Links 7/28/17

Heartbroken Pit Bull Cries After His Family Leaves Him In A Shelter Bored Panda. He was smart enough to get himself out of a high-kill shelter (what kind of creeps were his former humans?) and to look at himself in a mirror.

Heavier Rainfall Will Increase Water Pollution in the Future National Geographic

Critical Vulnerabilities Found in Nuke Plant Radiation Monitors Security Week

Scientists Build DNA From Scratch, Create New Bacteria Inquisitir (David L)


Canadian warships join “freedom of navigation” exercises in South China Sea WSWS. Micael baits our Canadian readers: “Is this why Rolling Stone asks why Trudeau can’t be POTUS instead?”

Another reason China’s adding troops on its border with North Korea Asia Times

British growth remains the slowest in the EU New Europe (Micael)

The Cartel: Collusion Between Germany’s Biggest Carmakers Der Speigel. Resilc: “Would nev/ahhhhhhh happen in USA USA.”

The Crisis Of The French Socialist Party: Does It Still Have A Future? Social Europe (Micael)


Labour, the Brexit chameleon Politico

BREXIT: Killing the goose that laid the golden egg Funds Europe

Grenfell Tower: Sixty blocks ‘fail new fire test’ BBC

Grenfell Tower: Council could be charged with corporate manslaughter Politico

Dear Professors Uribe-Teran and Vega-Garcia… Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

New Cold War

Former Georgian president Saakashvili could seek asylum in the US New Europe. Micael: “The dude that attacked Russia.”

Transatlantic fallout over Russian sanctions is dangerous Financial Times

How to Ease Europe’s Fears About the New U.S.-Russia Relationship Time. Do not read if you’ve just eaten.


Pakistan Prime Minister Ousted Over Panama Papers Case Wall Street Journal. Breaking as I was turning in. Hope readers can provide informed reactions in comments.

NATO’s New Libya Still Burning Near Eastern Outlook. Micael: “But darn you Libyans if you try to flee.”

Is Israel Losing the Syrian War? Defend Democracy

Turkey: The Wild Man At The Bosporus – Sick Democracy, Persecuted Trade Unions Social Europe (Micael)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites WSWS (Micael, Glenn F). NC traffic not affected, not because we are not on some sort of Google “deplorables” or “Bernie Bro” list, but because pretty much the only traffic we get from Google is people Googling “Naked Capitalism”.

North Korea Makes Hacking Into a Profit Center New York Times. Bill B: “Oddly, so does the American defense industry. To the tune of $70 billion a year:”

Imperial Collapse Watch

William Hartung, The Trillion-Dollar National Security Budget TomDispatch (Bill B)

Trade Traitors

Globalizers and global liars Dean Baker. Key bit:

… it is striking how the media slavishly follow the major features of recent trade agreements as the definition of “free trade,”…in spite of the fact that the deals were quite openly crafted in response to the demands of powerful industry groups who cared about advancing their profits, not abstract principles.

Facing trade war with Trump, Europe rediscovers its swagger Politico

Trump Transition

Interview with Michael Bloomberg: ‘We Should Help’ Donald Trump Der Spiegel (resilc)

Trump vs. Sessions: A One-Sided Twitter War Real News

The Rise of the Mini-Trumps Atlantic (resilc)

Boy Scouts apologise for Trump’s speech BBC

Senators Prepare Bill to Block Mueller Firing Daily Beast. Resilc: “The cracker backer bill of 2017, thank you for your service.”

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon New Yorker. Lambert: “So he didn’t know to take himself off the record?”

Boy Scouts apologise for Trump’s speech BBC

Bannon Has a Good Idea, Not That He’ll Do Anything About It New York Magazine (resilc)

Conservative Woman Publicly Humiliates Trump American Conservative. Resilc flags:

The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.

I dunno. Trump is a lot like the first big TV star from Queens: Archie Bunker. I don’t recall anyone saying he wasn’t masculine.

Elizabeth Warren Tears Apart Another Trump Nominee Vanity Fair

The White House has become the craziest reality show on TV New York Post (resilc)

Why the Trump dynasty will last sixteen years Edward Luttwak, Times Literary Supplement


CBO: 16 million more uninsured under GOP ‘skinny’ repeal The Hill

Senate defeats ObamaCare repeal measure The Hill

Intelligence chairman accuses Obama aides of hundreds of unmasking requests The Hill

With State Finances Shaky, Kansas Governor Prepares to Step Down New York Times (resilc)

Twitter’s stock plunges as user growth stalls ars technica

Come Fly the Unfriendly Skies Counterpunch. A rant v. United.

Venture Capital’s Secret Code Is Being Tested by Harassment Scandals Bloomberg

KKR’s earnings soar as fees increase Financial News (DO)

CalPERS: Investments Up, Governance Down … for the Count Tony Butka, LA CityWatch

CFPB to act fast on payday rule ahead of likely Cordray exit American Banker (J-LS). And why has the CFPB been sitting on this so long? Payday lenders aren’t a terribly powerful political constituency, while even the Pentagon has gone after them.

Amazon’s Expansion Costs Take a Toll as Profit Falls 77% Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Russia: Repudiation of debt at the heart of the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Micael: “So it takes a revolution? 4-part series about debt and the Russian revolutions.” Moi: Now don’t get ideas….

Black Executives Are Losing Ground at Some Big Banks Bloomberg

Beyond the Minimum Wage Debate: Let’s Move Toward a System That Works for All Truthout

Robotic Systems Disruption in Practice Global Guerrillas

Federal indictment charges Fiat Chrysler paid top UAW negotiator $1.2 million in bribes WSWS (Micael). So that’s how it’s done….

A World Without Poor People (Sort of) Ian Welsh (martha r)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus (hat tip Richard Smith). A shrew conga line!:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. UserFriendly

    McCain clearly took one for the team since he’s never going to be up for election again. The Question is who was the real senator forcing the 3rd vote? Clearly it was McConnell that orchestrated it, but for who? Flake, Heller or Capito? My hunch is Heller.

    1. Eudora Welty

      Back in 2008, I felt that McCain deliberately sabotaged his own campaign by selecting Palin, because he was so irritated/enraged/encroached by the pressures he was feeling from the Tea Party or that ilk of Republicans. It seemed patriotic to fall on his own sword, because he didn’t want to be president if he couldn’t pick his own VP, and likely couldn’t control his own agenda

      So, I see the same dynamic here. He comes back to DC with a brain tumor (high-level bad-a**ery) as the hero whose vote will make the difference, then switches gears and kills the thing! He put his thumb in the eye of the right-wing wing, once again.

      There’s also something here, metaphysically, related to the whole Sessions mess. Is Sessions a racist, or now has he redeemed himself? Black is white, white is black. McCain arrives as a hero, only to slay the evil bill.

      1. Darius

        Revenge served cold. Trump last year suggested McCain was a coward. Not a McCain fan but nicely played.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’ll disagree. This is McCain admitting he will be dead soon and won’t run again in 2022. The GOP has no interest in repealing ACA as its worked out for the party and their backers in the health industry. They never expected to win the White House. McCain doesn’t need to worry about a tea bagger insurgency. The question is what Republican was let off the hook by McCain. Collins was probably an obvious no. Murkowski has Alaska work conditions.

          Republicans who voted to repeal still get to carry the message to their voters who were never bothered by the daily repeals, and ACA will still have its problems which means Democrats who aren’t on the single payer train will continue to be blamed for the state of the healthcare system. Non voters who might have been motivated by a direct change to their lives by Washington won’t be motivated to help the Democrats anymore than they were in 2010 to the present especially as Healthcare prices continue to rise.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The unanimity of the opposition to Trump (universal across party lines and institutions) says to me that with all his outlandish and ridiculous flaws, he’s my man.

            Both parties are criminal enterprises expressly designed to oppose the interests of their (human) constituencies.

            And in the war between the White House/Congress against Langley I side with the former regardless of current occupants. Ditto the war with the presstitute media. Ditto the war with unprosecuted billionaire monopolists, we used to give the fruits of our labor to predatory companies, now we give them to one guy who pretends he’s making no profits so he pays no tribute for the upkeep of the country that protects him.

            Burn baby burn. It’s our only hope. Ashes are better than what we’ve got.

        2. dontknowitall

          McCain has been in the Senate a long time and he knows how they show special deference to senior senators who get out of their sick beds to vote specially if it is with a vengeful intention. McCain’s speech could have been a symphony of farts played with his pants around his ankles and still he would have gotten a standing ovation. He doesn’t care about any one us or our health care, this is about him and it has always been so.

