Links 8/5/17

Bees are first insects shown to understand the concept of zero New Scientist (Robert M)

I can’t find the honey bee queen, what now? Spreadcasts. Will C:

We let one of our hives raise a new honey bee queen. Later, when I opened up the hive, I saw she’d been very busy laying eggs.

The circled cell has not one but two eggs. This is pretty normal for a new queen. Call it excitement or maybe just nerves. Workers will eat the supernumerary eggs so that there’s no “bee twins”.

The bonus feature of the photo is the two workers in the upper left trading food, aka trophallaxis.

Iditarod Sled Dogs Are Racing to Early Graves (Video) Alternet :-(

Fido And Fluffy Are Ruining The Environment, UCLA Study Says Patch (Chuck L). Not clear if it backs amount the amount of meat that would not be used for human consumption that winds up in pet food, or that beef is far more costly in environmental terms than chicken. Not disputing that pets have a cost, the question is how the study made its estimate.

Extreme weather ‘could kill up to 100,000 a year’ in Europe by 2100 BBC

Just trading beef for beans could get the United States near its CO2 goal. Grist

Interview: The First Naked Ascent of El Capitan Climbing Magazine (Bill C)

Boeing Dreamliner crew draws enormous outline of their plane in the sky Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

Banning Nuclear Weapons: The Beginning Portside (Sid S)

6-Monsanto-Consultant-Protests-Ghostwriting.pdf Baum & Hedlund Law (Chuck L). From “Monsanto Secret Documents” in the Roundup multidistrict litigation.

Circumventing machine-gun controls with a robotic glove that automates faster-than-human trigger-pulls Boing Boing (resilc)

Why We Can’t Have the Male Pill Bloomberg (Chuck L):

“The joke in the field is that the male contraceptive has been five years away for the last 40 years,” says John Amory, a research physician at the University of Washington School of Medicine who has been working on the challenge for two decades.


How much trade transits the South China Sea? China Power

Chinese chatbots apparently re-educated after political faux pas Reuters (Chuck L)


Irish PM tells May to tear up Brexit plan The Times

Is Britain’s ‘Brexit chaos’ a cunning ploy? Financial Times (Richard Smith). Betteridge’s Law strikes again. And while what the author presents is sufficient to make the case, there’s another set of failings he is too polite to admit to: the Foreign Office is woefully undermanned, having been hollowed out over decades. Individually competent officials can’t make up for far too few seasoned hands on deck to manage a massively complex set of tasks.

Toronto Housing Bubble Pops. “Genuine Fear” of Price Collapse Wolf Richter

New Cold War

Go look at the replies to this tweet to see how much support there is for free speech in America. As Lambert has said, this is not the behavior of a confident elite.


Our generals reveal why we lost in Afghanistan, and will continue to lose Fabius Maximus. Resilc: “The BEST generals have not won since Truman.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

That Drone Hovering Over Your Home? It’s the Insurance Inspector Wall Street Journal. Drones presented as a consumer benefit, natch. Glad I live in an apartment building with super tight security (the permanent residence of the Egyptian ambassador is two floors above mine, and they’ve had that entire floor for fifty years).

You Are the Product London Review of Books. On Faceborg.

Trump Transition

Why Leaking Transcripts of Trump’s Calls Is So Dangerous Atlantic. Lambert ran this in Water Cooler, but worth highlighting.

Jeff Sessions Promises to Crack Down on Leaks, Threatening to Subpoena Reporters Intercept

Four charged with leaks from Trump administration as attorney general vows crackdown Telegraph. That was fast.

German Chancellor Candidate Schulz: Trump ‘Far Worse’ Than Expected Der Spiegel (resilc)

Trump begs Mexico president: ‘I have to have Mexico pay for the wall – I have to’ Boing Boing (resilc)

US notifies UN of climate deal pullout BBC

Immigration critics find their champion in Trump The Hill

Shut The Fuck Up, John Bolton Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Maxine Waters: Pence should be impeached after Trump The Hill (resilc). So we can all look forward to Nancy Pelosi as President, since this won’t happen with the GOP in charge of the House.


Meet the Democrats Running on Single-Payer Health Care Rolling Stone (resilc)

Republican donor from Virginia Beach sues GOP, accusing the party of fraud over failed Obamacare repeal Virginia Pilot (resilc)

The Scandal That Matters Wall Street Journal (UserFriendly). Key paragraph:

Because based on what we already know, the Awan story is—at the very least—a tale of massive government incompetence that seemingly allowed a family of accused swindlers to bilk federal taxpayers out of millions and even put national secrets at risk. In a more accountable world, House Democrats would be forced to step down.

Police recover car stolen from senior couple, then try to auction it Boing Boing (resilc)

New McCarthyism

It’s Getting Real – Google Censors the Left. And Us. Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report

Black Injustice Tipping Point

NAACP Travel Warning for Missouri Is a Sad Fact of 2017 Esquire (UserFriendly). Ugh: “The NAACP says this is the first travel advisory ever issued by the organization, at the state or national level.”

Kill Me Now

What Does ‘Late Capitalism’ Really Mean? Atlantic (UserFriendly)

Why ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli Is Swaggering Into Jail Bloomberg

July Part-Time Work Jumps by 393,000; Full-Time Employment Down 54,000 Michael Shedlock

‘Nobody’s immune’: More retail bankruptcies are looming Business Insider

Wells Fargo Clients Want Credit Repair for Insurance Debacle Bloomberg

Wells Fargo says fake accounts scandal may widen Financial Times:

The US bank has been trying to overcome a crisis since it was revealed that employees, under pressure to hit targets, set up as many as 2.1m accounts without customer authorisation over a period of about four years.

The bank has been reviewing the extent of the malpractice over an additional three-year period, as far back as 2009 — and on Friday Wells confirmed that this review “may lead to a significant increase in the identified number of potentially unauthorised accounts”.

Class Warfare

The opioid epidemic, explained Vox

Kalanick looks to keep back seat role at Uber Financial Times

Self-Driving Taxis Will Become the Most Disgusting Spaces on Earth The Truth About Cars

Antidote du jour (MGL). The well-known Larry, No. 10’s mouser-in-chief, taking a pose. From the Telegraph’s Meet the cats of Westminster. But it turns out Treasury has dogs.

Another Viahalhaven Sightings image via Robert H:


And a bonus video thanks to Richard Smith:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. MoiAussie

    Just trading beef for beans could get the United States near its CO2 goal

    Maybe, but methane releases would go through the roof.

    1. Keith Howard

      Cooked dry beans need not be any more gassy than other foods, but one must plan ahead. Here’s the method:

      Bring water (2 quarts per pound of beans) to the boil, unsalted.
      Pick over and rinse the beans; drop into boiling water.
      Return to boil for 2-5 minutes, depending on hardness of the beans and altitude of the kitchen.
      Turn off heat and leave beans to soak overnight.
      Next day, drain and rinse soaked beans.
      Cook soaked beans by any method, but withholding salt and spices, meat, etc. until cooking is nearly complete. (Salt toughens beans/peas.)

      This soaking method removes almost all of the indigestible sugars which result in gas, rendering the beans no more gassy than other foods. It really works. Of course, it doesn’t help with fresh tender beans such as black-eyes, limas, etc. that don’t need soaking. But one of the great virtues of beans is how well they keep dried.

        1. mpalomar

          From the wiki link. “Asafoetida is considered a digestive in that it reduces flatulence.”

          I use it in Indian dal and have noticed no reductions regarding off gassing but it does the dal a world of good.
          I’ve found that Pakistani dals use fenugreek instead of asafoetida and make a nice variation again no discernible benefits other than taste.

      1. Ned

        And that rinse water is great for the garden, house plants and compost heaps.

        As long as we are talking body functions, your first urine of the morning, diluted with water, makes a great compost starter.

        polecat, I noticed a new motorcycle with the air cleaner intake between the legs of the rider.
        Uses wasted fartgas and the airflow cools the crotch–a twofer!

        1. polecat

          Yeah, but ya gotta watch out for that backdraft …. THEN you’ll be doin an unintended ‘Evil Kanievel’ … minus the jump, of course ! ‘;[

      2. Junea

        That sounds like the best method but maybe next in line is the overnight cold soak which seems to work well when I am short on time. Also, remembering to chew my food, and being careful about the type of bean. I am amazed by how differently they affect my digestive system. Home cooked lentils no problem, canned kidney beans always a disaster.

      3. Adam Eran

        Best method, in my experience, is not related to soaking, but to the age of the beans. The fresher the better. Worth a trip to a local mercado, if one is available, or to the kind of outdoor bazaars that turn over their inventory rapidly.

