Links 8/1/17

Honolulu targets ‘smartphone zombies’ with crosswalk ban Reuters (CL).

Oklahoma Police Chief Gives Himself A Ticket For Speeding HuffPo. So meta.

Earnings shenanigans underpin Wall Street record FT. “Return on invested capital paints much less flattering picture of company valuations.”

This 1 number sums up why that Foxconn deal is over-the-top bad for Wisconsin MarketWatch

Foxconn Deal Lets Company Ignore Wisconsin Environmental Protection Laws David Sirota, International Business Times

Google’s chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm WSWS. Over the transom via email, we get this handy chart of the sites censored by Google:

Remember “Don’t be evil”? Good times…

Passenger rights group wins court victory in fight to keep airline seats from shrinking LA Times

LEGO Tests Bricks Made From Wheat in Effort to Ditch Plastic EcoWatch (MT).

How to Clean Up Hundreds of Tons of Melted Nuclear Fuel Bloomberg

U.S. Nuclear Comeback Stalls as Two Reactors Are Abandoned NYT

The Biggest Worry for British Bankers Isn’t Brexit Bloomberg


Brexit set to raise UK banks’ costs 4% and capital needs 30% FT. Hoo boy.

Everything you need to know about the EU agencies leaving London because of Brexit Politico

Hardly Any Homes Are Selling in London Bloomberg

No 10 contradicts Hammond over ‘off the shelf’ Brexit transition deal Guardian

U.K. Considers Alternatives to EU Court to Break Brexit Logjam Bloomberg.

Why Brexit could be bad for Scotch whisky New Europe (MT).

Brexit border chaos will cause huge delays and cost £1bn a year, says report Guardian (Richard Smith).

EU migrants make up over 20% of labour force in 18 British industries Guardian

Government ignored expert advice and relaxed laws on sale of acids used in recent attacks Independent

More than half of young people in Ireland ‘would join a mass uprising against the government’ Independent


Qatar accuses Saudis of hampering Mecca pilgrims France24


Doklam is not about a road Indian Express

Farmer Suicides Rise in India as Climate Warms, Study Shows NYT

How India Is Surviving Post-Demonetization Forbes


U.S. sanctions Venezuelan President Maduro and labels him a ‘dictator’ McClatchy. In this, of course, as with the Syrian drone strikes, The Blob will hail Trump for his singular blend of moderation, strength, and statesmanship…

Venezuela accuses Rubio, CIA of plotting to topple Caracas government Miami Herald. The fact that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves goes oddly unmentioned in most coverage.

Venezuela in Crisis CFR. For perspective, an extract from commentary provided to NC in mail by a South American journalist who writes extensively about politics:

[M]y position on Chavismo right now is that its authoritarian turn is only going to get worse and the awful economic crisis is likely to continue for a long time because it doesn’t seem like they have any viable plan to get out of it. So the left will only look increasingly out of touch if it reflexively sides with the government. What needs to be done is contextualize Chavismo historically, explaining 1) why it was so wildly successful politically (it gave political participation, economic aid and so on to the country’s historically excluded majorities, it defied the historical imperial tendencies of the US in the region. and the classist control of the country by an elite that was much much better at self-perpetuation than at developing the country, etc.) BUT ALSO 2) what they got wrong economically and how they kept digging into that hole because it was easier politically to continue focusing rhetorically on evil enemies than to accept their own huge f*ck-ups, leading them into today’s escalating authoritarianism (though they still try to keep it democratic on appearance, but it’s less and less so).

How to deal with Venezuela The Economist. “The opposition, a variegated alliance long on personal ambition and short of cohesion, needs to do far more to become a credible alternative government. That includes agreeing on a single leader.” Idea: Ahmed Chalabi!

US Vice-President Pence Telephones Venezuela’s Leopoldo Lopez Venezuelan Analysis

Venezuela Coup “Could Blow Up Huge In Many Nations Of The Region” Moon of Alabama

Which Way Out of the Venezuelan Crisis? Jacobin

New Cold War

Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer WaPo. Sourcing: A goodbye kiss from Reince?

Kushner to Interns: Trump Team Too Disorganized to Collude With Russia Foreign Policy

What Congress Can Do If Trump Fires Mueller Bloomberg

The Obama Appointee Who Could Run the Trump Leak Probe Daily Beast

Imperial Collapse Watch

America Needs a New ‘Dreadnought Strategy’ Foreign Policy. Not an encouraging headline; the UK initiated its dreadnought program on the imperial downslope.

Jury to decide fate of CIA torture psychologists Al Jazeera. As usual, the little guys get the chop. Bad as I believe Mitchell and Jessen to be.

Trump Transition

Why the Trump dynasty will last sixteen years Edward Luttwak, TLS. Well worth a read, although there’s plenty to disagree with.

My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump Jeff Flake, Politico

* * *
Who is John Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff? FT

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly discusses C.S. Forester’s ‘The General’ Foreign Policy

The Greatest Person then Living Andrew Bacevich, LRB. Presidents v. Generals.

* * *
Did Melania and Ivanka knife the Mooch over his language? New claims his ‘c**k blocking’ tirade may have cost him his job Daily Mail

White House Floats Aggressive Tax Timetable in Fall Roll Call

Bannon’s Proposed Tax Increase Isn’t on the Table, Another Trump Aide Says Bloomberg

Could Kris Kobach get a position in Trump’s cabinet after White House reshuffle? Kansas City Star. The scum also rises.

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats Pitch a Kinder, Gentler Populism The Atlantic (Re Silc).

Democrats’ trust-busting hypocrisy The Week

Clinton lost, but Republicans still want to investigate her AP

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Airbnbigotry: Tech and Civil Rights Current Affairs

How We Make Black Girls Grow Up Too Fast Tressie McMillan Cottom, NYT

Health Care

People Are Buying Fish Antibiotics Because They Can’t Afford Human Ones Vice

Hundreds attend free dental clinic at Duquesne University Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bernie Sanders’ Drug Price Bill Would Save Billions, Congressional Analysts Say David Sirota, International Business TImes

Class Warfare

Populism now divides, yet once it united the working class Aeon (MT).

* * *
The trials of being a #workingclassphd Sean Richardson – PhD

There’s a gulf between academics and university management – and it’s growing Guardian

Unpaid internships damage long-term graduate pay prospects Guardian (CL).

* * *
Boeing offers more buyouts at North Charleston campus, layoffs could follow Post and Courier

Robots are set to take Africa’s manufacturing jobs even before it has enough Quartz

The secret messages of San Francisco’s Summer of Love The Week

Against The New Optimism Rod Dreher, The American Conservative in response to Is the world really better than ever? Guardian

Antidote du jour (Bob):

Bob: “Big bills only.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. MoiAussie

    How to Clean Up Hundreds of Tons of Melted Nuclear Fuel Bloomberg

    […] the nation will have to devise a way to remove the highly radioactive material, a mixture of melted nuclear fuel and reactor debris known as corium. The cleanup process that may last 40 years and cost 8 trillion yen ($72 billion) will require technology not yet invented.

    Yes, or it may last 400 years, and cost 800 trillion yen. Or it may never happen. Tepco’s estimates of the time and cost keep changing, and are a stab in the dark. The only certainty is that it will cost more than estimated.

    Japan will decide how it will remove the fuel by September, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said after the discovery last week, according to national broadcaster NHK.

    Characteristic overconfidence, like that which caused the problem in the first place. Meetings will take place and decisions will be made – to do otherwise is unthinkable – and the result will be just like the ill-fated ice wall.

    1. b

      The corium will obviously stay in place. There is no way to get it out and no way to store it elsewhere.

