physics as a whole — not just the string theorists — buys into because the evidence from the quantum realm supports it.

          Aside from his attacks on string theory, I take Smolin with several grains of salt.

          1. Mark P.

            I find this guy, Peter Woit at Columbia U, to be more rigorous than Smolin. Like Smolin, Woit has a book —
            Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law..

            Also a website, Not Even Wrong —
            — where the guy wades in on a continuing basis against the latest high-grade foolishness in physics. The site’s FAQ section includes such frequently asked questions as —

            ▶ I’ve heard that you described Weinberg as “senile”. Is that true?
            ▶ Who are you to criticize string theory? Aren’t you just an embittered failure?
            ▶ Why do you say string theory is unfalsifiable? Doesn’t it predict quantum mechanics?
            ▶ Why do you describe the Multiverse as “pseudo-science”?
            ▶ Why did you delete my comment?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              OK, I got triggered by your “high-grade foolishness in physics” line.

              This guy generates 20 million watts in a teacup by converting hydrogen in water into dark matter.

              To get there he had to “unlearn” all of quantum physics since 1920. He relies on classical physics. The 25-year journey is fabulous, starts at the 17-minute mark:


              The theory is here. Get ready to rock your world:


              I believe Dr. Mills’ discovery of the hydrino may be the most important scientific discovery of the last 100 years. But that’s just me.

    4. LT

      I thought the story was more about the one researcher and science in general.
      It gave me little insight into ESP.

      1. HotFlash

        Sorry, but so far, ESP seems to be like religious faith or jazz, that is, you know it when you got it. It is not beyond possibility that not everything is amenable to the scientific method as currently practiced.

    5. subgenius

      Science is broken.

      Proprietary information, non-disclosure agreements, big names fighting for dominance all stifle the scientific discourse, defending postions for gain and avoiding discussions of the mistaken ideas that are culturally accepted as a ‘the ‘home’ (what we are told is a constant but isn’t – eg the fixed speed of light in a vacuum, etc )- and that’s before you dive in on investigating the nature of reality and what it says about observers.

      It’s worth remembering that everything you ‘know’ is essentially a story of dubious reality. Nothing is ‘the truth’ – but some stories have more efficacy than others. Your rational consciousness is too small and restricted to actually understand the universe – and your perceptual framework is honed at a layer that is probably not the whole picture (quantum physics vs the Newtonian type world we see, feel and generally interact with as an example).

      But wait, there’s more…

      Perception is not what most think it is. Extra precision is totally learnable, and the funny thing is you can find other layers of perception through it.

      Instinct and gut-feeling and so on are a gateway. Biologically there are reasons to consider the heart and gut as secondary brains – the gut is where the neural and immune systems primarily communicate, for example.

      Some traditions focus on learning to percieve much more actively from these centers (the tan tiens in daoism, chakras in yogic traditions – same idea, different cultures) as a technique to delve into the subtle possibilities.

      There are layers inside layers – subconscious perceptions to one person are available conscious talents to others (admittedly a small small percentage), but the same basic elements of biology, physics and environment are the same, and there are no special mutants a la X-Men.

      Explain blindsight, for example. I have had moments of blindsight type experiences, and also reacting to something ahead of it’s obvious signs of occurrence (handy in a fight…especially when you dont know its about to happen and involve you…but several other times in other circumstances, too).

      Just because you haven’t explored the possibilities and put in the time (coz this shit ain’t easy or quick to pick up for your average person) doesn’t mean it isn’t real and achievable. I would very much doubt military or intelligence types have the understanding or attitude to overcome the cultural bias though – the ones I know who have did it in retirement, not during active service.

      As a kungfu lineage master once told me ‘you can believe that my knowledge is woo woo…but my woo woo will kick your ass if you need a demonstration’

    6. Geof

      In some cases there may be a lack of theory. Overemphasis on quantitative data can result in an attitude that with enough data, there is no need for theory. Big data advocates, for instance, sometimes seem to talk this way. It’s not enough to have a statistical result: one must fit it in to the context of the larger field. (At the same time, there is lots of social science that lacks empirical foundation, or I suspect that suffers from echo chamber effects. I don’t mean to let social science off the hook here: I think it is plenty flawed.)

      In the case of ESP, a small but statistically significant result appears to me to be intriguing, but without any further explanation I would not rely on it. Contrast with climate change, which combines theory (we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and we have been injecting it into an otherwise closed system) with plenty of data to back it up.

      There is plenty of excellent social science work that is done without heavy reliance on statistics. Descriptive research, for instance: there is good evidence that cases provide one of the best foundations for reasoning in a field, and that knowledge of cases is what makes one an expert. My understanding is that American social scientists, compared to Europeans or even Canadians, tend to rely too much on quantitative data, to value qualitative analysis too little, and to exclude subjectivity or be unaware of the inescapable entanglement of subject and object. Positivism is alive and well.

      I hold a social science Ph.D. from a Canadian university. Statistics were not a significant part of the work I studied or produced. Instead, the focus was on consistent, thorough analysis of reasoning. What research produced was often less a prediction than a lens for understanding phenomena. There is no question that this approach can have real flaws: I have read many arguments that did not convince me. Yet the same is true of statistical studies that find significant effects, but struggle to demonstrate any real-world meaning or relevance.

      1. HotFlash

        Thank you, Geof, *

        I am also Cdn, serpently not PhD but have eyes, ears, etc. I have had recurrent bouts with Higher Education and have concluded that organized education is the slowest, most expensive, and most time-consuming way to “learn” anything. In fact, much of it seems to be what I call theology, that is, “Believe! despite the (annoying) observable facts!”

        Go out, do it, whatever it is. It either works or it doesn’t. And then you know.

        * Thank you, Col. Smithers, for your elevation of the tone around here. Already, thanks to Ms Yves and Mr Lambert, pretty high. “Your oxygen mask will drop down…”

  5. Ruben

    Probably related to my post yesterday about forecasting accuracy improved by outliers: Global optimum attained in coordination tasks by centrally placed agents making a few mistakes.

    The underlying message is: when nobody is able to see the big picture then it is better for the whole that well connected individuals take deviant decisions a few times in their localized -small picture- part of the world. The fundamental reason for this result (as shown in Fig. 1 of the first link) is that when a few local mistakes occur in a well connected node then other individuals in the vicinity react to correct those mistakes thus incidentally solving some intractable intractable coordination hurdles that when everybody act optimally (locally) will not be resolved.

      1. MoiAussie

        Yep, there’s nothing like a bit of good wheel reinvention. Many researchers nowadays have little understanding of what has already been done outside their own narrow fields. They’re just smart enough to think up and try out a “new” way of doing things, but not smart enough to have bothered to acquire a good grasp of the history of work in closely related fields and even in their own. Used to see it all the time in my own field. What was really bad was when these types went on to become peer reviewers, and lavishly praised completely unoriginal work because they couldn’t recognise that it replicated something done a decade or more previously. There are too many working in science today who really should be doing something else. The academic system is too parasite-friendly.

  6. katiebird

    This story on Corbyn’s campaign sounds encouraging — There are lots of pictures and a video. Takes me back to the Bernie Days. Could the polls be way off?

    Even BBC reporters were left stunned by yesterday’s pro-Corbyn crowds in West Yorkshire

    Corbyn didn’t only visit West Yorkshire’s biggest city, though. He was also in the smaller market town of Hebden Bridge, where he had to give the same speech twice because of all the people who’d come out to hear him. And his message was clear:

    “This election is about how we deal with an economy. Do we spend the next five years reducing tax for corporations and the very rich? Or do we spend the next five years investing all across the country in good infrastructure, in sustainable industries, in the good services that we need, in our young people and the skills that they need?”

    The Labour leader also took apart the Conservatives’ attempts to position themselves as a workers’ party:

    “There’s a story going around in some of the papers that the Tory party have now become the friend of the working class and the workers. I simply ask this question. Would you call a government that allows six million people to earn less than the living wage ‘a friend of those in work’? Would you call a government that allows one million people to be working on zero hours contracts – not knowing what their pay’s going to be from one week to the other [‘a friend of those in work’]? Would you call a government that charges fees and costs for those that take their case for justice to an employment tribunal ‘on the side of those that are at work’? Obviously not.”

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Katie Bird.

      One can only dream. Nothing would be more satisfying.

      It won’t surprise you that the UK MSM, Channel 4 in this instance, is playing down the significance of Corbyn attracting big crowds, including in places where Labour has not won seats for years such as Cornwall, a poor county that serves as playground for the London rich (Tory and New Labour). Channel 4’s (government owned, but funded by advertising and productions) Michael Crick covered this event. Crick dampened expectations by saying he could remember Labour’s Michael Foot attracting similar crowds in 1983, but that did not prevent a Tory / Thatcherite (post purge of the Tory Wets) majority of 144.

      Crick did not explain that Labour was, as now, divided and a right wing rump had broken away to form the Social Democratic Party in 1981 and Thatcher was taking advantage of the Falklands War a year earlier. Crick made a juvenile joke, as he does at least once in every report, about Corbyn’s allotment (a garden Corbyn leases). That may be funny to some, dunno why, but it’s not serious like the paedophilia at the highest levels of the state and media covered up.

      The BBC does not criticise Corbyn directly, apart from its in house Tory rich kid Laura (von) Kuenssberg, but shows oligarch owned front pages, other hacks and think tank parasites masquerading as experts, and members of the public criticising Corbyn. Channel 4’s Gary Gibbon goes for stunts that “amuse” the public and provoke criticism of Corbyn. The oligarch owned media goes bonkers daily. Trump, daily, and Macron, until last week-end, are the only relief. I am not following the campaign, copying Clive’s filter, but can’t recall more than a handful of members of the public being allowed to defend Corbyn.

