Links 10/21/17

Dear patient readers,

We had a very good meetup in Boston. One of the most striking things I heard from a participant who’d seen this first hand: the corridors of hospitals are prowled by the representatives of for-profit nursing homes and rehab facilities who pitch the families of patients about to be discharged. The hospitals apparently do noting to stop this. The story I was told was of a case where the family was persuaded to look at a $10,000 a month assisted living facility which was obviously sub-par.

Have any other readers come across or heard of this practice? If so, please pipe up in comments.

Separately, I had to go to the oral surgeon last week :-(. I am exhausted, for reasons that are not obvious to me.

Kea or Kākāriki? Bird of the Year contest gets New Zealand in a flap Guardian

Inside the Minds of Very Good Dogs New Yorker (furzy)

Edible Innovations: This Hive Lets You Grow Insects at Home Makezine (resilc)

Can We Still Rely On Science Done By Sexual Harassers? Wired (Dr. Kevin)

Laptops could be banned from checked bags on planes due to fire risk CNN

China bans foreign waste – but what will happen to the world’s recycling? PhysOrg. Used aper is a major US export to China, but I don’t know whether that is “mixed paper” or kraft paper (think paper bags and boxes), which is high value because it is made from long-fiber pulp.

Where North Korean rockets meet US antimissile shields Asia Times


Three-quarters of the public say Brexit is going badly, poll reveals Independent. You almost never see percentages this high in polls. And 12% said “I don’t know”.

The EU is treating Britain like a naughty child: it wants to humiliate us into a bad deal Telegraph. A window into the Brexit booster alternative reality.

May’s Brexit weakness focuses EU minds Financial Times


Catalonia vote: Spain expected to impose direct rule BBC

200,000 protest jailing of Catalonian nationalist leaders in Barcelona WSWS. From a couple of days ago, not widely reported.

The roots of Catalonia’s differences with the rest of Spain PRI

Pablo Neruda ‘did not die of cancer’, say experts BBC

Trudeau on Quebec face-cover ban: not our business to tell women what to wear Guardian

New Cold War

NATO Faces Serious Shortcomings in Command Revamp Der Spiegel. Resilc: “Hard to plan against a threat that doesn’t exist.”

NATO report casts doubt on ability to defend against Russian attack on eastern flank DW

Anti-Russia ‘propaganda’ group urges reporter to drop story on CIA arming Syrian rebels RT

A Russian Ghost Submarine, Its U.S. Pursuers and a Deadly New Cold War Wall Street Journal

America, Desperately Seeking An Enemy by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

At least 46 attacks in area of Niger where U.S. troops killed: U.N. Reuters (furzy)

What Does the Latest F-35 Data Breach Teach Us About Defense Industrial Espionage? The Diplomat. Resilc: “Maybe it is a fake plane used solely for disinformation. Can’t be a real plane it’s so bad.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Security Flaws in Children’s Smart Watches Bruce Schneier

Body Cam Study Shows No Effect On Police Use Of Force Or Citizen Complaints NPR

Trump Transition

5 things Trump did this week while you weren’t looking Politico

GOP Gears Up for Tax-Overhaul Push Wall Street Journal

Financial industry worried GOP tax plan will change 401(k)s The Hill. 401(k)s were not designed to be a primary retirement vehicle but to supplement pension plans. But these high-fees schemes are better than nothing, particularly with an employer match. This is not going to go over well with lots of corporate middle managers and retail brokers, both of which I would expect to lean Republican.

John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup Masha Gessen, New Yorker (furzy)

White House: Kelly ‘Absolutely’ Stands By False Claims About Wilson Daily Beast (furzy)

Feud: Elena and Neil: Why rumors of a Gorsuch–Kagan clash at the Supreme Court are such a bombshell. Slate


A Compromise on Obamacare Is Still Practically Impossible Vice

ACLU slams Houston suburb for withholding hurricane relief to anyone boycotting Israel Haaretz (Dr. Kevin)

A Cub Scout pressed a lawmaker about gun control. Then his den kicked him out, his mother said. Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

Gov removes KY TV Reporter with police FaceBook (Chris Tobe)

Hillary Channels Nora Desond

Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth Counterpunch

Some Famously Efficient Japanese Manufacturers Are Now Lying to Compete Bloomberg (resilc)

Trump is About to Own This Credit Cycle Bloomberg (resilc)

Ikea Dresser Reportedly Kills Eighth Child Despite Recall Fortune

Weinstein board members claim lawyers hindered sex inquiry Financial Times. Even sexier than the headline suggest, pun intended. The lawyer the board says withheld information about Weinsteins’s settlements is star litigator David Boies. But this strikes me as even more of an eyepopper:

He [Weinstein] used TWC’s [The Weinstein Company’s] credit facility to advance himself funds against the licensing of movies that he owned personally;
TWC “never made a profit” and generated a loss of $65m in 2015.

Big or small cities: On city size and economic growth VoxEU

Incoming Data Supportive of December Rate Hike Tim Duy

Is the Fed Getting Cold Feet about the QE Unwind? Wolf Richter

Wells Fargo Fires Four Foreign-Exchange Bankers as Woes Spread to Investment Bank Wall Street Journal. This wan’t just any four bankers, which suggests that, contrary to the current story, there had to be more than one client involved:

The issue that led to the firings, along with the reassignment of a senior executive, couldn’t be fully determined. It involves one specific transaction with a client, who has been notified by the bank, according to a person familiar with the matter….

Within the investment bank’s foreign-exchange operation, those fired, people familiar with the matter said, were Simon Fowles, recently head of foreign exchange trading; Bob Gotelli, recently head of foreign-exchange sales; Jed Guenther, recently a regional head of foreign exchange; and Michael Schaufler, chief spot dealer.

Oh, and the Office of the Controller of the Currency says Wells may need to refund as much as $80 million more than the bank had estimated for misleading sale practices with auto insurance.

Sprint, T-Mobile Deal Announcement Is Likely to Be Delayed Bloomberg. I have T-Mobile and wish this wasn’t happening.