          It is sad that he is taking advantage of the investments on health care and medical research of past generations and of the sacrifices of many cancer patients who died on hospital beds having volunteered to test experimental medications and he does not push one bit to honor those sacrifices.

          1. Mike

            Methinks it is time to play the compromise card…I believe all of you are right to some degree, and the prioritization of reason(s) we will never know because no one is in McCain’s mind. We were not in it in 2008, and we aren’t now.

            And thank Athena for that. Too much subtlety understanding your enemy is not good, unless you’re unseating them.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Was it John McCain, hero of the Republic, or was it widespread and sustained public pressure that forced the GOP to find three Senators who can safely vote “no”?

              This is too important to aspire to false “compromise”. It has to be right. John McCain’s record indicates he is not a hero, and there is ample evidence to show he is carrying water for the GOP which amazingly enough has had months to repeal ACA and still can’t get it right.

              We don’t have access to McCain’s brain which according to his own press office he does have with his recent health announcement, but we do have access to his career.

              1. Mike

                It was neither hero nor pressure for which we have evidence, and that’s all I’m saying here. WE attribute herosim or cave-ability to actions without consulting polls or even the perpetrator. Actions are far more important than spin, so we have to get busy defeating ALL these critters by bringing out their real record, NOT arguing incessantly over motives and underlying thoughts that have no meaning to those actions. Do you really care if McCain was hero or goat? Would you trust him or any a?? in Congress to lead your future government?

                As for it being “too” important, you can’t fight major media and their take on it. They will win. The important point is to get real people’s take on the subject and discuss it with them. To some degree, talking only on this site is like being in a bubble.

              2. Allegorio

                The ACA with its enormous subsidies to the Insurance Industry, was never going to be repealed by the Republicans. It is just a big dog and pony show to fool the fools one more time. “We tried but those damn Libtards stopped us again”

                More pablum for the politically short sided. As long as the electorate has someone to blame and punish on election day they are happy. They can now safely vote for the tough guy Republicans and Wall Street can still steal oodles of taxpayer money. Win, Win!

                John McCain, Hanoi Hannah, hero? Don’t make me nauseous. Remember the Liberty! McCain’s father Admiral McCain was the chief cover upper, hence John McCain’s hero status as far as the Corporate Media is concerned.

      2. marym

        Whatever his maverick-y reasons for the preliminary grandstanding and yes vote, and final no, there was a good outcome. However, on this issue it was Collins and Murkowski who stood up to their colleagues consistently and clearly. Murkowski is also standing up to the administration now on their threats to Alaska.

        As far as Sessions:

        He has provided legal backing for Trump’s extreme immigrations policies. He has argued that authorities can keep grandparents apart from their family when enforcing Trump’s controversial travel ban. He is laying the groundwork to crack down on the millions of people who use recreational marijuana in states where it is now legal. He has planned a crackdown on leakers and whistleblowers, while also refusing to rule out prosecuting news organizations directly for doing their job.

        He plans on essentially dismantling the vital civil rights division at the justice department and giving local police officers a free hand to continue to discriminate against African Americans. He wants to reverse the Obama-era policy on mandatory minimum sentences and press for still longer terms, whose impact is so extreme they are rightly seen as racist. Sessions has rejected scientific findings about improving the forensic evidence process that has led to countless innocent people being thrown in prison.

        On asset forfeiture he’s to the right of Clarence Thomas.

        Justice Clarence Thomas strongly suggested in April that he thought current civil-forfeiture policies could be unconstitutional. “Whether this Court’s treatment of the broad modern forfeiture practice can be justified by the narrow historical one is certainly worthy of consideration in greater detail,” he wrote in a statement on the Court’s decision not to take up a case, Leonard v. Texas, challenging the practice.

        Thomas ultimately agreed with his colleagues on procedural grounds. But he took the opportunity to list his concerns about civil forfeiture in general. “This system—where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use—has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses,” he noted, adding that law-enforcement agencies “frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings.”

        If Robert E. Lee and Hitler came back and deposed Trump, installed Clinton, and nuked Moscow, maybe the Clintonistas would embrace them too, but neither the fake maverick nor Sessions have redeemed themselves from their past.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think most of the people applauding McCain as some kind of statesman are simply the people who saw the word “maverick” and never bothered to do any kind of research on the man or read below the fold articles in newspapers preferring to rely on their gut. Wouldn’t politics be so easy if there was an enlightened Republican who could reason with his caucus to do good things? One of the Intercept writers tweeted that he believes people think McCain is Alan Alda’s character from the last season of The West Wing, the one who wanted to cut taxes on the rich but only if he could cut twice that much from the budget to pay down the debt.

          Despite years of McCain “betrayals” (his normal pattern of behavior), they will latch onto anything to pretend he wasn’t a compete sack of family blog. Its similar to Obama and Hillary worship. I imagine the “OMG Russia” crowd is the same group who thought Hillary was a barely adequate candidate. Both are bizarre and not supported by evidence.

          Trying to find an explanation for selecting Palin as McCain’s secret desire to not be President is…I’m stunned. There are two major explanations: one McCain is an idiot and two, McCain, the known womanizer who thought he could get some. “Oh no, Cindy, I’m working late with the VP.”

        2. Allegorio

          No the ACA is not a good thing. It is a massive corporate give away. It is further devastating the middle class. It is sucking the economy dry. You hear that sucking sound? As a supporter of a nationalized health care system, I would have preferred the Republican plan pass and the entire health care mafia collapse. The only way to get nationalized health care is to start from scratch. All the calls for bi-partisan fixes to ACA, which I am sure will not include a public option, will just perpetuate the looting of the American economy by Wall Street. Now that Main Street has been looted into bankruptcy, the only source of Wall Street graft is the US Treasury, and “health care subsidies” will line the pockets of the .001%. Repeal the ACA? Don’t make me laugh, the Republicans had no intention of repealing it. Wall Street would not let them. It was a big dog and pony show so that they can blame the Democrats again.

          John McCain knowing that he would not stand for re-election fell on his sword for his Republican and Wall Street buddies. Now all the Republicans can virtue signal how they tried to get rid of the ACA, but that darn Maverick, may he rest in peace, stopped us. No may the murderouos blow hard rot in hell. Remember the USS Liberty and McCain’s father’s role in covering it up. Treason anyone?

      3. XXYY

        With all due respect I think this is giving McCain way too much credit. My impression of the guy over several decades has been that he’s just an opportunist who can’t resist being in the spotlight, especially if he’s labeled a “hero” in the process. Any spotlight will do.

        If this base motivation led him to help squash the ACA repeal here (after, of course, “heroically” voting a couple of days ago to keep it alive), well and good.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Vignettes from Donnybrook [courtesy of CNN]:

      “I think John [McCain] is rightfully upset with the process and whatever he does, he’s earned the right to do it,” Senatrix Graham told reporters.

      Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranked Republican, came back with this quip: “I guess we ought to go back to Schoolhouse Rock.”

      Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and informed them that Murkowski’s opposition to the vote Tuesday to start debate “put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.” Murkowski chairs the panel that’s [sic] jurisdiction includes oversight of the Interior Department.

      Blackmail from lifelong easterner Trump to a western state whose land is predominantly owned and managed by the federal gov — yeah, that’s gonna go over well in the west! /sarc

      What we have now is total chaos, with a majority party that can’t govern and a president who’s not a team player. Onward to this fall’s government shutdown, after they can’t agree on a debt ceiling deal either.


      Might as well buy some more stocks … ah ha ha ha … it’s just another tequila sunrise.

    3. Pat

      Last chance to bask in the light of public attention. His staying home would have had the same effect without the hoopla, press or premature standing ovation from his fellow Senators.

      And in some ways it actually helps McConnell, Trump, etc as it makes the failure all about McCain rather than their inability to herd the lemmings over the cliff. There is every chance that it would have been allowed to fade away if McConnell knew he didn’t have the votes to get this far. (Which in some ways makes a better case for McCain revenge being motivated by McConnell hatred, if you went there.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The other side is no one outside of Washington cares about the circus aspect of DC. At the end of the day, non-voters who are the key to Democratic victory will go, “are my premiums affordable or not? Do I get reasonable care for this? Thats my co-pay?”

        McConnell is majority leader because the healthcare system was barbaric and ACA doesn’t deal with this, but the Democrats claimed ownership despite the predictions McConnell would lead the “party of no” to complete irrelevancy from the chattering class.

        Oh sure, some people might be motivated to watch record and rewatch Maddow hoping to really stick it to Trump, but it won’t motivate anyone to vote.

