Links 8/11/17

Black swan at Bavarian palace seeks partner DW (Margarita)

Chimpanzees learn rock-paper-scissors PhysOrg (Robert M)

Wandering shaman ‘mistaken’ for Bigfoot in North Carolina BBC

Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year Guardian (resilc)

As transit ridership dips, people flock to L.A.’s new train lines. Grist


Alibaba’s (BABA) “cashless week” to boost mobile payments is worrying China’s central bank Quartz

Dueling ports underline China-India rivalry Asia Times (resilc)

North Korea

Trump Intensifies Warnings to North Korea on Missile Threat Bloomberg

On the New United Nations SC Sanctions Against North Korea Near Eastern Outlook (micael)

It’s Time To Support Your President, America Ilargi. And he makes clear he is definitely not a Trump fan.

Korea takes first step to introduce ‘robot tax’ Korea Times

U.S. conducting criminal probe focused on Malaysia 1MDB’s stolen funds Reuters

Why a Franco-German bargain will help secure the euro Financial Times. A push is on. A similar op-ed ran in Le Monde:
Des économistes européens appellent l’Europe à se réformer. Randy Wray’s take via e-mail”

Yes, all the bases are wrong-headed: market discipline, transfers, technocratic, sound policies. Should be full employment, growth, new demand, and functional.


Why the US deliberately ignores the political nature of the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia failed evolution

Gulf Government Gave Secret $20 Million Gift To D.C. Think Tank Intercept (resilc)

Netanyahu’s Billionaire Backer May Help Bring Him Down Real News Network

New Cold War

Ships fooled in GPS spoofing attack suggest Russian cyberweapon New Scientist (Robert M)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Even Americans Are Now Demanding the Closure of US Military Installations Across the Globe Near Eastern Outlook (micael)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

ACLU: Absent warrant standard, police could monitor anyone via location data are technica (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Trump Says He Hasn’t Considered Firing Mueller Despite Scorn Bloomberg

President Trump Thanks Russia for Expelling American Diplomats C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Trump set to declare opioid crisis national emergency Financial Times

The coal industry is still declining, so Trump is considering a bailout. Grist

Is Mike Pence the “Deep State” That Trump Fears? New Republic (resilc)

Almost All of FCC’s New Advisory Panel Works for Telecoms Daily Beast (resilc)

Federal Court Nixes Environmental Law Trump Actually Supports Real News Network (UserFriendly)

While Some Communities Become Sanctuaries, Others Are Happy To Help With Trump’s Immigration Crackdown FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Failed health reform puts McConnell in Trump’s sights Financial Times

CVS Health Is Sued Over ‘Clawbacks’ of Prescription Drug Co-Pays Bloomberg

Americans Pay More For Prescription Drugs Because Our Politicians Take Bribes From Pharmaceutical Companies Howie Klein (RR)

Avik Roy Claims Reagan Embraced Universal Health Care Coverage Econospeak

The Two Faces of Kamala Harris Jacobin (UserFriendly. Sticks the shiv in surgically and then twists. Your humble blogger is among the many quoted on how her record

Message Failure From Nina Turner and Our Revolution Washington Monthly. Awfully eager to declare failure based on a single tactical error…

Why the Democratic Socialists of America Vote for BDS Is a Turning Point in American Left Politics Alternet (Sid S)

The Congressional Map Has A Record-Setting Bias Against Democrats FiveThirtyEight

New McCarthyism

Haha, a first! Neera Tanden tongue-tied on Twitter. As Lambert said: “Now we know that Nation article on the DNC hack is serious.”

Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don’t Buy the Russia Story Bloomberg. This is a big deal. Bershidky is unquestionably anti-Putin.

The Russia-Did-It Certitude Challenged Consortium News

Asking our tech guys if this affects us. Click on the tweet and scroll down to read more examples. I suspect it does even if not directly. Recall that according to a Google spokesperson, one of the purposes of the April algo change was to downgrade “upsetting” content. Apparently saying anything critical, even of Hitler = “upsetting”.

Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ? Mike Kreiger (micael)

Number of Americans Caught Underpaying Some Taxes Surges 40% Wall Street Journal

US retailers’ shares take another lurch down Financial Times

U.S. economic expansion to last another two years or more: Reuters poll Reuters

Who Is Winning With the Fiduciary Rule? Wall Street Wall Street Journal

CalPERS is Having an Election – And What You and I Can Do About It! Tony Butka, CityWatch

Guillotine Watch

The Fascinating Story Behind America’s Most Expensive Home Vanity Fair (J-LS). The press can’t get enough of this house.

Class Warfare

ZeroBin. On the Google firing. Wish I had written this.

James Damore has an ‘above decent’ chance of winning his legal case against Google Business Insider. Litigation is a crapshoot plus Google is going to pile high priced talent all over this. Plus even though Damore claimed he wanted to help women, there is decades of research (search on “expectancy theory” that his negative remarks about women’s supposed biological inferiority is detrimental to women’s performance in and of itself. Moreover, normally a lot depends on how well the company firing the person papered up the record, and exactly what they said when they gave him the heave-ho. However, both Damore and Google execs made shockingly lame public statements when the story broke, and I’m not sure how those net out.

LESSONS FROM CHOMSKY Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

More Silicon Valley tech workers were born outside the US than in it Quartz

Malls and restaurants schedule workers at the last minute. Oregon just made that illegal. Slate (resilc)

Do Businesses Need Foreign Workers? Martha’s Vineyard Is Finding Out Wall Street Journal

Populism for Plutocrats Jacobin (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Robert H, from Vinalhaven Sightings):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Re: the Google firing. Why is this still an issue?
    Here is something to think about. Suppose you were this guy’s boss and you found out he wrote this manifest. Just what the hell do you do with him?
    You cannot use him to conduct job interviews as you will be never be sure that he is recruiting the best talent for Google or only those that he feels comfortable to work with. It would be difficult to assign him female co-workers or especially female workers under him as that would be the legal equivalent of tap-dancing in a mine-field. The words ‘toxic work environment’ come to mind here. His career path has now led off a cliff.
    If you don’t want to work with women then don’t apply for the job that has women in it. If you commit yourself to an action then you must be prepared for the consequences of that action. How hard is this to work out? Does he expect sympathy? As the doctor told the wounded marine in WW2; “Son, there’s only one place you will find sympathy and that is in the dictionary – right between s*** and syphilis!”

    1. CitizenSissy

      Seconded. Snickering at the outrage leveled by the “constitution-loving” conservatives, ordinarily foursquare on the side of private sector employers to do whatever the hell they want. Where was their outrage at purges of union-sympathizing employees (which is a cottage industry in itself) during organizing drives? Hear the crickets.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        ‘Xactly. Every time I get fed up with hissy-fittting pontificators on ‘the Left’ and get to thinking they’re the worstest……. we get to see the intellectual Right at its finest.

        I believe the writer of that memo knows he’s toast under any review; Google had both the right to let him go, and the legal cover to do so. He’s just angling for wing nut welfare at this point. His literacy is sufficient to net him a post in some think tank, and on many right wing talk circuits. He’ll be moaning for pay on talk radio for the next 2 years if he wants.

    2. Ranger Rick

      I propose a reverse tautology: this is an issue because it’s regularly expressed as not an issue.

    3. TK421

      You don’t quite understand what he wrote. He doesn’t think women are incapable of being engineers. Rather, he believes diversity initiatives are wrong-headed because most women don’t want to be engineers.

      Let’s take your thought and expand it: the primary purpose of a corporation is to generate profit, at the expense of all else. In fact they are legally obliged to do so. Now, liberals generally believe generating profit is not the most important thing for any organization. So I suppose a corporation would be justified in purging itself of liberals?

      1. Odysseus

        liberals generally believe generating profit is not the most important thing for any organization.

        Nonsense, of course. *A* profit is completely different than *maximum* profits. All corporations should strive to be profitable. That does not excuse short term behavior that damages long term results.

      2. jrs

        I agree with the first statement that he didn’t argue they were incapable *very much*, except for the “men systematize” bit, but I will definitely grant that it wasn’t most of the argument. I even agree that his suggested improvements to tech workplaces would be real improvements IMO, just they would never happen – work life balance, more social interaction at work and less isolation, less ahem size contests (uh I mean “competition”).

        But I don’t even know what you are saying in the second paragraph. I think people believe that corporations should be held accountable for their externalities, and some believe that workers rights and issues should be represented in corporations (whether through unionization, straight out legislation or worker ownership). A lot of the problems with work are probably straight out dis-empowerment of workers problems. How this equates to purging liberals I don’t even know. Besides look truth is in a white collar environment it’s safer if people think you are somewhat conservative. Who openly talks politics at work? Those who complain about taxes and too much government. Boy are they annoying! Who doesn’t? Well you don’t want to argue against say corporations at work for sure, it would be ahem unwise.

      3. justanotherprogressive

        I read the letter quite differently, but you are entitled to your own view too……
        But that’s not really the issue here, is it?

        If this person had said this under his own name only, we would have all said: “Pfft, yea, OK, whatever” and left it at that. But the fact is that in order to get his 15 minutes of fame for his own views, he invoked his employer – and his employer does NOT share his views (at least, on paper)…..that is the problem! Read the link from ZeroBin… is right on the point…..

      4. nowhere

        [T]he primary purpose of a corporation is to generate profit, at the expense of all else. In fact they are legally obliged to do so.

        Isn’t this one of those zombie lies?

        There are no statutes that put the shareholder at the top of the corporate priority list. In most states, corporations can be formed for any lawful purpose. Cornell University law professor Lynn Stout has been looking for years for a corporate charter that even mentions maximizing profits or share price. She hasn’t found one.