      The Tories will win, but possibly not by a much bigger majority than now. Talk of landslides seem like wishful thinking, probably designed to discourage opposition voters from voting. The next few years may resemble John Major’s reign of 1992 – 7, which paved the way for New Labour / Phoney Blur’s victory on 1 May 1997. In addition to Black / White / Golden Wednesday (when Norman “Badger” Lamont, with a young David Cameron fresh from Brideshead Revisited in tow, had to raise interest rates twice in one day to the teens % after Bank of England buying failed to stop short sellers, including George Soros, from driving Sterling down and out of a fixed trading band against the German Mark), the Great British public was treated to Tories supping in troughs and letting their trousers down (in one case wearing a Chelsea football / soccer shirt, allegedly, and another doing an Albert Dekker).

      1. begob

        The Guardian seems to have purged its contempt for Corbyn. I date it from the reaction to the leak of Labour’s manifesto. Maybe the failure of the LibDem surge at the local elections caused a rethink.

        BBC radio had Corbyn in interview today, and he came off well. Good contrast to their hammering away at Abbott’s brain farts.

      2. Darius

        Do a lot of Brits despise the media the way a lot of Americans do? That would be Labour’s only hope.

        1. Anonymous2

          A lot do quite rightly despise the English press (least trusted in a sample of 33 countries). Whether it will do much to help Labour is doubtful. I think the best they can probably hope for is defeat by less than a landslide.

        2. Clive

          Unfortunately I’d say that, by and large, we’re a far too gullible and trusting lot so get completely hoodwinked a good deal of the time. A culture and history of defence to authority is hard to break free of.

          1. MoiAussie

            I suppose that was meant to be “deference”.

            Clive, perhaps you or others could shed some light on a question that has mystified me: Why do so many brits vote tory when it’s clear to blind freddy that the result will be a government that acts against those voters’ interests?

            Obviously many tory voters benefit from tory policies, but many do not and never will. Do they think, this time it will be different? Surely these brits don’t also see themselves as temporarily embarassed members of the privileged classes. Are they wedded to a party as they are to a footbal team?

            1. Anonymous2

              I think those are the gullible, trusting ones Clive was referring to. Anyone who reads an English tabloid – apart from the Mirror -and believes what they read is likely to vote Tory.
              They are heavily slanted towards celebrity tittle -tattle and against Labour and the EU.

      3. a different chris

        >probably designed to discourage opposition voters from voting

        Which may well be true but that shows quite a lack of connection with what’s going on in the West…. a lot more people now seem willing to show up just to pull the “FU” lever. That is, what used to discourage people now may have the opposite effect.

        OTOH capital-C “Conservatives” have made FU the main spice in their pudding so the default angry-about-stuff vote still is pretty much theirs.

    2. Altandmain

      Nothing would be more satisfying than seeing Cobryn win a way better than expected result this election. I think that he is a lot more popular than people say.

      That and it is a real shame the UK does not have a proportional representation system

    3. Dead Dog

      Yes thanks KatieB. I think he was behind too much when election was called. He has blown a lot of good chances.
      The protest/despair vote for Brexit shows how fed up people are. (see the link on how the Govt treats those on job seeker allowance, as just one example of Britain’s obsession with austerity).
      So, the crowds are not surprising given his message of hope, for a different, fairer, Britain.
      The media may be able to fudge and lie about his message, but crowds don’t lie.
      When a crowd last got together near you, what was your reaction. Most of us go to see what all the fuss is about.
      Here’s hoping…

          1. Romancing The Loan

            63. I’m thinking the scoring might just be unevenly weighted towards that score, not that we’re all weirdly similar.

            1. Gareth

              I scored 63, then changed the race category from white to black and got a 70. It’s odd that there were no questions about serving prison or jail time, long periods of unemployment or homelessness. There are some strange assumptions underlying this stupid test.

              1. Carla

                Scores below 53 equate to having had lots of advantages. The higher the score, the fewer advantages we had in life. Linda’s comment below leads to the explanation on the test web site.

                1. Olga

                  56 – but then I got my start behind the so-called iron curtain (for kids, it was a nurturing system, for sure).

        1. ambrit

          I’m batting 63 as well. Is this an “average” score? Or is the NC Department of the Commenteriat “filtering” for a “typical” online cohort? Any more 63s and I’ll start wondering about whether different “blogs” attract a “standard” reader, or, commenter based upon the sites’ subject matter and or style. (Commenters and readers are necessarily from the same pool, but perhaps of different psychological “types.”) Now, do the results of this survey track the results of the dreaded “Personality Test?” Hmmmm……

          1. Auntienene

            Me too. 63.

            One thing the test left out was disabilities. I’m hearing impaired and though I don’t consider it a health problem, it made life a lot harder to navigate.

          2. LT

            I know I left a couple of things unchecked because I really felt I couldn’t assume I knew everything about my neighbors “needs” or the general health of everyone in my age group.

          3. LT

            I also wonder what scores would have looked like if school had been less emphisized and there were more probing questions about home, background, health and career trajectory

            It’s the kind of test that would be more revealing if taken at different life stages.

        2. Linda


          Your American Dream Score:

          While hard work contributes to success, each of us have encountered different people, experiences, systems, and services that have helped or hindered our efforts.

          Your score of 63 means you’ve had many factors working in your favor, but several you’ve had to overcome. To see what your score means compared to others, click here.

          If your life had a soundtrack, it might include You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban, as a nod to what it has taken to get where you are today.

            1. Tertium Squid

              53. I think the scores go in 10% increments, offset to 3’s to avoid being obvious.

    1. Mark S.

      60, which surprised me. I thought I’d be lower. To quote a line from a sermon I once heard, “The poor of this world know your effort has virtually nothing to do with where you are today.”

      1. Linda

        In case anyone missed the scoring meanings: The lower your score, the more factors were working in your favor. 54-65 means the majority of factors worked in your favor. 80 and higher means everything worked against you.

        There is no link, it’s a popup and it’s not able to be copied to paste – so, if you click where it says “click here” in the 2nd sentence in the red box, you can see the score meanings.

        1. Carla

          Linda, thanks for this. I know I have been very fortunate, but it turns out I gained even more in the lottery of life than I was aware.

          My score was 60.

          1. jrs

            I was always told again and again that I was fortunate, I have always felt I was fortunate, and yet life has always been incredibly difficult for me. I have chalked this up mostly to having a very flawed personality unfortunately. Or else to life being THE TOTAL SUCK for EVERYONE but most people not admitting that (that is the Thoreau theory: “most men live lives of QUIET desperation”).

            But a score of 70 to my surprise, does tend to somewhat validate it hasn’t been all roses.

        2. JTFaraday

          Scored a 74. But I find it somewhat suspect, because when I clicked “worked to overcome/ worked for you,” it had negative things to say about where I grew up, which is the one clear thing I had going for me, (not money or flawless parents or anything). I even did it twice.

        1. CG

          67. How I answered the public schooling question didn’t change the score (I was curious), but I’d have thought that not answering the question positively yet being a HS grad would presume private schooling which should knock down the score a couple points.

      2. grayslady

        To quote a line from a sermon I once heard, “The poor of this world know your effort has virtually nothing to do with where you are today.”

        For sure. So much in life seems to be whether or not you draw the short straw in the gene pool. My sister and I, brought up in identical circumstances, were different in many ways. I did well in school while she struggled; whereas I struggled with my weight while she could eat anything and stay slender. When everyone in the family, including my parents, contracted mumps, I was totally healthy. Effort, alone, is not the deciding factor.

        1. allan

          56, too.

          I have always been appreciative of the benefits of place (in both space and time), upbringing, external support and accident that have brought me to where I am. And am infuriated when highly successful public figures exaggerate the humbleness of their beginnings when in fact they started out higher than they claim (see Chainsaw Al Dunlop or Paul Ryan)
          or were the product of a system (see just about everyone in the D.C. swamp).

      1. sbarrkum

        Born and bred in a 3rd World country. In US from 28-51, grad school etc.
        Back in the jungles.
        Whenever I screwed up had friends to give a helping hand.
        Parents sent me to a fairly exclusive private all boys school.
        Classmates/Friends are there for life.

        1. sbarrkum

          Out of Uni/College in 81 (22 ). Uni is free if lucky/smart to get in.
          Drank myself silly for 6 years.
          Friend steps in and says do GRE etc, I will pay including College app fees.
          So in 88t, grad school in US with a TA/RA stipend.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      And I’m guessing the lower your score, or the easier your life, the more you supported Hillary.

      1. Bunk McNulty

        No! I got 49, no surprise, I’m the luckiest SOB you’ll ever meet. And wishing I could have voted for Zephyr Teachout. I know damn well my score has little to do with my own smarts or enterprise.

        1. Eclair

          Bunk, my score is 49 also; I was reluctant to publicize my fortune in getting a good start in life, so thanks for stepping up first.

          I had always felt ‘deprived;’ the result of growing up with a strange last name (not Scots/English/Irish, or even, Italian!) and then, going to an elite woman’s college (in the 50’s when woman were not admitted to elite men’s colleges) where I felt inferior because my parents were working class and I had not gone to a prep school and did not make my ‘debut’ during Christmas vacation of our freshman year.

          But, as Clive mentions above, one of my most important decisions was made on an unconscious level, when a few years ago, I felt ‘pulled’ to drive for two days to camp out near Ponca City, Oklahoma, with a group of tar sands/pipeline activists. I knew no one there, just felt I had to go.

          The experience opened up a whole new world for me; meeting members of the Ponca and Lakota nations and hearing their stories, realizing how our colonialist settler culture has oppressed and marginalized the indigenous people of this continent. And, discovering the intersectionality of racial, sexist, patriarchal forces in our culture.