        As far as McConnell hate, McCain had real reasons to hate Shrub, but…

        1. Pat

          I honestly don’t think McCain’s motivation is sticking it to anyone. I’m not one who thinks revenge and vindictiveness fuel him. Nope imo, he needs, really needs approval and applause. And now that he has had a big old emotional sucker punch, he needs it even more.

          Most sane and well adjusted 80 year olds would focus on their health and their loved ones upon finding out they have serious and life threatening health issues. McCain rushes to put himself front and center in the political spotlight.

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      UserF, gotta admire your skepticism, especially in one so young ;-) But isn’t that retrospective determinism? I was watching on C-Span, and McConnell looked like he was gonna cry.

      Interested to hear your argument for his having masterminded this. To get Trump off his back?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Funny – maybe blubbering is a requirement now for Republican Congressional leadership (looking at you too Boehner!)?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I thought the focus on emotional outbursts was to distinguish new Republicans from their Blue Blood Episcopalian forbears. The modern GOP has to mimic the charismatic preachers of the day after working so hard to win over the Khristian flocks.

      1. UserFriendly

        Heller was gonna vote no but McConnell stopped him. McCain gave zero hints he had any problems with repeal in any form until hours before he voted. Collens and Murkowski have seats for life (especially after Murkowski won a write in the general after losing to a tea party nut in the primary) and don’t need the cover or the campaign funds that I’m sure the Kochs were threatening to pull from whoever would be #3. McConnell doesn’t give a rats ass about anything but keeping his senate majority so rather than risking the Kochs not funding Nevada next year he got McCain to take the hit.

    5. Scott

      Or it could be that McCain voted against it to spite the president and get favorable coverage from his base (the DC Press).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A true patriot.

        Next, he will defend the realm against those barbarian Russians.

        “There will not be another Fall of Acre.”

    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      About half the caucus. Murkowski is pretty close to state politics and has a state full of people on disability. She has to vote no. Collins plays a moderate on tv and relies on women voting for her to win. She has to vote no. Given the small populations, there is more room for chatter and access to these Senators.

      The GOP governors are worried for obvious reasons. During the years of ACA repeal votes, the GOP never actually came up with a plan for repeal or how it might happen especially since the various insurers and HMOs would tell them this. The Republicans never expected to win the White House, so it was always an empty promise. Given the legislation they have been voting on in recent days, they could have voted on this in January. I think the GOP hoped “OMG Russia” would distract their voters who bought the ACA repeal promises not really understanding the problems with healthcare or why ACA doesn’t address those problems. With the unhinged and hamfisted way “OMG Russia” has unfolded even Donald Trump who can’t seem to do much has managed to push ACA repeal because repealing ACA and magically fixing healthcare was a promise the GOP has made for seven years.

      Pharma, HMOs, and the Insurers don’t want a repeal. They are raking it in. Much was made of the Tea Baggers demise, but every Republican “yes” vote on TARP who was challenged by a Teabagger was replaced in the primary. The Republicans are aware of this. With so many Republicans these days given their actual representation in the larger population, losers are more likely to not get cushy-post elected life jobs.

      Then of course, Republicans know the key to Team Blue victory isn’t “moderate Republicans” (a bizarre fantasy of elite Democrats) but is non-voters becoming voters. Non-voters were ticked off in 2006 and 2008 and even in 2012 over both the treatment of Obama and voter suppression efforts. Why give Schumer an issue?

    7. Tooearly

      IMO it was beautifully scripted…McCain gets his swan song role as maverick hero,Pence/Trump get nothing but a middle of the night wake up, Republican Party gets associated with strong independent women, and the tea party crazies get nada.

    8. Vatch

      Since McCain is not a woman, maybe he will have to fight a duel against rotund Rep. Blake Farenthold.

  2. Corbin Dallas

    Re: Twitter.

    Its time for twitter to understand the rancid effect not just Trampy but all his followers, his army of trolls, the centrist libs (joy ann reid, peter dao) and so on, have had on the platform. I’ve used it much less than in the past, and have to curate it.

    Since around early 2016, the whole thing has become one big morass.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, it’s not the fault of Twitter that you follow the wrong people. It’s a fantastic platform for news updates and commentary. Lambert got all sorts of real time reactions and insights as the Senate was wrangling last night. There’s nothing like it. It’s problem is that it is much more of a public service than a commercial platform. It’s great for users.

      If you want to see a cesspool, go to 4Chan. Twitter is not that.

      1. Propertius

        If your deepest political insights can be expressed in a 140 characters or less, you should probably do everyone a favor and just keep them to yourself.

        150 characters, by my count, so I guess I’m safe.

        1. different clue

          ” If your best political thinking needs 140 characters or less to express, spare us the noise and keep it quiet.”

          There. 110 characters counting spaces. In danger?

  3. Terry Flynn

    I freely admit I’m not up on the nuances of American politics but wonder if the healthcare reform defeat might not bother Trump too much. He might genuinely be willing to wait to watch the ACA run into increasing difficulties (increases in adverse selection, as reported here – it’s not a viable long-term system), particularly if he is willing to take the risk it won’t become ‘obviously’ bad to his supporters (and be pinned on him) on a 4 year time frame.

    Plus it plays into his hands of the ‘swamp of Congress’ meme, even though lots of supporters might have been happy enough (presently) with the ACA. I wonder….others are probably more qualified to comment though.

    1. HBE

      Here in Minnesota rates are expected to climb 20% this year after a 59% increase last year.

      And nationally Aetna and other pullouts have left 31% of counties with only a single insurer in 2017. This number is going to continue to go up.

      More people are going to opt out of their insurance company subsidy payments, as rates continue to climb, and then even more companies are going to exit the market.

      One would have to be willfully blind not to see the ACA collapsing in upon itself. It’s so bad I see Trump benefiting a good deal from letting the ACA slowly collapse, in open view as it is.

      Single payer please.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Paying my ever more expensive health insurance premium every month has been educational. To me, when they get around to putting in Single Payer in California, some of that money should be counted toward our mandatory 40% spending on education*.

        And soon I hope. How many non-billionaires can cope with 20%. 30% plus annual increases?

        *In fact, any one matriculating in the school of hard knocks knows that everything in life is educational.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Another idea just as crack pot as classifying health care under education – sheltering homeless people in football stadiums.

          It was reported a few days ago that San Diego was working a plan for that.

          And let them grow organic vegetables at midfield.

          Another idea, maybe San Francisco can do it – let homeless people use restrooms in City Hall. The building belongs to the people. They should be able to relieve themselves there, and if possible, shower there too.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes, isn’t it “great” that we preserved the system that gave us stats like these.
          Burn baby burn

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect that part of his calculation is that he can say ‘hey, I tried, but I was let down by Congress’. This way he can claim credit for ‘trying’ to reform healthcare, without having to take any flack for when the ‘reform’ goes wrong.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Too many in the Versailles class don’t realize the importance of rising healthcare premiums.

          The Obama pronouncement of victory in 2011 because premiums rose at their slowest rate in 30 years was down right bizarre as people were sinking. It shows how out of touch they are. ACA will be a poison pill for Dems for years to come.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              So far it hasn’t hurt the GOP electoral prospects.

              They’ve blocked Medicaid expansions, blocked subsidies, and delayed implementation of various rules. They went from a rump party to running everything despite Obama’s personal popularity.

              Unless “OMG PUTIN” was behind 2010 and 2014 and the down ballot races in 2012, ACA hasn’t helped the Dems who once ran on fixing the healthcare system in 2008.


              Its important to know the dates of events because they often tell a story different than the propaganda or fantasies. I understand the appeal of the narrative that the GOP will simply self destruct or see the light. It absolves West Wing binge watchers from not lobbying their Congressmen or doing the actual field work necessary to win instead relying on corporate money to fill the gap. Its easy. It requires no participation. No LOTEs, no having to pick up the phone and call a Congressman’s office, or even having to think.

              The result of hope/fantasy politics is a triumphant GOP where Dems embrace the likes of David Frum and John McCain in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.

              Do you have evidence the GOP is being harmed by its bad stance on healthcare? Or is it a case of giving it just three more Friedman Units?

              1. witters

                I have a suspicion that this is another move of Trumpo genius, like getting the Sunni states to fight each other, and trying to get Europe back on its own political feet. ACA is now Dem all the way down.

    3. Beatrice

      Except a major reason Trump and the Republicans started with ACA repeal is they need the savings from gutting Medicaid to pay for the tax cuts they want to enact as tax reform.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe Bannon can help with this taxing those making over $5 million a year.