        Nor does the law require, as many believe, that executives and directors owe a special fiduciary duty to shareholders. The fiduciary duty, in fact, is owed simply to the corporation, which is owned by no one, just as you and I are owned by no one — we are all “persons” in the eyes of the law. Shareholders, however, have a contractual claim to the “residual value” of the corporation once all its other obligations have been satisfied — and even then directors are given wide latitude to make whatever use of that residual value they choose, as long they’re not stealing it for themselves.

        It is true that only shareholders have the power to select a corporation’s directors. But it requires the peculiar imagination of a corporate lawyer to leap from that to a broad mandate that those directors have a duty to put the interests of shareholders above all others.

      5. PinkFlamingo

        “he believes diversity initiatives are wrong-headed because most women don’t want to be engineers”

        That is also incorrect. He does not say that “most” women do not want to be engineers. He says that fewer women than men want to be engineers, with significant overlap between the populations. They are two heavily-overlapped distributions.

        As an engineer myself, I can tell you that I would love to see a survey of male engineers who dislike what they are doing or would prefer to do something else. From what I can tell, if it did not pay as well as it (generally) does, you would find less men in it because many men I know are fairly unhappy in this field.

        1. jrs

          And why are they unhappy?

          It is possible they are unhappy for the reasons listed there as reasons women are unhappy in the workplace in his view! Although there is no shortage of reasons the workplace experience can go badly, a full list would be long indeed.

          1. PinkFlamingo

            The reasons why men are unhappy in the field probably has plenty of overlap with why women are unhappy in, or avoid the field. Socially, there is still very much an expectation of men being “breadwinners” and it seems pretty obvious that many men do jobs they hate to fulfill that role. Likewise, many women also work jobs that they otherwise would not if the economic need was not present. Are social factors the ONLY factors at play? I do not think that it has been proven to be the case, although many of the academic fields springing from the post-modernist school of thought seem to argue to argue so (largely on the basis of opinions rather than proper scientific evidence, since there is no objective reality in their view or maybe because most factual evidence seems to indicate that they are wrong).

      6. Oregoncharles

        Damore uses a questionable premise. My son works at an engineering firm, which shall remain nameless, for engineers. A high proportion, and some of the best, are women. As are a number of the techs.

        Even if there were a skew in aptitudes or desires, engineering is not out on the tail of the distribution, where such skews would show up. I’m guessing that applies to software engineering, too, especially since there were women among the pioneers. It’s applied technology, not theoretical physics (and there are some women in the latter, as well.)

        The real issues for women in workplaces have to do with babies. Ideally, new mothers would take roughly a year out, followed by the new father, if available. Sometimes they need time off before having the baby – I just talked with one that was very sick for the first trimester. Her employer was understanding, but I don’t think we can count on all employers taking that attitude. Nor does everyone have a husband with a good salary.

        We’ve introduced millions of women into workplaces originally designed for men without figuring out how that’s going to be compatible with reproducing the species. Lost time and continuity are big factors in women’s lower pay, etc.

        That’s a problem we really need to solve, and the proposed solutions I’ve seen didn’t really cut it. It’s a project for the current generation. It might help to make workplaces more flexible for everyone – sabbaticals, maybe?

        1. jrs

          That is actually one of the things Damore mentions, work-life balance or what have you and woman not wanting to work 24/7 and it being an issue if they have kids anyway (or do any elder caretaking of course). Now some women want to work full time even with young kids of course and noone should stop them, and I guess we all see what we want to see and emphasize what we wish in an essay like that, but I saw the call to work-life balance, the need to open up more part-time positions etc..

          Now being that brutal American capitalism *IS* brutal American capitalism (and afterall some tech workplaces got their reputation on ridiculous hours), that isn’t really a replacement for diversity programs aimed at women or anyone else in the actual here and now. But more support for part-time work (and get healthcare out of being tied to work) actually would be very good policy.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Women are presumed to want to have kids whether or not they do and that’s another factor that is used against them. Pretty much any single career woman will tell you that.

            And in Scandinavian countries, men share household duties virtually equally with women, so this “work life” balance issue isn’t seen as gendered there. It’s cultural. So again Damore is showing his bias by not getting that the supposed “need” for women to have more time at home is not “biological”.

            1. Dale

              Scandinavian birth rates are below replacement rates so in a few generations the whole work-life balance argument may become mute as the entire population dies out or is replaced by immigrants.

              1. Oregoncharles

                On the whole, a problem we wish we had. There are far more people than the planet will support long term, so something like that needs to happen.

                Once humans are in balance with the earth, they can figure out how to get the birth rate up to replacement.

                Maybe a lot of people (especially those who actually have to bear children) don’t want to bring babies into the world they see around them.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                1. The world needs fewer people, or did you miss that? We are all on a trajectory to destroy human civilization and have large scale human deaths thanks to the human-induced sixth mass extinction event, global warming (which will lead to mass migrations and resulting wars) and pressure on resources (potable water being the most scarce, we’ll have problems with that by 2020.

                So the Scandinavians are environmentally conscious and on the right track.

                They also have generous maternity and paternity leaves. So you are really insinuating that women need to be kept pregnant, barefoot, and in traditional roles for society to work OK. Lovely to see your biases at work.

                2., In case you managed to miss it, birthrates have been below reproduction levels in advanced economies ex the US for some time. That includes the hardly-progressive Japan.. The US was projected to have declining population in the 1990s but immigration and higher birth rates among Hispanics compared to the population as a whole prevented that.

                1. RabidGandhi

                  With all respect, your #1 and #2 contradict each other. The world needs fewer people due to human-induced climate change. Yet the developed world (which by far produces the greatest damage to the climate) has a declining population– unless they are replenished by poorer (and thereby less-polluting) immigrants.

                  Making the problem “population growth” places the blame on those with the highest birthrates: those who pollute the least, when it should be placed on those who are causing the greatest damage to the environment: the low birth-rate upper 10%.

      7. HotFlash

        Rather, he believes diversity initiatives are wrong-headed because most women don’t want to be engineers.

        He is right that most women don’t want to be engineers, and IME, neither do most men. The ones who want to be engineers, M or F or whatever, and have the requirements, should be allowed *without question*.

        As a local and legendary boxing coach here, an old Maritimer, said when asked about women boxers 30 years ago and more, “If they’s in shape and they wants ta box, s’fine wit’ me”.

      8. Procopius

        Minor quibble: corporations are NOT legally required to earn a profit for the shareholders. There are some legal requirements a director has to meet, but he does not have a fiduciary responsibility. In fact in the present day they only reason shareholders get any dividends is because the top management is paid partly in stock and so they are giving the dividends to themselves as well as the other stockholders. They really prefer to twist the arms of their boards of directors to give them insanely huge compensation packages, which usually are structured contrary to the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What if another worker writes that Google should come out with an AI powered comment filter with a pro oligarchy bias?

      Then all workers like that at Google should be fired.

    5. PinkFlamingo

      As far as Demore getting fired, it is not much of a surprise. Had his memo remained a small internal discussion item (which is where it started), it would have been one thing, but once it got out to the whole company and the internet, he was finished. Whether or not it was justified under the law is going to be determined in court in the near future (since he has indicated that he will be filing a suit against Google for wrongful termination). Having read the memo (the actual memo, not the egregiously lopsided media coverage that in some instances has outright lies about the contents of the memo), I think that he has a non-zero chance of winning.

      Demore did an interview with (and yes, believe me I know how varied opinions are about this person) Jordan Peterson a few days ago. Regardless of whether you love or hate the man, you can at least get an idea of who Demore is. So I would recommend watching a couple minutes of the interview (at least), and I think that it is fairly apparent that there is basically zero malice attributable to the guy. Naive and young? Sure. More eggs in the IQ basket than the EQ basket? Probably. Should he have been fired? Regardless of what any of us think, a court is going to make that decision.

      The interview:

      Demore outright says that discrimination is a real factor which still must be stamped out, but that both socialization and biology are also factors which influence the number of women in “tech” jobs. Literally nowhere in the memo is it claimed that women are less capable than men in doing technical work, or that they should not do technical work. Any media source claiming that is outright lying. It simply states the currently observed fact that there are fewer individual women interested in technical work than individual men (hence where the statements about men being, on average, more interested in technical work, with so much overlap between the distributions that nothing can be said about individuals in either group). The memo claims that the difference in interest is a function of discrimination, socialization and biology, rather than discrimination alone.

      So, 100% honest question here, what specific content in the memo is problematic? And I do not mean “content that I read about in the news”, but the actual memo, which is very different than the press’ coverage of its supposed contents. The one really sticky area is where Demore states that women have more neuroticism. I thought that he was out of line at first, until I was introduced to the Big 5 personality traits (, so neroticism in this case is a technical term in legitimate social science, not the usual pejorative label.

      A PDF of the actual memo is here, for reference:

      As a final remark, I do understand how the memo can be upsetting to people, specifically women and non-whites in technical positions. There have been plenty of attempts over the centuries to use “science” to keep groups oppressed by claiming that they are inferior and unsuited for equal treatment. Clearly, those efforts were wrong, both factually and ethically. The current state of science seems to show that capability across groups is so close as to not matter, and on top of that our existing measures of capability are fairly arbitrary and highly subject to an individual’s upbringing & the resources available to them (privilege). Thankfully, the memo is not actually making claims about who-is-suited-for-what.

      1. binky

        It should be very clear that an actual examination of the data presented by Damore reveals that there is no “there” there. He cherry picks data, makes claims not supported by his citations, and makes broad assertions of group capability and identity based on scientistic misstatements of scientific results we know are likely not replicable.

        What he has written is a statement of normative desire, much as Limbaugh wrote “How Things Ought To Be.” He has applied the thinnest sheen of scientistic decoration to what he thinks is a common sense statement of facts. Poor scholarship and poor reasoning. But many are predisposed to following this type of thinking because it is motivated reasoning-women and people of a variety of backgrounds and origins are being allowed to excel in IT because it is hot; I anticipate that much like Rosie the Riveter when the war is over there will be a push to put the toothpaste of white male privilege back in the tube using similar “we all know that women are _____” arguments. It wasn’t that long ago that white ethnics were ranked and assigned biological capabilities and traits, with of course Anglos on top and southern Italians and Slavs on the bottom. Before that, Phrenology.