        Not that I don’t soak (cold water, overnight) and discard the soak water. The age of the beans is far more important, though

    2. polecat

      I see a MIC lobby business proposal developing toward the manufacture, and deployment in the field, of fartguns …

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Saw a ‘zero emission’ car yesterday.

      The owner seemed very proud.

      I wondered to myself: What if he is lactose intolerant? He’s still not zero emission.

      “Zero emission Nazies, make yourselves zero-emission first. You can buy permitted CO2 exhalation per day units with an equivalent daily amount CO2 to O2 conversion plants.”

      1. Matt

        I think it is a great idea to get rid of all the CO2 in the atmosphere. That would really bolster the food production on US farms!! Biological genocide here we come!!

    4. jonboinAR

      Perhaps compensated for by fewer cattle releasing methane (supposedly an actual GHG contributor or something).

  2. Kevin Smith

    re: Circumventing machine-gun controls with a robotic glove that automates faster-than-human trigger-pulls
    The ad with that article was for Cialis …. do guys who need an automatic trigger puller also need Cialis [or vice versa]?
    We should be told!

    1. Tom Stone

      If you got a cialis ad while reading the glove story it’s an indication that an algo is a lot smarter than the glove manufacturer.
      The company will need a letter from the ATF before they can sell these as “Firearms accessories” , however this kind of workaround of NFA 34 has been tried many times and in every case the ATF has ruled that using something like this turns your firearm into an illegal machine gun ( There are a few hundred thousand legal machine guns in the US, owned by the well to do and wealthy.)
      There is real potential for this glove if marketed properly as a way to make a girl happy.

      1. Jim Haygood

        When I hold you in my arms (oo-oo oh yeah)
        And I feel my finger on your trigger (oo-oo oh yeah)
        I know nobody can do me no harm (oo-oo oh yeah)
        Because happiness is a warm gun, mama (happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)

        — The Beatles, Happiness Is a Warm Gun

        1. mpalomar

          Always ‘eard, happiness is a warm gun as, a penis is a warm gun. Just googled it and find lyric scholars believe it references Lennon’s heroin addiction.

          “(when I hold you in my arms) refers to the relationship between the syringe and the arm. (And I feel my finger on your trigger)is the act of pushing the plunger down. (I know nobody can do me no harm) the heroin euphoria (because…happiness is a warm gun) a “gun” slang for a syringe.”

          1. Annotherone

            The song title, I think, has to be one of those with double, even treble- meanings. Lennon has said he borrowed it from a magazine cover ( a gun magazine?) because he thought it fantastic, and an insane thing to say : a warm gun meant you’d just shot something. Later he saw a different meaning – sexual, but denied the syringe/heroin connection. However, in the film “Across the Universe” the song is featured in a hospital ward, with Vietnam war casualties, and a leading character being injected with morphine.

  3. MoiAussie

    The Shut The Fork Up, John Bolton piece is actually here.

    Also, does this mean that family blog obfuscations are no longer needed?

    1. kees_popinga

      I guess it makes people feel good to read expletives aimed at the likes of Bolton, but is *not* good writing. Nina Illingham also curses like a stevedore about everything, lately. She’s far more effective when actually arguing, offering evidence, etc. (as in her Clinton Cash analysis last year).

      1. Lambert Strether

        I don’t have any objection in principle to expletives, as long as they’re effing well-placed.

        However, having produced my fair share of undeleted expletives, I can testify that they’re not effective, even as a rhetorical device. The blogosphere 2003 – 2006 used expletives as a differentiator from the mainstream media, and at least institutionally, the blogosphere didn’t have nearly the impact those of good faith at the time hoped it would have. So I don’t use that style any more. Don’t keep doing what doesn’t work.

        1. MoiAussie

          5) Rude and offensive language: Naked Capitalism is read by a wide audience, and if your comment includes offensive or inappropriate language, it may be deleted. For example, please avoid “bad language” that’s more than mildly vigorous

          So judiciously placed expletives are ok, but on the face of it, in violation of site policies. Is it time for some clarification of the policy?

          Also, commenting to point out the broken link went straight to moderation, perhaps because of the expletive in the link itself.

          Not shirt-stirring, just trying to get some clarity.

              1. MoiAussie

                And thank you for the clarification about site policies!

                This seems to be quite the “Lost in Translation” moment. Why you and others took this completely the wrong way will remain a mystery. But so many things about US “culture” are impervious to outsiders.

                No need to ban me, I’m gone.

                1. clinical wasteman

                  Moi Aussie, you’re kidding about the “gone” part right?! If not, please retroactively adjust settings to “kidding” right away. It’s just a mix-up over site procedure, plus the unmysterious fact that some comments disappear. Too many good things are already gone this week* and every week; please don’t join them.

                  [*RIP Jeanne Moreau]

                  1. MoiAussie

                    Hey CW. I’m with you on Jeanne Moreau. What an actress!

                    Not just a mix up unfortunately, and recent events have further confirmed my decision. Yves was too worn out or reactive to respond reasonably, and instead just got annoyed. So be it. My effort to make a real contribution here is thus at an end.

                    There has been too much waffle and blahblahblah in the comments recently, even before the C’boy and C’ville incidents. This is not the mods fault, there are just too many usual suspects who come here with a need to chip in often and at length with stuff that to me contributes little. There is much ado about small things and not so much about important ones. I had also noticed many of the people whose comments really added value seemed to be gone, and recent arrivals seemed to me rather poor substitutes for them.

                    Anyway to those people, you, and others I won’t try to name, thanks for all those insights, perspectives, and answers, which made NC such a great resource to try to understand what was going on. If this ever sees the light of day, know that you are appreciated, and you will be missed.

  4. SpainIsHot

    re: the Iditarod race: “Wells Fargo, which sponsored the Iditarod for nearly three decades, recently severed ties with the race.”. ….

    When you lose Wells Fargo…

  5. allan

    United Auto Workers loses battle to unionize Mississippi Nissan plant after two-day vote [NYDN]

    Voting concluded Friday night at a Nissan plant in Mississippi where some 3,700 workers opted against union representation by a margin of nearly two to one. …

    Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant posted a picture of a bombed-out industrial building Wednesday night on his Facebook page and suggested that UAW was at least partially to blame for Detroit’s economic woes.

    “I hope the employees at Nissan Canton understand what the UAW will do to your factory and town. Just ask Detroit. Vote no on the union,” he wrote. …

    Or just look at what the unions have done to Germany. Oh, wait …

    1. ambrit

      Mississippi is infamous for reactionary Governors. Bryant is one, so was Barbour, (and hey, what about Haleys’ daughter and all that vanished Katrina clean up money?)
      I guess it’s the same dynamic as caused all those poor “white trash” sharecroppers to fight for the Confederacy. Now, the ‘wage slaves’ have been convinced to vote against their own interests, again. I know that the foreign automakers were lured to the state with big tax breaks and public private bonds for needed infrastructure upgrades. Was the crippling of the Unions one of the secret codicils of the deal?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would love to hear from those who voted against.



        Low information?


        Is there another side to the story?

        Outsider interference?


          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Did they interview any workers who voted against?

            I don’t see any of them quoted in the article. If there are, I must have missed what they voted that way.

            Only this:

            Many workers reported pressure from friends, neighbors and others to vote against the union, so the plant would not close.


            Intimidation? From neighbors?

            Then there is this:

            Then one-on-one meetings started.

            But we don’t know if people voted against are the sole source of this.

            In short, nothing to focus on why workers voted against. We do not hear any of them say how they came to vote the way they did, except to assume they had one-on-one meetings with management, and they might lose their leased vehicles, and pressure from friends.

            it reminds of another article the other day about the worst education secretary. I didn’t notice any students interviewed or quoted…I believe the article quoted two teachers union representatives, and two think tank consultants.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If you don’t hear from the workers who voted against you, straight from their mouths, in their own words, how do you learn?

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “…to assumed it was because they had one-on-one…”

              Not ‘to assume they had one-on-one meetings…’ – that is in fact what happened.

            3. jonboinAR

              Is it possible they love their community, their neighbors, their loved ones, and that this helps account for their response, however misguided or ill-informed, or are they allowed only base, cowardly motives, “fear” and “intimidation”.

              1. jonboinAR

                Sorry for how I responded to you there. When I read again I saw you weren’t being knee-jerk, more the opposite.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I believe those workers voted what they thought was best for , though there is little coverage from their perspective.

                  Reading my comments again myself, I see I wasn’t clear enough. I don’t believe they were intimidated by their friends or neighbors.