J&J Wins Reversal of $417 Million California Talc Verdict Bloomberg

Uber-SoftBank deal threatened by dispute over terms Financial Times. As we said, this deal has never looked solid. Which does not mean it may not get done, but more delay and sticking points (and new ones keep popping up) are not a good sign. And this term has a direct impact on price, which should not be so up in the air in a deal this far along. Consistent with what we have been saying:

The delays, and continuing signs of ill-will between some investors and board members, have led to growing frustrations, and brought a warning from one person close to the negotiations that the transaction could founder altogether if the wrangling drags on too much longer.

And the part that is supposed to ratify the current valuation clearly doesn’t:

The new investors, which include SoftBank, Dragoneer and General Atlantic, will purchase between $1bn and $1.25bn of new preferred shares from Uber. They will pay the same price of $48.77 that buyers paid last year, which implies a valuation of Uber of $68bn. Those preferred shares will come with a high degree of investment guarantees, making them more valuable than Uber’s common stock.

What Are We Doing Here? New York Review of Books. On the humanities.

Class Warfare

INSIGHT-Short on staff: Nursing crisis strains U.S. Reuters. Resilc: “I have an old peace corps friend who homesteaded in West Va after. They had three merit scholar daughters in upper tract, West Va. one is a WVU md, another a nurse. All worked in Morgantown. Wild stories about patients and their families and rural health internships. I go every fall and help cut Xmas tress, used to pay for college. It is like going to a foreign country.”

For Some Reason, No One Wants Entry-Level Retail Jobs Consumerist

Why Are Your Wages [fees] So Low? Democrats And Republicans Don’t Know, But Marxism Does BuzzFeed (Dr. Kevin)

These Cities Make NYC Housing Look Dirt Cheap Bloomberg

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Hmmm, my “trick or treat” basket?”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. allan

    Pollution kills 9 million a year, costs $4.6 trillion [AP]

    … Even the conservative estimate of 9 million pollution-related deaths is one-and-a-half times higher than the number of people killed by smoking, three times the number killed by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, more than six times the number killed in road accidents, and 15 times the number killed in war or other forms of violence, according to GBD tallies.

    It is most often the world’s poorest who suffer, the study found. The vast majority of pollution-related deaths — 92 percent — occur in low- or middle-income countries, where policy makers are chiefly concerned with developing their economies, lifting people out of poverty and building basic infrastructure. …

    For some reason this brings to mind the immor(t)al words of Larry Summers from 1991:

    …The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. …

    1. Vatch

      Thanks for posting this link! This set of issues needs to be heavily emphasized. A couple of days ago I posted a link to a different article about this. That such hazards are killing millions, yet we have advocates for poisoners in high governmental positions (Scott Pruitt at the top of the EPA and Sonny Perdue as the Secretary of Agriculture), is beyond appalling. Yesterday I posted information about Andrew Wheeler, a coal industry lobbyist who is on track to become the Deputy Administrator of the EPA:

      I hope all Naked Capitalism readers who are U.S. residents will ask their Senators to vote against the appointment of Andrew Wheeler to the number two spot in the EPA. As reader jrs pointed out a couple of days ago, Trump’s inappropriate comments are just the tip of the iceberg. Out of view of most Americans, he and his appointees are causing terrible harm.

      1. sunny129

        Sorry, I am NOT optimist!

        One can call or write, but Congress is beholden to VESTED INTERESTS in America via K-street!

        In 2008, 70% of population was against the TARP bailout of the banks, but the Congress nevertheless voted for it after pressure from FIRE industry and especially Hank Paulson ( threatened MARTIAL LAW confirmed by at least 2 senators at that time!)!

        As ex prez Carter has said ‘there is NO functioning or representative DEMOCRACY in America! America is ruled by Oligarchy Elections are just a joke. Both parties salivate for campaign contributions by the Corporate America.

        1. Vatch

          Of course you’re right that a small number of letters or phone calls to Congress will not be effective. And if the issue is something that is very important to many billionaires and CEOs of giant corporations, even a lot of letters and phone calls will be ineffective.

          But not all issues are of such importance to the oligarchy as the bailout of the banks, so if enough people contact Congress, they can make a difference. Also, as a result of the Great Financial Collapse and its aftermath, many voters are more aware of how undemocratic the Congress is, and they are pushing back. Some members of Congress are worried. Remember, Trump had to withdraw his nomination of Andrew Puzder as Labor Secretary, and of Tom Marino as drug “czar”. And he was only able to ram through the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary with Vice President Pence casting the tie breaking vote.

          Let’s make another example of Andrew Wheeler. Please contact your Senators, and ask them to reject his nomination as Deputy Administrator of the EPA:

          1. sunny129

            Your point is well taken but the reality is different in the current America.

            47% of eligible voters NEVER bothered to vote in the last election! Talk about informed citizens and their active involvement is left to the very few!

            1. Vatch

              This is exactly why I persistently encourage people to become active in politics! More people need to vote, especially in the primary elections. And people need to contact their Senators and Representatives about important issues, such as the terrible nomination of Andrew Wheeler.

              People who work for politicians know that they citizens who call them or write to them are more likely to vote than the average citizen. So they do pay attention to the opinions of their constituents, even though they don’t always do what their constituents want them to do.

    2. c_heale

      It’s not just this, but the use of pesticides and gigantic monocultures when small farms are more productive. The concreting over of productive farmland. Wars being fought over fossil fuels. Massive amounts of plastic being spewed into the environment. Our world is being destroyed by the greed of a small minority of people and the ignorance (in the sense of not knowing) and indifference of many. Humans need to start thinking about the consequences of every single action they take.

      1. KTN

        Our world is being destroyed by the greed of a small minority of people and the ignorance (in the sense of not knowing) and indifference of many.

        One hates to be accused of making pronouncements, but yes, it takes all three.

  2. m

    D/C from hospital. Upon discharge a care coordinator RN/SW will search for a bed. Depends on patient’s preferred area, insurance & type of stay (acute rehab, long term). Sometimes the facility will come and interview a patient. Prowl the halls, never saw that, not at any hospital I have worked at.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      In hospice there are “liaisons” stationed at select area hospitals and nursing homes. Basically, they are marketers, developing relationships with the staff in hopes of getting the referral when a patient appears to be a candidate for hospice. I think nursing homes do the same thing.