        And it may work, but it seems clear the ratchet has moved again and we won’t go back to the (fantasized) good old days of ethnic and gender hierarchy. But note also the proprietor of the blog is an accomplished and knowledgeable woman who worked in a white male dominated sphere as well, and seems to be smarter than a substantial portion of that population. Software snowflakes are going to have to adjust to life without poorly reasoned cockamamie rationalization and compete.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        There were plenty of slave owners who genuinely thought they had no malice towards them but nevertheless were quite clear that they thought they were inferior and benefitted from being kept by their masters.

        Your reading that he does not seem malicious has nada to do with whether or not he is bigoted. His inaccurate views of the alleged “biological” differences between men and women ARE bigoted. Moreover, as this story indicates, some of the views he espouses (see the discussion of Simon Bart-Cohen) are based on single debunked studies, meaning if he’s the scientist he claims to be, he has to know he cherry picked them.

      3. XXYY

        This is one of the best and most insightful comments I have read on the subject, both in and out of the media. Thank you.

        Media commentary on this subject seems to consist largely of virtue signalling on the need to stand up for women in the tech industry. There is nothing wrong with supporting women in the tech industry of course. But I think Damore has kind of gotten caught up in this and is being depicted as holding views that he does not in fact hold judging from the actual content of his memo.

        I have worked in the tech industry myself for several decades. There may be the idea floating around among women that men in the tech industry have a very pleasant and easy time, everyone is always nice to them, they are not shouted down in meetings or deprived of promotions or treated unfairly in a myriad of ways. Let me personally assure you that none of these things is true.

        Let’s face it. Corporate workplaces are hostile to *all* workers. Rather than furiously building Trump-esque walls between the genders on this issue, we should all work together to try to make workplaces better for everyone.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Haha, be warned! Click on the tweet (the time stamp) to go to the tweet at Twitter and see another how another cat’s human tried training the cat.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How much food did the lucky guy (not everyone is) have to bribe the cat to do that?

      (It’s a corrupt world)

      1. justanotherprogressive

        More to the point, where do you get those mouse flavored morsels that cats will do anything for? I need some…..

  2. Colin Powell at the UN

    “It’s Time To Support Your President, America Ilargi. And he makes clear he is definitely not a Trump fan.”

    Then I guess he’s either a deep state fan or been watching too much CNN. Japan puts out an (ahem) independent report that North Korea now has nuke miniaturization capability and the US Intel community and US media immediately concur and amplify.

    Yes, Japan has apparently had agents buried deep in NK military circles, and “just now” found out this bombshell.

    Very timely info wouldn’t you say? And the proof they provided was unassailable. Wait, no there wasn’t any proof.

    Yes let’s all rally around Donald now and focus 24/7 on the only thing that matters to the poor, the vanishing middle class, and minorities in the US – North Korea.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t think this was a particularly well written post by Ilargi. I don’t see his post as saying more than, “Look, he’s the President, even if you really don’t like it and I sure don’t, this is a big deal, the people who are attacking him like McCain are actually doing the US harm and this is not the time to go after him.” He’s calling for a recess.

      Recall we had a panic of two days over Trump bombing that Syrian airstrip. That was a real aggressive action and we were basically relying on Putin to exercise restraint. This is all posturing. Even if it is really scary, it’s all talk.

      I may also be proven to be very wrong but I have assumed 1. we know way less than our intel types pretend to (as in very little) and 2. China has more control over NK that it pretends to (although the youngest Kim is not a mere cat’s paw either). Having the US look like so inept that it’s on the verge of fomenting a nuclear war is very useful to China with everyone in the neighborhood, and in the wider world when the US pushes to renegotiate China’s trade deals when that moves to the front of the queue.

      1. RenoDino

        Trump is not going to allow NK to black mail and hold us hostage making war a certainty unless China can intervene immediately and defang KIm. This is not another false alarm. I think Trump and his generals have made that very clear. I think the majority of the American people are on board with fighting it out on the enemy’s territory instead of waiting and risking massive destruction here.

        Kim just doesn’t have nukes. He threatens us with them everyday. This is an intolerable situation.
        His goal it to reunite the Korean peninsula under his rule, not just preserve his regime. He thinks, rightly or wrongly, he has the tacit support of China and Russia.

        The best we can hope for is that the mother of all battles is contained on the peninsula.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Easy to say when all the death and destruction will be happening in other people’s countries and not yours. Why does the fat boy threaten America? Could it be the annual exercises the US & South Korea hold which not only deliberately practice invading North Korea but do it during rice harvesting season to make it as painful to the North as possible?
          Remember when the North was destroying their nuclear capacity and blowing up the associated buildings because of the deal that they had made with the US – until the US reneged on that agreement causing the North to restart their nuclear program?
          Why will they not negotiate away their nuclear program? Remember when Gaddafi gave up his program and the West made nice with him – until they reneged on their agreements and attacked Libya to steal its wealth and Gaddafi ended up with a bayonet up his Khyber?
          Granted Kim is a rat-bag leader but he has assessed – accurately – that it is a matter of national as well as personal survival and the little p**** knows how to hit a nerve. That threat to hit Guam for example was a nasty one. If he could hit the place then that would probably trigger all the stored nuclear weapons that must be stored on that island. Also, is this not the island that has those nuclear bombers that fly towards North Korea on practise runs from time to time?
          If all options are on the table, should that not include negotiations as well?

            1. Gaianne

              “Do the people of South Korea get any say in this?”


              And with the dawning realization that they will be sacrificed with no hesitation nor regret to serve America’s self-image and illusions of power, the South Koreans will begin to seriously question the value of their alliance with the US.

              The harder the empire squeezes its grip, the faster it falls apart.


              1. Clive

                The one, big, consistently obstreperous hold-out to resuming the Six Party Talks (a China-led, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States joint diplomatic effort to resolve the Korean Peninsula) which had made some good progress — decommissioning of an operational DPRK reactor for example — was, you’ve got three guesses but you won’t need them, the US.

                Cant have all that nice international cooperation now, can, we? Everyone else might decide the best thing to do is something the US doesn’t like… we wouldn’t want America to be isolated due to belligerent attitudes and self-serving intransigence, like, oh, I don’t know, that nasty old North Korea.

        2. justanotherprogressive

          I think a history lesson may be appropriate here. While I didn’t like Clinton and didn’t agree with his domestic policies, I think he actually did a good thing with his “Agreed Framework” plan ( where he tried to work with North Korea to reduce it’s stockpile of weapons grade nuclear materials in exchange for fuel oil. I may be mistaken but I believe that the US actually took some of North Korea’s nuclear stockpile at that time…….
          Sadly, the Republicans crushed this agreement when they took power……and this angered the North Koreans because they were counting on that fuel for their survival…..

          I also remember reading somewhere back in the past that all those taunts make at the US by North Korea weren’t really to evoke action from the US, but from China, who is their biggest supplier of foreign aid – if they could make themselves a pest and threaten stability, then China would acquiesce and give them more of what they needed – kind of a twist on “The Mouse That Roared”. I think Bush and Obama realized this and basically ignored North Korea’s taunts, but now we have a president who can’t even ignore the simplest of “slights” and so the situation is escalating out of control……

        3. Oregoncharles

          Personally, I’m downwind, and I suspect that you are, too.

          And I wonder what the Japanese think about a nuclear war on their doorstep? They ARE in range of NK missiles, and host quite a number of American bases.

          And then there’s Seoul, directly under N. Korean guns.

          1. polecat

            Well, if this thing goes hot, and China/Russia insinuate themselves into the mix, then I may very well get to watch Bangor Naval and Counties Kitsap, Jefferson, and lastly, Clallam (lucky me, I live a mile from a deep-water port !!) as we @ll collectively GO ‘POOF !’ In a blast of X and gama rays ..

            ‘HEY DERICK ! … Thanks for not representin me, or any other life-forms .. you do nothing wanker !

        4. Summer

          I think the world can relax. I’ll go out on a limb and say that.
          When I realized Trump was speaking from one of his golf courses on “vacation,” I figured he’d much rather have the press up in arms about saber rattling than asking who he is meeting with for business at the golf course. And I don’t mean the Russians. It’s just that it was written before that he takes business meetings at the golf courses and resorts that don’t have to be registered as White House visitors.

      2. Carolinian

        Isn’t bluffing what Trump used to do for a living? It seems impossible to believe he would really act unless he wants to go down as one of history’s greatest monsters by getting millions of people (including those thousands of US military in S. Korea) killed. Pat Lang spins the worst case scenario based on the belief that tactical nukes and “air burst” could somehow forestall the NK response.

        However my impression from the peanut gallery is that Trump is shallow but hardly crazy and maybe not even malevolent. Surely people are worrying, and talking, about this too much.

        1. sid_finster

          Trump is probably shallow but not crazy.

          That said, if one’s foreign policy is based entirely on “mine’s bigger than yours”, we will get war, once we find an opponent that refuses to back down.

          I am pretty sure there is something in game theory that addresses this.

          1. PhilK

            I think this whole thing is a show, a theatrical production growing out of Trump’s experiences in the world of professional wrestling broadcast production. The insiders know that nothing’s gonna happen in spite of all the bluster, but the fear and outrage it causes works to the benefit of TPTB on both sides. The leaders get more devotion from their supporters, and the military gets more money. That last part may be presented as the fitting and appropriate response to the crisis, when it comes time to move on to the next show.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > experiences in the world of professional wrestling broadcast production

              Kayfabe. However, in the best case kayfabe can go wrong; the referee hit with a chair can be injured in reality. In the worst case, the fourth wall is broken, and the audience is assaulted….