          So, knowing the life stories of native American allies, I am not surprised at my score of 49. I, along with so many of my white peer group born in the 1940’s, have been among the most fortunate of people.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am somewhere between 49 and 74.

          When I clicked ‘healthy compared to people of my age,’ I really had no idea. It was just a guess.

          A lot of questions I also took a stab in the dark, like I did decades on my SAT. It looks like I have been luckier than other people, on average. It’s all luck.

          And luck is no guarantee. Anyone could be healthier or less healthy going forward.

    3. petal

      77. It said my parents were in a good place/able to help me(not really true), and that my race(white) may have helped me get opportunities(the opposite, in fact, on at least 2 occasions that would have really changed things for me). Also found no place to tick that I received social security as a minor because my father became disabled and could no longer work. My parents may have stayed together but that doesn’t mean they should have. Things were pretty tough. Hard to see how it could draw the conclusions. Ah well.

      1. Carla

        The higher your score, petal, the tougher you had it. Those with scores of less than 53 had pretty much everything working in their favor. (As an aside, I ticked that my parents didn’t “stay together” until I was grown because my dad dropped dead when I was 13. As a result, my mom, sister and I all benefited from social security survivor benefits. And in my sister’s and my case, the benefits lasted until we graduated from college, which was huge. Of course Reagan changed that.)

        My “score” of 60 reflects how very fortunate I have been. Those with scores of 80 and above had pretty much everything working against them. In her comment above, Linda tells how to find the explanation of the scoring. It’s too bad the meaning of the scoring is not made more explicit on the site, since it’s so counter-intuitive.

        1. petal

          Thank you, Carla. I was aware of the scoring before I posted. The conclusions it drew at the end in the little pop-up box were interesting.

      2. katenka

        Greetings, fellow 77! Although I think the test missed one particularly meaningful advantage I was given, which was that I was plucked out of genpop in school and put on a different track for my apparent ability to score well on written tests (while that sort of “othering” makes life miserable for some kids, it didn’t work that way for me — people expected me to be able to muddle through life okay, which I believe was in and of itself an enormous asset to me). While I like to hope this is not true, I think there is a nontrivial chance that I could have been a much worse person if I hadn’t had a little firsthand experience of how rough things can be.

      3. chicagogal

        Also 77 and my parents were not in a position to help me with anything. Been self-supporting since 14 – paid for school, clothes, etc while single mother provided housing and food – tho she did charge me for both. Parents divorced when I was 12 and it was my father who graduated with a BS from a 4-year college, so with no contact and a mother who didn’t graduate high school until getting a GED a few years before I graduated, college wasn’t really achievable for me. Sort of remember mother pushing higher education, but was mitigated by her throwing me out of the house into the snows of January in northern Illinois when I got an out-of-state college acceptance letter. Never had a career and only worked one job for more than 3 years before becoming unemployable (and subsequently disabled at age 50) in early 2009.

        1. HotFlash

          For me, college on a platter, but I flunked out early and then got me a *real* education. Never made much $$ in my life, but I would not trade a minute.

    4. LT

      Ha! Mine same.
      Age and health are big factors.
      Chances are that the longer a person that doesn’t come from an elite background lives, the more the obastacles could pile up?

    5. IHateBanks

      I was a 60. Despite a single parent home with 5 kids back in the 60’s, and working since I was 11 years old, apparently having a penis with white skin on it accounts for a lot in these tests.

    6. Clive

      57 for me, roughly translating US specific elements to British / English equivalents. Most of what I ended up with has been handed to me on a plate, so it seems. Which I guess means I didn’t have to start from a low base and, American-dream like, work my way up. I was though very interested in the questions and survey design — many of the questions simply would never *ever* need to be asked in England of a U.K. resident. They struck me as being very odd questions in a lot of instances.

      Which made me think about the entire premise of the American Dream — it is a rather odd concept in many ways.

      1. Carla

        “the entire premise of the American Dream — it is a rather odd concept in many ways” — Yep!

        As George Carlin said, “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

      2. HotFlash

        Which made me think about the entire premise of the American Dream — it is a rather odd concept in many ways

        Most interesting! I do not wish to assign homework, but if you have a mo, could you elaborate? Most of is have only ever been where we are, so to speak.

    7. Goyo Marquez

      Wondering how much difference male/female makes in results, or is it not included just collected as reference information?

      Better job market? Hmmm. When I graduated from law school, 1982, we were in the midst of a pretty deep recession.

      1. jrs


        But it’s all subjective anyway. Or there are REAL OBJECTIVE factors that influence one’s life but I think that test is crappy at measuring them.

        Because some people are minimizers anyway, basically we’re stoic, we generally at least if we’re not emotionally overwhelmed which breaks through the stoicism, minimize problems we face (basically tough as nails, expect life to be difficult, always aware it could be worse, compassionate toward others problems sometimes and sometimes not, but tend to *consistently* poo poo any struggles or difficulties we personally may face).

        So minimizers will score as having an easier life than those who maximize without anything necessarily being objectively different in their entire life trajectory. So basically pretty subjective test.

    8. LifelongLib

      46, but my life doesn’t entirely reflect that. Think I made a fair number of mistakes on my own, in spite of relative advantages.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need our occult hero, Indie, to get to the Grail and the Covenant before the bad guys.

      “When you believe, they become very powerful.”

      “And now they’re safe and sound in storage.”

  7. anon

    Poitras was gotten to or sold out, maybe both. “Gotten to” could include all kinds of personal and professional threats, as well as appeals to ego. I can think of one political camp, whose figurehead was embarrassed by Wikileaks, that could apply both carrot and stick to turn Poitras. “Respectability” among the elite has a powerful allure. The recasting of her film into an identity politics screed is telling. Probably a good idea for anyone who has her in their chain of trust to revoke it.

    1. Watt4Bob

      The recasting of her film into an identity politics screed is telling.

      There’s a lot of discipline being handed out, and nails that stick up are being hammered down.

      For instance I recently read that;

      Mrs. Clinton went on to praise the work of several grass-roots groups that have emerged as part of a broad liberal movement opposed to Mr. Trump and his policies.

      Why do I get the feeling that funding from Onward Together will be predicated on these organizations conforming to certain set of ‘orthodoxies’ which in the end, will amount to accepting gradualism and of course an unquestioned loyalty to the democratic party, meaning the DNC/Hillary axis.

      “Get back in line, stay with your group.”


      1. HotFlash

        Saw similar things in in-fighting in a non-profit I was working in/with/for. Sexual predation is an easy charge to make, not always what it seems, resignation or not.

        Then, too, he might just have been a dick. A lot of that going around, for sure. Oddly, Poitras too — could there be a pattern? Just sayin’…

    2. freedeomny

      Not really surprised re Poitras. She’s seems opportunistic to me. There was an article written recently by a Columbia U professor who was involved romantically with her when she first connected with ES. She pretty much pulled him into her world – at risk to him – which I thought was odd. I’ll link it in if I can find it again. But my main impression of her from the article was – well to do family, late bloomer, somewhat immature and…me, me, me….

        1. DJG

          katiebird: Has to be the Harper’s article, although he wasn’t exactly an unwilling participant. (As I read the article.) Now his friend who received the packages…

          1. freedeomny

            Yes – Snowdens Box is the article. Thanks Katie.

            And DJG -no – he wasn’t “unwilling” – but what does that say about “her” even involving someone with whom she has a romantic relationship?

    3. HotFlash

      Interesting, how people who have hurt TBTB are now getting slaughtered (figuratively and/or literally). Jacob A, Laura P, do we see a pattern?

    1. Annotherone

      I got 70 – though the survey probably didn’t work as well in my case, not having spent my whole life in the USA. Lived in England until my early 60s.

    2. Carla

      Do scroll up to see Linda’s comment about the scoring. The higher your score, the tougher you had it. Those with scores below 53 had the easiest paths in life.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Despite having food on the table, parents well off enough to send me to college and grad school, the emotional side of my childhood was dreadful. Moving all the time, few/no friends, frequent hazing when I moved in, no emotional support at home and a fair bit of negative feedback. And despite being generally healthy for my age, some big setbacks, like mono as an adult and bad injuries.

      1. HotFlash

        The survey is interesting and may yield some useful results, but the caveat is — one size does not fit all.

        Thank you, Ms Smith. (And yes, Col Smithers is also an inspiration to me.)

  8. HBE

    A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change.

    I notice number one is not solar panels or wind turbines, or any other form of wunderenergie. But “family planning” which is about is close as one can get to saying population control in polite company.

    I wish they would just say it and help normalize the subject. If you want to effectively slow or stop global warming (and a host of other issues) the only way to do so is with population controls, to deal with our huge overpopulation level.

      1. Vatch

        The influence of religious conservatives is powerful and ubiquitous, and they have forced rational people to self censor. Fortunately, we know that “family planning” is code for “contraception”. The hard part will be breaking the influence of conservative Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish clerics who oppose the use of effective contraception as well as educating people about it.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think the influence of religion is very exaggerated. Some of the lowest birth rates in the world are in catholic countries such as Spain and Italy. Birth rates are almost always associated with development levels, education, and the extent of female participation in the workplace.

          1. Vatch

            I disagree. Many of the nominal European Catholics are quite irreligious, and some are atheists. People in the Catholic Philippines, for example, are more likely to believe in their religious tenets, and that country suffers from overpopulation.

            Other Christians besides Catholics oppose the effective use of contraception, such as Protestant evangelicals (the Duggars are a prominent example) and Mormons. And as i pointed out in my initial comment, conservative clerics in many other religions opposed the use of effective contraception.