      When the Fukushima event happened I suggested several times to drown the corium with a special concrete that would isolate it and prevent further reaction:
      “…push a slurry of sand/boron/lead [and cement] into the reactors which eventually will dry and form a solid mass preventing further leakage. Cooling would then take place through convection just like in Chernobyl.”

      That would have solved the immense water problem Tepco is now facing. That radioactive water will inevitably end up in the ocean.
      The Russians had suggested a similar scheme based on their experience. But Japan and its U.S. “advisors” were smarter …

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Good point! If they remove the corium from the reactor, where are they going to put it?

        The Russians could do what they did at Chernobyl because they had the land to do it. I don’t think “the way its been done” before (re TMI or Chernobyl) is going to work here. Grouting the core is probably the best option temporarily, but it won’t stop the leakage into the ocean and the destruction of their local fisheries in the area. Time for some new ideas…….

          1. justanotherprogressive

            Well, if the price is high enough, I am sure that there are greedy American waste dump operators who would take it. The US Govt won’t be a problem, but how much does it cost to buy off a state legislator these days?

                1. WobblyTelomeres

                  I’m old with bad knees. I ride dirt bikes w/aftermarket suspension pieces. I am quite sympathetic to the goals of the IWW. I am wobbly in many ways, all the way down.

  2. Jim Haygood

    During July, Craazyman Fund gained 2.98% compared to a 1.28% return from its benchmark, a 50/50 mix of SPY (S&P 500 ETF) and AGG (Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate bond index). Chart:

    For the 17 months since inception on Mar 2, 2016, Craazyman Fund has returned 24.64% versus a 15.65% return from its benchmark. Breaking this down to components, junk bonds (50% weight) returned 23.87%; emerging market stocks (30% weight) gained 40.98%; while the old yellow dog, gold (20% weight), rose a modest 2.09%.

    In the 50/50 benchmark, the S&P 500 ETF returned 27.85%, while the bond index ETF gained 3.44%.

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      August 1, 2017 at 7:17 am
      (begin page 9)
      When I started following the market in 1965 I could look back at what we might call the Ben Graham
      training period of 1935-1965. He noticed financial relationships and came to the conclusion that
      for patient investors the important ratios always went back to their old trends. He unsurprisingly
      preferred larger safety margins to smaller ones and, most importantly, more assets per dollar of stock
      price to fewer because he believed margins would tend to mean revert and make underperforming
      assets more valuable.
      Exhibit 1 shows what happened to the average P/E ratio of the S&P 500 after 1996. For a long
      and painful 20 years – for someone betting on a steady, unchanging world order – the P/E ratio
      stayed high by 1935-1995 standards. It still oscillated the same as before, but was now around a
      much higher mean, 65% to 70% higher! This is not a trivial difference to investors, and 20 years is
      long enough to test the apocryphal but suitable Keynesian quote that the market can stay irrational
      longer than the investor can stay solvent

      This neat outcome tempted me to say, “well that’s it then, these new higher margins are simply and
      exclusively the outcome of lower rates and higher leverage,” leaving only the remaining 20% of
      increased margins to be explained by our almost embarrassingly large number of other very plausible
      reasons for higher margins such as monopoly and increased corporate power. But then I realized
      that there is a conundrum: In a world of reasonable competitiveness, higher margins from long-term
      lower rates should have been competed away. (Corporate risk had not materially changed, for interest
      coverage was unchanged and rate volatility was fine.) But they were not, and I believe it was precisely
      these other factors – increased monopoly, political***, and brand power – that had created this new stickiness in profits that allowed these new higher margin levels to be sustained for so long.

      You can have the Goldman Sachs guys running the Bush administration, or you can have the Goldman Sachs guys running the Obama administration, or you can have Goldman Sachs guys running the Trump administration….but what YOU can’t have is a bail out when it all goes tits up.

      ***I’m thinking its JUST political….

      1. Jim Haygood

        Jeremy Grantham’s colleague Ben Inker mentions in the same report that “We like [emerging market stocks] because they look a good deal cheaper than stocks in the developed world.” Their P/E ratio is about two-thirds that of the S&P 500, which is one of the world’s most costly markets.

        Emerging markets stocks make up 30% of Craazyman Fund, and constitute a long-term bet on the emerging world outgrowing the demographically declining rich world.

        On the bond side, junk bond spreads (their yield compared to Treasuries) have tumbled since inception of Craazyman Fund, giving it a nice boost since lower yields mean higher prices. Chart:

        Though rising junk spreads will hurt Craazyman Fund in the next credit crunch, it is likely to carry on beating its benchmark long term. A market-timed version of Craazyman Fund would switch into 100% Treasuries during recession. If indicators deteriorate, we’ll track that alternate version when it’s needed.

        1. Clive

          Ah, yes, but doesn’t everyone always think they’ll be able to get before the roof caved in? Shallow markets can see liquidity dissolve overnight…

          1. Jim Haygood

            You raise a valid concern. Let’s go to the instant replay of the last go-round:


            From the high water mark of 31 Oct 2007, by 29 Aug 2008 stocks were off 15.7%. Several recession models were already flashing red. Yet junk bonds had sold off only 0.8% on a total return basis.

            Junk bottomed out on 28 Nov 2008 with a 28.1% drawdown, while stocks blundered on to a 50.9% shellacking by 27 Feb 2009. [All values at month end.]

            Market timing is tricky. But junk bonds, having about half the volatility of stocks, are a bit more forgiving of being late to leave the party after the punch bowl has been upended by inebriated revelers and the cops are busting down the door.

          2. DJPS

            If you look at the real big swoons, there was says a close or 2 under the 200 SMA before the gates of hell were opened.

            There’s going to be a lot of bouncing on the way down (rather than a straight drop) because everyone has been trained to BTFD.

            While $SPY is over the 200 SMA, the trend is up. might as well hang in there ’till it isn’t.

        2. HotFlash

          Thank you Dr. Haygood and Dr. Dan,

          Me, I got nuthin’ to invest, except in our own teeny-tiny business, so it is a great treat to me to see this sort of real investing strategy on the hoof, so to speak. Like knowing what the coach and the Q’back are saying to each other.

          And hey, just the name, Craazyman Fund, is a winner.

    1. DJG

      Linda: Agree. And the picture doesn’t even include their iridescent wing feathers. Always a treat to see a flicker.

      1. bob

        It was too quick on the takeoff for me to get a picture of that. It’s eyeing me up from about 100 yards away, then it bolted.

  3. Jim Haygood

    During July, Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator fell slightly to 1.224, from 1.233 last month. Its peak in the economic expansion since June 2009 occurred on May 31, 2017 at 1.270. Chart:

    Among the indicator’s three components, Conference Board consumer confidence rose from 118.9 to 121.1; CRB raw industrial material prices were flat at 506.33; while unemployment claims rose from 242,250 to 244,000. After inversion, rising unemployment claims reduce the index value.

    So far, the index’s two-month dip is within a normal range of fluctuation; everything looks copacetic. :-)

    1. Yves Smith

      Warren Mosler regularly points out looking at unemployment claims on a long-term trend basis isn’t a good indicator of the state of the jobs market. Eligibility has been tightened by a considerable degree.

  4. Roger Smith

    LEGO Tests Bricks Made From Wheat in Effort to Ditch Plastic EcoWatch

    But will they offer a gluten free option? Seriously, it is good that they are trying to change up the formula.

    1. Massinissa

      Those Danes running LEGO are doing things the folks at companies like Mattel and Hasbro would have never, ever considered.

    2. HotFlash

      Holy smokes, there are so many, many people in this world who do not have enough food and they want to make Lego blocks out of *food*? I would file this under Kill Me Now. How they try using grass clippings from golf courses?