              1. polecat

                Yeah, but after a tussle, wrestlers don’t get their atoms stripped away from they’re corporeal body … to be scattered to the heavens ..

                Just sayin …

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If he’s unpredictable, he is where he wants.

            A nucular or nuclear poker game is a terrifying gambit.

            I hope the stock market gives a hint, as there will always be unauthorized leaks.

          3. justanotherprogressive

            I think a definition of what crazy means is in order here…..because I think some of his actions, like his early morning tweets, do border on crazy…..

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              What is crazy is that the Dow is not already down 5,000 points by now, with a crazy commander-in-chief.

        2. Lambert Strether

          I was about to comment that using our nuclear capabilities to gaslight domestic politics used to be taboo.

          But then I remember “the missile gap.” Which [genuflects] JFK ran on.

          1. roadrider

            Nice cheap shot.

            Kennedy was hardly the only one raising the “missile gap” issue. Other Democrats (Stuart Symington IIRC) were using it in their campaigns as well. And the military establishment was promoting it as well to gain support for expanding their arsenal.

            And the missile gap was widely believed as factual at the time even though it was false. The problem was that the Eisenhower administration and the CIA did not want to reveal that it was false and how they knew it was false, that is, satellite surveillance of the Soviet Union which was a closely guarded secret at that time.

            Kennedy admitted that he had been wrong about the missile gap and during his administration pushed for and won (by an overwhelming vote – something like 80 -20) ratification of a limited nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union that had little support when he began campaigning for it (note to the faux-gressive never-evers on single payer). Hardly the actions of someone who cynically exploits nuclear weapons for political gain as you suggest.

            I usually agree with you but your way off target on this one.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > using our nuclear capabilities to gaslight domestic politics

              You’re right. I should have included all Democrats, not just JFK. From the Arms Control Association:

              The second development was the secret completion in November and public discussion shortly thereafter of a presidentially commissioned review of U.S. nuclear policies by an outside and predominantly civilian committee, chaired by Horace Rowan Gaither. The Gaither Report, as it was called, warned that the Soviet Union could have a “significant” ICBM capability by the end of 1959, making the Strategic Air Command’s bomber fleet vulnerable to surprise attack “during a period of lessened world tension.” [1] Although classified top secret, some of the report’s conclusions, including its alarmist view of Soviet ICBM capabilities, were leaked to the press.

              The shock of being bested in space by the United States’ superpower rival and the prediction by an independent, blue-ribbon commission of future Soviet strategic advances set the stage for the appearance of the missile gap. A sense of alarm spread [note lack of agency], along with a narrative [note lack of agency] that the Eisenhower administration had been complacent in the face of an acute military threat. Influenced by a combination of inadequate information and partisan political motives, Democratic politicians cultivated the notion that the aging incumbent had been asleep at the switch and that a new team was needed to reinvigorate government and restore U.S. nuclear superiority.

              Gaslighting, just as I said. Presumably, the Democrats, as a governing party and loyal opposition, could have assured themselves of the truth of the matter before taking office…

              UPDATE Then this from Richard Reeves in 2009:

              A presidential news conference had already been scheduled for Feb. 8 and, predictably, White House correspondents asked Kennedy about the disappearing gap: “It would be premature to reach a judgment as to whether there is a gap or was no gap,” he replied.

              He was lying. He knew there was no gap. He had been told so by Central Intelligence Agency briefers during the campaign.

              I don’t deny JFK did some good things in office. But as far as gaslighting with nukes in domestic politics? My point stands.

              1. integer

                The second development was the secret completion in November and public discussion shortly thereafter of a presidentially commissioned review of U.S. nuclear policies by an outside and predominantly civilian committee, chaired by Horace Rowan Gaither.

                It seems highly likely that this was used as the blueprint for the Team B experiment. Interestingly, Horace Rowan Gaither helped found the Rand Corporation in 1948, and was a trustee until 1959, two years before his death.

              2. wilroncanada

                I haven’t read extensively about US history, but I’ve read enough to assume you are likely right, Lambert, about Kennedy’s bit of misinformation, although I also think there are other explanations. One, in particular, that perhaps he had been lied to by the CIA. Remember it was still being led by Dulles, who already disliked Kennedy personally, preferring Nixon as the one he could lead by the nose. He probably knew the dirty linen about both men, so in that sense it was a saw-off.

                The so-called missile gap was still being touted in the 1980s.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          With “OMG Russia” in play in recent days, its been forgotten how the entire U.S. FP establishment is dedicated to maintaining hegemony of the U.S. Obama’s pivot to Asia was about securing trade and military agreements to cut China out.

          Between Trump’s bluster is a curious demand for China to take control of the situation. What would this entail? A costly occupation and all that goes with it while the Chinese are a peaceful and rising power which could be a threat to negotiations for the Silk Road.

          The Brzezinski acolytes are loud because they can’t kill Russians for taking away their Polish nobility (it was Stanislaw anyway), but the Kissinger acolytes aren’t as anti-ethnic group as much as worried about maintaining their American empire. I suspect Trump has been convinced that he needs to find a way to sever Russia and China to maintain America’s dominance in the world. China is likely perceived to be a larger threat to American dominance than Russia especially with the 500 million or so people in the EU. Its likely a Nixon goes to China pitch to Trump.

        4. nowhere

          It seems impossible to believe he would really act unless he wants to go down as one of history’s greatest monsters by getting millions of people (including those thousands of US military in S. Korea) killed.


          Trump is shallow but hardly crazy and maybe not even malevolent. Surely people are worrying, and talking, about this too much.

          I think given your qualifiers (and the risks associated with a heightened state of nuclear weapon engagement), that there should be considerable discussion about his intentions. Remember General Ripper was based on a real man, those types of men still walk the corridors of power in the Pentagon and elsewhere in D.C. We don’t know what they whispering to him, all we see are his 140 character snippets.

      3. DanB

        I also think this is one of Ilargi’s most discombobulated essays. It’s well-nigh impossible to support Trump as the president because he is in some significant ways inconsistent and given to bluster and impulsiveness. INO: what’s there to support in this guy who thinks he can operate government the same way he ran his “Businesses”? Ilagi is, in my view, nonetheless right about McCain, Graham et al.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think Raul tried to get at what’s really at stake here, we can pretend to have a constitutional republic and democracy, or not. I don’t think a coup to overturn an election result you didn’t like is the way to go no matter how disgusting and scary the current occupant of the Oval office is to you. And transferring foreign policy to Congress is a complete fail too unless you want 535 different foreign policies all at once.

          I have an idea: next time put up a candidate who shows even a fleeting concern for the needs of actual people in the country, not just the CEOs of Goldman, Monsanto, and Amazon.

          1. polecat

            I would like to introduce the the ‘Congenitally CONgressional Tatoo Act’, thus mandating, without repeal 1.) All members of CONgress to be tatooed on the forehead (by force, if necessary) with the name, or brand logo (in the case of corporations), in indelible inks, their most beneficient sponsor … AND …

            2.) Former members be FORBBIDEN … from altering, or removing, by any means, or methods, said tatoos, so as to be forever cast as a grifting, and frauduent example of a supposed ‘representative of, by, and for … the citizens of this fine farce of a country !
            Whose with me ??

      4. Olga

        The ever-perceptive Mr. M.K. Bhadrakumar makes a point that DT is scheduled for a state visit of China in Nov. ( Seems unlikely that he’d start a war in the area this fall. (On the other hand, he did serve Xi dessert with missiles, so who knows.) Is Ilargi saying DT needs support because he’s the only one who does not actually want a war? If that is the case, neither his post nor DT’s rhetoric are very clear on the point. Is DT’s bluster then to deflect a real call for war from the McCains of the world?

        1. oh

          Bhadrakumar is right. The fools in India who beat their chest about how strong India is and how the US is their ally better stop drinking that Kool Aid.

      5. PH

        I think the article and all the comments here are profoundly lost on both a moral and a practical level.

        First, morality. Would you murder a million people to save your family?

        If so, you have no moral compass. And, largely, we lost that compass on 9/11. People were afraid. Kill them. Kill them all. Just make us safe. And so we got endless war and a surveillance state. With popular support.

        Secretly, Americans of all political stripes wish that someone would wipe out the little creep in North Korea and make us safe once and for all. Conservatives scream it, but plenty of independents and liberals wish it.

        That is why there are no demonstrations. We are willing to consider the option: nuke them.

        It is genocide. It is based on fear, and it is immoral.

        Second, it is a stupid approach: immediately and longterm. Immediately because it will not resolve the NK problem. Longterm because when you loosen the taboo against the use of any nuke weapon, you bring the day of a nuke terrorist attack that much closer.

        All these political daydreams of maneuvering North Korea into submission are dangerous self-delusions. They will not submit. Just like the North Vietnamese never submitted.

        The only answer is peace and time. Keep the peace, and outlive the corrupt leadership of North Korea.

        Let North Korea win. They keeptheir nukes and their missiles and we stop trying to overthrow their government. We make a peace treaty, and offer them trade and maybe subsidies.

        In a few decades, they will be no more of a threat than North Vietnam.

        But who has the political courage to advocate peace?

        No one. Not even lefty bloggers.

        1. Olga

          You’re right, except that moral compass was lost long ago. When US got the nuclear bomb, some in the military were advocating for a surgical strike on the USSR (even through JFK’s time; he just did not go along). But yes, somehow many forgot that peace is always the easiest option (and cheapest).

  3. Jim Haygood

    Do you miss me now?

    Former President Obama will re-emerge on the national scene this fall, though Democrats expect him to do so with caution. One aide describes the beginning of a “delicate dance” that aims to put Obama in the Democratic fray, but prevent him from remaining the face of the party.