      What is really creepy is the devil’s deal hospitals make with hospices, transferring patients already on their deathbed so they’ll be off the hospital’s stats when they die.

      1. Moocao

        Highly inappropriate comment. Hospice care philosophy is completely different than inpatient care. Asking an inpatient RN to care for a hospice patient is fine, but it is difficult mentally for the RN. The change of philosophy from “saving a life”. To “make you comfortable before you die” is a radical change.

        And before you go on questioning hospice care, look into the eye of a 35 year old patient with terminal breast cancer and metastasis with oozing necrotizing tumor and telling this patient there is hope for survival is tantamount to malpractice in my opinion.

        Hospital stats wouldn’t change really. When a patient is designated hospice, the stat factor goes away. The issue is that an inpatient hospital is usually horrible at providing hospice care. Hospital rooms can be small, cramped, with lots of interruption. Pain meds are not formulated for comfort as the drug concentrations are different. The food is always awful in hospitals. Hospice also provides music and counselors of faith at any point. As a patient who is designated as hospice, unless you are medically precarious, it is always better for transfer.

  3. dk

    Gov removes KY TV Reporter with police Wave3
    The link goes to a profile of David Mattingly, couldn’t easily find any related story on the Wave3 site.

    But this may be the story, or a version of it:

    Gov. Bevin, facing ethics complaint, blasts journalist over reporting about his mansion

    The Courier-Journal rejected the claim that Loftus was “caught sneaking” around or that he was removed from the property. “The claims are untruthful and absurd,” Courier-Journal Executive Editor Joel Christopher said.

    Loftus himself had reported in a news story in March that he had gone to the residence, where he was “met by state police Trooper Mark Treadway, a member of the executive security detail, who declined to say who lived in the house and said it was private property.”

  4. m

    By the way there is no nursing shortage, there are many older experienced nurses forced out & new grads not being hired due to their lack of experience. Hospitals short staff to save money, period. The only time the staffing grid is adequate is if the MD puts up a stink. The for profit chains are the worst in this regard. Outside the hospital setting this excuse is being used to allow nurses aides to get med certified & pass meds, all responsibility is on the RN in charge & facility saves some $$$.

    1. dcblogger

      By the way there is no nursing shortage, there are many older experienced nurses forced out & new grads not being hired due to their lack of experience. Hospitals short staff to save money, period. The only time the staffing grid is adequate is if the MD puts up a stink. The for profit chains are the worst in this regard. Outside the hospital setting this excuse is being used to allow nurses aides to get med certified & pass meds, all responsibility is on the RN in charge & facility saves some $$$.

      so good, it had to be repeated

    2. Roxan

      100% true! The hospital I trained in recruited cleaning staff to replace RNs. If they refused they were fired. Imagine someone cleaning hospital bathrooms then inserting catheters. This was a will known city hospital, too. Also, common for hospitals to sneakily place elderly pts in their own nursng homes for rehab but somehow they end up staying.

    3. marym

      HR 676 (the Conyers Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act) includes long-term care as a benefit, and requires all provider institutions participating in M4A to be public or not-for-profit. A 15 year migration plan is proposed.

      S1804 (the Sanders Medicare for All Act) leaves long-term care as a Medicaid benefit and does not stipulate that M4A provider institutions be not-for-profit.

      Much of Medicaid is privatized and for-profit. The medical loss ratio stipulated by the ACA is 85%. Before that it was up to the states and rare. Various “flexibility” alternatives for the states provide increased opportunities for privatization.

      If our country is ever wise enough to move to a universal benefit, provisions for long-term care are an important issue for debate.

    4. Tooearly

      Yep! Here RN grads are taking jobs as Nurses aides so as to get a ” foot in the door” and meanwhile the non-profit hospitals are replacing as many as they can with MA’s

    5. Cynthia

      Hospitals aren’t staffing short to save money, they are staffing short so that management can pocket more money for themselves in the form of bigger bonuses and higher salaries. This is largely what’s causing administrative costs to skyrocket.

      Oh sure, the regulatory burden, insurance hyper-complexity, and hyper-micromanaging on the frontlines are all causing administrative costs to be far higher than they oughta be. But it can’t be understated how a very large portion of these costs is due to too much skimming off the top by management. There is really no other way to explain the enormous wage gains in hospital management. And the only way to put a stop to this greed and rent-seeking by hospital management is for Medicare, including private insurers, to base reimbursement on staffing ratios: the lower the nurse-to-patient ratio, the higher the reimbursement. Either that, or Medicare can penalize hospitals for having nurse-to-patient ratios that are so high to the point compromising patient safety.

      If Medicare can penalize hospitals for having too many falls and infections, they can also penalize hospitals for being way too understaffed. If Medicare really and truly cares about the safety and the quality of care of their patient population, they should reimburse hospitals based on staffing ratios or simply penalize them whenever their nurse-to-patient ratios get too high.

    6. pricklyone

      Makes one wonder. Where do they suppose experienced nurses come from? Mars?
      Becoming experienced requires, wait for it, experience!
      Only hiring the Most Qualified assures that there will be no more forthcoming…

    1. Wukchumni

      When you’re growing up, the words ‘nursing home’ only conjured up down the road visions of misery and lackadaisical standards of care, on the way out of this game we call life…

      Well, they don’t call em’ nursing homes anymore, the nom d’jour being ‘assisted living homes’ or so some similar sobriquet…

      My mom decided when she hit 90 that a 5 bedroom house by herself was daunting, so we went shopping for a place for her to live. Now this is in L.A. where most every potential client for assisted living places bought a house for $38k way back when, which is now worth $942k, so they are in theory rich, and the facilities cater to this money.