  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: Democrats Pitch a Kinder, Gentler Populism, whenever I hear about retraining programs I want to scream. How long have we been trying these programs and how successful have they been? My suspicion is that they are not very successful especially for older workers who will face age discrimination even if they do retrain in some in-demand field. It also perpetuates the skills shortage myth that blames workers for not getting the right skills, as if everyone can work in one of the few in-demand fields left in this country.

    On its face, Trump’s angry brand of populism actually makes more sense than what the Democrats are pushing. Renegotiating NAFTA and cracking down on the exploitation of immigrant labor would be good for American workers if done in the right way. The hatred of Trump is causing some liberals to shy away from objectively looking at issues like immigration and trade because now those are branded as “Trump’s issues” and are therefore bad. For example, Dean Baker calls some of the reactions to the trade issue “trade denialism,” which is a great term that people should use when confronted by those who dismiss the impact of trade on the decline of good jobs for American workers.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why should one retrain oneself to be a robot, in order to get a robotic job?

      Why shouldn’t our greedy billionaires retrain themselves to be happy, content, yoga-loving, meditating multi-millionaires?

      The number one failure of our teachers, physicians and scientists is we continue to fail to graduate not-very-greed students and there is no cure, yet, for greed.

      1. MoiAussie

        Blaming the “greed” of young american graduates on teachers and scientists? It seems the elite strategy of divide-and-conquer is paying dividends beyond their wildest dreams.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The greed of future billionaires, who typically are college or high school graduates.

          Any system should judged by how the sickest or poorest are treated.

          Here, we obviously have failed to do much for our greediest. We are not curing them, not healing them.

          1. MoiAussie

            No argument, most billionaires graduate from high school. But who, if anyone, is really to blame for the ultra-greed of that fraction? (It ain’t teachers and scientists.) Try parents for starters.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Parents too.

              But if it is a disease, we should look to our physicians and scientists, for example.

              If the billionaires dominate with their guanxi, technology and financial know-how, we look at our business schools, and science and engineering schools.

              These are the outstanding features of our particular technology and innovation age. The failures of parents have always been there, but ‘progress’ today has been conspicuously rapid. But parents shouldn’t be excluded.

              1. Mike

                OK, some problems here… Greed has been with us since Caveman 1 brought home a bigger kill than Caveman 2 (excuse me, “Caveperson” – don’t wanna be sexist here). Greed is a constant of human behavior, as long as shortage exists. The killer issue is not greed, but its societal outlet. Do we enable greed? Indeedy-do we do – can’t have capitalism without it, says Rand. Do we give it much more “space” within our culture than, say, 40 years ago? Yup – both parties have succumbed to pressure to allow enormous return for so-called “enormous creativity” (another debate could be had here). So, how to insulate science and education from that greed? Don’t think you can, friends (see point 1). Therefore, since all must become more business-like, and show return on investment that accrues to the ones whose names are on the institutes and lab buildings, they will naturally (nature being our fit into the system as it is now) socially evolve in that direction. This goes for parents, children, all of us. Few can deny the advantage, and fewer isolate themselves from the “mainstream” by living as hermits.

                To me, it comes back to the question of how much we want to change. If just a few things within the culture, you must tell me how those changed items will fit into the remaining survivals. Not too many folks (including commenters on this site) think outside the box about the effects of change in a global system – social, economic, psychological – that has become our version of capitalism. Baby v. bathwater, seems to me the definition of both is necessary and leads to our actions. For me, not much ‘baby’ left.

                1. tegnost

                  a policy choice known as student loans removed the insulation between science/education and greed. That human nature is both good and bad is a given, and policy choices can mitigate the more obvious problems, or make them much worse, as in the current state of affairs. Social security was a policy choice that mitigated greed and imbalances. It was ever thus is a weak argument around here.

                  1. Mike

                    Loans were part of a broad panoply of “reforms” that made college accessible to the lower middle classes, and, as such, were widely supported by the plebes. Back when loans were floated as a solution, other more direct plans of educational payment could’ve been vetted and put up to vote – but weren’t. An entire “tent” of solutions were backed due to the same problem we have today; lobbying by interested parties who had deep pockets.

                    So, again, our system created space to bring money to bear as our savior and final measure of worth, both of degrees and individuals. My only question is, once you decide “greed” is the problem, are you going to continually punish the greedy, or take their ability to position themselves thus away from them? If you decide to do both, what “powers” are you pissing off, and what will you do when they move against you? How far down and broadly do you go to “remove” the greedy, while the media screams “elimination of creativity”? Simply, what are you gonna do about it – give programs and legal bases, not whining…

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Cave men and women are very interesting people.

                  A cave mother doesn’t tell a cave kid to stay his/her cave when misbehaving.

                  And I don’t know if cave kids ever do not behave…no ‘civilization’ to fit into for those neolithic youngsters.

                  There really isn’t time to slack off when danger lurks everywhere.

                  Perhaps that’s why they cooperate to hunt and share their resources.

                  In contrast, from the first grade, it’s about who is the smartest and let’s praise him/her (multinational corporations need the best and brightest of future exploiters, and the need to separate the wheat from the chaff). One of the most Darwinian experiences and the earliest I can recall is being tested in school and seeing the result posted, with the better performers separated for praise. It encourages every student to be for him/herself to get ahead (by getting good grades…here, we remind ourselves, our academic world is one of individual grades, not often enough of class grades, group grades, team grades). A teacher can be a very good enabler of this individualistic, there-are-only-so-many-slots-open-for-Harvard thinking.

                  For cave people, it’s the clan, the group that either sinks or swims.

                  With schooling, we foster individualism, instead of encouraging sharing, which can and do restrain the greedy tendencies in all of us, even in cave people.

              2. zer0

                Puleez. Becoming a billionaire is more akin to a convergence of being born into an amazingly well connected family & an ounce of smarts than it is to “graduating college”. In fact, there might be a reverse correlation in their somewhere….

                Regardless, greed is here to stay. No government, no structure of society will get rid of it. The best we can do is contain it, but a piss poor record that’s been. I mean, the US cant even lockup a banker for laundering money for the drug cartel! Maybe its “won’t”? Either way, “cant” “wont” the outcome is the same.

                In China, they ‘disappear’ the elites who don’t play by the Party rules. Its the old adage of “establishing ones might”. They go by the old-school methods of Emperors of past. On the other hand in the US gov, everything is for theatrical entertainment. I don’t even think our Presidents give a flying shit as to whose in control, whose vying for control, or the future prospects of the US masses, as long as they get their fame (or book deals, or whatever).

                Our politics are kindergarten and our hope is sitting on our ass, waiting for the day everything is miraculously righted.

                Oh, and their is no such thing as populism. They called it Noblesse Oblige back in the (French) day. A lot of good that did them. Their Noble heads still rolled down the wooden beams of the guillotine. A warranted revolution, no doubt. In fact, its always funny how populism becomes the ideology They hide behind when the masses are getting desperate. Perhaps its their survival instincts kicking in, when, driving “price-of-a-house” cars & flying in private jets they finally realize that for all their self-imposed worth, they will die with a single shot to the head. Or maybe they finally realize that WE realize that their wealth is stolen from the rest of our labor.

                And robbery it is: no human on this earth is worth much of anything, unfortunately. A simple study of Gaussian statistics corroborate that we are all more the same than different, contrary to every children’s lesson about how each an every one of us “is unique yet equal”. Indoctrination starts quite early.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  We focus on billionaires at the top. They may not be geniuses, but they usually went to top schools and are not fools.

                  Just below them are their armies of enables who show their worth by being as greedy and smart often enough. Once in a while, you get a billionaire with a real army of brawny soldiers.

            2. Allegorio

              My high school definitely trained for greed. Students were segregated by their IQ’s, those high IQ’s were pampered and brain washed.Technology was king. It was a purely corporate agenda taught. Anybody trying to discuss alternate economic systems was ostracized.