                  I would love to hear what they have to say, beyond the leased cars, one-on-one meetings and pressure from friends/neighbor explanations, that is, as you pointed out, beyond the base, cowardly motives.

    2. mpalomar

      The article I read before the vote had the UAW vaguely optimistic about the outcome. Instead it seems they were crushed.
      It would be interesting to know what the correlation is between the outcome in this UAW vote and Clinton/Sanders/Trump voters.
      Also how does this relate to the contention that flyover is abused by the political class and not in fact self administering abuse? The two of course are likely not exclusive of each other.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Each union is unique.

      Each country is unique.

      As is each individual.

      What have Americans unions or union leaders done to (separate from done for) American union workers – that might be one question to consider.

    4. John k

      Unions in Germany work with corporations in partnership, rarely confrontational. Leadership there not typically self serving.
      Lots of reasons for us car mfr failures, not least corp short term decisions, but unions share some blame.
      What are salaries benefits conditions in southern states voting down unions? Maybe voters are voting their long term interest.

      1. Richard

        Any worker voting against the opportunity to collectively bargain and take action is absolutely not voting their long term interest. Pretty much the opposite. Like a lot of people, I dislike assuming a position that seems condescending, and telling people they’re being duped and indoctrinated, but this one is a no brainer. Unions fight for and protect the gains of workers. Some do this better than others, many have corrupt leadership, but as a society we have found no replacement for this institution, nothing else to represent the interests of humans as workers. Any honest look at our recent economic history, particularly the disappearance of the US middle class, confirms this. We feel the loss keenly. With respect to the complexities of the situation, of course union representation would be in the long term interests of Mississippi auto workers.

        1. jonboinAR

          What do those people have if Nissan closes up? Easy for us to condescend from our easy chairs and tablets. Nissan’s not threatening to beat some people up, rather to devastate the community.

          1. Richard

            You are correct, and I apologize for maintaining a condescending position while at the same time disawowing them. I am miles from the consequences of any action.
            Hmm, I guess I’ll say this: 1300 some Nissan workers did vote to unionize, and they certainly weren’t wrong either. I have strong feelings about where one’s loyalties should lie in those situations. I try not to universalize them, but you know…

            1. jonboinAR

              Yes, for them it had to be an honestly difficult decision. Looking long-term enough, it’s pretty easy to see that unionizing is the right thing to do in so many ways, but medium term, if I can use such a vague expression and be understood, it seems that Nissan really had the power to punish them. I’d say the lesson here is that Nissan shouldn’t have that power.

      2. mpalomar

        One important reason unions in Germany are rarely confrontational is they are integrated more securely within the framework of industrial relations, at national level and private board level supervisory situations.

        Germany offers a comparison in how structurally antagonistic US labor relations are since Taft Hartley required union leaders to file affidavits that they were not communists and enabled states to pass ‘right to work’ legislation which nearly all the Southern states adopted, providing the platform to hasten the decline of the auto unions and other industrial sectors in the North. German unions are in a highly favored position of influence vis a vis US counterparts by their ability to set wages for whole sectors, not company by company.

        The UAW attempt at unionization of a VW plant in Tennessee in 2014 resulted in a 712 to 626 negative union outcome. The union was heavily opposed by politicians and lobbied against by PACs like Grover Nordquist’s. The big German union IG Metall in consultation with the UAW thought they could unionize the Tennessee plant and as the unions have a role in industry planning, likely would have fought VWs southern move had they known it would ultimately fail. It is unlikely the union would agree to a new plant in a Southern state given the outcome. I’m not sure any German auto plants have been built in the South since 2011.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It seems, then, change needs to happen on the Taft Hartley front…and other structural issues.

          The German unions probably would say energy and resources should be dedicated there; otherwise workers will continue to not reward any VWs’ southern moves.

  6. fresno dan

    You Are the Product London Review of Books. On Faceborg.

    Connection is presented as an end in itself, an inherently and automatically good thing. Is it, though? Flaubert was skeptical about trains because he thought (in Julian Barnes’s paraphrase) that ‘the railway would merely permit more people to move about, meet and be stupid.’ You don’t have to be as misanthropic*** as Flaubert to wonder if something similar isn’t true about connecting people on Facebook.

    For instance, Facebook is generally agreed to have played a big, perhaps even a crucial, role in the election of Donald Trump. The benefit to humanity is not clear.
    Jesse Eisenberg’s brilliant portrait of Zuckerberg in The Social Network is misleading, as Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook manager, argues in Chaos Monkeys, his entertainingly caustic book about his time at the company. The movie Zuckerberg is a highly credible character, a computer genius located somewhere on the autistic spectrum with minimal to non-existent social skills.

    But that’s not what the man is really like. In real life, Zuckerberg was studying for a degree with a double concentration in computer science and – this is the part people tend to forget – psychology. People on the spectrum have a limited sense of how other people’s minds work; autists, it has been said, lack a ‘theory of mind’. Zuckerberg, not so much. He (Zuck) is very well aware of how people’s minds work and in particular of the social dynamics of popularity and status.

    But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
    You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.”
    Newton Minow

    Now, I don’t think even 1% of people watch TV or Facebook all day. But the fact that they watch as much of either as they do probably explains why about 94 percent of the electorate voted for The Donald or Hillary…..even though there were several other choices, ostensibly voting for a major party candidate because “they didn’t want to waste their vote”

    1. Stephen Rhodes


      Martínez was there at the very moment when Zuck got everyone together to tell them they were going public, the moment when all Facebook employees knew that they were about to become rich:

      I had chosen a seat behind a detached pair, who on further inspection turned out to be Chris Cox, head of FB product, and Naomi Gleit, a Harvard grad who joined as employee number 29, and was now reputed to be the current longest-serving employee other than Mark.

      Naomi, between chats with Cox, was clicking away on her laptop, paying little attention to the Zuckian harangue. I peered over her shoulder at her screen. She was scrolling down an email with a number of links, and progressively clicking each one into existence as another tab on her browser. Clickathon finished, she began lingering on each with an appraiser’s eye. They were real estate listings, each for a different San Francisco property.


      [italics added]

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Since the brain is plastic, reading, comprehending and absorbing information changes the brain itself.

        Reading about greed or obsession with money is not good for cerebral health, consequently, as the brain is stuffed with waste*.

        That’s how I see it, though I also believe in the mental-vaccine hypothesis. So, only light (very light) reading of greed.

        *My other theory: the brain as a waste basket and it needs to be emptied as often as possible, via zazen (empty the mind, empty the mind, empty the mind…). Excuse me, as I go empty my mind for a few minutes now…

        1. polecat

          That’s what I do … After experiencing a ‘raging pumpkinhead’ from something I’ve read, I get up go outside, and stare at my bees, as they come and go, until calm is restored.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Are they coming and going, or are they doing a calm-dance for you?

            Maybe they are drawing outlines of zeroes in the air, as if to say, ‘we, too, understand the concept of zero, zero mind and no mind.’

        2. oh

          I’ve been trying to empty my mind for a long time. I finally realized that it had been empty all along!

    2. Kokuanani

      I recommend reading Chaos Monkeys. It’s really two books: the first half is the tale of the author’s development of an app and the acquisition of his company [not, it turns out, by Facebook, but he himself went to Facebook]. General discussion of “life at Facebook” as it develops.

      The second half is an exploration of how Facebook developed ways to “monetize” the data its gathers. This is the portion everyone should read, to adequately be reminded to Fear the Borg.

      Martinez is a rather annoying narrator, but he is informative and occasionally funny. The book’s probably available at your local library. Don’t give Martinez the satisfaction of actually buying it.

    3. Anon

      why about 94 percent of the electorate voted for The Donald or Hillary

      This is deceptive (if not untrue). Less than 50% of eligible voters participated in the 2016 presidential election. Neither Trump nor Clinton received even half of a “mandate”. (Similar to gerrymandering, the Electoral College is simply a technique to distort a true democracy. We may call it the United states, but, in fact, it’s a republic.)

      The value of a parliamentary system is that it allows for more choice at both the local and national level.

      1. witters

        You guys have to give up the idea that fiddling with the details of the electoral system will do wonders for “choice”. Really. Sit down and think about it.

    4. Eureka Springs

      explains why about 94 percent of the electorate voted for The Donald or Hillary

      I think you mean 94% of those who cast a vote. I think slightly more than half the electorate played that lose/lose scenario at all. Something like 24 percent of the electorate put the latest pres in the Oval.