      My mom’s place is like a cruise ship that doesn’t go anywhere, but makes ports of call to museums, concerts, etc. and has a really good restaurant and other facilities, a plush movie theater etc. etc, and tastefully landscaped. She loves it there, and it’s a good fit as she’s with a gaggle of others in their mid 90’s mostly, and there’s a few WW2 vets there, and these are fellows i’m sure that would’ve been hesitant to tell what went down back then when middle aged-a common trait among men that saw so much they wanted to forget, but now the stories flow like water down the cobblestones of some French town one of them liberated with his platoon in 1944.

      The one we chose was one of the few that didn’t require her to buy an apartment for $300-400k, and yes it does seem odd that a 90 year old should invest in real estate at that late date, but it’s the game they play here, and yeah there’s always another 90 year old that’ll buy it from you after your parent dies and they pencil whip you out of another 5-10% for the action, and it’s pretty scammy in my opinion.

      My mom is on a month to month lease and it’s pricey, but you can’t take it with you, money that is.

  5. Carla

    Re: financialization, crapification and corruption of U.S. health care, here’s something worth considering:

    Before you dismiss it, among the research cited is this, from The Lancet:
    “Low-dose aspirin for cancer prevention is often cited as the most important approach in terms of population benefit, and should be offered to those older than 50 years of age without hypertension or risk factors for gastrointestinal bleeding.”

      1. dk

        PS Re: Oral surgery, you need to rest so your body can heal. Usually little outward sign beyond some swelling for a few days, but there’s a lot of complicated stuff going on in the area. Goes double for bone work. I know it’s hard to do, but 12-48 hours of near immobility, as in, in bed, can work wonders for deep tissue injury of any kind. Since I know you won’t just try to take an extra hour in bed, or a supine nap, for the next few days. And don’t think “it’s already been a week, it’s past remedy,” the body needs immobile time to heal. Catching up on sleep is a fiction, but catching up on healing time does work, although the sooner the far better.

        Of course, it runs completely counter to our “good worker” culture, but you can be tough again next week.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I second the motion for rest.

          Last time I had oral surgery, I went right back to work. Big mistake. I was worn out for weeks.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Yeah, time off resting is never wasted time. More like investing in the future. Go back to work too soon and you end up taking off more time because your body wasn’t ready and you have further hurt it.

        2. neo-realist

          Sometimes even a few days off doesn’t suffice for rest from oral surgery. About twenty years ago, I had a couple of wisdom teeth removed and I was off work for about four days. Came back and could barely speak, which was difficult because a lot of my work was on the phone, because my mouth was still incredibly swollen on top of painful. When you have an employer (a bank in this case) that puts you on written warning for a few too many sick days, it’s difficult to take all the time you need to recover.

          1. jrs

            Many companies now seem to moving to “paid time off” which is combined vacation and sick time. Since I haven’t seen this accompanied with any reduction in paid days off it seems like a positive move if it leads one to having to provide less justifications to take time off (although a lot of this might depend on a particular employer’s policies).

            Of course the much larger issue is American’s work all the time and get barely any time off *period*, less than everywhere else in the world, and the “paid time off” doesn’t change that, it just rolls the very limited time into one bucket, so one can use vacation time for sick days, or vice versa, or for family issues or etc..

        3. Jen

          Had an elective procedure a few years ago. 4 days before, I rowed 15 miles. Day after, needed to nap after walking 10 feet. I’d done my homework and knew it was coming, but still couldn’t believe how clobbered I felt. Your body needs time to heal. Probably more as we get older. And, seriously, Yves, I’m exhausted just reading about your schedule!

  6. Wukchumni

    China bans foreign waste – but what will happen to the world’s recycling? PhysOrg.

    For starters, almost everything the world was recycling (along with scrap metal) the past 20 years, was in reality being placed in empty TEU’s for a free ride back to the middle kingdom, after being disgorged of consumer goods following the journey in. It was a ridiculous ‘feel good’ measure that only worked on account of the containers having to go back, and the practice would have never worked otherwise…

    Recycling had been dying here for years ever since China initiated operation Green Fence in 2013 which greatly restricted imports, and now there’s this new law constricting recycling even further.

    I have no way of knowing, but i’d guess a decent percentage of what we recycle presently, is simply ending up in the trash after a rather circuitous route of faux recycling and at a fair amount of expense to cities, seeing as so many community recycling centers have closed up in the past few years on account of China’s actions.

    We can either really do recycling here by turning glass & plastic into something else worthwhile, or admit that the whole thing was a ruse and just throw most of it in the trash instead of ‘recycling’.

    The first option is ridiculously expensive and the latter would serve to squash any ideas that we are trying to save the planet vis a vis our individual actions…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One way is to have stay-at-home spouses…maybe men this time.

      And home delivered milk (or soy milk), with reusable glass bottles.

      A lot of trash is from eating and drinking on the go, or buying packaged ready food (no time), instead of cooking from scratch.

      If you must buy coffee, go to one that will serve it in a ceramic cup, and make sure you take your time, and stay there a few hours.

      1. marieann

        Or perhaps both partners can work part time.
        I entered the workforce full time in 1987. I realised after 2 years that a home will not run itself. I needed a wife…and since that was me, I went part time. Luckily I was in a job that allowed me to work as I needed.

        I will repeat…a home will not run itself-it requires at least a part time caretaker.

    2. Chris

      There was an ABC investigation here (Oz) recently, which showed that a vast proportion of the glass bottles (beer, wine etc.) are being crushed and either put in landfill or enormous warehouses.

      I’ve stopped caring too much after 25 years or so of carefully separating the trash.

      We used to make all our glass bottles, now it’s cheaper to import them from china.

      We’ve got a world wide shortage of sand. It was suggested in the report that they are investigating turning the glass back into sand


  7. JohnnyGL


    Just wanted to drop a quick note to thank you and Outis for taking the time to meet and talk to us. It was a real pleasure to finally meet you. After 10 years of reading this site, you and Lambert really do a lot of good work gathering information from a wide variety of sources and breaking it down for us.

    Really hope we can do it again, soon!

    Just to throw out a dumb idea, you ever think of doing a kind of call-in show on youtube or something? Someone mentioned your lack of TV appearances in the last few years and it got me thinking. I’ve seen at least a few various youtubers who do a nice job with this sort of format. It might be fun, but, would take some work to organize and operate, of course.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I agree. How about doing a remote interview with Jimmy Dore? Or appearing on Lee Camp’s show, “Redacted Tonight,” in DC?