              The history taught was a joke, corporate all the way. Did you know that slavery was not cruel, but slaves flourished under benign masters, unlike the days after emancipation. There was no Jim Crow. All of America’s (Wall Street’s) enemies were irredeemable monsters and there was no place like capitalism, where the best always gets more, so be the best. Winning was everything. Winner!!!!!

      2. AnnieB

        MyLessThanPrimeBeef: “Why shouldn’t our greedy billionaires retrain themselves to be happy, content, yoga-loving, meditating multi-millionaires?”

        Agree 100%. If anyone has reason to work on self improvement then it is our self-righteous oligarchy.
        But I can’t agree that parents, teachers, etc. are at fault. People grow up in this culture bombarded with the message that it’s ok to be careless and cruel as long as you make a lot of money. Capitalism, you know. Also, empathy has been destroyed, especially by the Internet, which allows people to spew their angry thoughts and accusations all over the screen with no repercussions.

        1. AnnieB

          Also, I especially appreciate for being one of the very few forums that doesn’t tolerate the careless cruel comments that populate most of the Internet.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            One of the great things about Naked Capitalism here is it’s continuous education.

            And no one to grade your learning.

            We rediscover we are all great, all have valuable insights to contribute.

            None of the ‘I have a master’s degree, I should make more money’ expectations, built up or allowed to grown rampant during those years and years of education…in many rich people.

          2. Arizona Slim

            @AnnieB, you’ve summarized why I’m spending ever more time here and less on social media. Sorry, social media, but you’re way too nasty for my taste.

        2. a different chris

          >bombarded with the message that it’s ok to be careless and cruel as long as you make a lot of money

          Really? I’m not so sure, I think the message is “it’s great to be rich, look at these guys/gals” and much examination of said rich lifestyle follows. The “careless and cruel” way they got and maintain their position there is left as unexamined as possible. I mean you could replace the History Channel with the TrumpHistory Channel and not run out of ugly material for years. But nobody is really doing that.

          He, the Kochs, etc are about as careless and cruel as you can get but tell me what was on your TeeVee about them, at least before Trump actually became President.

          I think everybody would like the rich part of being rich but we have actual human beings out here, a good majority I would bet, whose stomachs would turn, and they would turn away, if faced with doing the things most of the rich do without a second thought.

    2. jawbone

      Livius, have you seen any indications that the Trump now in the White House will actually do anything to help anyone but 1) himself and his relatives and best friends, if he has such, and 2) crony and not so friendly Corporatists and Big Banksters and Playahs?

      We need leftist Dems who remember what pols like FDR and LBJ accomplished for those other than the top of One Percent.

      1. Livius Drusus

        Trump did axe the TPP and supports requiring that employers use the E-Verify system, although E-Verify will need to be coupled with tougher fines against employers who use illegal labor and I am not sure how far Trump will go on that front since he may not want to anger his Republican allies who are in the pocket of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

        But I agree that Trump is not really the great populist that he claims to be and that we would be better off with a New Deal Democrat as president but at least Trump is getting some of these issues out there and forcing them back to the forefront of public debate. The Democrats are being forced to pay attention to economics again, although I have to say that I am disappointed with some of their responses, like the continued obsession with retraining schemes.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        One thing about retraining programs:

        The trainers always get a job. The programs are a jobs guarantee for credentialed professionals (as are, generally, means-tested systems).

  6. fresno dan

    The Greatest Person then Living Andrew Bacevich, LRB. Presidents v. Generals.

    As this point, MacArthur came unglued. Chinese intervention required direct retaliation, he insisted. The adverse turn of events on the battlefield, he told journalists, stemmed directly from the fact that he had laboured under constraints ‘without precedent in military history’.
    While the Cold War lasted, US policymakers preferred to hold American military power in abeyance. Since the end of the Cold War, and especially since 9/11, they have put America’s armed might to work. The result is a nation that today finds itself more or less permanently at war.
    Trump has by and large handed the national security apparatus over to the generals. Now wearing three stars but still an active-duty army officer, McMaster occupies the post of national security adviser. Career military officers, active and retired, fill numerous positions on the National Security Council staff. The defence secretary is a former four-star general. So, too, is the secretary of homeland security. Truman, I imagine, wouldn’t have approved; it’s possible MacArthur would feel vindicated. The rest of us watch with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation.
    Is it just the opposite nowadays – i.e., Trump is McArthur and McMaster is Truman?
    But I think the real problem is with the consensus US establishment view as hegemon of the world. Imagine if we had let Korea “fall”
    Would a unified Korea be China’s ally, or like Vietnam, China’s thorn?

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps the difference is that back then the military were often lunatics (Curtis LeMay wanted to take out Russia with nukes and get it over with) being restrained by civilians whereas now it’s the civilians who are the lunatics (Nikki Haley to the courtesy phone) with the military possibly acting as a brake. One suspects that if Trump really did want to start a war with North Korea or Iran it would be the generals who would have to explain reality to him since it would be US ships and bases like the one in S. Korea that would face massive retaliation. What the Pentagon doesn’t want above all are large scale US casualties which would create another Vietnam syndrome of anti-military sentiment and cut down on their grift.

      And if Truman had stayed out of Korea millions of Koreans wouldn’t have died or at least not have died under US weapons. But he did face huge pressure from the Republicans and the Luce press over “losing” China.

      1. Sam Adams

        What is in the water in South Carolina? It seems the most vile ideas and politicians hail from one backwater state.

        1. Carolinian

          Actually Haley hails from India or at least her parents do. She was born in SC.

          And her FP views are probably not much different from Schumer’s or Gillibrand’s. What’s in the water in NYC?

          1. PKMKII

            War fervor is to voters what roofies are to a woman at a bar. A horrible thing to get people into a mental state where they go along with whatever the political class wants (remember all those protections for drug companies that got snuck into the PATRIOT act?), and it’s not until they come out of the stupor that they realize what’s been done to them.

            1. Carolinian

              Lindsey Graham probably spends 99 percent of his time in DC and Haley is the darling of AIPAC. I’d say both of these politicians likely get their vile foreign policy ideas somewhere other than SC. Haley in particular seems to have national ambitions and already thinks of herself as the queen of everything. If you said growing up in SC made her wacko you might have a better case.

              And John C. Calhoun–seriously? The 19th century has been over for some time.

            2. mpalomar

              It makes no sense that South Carolina should produce worse politicians than elsewhere in the country where bad politicians are a renewable resource. New York, Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina all have a full roster.

              Yet SC possesses a rich history for a small state; it was there the Civil War was given a stage and opening act plus a colorful preliminary event when in 1856 SC D Representative Preston Brooks seconded by SC congressman Laurence Keitt in an informal joint session, caned the loquacious Senator Sumner about the head, bloodied to the floor of the senate.

              James Petigru said of his native state, “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” We should not overlook the accomplishments of more recent native sons Strom Thurmond and Lee Atwater and well, bring on the clowns, Mark Sanford and Joe Wilson.

              Haley’s parents may hail from India but South Carolina owns the UN ambassador from the US. Born in Bamberg SC, at age 5 she was entered in the ‘miss Bamberg’ contest in 1977 and disqualified because the judges couldn’t decide if she was contestant for ‘miss white’ or ‘black’ Bamberg.

              1. Carolinian

                I met Lee Atwater once when he was Strom Thurmond’s man Friday. Atwater kept going on about what a great guy James Brown was (Brown lived on the coast).

                And yes my state certainly has an, er, colorful history. But these days, in the great mass media/internet homogenized United States, it isn’t much different from any other. If some around here think generational arguments are hokum then regionalism could be just as much so. Even the city/country opposition is starting to fade with the “new urbanism.” These days the US is divided by class, not southern accents.