        And if that’s not enough, maybe even a wealth tax.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The GOP has made explicit promises about fighting Obamacare. Premiums are rising. Voters do hate broken promises, and this way the GOP can blame Murkowski (up for reelection in 2022), Collins (2020), and McCain (soon to be dead). Collins and Murkowski come from small states where they can work the voters if they need to. Collins survived 2008. She can pull the con in 2020 if she wants to.

        The Republicans know they are unpopular and have no business being more than a rump party. The Democrats are so corrupt they can’t back a winning issue such as single payer and will never campaign effectively against the GOP without a great deal of help. With no insurance cancellation notices directly caused by the GOP Congress, guess who will be blamed for the problems with Obama Care? The Democrats won’t be able to field local activists to save them because the activist types support single payer. The GOP knows this. They have a bunch better understanding of the American body politic.

  4. HotFlash

    Richard, thank you, shrew conga line/caravan is awesome. It is always good to start the day with one’s jaw on the keyboards. Nice broom, too.

    1. Pat

      I don’t know about conga line, struck me as more a version of the whip game skaters play. The poor last shrew was getting thrown off and having to get back on a lot.

        1. B1whois

          I feel like I could watch that shrew conga line all day. Especially that last guy getting flipped all over the place!

          Tomorrow is my father’s death anniversary, and I’m celebrating with a hit of acid. I wasn’t sure if it was working but the bonus antidote video confirmed that my planned celebration of my dad’s last day has begun. To be clear, I adored my Dad, John Houston XX, III.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            You triggered a great memory of expanding my consciousness back in the day (hello NSA, don’t get all worked up, this was 30 years ago). I mistakenly got all four of a four-way hit of blotter and it changed how I view the world forever. For the better. I recall watching peas roll off a fork with wonder, and sliding down a snow-encrusted hill, when I crashed a ray of sunlight threw a rainbow from a snow crystal that filled my eyes with the purest possible beauty of Nature.
            Happy trails, do us all a favor and don’t get behind the wheel

      1. Oregoncharles

        The whip effect is true of any line dance if it moves around the floor. It easily turns into a game.

        I noticed they didn’t actually lose Tail-end Charlie, though. And what about the one he was holding onto – with his teeth?

    2. Jen

      You know you’ve spent a lot of time on this site when you look at an antidote and immediately think “Richard Smith.”

      My all time favorite is still the naked cat with a parasol.

  5. EndOfTheWorld

    Yes, the House judiciary calling for second special counsel into Hill’s escapades. Why did this take so long?

    1. Pat

      Maybe they thought a Republican AG would actually investigate, instead of obsessing about marijuana (shades of Eric Holder and bankers versus medical marijuana dispensaries). /s

      1. NYPaul


        Why not have a Special Prosecutor appointed to (finally) fully investigate all the unanswered questions regarding The Clinton Family’s dubious history? The Media, certainly, has shown no inclination to do its duty. There seems to be a media blackout regarding: Debbie Wasserman Schultz / Imran Awan / The DNC / Smashed Hard Drives, Cell Phones, Blackberries / 30, 000 Deleted Emails / The Lynch/Comey Fix / Clinton Tarmac visit / John Podesta (too many tentacles to list) / The Clinton Charity Scams…….just for starters.

  6. Roger Smith

    Re: Twitter Plunge…

    When the new update hit that changed icons from squares to circles for no reason, twitter also implemented new feed functionality that took away the ability to read it chronologically. Gone are the days when you could hide “things you might like!” and “You may have missed!”. Now everything is an asynchronous mess of the same crap I already saw 1-2 days ago. There is no way to keep up with the info feed (which was why twitter was useful before) or to make sure you see posts from everyone you follow (unless you check them all individually). It is a total mess.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That IS true. Despite my defense of Twitter above I don’t like them putting 6-24 hour old tweets that got a lot of hits in my face. I want to see new stuff and I can seek out older stuff on my faves if I choose. I think that was disastrous. I use them a lot less than I used to, but Richard Smith and Lambert rely very very heavily on Twitter and swear by it.

      1. MoiAussie

        This, and related issues like google’s crapification of news and search functionality, are skirmishes or minor battles being waged in the ongoing war between infotainment providers and users to decide who controls what users see.

        Most users are happy enough with fairly limited control, while some aspire to see only what they seek out. Providers would be happy to feed users an endless stream of what they think they might be interested in and what is popular, but they realise that they can’t take away all control – so it becomes a case of pushing it as far as they can and then occasionally backing off when users scream too loud or go elsewhere. Governments and other interests are happy when they can twist the arms of providers to make access to unfavoured information difficult or impossible, and flood channels with the party line.

        The problem is worsened by the scale of some of the providers and the lack of viable alternatives. Some serious anti-trust actions are needed if the situation is to improve, but curbing interference to information flow is perhaps the bigger and more menacing problem.

        1. fresno dan

          July 28, 2017 at 9:33 am

          What is truly an OUTRAGE is Tumblr cutting me off from all my favorite…uh…er….artistic nature study photo links.
          “This Tumblr may contain sensitive media”
          So to continue my study of …nature…I have to give them my facebook (which I don’t have!) site or my google email with password. So I give them my google email address and password….AND it doesn’t work. I still don’t get access to any of the au natural photographs I desire…….
          au natural photographs want to be free!

          1. polecat

            “So I give them my google email and password” …

            BIG mistake senor dan … Now they have by the cajones .. er .. Calif. Nuts ‘al natural’ !! … ‘;]

            1. fresno dan

              July 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

              O-OH!!! your right….many people wouldn’t understand my studies of tentacled and non-tentacled lubricious relations….merely from the standpoint of fluid dynamics, of course….

      2. Roger Smith

        I definitely agree with its usefulness (or more so pre-update). I started using it for real in late 2015 and it was an amazingly simply and comprehensive way keep track of updating information (provided your feed is built well). It reminded me of those stock ticker machines spitting out all the tape in cartoons, just digital.

      3. Hana M

        I swear by Twitter as well. I follow only about 200 Twitter accounts and I prune regularly. I’ve created specialized lists of several hundred accounts that I don’t follow but check often. You can make the lists public or private I organize them by topic (oil/energy; mining; shipping/trade; international news sources; business news, etc.) It works like a charm and the feed is strictly chronological with no annoying Twtter pushes.

    2. howard nyc

      A couple of months ago, when some new and improved ‘functionality’ of twitter was foisted upon us, a friend suggested this:

      It was an outside company that twitter swallowed, and it provides a slightly different interface that allows chronologic reading of your followed streams. It is not perfect but I prefer it to the regular interface.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Canadian warships join “freedom of navigation” exercises in South China Sea WSWS. Micael baits our Canadian readers: “Is this why Rolling Stone asks why Trudeau can’t be POTUS instead?”

    Most terrifying for the Chinese, the UK has sent its two new aircraft carriers to join in. These are the aircraft carriers that are designed for the F-35B, the vertical take off version of the flying turkey, that won’t be operational until next year, and nobody actually knows when (if ever) they will be combat ready.

    1. ambrit

      Who knows what the Forbidden City has up its’ sleeve. I’d categorize the ‘New Silk Road’ project as Chinas’ most formidable “weapons system.” When it gets up and running, sea born cargoes will diminish in importance to the Eurasian heartland. China really doesn’t have to nobble the Japanese economy, through raw material and energy “restrictions,” to achieve its’ goals. The basic purpose of sea power is “force projection.” No one in their right mind would seriously consider landing troops on the Chinese mainland. Japan tried it a century ago and we eventually ended up with Communist China as a result.
      As to the South China Sea, and do notice that it is not called the Northern Gulf of Brunei or the North Philippine Sea, Japan tried the “Armoured Islands” scheme during WW2, and was soundly defeated both tactically and strategically therein.
      What could the West do to discommode China? Well, how about some covertly supported internal ‘Independence Movements?’ The Shan States, Tibet, and the Uighirs come to mind.
      Time for work. The worlds’ problems can wait.

      1. MtnLife

        I’m not sure that the armored islands tactic was a failure more than Japanese vs US military economic capabilities being highly unequal which led to insufficient support for those islands. Being cut off while assaulted by a force, at minimum IIRC (Peleliu), three times your size (Iwo was 5:1) that has total air and naval supremacy (or nearly anyways and any help from your own side at this point in the war is what they’ve scraped off the bottom of the barrel) isn’t really going to end well for anybody. The fact that they kept casualty numbers fairly even under those overwhelming conditions says a lot.