  8. Dita

    Re Harvey Weinstein – the board had to be aware of the settlements at least because they put in a moral turpitude clause in his 2015 employment agreement. Even in the unlikely event the settlements were somehow snuck past the board they still felt it necessary to protect themselves with that clause, so knew HW was toxic.

  9. Dan S

    Re For Some Reason, No One Wants Entry-Level Retail Jobs – Gee, I wonder why you can’t get people to take a job that pays barely above minimum wage and requires you to deal with horrible retail shoppers during the holidays. Oh, and often times you can’t have a set schedule – required flex and on-call scheduling. Sounds great! I love the line about how there’s not enough people looking for work. Ha, the workforce participation rate is at it’s lowest in decades. Why should I work if all I can get is minimum wage – and possibly lose any meager benefits I qualify for? Like the 1%’s lamenting about the need for more STEM workers. Yeah, so you can oversupply that labor market and pay them shit for degrees that cost anywhere from $50k to over $100k to get.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Don’t forget the bit about how they have to pay transport to and from work for themselves which may be worth more than what meager wages they are pulling in for that shift. And that they may have to pay out of their own pocket for mandatory uniforms and gear.
      Anyway, people working jobs like that love flex and on-call scheduling that you mentioned as they love the mystery of not knowing from one day to another if they are working the next day or not. It’s not like they have lives to lead.

    2. ambrit

      Oh, I agree fully.
      “Not enough people looking for work” is ‘blaming the victim’ at its’ best. Employers seem to assume that the average Josephine Blow is dumber than the fabled Bunny. That doesn’t accord with the floor workers I hang around. People are dimly aware that “something here ain’t right.”
      Another contributing factor is the full blown trend in business to overwork labour. I encounter the “F— this!” attitude everywhere now. This is occurring not only in the backrooms. I have seen it on shop floors, in front of customers. The lower level management is so stressed out that it barely notices this, and seldom does anything about it.
      Someone is finally noticing that ‘Workers’ are not just an inert commodity. They do have agency. That means that they can choose to not participate if possible.

      1. Wukchumni

        Robots @ both the upper level and lower level of management would solve that dilemma in a jiffy, and why not have customer robots as well?

        You can program them not to shoplift or make a mess of things.

        1. polecat

          I don’t know …. I, for one, certainly wouldn’t want some management bot poking its’ servos where they don’t belong ….

          And what if it has the additional factory installed sexbot application(s), never mind the bossy psychobot function … what’s a lowly humon tempserf to do ? …. resist ??
          It’s futile, I tells ya !

      2. tongorad

        Someone is finally noticing that ‘Workers’ are not just an inert commodity. They do have agency. That means that they can choose to not participate if possible.

        Now if more people starting choosing not to participate, we might have something. And if they started to organize, look out!

        I work in an education workplace, where, unfortunately, the cult of the stressed-out workaholic and positive thinking is so strong that anyone who has a different opinion is shunned as a complainer. I have always found it strange that some people where their compliance as a badge of honor. I’ve never found a forced march to be very compelling.

      3. Ned

        “They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work”

        Retail workers I know always give me a break on prices, weights and returns. Why? Because I listen to and commiserate with them and have spoken up for them with management, something that the customer can do in a manner that would get the employee fired.

        Let’s talk about sexagism.
        Walk into a business that employs nothing but pretty young Hispanic girls while dozens of older Americans nearby are sitting home eating cat food because no one will hire them.

        Complain to management and boycott the place. Tell everyone you know as well. It’s very effective to point out what’s right in front of people;
        “Notice how no one our age is working here?”

        1. Bugs Bunny

          I do this often. I make a point of also lavishing praise on the employees while talking to upper mgmt. Out of earshot and eyesight of the employees so it’s more authentic. I also leave notes of praise for employees in the suggestions box. I once got a mail from a big supermarket thanking me for the note and informing me that they gave the employee a bonus. Everything counts. Direct action is an everyday habit.

  10. ambrit

    I don’t know about “elder care” schemes, but, we had a family member try a “cry for help” type suicide attempt about ten years ago. Issues of control and identity were involved. Needless to say, this person ended up in a local Emergency Room.
    The first suspicious thing was that no police were around to take the particulars. If I remember correctly, suicide is still a crime. Someone I know tried “self murder” many years ago and spent a half hour with a policeman subsequently.
    The second suspicious item was the person who showed up about an hour later to ‘suggest’ that we put the “help seeker” in a short term psychiatric facility for “observation.” This happened in the middle of the night. The “facilitator” was in ‘Casual Friday’ style clothing. He was vouched for by the hospital staff. Having just gone through emotional turmoil and extreme fear, we agreed to this “advice.” Not only did this lead to some thousands in fees, but the aftereffects of the ‘treatment’ itself caused problems for several years thereafter.
    So there, it’s one of our families’ “dirty little secrets.” I suspect that most families have something similar lurking about, if they take the time to look.
    An old joke goes: Never date someone you meet in a therapists’ waiting room.
    The corollary is: Never take advice from someone you meet in a hospital hallway.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Sounds like yet another case of the treatment being worse than the disease. And they wonder why so many of us avoid the so-called health care system.

      1. ambrit

        Amen Arizona Slim!
        We are going through something similar with Phyls’ battle against the Melanoma. Phyl is asking for something simple and direct, excision of the tumours on her leg. She will then handle the rest, for good or ill. No medico, so far, has even agreed to talk about this. All we get are demands, yes, demands, that she go along with some ‘cutting edge’ therapy, or nothing.
        The first medico, who did do some excision, was a plastic surgeon. He then handed us off to the Guild of Oncologists, also known as the Gang of Crooks. Phyl then went through the beginning phases of a therapy that indeed was worse than the disease. (Immunotherapy.) She stopped that as soon as she began feeling like The Walking Dead. Since then, the Medicos’ mantra has been, do it my way or hit the highway.
        Even though it is scary as H—, managing a disease such as cancer as it progresses, rather than continuously striving to banish it to the outermost realms, as many promise, is more rational and, corny as it sounds, life affirming. When it comes my time, I hope that I am half as brave as my wife is.