    Advisers close to him say that while he will play an active role in helping his party rebuild, much of his work will be behind the scenes.

    He is likely to take on fundraising, for example, something he has done for the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee since leaving office.


    It’s the Clinton/Obama cabal back in full force, with their books on the counters at Barnes & Noble, unlimited face time with a worshipful MSM press pool, and — most importantly — with their deep-ocean nets trawling for big money in low places.

    Same old, same old: an ossified party whose policy-wonk ex-presidents — contrary to the dignified tradition of presidents rusticating themselves to spend their silver years as philosopher kings — just can’t let go. Sad. And exasperating.

    So steeped in narcissism is Obama that he’s searching out candidates in his own image such as Deval Patrick, believing that Americans just can’t get enough of him or, failing that, his doppelgänger.

    Old guys rule,’ proclaim the T-shirts of doddering male Boomers. Apparently Barack got one for his birthday last week. He put it on, picked up his basketball, and proclaimed to his courtiers, “Hold my beer and watch this!” :-0

    1. Ivy

      Desperately Seeking Seth, the new play opening soon at WaPo, or not. O should take another long vacation to avoid the Hillary DNC maelstrom. Will nobody rid us of those troublesome frauds?

      1. Deadl E Cheese

        I’m amazed that the Democratic Party has such a fondness for Obama. He’s, with the notable exception of his bosom buddy Bill Clinton, the biggest electoral disaster the Democrats have had in generations. At least when Stevenson and Humphrey and McGovern and Mondale and Carter went down in flames they didn’t take the entire anti-reactionary coalition with them — especially ironic considering that the post-Dukakis Democratic Party justified all of its sellouts and reactionary spasms with ‘surely you don’t want Farmer McGovern to come back, do you?’

        If the Democratic Party wants to recover, it needs to grapple with how Obama was not only a structural failure but he was even more responsible for Mommy Wokest self-destructing than Mommy Wokest herself. Fortunately, as I want the Democratic Party to die swiftly and unceremoniously, this is the last thing that Democratic partisans will ever contemplate.

        1. Jim Haygood

          If Obama can just make his peace with the statesmanly Andrew Cuomo, it will be a political partnership made in heaven. ;-)

          MadDems 2020!!!

        2. Vatch

          If I ever need protection from pitchforks, I’ll seek help from Obama, because he has a superb track record in that area! He’ll probably demand that I pay his traditional fee of $400,000, though, and that’s a whole lot more than I can afford.

          1. ambrit

            Use the old deflection strategy. Pick up a pitchfork and cry out; “Follow me! I know where they live!” Then slowly fade back into the mob.

        3. JohnnyGL

          My inner-Lambert tells me that you are assuming that the Democratic Party wants to win elections….above all else.

          Lambert says the consultant class is in the driver’s seat and they’re perfectly happy trying to re-run the Clinton/Obama campaigns for Presidency, while starving party infrastructure and leaving it to rot in huge chunks of the country. Those campaigns made a lot of people an awful lot of money…, you know, they weren’t really failures from that standpoint.

          1. Deadl E Cheese

            I’m sure that while the Democratic Party regards their paychecks in higher regards than battling reactionaries, there reaches a point of diminishing returns. What would be the point of cutting the party bosses of the Whigs a Washington Generals-style check in 1854?

            The Democratic Party is not only at worse shape right now than the Whigs were in 1848, they’re also (unlike other parties at similar or worse nadirs, like the Republicans in 1936) dangerously out of sync with their base and will only become more out of sync as Baby Boomers and Silents die off. 2016 already had the Millenial + Gen X vote exceed that of Baby Boomers, whom most of the latter already voted for reaction. If they were smart they would go all-in on Elizabeth Warren/Keith Ellison-style co-option while they still had the chance. But judging their reaction to the vocal left’s vocal rejection of their rollout of Corey Booker/Kamala Harris, they’re willing to die before they dishonor their donors.

          1. ambrit

            “Do I hear 3000! Who wants this fine useful party apparatus? Cheap! Rule the world! Keep America safe for Plutocracy! 3000! 3000! Come on Madame. You can beat that!”

      1. Jen

        As Lambert would say: “note the lack of agency.” He’s the one who sank it.

        But Obama’s hip, dresses well and subscribes to the norms of our overlords.

        It’s all about the norms, don’t you know.

        1. witters

          “It’s all about the norms, don’t you know.”

          Indeed. The Demore story (and thread here) makes this very clear.

    2. Kokuanani

      It’s the Clinton/Obama cabal back in full force, with their books on the counters at Barnes & Noble,

      At last a reason to be glad the B&N in my neighborhood is closing.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The one near me used to be a cool place to be on a hot summer day.

        The building now houses several casual dining eateries.

      2. ambrit

        Yeah. That’s a shame. An acquaintance who works there says that the local ‘Books A Million’ is run like an old fashioned sweatshop. Don’t even get me started on “Books A Thousand.” There are no borders to my disgust.

      3. justanotherprogressive

        I remember the great old bookstores of my youth where the shopkeepers were readers themselves and knew all about authors and would direct you to books you might have an interest in but not know about, etc… – all of which were driven out of business by the Barnes & Noble, Borders, BooksAMillion types of bookstores – I just can’t feel any sympathy for them if they too are driven out of business….

    3. Bugs Bunny

      I occasionally go to this interview to remind myself of what the last authentic Democratic president did after leaving office.

      He had plenty of faults but he passed the Civil Rights Act.

      And apparently had Secret Service agents follow him around to fill his glass with bourbon while he drove his convertible around the ranch.

      1. Oregoncharles

        LBJ was the most liberal (in the New Deal sense) president we’ve ever had. At the same time., he destroyed his Presidency and very nearly the country by plunging us face-first into the Viet Nam fecal matter. (My brother went there and I had to take advantage of privilege to avoid it. I was there, on the home front.)

        That combination is NOT a coincidence; New Deal liberals, at least post-war, were very imperialist. One way to deliver bread and circuses is by ripping off the rest of the world.

        In this respect, Bernie is a fairly typical postwar liberal, with some of the details updated – and probably less liberal than Johnson, though I haven’t tried to compare them point by point. The context is very different.

  4. Antifa

    The Jacobin article on Populism for Plutocrats closes by saying Bernie Sanders’ populism was not strong enough for him to win in a closed Democratic primary.

    Most Bernie supporters feel Bernie did win the Democratic primary; however, it was relentlessly and methodically stolen from him by the DNC rigging every caucus and primary and public campaign. Hillary was their choice, and no populist upstart was going to keep her from her turn at the White House.

    This robbery by Clinton and Company is a large cause of her election loss, for it caused multitudes of Democratic voters to stay home on Election Day.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      From an amoral, long-term structural perspective it’s probably a good thing that Bernie narrowly lost. The word ‘Pasokification’ comes to mind (insofar that he’s a distinct entity from the already neoliberal Democratic establishment) when I think about him winning in 2016 and how he’d be forced to government. Bernie definitely would have won the White House and maybe he would have even clawed his way to a Congressional majority, but he wouldn’t have had the mandate to do a full repudiation of Reaganism.

      If Reaganism and Clintonism are to be dismantled, Bernie’s mild populism wasn’t going to do the trick, I’m sorry. Someone to his left on economic policy needs to run and, more importantly, Reaganism by way of the failures of Trumpism and Clintonism has to be discredited first.

      Imagine if Reagan had won in 1976 instead of Carter. American history would be very different, and for the better.

      1. sid_finster

        IIRC, Reagan did mount a primary challenge to Gerald Ford in 1976, and was widely derided and treated as a joke.

    2. cm

      Never forget the role of superdelegates, either. Remember: the principled Democratic ideal is that the popular vote counts in the Presidential election, but is to be ignored in the Primary election.

    3. sid_finster

      1.Were Bernie Sanders made president today, the Deep State and DC Establishment would be using the same tactics to neuter him or remove him as they are using on Trump. Maybe the specific focus of the attacks would be different, but the overall goal would be the same. Either Sanders would be housebroken or gone.

      2. Unless and until the Deep State is eradicated root and branch, it matters not who is nominally the president.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I to some extent disagree. In any nominal democracy, the duly elected head of state matters rather a lot. Not as much as perhaps it should, or even more than it should I’m sure others would argue, but a lot. If the establishment were *that* powerful today, they would’ve found a way to prevent Trump from winning. They tried, but their best shots came up short, time and again. The Mighty Wurlitzer now plays to a room increasingly full of people involved in conversations as opposed to being passive consumers of content. Young people especially who are political are, by and large today, well-informed, aware, and not naive about how the system attempts to manipulate them in a thousand ways.

        Trump is also a far easier mark than Sanders for the establishment to control, Trump, being a real outsider, knew/knows very little about the DC political culture. Sanders knows volumes more about DC and politics than Trump. As a DC political naive Trump is almost completely dependent on insider intermediaries with their own agendas he may know little or nothing about. Sanders as POTUS would be exponentially harder to manipulate in that way. Yes, Sanders would have felt the full force of the Blob and their media, much as Trump has, but Bernie at least would be far better able to identify and counter his adversaries. Another huge difference is the consistent respective polling negatives. Trump’s have been astronomical, historic, whereas Sanders has among the lowest negatives of any US politician today. And this, after the Blob/media/establishment already threw everything they had at Bernie when he actually threatened Hillary’s coronation. Bernie walks into the White House with vastly more political capital than Trump ever could or will.

        If Sanders decides to run again in 2020, I think Trump will actually have in some ways prepared the ground for him to be more effective than he would have had he got the nomination and won last year. The more things keep deteriorating for working class–and that seems to be the exact neoliberal plan–the easier his job as a change agent becomes. Pressure is building and I don’t see that slowing down any time soon.