        1. DH

          Yamamoto knew that the US industrial might could overwhelm the Japanese over time. The Japanese were largely doomed once the carriers were not in Pearl Harbor on December 7 and the Americans broke the Japanese codes which led to the defeat and loss of Japanese carriers at Midway.

          If the Japanese had sunk carriers at Pearl Harbor and captured Midway, then they could probably have captured Pearl Harbor quickly afterwards. The Japanese might have been able to capture Australia and New Zealand after that due to their isolation and much of their military fighting in North Africa.The US would have had to attack the Japanese from the US mainland after that, which would have been a very tough slog compared to the actual Pacific War which was bad enough.

          1. gepay

            I believe Yamamoto said something like – we will run wild in the South Pacific for a year or so but the industrial capacity of the United States will overwhelm us. Knowing the Japanese naval codes was key as up till after WW2 knowing where the opposing naval ships were was more than half the battle. (Funny how all the carriers were away from Pearl Harbor that day) Knowing the codes also allowed the US to take out the plane Yamamoto was flying on.Surely a large loss to the Japanese – he was gifted in his field. The other key was that the Japanese somehow didn’t understand the value of oil. If they had destroyed the oil stored at Pearl harbor they would have hampered the US naval war for a year. They didn’t protect their merchant fleet so by the battle of Okinawa they sent the largest battleship in the world with only enough fuel to get there.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I remember a book where the author noted the difference in small arms and heavy weapons available to the Japanese on the islands. The Japanese grabbed everything they could at once, depositing troops everywhere, but because they had to invest in ships and planes, they could never build the machine guns, etc they needed to hold the islands. The Japanese could only function effectively against the Americans at division and three man unit levels. American brigades, companies, and platoons, just chewed up the Japanese which is why American casualties were so low given the general 3 to 1 classical casualty rate for offensive versus defensive actions. When the Japanese fought on the large scale or very small scale (when everyone is simply a rifleman), American casualty rates soared.

          1. DH

            The Japanese never developed a convoy system like what was used in the North Atlantic. They had single ships floating around in the Pacific throughout the war. As the US submarine fleet developed, they wiped out a huge amount of Japanese shipping. This was a large impact to the Japanese supply train, including to their forward bases on the Pacific Islands.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > The Japanese never developed a convoy system

              Military Misfortune has a case study on the United States and convoys:

              I wonder what the failure on the Japanese side was all about.

              1. gepay

                Japan was dominated by the military. They understood battles and their idea of military honor – surrendering was thought of as cowardice – they treated prisoners shamefully – they thought they deserved no respect. They had assassinated many of the progressive politicians in 20’s and 30s. They didn’t have a competent in charge of the economy like Speer that would have enlightened them. Yamamoto might have figured it out but he was killed. Germany understood the importance of oil. Japan didn’t. The US had Texas. It supplied the whole allied effort.

      2. DH

        The “New Silk Road” may be the best chance for Middle East peace. In order to have trading routes, they need to be relatively safe over very long distances. IEDs going off next to trains and roads or pirates capturing ships is not conducive to trade. Oil and gas wealth tends to be very concentrated in the hands of the few, but trading routes tend to have much more local support and wealth. So the locals may be more likely to turn against groups trying to disrupt trading routes than oil and gas fields .

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The Silk Road is very ancient, even pre-historic.

          Shang dynasty jades came from Hetian, close to Uzbekistan.

          Earlier, the people of Erlitou Culture (about 4,000 years ago) made turquoise-inlaid bronze plaques, sourcing the gemstone from, likely, Central Asia. The Harvard Museum has a couple of them. Those look like the predecessors of Roman and Greek mosaics. These people are thought to be the people of the legendary Xia dynasty.

      3. kurtismayfield

        The problem is that in the South China Sea China will have everyone against them.. no one wants them on those islands. If Trump’s long goal is to thwart Chinese dominance there he should have been wooing Vietnam, The Philippines, and Indonesia from day one. Heck that might be a reason for keeping the zombie TPP alive.

      4. Oregoncharles

        Yes, the islands are as much sitting ducks as any carrier, except they won’t sink – or move.

        Again: it’s all symbolic. China makes a ridiculous claim to the whole sea, which has already been rejected by the relevant world court, and the US does its thing by pointedly ignoring the claim. Neither side is going to carry it too far, because nukes. They have their uses. If Britain and India want to join in on the game, so much the better.

        Every time the Chinese complain, they look more ridiculous.

        As far as the ethnic minorities you mention, the US has already done that. The whole history is too sad for words, and very likely to come back to bite China in their first moment of weakness. I assume the people you mention, and more, are basically biding their time. (Tibet, back in the 50s, is the reason I often sound anti-China. They’re an empire, with a bloody history.)

    2. Bill Smith

      That should read “going to send” at some point in the next few years. The first carrier isn’t yet ready, the second carrier is many years away from being ready.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        No delays in delivery, let’s hope.

        From Wikipedia, the Dingyuan:

        The delivery of Dingyuan, sailed by a German crew, scheduled for 1884, but was stopped following a request from the French who were in the middle of a conflict with China which culminated with the Sino-French War (1884–1885). Dingyuan was a very powerful ship and would have drastically altered the balance of power in China’s favor had it and her sister ship been available at the time of the conflict.[1]

        How drastically?

        She was protected by an armoured belt 30 centimetres (12 in) thick, which was considered[who?] to be able to resist any naval artillery available at the time.

        It was

        an enlarged version of their Sachsen-class armoured frigates, which in terms of displacement, armour and armament would raise the Beiyang Fleet to an equal status with the fleets of the European powers stationed in the Far East

        Years later, when battling the Japanese navy, she was badly damaged by a torpedo and was scuttled by the soon-to-commit-suicide captain.

    3. River

      The F-35s are actually the ammunition for the world’s largest ship borne trebuchet.

      The flying turkey comment reminds me of the WKRP quote: “As God as my witness I swear I thought turkeys could fly!”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Need bigger turkeys.


        Jun 14, 2017 – The fossilised bone of a giant flying turkey (top) as compared with that of a regular turkey (bottom). The megapode birds lived during the Pleistocene era, between 1.6 million and 10,000 years ago.

        So, yes, turkeys can, or could, fly.

    4. Albacore

      Remember the last HMS Prince of Wales that was sent to the South China Sea. Another brilliant British strategy!

      1. gepay

        Billy Mitchell was courtmartialled for proving planes could sink a battlehip. Battleships with their large firepower were key until WW2 where they became turkeys. Carriers with the reach of airplanes were key. Technology moves on,now carriers are the most expensive turkeys in the world.Military men – always fighting the last war.

    5. clinical wasteman

      Not those mighty British aircraft carriers with no aircraft, then? Because, if I remember rightly, the super-Disruptive new planes wouldn’t fit on the ships? Not that I regret the lack of those most literal weapons of “from-above” class struggle if they really are missing. Having read Private Eye only intermittently lately I forget how that story eventually played out, but I do remember Frankie Boyle making great sport of it when Corbyn was ridiculed for some sort of awkward compromise plan involving scrapping Trident as nuclear strike system but keeping the Faslane base, converted to some overlapping purpose. Which reminds me in turn, when the fate of that base (not far from Glasgow) was a major point of contention in terms of Scottish independence, did anyone else suspect that it would have been well within Alex Salmond’s repertoire to refuse to host a new Trident arsenal while carefully not saying anything about handing over the old one?
      No, of course the world doesn’t need a new nuclear-armed power with a population of about 5 million, but the thought of neighbourly deterrence keeping England out of the next Libya or Serbia was momentarily a pleasant one. Until I remembered that deterrence wouldn’t work (short of a credible Scottish “first strike” threat), given that England has hardly has a record of compunction about laying waste to half of the territory of Scotland at a stroke.

    6. wilroncanada

      What?? The entire Canadian navy is in the South China Sea? I suppose they were towed there by the US destroyers, or did they get caught under the edge of an aircraft carrier?

      But on a more sober note, Mr Trudeau seems to be just about as toadying of the US as was his predecessor. They both have pretended to be independent by being more belligerent on foreign topics that many Canadians know little about, and of course our mainstream media spend much more of their energy on US policies than they do examining our own, so these so-called leaders get away with it. Lead by telling which way the bully is leaning, hen run on ahead so you can hold his coat.

      1. ambrit

        More importantly, has the Mars Face seen us recently? Maybe Hawking is right, the Zeta Reticulans are here, and “They Live!” is a documentary.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Trump is from Mars.

          But at times, he appears to be from Venus as well…perhaps only to some really masculine men.

          1. fresno dan

            July 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm

            Mars/Venus ….male/female
            Intersex??? Transsexual??? The banning of transsexuals in the military is subliminal self hate????


    Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice

    If we are interested in building the mass movements needed to destroy mass oppression, our movements must include people not like us, people with whom we will never fully agree, and people with whom we have conflict. That’s a much higher calling than railing at people from a distance and labeling them as wrong.

    1. TK421

      Great find! It definitely reads like the experience of someone who stepped right out of one authoritarian belief system and into another. I wonder if this person will ever find their way out of the morass (“cisheteropatriarchy”?) but I hope they do.

  9. Jim Haygood

    BBC Grenfell Tower article above:

    Intellectual property rights on the installation of cladding systems mean the identification of tower blocks affected by fire safety issues may not be made public.

    Gahhhh! *punches fist through the plaster board*

    Says who? While the details of curtain wall designs may well be proprietary, mere identification of where they were used is an urgent matter of public safety and should be challenged using open records laws.

  10. MoiAussie

    Critical Vulnerabilities Found in Nuke Plant Radiation Monitors

    It’s long past time for some substantial class actions against internet-connected device manufacturers who simply can’t be bothered to make them secure. Hardcoded backdoor admin passwords built-in, insecure communications links, or vulnerable web-based control interfaces, all these are eminently avoidable, but widespread not just in radiation monitors, but also security cameras, pumps, building management systems, elevators, door locks, … even some automobiles.

    Surely it’s possible to sue on the basis that substandard engineering constitutes a danger to the public (or to private profits, if that’s what it takes to have a case). Put some of the worst offenders out of business. Or do we have to wait for people to die?

    The cynical view would be that insecure devices are permitted because that’s what governments want.

    1. MoiAussie

      For a moment I thought the issue was individuals whose ethics was preventing them serving this government. Far from it, it’s actually their lack of ethics, in the form of their objections to transparency and divestment to avoid conflicts of interest, that is the problem.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Tom Daschle did have that tax problem when he was nominated for HHS. Even though Congress exempts itself from insider trading, I would imagine there are people who would prefer to not male these kinds of disclosures.

    2. Dikaios Logos

      Are you psychic?

      Kellyanne Conway recently purchased the largest private home in Washington, DC, one owned by a late Pakistani financier and former interim Prime Minister of Pakistan, Moeen Qureshi. Qureshi was tapped to be interim Prime Minister after Nawaz Sharif (the guy removed just now!) was forced aside by the Pakistan Army.

      Small, scary world!

  11. RenoDino

    Is Israel Losing the Syrian War? Defend Democracy

    Tille should be “Hezbollah Wins Again.”

  12. RenoDino

    Re: Twitter

    Twitter has the most lavish executive compensation program of any major tech startup in the last ten years. It has also made some of the most disastrous acquisitions during that same time period. Twitter’s platform problems pale in comparison to its management problems.

    Trump should nationalize it. For once, the intelligentia would send up a HUGE cheer.

    1. MoiAussie

      It should be replaced by something MUCH better. As a public good, ad-free, owned by its users, and controlled by an independent foundation whose members receive minimal compensation.

          1. MoiAussie

            The stock price is meaningless. Divide the cost of providing and continually improving the service by the number of users and it’s probably less than $10 per year per user.

  13. RenoDino

    Does McCain crawling out of his death bed to stick it to Trump qualify as Shakespearean? If not, I don’t know what does. He was wearing his fresh sutures like war metals on the Senate Floor basking in the glory of his fellow members full-throated adulation.

    Let’s not forget McCain is the one who is widely suspected of launching and circulating the Fusion Russian Dossier that is the basis for current Russian investigation. I have never seen a man more motivated by revenge. His vote had nothing to do with Health Care. It was all about restoring his Hero Legacy and taking down Trump, who cast doubt on his status as the Lion of the Senate and Hero of Heros.

    1. uncle tungsten

      “It was all about restoring his Hero Legacy and taking down Trump, who cast doubt on his status as the Lion of the Senate and Turd of turds.
      How’s that for a fix?

  14. Craig H.

    > pretty much the only traffic we get from Google is people Googling “Naked Capitalism”.

    I thought surely this was an exaggeration but I googled the first 5-* original topic I could think of, calpers, and you guys were not on the first five pages of search results. This is like a Chinese or Russian search engine performance.

    Elon Musk or Peter Thiel should take some of their spare change and make a search engine if they really want to take over the Valley.

    1. MoiAussie

      “calpers jelincic” has NC as the third result.
      “calpers benchmark” has NC as the fourth result.
      “calpers misfeasence” has NC as the TOP result.

      Making mr google work for you is a bit of an art.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I tried ‘calpers malfeasance’ on duckduckgo and NC came up about 8th.

        Again in duckduckgo ‘calpers misfeasance’ comes up #1 and 2 (once you exclude some bogus links that appear for reasons I don’t understand)

    2. Hana M

      A Bing search using just “calpers” has Naked Capitalism third on the news page. I’m finding Bing much more useful than Google these days. It’s now my default search engine.

    3. Cujo359

      Hmm. Just searching for “Calpers” at DuckDuckGo yields two pages of results, none from Naked Capitalism. There are a few articles from wire services, and one from Breitbart, of all things.

      If there’s a conspiracy, DDG is in on it…

      (Don’t feel bad, Yves. My blog never showed up there under any circumstances, even when I search for a phrase like “molestus hoc, ergo propter hoc”, which I’m pretty sure no one else ever uses…)

      1. Lord Koos is simply google without the tracking, so you can’t expect to get different results that way.

        1. MoiAussie

 is simply google without the tracking

          Proof please. DDG has its own crawler and “uses of ‘over 400’ sources including Yahoo Search BOSS, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, and Bing”. There’s no indication it uses Google at all, and I suspect Google would be suing the pants off anyone who tried that.

          1. Cujo359

            My conclusion, also. One of the reasons I use it is that there is far less clutter in its search results. There also is far less from blogs generally, which I suspect is one of they ways DDG avoids clutter.

    4. Richard

      I am now a duckduckgoer. This infuriates me. Yet another reason to praise NC; without our bloggers and this community, I would have been far less aware of this illegitimate exercise of corporate power.

  15. fresno dan

    DUBNER: As the founder of Vanguard, as the father of index-fund investing — how have you turned out financially? Are you worth billions and billions and billions?
    BOGLE: No, I’m not even worth a billion. They laugh at me. I’m not even worth $100 million. But I was never in this business to make a lot of money for myself. I’ve been nicely paid, particularly in the days when I was running the company, and I am not a spender. I buy a new sweater every once in awhile or a new shirt from L.L. Bean. My wife is the same way. We’re just not interested in things, toys. We’re very happy with our standard of living. We have a nice small house that we love. We have a wonderful family. At almost 88 years old, I might be the most blessed man in the United States of America.

    Where are the investors’ sweaters?
    (I couldn’t resist parodying the apocryphal story of a Wall Street broker showing off all the yachts of the firms’ partners, when the prospective client asked, “Where are the customers’ yachts?”

    Seriously, I hope Bogle has the finest cashmere sweaters with leather elbow patches that money can buy….

    1. Jim Haygood

      At his age, Bogle can afford to take up pipe smoking to perfect that distinguished professorial look he doubtless encountered whilst writing his famous thesis at Princeton.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Outside the big stripedy tent of Washington’s political circus/freak show, the “economy” lumbers on. Flash 2nd quarter GDP came in at a respectable 2.6%, about as expected. But more significant is this bit:

    The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price
    index increased 0.9 percent (appendix table A).

    PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure) is the Fedsters’ preferred inflation measure. Contrary to J-Yel’s unfounded speculation that inflation would rise to the Fed’s 2.0% target, both PCE measures are below 1.0% and falling. Ruh roh!

    So Wrong-way Janet is barricaded in her bunker in the Eccles building this morning, huddled with sidekick Stanley Mellon Fischer to gin up a new concept and new story to justify their idée fixe of normalization.

    The rate hikes will continue until inflation improves!

  17. wandering mind

    Senators Prepare Bill to Block Mueller Firing

    This brings to mind the fight between the Republican Congress and Andrew Johnson just after the Civil War, which eventually led to the first impeachment of a President.

    Like Trump, Andrew Johnson was a boorish oaf. He was also an unapologetic racist, a former slaveholder and, at least up until now, considered among the worst if not the worst President in history.

    One of the things Congress did in an attempt to control the direction of policy in the post-civil war south was to prohibit Johnson from removing the Secretary of War (and other officials appointed with the consent of the Senate) from office without first obtaining the consent of the senate.

    The concept that the Senate (or Congress) could veto an attempt by the executive to remove an officer of the executive branch was always contested by the Executive but was not ruled unconstitutional until 1926.