            You are correct that the education of women is important. I like the Population Media Center, which uses radio and television soap operas to spread the word. There is huge resistance to rational thinking in both the developed and the developing world.

          2. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, PK. I agree.

            About a third of Mauritians are Catholic. They / we have lower birth rates than other religious groups, mainly Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist.

            It’s not just Club Med, but eastern and central Europe, too, Germanic and Slavic.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              I should have added practising, too. Few Mauritian Catholics, especially women, don’t go to church.

              1. Vatch

                As I pointed out in my initial comment, there are conservative clerics in many religions who oppose the use of effective contraception. Mauritius is majority Hindu. But whatever the religions of Mauritius are, to their credit, they lack the dangerous population growth of countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria.

                As for attending church, that’s not necessarily the same as believing. For many people, church attendance is a social practice.

                  1. Vatch

                    It will be very hard to eliminate poverty if overpopulation isn’t first eliminated. Poor families have a lot more difficulty emerging from poverty if they are supporting large numbers of children.

                    Have I seen specific statistical data that shows a correlation between conservative religion and overpopulation? No. But secular Europe and secular Japan have low birth rates. And many conservative religions encourage excessive family size.

                    Of course there are multiple causes for overpopulation. I hope I didn’t give the impression that conservative religion is the only cause.

                    1. Alejandro

                      >” It will be very hard to eliminate poverty if overpopulation isn’t first eliminated. Poor families have a lot more difficulty emerging from poverty if they are supporting large numbers of children.”

                      This perspective seems like a catch-22 from my perspective.

                      OTOH, the stats presented by gapminder showing a strong inverse correlation between infant mortality and population growth rates, seems very convincing. They seem to tend more towards facts than conjecture.


                    2. Vatch

                      Women’s education is key. That’s one of the major goals of the Population Media Center. But women’s education is a low priority according to some patriarchal ideologies and religions.

    1. John Wright

      Population control will get little play in the media as the media depends on increasing the number of users for their content.

      Same for real estate, finance, automotive, infrastucture and consumer goods industries as economic growth (even if only from increasing population) is always projected to increase their markets and profits.

      Note the US newspapers who decry the “demographic time bomb” of a shrinking Japanese population in their editorials.

      Instead the media should be mentioning that the world should observe and possibly learn from the Japanese experience.

      Besides, isn’t the same media suggesting that robots will make human workers obsolete?

      1. Carla

        Well, this makes perfect sense when ALL of your economic models rely on growth, and fall apart without it. If the number one way to address climate change is population control, number two should be a system of steady state economics:

        It has been mentioned on NC before, but almost nowhere else.

        1. subgenius

          Steady-state….but AFTER a 10x reduction in resource requirements (US figures…), If you want to look at the reality.

      2. HotFlash

        Um, I don’t know a lot about “the Japanese experience”, just anecdotal evidence. For instance, IIRC, birth control (ie, pills) illegal, although abortion is not only legal but morally OK, at least in Buddhism (back on the mandela, no foul, or something like that…)

        Can you please tell me/us more about “the Japanese experience”??

        1. John Wright

          I should have said “The world can observe and possibly learn from how the Japanese people respond to their projected “demographic time-bomb” population decrease”

          Maybe it will be accommodated well, but that will not be known for a while..

          I do not have information about what factor or combination of factors is causing the Japanese population to decrease.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Given the low birth rates in the developed world, I thought “population control” referred to the efforts the developed world constantly afflicts on the under-developed world: global wars, anthropogenic climate change induced crop destruction, opioid epidemics…

      Mowing the grass” as one senior allied force called it, who was granted anonymity so as not to jeopardise operations.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, RG.

        Mowing the lawn was also used by an Israeli officer.

        Speaking of Israel, in the 1970s, it collaborated with apartheid South Africa, founded by Nazi sympathisers who are / were not keen on Jews (but that did not worry Israel), to develop not just nuclear weapons, aircraft, gunboats and submarines, but forms of contraception that could be fired by artillery and rifles, so that the blacks rioting in Soweto in 1976 and later would somehow imbibe the contraception. Mengele would have been proud of Israel. Shimon Peres went to his grave without ever apologising for his war crimes.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Thanks alot Colonel, you just outted my source. Now our intelligence [sic] from them will go dark forever.

        2. HotFlash

          Thank you, Colonel. Do you have me a link, or some words I could search on, for “forms of contraception that could be fired by artillery and rifles, so that the blacks rioting in Soweto in 1976 and later would somehow imbibe the contraception”? I had not heard of that, and have not (so far) devised a search that brings up anything much.

          I have, however, heard of Ethiopian Jews given subdermal contraceptives in Israel so am prepared for plausibility.

          1. MoiAussie

            HotFlash, in the unlikely event that you read this reply, you can find some leads on the contraception subject here.

    3. Tenar

      If you want to effectively slow or stop global warming (and a host of other issues) the only way to do so is with population controls, to deal with our huge overpopulation level.

      This framing leaves out consumption. The environmental and global warming crises have less to do with the fact that there are too many people than they do with the fact that too few consume too much.

      Monibot wrote a good article on this subject a few years ago. Key paragraph:

      “Population is the issue you blame if you can’t admit to your own impacts: it’s not us consuming, it’s those brown people reproducing. It seems to be a reliable rule of environmental politics that the richer you are, the more likely you are to place population growth close to the top of the list of crimes against the planet.”

      1. HBE

        Well, I don’t have a car, bike and use public transportation, and have less “stuff” than anyone I know. Nor am I rich (millennial here).

        So that argument falls apart, if we wanted to live sustainably at current population levels the entire globe would have to live at the same level as rural Nigeria (energy, caloric intake, etc.). So just focusing on consumption and not overpopulation does not do us much good.

        1. HotFlash

          Well, I don’t have a car, bike and use public transportation, and have less “stuff” than anyone I know. Nor am I rich (millennial here).

          Hey, HBE, looks to me like you are rich.

    4. Goyo Marquez

      I suspect that somewhere, the right kind of people, funded by selfless billionaires, are sitting around trying to figure how to begin the culling. A lot of our problems, real or not, would be instantly solved by a, reluctant but necessary, pruning of 5 or 6 billion branches from the human tree.

      1. Anon

        Lots of excess labor sitting around. War with Russia would take care of a good hunk.

      2. polecat

        “pruning of 5 or 6 billion from the human tree.”
        …. which would seem to put mute to the idea of running out of Phosphorus anytime soon … so that’s a plus, I guess ….

      3. Goyo Marquez

        Now that I think about it maybe the 1% and the 10% figure the world be a much nicer place if they were the only ones in it. For the good of all humankind, of course.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising. Vox (UserFriendly)

    Very good article with conclusion:

    The number one solution, in terms of potential impact? A combination of educating girls and family planning, which together could reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by 2050 — more than on- and offshore wind power combined (99 GT).

    The problem with this is that whats unsaid is that one of the key reasons why educated women have less children is not that they want less children, but they are more likely to end up working like men, leaving little time to procreate and raise kids. The demographic evidence suggests that the biggest drops in birth rate occur in countries where the work environment is least family friendly and most patriarchal (e.g. Japan, South Korean, much of southern and eastern europe). So if you want to address climate change through demographics, the best way is to force women into the sort of workplaces men suffer in. More equitable societies (such as in northern Europe) certainly have lower birth rates than most countries, but they are not the lowest.

    1. MoiAussie

      A second problem with this is that it’s most improbable that much will be done to put this solution in place (unless China is given a free hand to take the lead). Ditto tropical forests and plant-rich diets.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The China situation is interesting – the one child policy was probably the most ambitious population control policy in history (excluding genocides), but demographically it didn’t seem to do much to change the overall natural demographic progression – I recall reading that it took a 200 million chunk out of the population, but birth rates now in China are similar to Japan and South Korea at a similar stage of development. It did, however, do all sorts of damage to the society. And the reduction was vastly overcompensated for by industrial ‘development’ churning out more CO2.

    2. Ted

      Ah … the best way to save the planet? Control women’s reproduction!


      Where birthrates are highest, silly!

      Oh, you mean in the global south?

      Yep, us fine, enlightened, white northerners are gonna really help those brown southern ladies into modernity. We could start with some (re)education, but lets face it, this climate thing is a real crisis, would be better to sterlize them … let’s call the UN and get on this thing right away. Sure is a good thing fascism/statism is on the rise … so much more efficient for this sort of thing. Hey, but it’s good for the planet!

      1. RabidGandhi


        Ain’t it great to find solutions that involve other people changing their behaviour instead of us changing ours?

      2. Eclair

        I someone working on developing a factor that takes into account the amount of carbon/methane using resources a child in, say Sweden or the US, uses versus a child in Botswana or India? And the factor would have to reflect not only country but social class within that country.

        So, an upper class US child would have a factor of 1 applied while a child born to the lowest class person in Burundi or DRC, would have a factor or, say, 0.1 applied. Ten Burundi children would consume the same amount of resources/produce the same amount of pollution, as one Barron Trump.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I haven’t read the book, but from the look of it, they have gone into that level of detail.

          Unfortunately, Vox has bought into the idea of birth control as the most important thing (its actually no.7 on the list), and as noted, this is often code for ‘lets have fewer brown people over populating the planet’. The reality is that every westerner causes far more pollution and damage than the average African or South American, etc.

      3. Vatch

        The U.S. population is growing, too, and it’s not all from immigration. Births exceed deaths by more than a million per year. The U.S. birth rate needs to be lowered, because all of those new people are future fossil fuels users. Parents with large numbers of children are more likely to drive large cars, and they use more energy in their households.

        Remember, the Duggars are United States citizens, as is the governor of Kentucky.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are suffering working men also less fertile?

      “Vast right winger conspiracy to go after my husband.” Look at the ulterior motivation.