        1. polecat

          This !!

          The Booming Boomers of the Medico Complex cajole, insist, exhort, implore even … that we need what They decide we need, even though any perceived efficacy from such recommendation(s) be of little to no patient benefit, as it relates to time, quality of life remaining ..
          As is often the case, modern medical intervention equates to hubris and grift.

          There was a time in this country of ours, when people dealt, stoically, if that’s that word … with the help of a combination of charity organizations, hospitals, and family, to help smooth ones’ passage to the beyond, rather than this whole ‘I’m never gonna grow up and die !’ faux culture we all currently reside in.

          I admire your mates’ quiet dignity …. and in taking control over the quality, and viability of whatever remains of her life, in spite of many ‘all knowing medical folks’ lack of humililty.
          I can only hope I’m able to do the same, when the ferryman tells me my time is approaching.
          I, in all sincerity, wish you both the best, in ‘real’ time.

          1. ambrit

            Thanks mate. It’s good to know that we have like minded people out there.
            (I hope I’m not crowding the sites’ “do not make this a ‘social’ site” rule.)

        2. Richard

          I am so sorry to hear that, and it really enrages me that your wife’s wishes for treatment are being completely dismissed.

          1. ambrit

            We thank you. The other side of this drama is how much money is in play. If I were a cynic, I might believe that the Oncologists are pushing therapies that have much better outcomes in terms of their financial health than the patients’ physical health.
            I am not pulling your leg when I say that the immunotherapy regime the first oncological cartel Phyl was victimized by was charging Medicare almost $15,000 USD per treatment. Treatments were biweekly and slated to be ongoing for a year or more.
            Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. Modern medicine has adopted the motto of: “Caveat Emptor.”

            1. freedeomny

              “I might believe that the Oncologists are pushing therapies that have much better outcomes in terms of their financial health than the patients’ physical health.”

              Ambrit – My older sis is a doc, as is her husband, and even they are disgusted about our health system. I too am going through some crazy times/scenarios/conversations with health care professionals. It is a sh##hole hell that as Americans we are being put through this. I actually had an md a month ago, suggesting a very involved (and expensive test), to make sure there wasn’t “cancer”, who was practically salivating. All this after I had just done a test by an expert two weeks prior that evaluated my situation as “probably benign” and let’s just keep an eye on it…

              As always – it’s follow the money. And it’s really sad that folks facing scary health issues have to deal with the brutal, savage and completely immoral government and country that the United States has become.

              My thoughts are with you and P….

              1. ambrit

                Thank you, and maintain personal control off your health care. You seem to have some stellar resources to draw upon. Don’t be shy about asking your family for help. What else is family for, if not that?

  11. Jim Haygood

    No joy from Rajoy as he goes nuclear:

    “After calling an emergency meeting of the Spanish cabinet, on Saturday morning Mr. Rajoy announced the process to begin taking back control of the independence-minded region by invoking Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.” — NYT

    So Spain has invoked Article 155 to shut down Catalonia’s regional government and arrest its leaders. Just eighty years ago Spain was wracked by civil war. Now it looks like the fractious Iberians are ready to have another go, in the blood-soaked european tradition.

    What if Spain, having joined NATO in 1982, declares itself under attack from Catalonia’s separatists? Does that mean “we” have to dispatch B-2 sorties from Whiteman [sic] Air Force Base to bomb the sh*t out of Barcelona? It sounds absurd, but it’s no more absurd than Bill Clinton bombing Serbia (which wasn’t even a NATO member) on behalf of the separatist Kosovars.

    When the initial negotiations to form the European Iron and Steel community took place in the 1950s, everyone assumed that borders of its member states had been fixed irrevocably by WW II. Not so, as it turns out.

    Lumbering, bureaucratic Brussels (with its own Flanders/Wallonia split) can’t possibly negotiate the mitosis of its member states, not to mention Brexit. Its instinct, like ol’ A. Lincoln’s, will be to blindly defend the integrity of its Union [sic]. But imposing supranational unity at gunpoint will only energize separatist movements, outraged by the brutal piercing of Europe’s thin veil of civil order.

    Adios, EU. See y’all at the knackers.

    1. ambrit

      Aw H— Comrade Jim. Go a little farther back. Say, to the Crusade against the Cathars in Southern France. Teach those Iconoclastic Catalans the real meaning of the ‘Fear of God.’ (Can’t you just see the advance of the ‘Opus Dei Division?’ The hearty battle cries of the “Knights of the Teutonic Economic Order?” The magisterial depredations of the Azov Battalion? Doing Gods’ Work never was such fun as this.)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You had to defend the union.

      The smart ones on Wall Street (and generals, even the commanding general perhaps) foresaw (if they didn’t, they weren’t that smart) buying up some real estate rather cheaply…especially when the loser’s sovereign money would be worthless, and basis of economy gone.

      Not sure if the geniuses knew there’d be oil in Texas but it’s always good to land grab, and never let go of seceding parts.

      And so a dead o’clock can still be right, and greed can go in bed with a noble cause.

      Fast forward to today.

      You don’t part ways with Barcelona. Who knows, maybe the cure for cancer is to be found in a plant grown there only. That’d be a lot of money you stand to lose.

    3. The Rev Kev

      And I’m sure that the British thought that all their troubles were over once they had occupied Boston with military troops. The Spanish had better be careful as dialing things up can have unintended consequences and you never know how things are going to end. For some reason, I am reminded of something that I read decades ago about the British. Before the British went on to found a massive empire, they fought a whole series of wars on continental Europe over the centuries. It was said of the British by the other continental powers that they lost every single battle in a war except for one – the last one!

      1. c_heale

        Having lived in Madrid for ten years this is a really sad day and I think there will be no good outcomes. The PP, PSOE and Ciudadanos are heading straight down the road to hell.