    Here are a few choice excerpts from Myers v. United States 272 U. S. 52, the case in question:

    “The President is empowered by the Constitution to remove any executive officer appointed by him by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and this power is not subject in its exercise to the assent of the Senate, nor can it be made so by an act of Congress.”

    “Removal of executive officials from office is an executive function; the power to remove, like the power to appoint, is part of “the Executive power,” — a conclusion which is confirmed by the obligation “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

    “Assuming the power of Congress to regulate removals as incidental to the exercise of its constitutional power to vest appointments of inferior officers in the heads of departments, certainly so long as Congress does not exercise that power, the power of removal must remain where the Constitution places it — with the President, as part of the executive power, in accordance with the legislative decision of 1789.”

    So, if Congress has something similar in mind, good luck to them.

  18. allan

    Laurene Powell Jobs’s Organization to Take Majority Stake in The Atlantic [NYT]

    Emerson Collective, the organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in The Atlantic magazine, with full ownership possible in the coming years.

    David G. Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media, will retain a minority stake and intends to continue running the magazine for the next three to five years. After that, Emerson Collective may purchase Mr. Bradley’s remaining interest.

    “While I will stay at the helm some years, the most consequential decision of my career now is behind me: Who next will take stewardship of this 160-year-old national treasure?” Mr. Bradley, 64, wrote in a note to employees. “To me, the answer, in the form of Laurene, feels incomparably right.” …

    Just as Jeff Bezos taking “stewardship” of the Washington Post feels incomparably right.
    After all, isn’t every plutocrat entitled to control a (formerly) major media outlet?

  19. Darn

    Re How to Ease Europe’s Fears About the New U.S.-Russia Relationship — anyone else getting a HALF PAGE video banner ad? Praise be to Yves for not crapifying this site that way

  20. Jim Haygood

    Another Obummer legacy bites the dust:

    The Treasury Department on Friday announced that it will begin to wind down the myRA program. A program created under the Obama administration, myRA was intended for people who don’t have workplace savings programs.

    The Treasury Department said the program, which cost nearly $70 million since it was created, was not cost effective. Participants in the myRA program are being notified of the upcoming changes, including information on moving their myRA savings to another Roth IRA. Some 20,000 people were enrolled in the program, according to media reports.

    Too bad there aren’t any bronze statues of the Peace Laureate that we could drone pull down.

    1. jrs

      Dems sure do things tiny even there. Only for those without a workspace savings programs? I don’t know the stats but I’d suspect most of those WITH workspace saving programs are getting zero matching or close to it. But they never even got this myRA option I guess because the bezzle I suppose. Not that any of these plans are great but it just shows how puny Dem plans are. It’s not just not increasing Social Security, it’s not even a savings incentive that will apply to most people, however little help they are getting from their employers.

  21. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Conservative Woman Publicly Humiliates Trump American Conservative.

    Not sure who should feel “humiliated” here, Trump or the “conservative woman” author.

    It sounded to me like she looked up the word “icky” in a thesaurus and started copying. Hardly an example of a “devastating rhetorical strike,” at least to my mind.

    Back in the good ole days when men were men like John Wayne and Gary Cooper, there used to be a saying that was drummed into every kid’s head–“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

    And then, of course, the ever popular “I’m rubber and you’re glue……..”

    Just sayin’, the quality of the presidency doesn’t seem to be the only thing that’s deteriorated lately.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People seem to be ruder, angrier (justified, depending on what we’re talking about), less patient (change that channel NOW. I have no time to get off the couch) these days.

      Every time I drive, I am reminded of that.

      I wonder if the quality of politeness has gone down in Japan as well.

    1. jrs

      focuses on the wrong thing, cost of a house, in L.A. the more relevant focus is rents (where at least 50% of the population rents, and those who don’t are often the elderly who bought years ago).

      But the two are related? Eh maybe, I don’t understand it all, but suffice to say they aren’t ALL THAT related, as in the last housing boom the cost of a house went way up, and rents went up somewhat, but not to this level of crazy, rents seem to have become positively unhinged from all fundamentals of what people can afford (as have housing prices but that is not as new – Dr Housing Bubble has chronicled the ridiculous price to buy in L.A. for over a decade – but the rents being so unhinged *IS* new). Hence the massive increases in homelessness.

      1. Cujo359

        Did rental prices drop after the 2007-8 crash? I’d guess that they didn’t, in contrast to real estate sales prices. That’s probably one reason that rents haven’t gone up as much.

        With all the money the Fed poured into the banks after the crash, it was actually more profitable to keep rental assets valued at their high values than to lower rents so people could pay them. I’ve seen that a lot in the commercial market, at least.

        For a brief time, I was hoping that the crash would at least bring rent and housing prices back to reasonable levels, but that clearly hasn’t happened. I think you can blame that on the “socialize the risk, privatize the profits” philosophy of the previous presidential administration.

        1. ewmayer

          At least in my area, rental prices did drop significantly due to the GFC. Moved to silicon valley in summer ’99, been living in the same 900sf 2br/2ba apartment (one of the larger and older of our local complexes, older is nice because it means there is appreciable greenspace) ever since. When I moved in, monthly rent was ~$1800. That rose steadily until ~2007 when it hit $2400. In the wake of the GFC it dropped back below $2000 for a year or two, but since then has been making uo for lost time – just got our latest lease renewal, up another 7% YoY to $3500. The madness has me rooting for the next global crash to come sooner rather than later.

        2. jrs

          From what I saw rental prices did drop some after the 2007-2008 crash. I think one of the points I was making is that since then rents have gone up as much as housing prices in percents, rent increases are known and of course often discussed but not in that post focusing on housing costs. Of course it’s cheaper to rent a 1 or 2 bedroom than buy a house, it was then, it is now, it is less space too, but if we’re talking percent increases, rents are on a tear.

          “Just 48.3 percent of households in Los Angeles and Orange counties lived in a home they own in the second quarter, the second lowest homeownership rate in the nation.”

          That’s why I say it’s not just housing prices, it’s not just about if one can buy the white picket fence (and half of those homes were probably bought 3-4 decades ago), but if one can afford a roof over their head at all.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How much is that tied to renters renting or taking in short term lodgers?

        Are more people able to buy a car now that they can make some money (not accounting for wear and tear) driving other people around?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A list of debtors too.

        So we can apply the lessons to today’s world.

        Should a 15-1 leveraged hedge fund be forgiven of its indebtedness?

        Should anyone go out and borrow as much as can to put in real estate now?

  22. Jim Haygood

    Marlboro Friday (April 2, 1993) deja vu:

    The Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced a new plan to lower the nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels. Because almost 90% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18, lowering nicotine levels could decrease the likelihood that future generations become addicted to cigarettes and allow more currently addicted smokers to quit, the FDA said.

    The news crushed the stock of cigarette producers including British American Tobacco BTI, -10.51%; Altria Group MO, -12.93%; and Philip Morris International PM, -3.55%.

    FDA head Scott Gottlieb is a Trump appointee. This action is not in character with industry-friendly Republicanism. Accordingly, one would expect some Congressional pushback … definitely from North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.

    Somehow the nine-lives tobacco industry always finds a way to wiggle out of political attacks. Should US tobacco lose its nicotine content, smuggling potent smokes from Canada could be as profitable as Canadian whiskey was for the Kennedys during Prohibition. ;-)

    1. Alex Morfesis

      But what if the addiction is not from the nicotine…cause and effect…look at the act and actions surrounding smoking…many if not most find it relaxing…

      then take a look at someone who uses breathing exercises to slow down and calm down…

      deep breath in….hold it…let it out…

      Yes…the ciggies will kill you…but the nicotine may not be why people enjoy smoking…

      Just some krazy notion from my dissertation at the bernaze institute of culinary deceptions…

    2. annenigma

      40 years ago I had a cigarette addiction. At one point I switched to low tar and nicotine thinking it would be less harmful, but then found I was smoking twice as much to get my fix. So I switched back to the stronger brands to save money. I eventually quit cold turkey after 3 attempts. I dreamed about smoking for at least another 10 years after that but never took another puff.

      Score another win for the tobacco companies. They’ll sell twice as many low nicotine cigarettes to people already addicted.

      1. jawbone

        Thank you for bringing this up. There have been studies on how filtered and “low nicotine” cigarettes did not do much to cut overall intake of nicotine and whatever else contributes to possible cancer. People were found to drag harder on filtered cigarettes and simply smoke more of the lower nicotine ones.