  5. RenoDino

    Trump Transition

    The alt and far right want McMaster gone for being a leaker who supports unmasking along with his pal and predecessor Susan Rice. He also renewed her security clearance after she left office under Obama. It’s standard practice, but not under the circumstances, given her hostility to Trump. She also helped craft the Iran deal.

    Her editorial yesterday in the NYT about dealing with NK added more fuel to the fire. She said we can live with Kim, but not Trump the way he behaves. Always fun to watch a partisan careerist with zero political instincts self destruct in a public forum. Even the comments in the NYT ran heavily against her.

      1. Deadl E Cheese

        Considering that Bannon has straight-up called Kushner a cuck (and worse), I’d be surprised if he wasn’t completely on McMaster’s side.

      2. Randy

        White House Kremlinology.

        Trump wasn’t a politician but he is now.

        Someday “politician” will be considered a mental disease, I’m surprised it isn’t already especially considering all the antisocial “folks” we have in charge now. Who knows what goes through their twisted minds besides the thirst for money and “power”.

  6. JTMcPhee

    Re fossil subsidies– the calculation does not include all the externalities that are “socialized” onto the planet and most of its inhabitants, human and otherwise — wish i was smart enough to come up with a catchy, rhyming riff like “We Didn’t Start The Fire–”
    Emphysema global warming small cell cancer forests burning acid oceans
    Soylent Greening SUVs and diesel dreaming (refrain)
    mountaintopping acid drainage fracking earthquakes pipeline leakage Dilbit blasts…. Onandonandonandon…

    Who pays? Who collects? Who loots?

  7. DJG

    Ilargi on Trump: Supporting the President. Bracing.

    And, yes, McCain (Miles Gloriosus), Graham (of flexible morality), and McConnell (the U.S. Senate and its powers corrupt absolutely) are collectively addled enough to think that a manageable nuclear war is just what the U.S. needs. Remember “Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb, Iran”? That’s the level of complexity of the thinking.

    Especially interesting for Ilargi’s analysis of how the Russki-panic now means that Putin, who has considerable influence in that part of the world, could have been a mediator but now cannot. (Democratic talking point: Trump has to go to Putin to solve Korea crisis! [Insert snarky reference to Putin-Trump love affair.])

    One of Ilargi’s own comments to his article:
    “None of that makes me a Trump fan or anything remotely like it. He should not be president. But he is. And looking at the other options, I understand why he is. His role is to show us what an amoral cesspit Washington has become.”

    But wait: Where is the antiwar wing of the Democratic Party? Where is Dianne Feinstein? Ron Wyden? Kamala Harris?

    1. Alex Morfesis

      A citizens constitutional amendment…one third of Senate and congress by lottery required to be drafted and provide non officer grade front line transportation services to all active fire theater combat operation zones…

      Or just make McCain an active duty general and assign him the tasks in Afghanistan since he imagines it to be so easy even a Neanderthal could fix it..and let lindsey borrow the tank helmet of mike Dukakis and make him operational leader if iraq…with McConnell maybe being required to “show us how its done” in syria ??

      The “mouses that roar” should show us how this amazing American exceptionalism functions for the children of fast food workers who end up in our (economically enforced) “volunteer army”…

        1. ambrit

          Oh my. Aunt Pittypat in Butternut. Talk about a ‘drag’ on the war effort.
          “Jihadis! In Carolina!”

    2. Eureka Springs

      Antiwar wing? Heck, show me a feather! If there are anti-war demos in sincerity, they must have been among the did not votes (including for Sanders).

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Teacher of the year?

      I understand why he is. His role is to show us what an amoral cesspit Washington has become.”

      Is he really doing that? That’s what a good teacher does.

  8. John A


    “Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don’t Buy the Russia Story Bloomberg. This is a big deal. Bershidky is unquestionably anti-Putin.”
    When I was last in New York in December, I was amazed at how adamant the local people I spoke to were that Russia had invaded Ukraine and shot down the Mi17.
    Then I read this in the above article:
    Putin has earned a reputation for prevarication with the pointless denials of Russian involvement in Ukraine and with dogged attempts to falsify evidence in the shooting down of a passenger airliner over eastern Ukraine in 2014.
    Yet more blatant propaganda that completely ignores the facts that the US were behind the Maidan colour revolution and coup in Kiev and that the US, despite Kerry’s insistance they had proof, has released no evidence to suggest let alone prove Russia or the East Ukraine ‘rebels’ had anything to do with the M17 which to date has been a huge cover up operation by Nato.
    No wonder Americans who get their news from MSM are so gullible.

    1. hemeantwell

      In this vein, I was glad to see that the GPS spoofing article, which at first seemed intended to show the bear’s claws at work, said this to explain why the first spoofs detected in Russia deflected readings away from the Kremlin:

      This is probably for defensive reasons; many NATO guided bombs, missiles and drones rely on GPS navigation, and successful spoofing would make it impossible for them to hit their targets.

      1. Bill Smith

        When I see these articles I wonder whose GPS system was the ship’s receiver using. The US GPS? GLONASS? Galileo? Not likely BeiDou-2 or NAVIC yet I would guess. Or QZSS and SBAS either. I wonder if they can spoof more than one of them at the same time.

        From the article:

        “The fake signal, which seems to centre on the Kremlin, relocates anyone nearby to Vnukovo Airport, 32 km away. This is probably for defensive reasons; many NATO guided bombs, missiles and drones rely on GPS navigation, and successful spoofing would make it impossible for them to hit their targets.”

        Most US smart weapons use an encrypted GPS signal which while it can be jammed can’t be spoofed unless the encryption key is known which would mean that there is a much bigger problem than missiles missing their targets.

        In addition most US smart weapons have INS systems as backup which would guide the weapon pretty closely to its target once the GPS signal is no longer being used. In theory anti-spoofing/jamming firmware would detect the spoofing or jamming.

        You can buy INS systems to mount on your backyard drone that are pretty accurate.

        This is also in the article:

        “Nor does it require much power. Satellite signals are very weak – about 20 watts from 20,000 miles away – so a one-watt transmitter on a hilltop, plane or drone is enough to spoof everything out to the horizon.”

        The issue with this that most GPS antennas are on the top of whatever is using the signal. So an aircraft will have the aluminum/ metal body of the aircraft blocking most of the spoofing / jamming equipment’s signal. In addition if the signal is too strong it’s an easy way for any anti spoofing firmware to detect a problem. Anti-spoofing firmware, admittedly of unknown effectiveness is starting to show up in some pretty inexpensive GPS receivers most of them capable of receiving signals from multiple systems.

        It’s too bad that US shut down the LORAN system. Hopefully the eLORAN system being talked about by a number of countries will be bought on line.

        There was an interesting paper published by some South Korean professors who determined that the MEMS sensors (basically sensors other than the GPS) in a typical smart phone in 2015 had a (drift) error of only 1 meter per second. Which in theory means that after driving 100 kilometers in a hour the phone could accurately predict your location within 3600 meters or 3.6 kilometers which may seem like a lot (unless you are going to your mother-in-law’s house) but isn’t bad for something that wasn’t intended and something that a billion people have in their pocket.

        1. bob

          Great comment,

          I do take issue with a few points-

          “unless the encryption key is known which would mean that there is a much bigger problem than missiles missing their targets.”

          Missiles not hitting their targets is a very big deal. What are they hitting?

          I also have a very hard time believing that the encrytion is that A) robust, or B) not spoofable. An email message might be random, or semi random. An encrypted GPS signal (tracking in general) is hiding something that is in plain sight. You can measure the speed and direction of a missile without “hacking” it. Radar.

          That’s gotta make cracking an encryption scheme a hell of a lot easier. You can measure what’s being communicated independent of the components involved. You know the answer, you’re just trying to find out in what language (encryption).

          Different encryption schemes, or non-encryption scemes can make it harder, but I don’t see how you get around this problem.

          Double plus bonus points for mentioning the sleeper- INS (accelerometers)

          If I were a spook, and only had one choice of all of the sensors on a phone, I’d go for the accelerometer every single time. Very simple. Very powerful. Very small packages of data. Easy to loose/hide. Easy to analyze without humans too. Unlike speech, from another sensor, called a mic.

    2. Bill Smith

      I thought the part about the same ID in several documents from the one template was very interesting.

  9. flora

    More great links.

    Re: google. As Robert Epstein wrote:
    “If a librarian were caught trashing all the liberal newspapers before people could read them, he or she might get in a heap o’ trouble. What happens when most of the librarians in the world have been replaced by a single company? “

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Oh come now…sergey mikhaylovic was the simple son of a soviet scientist who had to “struggle” to emigrate from russia…oops…the great sovietaskya…please ignore fact father was also roaming poland during the “surge” of solidarity…official pronouncements declare brin family was afraid they could not find a pencil…oops…sorry again…too much vodka…would be refused a first class seat…would you believe coach seats…

      tovarich, the official cover story is brin family worried about being labeled refusniks…which is quite (not) confusing (one needs to keep narrative simple) if one takes note of unlimited and automatic emigration of certain religious group from former soviet at that time…

      Details…details…but those silicon valley garage start up stories and magical simple children of immigrants…

      However…you might be giving librarians a bit more credit than one should…

      what if joe McCarthy actually never said anything about a list of communist on that evening to the republican ladies club and originally intended to talk about housing shortages…and what if the boston company of one charles ponzi actually returned over 95% of the investors money…and neither jfk nor archdule duke ferdinands drivers were fired even though they both magically hit the brakes instead of flooring it, allowing the deeds to “just happen” to occur…

      one should not put such great faith on what has passed for keepers of the past…

      nor imagine paperclips from Huntsville make for a better and trustworthy sneakipedia…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When most of the world’s librarians have been replaced by a single entity?

      That’s almost like the world Hypatia faced…the last librarian of the Library of Alexandria.