  7. MoiAussie

    America Needs a New ‘Dreadnought Strategy’ Foreign Policy

    The strategy in question is somewhat misnamed (dreadnought occurs in the headline only) – it consists in strategically keeping military technological breakthroughs under wraps, and not pushing them through to implementation, to prevent diffusion of new technology to competitors, so called “slow-rolling”.

    Given that the rapid progress of Chinese fighter plane technology seems, at least in part, to have been driven by cybertheft, research technology prototypes will need to be very securely wrapped up to prevent such diffusion. It’s also hard to believe that the US military and its contractors will do a better job at cybersecurity than the poor showings of the recent past. Part of the problem, as in so many fields, is a willingness to invest in protective technologies, but not so much in human experts who know how to use them effectively.

    It’s also clear that China in particular is doing a much better and faster job of going from technologies to deployment, and the article does a reasonable job of explaining why. The core proposal, that Washington should learn some lessons, and choose to deploy the results of cutting-edge research strategically, seems however so far from the reality of how the US MIC actually operates, with its endless boondoggles and pork barrelling and doubling down on sunk costs, that the chance of any meaningful change seems minimal.

    1. Charger01

      MIC is wealthy welfare. It’s as simple as that. Many a contractor and employee at Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, and General Dynamics earn their living because we the taxpayer subsidize them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Technically, the taxpayers don’t fund them, certainly not via taxes.

        The government’s MMT money does.

        Is the government solely responsible then? Well, from the banality of evil perspective, we the people also are, even if we should be, in the extreme case, living under a totalitarian regime.

        We are, every time, a house is razed in Gaza, or a building is drone in Syria, for example.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We are, every time a house is razed in Gaza, or a building is droned in Syria, for example.

          (That reads better).

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        Re: dreadnaughts

        The author seems to propose the Elmer Fudd solution to dealing with a more agile competitor/opponent. That is, “stay vewy vewy quiet”.

        To me, the problem is that the MIC only develops things that are profitable to develop. Aircraft carriers are very profitable, especially when major new systems are developed/tested/deployed in parallel ([moochism] idiots!!!).

        Consider UAVs/drones. $1,000,000/unit drones are profitable, especially when the design and development costs are fully subsidized, purchases are guaranteed, and healthy profit margins are baked into the contracts.

        Swarms of $100/unit drones aren’t. However, 10,000 cheap drones, each carrying 1-2kg of explosives, would be an incredibly effective way to attack [ship|marine base|airport|factory…]. They would cost the same as a single cruise missile based on my straight-from-the-netherland numbers. Yes, we can quarrel about range.

        But, the MIC just can’t seem to grok that their legacy thought patterns are obsolete. At least, the US-and-vassal-states MIC can’t. But, I contend it is intentional.

        Manned fighter aircraft are obsolete. Carrier battle groups are obsolete. Land assault is obsolete. But, as long as the Air Force is led by ex-pilots, the Navy is led by ex-captains, the Army and Marines are led by combat (SOCOM) veterans, and they all see a future where they retire to an MIC position, change won’t happen. Too much John Wayne.

        The same is true at NASA, btw. Too many ex-astronauts wandering about bellowing that we need “boots on the ground” whenever the Moon or Mars is discussed despite all the proof that sentient water bags are ill-suited to the rigors of space flight. Too much Buck Rogers.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          “…Land assault is obsolete….”

          While I generally agree with your conclusions, land assault (in just about any context…local, regional, international) is most certainly not ‘obsolete’. In fact, until there is no more war, land assault is just about the LAST thing that will become obsolete.

          Much like the phrase ‘we will be home by Christmas!’ should always make your spidey-sense start going off – thus you know you are most definitely NOT going to be ‘Home By Christmas’ – anyone who tells you that ground troops and/or land assaults are obsolete is either a fool…or trying to sell you something.

          Even in a high-tech world of drones, autonomous AI, robots, ala Terminator….well, there are ways to defeat them. Interesting ways…effective ways…but very VERY Dangerous ways, to be sure.

          Anyone who forgets this will be sorely disappointed when the wars come. In most scenarios I can think of, the whizzy ‘twitter war’lasts a day or so until the Internet (and of course freely-available electrical power) is cut for the duration, maybe for good. The ‘digital war’ lasts a week or two, maybe a month until resources to run/maintain/resupply the ‘bots decline.

          And then comes the real war…same as it ever was. Same as it ever will be… One human letting the life blood of another seep out onto the ground they will soon be occupying.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            My argument was based upon the US experience in the Middle East, the French/US experience in SE Asia, and Castro in Cuba.

            When both sides lined up and demolished each other, the US would win (1991, Desert Storm). When such marked asymmetry exists, guerrilla/embedded insurgent tactics are supreme (Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan). COIN doesn’t work without complete, unrelenting, genocide. Nixon’s carpet bombing made no sense then, makes no sense now (someone should tell Ted Cruz, btw). I’m fairly certain our military knows this, but, they seem to have little reason to pass the message along to their civilian bosses.

            Trump: Well, generals, how do we defeat a determined, embedded, foe?
            General #1: We could bomb the whole place into glass.
            General #2: We could deprive them of food and water.
            General #3: We could send hundreds of thousands of our boys, equipped with the latest high tech gear to turn over every [moochism] stone until we’ve killed ’em all, while simultaneously winning the hearts and minds of the womenz and chillenz with our charming hopeful manner.
            General #4: Sorry, boss, it’s never been done without killing everyone of ’em, even their cousins and aunts on the other side of the world, and even that hasn’t been accomplished. Ever.
            Trump (Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama): General #4, you’re FIRED!!!

            Additionally, in keeping with my prior screedlet, imagine a 0.5 cubic foot mobile robot disguised as a rock. A few wheels, a small solar panel, an ultra low power processor, and a few scattered infrared sensors. Oh. And a few ounces of plastic explosive (or mother-of-satan). Imagine, 10,000 or 100,000 of them. Cheap, mobile, autonomous, stupid, land mines. Sorta like an explosive roomba (and no more complicated). Roll a tank through them. Boom, boom, boom. Drive humvees through them. Boom, boom, boom. Walk a division through them. Boom, boom, boom. The bots win. Land force obsolete. Even before they get a chance to kill and/or charm the natives.

            So, one would take the world’s greatest military and go out hunting rocks. Thousands and thousands of rocks. Or, candidate IEDs. Whatever. The obvious question, then, is: who won?

    2. a different chris

      > it consists in strategically keeping military technological breakthroughs under wraps, and not pushing them through to implementation, to prevent diffusion of new technology to competitors

      Fair enough. But just to play devil’s advocate – if we keep rolling out stuff the Chinese feel they need to study and copy, it maybe keeps them from thinking of something better.

      You do seem to allude to the flip side of our supposed tech prowess here: “its endless boondoggles and pork barrelling and doubling down on sunk costs”. We would love for the Chinese military to copy that!

      1. Antifa

        Finally I see why we’re building F-35’s — it’s so the Chinese will steal the plans and clone these flying turkeys, thus rendering their air force functionally impotent. It’s brilliant!

        1. craazyboy

          1) Re-purpose underwear gnome plant

          2) ….???…!!!
          Convert to Chinese Clone F-35 Enhanced Fighter! Get Russians and Indians to help. Buy Africa – especially Congo for cobalt and lithium mines – locking up most of world production.
          Join TPP, and NAFTA, and TGIF. Buy out TGIF chain for Chinese engineering student dorm. Fill with tiny Chinese bunk bed.

          Wait with dumb look on face, not answer Western World questions. Make big deal about fake Chinese Islands. Say Chinese deathly afraid of Carrier Groups. hahahaha. Make new fortune cookie fortune, to piss off Trump!

          Sell downgraded enhanced F-35 to Western World for same price. (hahahahaha – capitalism wonderful.) Sell spare parts for 10X cost.

          3) Profit!