        And…I imagine the low nicotine will not cost less than regular nicotine, so win-win for Big Tobacco. Plus, they can pull out their old “these are safer for smokers” ads!

  23. dontknowitall

    Re: “[Trump] undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.”

    This little tirade from the American Conservative rag is, not surprisingly, coincidental with the news that the CIA is getting pulled out of the “moderate rebel” support business in Syria. As we know nothing is more masculine for a president than more wars. Good for Trump, and for us, that he chooses to be less masculine but maybe more sane.

    1. wilroncanada

      You think they are really being pulled out? Really?? Would you like a bridge, pre-owned but with only a few rail missing?

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Scientists Build DNA From Scratch, Create New Bacteria Inquisitir (David L)

    Today’s best explanation is that we will be OK, that this new bacteria poses no threat.

    Hopefully or unfortunately, it is implicitly implied that tomorrow, there will be a new explanation (You can judge yourself whether it is better or worse, new as it will be).

  25. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela’s bolivar currency is sinking like a stone — 10,389 per US dollar today, versus in the 9,000s earlier this week — as third parties prepare for the country’s meltdown into violent dictatorship:

    CARACAS (Reuters) – The U.S. government ordered family members of employees at its embassy in Venezuela to leave on Thursday as a political crisis deepened ahead of a controversial vote critics contend will end democracy in the oil-rich country.

    Violence continued to rage on the street, with another seven people killed during the latest opposition-led strike against President Nicolas Maduro’s planned election for a powerful new Constituent Assembly on Sunday.

    Adding to Venezuela’s growing international isolation, Colombian airline Avianca suddenly stopped operations in the country on Thursday due to “operational and security limitations”.

    Maduro’s sham “constituent” election, with voting representation wildly gerrymandered to favor his rural constituents, is scheduled for Sunday July 30th.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are you saying stones can’t be currencies, or just they can’t be worthy currencies?

      What about limestone discs?

      1. gepay

        Israel really wants the US to go to war with Iran. it almost happened at the end of the baby Bush admin. Obama did a good thing to make the deal with Iran – granted that the sanctions shouldn’t have been there in the first place – better something than nothing. Flynn was definitely anti-Iran so his leaving was a good thing. But there’s 80 million people in Iran and many of them want the government they have. Possibly all this blather about N Korea (no oil in Korea though),and RussIa (Russia has a real military with nukes and an airforce) is to distract us while “they” get ready for regime change in Venezuela. A real prize with loads of oil that is the type the refineries in the Gulf Coast are built to refine. “”They could run all that oil down to the Gulf Coast,” the Genscape analyst said. “Those refineries are set up to take the heavy quality crude.” Different qualities in crude oil require refineries to be set up for them. Venezuela has heavy crude. It also has a resident oligarchy only to happy to be a puppet for the US.

    2. clinical wasteman

      or perhaps: “as third parties prepare the country’s meltdown into violent dictatorship”, with themselves as the aspiring dictators?

    1. Fool

      Related…I genuinely wonder how Naked Capitalism gets de-emphasized by Google’s algo, but Zero Hedge — the paranoid schizophrenic Naked Capitalism — is quite prominently displayed.

      1. jrs

        the Naked Capitalism populated not just by right-wingers but some of the most deranged ones ….

      2. Massinissa

        Remember folks, to save yourselves from the upcoming economic collapse, all you need to do is buy large stacks of gold coins!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Gold is good for surviving regime change.

          That paper money with Saddam’s face on it, or with Gadaffi’s, was not very durable.

          When the Red Army arrived, was it better to buy off Ivan with paper money printed with a mustached leader, or gold?

      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        Google is objectively pro-crank. Nothing like looking up something obscure and realizing you need to go to page 5 before you’ll get past the mouthbreathing.

        In the form of internet rules: If misinformation on it exists, Google will give it a great page rank.

    2. Alex Morfesis

      Yellow kid gave the world yellow journalism…maybe a trademarked character 4 nc…??

      Auntie Algo ??

      Cups…tshirts…screen savers…bumper stickers…window stickers…

      If I can put up with every third car having a saltlife sticker in the window down here…


      and then a few years later after overexposure at the dollar store next to the leftover qwackdynasty stuff

  26. Tim

    Scientists Build DNA From Scratch, Create New Bacteria Inquisitir (David L)

    And we thought it was Nanotechnology that would leave our planet covered in an ocean of grey goop. The gods of our age will surely beat them to the punch.

    We as a humanity have a lot of smarts, I’m not worried about that, but I think our wisdom is not strong enough to rein in that smarts to prevent our self destruction.

    1. Old Jake

      Oh, I think the planet is already covered by nano-goo, it’s just not grey it’s green. /s

    1. Buttinsky

      Just to clarify the news story (an update was added to it): It is the Riverside District Attorney who is making this claim. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla claims there’s no evidence of any such thing.

  27. Old Jake

    DNA may be a very effective nanotechnology. Sure there is a lot of research needed to work out how the machines it builds in nature work sufficiently to engineer some custom versions, but compared to inventing from whole cloth it is much further along, and it comes with an enormous – though currently undocumented – API.

  28. robnume

    I believe I read about a shake-up at Vice news here on NC a few days ago. Last night while channel surfing I came across HBO’s latest Vice News offering: Vice Special Report: A World in Disarray. Examines foreign policies shaping the modern world: starring Condoleeza Rice, Ashton Carter, Tony Blair and Richard Haas. Ugh!! I hadn’t the guts to actually watch the thing owing to my unwillingness to sit through neolibcon warmongering justifications one more time. Good to know that HBO is doing its part for the never ending wars effort.

  29. Plenue

    >How to Ease Europe’s Fears About the New U.S.-Russia Relationship Time

    I do so love ‘Putin as Bond villain’ articles.

  30. Oregoncharles

    I sent the WSWS article on Google to a couple of local lists, and got very skeptical responses from the local news geeks:
    “Interesting. I just tried it using google and had no troubles getting it. In fact, it was the first hit on the list. If I type “socialist news, it’s second on the list.”
    “That’s because WSWS is not a reliable source of information. Of course their traffic dropped.”
    “More realistically, Alexa rankings include non-political sites. A comparison with a control group such as mainstream and right wing sources would have made their position at last partly credible.

    After the election, all political topics naturally waned.”

    personally, I don’t use Google and don’t really care. My wife does use them, and complains bitterly.

  31. Roland

    I find that most discussion of Japanese grand strategy in 1941 neglects consideration of the events then taking place in the big war between Germany and the USSR.

    Japan’s gov’t made the final decision to go to war against the USA, UK, and Netherlands in Sept. 1941 (it would then take about 10 weeks for their various forces to deploy for the December offensives).

    The key to the entire world situation in 1941 was whether or not the USSR would collapse. In Sept. 1941, when the Japanese were deciding for war, Soviet fortunes were at their nadir.

    If USSR collapses in 1941, then the production gap between the USA and Japan would no longer have been very important. In the event of Soviet collapse, the European and Middle Eastern situations would have become so desperate that the USA would have had little shipping tonnage to spare for trans-Pacific operations.

    Under that scenario, Japan would have a fair chance of scoring some quick conquests, and then being able to consolidate a network of fortified naval and air bases with which to defend them.

    The Japanese strategy was by no means irrational, but it did rely on a major geopolitical assumption, which, rational as it may have seemed at the time, nevertheless proved to be incorrect.

    Few of the Japanese leaders were keen to take the risk of another war, larger than the war that they were already fighting in China.

    However, earlier in 1941 the USA, UK, and Netherlands had combined to place a strict embargo on Japan, and were demanding a total Japanese withdrawal from Indochina, China and Manchuria.

    Japan had a stockpile of strategic imported materials, sufficient for about a year. But at the end of that year, nothing would remain but for Japan to capitulate.

    In other words, in the face of the sanctions imposed and the political demands made by other powers, Japan could either risk defeat in a major war, or accept a major defeat without risking a war.

    You don’t have to be sympathetic with either the aims or methods of Japanese imperialism, to acknowledge that the Anglo-Dutch-American demands in 1941 were bellicose, and purposely designed to push the Japanese government into a corner.

    What is somewhat surprising is that, having played brinkmanship, that the UK and USA weren’t at least a bit better prepared for the outbreak of war in the Pacific. Perhaps the overall correlation of forces made them complacent. I think the British and American high commands failed to consider that the Japanese would dare to divide their forces to the degree necessary to simultaneously attack many points, all widely separated.

    On the part of the Japanese the whole offensive scheme was not only daring, but also a logistical tour de force. Maybe it’s not surprising that their enemies were so surprised.e

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