      “See this cone…it contains a circle, an ellipse, and a parabola…”

      1. Vatch

        I don’t think Hypatia was a librarian, and I think the library lasted beyond her death in 415 CE (although it may have been partially destroyed before then). If there’s a reference that indicates she was a librarian, I would be interested in knowing what that is.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks for pointing that.

          I confused her own library at Alexandria with the Library of Alexandria.

        2. Alex Morfesis

          The library itself was inside the museaum/museum of Alexandria…her father “theon” was a “scholar/attested member” there and in fact was the “last” enumerated/attested member…

          to put a modern twist to it…

          like luke…she was the last of the jedi…the Christian hierarchy which was still dealing with acceptable “final doctrine” could not have an old jedi floating around and have some ancient hans solo burp out it was all true…

          She was more than just the “librarian”

  10. nechaev

    gentrification, saudi-style

    Saudi forces restore order in restive eastern district

    Saudi authorities have retaken control of a district in the kingdom’s east following months of unrest and a police crackdown, according to witnesses, a minister and local media.

    The Al-Masoura district, which lies in the eastern town of Awamiya, has seen clashes between security forces and men the authorities have labelled as “terrorist elements.”

    The latest violence began when construction work started to turn Al-Masoura into a commercial and cultural district.

    The project would have seen many old abandoned houses demolished, to the anger of residents who demanded protection for the neighborhood’s historical heart. The violence has led to the deaths of several protestors and security personnel…

    Residents of a nearby district, who had heard continuous gunfire over the past two weeks said the area was quiet Tuesday. They said special forces had deployed at the entrances and inside the quarter, home to around 8,000 families.The security services did not make an official announcement, but did take a group of journalists, escorted by special forces in armored vehicles, to visit the district Wednesday.

    Residents estimate that up to 20,000 people have fled or been evacuated to safer towns and villages nearby.

    1. RabidGandhi

      “Has seen clashes between…’terrorists'”.

      The well trod journalistic tradition of twisting the passive voice into pretzels– all to avoid saying “government forces attacked people”.

  11. Craig H.

    That zerobin thing is almost perfect. If the fired google engineer’s supervisor had given him nothing but the information in that doc this entire foofawraw might have been avoided. The biggest problem I had with it is the font. That is the most psuedo-serif sans-serif font I have ever seen. Does anybody know the name? It is very distracting.

    1. Mel

      Could be

      font-family: Consolas,”Lucida Console”,”DejaVu Sans Mono”,Monaco,monospace;

      if I read these signs aright.

  12. Stephen Haust

    The headline quoted at the beginning of Ilargi’s article:

    “Trump Has Taken Us To The Brink Of Nuclear War. Can He Be Stopped?”

    is precisely why I have allowed my decades-long subscription to the Guardian
    to expire, why I will not renew and why I will not contribute as they keep suggesting.

    The Guardian has become almost as bad as the rest of them and I no longer
    consider it a reliable source of information.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chimpanzees learn rock-paper-scissors PhysOrg (Robert M)

    So, they can do it, but have never done it before until now (presumably).

    That is, one can have the potential mental ability, but needs a trigger, and in this case, an outside trigger.

    Who or what triggered the human brain?

    And how does one evolve something that is not in use until triggered from outside?

    1. Praedor

      Necessity is the mother of invention. Humans, having a more sophisticated and regimented social system (up to including societies) early on developed a necessity to fairly allocate social jobs to members. Rather than pick the same losers each time, pissing them off, humans worked out such things as flipping a coin, rock,paper,scissors, drawing names out of hats, etc.

      What purpose does any such system have for chimps anywhere? They are capable, as were early humans, but only humans advanced to the next step of more complex societies that necessitated a simple, fair way to allocate unwanted jobs.

  14. Richard

    Oh, the Neera Tanden Twitter thread is a sad read, full of labels and catchphrases (alt-left of course, and then the poetry of Driven Mad by Hillary Hate) thrown about by people deparate not to self-reflect.
    Except for Yves cheerful cat head popping up to chirp about Tanden’s silence! That felt nice:)

    1. Plenue

      I didn’t know Yves even had a Twitter account. And her profile picture; I knew it! She’s been a cat this whole time!

  15. jfleni

    RE: Almost All of FCC’s New Advisory Panel Works for Telecoms

    Pai is a “shill-daddy” lawyer who has worked for many telecom companies; Trump has no problem with clowns like this destroying the Internet. In fact, just the opposite!

    As it turns into trash, it will be the Internet companies who will find themselves holding a bag full of junk, that nobody wants.

  16. sid_finster

    Depends on whether or not one sees a modified limited hangout as a step in the right direction.

  17. joecostello

    On the Bloomberg DNC hack piece:

    “Having been burned so badly on the Iraq intelligence claims in 2003, you would think major U.S. media would apply more journalistic skepticism and rigor here”

    Rewriting of history, a great deal of the US media were active co-conspirators in Iraq WMDs propaganda. Start with NYT and Washington Post and go from there, of course this time it’s different.

  18. Carolinian

    Long form Dean Baker on the cluelessness of economists.

    Also, a great article by Rick Perlstein….The Great Gatsby, eugenics, Larry Summers all in one package.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was an intellectual sophisticate par excellence, and one of the titans of the early twentieth-century Progressive movement. In 1927 he wrote for an 8-1 Supreme Court majority that included another Progressive titan, Louis Brandeis. In this landmark ruling, the court found that the surgical sterilization of a woman named Carrie Buck was constitutional.[…]

    Although Holmes, good liberal that he was, regretted the necessary unfairness of his decision, constitutional principle demanding he rule narrowly, which meant that he could grant this magnanimous gift only to imbeciles domiciled in Virginia. He sighed, “the law does all that is needed when it does all that it can,” adding that he hoped “the equality aimed at will be more nearly reached” once other state legislatures took advantage of the sanction of the highest court in the land to follow Virginia’s example.

    The totalitarian tendencies among goodthinkers…not just now! More

    1. Louis

      The Buck decision is rightfully viewed as one of the worst U.S. Supreme Court decisions every made; however, I don’t believe it has ever formally been overturned.

      There is also some debate as to whether Carrie Buck was truly an “imbecile” versus actually of normal intelligence but made to look like an “imbecile” to cover up a pregnancy that was the result of rape by a relative.

    2. roadrider

      Baker has his own share of cluelessness when it comes to the ACA which he has been a shameless apologist for and single payer which he make Krugman-like bullshit arguments against.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      Dean Baker:

      I have suggested that economists who prescribe policies that turn out badly, or who can’t see multitrillion dollar housing bubbles coming whose collapse sinks the economy, ought to pay a price in terms of their careers. Invariably people think I am joking. When they realize I am serious, they think I am crazy or vindictive.

      But you, Dean Baker, are not serious. Because you know, probably better than most, what economists do for a living and what they get paid for. Virtually all professional economists work in one of three places: academia, government/non-profit, and the financial sector. Certainly, if financial sector execs was displeased with the work of their economists, they would have no trouble firing them. They haven’t, thus they aren’t. As far as the gov’t/non-profit sector (Feds, World Bank, IMF, etc.), those doing the hiring and promoting have been as wrong, or plausibly more wrong, than the grunt economists that work for them. There is a reason why the economist grunts hired are all conventional, not heterodox. Because it’s what their bosses want. And academia? Career consequences for being wrong in academia?

      In true economist fashion, he ignores all the socio-political context that has led to the current situation. Here is a much better take:

      In this essay, we investigate the dominant position of economics within the network of the social sciences in the United States. We begin by documenting the relative insularity of economics, using bibliometric data. Next we analyze the tight management of the field from the top down, which gives economics its characteristic hierarchical structure. Economists also distinguish themselves from other social scientists through their much better material situation (many teach in business schools, have external consulting activities), their more individualist worldviews, and in the confidence they have in their discipline’s ability to fix the world’s problems. Taken together, these traits constitute what we call the superiority of economists, where economists’ objective supremacy is intimately linked with their subjective sense of authority and entitlement. While this superiority has certainly fueled economists’ practical involvement and their considerable influence over the economy, it has also exposed them more to conflicts of interests, political critique, even derision.

      The Superiority of Economists

  19. JerseyJeffersonian

    Regarding the GPS spoofing story, yes, it is a really big deal on the military side; instead of massive jamming, or shooting down satellites to have safety from GPS-guided munitions and cruise missiles, this is an asymmetric approach, and a relatively low cost solution to a problem. Its application may also confound military drone swarms and robots that are guided by GPS, taking the cyberweapon crowd down a peg.

    But the implications for driverless vehicles, as noted in the article, could be quite profound, as well. I can imagine that technologically savvy criminals will be avid to apply this in some fashion to the hijacking of driverless trucks, hijacking already being a major problem. And the chaos that could be introduced with even driverless passenger vehicles by insurgencies might be fun for days. Low-powered units for spoofing, mounted on drones, could be shunted from place to place, disrupting the hell out of driverless vehicles first at one critical node, and then in another. The implications for navigation in commercial aviation could also be challenging. I am sure that there is more. As with the Internet of Shit, what could go wrong with overdependence on GPS?

    1. Carolinian

      Google driverless cars use internal maps for navigation rather than gps.

      And commercial and most private aircraft are still required to have VOR navigation based on ground transmitters. If you are ever driving in obscure locations you may spot one of these. It’s a round building with what looks like a bowling pin on top.

  20. Praedor

    Give me a break! Damore at Google did NOT say anything about women being “biologically inferior” at all. He simply stated a statistical fact: that women tend to choose NOT engineering, physics, math, while men do. No university is telling women to NOT enter engineering, etc. Women have a free choice to go into whatever degree area they want and they CHOOSE to go into biology or social studies to a huge degree.