      “Russian deals.” Again, motivation.

      Unless we assume are intrinsically more virtuous, we look at our ulterior motivation.

      More education for girls…but not necessarily changing the patriarchal environment. Looking at Japan, Korea, etc, are girls more empowered with more education? Yes and no. No suffering equally like men at work, but more empowered? That will have to wait till wealth inequality is less.

      So, is the motivation just more credentials (ideology’s narrative of ‘education’)? Not empowerment? (Just making the labor supply larger, in order to drive down wages? Not necessarily. Again, that’s connected to resisting neoliberalism, more power to labor in general, men and women).

    4. Jef

      “…100 solutions to climate change.”

      and how we can all still get rich doing it.

      The only way to have a significant effect on AGW is to do a whole lot less…like 75 to 80% less…of everything. Do away with doing some things all together and focus on doing the things needed.

      This is not a recipe for a strong and growing world economy.

    5. Carla

      P.K., MoiAussie, Ted, MyLessThanPrimeBeef — as an educated woman, I can assure you, women actually do want fewer children. And where birth control is freely available, and women can see any option other than being under the thumb of the men in their lives, they choose to use it.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Carla, I’m not denying that at all – and the figures confirm it. What I’m saying is that the demographics indicate that its not a simple case of education = desire for less children. Its also related to labour practices, specifically in those countries with a high female participation in paid work along with poor family protections. In other words, its not a simply correlation = causation relationship.

        The evidence from Europe in particular is that in developed countries when more support is given to women to have children, they want more children, not less. Thats seems to be the key difference between those countries with extremely low birth rates (such as Italy and Spain) and those with somewhat higher ones, such as the Netherlands and Sweden.

        1. a different chris

          Are you two talking past each other?

          Seems to me that possibly PK is saying “women want more than one or none” in terms of children whereas Carla (which I am sympathetic to as she sounds like most of the women I know) is saying 4, 5, up to Duggarland is really not what women want.

          That is, you might both be agreeing the 2.x replacement rate is pretty much want women want, but don’t realize it because you aren’t being specific.

          I don’t think Netherlands women want 5 kids no matter what the incentives, and I don’t think Italian women want just one, either.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thank you and I agree. Additionally, men want fewer children as well.

        Empowering women, and men, is the key. Education, if it’s credentialism in its clothing, is not.

      3. MoiAussie

        Carla, I have no doubt about that. My point was just that I don’t think investment in women’s education and birth control is going to happen on the scale needed to make a big impact on CO2. For the most part it would be needed as foreign aid. The rich by and large don’t want to spend their money on this, and the not-so-rich in rich countries don’t want their governments spending money on foreigners. So how is it going to happen?

        1. HotFlash

          My point was just that I don’t think investment in women’s education and birth control is going to happen on the scale needed to make a big impact on CO2


          What do you think will?

          1. MoiAussie

            Outside a nuclear war or an asteroid impact that destroys technological civilization worldwide, I doubt that anything is going to make a big impact on CO2 emissions pre-collapse, because as a species we lack social and political structures capable of rational decision making.

            1. Aumua

              I think that overall, the people of Earth are ready to start making decisions that will benefit us all, and move us forward in solving our collective problems. But you’re right, we have no agency as a species. We have no head. Major upheaval seems inevitable.

              1. subgenius

                I call bull on that.

                How many do you know that have given up cars, AC, flights, etc?

                Wanting to help, and actually doing what is required are 2 very different things.

                The average US citizen needs to reduce consumption by AN ORDER of magnitude.

                1. ginnie nyc

                  Well, there’s a considerable cohort of people who do not use a/c in the summer because it’s too damned expensive (use a box fan instead), who don’t fly because they really can’t afford to travel, etc. Poor people use less resources. The eco-ire should be aimed the people with the toys.

                  1. subgenius

                    Nice try …I note you failed to include cars in your answer…a very small percentage of the population actually operate at a sustainable level in the US…think homelessr

                    That’s a 10- fold reduction based on average consumption patterns, not the 10%ers

                    But yes, more ire for fatter cats.

                    1. Aumua

                      Not sure what youre basing your 10 fold figures on there but of course I do agree that we in the west are living it up at the expense of the rest of the world, and reduction of consumption by all of us is necessary.

                      But consumption is what’s being shoved in our faces 247 from a young age by unscrupulous agreedy entities. I believe if people get good information, not all of them, but many of them will become willing to do their part.

                      It all seems hopeless when there is such massive excess and waste going on that regular folk have no control over. It’s economic inequality, globalism, and the like caused by the greed of the few that is an order of magnitude more responsible for where we find ourselves than the actions of citizens Joe and Jane.

                    2. ginnie nyc

                      Well, as you know, large parts of the country have no trains or public transportation, and the distances are too great to ride a bicycle. The real problem is there is no extant infrastructure to replace the reliance on cars in those areas. Just declaring people are greedy pigs, without outlining plans for an alternate solution, is throwing spit balls.

                      Personally, I’ve never owned a car. When I needed one, I rented it. Now, of course, I’m unable to drive. This greatly limits where I will live in the future. Why don’t you try this ‘lifestyle’?

                    3. subgenius

                      Sorry, but that’s a weak argument – ” we can’t because xyz” gets no results.

                      Take a look at the 3rd world. They make do with neither cars nor infrastructure.

                      If you want to avoid consequences then STOP causing the problem. The end. Inconvenience or indequate infrastructure make zero difference to the essential do or die nature of reality. Which is the point I am making.

                      Added to which, infrastructure build out is massively destructive to the environment.

                      No easy choices, but the solutions are essentially simple. Sadly nobody will take them.

                2. HotFlash

                  How many do you know that have given up cars, AC, flights, etc?

                  Well, there’s me. But I suppose I don’t count?

            2. polecat

              ‘rational decision making’

              That may be where Mom Gaia comes into play to throw some dice … with newly mutated viruses and/or bacteria at humanity’s expense ! Has happened in the recent past … (Spanish flu anyone !!), and will most surely occur in the future.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            The report is quite clear what will – it was very misleading of Vox to conflate two separate headings – womens education and birth control (very different things) to say its the most important. They are successively 6 and 7 on the list. Controlling refrigerants and promoting wind energy are 1 and 2. Both dominate because they can have a very short term immediate impact, unlike some others (such as birth control), which would take decades to have a significant impact, by which time its probably way too late.

            1. MoiAussie

              The report is quite clear what could, but not what will. Identifying solutions is not the same as implementing them.

    6. HotFlash

      Um, also not said is that educated women not only want to have fewer children, but that they *know how*. Perhaps *un*educated women want similar things, but don’t know how? Making this about working 40+ hours or whatever the number doesn’t make it true. Make contraception safe, legal, cheap or even free, and you might find out a bunch of stuff about women (and their partners) you never knew.

      As in many human relations, prepare to be surprised.

    7. John k

      I strongly support women’s ed and free birth control as the best way to reduce a number of global problems. I note some carping below… what is wrong with equal ed? Which results in women going to work, presumably because they prefer that option, which gives them a higher standard of living, more upwardly mobile mating options, and, I assume, longer life? Less ed cuts off many options while higher ed maintains the homemaker option to those that prefer that life choice.

  10. s.n.

    Antidote du jour (Timotheus). Looks to be auditioning for the FBI director post

    at first glance i thought it was richard branson

      1. craazyboy

        ‘Dote #2

        Eagle: “Come to Papa!”

        Actually, the Eagle could use a pet drone to carry his baggage!

  11. Jim Haygood

    Repubs get their Joe McCarthy groove back:

    KIEV, Ukraine (WaPo) — A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

    “Rory the red” … mwa ha ha ha! And Joe’s your uncle, Kev.

    Meanwhile Time — that great American weekly which once named an ayatollah Man of the Year — features a gripping rendering of the White House morphing brick by brick into the Kremlin:

    We’re back in the USSR
    You don’t know how lucky you are, boy
    Back in the US
    Back in the US
    Back in the USSR

    1. MoiAussie

      Congressthangs just can’t seem to imagine anyone saying anthing positive about Russia without being bribed to do so. Partisan pointscoring aside, the ultimate basis of such accusations of having unseemly foreign connections seems to lie in the utter dominance of money in US politics. “Why would you take a stance if you weren’t being paid to” is the mindset. Has anyone accused Tulsi Gabbard of being paid by the Syrians yet?

      1. Jim Haygood

        A half century ago I recall my dad — a yellow-dawg, party-line Democrat, then and now — addressing some local John Birchers who had espied some red communist influence in the civil rights movement of the day. “Put up or shut up,” he demanded.

        My, how the wheel has turned.

        With luck, the D-mented party (and its R party fellow travelers) will discredit itself as thoroughly as the Republiclowns did with their postwar red-baiting excesses, consigning themselves to minority party status in the House for forty long years (1954-1994).

        Over to you, Nancy Pestilosi!

        *hoists a glass of Stoli Elit*

    2. RabidGandhi

      “Dana Rohrabacher” must be a very common name in the US, because the other one I remember by that name was a better-dead-than-red congressman from behind the Orange Curtain who was the moving force behind the anti-Russian Reagan Doctrine.

      We should just call them all Bruce to keep things straight.

  12. NotTimothyGeithner

    “Radical center”

    How about? “I’ve got mine to hell with everyone else, but I demand to be popular.”

    1. Altandmain

      Good riddance.

      The man was a right wing propagandist and apparently a sexual abuser.

      If only people would wake up from the MSM.

      It is like if Robert Rubin passed away tomorrow – good riddance, the world is better without such people. I hate to be so harsh, but that’s my objective assessment.

  13. Jim Haygood

    “CalPERS, the state’s pension and health care fund, the largest in the nation, has invested $136 million in Monsanto.”