        The terrible hypocrisy is that this is that the PP, PSOE and Ciudadanos say they are doing this in the name of post transition (from Franco) constitution, but the PP and PSOE have said they want to reform this constitution at a later date. But they won’t negotiate with the Catalan government (I’m not saying by any means they are in the right either, but at least they have said they are prepared to negotiate), because it would mean changes to the same constitution that they’ve said they want to change.

  12. Ruben

    Madrid will remove the Catalan president, vicepresident, all consellers (ministers), will take away the main powers of the Parlament, will turn over Catalan publicly owned media to control offices from Madrid, all pending rubber stamping by the Senate.

    1. ambrit

      As Comrade Jim mentioned above, wasn’t this exactly how the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s’ began?

      1. Wukchumni

        The Spanish Civil War started in Rif in the 1920’s, sort of their version of the Vietnam War. Does this Wiki passage sound familiar?

        “Morale in the Army was extremely poor and most Spanish soldiers just wanted to go home and leave Morocco forever.”

        “In August 1923, Spanish soldiers embarking for Morocco mutinied at the railway stations, other soldiers in Malaga simply refused to board the ships that were to take them to Morocco, while in Barcelona huge crowds of left-wingers had staged anti-war protests at which Spanish flags were burned while the flag of the Rif Republic was waved about.”

        1. Massinissa

          “In August 1923, Spanish soldiers embarking for Morocco mutinied at the railway stations, other soldiers in Malaga simply refused to board the ships that were to take them to Morocco”

          Reminds me of the phrase, “What if we held a war and nobody came?”

      2. Sid_finster

        So do the Catalans have the stomach to be Bad Europeans?

        My guess is that they will knuckle under, maybe with a few symbolic concessions, in order to remain part of the European Tribe. Tribal identity trumps everything.

        1. Jim Haygood

          In any case, the result will be a harbinger for the future of the nation-state, which some of us regard as well past its sell-by date.

          Slovakia and the Czech Republic negotiated a Velvet Divorce in 1993. The same result is difficult to imagine among Iberians, who reach for their swords as readily as americanos reach for their revolvers.

          It’s no coincidence that Goya’s harrowing Disasters of War prints were based on events in Spain.

          1. Wukchumni

            Being of 50.000008% Czech blood, and 49.999992% Slovak blood, i’ve had to traipse carefully being a mestizo of similar account-to a forced marriage in 1918. The Czechs always looked down on the hillbillies of the Tatra, as they were a way different culture, with the Slovaks under the heel of the Magyars for like forever and predominantly Catholic, and the Czechs doing the Habsburgs or not shuffle, and really not caring all that much about dogma, as it is today in the Czech Republic, where it’s one of the least religious countries in the world.

            Going to ex-pat Czech get togethers in L.A., my Slovak mom told me that she and anybody with that heritage was always treated in a way similar to how Americans think of Mexicans.

            The divorce was a long time coming, but delayed by how long it took communism to decay.

            1. polecat

              I had a friend** in my younger days, who, on occasion, used the term of ‘bohunk’ toward other Czech aquaintences of his … was never quite sure if it was meant as a term of endearment, or desparagement …

              ** came Stateside, as a youngun w/ a relative who was granted U. S. Citizenship just prior to the Solviets putting the ixnae on the Czech Rebellionae

            2. clinical wasteman

              it’s an old serious joke (& one made much better by Rabid Gandhi right here a while back), but:
              Surely “how long it has taken communism to get started“?
              Barcelona AND Madrid 1936 — when the (Spanish) republican govt was flailing helplessly against generals & church, whereupon the — multinational, see Victor Serge, ‘Birth of Our Power’ — local working class took matters into their own hands, might actually have been one of the closest calls, along with Portugal in the 1970s, which also started with army conscripts mutinying against a vicious colonial war. But back in the 30s, the close call with communism (lowercase) didn’t last long, in part because the uppercase Communists showed up and made sure of it.
              It may have been — or seemed — worth fighting a horrible war for though, which — disgusting conduct of the neoFranquista Partido Popular govt notwithstanding — setting up a new ethnonation-statelet is not. The nation-state was damaged goods from the outset, and it’s often forgotten how recent its ubiquity is. But perpetually recreating it on an ever smaller scale doesn’t seem the best way of laying it to rest.

          2. Craig H.

            Goya’s harrowing Disasters of War

            Harrowing is the word. Here is one of the corpse of an executed priest and he has a sign pinned to his chest that reads he was executed for the crime of possessing too large a knife, and he is holding a crucifix. In the 1810’s. That is pretty late for displaying trophy corpses. It’s like styles for ISI*.

            1. c_heale

              The Disasters of War, Los Caprichos and The Black Paintings are one of the best reasons for visiting/living in Madrid.

            2. clinical wasteman

              We’ll know whether that was a late example when there’s a stop date for Strange Fruit
              [warning: contains distressing images, if images cause you more distress than words]

              See also:
              [same warning. & yes this is a highly partisan source, but note the words: “British Foreign Office confirmed” (in 2011). Zimbabwe war of independence was 1964-1979.]

              [same warning. Same story: Korea, Vietnam]


        2. ambrit

          Ah, I must disagree. “The European Tribe” is, at best, a fiction masking a geographical grouping. Real ‘Tribes’ are ethnic or cultural assemblages.
          The Catalans might “knuckle under” because they, like so much of the West today, are a hodgepodge of mini polities, compressed into a confederation. The one thing almost guaranteed to get the Catalans’ hackles up would be a bloody minded response from Madrid. Say, the heads of the Catalan government being shot or jailed for life.
          That picture of Franco om his horse put at the top of the front page of el Pais earlier telegraphed what was going to happen. Perhaps Rajoy, feeling his vulnerable position, wants to cement power through a display of Caudillismo.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think people in Catalan will all kneel at every Barcelona soccer, sorry, football home game .

          2. Ned

            Why not announce a tax strike whereby all monies collected locally in Catalonia go to the Catalonian government? Better yet, create and institute a local currency like the Ithica Hour that could compete against the Euro in some settings.

      3. Andrew Watts

        Are you guys being serious with these Spanish Civil War comparisons? The Catalonian separatists are led by a bunch of wallet clutching conservatives. Their followers are mostly middle class. They’ll fold at the first sign of trouble much less violence.