      1. Vatch

        Yes, that’s about right. According to the Elect Project site, 54.7% of the voting age population voted for President, and 59.3% of the voting eligible population voted for President. This Wikipedia page shows that 62,984,825 people voted for Trump, out of the 136,669,237 people who for President. That’s about 46.086%, and if you multiply that by 54.7%, the result is a dismal 25.2%. Or multiply it by 59.3%, and the result is an almost as dismal 27.3%. Not much of a mandate.

    5. jonboinAR

      >>>…ostensibly voting for a major party candidate because “they didn’t want to waste their vote”<<<

      That one makes my teeth grind to this day.

      1. Filiform Radical

        Had this discussion with some fellow students recently. When I pointed out the fallacy it changed to “you need to vote for the Democrats to show what you stand for”. When I pointed out that Clintonism was not what I stood for it changed to “you’re privileged” (full stop).

        The college experience, in a nutshell!

  7. Carla

    Antidote and Plantidote photos are distorted lately. Elongated. I use Windows 7 and Firefox. Anyone else having this problem?

    1. cocomaan

      I’m on a chromebook right now and it’s a little weird in Chrome. Helps if I shrink the text, which I don’t because my eyes are going to crap!

    2. grayslady

      I use Windows 7 and Firefox on an HP laptop and have no problems. I use the manufacturer’s recommended screen resolution (1366 x 768). Have you checked your screen resolution? It seems that is often the problem when photos don’t render properly.

  8. Carolinian

    While internet censorship must be fought with every weapon possible I suspect that WSWS may be way over their skis with the Google story. As I commented here yesterday if a site depends heavily on random (not including the site’s name) Google searches for traffic then you have to wonder how popular it is in the first place. Most of the sites I read were found because linked by other sites that I read and that includes NC. Indeed it’s my understanding that this is how Google works. The more your site is linked the higher the search ranking–a kind of bot version of word of mouth. I’d say you could count the number of times WSWS has been linked here at NC of the years on two hands and that includes the recent censorship stories. In fact the only other site I know of that regularly links them is Mike Whitney.

    If Google really is injecting political censorship into their business that is appalling but better evidence needed. There’s a lot of hype in the WSWS charges including the “restricting access” in the headline.

      1. Cujo359

        I didn’t see a whole lot of sanity-checking in that WSWS article – it’s almost as though they knew what the problem was before they did any research. Did they also check right wing sites to see if there was a similar falloff in readership? How about more neutral sites that cover economics and politics? One conclusion I draw from their list of sites (supposedly) affected by the Google algorithm changes is that the more popular and linked-to ones suffered less. Is that censorship, or, as Google seems to be saying, is it more reliance on “authority” as expressed by external links and regular readership?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Jesus fucking Christ. You obviously didn’t read the article very carefully. The traffic drop was on traffic coming from Google searches. Did it not occur to you that webmasters with proper tools installed can see and isolate that? And that most sites do that on a frequent basis?

          The MSM regularly takes stories broken by NC and does not credit us and does not throw us a link even when it does (the WSJ recently credited us recently in text without giving us a link!). So you really think endorsement by the MSM = quality?

          And have you bothered reading WSWS? The average quality of its stories is very high and in many cases it covers angles that the MSM has missed or chooses to ignore. So you are saying a Google-regulated monoculture is desirable?

          Did it not occur to you that academic articles will also be relegated to the netherworld of Google using the criteria you are defending on behalf of your information overlord Google?

          I can tell you and anyone who actually needs to use Google for information will confirm that Google has gone from being reliable and useful to garbage. Google searches were critical to my being able to write ECONNED in an insane 6 months in 2009. No way could I have done this now. Then I could easily find news stories and academic studies I had read or heard about. Now it is difficult to find them, even doing multiple targeted searches (like limiting the date range). I now regularly have Google deliver search results inconsistent with my search criteria, as in I put in particular words in quotes, meaning I am looking for a particular search string, and most of the first page results will NOT include that string (and yes, there are search results that do fit the criteria, so this is not the result of a failure to match). So Google is actually shoving what it wants to deliver in my face irrespective of what I asked for!

          Go read my comment below.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I just got a message from a journalism prof. Two other sites, Common Dreams and Popular Resistance also have seen 60%ish drops in the traffic from Google since the date of the algo change. He sees this as Google censorship but you think you know better than he does?

        3. lb

          This comment thread, with the negative energy from those wantonly misunderstanding things (“supposedly”? There’s no doubt as to whether these sites were affected), really bugged me, almost pushing me beyond the threshold of donating some cash again. The systematic attempts by aligned folks in power (from the tech giants to their governmental allies) to starve muckraking and unapproved opinion-writing, though, pushed me well beyond that point. Hopefully the few dollars I threw NC today help in some substantive way.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I cannot believe your reaction. This site and the many of the ones Google is now going after were on the PropOrNot “Russian stooges” hit list. This site was ALSO targeted by a Chrome extension as a fake news site. Faceborg has been censoring what it deems to be “fake news” and among other things is also putting up links next to what it deems to be “fake news” to “correct” readers’ “understanding” and effectively denigrate the source? How about the campaign now being led by the German Marshall fund to have Twitter censor supposed pro-Russia stories more aggressively?

      Did you bother reading the piece???? WSWS analyzed the traffic related to Google searches only, or did you miss that? Did it not occur to you that you can isolate the source of your traffic if you have monitoring tools, which any competent site designer will install?

      I’ve gotten distressed e-mails from some of the publishers of these sites. The change is not organic and is hitting their overall traffic levels.

      And Google specifically said it was changing its algo to target “fake news”. It deems sites that criticize the “OMG Russia” narrative as “fake news”. So why is this so hard to understand when this is exactly what Google has said it is doing? Or do you just not like WSWS and therefore you dismiss anything it says?

      Are you that desperate to deny that there is censorship being implemented by Google, which got a lot of its initial funding from the Blob and is still tied in closely to it?

      In other words, are you living under a rock? Do you think these people who sit at tremendous choke-points for Web traffic are incapable of turning off the spigot? Did you miss that Google has been hit with a $2.7 billion fine by the EU competition minister for discriminating in favor of its shopping service, and will pay 5% of Alphabet’s daily revenues as an additional fine if it doesn’t change its algos in 90 days? And the EU competition minister has two more big cases against Google yet to be concluded?

      We were on the wrong end of a Google algo change in 2014 where they deemed us to be a low quality site (basically, we were being punished for our Links feature and probably “naked” in our name) and our traffic fell by 50%. We almost didn’t survive it. These sites may not. We went from getting 50% of our traffic from Google searches to our current ~3% and had to do a ton of things differently to restore our traffic levels. Having Google include you in searches is so important to most sites that there is a whole industry of snake oil salesmen that sell SEO (search engine optimization) to improve where you show up in searches.

      Did it also not occur to you that having Google downgrade sites, as it has with us, limits their reach and how much they can do? If Google were treating NC as it did before 2014, we’d have double the traffic we are getting now. We did tremendous work on Greece in 2015 that also got a huge amount of traffic yet you can’t find that on Google unless you already know it exists (as in you do a search limited to our site name). That’s just one example.

      If we had more traffic, we’d be able to expand what we do rather than have me on the brink of exhaustion due to the constant stress of keeping the site up with inadequate funding relative to what we put out. But you are fine with that. This is a slap in the face to me, not just those other sites.

      1. flora

        an aside: earlier NC posts/discussions covered rising monopoly power in the US, and how govt favors to select companies can boost their monopoly power. Say, selecting a data company to run its beta tests on your national election efforts. Favors can go both ways, of course. Nothing formal or official. Not that I’m foily.

        1. flora

          adding: Google stopped being a neutral search engine. Unfortunately, in the US it’s a near monopoly search engine (is the meta base for a lot of other US search engines ) that can decide on a whim what search results it will show. For general interest and current interest topics I’ve started using some neutral EU english language search engines. And guess what? NC, Common Dreams, and other good sites are returned in the results. Maybe the EU doesn’t define real/fake capriciously.
          That doesn’t help US blog advertising/visibility problems inside the US. Big Brother and the Holding Company takes on a new meaning.

          1. flora

            example: searching on ‘Greece IMF 2015’

            Google search returns no NC links in at least the first 30 results.
            EU search engine returns a NC story as the 2nd result in the top ten results.

            Big difference.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Maybe my go-to DuvkDuckGo is polluted too, then? No NC links in the first 50 or so results on that same search term. But one data point is not a proof. Anyone else know if DDG uses that evil list in its algos?

              1. flora

                Anonymizing search engines like DDG and Ixquick protect your browsing history, but their searches may be simple Google searches using their identity to protect your identity. The underlying search may be a Google search or a meta search with collated results. Some of them serve google ads with the search results.
                I don’t know exactly how each works.