          1. craazyboy

            And now…The Daily Deep Thawt !!!

            “If the World ended, very, very quickly, would we know the World ended?”


  8. Corbin Dallas

    Have you a larger version of that stats chart re: WSWS/Google censorship? I’d like to share it with friends but that one is a tiny resolution.

    1. Harold

      It seems to be blurry whatever the resolution. A sharper one would be great. (Also, where is it from?)

  9. Stephen Haust

    @article “Google’s chief search engineer…”

    Well, it’s everywhere, isn’t it.

    I’ve been using Comodo Dragon browser sometimes and recently I find that on some sites it
    interrupts the web site with a warning like this “Not Secure” in RED and then fails to fully load
    the page.

    For example, when I call for, Comodo Dragon presents that warning and then
    fails to completely load the page. On the other hand, if I use Internet Explorer to look for, it loads in https: and looks just fine.

    On the other other hand, if I call for, it loads as
    Comodo Dragon, in this case also presents a little sort of “information” icon , the letter i inside a
    circle. If I click there, I get the warning “Your connection to this site is not secure”. But it does load
    the page.

    So, if you think it’s just Google, think again. It’s your browser too, probably DNS services, maybe
    your ISP, who knows what else.

    Expecting net neutrality? Bah, humbug!

    1. Carolinian

      Right after PropOrNot my library blocked NC via Sonic Wall. I complained and their tech dept said NC had been flagged as containing a virus. However the next day NC was unblocked and has continued to be available.

      So perhaps this was just a technical issue but if the tech heavyweights are going to engage in censorship then it’s time to call out the dogs. By letting himself be openly associated with the Clinton campaign Schmidt took political sides which is what Google must never do or appear to be doing. Time to start using Bing? Or are they just as bad?

    2. Ernesto Lyon

      I had to ask Amtrak California to unblock NC. I couldn’t get it on the Capitol Corridor.

    3. Mike

      Ja, dis ist vat ve in Vienna call a “gestalt”. I’m almost ready to pull the plug, but use a very good VPN and can get away with fast attacks upon sites I crave.

      1. visitor

        It is the Comodo Group Inc, a major issuer of digital certificates and provider of security suites.

        Several hacking cases have shown the somewhat dubious security practices of the company.

  10. Eureka Springs

    Jury to decide fate of CIA torture psychologists

    The two psychologists were paid $81m for their help, Ladin said.

    J. Krishnamurti time: “It’s no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society”.

    1. DJG

      Eureka Springs: Yep, that last paragraph with their consulting fee is especially rich.

      I don’t agree with Lambert that these are little guys taking the fall: I am hoping for more cases, although I note that Judge Quackenbush is doing his best to be the good soldier and deny standing. Further, the case is being tried as a civil case, when these two should be charged with murder and moved to the criminal division.

      By not dealing with torture, the U S of A engages in a kind of campaign of self-corruption, from Bush to Obama to Trump. Remind me of those great differences between the two dry-rotted political parties, please.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Another sickening bit:

        “He noted that the contract that psychologists James Mitchell and John Jessen had with the government indemnified them against any judgments.

        The psychologists’ lawyers are being paid out of a pot of money provided by taxpayers and established in an indemnity contract.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not taxpayers’ money.

          And Lambert has a point. The elephant in the courtroom is the government and its contracts.

          Always ask, when one gets research, ‘why do the generals of the junta give me this money?’

          To the 6th degree, not just directly and immediately.

          So, for example, in sub-atomic particle research, the question is not, will this lead to a Noble prize, but will this lead to more lethal weapons.

          1. Jake Mudrosti

            To the 6th degree, not just directly and immediately. So, for example, in sub-atomic particle research, the question is not, will this lead to a Noble prize, but will this lead to more lethal weapons.

            Don’t err by noticing a clear problem, and then deciding that it’s reasonable to extrapolate from there.

            The U.S.’s storied Tevatron was ended due to absence of funds. This, despite the fact that its Higgs sector physics programs would have been competitive with CERN at least through FY 2014. All the desperate pleas for minimal funding extensions, several years ago, turned up nothing.

            DARPA is out there funding robot claptrap, and “wowie!” garbage, but very very very pointedly not funding foundational physics. There’s no actual “6th degree” funding.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It’s not so much extrapolating as reminding ourselves to be probing, questioning and doubting always.

      2. Mike

        DJG – A big elephant in the room is, of course, the “researchers” very own American Psychological Association. Why did the APA wait until far too late to register “annoyance” about the torture going on? While there was debate, none of that debate rose to the level of a vote until the cat was already out of the water-boarding bag.

        I’d love to see those “professionals” cry their way out of responsibility for harboring such sleazeballs. Of course, I’m using the existential definition of responsibility…

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I don’t agree with Lambert that these are little guys taking the fall

        They’re “little guys” compared to John Yoo or John Brennan. Or Bush. Or Obama.

    2. Tooearly

      One would want to know where a large portion of this 81 went or was intended to go. I assume these two might have gotten only a small fraction of it the rest to higher ups.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This 1 number sums up why that Foxconn deal is over-the-top bad for Wisconsin MarketWatch

    Foxconn Deal Lets Company Ignore Wisconsin Environmental Protection Laws David Sirota, International Business Times

    The number one problem, it seems to me, is that there is one company here we are talking about making smartphones for Apple, and 50 states in America.

    Maybe there should be more smartphone assemblers…like more Amazons and more Facebooks.

    I wonder if Trump thinks Foxconn is too big.

  12. MoiAussie

    NC doesn’t support https connections (yet), hence the info icon.

    RT supports https connections, but some page content is loaded via http (mainly microsoft), hence the red icon and partial load. Presumably IE doesn’t object to insecure loads from MS sites. Shouldn’t be a problem anyway.

    None of this has anything to do with the original issue, google tweaking its search algorithm to make independent content hard to find.

    1. hunkerdown

      Google has deemphasized non-HTTPS sites in their search results just for being non-HTTPS. In a way, it’s a sort of stamp tax.

  13. HopeLB

    Lambert, I think you missed this one on India. It highlights the fact that the Gates Foundation/IMF’s Big Ag push in India has exacerbated the climate crisis as well as unmasks the usual suspects behind demonetization;

    And this by Jamie Dixon, presents not only a very interesting framing of economics but concludes with the difficult gem of a solution;

    “But without an inspiring cause, would we in the North consuming at the rate of 4 planets accept our equal global share to halt climate change: one family car for only two days per week, meat twice, fish once, two eggs, one airplane trip every 5 years (though plenty of bicycles and vegetables)? I don’t, and certainly most of Northern society as it behaves at present would not, though countries like Cuba manage it. So we in the North, as the saying goes, “vote with our feet” to consume 4 planets: no surprise then that we also vote for Consumer-capitalism with our ballots.”

    Hope Craazyboy has a song/poem or some prose in the works.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      So the only two choices are back to the stone age or full-speed ahead over the cliff. Good to know.

  14. WobblyTelomeres

    Re: class warfare, The trials of being a #workingclassphd

    Thank you for this link, Lambert. I really liked this.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      I agree. It isn’t only the money barriers – there are cultural barriers also…..

  15. ChiGal in Carolina

    Just googled “freedom of speech” and the ACLU was about 6th in search results, after several Wiki… and one US govt result.

    What is the sourcing for that chart? Nowhere on the page does it indicate censorship unless it’s just that I don’t know how to read the numbers.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The source is a person we’ve had correspondence with in the past (over WaPo’s propornot debacle). Since I wasn’t sure if I could use the name, I didn’t.

      The chart is about Alexa rank/Page views. The thesis is not that Google caused links to disappear entirely; rather, the links became less accessible, to a noticeable (and hurtful) degree.

    2. Yves Smith

      It’s “censorship” by degrading where you come up in a Google search. If you come up on the second page, you might as well not exist.