    Is that a lot? Let’s do a little maff to try to put it in perspective. $136 million represents 0.09% of Calpers’ $153 billion public equity portfolio. By contrast, Monsanto has an 0.21% weight in the S&P 500 index, as one can verify in the semi-annual report of the SPY tracker ETF.

    So Calpers is way underweighted in Monsanto, versus the amount of Monsanto that Calpers would hold if it wanted to replicate a widely used benchmark. This is likely partly due to Calpers’ allocation to international stocks.

    Note that Calpers owns no tobacco stocks, and extended this ban to its external managers and affiliate funds last December. Three US tobacco stocks — Altria, Philip Morris, and Reynolds American — have blown the roof off compared to broad indexes. Calpers has created its own tobacco-free benchmark, but it can’t keep up with the less ideologically pure broad market.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes CalPERS has a 50% allocation to foreign stocks. Plus large index replicators never buy all the stocks in the index. Too much hassle and higher costs. They use futures for some of it and figure out how to replicate index attributes. My old client O”Connor was a master of this in the early 1990s (they traded 5% of the NYSE volume on a regular basis to hedge their derivatives book, which obviously included S&P futures and options). The state of the art has only gotten better since then.

      CalPERS also has some active managers Not all of their US holdings are in the S&P index.

      So given all of that, they don’t seem to be underweight at all.

  14. voteforno6

    Re: The Trump Card

    It would be interesting if he re-opened the Clinton email investigation. “Liberals” would reject it as spiteful, and an attempt to fight back against those people who are trying to bring him down. Which it would be, but that is irrelevant. Despite what those “liberals” may believe, what she did with her server was worse than Trump sharing classified information with Russia. If someone much lower on the food chain had done the same thing, at the very least he/she would’ve lost his/her job and security clearance, and could’ve faced prosecution as well. That doesn’t even take into account the obstruction of justice. Democrats might think they have a winning hand here, but they seem to be willfully ignorant of just how hard someone will fight when he or she is cornered. This could be fun.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Are there any ongoing FBI or Congressional investigations of Clinton, her campaign or the DNC? With the recent uptick in Seth Rich stories, it would seem to be a matter of time before there is enough pressure from various citizens, blogs and police groups to investigate evidence and pursue any remedies.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Will there be any rogue or renegade dissenters from within the IC to expose the coup, sorry, the righteous crusade, to remove Trump?

      2. Plenue

        On the topic of Seth Rich, I follow Right Wing Watch, which is generally just an amusing resource for clips of the latest crazy thing Dominionists you’ve never heard of are saying. But I’m now starting to wonder who actually bankrolls RWW, because the day the most recent Rich story emerged RWW posted multiple videos of right wingers talking about it. It really feels to me like someone connected to the DNC is trying to get out in front of it and assure liberals that “there’s nothing to see here, just some crazy nonsense the far-right is talking about”.

        1. hunkerdown

          “Michael Keegan is the organization’s president. Members of the group’s board of directors include John Hall Buchanan, Jr., Alec Baldwin, Seth MacFarlane, Mary Frances Berry, Julian Bond (deceased), Bertis Downs IV, James Hormel, Dolores Huerta, Jane Lynch, Josh Sapan, Dennis Van Roekel, Howie Klein and Reg Weaver.” (I emphasized some major anti-left players I recognized. Howie Klein of “Down with Tyranny” is a rather interesting name to find there, but tokenism isn’t dead.)

          RWW is a project of the Tides Foundation, later spun off to People for the American Way Foundation. As you might expect, the Podesta family has had their fingers in the pie and Our Boy Soros has contributed to their cause (not particularly uncommon or dispositive, but it’s there). Also interestingly, the “Bauman Foundation” has contributed to PFAW (surely no relation to Brad Bauman, crisis management professional and Democrat-imposed spokesperson for the Rich family). So, by the flexian model, the Democrat establishment definitely signs their paycheck and gives the orders, however dotted the lines may be.

          1. Plenue

            Somehow this information doesn’t surprise me.

            Maybe someone should start a Liberal Watch, just to catalog all the insane stuff coming from people like Maddow and Olbermann.

    2. John Wright

      Not much mention is made that HRC and her team of lawyers deleted (without making a backup) about half of her email traffic (30000 out of 60000 messages).

      These were supposedly of a personal and innocuous nature, but that seems all the more reason to save a backup, perhaps in a “personal_innocuous” folder.

      It is as if the 27 year old HRC learned from her experience assisting the House Judiciary Committee on the Watergate investigation that if Richard Nixon had destroyed the tapes, he might have remained in office.
      I suspect that even HRC defenders would have a difficult time excusing this behavior, as they could suspect that HRC just might have calculated it would be more harmful to preserve rather than destroy this “innocuous” content.

      Why not save a backup and leave it with an above reproach individual/institution?

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        I’ve simply given up expecting that any kind of forethought happens before she indulges in one of her capers. She acts and people clean up. And nobody mentions how many times she’s stepped on the same rake in the last 30 years.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      msnbs is reporting this morning that Mueller’s investigation will focus on electoral “collusion,” and the prime suspects will be Flynn and Manafort. If that’s true…..

      One of the incidences of collusion of which Flynn is accused is his paid speech to RT. In evaluating that, won’t bill clinton’s $500,000 speech at a Russian bank or involvement with Uranium One at least need to be acknowledged, if for no other reason than a definition of “acceptable” conduct?

      Manafort’s “crime” is involvement in Ukrainian politics. Will the involvement of clinton’s state department, or the podesta brothers lobbying be able to be ignored, once again in establishing what behavior is acceptable where american consultants are concerned?

      And a new wrinkle seems to be emerging where Pence is concerned. Supposedly Flynn advised the transition team of his Russian “contacts,” prior to his being named national security advisor. Pence, head of the Trump transition team and responsible for vetting, was, then, aware of the “conflict” and approved his appointment anyway.

      Tangled web and wildly competing interests.

      1. craazyboy

        Tale Wags Dog. Ukraine is very well connected to Biden, The Atlantic Council, NATO, CIA, and CloudStrike. Be hard to keep from stepping on those egg shells. In fact, I’d call it a Trump inspired investigation….

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        And that is why, when someone challenges me as denying the need for an investigation, my response is “I’d love to have an investigation into foreign influences on our government. Will it include those members of Congress’ and other government workers’ relationships with the Saudis and Israelis as well? For instance, will it look into that nice donation Patrick Murphy got, nicely laundered and folded, from a branch of the Saudi royal family during his last campaign?”

  15. DJG

    Flynn and Turkey. So now what comes out is lobbying for Turkey, rather than contacts with (or in addition to) the Russians. Hmmm. Erdogan corrupts everything that he touches. Netanyahu corrupts everything that he touches. Need I mention the Saudi Royals?

    Flynn has been caught in the revolving door of D.C. Yet the U.S. elites can’t get enough of these bottom feeders, and sacrificing the domestic economy and lives of U.S. soldiers to their bottom-feeding delusions seems not to bother our elites at all.

  16. justanotherprogressive

    “I pretty much only see movies at theaters because I too really like the “big screen” experience. ”

    I, on the other hand, pretty much hate the big screen experience – too expensive, too loud, too visually overwhelming, too many people, etc… I am one of those grateful for Netflix, Amazon, HBO, etc…..

    I would love a ROKU channel devoted to seeing those film festival films as they come out…..

    I’m in agreement with Will Smith – if Netflix does an outstanding production, then it should be allowed to be juried, whether or not it comes out on the big screen….

    1. freedeomny

      Have you heard of KODI? You can download it to your ROKU – or even get a Firestick with it programmed onto it. It is free and you can access all sorts of films (even if still on the big screen). However, you would probably want to get a VPN downloaded to your ROKU or router….

    2. Carolinian

      Especially too loud. Blame this on George Lucas whose THX program set standards for theater volume designed to pound you into submission.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Me too! I carry a pair with me wherever I go — there is so much uncontrolled noise in public venues and work areas. I sleep with them in to block the noise from all the lawn mowers and leaf blowers that interrupt my sleeping-in in the morning.

    3. Jef

      “…I too really like the “big screen” experience. ”

      No problem, just put in a home theatre like Will Smith has.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I like to watch movies on DVD so I can listen to the director’s and writer’s commentaries. I also like to re-watch movies several times to catch the details I often miss on first viewing. Some movies definitely are best experienced in a theater — but the cost holds me back.

      1. Dead Dog

        Yes, about $50 here for two to see movie and get an ice cream. I rarely go now – aircon is usually up too high and some movies can just be too loud.
        I spent $600 on a 1080p projector and screen – much better at home – and Netflix screens on it just fine.

  17. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    I would also prefer a cinema to see a film, but I think that unless you live in a large city, by & large in the UK cinema output is almost entirely for the mainstream – no problem then for Will smith’s output. I managed to watch what there was on Netflix that interested me, quite easily within the free months trial & then moved on to Mubi.

    In 1979 I sat & watched ” Alien ” while solitary on a secondary smaller screen at a local cinema. Probably the only time that I would have preferred a bit of company, but aided by not knowing what to expect, it was an incredible experience, but those days are unfortunately long gone.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I usually prefer the cinema, but the last film I’ve seen on the big screen is the amazing Korean film The Handmaiden (youtube link). I must admit there were several times I wish I wasn’t in a public place while watching it, definitely one for rewatching on netflix…..

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


        Thank you for the tip – I now have the blu-ray reserved on Lovefilm . the last Korean film I watched was ” Poetry “, which I was reminded of yesterday in terms of devotion, by the slave article.