                Now, if you search Google using the string ‘Greece IMF 2015 Naked Capitalism’ you’ll get lots of results. But, if you know where stories are you don’t need a search engine. The whole point of a search engine is to find and serve information you may not know exists, and to serve that information neutrally.

                1. Richard

                  Some DDG good news, I just did a search for Calpers Board, and got 2 hits for NC in the first 10. Calpers Solvency got one hit in the first 30 (for a piece where Yves was defending Calpers against an NYT hit piece!). I know it should be more considering the key role this blog has played in covering the story…
                  I wonder if it would be possible for DDG to share googles meta pile, or whatever, w/o borrowing their algorythmic exercise of monopoly power.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Maybe it’s The Age of the Workaround, the moniker may work better than The Age of Naked Kleptocracy or Jeffrey Sachs’ The Age of Impunity.
        With everything broken and crapified the only thing a citizen can hope to do is construct workarounds, that’s been standard procedure in the developing world forever, a bag of money to get your electricity turned on the India, an uncle who’s a prosecutor in China. Pity to see it arrive so wholeheartedly in the US, we used to have institutions, now it’s every citizen for themself. When this all congeals into organized action the klepto-billionaires should be very worried indeed

      3. Carolinian

        I wasn’t defending Google, just asking if WSWS had made their case. And I’ll note that while I agree WSWS often has detailed and informative articles (and I said that yesterday) they hardly ever get linked around here. In the article I complained about in yesterday’s comment WSWS offered as evidence that a search for the word “socialism” didn’t bring up WSWS among the top searches. But why should it unless WSWS is a prominent enough site that it would be an obvious response to “socialism”? You yourself said the other day this new change wouldn’t affect NC because you now get hardly any of your readers via Google after the 2014 change. While their 2014 change may have been unfair i don’t recall you calling it censorship at the time.

        And BTW if you think I’m attacking NC by questioning WSWS I don’t think you’ve made that case either. I think NC is great and appreciate the efforts of everyone involved.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I never said what happened in 2014 was censorship. You misrepresented what I wrote.

          Had you bothered to read up on what happened then, the Google algo change hurt many legitimate sites and not many bogus ones. See this from Wikipedia:

          Soon after the Panda rollout, many websites, including Google’s webmaster forum, became filled with complaints of scrapers/copyright infringers getting better rankings than sites with original content.

          So “unfair” is hardly an adequate word to describe what happened. It nearly put us out of business, and yet you seem to think it’s perfectly OK for Google to be able to do that to publishers casually, with the victims having no recourse.

          I also forgot to mention that our ad service back then did not use Google for remnant ads. I now suspect that had a lot to do with us being downgraded. And many site scrapers use Google ads, a tell for what one of the real motives was. That’s predatory behavior, the sort the EU competition minister is now fining Google for.

          2014 before the “fake news” and the push by the Washington Post/PropOrNot, Facebook and now the German Marshall fund to crack down on stories they see contrary to official narratives on Russia. Even the Incercept, which is hardly leftist but has criticized the reporting on Russia and is criticizing CIA and military (see Glenn Greenwald today), has also taken a hit. The implication is that had we not been whacked in 2014 by Google and figured out how to survive, we’d be hurt in a big way now. But you don’t care and seem to think it’s fine to have Google damage and possibly kill websites who provide important counterbalance to the MSM but too small to do anything to fight back. Some of the sites on that list were having trouble before the Google algo change and it is almost certain some will fail.

          1. Carolinian

            I never said what happened in 2014 was censorship. You misrepresented what I wrote.


            i don’t recall you calling it censorship at the time.

            Perhaps I’m badly expressing myself but don’t think this is a statement implying –and certainly not explicitly stating–that you are now saying that 2014 was censorship. The reason for bringing up 2014 is that Google does make changes for various reasons and if they are sinister reasons there needs more than circumstantial evidence for it to be absolutely proven. Given the hysterical atmosphere abroad in the country there are lots of reasons for traffic to be down on certain sites. I myself have stopped reading Commondreams because off their shilling for The Resistance and I used to read them every day.

            I fully appreciate your struggles and for the record I long ago worked on an alternative newspaper and did things like schlepping copies to newsboxes in the summer heat as our micro staff was multitasking. Taking on an entrenched establishment is never going to be easy which is why depending on a giant corporation like Google may–if they are indeed censoring–give an unsurprising result. Exposing them will probably help as they depend on a favorable reputation. But one needs to be sure.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Your argument is of exactly the same form as used by climate change denialists. You are demanding a level of proof that can never be attained and you ought to know that. And you are also ignoring the corroborating evidence via flora’s search results on “neutral” EU search engines.

              And you separately accept the unreasonable proposition that Google should be free to do as it pleases and make and break businesses with no recourse, no accountability, and no transparency. The EU does not agree with that and even Steve Bannon has been arguing that Google needs to be regulated as a utility, as Ma Bell was back in the days when it was a monopoly.

              And your proposition, “So live without Google” as we barely manage to do, contradicts what every expert would tell you about having a viable business on the Internet. So you are basically saying that you think all these sites need to curl up their toes and die and that that is perfectly reasonable and you see nothing wrong with that. You don’t believe in freedom of the press. You believe in having Google run your life and ignoring repeated indicators (like the utter crapification of search) that none of these changes are about helping users, as Google professes, but helping Google’s bottom line as well as political interests it backs (Google is now one of biggest, if not the biggest, donors to the Dems, and separately, Silicon Valley has now become a more important donor group to the Dems than Wall Street).

              The fact that the sites that have been whacked include the Internet which is borderline MSM and is regularly cited by other sites including the MSM when the Intercept breaks stories and Democracy Now! which has huge traffic and is an established fixture ought to tell you that this is not about “site quality” or other excuses. Moreover, you ought to know that traffic has been up on sites that are going hard against Trump, which BTW includes Alternet and Common Dreams. So you abandoning them is contrary to what most people who are not right wingers are doing. Even though I focused on the Russia issue, this appears to be a downgrading of many if not all “alternative media” sites.

              I am told by a DC insider (and not a right winger) that Google is taking up how it is being treated in Google searches with the EU competition minister as discriminatory and is getting a favorable hearing. Google runs Google News and is also biasing news searches to favor sites where it can get all the articles on a non-paywalled basis. As this article explains, the underlying logic is predatory: Google and Facebook want an even bigger share of online advertising. Denying traffic to the WSJ means more traffic for them.

  9. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: “the scandal that matters”, WSJ—–” in a more accountable world, House Dems would be forced to step down”—indeed. Can this be simply ignored forever? I think not, though I am not privy to the goings-on in DC (thanks be to God). Something will happen, perhaps a wrist slap.

    1. Octopii

      That quite literally made me nearly vomit. Ugh. Thanks, now something else to worry about.

  10. JTMcPhee

    Pity the poor Generals, can’t “win” a “war,” can’t even define the terms:

    Trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, a huge river for the worst of us to drink from. How is it even possible to debate or consider options or “strategies” when so many rice bowls of so many people with real power and influence are filled by “more of the same”?

    Note that there is no palpable definition of what “winning” or “victory” ought to be or even could be, in terms that the ‘nation” could understand — other than body count, maybe (it’s interesting that the DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,, does not define “war” or “victory” or “success” at all, directly, and only vaguely by inference from other defined terms.)

    Does anyone give any attention to Sun Tzu’s principles and counsel,, any more, or are they “no longer operative”?

    Hey, all the operating parts of the “activity” (hard to call it “war”) in Notagain?istan have been laid out by a military contractor (asserting a copyright claim to its work for hire, egads!!) in one neat PowerPoint, haven’t they, long since? Of course McChrystal was tongue-in-cheek when he said “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” Obscuring the fact, as discussed in the post, that “won” and “war” are undefined terms, with no path for the Imperial military to understand or achieve “victory.”

    The people of Notagain?istan own themselves and their terrain. Not close to clear that even a “Hama strategy” could produce anything recognizable as “victory” or even “mission accomplished.”

    And no General “worth” his chest full of ribbons and Combat Infantry and Jump badges wants to be the one holding the poop bag when the music finally stops..