      1. MoiAussie

        As noted by hunkerdown at 4:44 pm, not supporting https will push you down the rankings.
        Are there some major technical or cost obstacles preventing NC supporting https?

        1. bob

          What the fuck does https prove?

          For a news site?

          “they could spoof the site!”

          If you draw enough attention for any “they” to go to that level, you’re gonna need a lot more practical, real world protection.

          “everyone says you need it, even google!”

          That’s not suspicious? How does it benefit google?

          1. Yves Smith

            I know. It’s utterly ridiculous. We are having to go to https…for what, exactly?

            And for any site that runs ads, you don’t get protection unless all the advertisers are https compliant. Google doesn’t concern itself with that nicety. Most advertisers do but “most” is not all!

            I think it’s just a way to impose costs on small sites. Seriously.

            1. bob

              I think it’s ultimately about being able to track people.

              You involve a 3rd party “certificate authority” to vouch for….what exactly? The end user has no recourse against the authority.

              People really, really don’t understand how encryption works, and what it works for. The model of this use case much more easily fits tracking. More than any sort of “privacy” (we’ll ask someone(s) else- privately/s).

          2. MoiAussie

            What the feck does https prove?

            Wouldn’t it mean that submitted comments would not be visible in transit? Not that I’m particularly concerned about that, we are not quite at the samizdat stage, but at the moment anyone doing keyword sniffing on http connections to NC can easily identify the origin of comments, and https would defeat that. And sure, I realise well that there are other ways to track comment authors, so let’s not get bogged down in that.

  16. Jim Haygood

    ISM’s manufacturing index backed off a bit, to 56.3 in July versus 57.8 in June. But it’s still consistent with economic growth. Stocks aren’t bothered, with the Dow knocking on 22,000.

    ISM claims that “if the PMI for July (56.3 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 4.1 percent increase in real GDP annually.”

    4.1% is way too high. ISM’s correlation probably includes some sparkly GDP numbers from the halcyon days of the 20th century, when Wally and the Beav were growing up. Things just ain’t the same since 2008 and all that.

    Low and slow, mean and lean … that’s how we roll. ;-)

  17. John

    The New York Times says that Spain’s depression is now over because the economy grew at 3% last year and has reached its 2008 levels and because unemployment is down to 18%–all because of labor market reforms and Barcelona becoming a hot place for startups.

    I used to expect better from the Times but I really think I should just keep my expectations as low as possible. It’s like a more sophisticated version of Time magazine. Purely centrist propaganda.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      And further to your point about lowered expectations from The Times, howzabout expecting outright lying, misdirection, and propaganda?

      Here’s a little post from poster Publius Tacitus over at Sic Semper Tyrannis concerning their incredibly blatant, unjournalistic propaganda war against Russia. Stenography straight from NeoCon Central. They might change their approach if a couple of H-Bombs were to be squatted right on New York City, but then, it’d be too late for that.

    2. Sputnik Sweetheart

      Here’s a Don Quijones/Wolf Street article on Spain’s “recovery”:

      Now, after two years of consecutive quarters of robust GDP growth and an unprecedented tourist boom, things appear to have changed. At last count, unemployment was down to 17.2% — still depression-level, but no longer apocalyptic! For the first time since 2008 the number of unemployed in Spain is below four million. Even in Andalusia things are apparently improving since the region’s ranks of jobless have shrunk by 160,800 in the last year.

      This is all welcome news in a country with such chronic unemployment problems, but there are two important caveats: first, the active population in Spain continues to shrink, and that has an important hand in the improving figures; second, almost all of the new jobs that are being created are of the poorly paid and highly precarious kind.

  18. Vatch

    This 1 number sums up why that Foxconn deal is over-the-top bad for Wisconsin MarketWatch

    Foxconn Deal Lets Company Ignore Wisconsin Environmental Protection Laws David Sirota, International Business Times

    The deal is financially bad, and environmentally bad. This is hardly surprising, since what we have here is a combination of Foxconn, one of the most exploitative corporations on Earth, and Scott Walker, lap dog of the Koch brothers. It’s good to see that some people are looking under the hood, and are letting us know just how bad this deal is.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bannon’s Proposed Tax Increase Isn’t on the Table, Another Trump Aide Says Bloomberg

    Was it on the table yesterday? Who knows?

    It’s not, today.

    Maybe it will be tomorrow.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Today Venezuela’s bolivar has crumbled to 12,200 per dollar, compared to around 9,600 a week ago.

        A collapsing bolivar makes it more difficult for the Maduro dictatorship to service US dollar debt and import food.

        Venezuela’s benchmark 2038 government bond trades at 37.6 (versus a par price of 100), while national oil company PDVSA’s 2037 bond trades at 32.5.

        Venezuela’s credit-default swap spreads indicate a 62% probability of default within a year, a level last seen in February 2016.

  20. Edward E

    Did Melania and Ivanka knife the Mooch over his language?
    How do Ivanka and Melania stay in such fantastic shape? They have completely removed all self-awareness from their diets… I mean, you know, vulgarity has no place in politics unless it’s in front of the Boy Scouts of America. Trump may be going down, Mueller and Schneiderman are slowly but surely tightening the vise. Now even a biggest fan, David Stockman says he’ll be gone November.

    Tweet from Vicente Fox Quesada
    Hey Trump, I’m watching this really bad reality TV show with low ratings called Survivor White House. I can’t change the channel. Sad!

    Someone please treat me to a relaxing golf vacation, my brain is always on politics too much. Or a fishing yacht on Lake Michigan where it’s cooler.

  21. JohnnyGL

    Yikes, there’s a video of a bomb exploding and severely injuring 8 police officers, with onlookers (presumably opposition types) audibly applauding in the background.

    Regardless of what you think of Maduro and the government, and clearly they leave much to be desired, open support among at least some elements of the opposition for terrorist-style tactics is disgusting.

    It’s hard to see how anything positive will come out of the western press’s strong rhetorical support for this kind of behavior, either.

    I’d also invite the NC crowd to speculate on how they think the USG might react to the use of such tactics?

    1. jawbone

      Any info on CIA involvement in such a bombing? Or would we outsource that kind of thing?

      Have I gone beyond cynicism? Oh my.

      1. Mike

        Of course not, jawbone… we will not begin to see the US involvement in any official publication, referenced and without doubt, until Venezuela is safe within the orbit. In 15 to 20 years, unless the Democrats die – then maybe 15 or 20 years.

    2. vidimi

      the violence in venezuela is disproportionately employed by the opposition. that is very revealing. as lousy as the maduro government is, it will be a sad day when the US topples another democratically elected latin american government.

  22. montanamaven

    I subscribe to Dimitry Orlov’s posts on Patreon. He has a hilarious and informative post on the stupid and foolish Russian sanctions called “The Laughing Gas War”. In it he links to an article by arthur berman. Arthur Berman on the Shale Gas Revolution Myth
    In Dimitry’s essay he said that the Americans were caught by surprise at how fast the two Russian pipelines bypassing Ukraine are being built. People like McCain thought they would just take over Ukraine and control that pipeline.
    One of the commenters said this:

    Insightful and funny post Dmitry, thanks. Here in europe I expect another division among “member states” in this topic because the percentage of dependence in Russian gas has huge differences:
    – Great dependance (>50%): Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech, Greece, Hungary
    – Medium (35-50%): Austria, Poland, Germany
    – Low (>35%): Italy, France
    North Sea Gas and Maghreb gas feed Western part of the UE
    More political division ahead!