        It is childish I suppose, but one of the things I really like about Mubi is the anticipation each day, when checking what the new offering is. I usually get around 2-3 watches a week, mostly films I would probably otherwise never see. A while back I came across ” Betty Blue ” & had to watch her twice.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Poetry is a fantastic film. There is something quite unique about the best Korean cinema, they manage to make accessible films that defy normal genres. Thanks for the mention of Mubi, I’d never heard of it, it looks great. Its great to invite a bit of serendipity, like most people I get stuck in a rut of watching the same sort of films all the time.

          Betty Blue is amazing! When I was in Uni, showing Betty Blue at an event was always a guarantee of a full house. For a bunch of 19-20 year olds it seemed impossibly cool and sexy.

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: CNN Debate: Bernie Sanders vs John Kasich Full Town Hall Debate, May 16th 2017 YouTube (martha r). 71K views so far, which is not bad. But all about Russia and Bernie apparently hewed to the standard Dem position.

    I set my dvr to record the debate. It was scheduled, initially, for 2 hours. The first hour wound up being an interview with Sally Yates by Anderson Cooper about…..well, you know. Fast forward. When Bernie and Kasich finally came on, it was clear that healthcare would not be on the agenda–just Trump and….well, you know. Continued to fast forward, checking every few minutes, just to make sure.

    I’ve no idea if youtube would count that as a “view.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It still reminds of a denial-of-service attack.

      Service, here, refers to any positive contribution a viewer/a reader might offer to the world, after receiving real news.

  19. Huey Long

    RE: Trump Card

    Rallies would work if the Trumpster was a senator, but as far as the electorate is concerned he’s in charge and needs to deliver.

    @theREALHueyLong could govern; @theREALDonaldTrump can’t.

  20. George Lane

    Just go to and click on reading room to read some of the many declassified reports about US study into parapsychology. They’ve been declassified for years. Draw your own conclusions.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think this sets the stage for the new charge of Russian interference through remote mind control.

  21. Jim Haygood

    Brazilgate, comrades:

    Brazil’s stock market, Bovespa, plunged more than 10% immediately after opening Thursday, wiping out almost all of its gains for the year. Officials halted trading for 30 minutes

    Brazil’s currency, the real, also tanked 7% against the dollar, its worst day since the global financial crisis in 2008.

    The selloff came after new bribery allegations surfaced against Brazil’s president, Michel Temer. A prominent Brazilian newspaper, O Globo, reported Wednesday night that Temer paid a bribe to the former House Speaker in Congress, Eduardo Cunha, to stay silent while Cunha serves a prison term.

    O Globo said there were recordings of conversations between the two in which the alleged bribe occurred.

    Brazil’s default risk as reflected in Credit Default Swaps has soared, as its bond market is pummeled senseless.

    Diogenes just left Brasilia empty handed, headed for Caracas …

    1. RabidGandhi

      The Confidence Fairy fears Brazilian workers may not get their full punishment. She is a fickle strumpet.

  22. B1whois

    The placement of the heading “Trump Transition” immediately following the article on Chelsea Manning got my wheels spinning this morning. And then I see the antidote, which once again reminds me of Trump.

  23. Dan Lynch

    Yves said @Lambert said “to go full Huey Long and start holding rallies.”

    If that is your impression of Huey Long then you don’t know Huey Long.

    Yes Huey held rallies but no more so than any other politician. Huey was better known for his national radio program (a first for a politician), his newsletter, his “Share Our Wealth” club, and his flamboyant Senate filibusters.

    Huey’s strength was the 99% voters who were in Huey’s corner because Huey delivered for them — roads, schools, progressive taxation, jobs, Glass-Steagall as we know it, and a free hospital. Trump has not delivered.

    Another Huey strength was forming temporary alliances and making deals to get legislation passed. Where is Trump’s alliance? The only significant legislation Trump has passed is TrumpCare which even his own base does not like.

    The only thing Huey and Trump have in common is they both campaigned as populists. But Huey delivered once in office, making him a real populist, not a demogogue. Trump is a demogogue who told voters what they wanted to hear but sold out once in office. Rallies won’t fix that.

    As a Huey fan, I had to set the record straight.

      1. s.n.

        Every Man a King…. and if he hadn’t been conveniently assassinated in 1935, maybe he’d have given FDR a run for his money in 1936? especially given his hook-up with Father Charles Coughlin…

        [what I really remember from that great fat three-inch-thick Huey Long biography by whatshisname that came out in 1972 or so is Huey carefully assessing the softness versus crinkliness of the paper to be used in his campaign handbills as he knew his voters would be using it later as toilet paper in their outhouses.]

        1. Roger Bigod

          T Harry Williams. Generations of LSU students took his courses and bragged about the experience for the rest of their lives. The art historian John Scully at Yale was a similar icon.
          T Harry’s step-daughter married into the banking family of the small town I grew up in, so I’ve long been aware of him.

          One of the interesting stories is Huey spending the day holding rallies in the town squares of small towns stirring up the folks with a down home accent, then returning to Baton Rouge and going to the LSU faculty club to discuss literature and history in faculty club English. Doesn’t sound like anyone we know.

          I don’t know about Huey’s time, but in later decades when the Long Machine was still going strong, someone noticed that no one at the Country Club had a kind word for the trashy Longs, but the upscale precinct where the members lived always went for them. Does sound familiar.

  24. RabidGandhi

    I couldn’t find a non-paywall version of the FT Brazil article (googling the headline, as usual, does not work), but the headline is very mild in view of the magnitude of the scandal. Not only was unelected president Temer recorded red-handed asking for bribes, but the same recordings also ensnared the opposition’s last presidential candidate, Aecio Neves.

    Personally, I think the oligarchs in Brazil couldn’t care less about Temer; they just want to ensure implementation of their auserity package (‘Bridge to the Future‘, which Temer twice admitted publicly was the real reason for Rousseff’s impeachment). They don’t care who implements the draconian roll-back of the PT’s social policies, so long as they get rolled back. This plays in with what I have been arguing about the argument of coruption in this latest chapter of South America’s political soap opera: corruption is never the issue; austerity is.

    That said, “corruption” is the hill the Brazilian media/establishment has chosen to die on, which will make this latest, bigger scandal hard to ‘splain away– even for media monopoly Globo who broke the story.

    Behind Temer, the clearest candidate to pick up the fallen flag of austerity would clearly have been Neves, but now that he too has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, the opposition bench is getting very thin. With Lula still by far the country’s most popular politician (in spite of or with the help of last week’s kangaroo court deposition of him), if this scandal were to bring down Temer, the only national-level austerity-friendly politician not thoroughly stained by scandal would be Jair Bolsonaro, who is roughly Donald Trump but without Trump’s civility and tolerance.

    In sum, while I personally don’t find corruption charges very interesting, this scandal is nevertheless gonna be yuge.

    1. Carolinian

      Hmmm….powerful media corporation seeks to oust president so the agenda of certain oligarchs won’t be threatened. What country were we talking about again?

      The Regime Change playbook is now global. It doesn’t matter if the target is in fact less than a paragon (Rousseff too?). The point is to show who’s in charge and, to paraphrase Carlin, it ain’t us.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I want to write about this here someday, but there is a very interesting (as in awful) trend down here that may apply in the US now that the Borg has encountered an intruder in the Oval Office. Namely, what we have seen in Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras (and to a less successful extent in Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina) is oligarchs using ostensibly democratic instutions to overturn election results. In this example, Brazil, Honduras and Paraguay are the weakest, because in all three of those countries the Establishment controls not only the press and the judiciary but also the legislative branch– which is also the case of the US. There, it is difficult for any leader who is even slightly anti-establishment to survive.

        The control of both the judiciary and the press turns out to be particularly powerful, as Malcom the Tenth once noted, “the media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses”. Thus the most effective check on the media’s power is a healthy judiciary, but if the judiciary is subject to the Establishment too, then the powerful can convict anyone they like in the court of public opinion and have that verdict confirmed institutionally by their supine justice system.

        This is the curent situation in Brazil and Argentina (see for example the bogus case right now vs. Lula) and it could very well be the method that finally takes down Trump. Jeremy Corbyn should be taking notes as well.

        1. a different chris

          >as Malcom the Tenth once noted, “the media’s the most powerful entity…

          Sigh Malcom wasn’t generally such a long-winded bore, I don’t think. :) But in this case the much better/simpler quote is: “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

      1. RabidGandhi

        Thanks MoiAussie, but even with that new titleI still can’t access the full FT article. If someone has a link I would much appreciate it. It may be my inferior Google-fu, but I do not think the “Google the headline” trick ever works with FT or WSJ.

        1. MoiAussie

          Google the headline in Google News always works for me with FT, but never with WSJ or Forbes. Sometimes you need to try a few different parts of the headline to find it.

          The address of the working FT page is exactly the same as Yves’ link, so it must be something to do with the page referral process, not the link address itself. Try searching from the box at the top of the Google News home page.

        2. hunkerdown

          If you’re visiting FT from Argentina, maybe there are some things you’re just not allowed to know. Try coming at them from an IP address geocoded to a “mature” economy, maybe.

  25. TK421

    Mr. Market Has a Sad

    Please communicate to us as if we are adults. I think we’ve earned that.

    1. diptherio

      Not to ruin it, but the childish tone is directed at “Mr. Market,” not at the readership. It’s an antidote to the overly serious tone in which the fortunes of gamblers and speculators are typically reported on in the mainstream press.

    2. clarky90

      Mr Market is sad because Mrs. Market is leaving him. What about the children? Their happy years together? The memories? I have tried to talk to Mr. Market, but he is in total despair. He just sits there sobbing

    3. clarky90

      Mr Market is sad. His mom (Mother Earth) is dying! The community blames Mr Market. Mr Market has been abusing his mother since his birth. He has committed uninterrupted physical and psychological assaults against Her. (Mother Earth is absolutely beautiful.)