    1. kurtismayfield

      I think siphoning off trillions from the Federal budget and landing fantastic jobs post military career to be a huge success.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Keep spreading the word — this is what us USians have gotten in exchange for our “service” and letting the looters loose…

        Not that there’s a realistic hope that the vectors and momentum and inertia will be changed to something more decent… especially since we mopes have nothing even close to identification of, let alone agreement on, what would be the forms and elements of a “decent” political economy, worthy of affection and loyalty…

        1. Richard

          Thanks for USians; I’ve been searching for years for a good word for us! Will give you credit, of course. I’m going to say it ‘us’ians though.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Glad you like the term, but I claim no authorship — it’s long been part of the public lexicon here and elsewhere. I wonder if someone will try to copyright it, though. Some Shkreli type copyrighted “Y2K” and took in millions in licensing fees, “all nice and legal.” Whatever works, right?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Being skeptical is not wrong.

                Not being skeptical can be wrong, many times.

                That’s what I believe, skeptically.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                Trademarking has no practical value for words in general use although the trademark holder may try bullying the unsophisticated.

                A trademark is:

                1. A visual image. You need to send in the image to the Trademark and Patent office. See Uniqulo’s logo as an example: You even have to specify the color

                2. Trademarks are limited to what amount to industry categories. During the time we bothered keeping a trademark registration for “naked capitalism” we could register it only in one category (that is all you are allowed) when it arguably fit in two.

          2. Carl

            I’ve been using this one for awhile now. It grates on my nerves when Usians call themselves Americans.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Trump knows two things both of which point to complete disengagement in Afghanistan. (1) He will be hounded relentlessly for failure to exit Afghanistan, and (2) the American people could not care less whether we are “successful” or not in Afghanistan.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I hope you’re right that Trump “will be hounded relentlessly for failure to exit Afghanistan.” Trump doesn’t have to say we lost in Afghanistan to pull out. He can question why we went in to begin with and pull out to halt the stupidity. I agree with your view that the “American people could not care less whether we are successful in Afghanistan.” But more important than the will of the American people I believe the US Power Elite outside the Military Industrial Complex — even the Energy Sector — are beginning to question our wars which increasingly seem to be fostered solely for the care and feeding of the MIC at a cost to the other pigs at the government trough.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Some “factiness” about Afghanistan, contrary to what most people think: by all measures things have gotten progressively worse every year for 14 years. I think most people think “It was a pretty bad idea, didn’t go well, then Obama surged and it kinda quieted down” but that’s just wrong.

    3. Synoia

      Please define what “win” is for Afghanistan.

      Before doing that, please read up on Lord Roberts of Kandahar. He won.

    4. Craig H.

      From the Fabius Maximus piece:

      In February, Nicholson was the first to call the war a stalemate

      Quagmire. The word you are looking for is quagmire.

  11. Carolinian

    NYT McMaster story

    The #FireMcMaster hashtag was tweeted more than 50,000 times since Wednesday. Echoing the drumbeat were social media organs tied to the Russian government. According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan group created to focus attention on Russian interference in the West, the top hashtag among 600 Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations at one point on Thursday was #FireMcMaster.

    Obviously from now on all foreign policy stories from the NYT will include a variation of the above paragraph so we will know who to blame.

    And it’s somewhat incoherent since supposedly the “conservatives” object to McMaster indulging Trump’s periodic peacenik leanings which should provoke Russia conspiracy Twitter tag #KeepMcMaster.

    Truth to tell the whole story was a bit incoherent.

    1. flora

      “Truth to tell the whole story was a bit incoherent.”

      Yes. However, the NYTimes avoids reporting important stories, like “The Scandal That Matters -Wall Street Journal”, by using up column inches on these red herrings. ;)

      1. s.n.

        it is getting a big confusing:
        we’re told (NYT) the russkies are attacking mcmaster, yet we’re also told mcmaster is opposing the attack on Iran that Kushner, Bannon & the various neo-cons in the corridors of trumpian power are salivating over:
        also told that kushner is backing mcmaster, as he’s strong on israel and that the anti-masters (presumably bannonites) have engaged in anti-semitic propagandising. And that trump backs kushner (of course) & McMaster. So much for the russkies then. And Bannon. Did I get that right?
        makes my head spin it do. Might it be that some of the usual suspects are engaging in a round of fake news to make their weekend more lively? Maybe someone can set me straight on the meaning of this twisted tale

        1. RenoDino

          The bottom line of this twisted tale is that a velvet junta has assumed control of the White House and the Executive Branch. Anyone, from the right or the left, attempting to remove a general (by tweeting of all things) is deemed a Russian spy, thus an enemy of the state. Trump, on the other hand, is always fair game for any and all accusations. The Trump Presidency is effectively over. His political advisors and family are now on probation awaiting conviction. Nothing they say from this point forward has any influence on policy can and will be held against them in a court of law.

          Planning and preparation for the preemptive strike on N. Korea is now job #1. From an MSNBC interview today–

          HH: How concerned should the American people be that we are actually on the brink of a war with North Korea?

          HRM: Well, I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with this.

          Pretty clear to me this is going down because it can’t be “overstated” enough. Right before all hell breaks loose, look for a report that N. Korea fired on an airliner, a ship, anything to provoke a full scale attack.

        2. marym

          Advisory Council and Staff of the bi-patisan Alliance for Securing Democracy

          These are the supposed stalwart protectors of “our democracy” fighting the evil !1Russian!!1!

          attempt to weaken the pillars of our democracy and undermine faith and confidence in our society’s most fundamental right — the ability to choose our own leaders.

          With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons

          It is, in fact, the ultimate union of mainstream Democratic foreign policy officials and the world’s most militant, and militaristic, neocons. The group is led by two longtime Washington foreign policy hands, one from the establishment Democratic wing and the other a key figure among leading GOP neocons.

        3. sid_finster

          Apparently now anyone opposing any initiation or escalation of any war, any time, for any reason, can only be a Russian spy.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One reads that ‘Trump came in weak and is weaker now.’

      That’s also a bit incoherent, considering he was going to be a dictator.

      1. Edward E

        At this point it’s more like the country is a gangster owned restaurant and it is being burned to the ground for the insurance money.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Maxine Waters: Pence should be impeached after Trump The Hill

    ABC’s “The View” host Joy Behar and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) agreed on Friday that President Trump and Vice President Pence should both be impeached.

    “Do you think Pence will be better than Trump if he were impeached? asked Behar.

    “No,” replied Waters. “And when we finish with Trump we have to go and get Putin. He’s next.”

    “Putin or Pence?” Behar asked.

    “Uh, Pence,” Waters said.

    That these two fools should be taken seriously on this or any other topic never ceases to amaze.

    1. Olga

      Is this the same Maxine who – not that long ago- was investigated for corruption? An interesting Freudian slip, though.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump is a DC outsider, battling DC insiders, even while employing some of them.

      Mueller is a DC insider.

      That’s conflict of interest there.

      Waters is

      1. An insider.
      2. of the other party.

      That’s conflict of interest twice.

      Recusal needs to be squared, I believe.

  13. Bugs Bunny

    NYT “Macron Takes On France’s Labor Code, 100 Years in the Making”

    There are so many inaccuracies and what look to be outright fabrications in this article that it should probably be dissected. I might even submit my own to NC since I’ve had plenty of practice experience in French labor law.

    The most fragrant examples (not a typo, this smells of merde):

    “France’s infamous, almost indecipherable labor code”

    Indecipherable to whom? Any 1st year law student can steer you right to the most applicable clauses for a specific situation. Moreover most laypeople I know are familiar with basic provisions on individual and collective hiring and firing. This is nonsense.

    “The code is regarded by many as the wellspring of the country’s malaise”

    I have no idea who this “many” might be. Even the most reactionary labor lawyers I’ve worked with respect the basic structure and strategies of the code and would never think of moving to an at will employment model. This is clearly made up. Though “malaise” is a French word.

    “The labor code is so complex, and violating it is so risky, that many French employers keep it in a separate room and speak of it with awe”

    Unless the separate room happens to be the HR director’s office, I have no clue what this is about. Absolutely not happening. Made up nonsense.

    Truly Fake News and of course no comments section on this one.

    1. ambrit

      Good catch. The no comments section is the tell of a ‘pure’ propaganda piece. We can’t have alternative viewpoints messing up the purity of the “message” now, can we?
      If you want a look at the future of the french workers after the “at will” employment model is enacted, take a gander at Mississippi. At the bottom in almost every metric of standards of anything worth having in a society.

    2. nycTerrierist

      “There are so many inaccuracies and what look to be outright fabrications in this article that it should probably be dissected. I might even submit my own to NC since I’ve had plenty of practice experience in French labor law.”