    1. Olga

      The article states some obvious facts: “What do you do when a customer refuses to buy a product you don’t have at a price the customer can’t afford? Why, blame Russia, of course, and attempt to impose a fresh set of economic sanctions on it! Russia must stop meddling in American elections, or Europe gets cut off from Russian natural gas! The new sanctions bill just passed by US congress attempts to achieve just that: it claims US jurisdiction over EU energy policy and attempts to force European companies to stop doing business with Russia.”
      The US shale gas is too expensive, there really is not enough of it, and Europeans will likely rebel (if ever so gently)…
      He does not mention the role of Poland, which is lobbying DC to become the European LNG centre. As in “dream on” …

  23. Mike

    RE: “More than half of young people in Ireland ‘would join a mass uprising against the government’” Independent

    Ahhh, reaffirms my faith in the youth of Ireland. After a litany of institutions are listed, all with low marks, this:

    “However, the army scored highly on trust levels, with nearly 50% of people trusting it to a large extent.”

    Made comment before that in the US, you would know a pre-revolutionary situation by any indication of opposition within the military. Could the Irish Army have disgruntlement within the ranks (maybe even the officer corps)? Meanwhile, our great government speedily prepares for dictatorship – 10% support for Congress, no patience for “compromise” of truly imperial benefit, even if the whole cake goes kerfuffle…

  24. JoeK

    I’ve only read thus far the first sentence of the Summer of Love article. I happen to have a friend who was in SF as of ’65, which she said was the actual first Summer of Love. She told me that the spirit of it was love thy neighbor (though this probably meant “non-establishment” neighbor) and that the point of it was food and a place to crash for anyone who showed up and of course wasn’t dangerous or a drag.
    The Eros-only storyline was conceived by the establishment to marginalize and scandalize the behavior, and that narrative is what has survived to this day. Note I wrote “Eros-ONLY;” even Eros-primarily.

    Even if she hadn’t been there through the whole thing (pretty much at its epicenter actually) I’d find the story arc too archetypal (in terms of US history) to disbelieve.

    1. Ned

      I grew up in San Francisco and participated in much of the activities of Haight Street.
      The entire ethos of the Summer of Love was that it was liberating and free. Free Stores, free love, free thoughts, freedom…

      And now the Joke of a millionaire/billonaire subsidized and controlled Museum is charging $20 or more to look at posters.

      No one that I know is going to this commercialization of free along with the editorial commentary by the status quo as to what it was all about.

      Search for
      “Laurel Canyon, drugs, anti-war movement”
      to see how the sons of Pentagon officials became overnight stars to steer people to drop out of the serious and growing anti-war movement and tune in to drugs instead.

      1. JoeK

        Yes indeed, I didn’t mean to say that my friend’s story defined it, but to indicate as you point out that it wasn’t by any means just about “free love.” Whose definition has also been narrowed down to the physical only.

        The Laurel Canyon story–yes that’s a blockbuster if only mostly true. Even a rather cursory review of the period does make one wonder at the disconnect between the music and the youth of the day it supposedly spoke to regarding, first and foremost, the Vietnam war.
        From a musical standpoint, also, it makes a lot of sense. I can’t see Zappa in the same light anymore, but he’s still one of the greatest music makers of his time.

    2. Craig H.

      It is a splendid article. Beautiful posters. Here is the one I wish I could have seen:

      “Krishna Consciousness Comes West: Swami Bhaktivedanta, Allen Ginsberg, The Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, Big Brother The Holding Company, Mantra Rock Dance, January 29, Avalon Ballroom,” 1967

      A different world is possible. Of course the scammers and the rip-off artists show up right after and ruin everything. Rephrase: a different world is (temporarily) possible.

  25. Anon

    RE: Secret Messages Summer of Love

    What the article doesn’t discuss about the musical venue Posters (brilliant design that they were) is that many were intended to be viewed in the presence of a “black light” fluorescent bulb (UV-A, which admits no visible light) in a dark room, and created stunning (may I say psychedelic) effects on the Posters.

    Fun Summer :) !

  26. samhill

    How to deal with Venezuela The Economist. “The opposition, a variegated alliance long on personal ambition and short of cohesion, needs to do far more to become a credible alternative government. That includes agreeing on a single leader.” Idea: Ahmed Chalabi!

    Can I nominate Mikheil Saakashvili?

    1. Olga

      Too, too funny… yes he’d probably be perfect (he’s unemployed now and w/o citizenship).

  27. Massinissa

    I’m not really sure why that article supposedly critiquing the new optimism is even on here. Instead of talking about optimism, it mostly talked about religion and the supposed decay of Christianity and Catholicism.

    1. norm de plume

      Agreed. I guess as a bellwether of a certain type of conservative reaction to the New Athi… er, New Optimists. Or should that be Neo-Optimists?

      Re the original piece, I found it a little disappointing that in such an explicit examination of these evangelists for the idea that we live in the best of all possible worlds, the word ‘Candide’ did not appear once.

      Nor from memory did the word ‘energy’. The Archdruid would have fun with that fatheaded crew.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Since brains depend on a large proportion of fat, “fatheaded” could be taken as a compliment.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “this handy chart of the sites censored by Google” –
    Is very hard to read, at least for elderly eyes, doesn’t enlarge, and isn’t in the article. I see a number of pretty tame liberal-to-left websites, but I can’t read the numbers associated with them.
    Please enlarge it?

    NC isn’t there, I think; as Yves said, Google is not much of a factor for it.

    1. Yves Smith

      I can’t make it bigger because this is all we have. It’s crappy in the original too:

      I doubt this is a comprehensive list. I believe WSWS prepared it to make a point, so they compiled it from sites they knew or suspected had been affected. I doubt NC is on WSWS’ radar.

      Just so you know, NC WAS very badly whacked in 2015 by Google in their Panda algo change. So the big reason we weren’t hurt much now is Google had already taken most of its traffic from us.

      BTW when I put “WSWS Google censor” in, the source article comes up in Bing 9th on the page. Not good.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “People Are Buying Fish Antibiotics Because They Can’t Afford Human Ones Vice”

    A lot of drugs are available without prescription “for veterinary use.” As far as I know, they’re the same thing, just the labelling is different – it would be uneconomic to have separate production lines. Does anyone know if that’s correct? I’ve worked with a compounding pharmacy that did both. Of course, you’d have to watch the dose carefully – no horse pills.

    This means the veterinary versions represent the “real” price.

    In general, I suspect the distinction between veterinary and human medicine is pretty artificial. There are some important differences in drug reactions, of course, but there are among animals, anyway. This is one reason animal experimentation is of questionable validity. It seems to me vets are better qualified to work on people than MDs are to work on animals, because vets are trained on a variety of animals. And they’re used to not getting verbal feedback. Might be helpful in an emergency.

  30. jsn

    Re: Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
    This is exactly the logic that lead to the Grenfell fire in London. Yes there are lots of stupid laws, there are necessary ones too and distinguishing between the two is in fact a matter of life and death.

  31. Jon Cloke

    Back in the day (2007) I was doing some work in Venezuela and got to know a few academics, all of whom had a truly horrendous view of Chavez – he was ruining the country, he was the devil incarnate, he was el negro etc., the sort of thing you read daily in all of the MSM about Maduro, from the Economist to the WaPo.

    I pointed out that Venezuela’s literally vast oil supplies had been exploited by the elite classes since they came online about 1925, and over that long, long time the same elites who thought Chavez was the devil had just stolen all the oil money. Whether it was a civilian kleptocracy under ADI or COPEI or a military regime, the numbers of Venezuelan poor kept growing and were amongst the highest in Latin America, Because Venezuela operated (and still operates) an exclusionary clientelist system where the white elites get all the oil money.

    Ergo, I said, if Chavez is the devil irrespective of how much good institutions like UNICEF said his social programs were doing, he’s a symptom, not a cause – the vast historical inequalities of the Venezuelan class system produced him.

    Funnily enough, in all the times I produced that argument, I only got one guy to agree with me…

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