      The awful part; Mr Market (a proudly, self absorbed psychopath) is not sad about his awful crimes towards his Mother. No, he is sad because he cannot change his own diapers, grow his own food, put on his clothes or build his own shelter. He cannot even make his own air. He thought he would be fine if he took “scientific” supplements, ate energy bars and had a bomb-proof bunker. It is not working. He is morbidly obese and his blood sugars are through the roof… He is at Death’s Door, in spite of his confident demeanor.

      Mr Market is sad (doomed)

    4. Oregoncharles

      Personally, I enjoy Lambert’s colorful but sarcastic language. This one is a NC slogan.

  26. vidimi

    re: the chinese insurance monster,

    i was talking to a friend with high-placed connections in one of the biggest chinese firms and he told me that the company sells insurance products with guaranteed annual returns of 10% or more. i don’t know the term of these products, but it certainly sounded like a ponzi scheme at the time. these companies bet on increasing growth to pay their existing obligations only these get bigger with time while the pool of suckers keeps shrinking. this will end badly, though the question is, will it destroy foreign investors as well as the chinese?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Xi is claiming that China is the guardian of globalization.

      Does he mean when their many ponzi schemes go, they will be globalized?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Anecdotally, 10% is considered normal in China for non-mainstream investments. When I ask Chinese friends about these they always get a little vague, just that its ‘an investment scheme I’m in….’. Even in a very high growth economy of course returns like that are, to put it mildly, questionable (and not least because the return seems remarkably similar every year). I’ve a strong suspicion there are many, many ponzi schemes underpinning local shadow and informal schemes in China, but we won’t know until they collapse.

      1. Jim Haygood

        In the late 1980s, several unlicensed deposit takers (a/k/a Ponzi schemes) grew to enormous size in Taiwan. Tacitly tolerated by the authorities, they had physical offices in major cities. They promised returns of 2 to 4 percent per month, which they expected to obtain in a stock market that was on its way to quintupling.

        Needless to say, their business model imploded in 1990 when the Nikkei, followed by the Taiex, suddenly began skiing headlong down the back side of the mountain.

        Since mainland Chinese stocks aren’t doing that great, presumably Chinese wealth management products are into leveraged real estate and subprime loans which may or may not be collateralized (and such collateral as there is may be fake or multiply pledged, too).

        As our dear old Uncle Warren says, when the tide goes out, we’ll find out who’s swimming naked.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Didn’t a massive Ponzi scheme lead to the overthrow of the Albanian government, or very nearly? That kind of destabilization in China would destabilize everybody (a core objection to globalization: no fire walls.)

    3. Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money

      re:The Chinese Insurance Monster

      When I read that article my Ponzar started pinging because of the pong, but I just couldn’t be bothered to comment until now.

      Enronic Ethos forEver and Everywhere?

      Pip Pip

    1. HotFlash

      My old memory doesn’t yield a name, but I am pretty sure I worked for that guy. Or maybe he was a prof?

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Don’t come over here
      Piss on my gate
      Save it
      Just keep it off of my wave…

      My Wave
      Soundgarden from Superunknown album

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ex-Baylor student sues school, says gang raped by football players Reuters (martha r)

    That’s not education for the student received in an educational institution, but disempowerment.

    On the other hand, those players need ‘real education,’ which they have not gotten, it seems (for everyone is innocent until proven otherwise).

  28. Eugene

    Although I loathe third-wayism I feel like the notion of the “radical center” could be useful if done correctly. It won’t be with neoliberals defining the concept; however, recall the Myerson/Matthews articles about reforms that millenials, conservative or otherwise, should be organizing, agitating, and voting for…

    That’s my kind of radical center.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Investigation Reveals That Walmart and Lowe’s Have Direct Links to Slave Labor Alternet. Wowsers


    Will cities remove their statues (in this case, store signs are the closest equivalents)?

    “We will not honor slavery here.”

    1. craazyboy

      It’s only the items marked “Ho-Hos” and they’re fully dressed and you can only take them out thru the 3rd shift checkout lane. This is after 10PM, normal censor time in most states, and Blue Laws are appropriately relaxed.

      ALDI does it in Germany too. They have a Oreo Bordello there. It’s called, “Die Haus Mit Ze Risen Sohn!”

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Special counsel appointed in Russia probe CNN (furzy)

    The question is title – what do we call him?

    The Russia czar?

    Why not? We have had the health czar, the drug czar, the afghan czar, etc.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A century after the glorious October Revolution, there is, again, a Russia czar.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    U.S. Yanks Scathing Report Blasting DHS for Catching Less than 1% of Visa Overstays Judicial Watch (SS). Judicial Watch has a hard-core right wing agenda, but they also have a reputation for not making stuff up. What this might suggest is that the Administration is loath to fan anti-immigrant fires now that it seems to be checked on key initiatives like The Wall and cracking down on sanctuary cities.

    Undocumented immigrants do need visas.

    Documented immigrants can stay as long as they want. They don’t overstay.

    Are we, then, talking about tourists, students, H1B visa holders, etc? Catching less than 1% is like not catching at all. I think something close to 90% would suggest a functioning visa program.

    1. Dave Chapman

      I have worked with various visa overstay cases, mostly in Silicon Valley.
      Typical were some French guys, college graduates, who had come over
      here on a “Disneyland Visa”. They liked Disneyland, and somebody had
      offered them a job writing software, so they had stayed. Technically, it
      is illegal to do this, but nobody was going to call the INS on them.
      (Obviously, they were not getting paid half, and this was a long time before
      the whole “hire an H1-B, lay off an American” thing became a social and
      political problem.
      Funny thing, for a while there, Borland (at the time a big software company)
      had a CEO who was an illegal immigrant, also a visa overstay.

      The main issue is that our attitudes have changed because of the fact that
      Americans are now being laid off, and because of the fact that many of the
      “Guest Workers” from India have a severe attitude problem.

      My take on the whole INS thing is that the Cheap Labor Lobby does not
      want to have the law enforced, and they have been getting what they want.

      1. polecat

        .. because Cheap Labor has their FANGS bared on policy, and they’ll draw blood if necessary !

  32. Indrid Cold

    Re: ESP

    This idea that our entire consciousness is entirely an epiphenonemon of electro-chemical processes in the brain is just based on a bogus epistemology. In the late 19th century, the engineers won the battle. Because, let’s face it, engineering gives us a lot of pretty things.
    The mechanistic ontology of Dawkins and those people is more a reaction to the intrusion of atavistic religion into our politics than any rigorously tested theory (like, evolution for instance).

    Also it’s worth noting that the ‘Men Who Stare At Goats’ thing was presented in a jokey way. Which underscores the current world view. Because we all know our government throws piles of money at stupid stuff. Sure. But read through all this. Look who it is throwing all this tax money around and why they’re doing it:

    1. RMO

      “This idea that our entire consciousness is entirely an epiphenonemon of electro-chemical processes in the brain is just based on a bogus epistemology. In the late 19th century, the engineers won the battle. Because, let’s face it, engineering gives us a lot of pretty things.”

      That’s the most verbose yet unpersuasive arguments against wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle I have ever heard :-)

      1. Mark P.

        ‘That’s the most verbose yet unpersuasive arguments against wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle I have ever heard.’


  33. Oregoncharles

    From the Paul Hawken interview on “100 Ways”: (not disagreeing with the emphasis on population control – which will happen, just not necessarily in such a nice way):

    “You can’t achieve drawdown unless you sequester [carbon], but right now the only way we know how to do it in a reliable way is photosynthesis.”

    There’s your soil storage and reforestation. The real reason it isn’t on the list, except by implication, is that not enough hard research has been done.

  34. mitzimuffin

    53. I’ve been pretty lucky; I thank my parents and 3 older bros for paving the way. Oh, and a very large, tight-knit Irish-American family.

  35. roxan

    For anyone seriously interested in psi/paranormal topics, this is a fascinating series of podcast interviews with top researchers, experiencers, remote viewers, etc.

    Shattered Reality! | A paranormal podcast with your hosts Kate …

    A paranormal podcast with your hosts Kate Valentine and Fahrusha.

  36. Vatch

    Apple starts assembling iPhones in India in play for the world’s fastest growing smartphone market TechCrunch

    There’s no mention of suicide prevention nets in the article. Is that an oversight by the author or by the Apple factory managers?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The author was probably awe struck by how genius those people were about when to best cut down bodhi trees for decorating their Indian HQ campus.

      “Only do it in January.”

  37. RMO

    63 for me too, though I live in Canada so that may change things. I really didn’t want to have some quiz tell me a Josh Groban song is my life soundtrack though. Jeez… couldn’t I have had something by Ride (something from the Nowhere album) or The Cramps? Maybe electric era Miles Davis?

  38. Juneau

    The older the doctor (medical specialists does not include surgeons, psychiatrists, pediatricians etc…) the higher the mortality rate of 65 and older patients discharged from the hosptial.

    This increased 30 day post discharge mortality trend starts after the age of 40 (for physicians).

    Most doctors finish training by age 30 or so give or take a couple of years.

    So we only have 10 good working years in inpatient medicine before we start deteriorating as a group. Docs seeing high volumes of patients were the exception. I wonder if demoralization, along with other issues, is a factor in this study which took place 2011 to 2014. Older docs don’t like the new system and didn’t train in it….oh well. One more reason to retire early.

  39. robnume

    74 for me. On CalPERS: I am not surprised about so much pension money being invested in Monsanto;it is UCSD, my husbands alma mater, who has made that damned “superalgae.” God only knows when and where they’re gonna release this GMO crap into the oceans, but make no mistake, release it they will.
    Zeus, release the Kraken!

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