      Cher Bugs,

      If you care to post a further dissection of this galling piece, this reader would appreciate it.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Yes, please do! And meanwhile thanks for this much.
        One obvious question is: “indecipherable compared with what”? Supposedly simplified, individual contract-based bodies of labor law, as in the UK, tend to be propped up by truly impossible legal arcana like the “tax credit” and “housing benefit” systems that effectively subsidize employers who pay sub-living wages. The main difference is that all the legal risk in these cases falls not on the employer but on the individual worker, who becomes guilty of “welfare fraud” the moment s/he misreads the fine print and overclaims.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Bill Bonner (who’s lived in France for half his life) quoting his neighbors, French farmers Jean-Yves and Arlette:

      “Farming is a nightmare in France. We work seven days a week … because we can’t get anyone to help. Or more specifically, we don’t dare get anyone to help. Because if we hire someone, it’s almost impossible to fire him.”

      “It’s worse than that,” Arlette added.

      “Farming is so hard … with so many directives from the government – from bureaucrats who’ve never actually seen a cow – that young people don’t want to do it. I don’t blame them. I know what’s going to happen.”

      In France, half the people work hard; the other half try to stop them.

      An overview of French labor law by Joël Grangé of Flichy Grangé Avocats is posted here. Doubtless a law degree would helpful to a prospective employer trying to wade through the French labor code without inadvertently stepping into a legal leghold trap of the “gotcha retroactive liability” type:

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Perhaps part of the problem is the false extension of american experiences (ie lawyers)…most lawyers around the globe charge one third to one tenth of the cost of an american counterpart…the financial disruption caused by american “over jurisprudence” does not register to anyone outside these united states…

        A perfect example is ellas…everyone is dissuaded from investing in athens, thesaloniki and patras because…well because they probably hired the wrong lawyers and accountants…

        Someone hands you some checklist…so what…american official lists of 2 dooz one might get from some sba meeting or university sponsored incubator are filled with “electives” which are presented as requirements…no one who actually starts and runs a u.s. business takes any of those “lists” seriously…

        And in ellas magically somehow all those folks who live there somehow managed before big 4 & tall building amerikanakia lawyers showed up…

        The first problem for most american “professionals” in ellas is they imagine a british common law system when athens commercial law is mostly tied to napoleonic laws and rules…

        As to macron…he will probably run out of his short list of quips and some little dog will pull back the curtain…totolee…

      2. Bugs Bunny

        Seriously Jim?

        You cherry pick farmers to prove your ideological point? Of course they’d love seasonal workers but they need to hire real workers with real benefits. The problem is that France competes with Spain (close country for shipping food) that allows seasonal workers. It’s an EU thing, not a French thing.

        When I mentioned reactionary labor lawyers, I was thinking of guys like Grangé. He’s notorious for wanting to inverse the assumption in the code that employees have a weaker bargaining position than employers. Still — he would never want a France without individual labor contracts. Though he’s a partner, he certainly has one as well.

        On a related track — what makes US case law any easier to interpret? One could argue that it’s even more voluminous and hard to pin down since the States have overlapping laws.

        Btw, I’ve lived in France for a little more than half my life and practiced law on both sides of the pond for 20 years so I might know something about this.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Gee, Spain as the example of an easier regime? If you do a startup company there and you fail you must present a plan to pay out employees for five years after you shut your doors. At the end of the day though I’m all for a Byzantine cathedral of laws that mean there’s a fleeting leg up for Local Labor over Global Capital. I guess it depends what you think the purpose of a country is: to make 8 guys filthy rich, or to make sure 80 million have a little crust of bread. (Interesting by contrast to watch the steady climb of wages in China, with no protection in law whatsoever).

          1. Bugs Bunny

            Wait a minute – is that based on law? I don’t think so. I’ve had to dismiss workers in Spain and I know exactly how it works. I don’t think I need to set it out here except to say that you shouldn’t spout hearsay on this site.

            Sorry for the tone but this is my job and I know it well.

        2. Plenue

          A few days back Haygood trotted out the old ‘Social Security is on the brink of bankruptcy’ canard. At this point I’m inclined to just assume everything Haygood posts is a lie, until proven otherwise.

          1. ambrit

            I give Comrade Jim some slack since he seems to represent a segment of the American Rentier class. In such cases it is informative to see what is the sub group consensus on matters. I agree that proof is needed, but I’d add, from everyone. (I’ve personally encountered the situation where a previously held “Truth” has turned out to be false. Very embarrassing, and hard to internalize.)

  14. ambrit

    How about a reboot of “Anarchy For The DNC” by Bill and the Sex SMGs?
    Better yet, a remake of “Sid and Nancy,” titled, “Bill and Hillary.”
    I bet that Gary Oldman would love to do an aged Bill Clinton.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why We Can’t Have the Male Pill Bloomberg (Chuck L):

    “The joke in the field is that the male contraceptive has been five years away for the last 40 years,” says John Amory, a research physician at the University of Washington School of Medicine who has been working on the challenge for two decades.

    And with a greed-reduction side effect?

    “Gekko, you seem to be less aggressive these days.”

  16. gepay

    Extreme weather ‘could kill up to 100,000 a year’ in Europe by 2100 BBC
    The climate change debate has entered what we might call the “Campfire Phase”, in which the goal is to tell the scariest story. – Oren Cass

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Watched part of Ron Howard’s Inferno

      The question posed at the start:


      1 losing 50% of the humans now


      2. total wipe out in 100 years.

      The pondering billionaire assumes a doubling of human population every 50 years or sooner (doubled from 1900 to 1950, or something like that, and of course accelerated since then).

      But it seems to me, if with the first scenario, if the surviving 50% do not learn, then, that merely buy just another 50 years, as the population doubles, so that there is still a total wipe (150 years this time, instead of 100 years).

      So 1 and 2 are basically the same.

      I think the key is still the human heart (sharing, compassion for animals and plants, etc).

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The prediction that extreme weather ‘could kill up to 100,000 a year’ in Europe by 2100 BBC doesn’t sound very scary to me — certainly not the scariest thing I’ve seen predicted. For example take the BBC prediction for Europe and shift it down toward Northern Africa and the Middle East. Or let the oceans rise a little more and see how it impacts Pacific islands or Bangladesh. Check what temperatures parts of India might look forward to. So “Campfire Phase”? — deny deny deny … belittle and when the science is ready we can rely on the Market to geo-engineer an innovative, paradyne shifting solution.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wealth sharing.

    July Part-Time Work Jumps by 393,000; Full-Time Employment Down 54,000 Michael Shedlock

    More exactly, work sharing for workers.

    “Let’s split those 40 hours among 3 workers.”

    Never wealth sharing by our billionaires though.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    NAACP Travel Warning for Missouri Is a Sad Fact of 2017 Esquire (UserFriendly). Ugh: “The NAACP says this is the first travel advisory ever issued by the organization, at the state or national level.”

    Is that warning illegal, if it involves a flight from say, San Francisco to Tel Aviv, with a stop over in Missouri?

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Circumventing machine-gun controls with a robotic glove that automates faster-than-human trigger-pulls Boing Boing (resilc)

    I don’t suppose they have a robotic glove that can catch incoming machine-gun (or hand-gun) bullets??

    Imagine there was one in Dallas, all those years ago.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Republican donor from Virginia Beach sues GOP, accusing the party of fraud over failed Obamacare repeal Virginia Pilot (resilc)

    Do D donors do crazy things like that?

    1. Lambert Strether

      Well, there is the suit against the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (IIRC the theory of the case was consumer fraud, in that the DNC solicited contributions while posing as a neutral, when it wasn’t). Not sure that case is going anywhere, though the Democrat lawyer had some revealing things to say about how parties are really run.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘Nobody’s immune’: More retail bankruptcies are looming Business Insider

    To me, this says that we are counting retail jobs twice, in many instance, as the defeated retailers hang on for just a little longer, while the new billionaires continue on with their conquests.

  22. Altandmain

    High prices and student loans put housing out of reach, readers say

    The UES is facing a retail vacancy epidemic

    Documented on NC already, but here’s another source.

    Who will be Bernie’s running mate if he wins the 2020 nomination?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not too often we read

      1. High school graduates priced out of housing
      2. Rural migrants can’t afford urban housing.

      It’s as they don’t exist.

      At least those with student loans are being covered.

      1. Altandmain

        That first person is a 27 year old making $100k a year. Even factoring in her debt, that’s pretty good considering how bad things are for Gen Y.

        Agree that lower income Gen Y might as well not exist. Then there’s other generations too.

        If things are bad for the person making $100k a year … what are things like for people who earn less?

  23. Jim

    Funny how not having children is NEVER mentioned as the number one solution — by far — to reduce carbon footprint. It’s not even close.