    Stop by my university’s physics or engineering buildings. You will see a LOT of guys (mostly Asian and SE Asian) and relatively few women. Go to the biology building and you will see a lot of women…perhaps even a majority. THEY CHOSE THIS. Women and men ARE DIFFERENT. This is not controversial except to extremist 3rd wave feminists who insist that there is NO difference at all between men and women beyond a penis and a vag. Bullshit. This difference expresses itself in overall life choices and overall behaviors. As Damone himself stated, this is a statistical fact concerning the general population and doesn’t refer specifically to INDIVIDUALS. Of course you will find individual women in physics, math, and engineering. Of course you will find men in nursing. The FACT is that most women choose NOT to go into physics, math, and engineering while most men choose not to go into nursing. This isn’t coerced. This isn’t because of any systemic bullshit. It’s general nature expressing itself on a population level..

    Why is this so hard to understand? Damone and others RIGHTLY decry the intent to make EVERYTHING (except the mean and ugly jobs, natch) a 50:50 mix of male/female because “equality!”

    Why aren’t women clammering to 50:50 mix sanitation departments? Or water treatment facilities? Or street/road/construction work? Sure, there are women in these areas but they are few and far between…BECAUSE THEY CHOOSE NOT TO. The military will NEVER be even close to a 50:50 split of men and women because women, on the whole, are NOT drawn to combat arms like men are. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t women who are, it just a fact that the population level choice is NOT to go military. It doesn’t matter that fighter pilot position or other combat positions are now open to women – they will NOT flock into the military in droves to create a 50:50 mix of utopia. Equality of outcome is WRONG. Equality of opportunity is right. It is equality of opportunity, not outcome that all business and areas of life should strive for…THAT is what Damone and other right thinking people are saying.

    Egalitarianism, yes. Communism, no. It IS communism to force/require equality of outcome against all natural forces otherwise.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Does it not occur to you that by your logic, the reason women are seriously under-represented in private equity, venture capital, and as CEOs and executives is that they don’t want the job? You are treating participation as tantamount to what things would look like if there were no discrimination and gender role stereotyping/conformity pressure. The fact is lower paid professions are feminized. When typewriters were new, being a secretary was a male enclave. Please tell me why that’s now become a woman’s job. The work content hasn’t changed materially even with the advent of word processing.

      It doesn’t occur to you that women are discriminated against big time in traditional male well paid blue collar jobs like sanitation and construction work. Are you so clueless that you think dealing with babies and toddlers (which are daily exercises in dealing with poop, bodily fluids, and food mess) and regularly cleaning bathrooms is oh so much better than well paid sanitation work with union benefits, particularly pretty good health insurance? Being a mother is not a great job, which is why women of means offload a lot of it to nannies, and arsitocrats back in the day relegated childrearing almost entirely to them (and governesses).

      In general, blue collar workers are more conservative than people in the professional classes, as in they are even more strongly attached to having men act as breadwinners and see women as interlopers hurting those men. So it appears not to have occurred to you that many women don’t have the stomach to try to get jobs where they know they will face overt resentment. The Teamsters in particular are very women hostile. See:

      Out of the Closet: A Sanitation Worker Fights Discrimination

      Report: Discrimination Still A Major Employment Barrier For Female Construction Workers

      Or how about the landmark sexual harassment case, detailed in book Class Action, as to the horrific abuse women encountered when they were hired for well paid mining jobs in Minnesota?

      How about another story from the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum: I have a buddy who worked in private equity whose wife is an academic, with some profile in her field. He tells me he sometimes meets women in their 40s who spent some time in PE and are now mothers. Despite being more enlightened than a lot of guys in PE, he clearly regards their proper role in life as having babies for men like him and it being perfectly sensible for them to have left PE since their presence was resented.

      As for further rebuttal of Damore on his doofus claims about women’s “biological” tendencies, see this article:

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Malls and restaurants schedule workers at the last minute. Oregon just made that illegal. Slate (resilc)

    Does the law apply to emergency workers, like doctors or protest suppressors?

    Or is it only for mall and restaurants workers?

    1. Louis

      The way it usually works for mall and restaurant workers is this: you call in two hours before your shift is scheduled to start to find out whether you’re working. If they don’t use you, you don’t get paid that day–there is no extra pay for being “on call.”

      Unless emergency workers also don’t get extra pay, or some other kind of benefit, for having to be on call, comparing restaurant and mall workers to emergency workers is comparing apples and oranges.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not comparing.

        Just wanting to know if it’s still OK to call in workers when there is an emergency…like wild fires, etc.

        1. Louis

          The bill in question deals more with mall and restaurant workers—I don’t think there is anything preventing emergency workers from being called in–and scheduling. In other words you can’t schedule someone for shift and then be like Johnny in the movie Airplane and say “just kidding.”

          The difference lies in how on call works for each, not to mention the necessity of emergency workers. Emergency workers on “on call” are not necessarily scheduled for specific hours but rather are expected to be available if something comes up.

          In jobs like retail and restaurants, workers are given “on call” shifts with specific hours as part of the weekly schedule—it’s not something you can opt out of–that might look something like this: guaranteed shifts on Monday 9am-5pm and Tuesday 5pm-9pm, then an on call shift Thursday 12pm-6pm.

            1. Louis

              According to the summary–I haven’t read the whole bill–this doesn’t apply to emergency workers, so they can still be called in if the need arises.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Do Businesses Need Foreign Workers? Martha’s Vineyard Is Finding Out Wall Street Journal

    Do businesses need American workers?

    Will the Silicon Valley or other H1B-villes ever find out?

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Alibaba’s (BABA) “cashless week” to boost mobile payments is worrying China’s central bank Quartz

    My bet is that China goes cashless before the US.

    We have way too many gun-owning gold bugs.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Sixth separated degree of interfering American elections?

    Gulf Government Gave Secret $20 Million Gift To D.C. Think Tank Intercept (resilc)

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dueling ports underline China-India rivalry Asia Times (resilc)

    So, it’s China-Pakistan vs. India-Iran-Afghanistan.

    Where is the US in this?

    Will it be China-Pakistan vs. US-India-Iran-Afghanistan?

    Even more succinct, maybe, is this: China-Pakistan vs. US’s 51st state (Iran)-India-Afghanistan.

    1. Olga

      Some of that does no make sense – Iran and China are cooperating on a number of projects. Although it looks like Iran is diversifying (Total has a large contract; also Peugeot and Renault). At the recent Rouhani swearing-in ceremony, lots of Europeans present, but no Americans…

  26. Pelham

    From the Jacobin article:

    “If ‘our politics and our economy’ are rigged, who rigged them? Democrats, after all, have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-five years. From Bill Clinton’s serial deregulation of Wall Street to Obama’s decision to bail out predatory banks rather than victimized homeowners, elected Democrats have done their fair share to fashion the plutocratic order that now dominates the American economy.”

    True. But note that neither Clinton nor Obama campaigned with promises to unchain Wall Street, victimize homeowners and build a plutocracy. They sounded like our best friends forever on the stump.

    So now the Democrat Party is sounding similar notes about a “Better Deal.” Given the record, though, why should we believe anything these characters are saying? ANY new message from them is utterly worthless argle-bargle.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It is an Obama/Clinton dynamic, and it s important to note Obama is the anti-Clinton Democratic candidate. Sanders was right the Democrats “needed” him, not for a platform but because he isn’t a “Democrat.” The Democrats have broken promises for too long, and Obama and the Congressional Democrats made sure those broken promises can no longer be laid at the feet of one man, Bill Clinton.

      Until the leadership is effectively purged, I don’t believe any amount of promises and good intentions can undo the damage. As a fellow who was something of a politician noted, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, and though Democrats can fool a high percentage of the votes they need to win, they need 100% of the votes they “need” to win.

      1. Randy

        When you insert Republican voters into the equation the establishment, Republican and Democrat, have all the votes they need to preserve their precious status quo.

        Never overestimate the intelligence of the American voter.

  27. Oregoncharles

    The real point of Google’s new algo (and censorship) is that it’s now a really crappy search engine. That should drive away millions of people who can’t find what they were looking for.

    I note the article saying Google is a “monopoly”. It may dominate the market, for now, but it has plenty of competition. Since Google isn’t doing NC any favors, you might want to put some competitors like DuckDuckGo or Goodsearch in your list of “friends.”

  28. flora

    re: Yasha Levine’s tweet about Google’s new return ranking results.

    Those statistics are pretty shocking.
    Thanks for the link.

  29. KTN

    Re: ‘The Kamala Harris Controversy Reveals the Erasure of Leftist Women by Pseudo-Woke Liberals’ from Water Cooler & the topically related link above.

    Perhaps it’s time for the ‘Bernie wing’ (whatever that is, perhaps an offering from a KFC rival) to christen themselves ‘the Democratic wing of the Democrat [sic] party.

  30. integer

    Black swan at Bavarian palace seeks partner

    Black swans are common here in Western Australia. In fact they are the bird emblem of the state. They could always send the lonely swan down here. Of course it would have to learn the swan equivalent of English, but immersion is apparently the best way to learn a new language.

  31. Objective Function

    The Jacobin piece on Kamala Harris actually made me *more* impressed with her. If the Clintons et al. think they have found a pliable poster child for a neolib status quo, I think they will be find themselves deeply disappointed.

    Harris is is a lifelong executive branch public servant, not a celebrity who jumped the queue. She’s a politician, sure enough, but one who understands thoroughly how works. The last President we had with that background was Eisenhower, and that was more or less the peak efficiency of the New Deal Federal Government.

    Also, the article’s criticisms fail to note that it was not her role as AG to assert or cheerlead political positions, but to follow policy and precedent, and prevailing State policy (which in Cali doesn’t all come from the Governor). Which she did.

    The generals quietly cordoning Trump (“enemies foreign and domestic” means something) will have far more in common with her than they do with Trump, or Clinton, or Bernie. By 2020 voters will want functioning government, not LBJ style legislative dealmaking, which as we know is merely gridlock by another name.

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