    “Recycling and using public transit are all fine and good if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, but to truly make a difference you should have fewer children. That’s the conclusion of a new study in which researchers looked at 39 peer-reviewed papers, government reports, and web-based programs that assess how an individual’s lifestyle choices might shrink their personal share of emissions.

    Many commonly promoted options, such as washing clothes in cold water or swapping incandescent bulbs for light-emitting diodes, have only a moderate impact (see chart, below), the team reports today in Environmental Research Letters. But four lifestyle choices had a major impact: Become a vegetarian, forego air travel, ditch your car, and—most significantly—have fewer children.”

    1. John k

      Imagine 10b people… the crisis that must not be named.
      More wars, rip up more trees for more rapid desertification, more drownings as desperate people flee wars and hunger, take all the fish and all big animals except sacred cows… some of these things cut down on the human epidemic but not fast enough.

      You might think free birth control would be better than some of these other options…

  24. tony

    Something is Broken in the UK Intellectual Sphere.

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb got into a fight with some literally who UK academic and apparently half the journalists. It’s pretty funny, and shows how powerless these people actually are. I suppose that is why they like identity politics so much, they can’t touch anyone with actual power but they can crush some middle class person for wrongthink.

  25. Dead Dog

    thank you Yves and Richard for the video of that Rhino – the music, the commentary and all those cars reversing out of the way – tears in the eyes funny.

    Much better than clicking through some of those links.

    Here in Australia, the east coast housing bubble has seen no signs of popping – despite what we see in Toronto and elsewhere.

    Unlike Toronto, Melbourne and Sydney (latter particularly) are in the top 10 cities people would like to live in. So, I see little end to the foreign money coming our way. The flow of money could be slowed (halting immigration, no work for visa holders, disallowing corporations to own property) but there is no political will to do anything.

    It’s got to the stage now where the Reserve Bank can only see downside from moving the cash rate from where it has been for about a year. If they raise rates, it will be the start of a big real estate price correction – many mortgage holders are highly leveraged and are already feeling pain from the rate rises being dished out without the cash rate having moved. (Rates rose when banks’ overseas borrowing costs increased and they rose when APRA imposed tighter macro-prudential controls on the sector.) A rate rise would also influence the AUD and a much high Aussie $ is not what we need – good for going o/s for a holiday or buying stuff – but bad for our in-bound tourism sector, exporters and so on.

    If the RBA lowers rates, it will allow people to take on more credit, goosing the markets further.

    First time in my life have seen the Reserve board so powerless to move, either way involves significant negative consequences.

    Thank you too, to all the regular commentariat. I would comment more often, but find when I wake up, that most of the conversations have already happened, but you are all a good read and I click through a lot of links.

    Up here in Cairns, we beat to a different drum (when compared with Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and so on). Firstly, we have the best weather in the world and in-bound tourism is what drives the local economy, jobs and real estate. Not unmentioned up here is the state of the reef and I recently spoke to a guy who crews one of the glass-bottomed boats around a nearby tourism attraction (Green Island – ). I said (tangential to the need for a glass bottom boat) ‘but there’s no fish or coral there anymore’. He agreed and said that they’d taken to using the boats to pull the tourists behind on inflatables…. they seem to like it he said – sigh

    That ocean warming, and the shit we are dumping into it, well that can’t be stopped. Funny how you don’t miss something till its gone.

    The kookaburras are stirring outside my window and I have a game of golf to prepare for

    1. craazyman

      Looked like he forgot where he parked and was looking for his car.

      Then after running half a mile, he figured “It must have been on the other highway across the field.”

      It must have been an 18 wheeler.
      He must be a trucker.
      An Indian beer drinking dope smokin big belly Guns & ammo readin big Hogg of a trucker.
      Where my truck?!!!!
      How could you lose an 18-wheeler truck on an Indian highway? What the hell was he doing, parking his truck and wandering off?
      Maybe he had to pee. Hahahahahahah
      Just cause he’s a rhino doesn’t mean he has no modesty. He had to wander off a long way to find some trees — then he couldn’t remember what direction he came from?
      Pulling a trailor full of curry powder from New Delhi to Bombay.
      Curry in a hurry, but now he’s late, and he’s in a hurry.
      Fukk. Where dat truck???!!!!!

      1. craazyman

        Well I been from Punjab to new-ew Delhi
        Mumbai to Jahrrakand
        Pullin any kind a load if I can get pay-yayed
        Take my breaks in the mud If there aain’t no shade
        And if I can remember-err-err
        Where I parrkkkkeddddd my truck
        With a just little more luck
        I’ll be willin . . . To be movin

        Yyuge apologies to Little Feat
        Wasting time with wanton Abandon . . . As if time is infinite. Hahaha

        1. HopeLB

          Man, Craazyman, I just love you and your hilarious/semi-profound/outright profound-ities/ sometimes set to music/musings. The semi-profounds are actually sometimes more profound than the “outrights,” not being such in your face truths but those you must ponder for a little while.Thanks!

      2. Edward E

        Looks more like ‘where dat twuck dwiva?’ to me the rhino looks exactly like a trucker manager or dispatcher thug searching for a twucka that is not moving freight where it needs to be at the critical time.

  26. D

    Regarding John Lanchester’s piece (though way too late; unpaid nobodies have been shut down, ‘banned,’ and named trolls against Progress [as Destruction™ of the baby with the bathwater]™ in desperately attempting to state the same points – On Line [The Web™]™ – for over a decade; as John Lanchester has, (gotten paid for) this week), You Are the Product

    Hopping further down the rabbit hole inhabited by ‘snakes’ such as FaceF—, et al: Lizzie O’Shea on Chaos Monkeys™’ excerpts by that book’s horrid author, Antonio García Martínez; making bank off a book written under pretense of being a benign Facebook Whistleblower™ (true whistleblowers suffer far worse fates than Antonio), emphasis mine:

    Tech has become another way for men to oppress women – We act as if technology were neutral but it’s not. The challenge now is to highlight and remove the gender bias “Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive, despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit,” wrote former Facebook product manager Antonio García Martínez in 2016. “They have their self-regarding entitlement feminism, and ceaselessly vaunt their independence. But the reality is, come the epidemic plague or foreign invasion, they’d become precisely the sort of useless baggage you’d trade for a box of shotgun shells or a jerry can of diesel.” This is from his insider account of Silicon Valley, Chaos Monkeys. The book was a bestseller. The New York Times called it “an irresistible and indispensable 360-degree guide to the new technology establishment”. Anyone who is surprised by the recent revelations of sexism spreading like wildfire through the technology industry has not been paying attention.

    But the issue is not only that technology products reflect a backward view of the role of women. They often also appear ignorant or indifferent to women’s lived experience. As the internet of things expands, more devices in our homes and on our bodies are collecting data about us and sending it to networks, a process over which we often have little control. This presents profound problems for vulnerable members of society, including survivors of domestic violence. Wearable technology can be hacked, cars and phones can be tracked, and data from a thermostat can reveal whether someone is at home. This potential is frightening for people who have experienced rape, violence or stalking.

    [source link: 07/17/17 By Lizzie O’Shea Tech has become another way for men to oppress women ]

    I guess John Lanchester didn’t read the entirety of Chaos Monkeys, or, he thought those horrid boldfaced excerpts above, from Chaos Monkeys™ , were irrelevant; which would certainly explain why John is writing this piece so late in the day.

  27. ewmayer

    o “Interview: The First Naked Ascent of El Capitan | Climbing Magazine (Bill C)” — Is that a piton in your chalk bag or are you just happy to see the crux pitch, dude? (It was either that or a cheeky quip about ‘crack climbing’.) BTW, I was unable to load the page in FF due to a “Secure Connection Failed … Peer reports incompatible or unsupported protocol version (Error code: ssl_error_protocol_version_alert)” error.

    o “Why Leaking Transcripts of Trump’s Calls Is So Dangerous | Atlantic” — This sort of things also dovetails with the normalization of now-almost-daily “impeachment” talk by our Dear Congresscritters, as with Maxine Waters’ latest inanity also in Links today (I’d like to extend Caitlin Johnstone’s “STFU” in the link immediately above the Maxine Waters story to cover both title persons). Probably all points to necessary cross-categorization with Imperial Collapse Watch.

  28. D

    Anyway, cutting to the chase as regards my above comment regarding the LRB review, You are the Product, of Chaos Monkeys (and two other books), I would suggest – if one’s interested in reading Chaos Monkeys (I don’t doubt there may be useful factoids in there) – checking the book out of the Library versus spending your money on a blatantly sociopathic misogynist. I may check the book out of the library myself.

    No wonder Zuck hired him, birds of a feather and all.

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