        The Catalonians couldn’t even issue a proper declaration of independence. If Madrid thought they were serious it’s likely they would’ve held back on invoking Article 155. The outbreak of civil wars aren’t great for your country’s credit rating or economy.

        1. ambrit

          Wars have started over far less. My favourite is the short lived border war between Honduras and el Salvador, known as the Soccer (Football) War.
          Demagogues should fear winding their populations up too far. If some real Catalans got into positions of power… The Worlds’ Plutocrats thought they could ‘control’ Hitler and the National Socialists.

          1. blennylips

            My favorite is the “Weekend War” which kept beautiful Slovenia out of the wider Yugoslav Wars that went on for nearly another decade.

            The Ten-Day War, which is often known as the Weekend War, occurred after the referendum that led to it – which was the first step in declaring independence in Slovenia. The war was fought between the Slovenian Territorial Defense and the Yugoslav People’s Army from June 27, 1991 until July 7, 1991. At the end of the war, the Brioni Accords were signed, leading to Slovenia’s official independence, which is celebrated on June 25.


            1. clinical wasteman

              It may have kept Slovenia out of the wars, but it was still the opening ceremony, encouraging Croatia (likewise with implicit German support) to secede. The rest is the worst of history. None of which remotely excuses the conduct of the Greater Serbia Cetniks who masqueraded as defenders of Federal Yugoslavia while actually conniving in its destruction, but given the ensuing horrors and the grotesque arrangements in place now (multiple international protectorates politically subdivided by improvised ‘ethnicity’ & set up for financial looting; the sponsored solitary-confinement “independence” of Montenegro and “The Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia”, etc), the flawed and only barely socialist but at least self-consciously and fluidly multi’ethnic’ federation might perhaps have been worth defending politically.
              Also: no time even to start here on the instant statelessness of those Yugoslavians in Slovenia who failed to sign up within 6 months for shiny new Slovenian nationality (i.e. failed to renounce Yugoslavia “voluntarily” while it still existed, i.e. pledge coerced allegiance the break-up), who are often referred to as “the Erased”. Anyone interested can find a detailed & by no means anti-Slovenian academic account of the social and legal procedure with a DDG/G**gle search for ‘Statelessness and the social (de)construction of citizenship’ (author Brad K.Blitz, Journal of Human Rights 2006, but no need to include this last part in the search. Choose the PDF link and you get the complete text in downloadable form. Apologies for complicated instructions, but infuriatingly there’s no copyable/linkable url except for short abstracts.)
              & Also: I know how fraught all this remains for so many people, and I definitely don’t mean to open a can of ultra-toxic historical worms. The story of the Erased — itself all but erased — really is worth looking up, but no rerun of the debate on the origins of/culpability for the wars is intended. Only the much more modest point that one microsecession can be relatively peaceful within the seceded territory while still contributing — indirectly and even inadvertently — to incoming catastrophe.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s very, very difficult for governments to practice non-violence resistance.

            “You want the Philippines? Take it.”

            “You want our Pearl Harbor? We’ll go on a hunger strike… the whole nation. Shame on you! Shame on you!”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                In general.

                Here, if Spain uses force, and the other side could win, would it also use force? On the other hand, if the other side could not prevail, would it still use force to defend itself?

                In most cases, an invaded country tries to resist with force. Many times, they lose, but not often they practice non-violence resistance as the first option.

                1. Andrew Watts

                  I doubt that Spain will resort to anything besides police and arrests. If the Catalonian separatists exceed my expectations than Spain will look for guidance and/or permission from the EU. Everybody is focusing on Madrid and Barcelona when they should be looking at Brussels.

          3. Andrew Watts

            @ambrit / @blennylips

            Thank you for proving how ridiculous that comparison is with your examples. The Spanish Civil War killed over a quarter million soldiers and half a million civilians. Furthermore, the Catalonian separatists face job loss, fines, and possibly jail time if they lose and they’re going to. They have no foreign backers and as the Iraqi Kurds found out that sorta matters on the international stage.

            1. ambrit

              Even you will admit that it is early days yet with this Catalan drama. Look at how long the ETA in Basque country, or the IRA in Eire spread death and destruction before gaining even part of their original demands.
              Also, though perhaps more “Grand Fenwick” in nature, compared to ‘real’ large scale wars, the two examples cited were the results of long standing tensions in the two disparate regions. The Central American example mixes both the heritages of Caudillismo, and Juntas. Slovakia could be more relevant because a similar devolutionary trend was at play, successfully so.
              The Kurds have always fought for themselves, or their appropriate clan group. They might have no ‘official’ backers in Turkey, but they soldier on. Really, these “small” regional insurrections are a version of “all politics are local.”
              How Rajoys’ government handles this will tell the tale.

        2. Massinissa

          “The Catalonian separatists are led by a bunch of wallet clutching conservatives. Their followers are mostly middle class”

          The Civil War was started by the wealthy slaveholders. The American Revolution was started by businessmen and landowners. I don’t know why youre saying secession wars cant be started by the upper classes and middle classes.

          1. Andrew Watts

            I never said that upper / middle classes wern’t capable of launching a successful rebellion. The Southern planter class were self-styled aristocrats descended from the Cavaliers of the English Civil War. Many of whom saw combat in wars against Great Britain and Mexico as well as the many conflicts against native tribes.

            But I wouldn’t compare them to a group of separatists who couldn’t issue a clear-cut declaration of independence and follow it up either.

            1. c_heale

              IMO (I’m not sure Spaniards or Catalans would agree with me though), Puigedemont didn’t issue the declaration of independence due the threat of Article 155 from Madrid. Now Madrid has said it will enforce Article 155, I wouldn’t be surprised to see things change. I think his non-declaration of independence was a tactical move borne of weakness.

              If you want a left wing opinion on these issues then the online newspaper Público is a good read for Spanish speakers. El País is following the government line on this and is not much use.

        3. Ruben

          “The Catalonian separatists are led by a bunch of wallet clutching conservatives”

          What about “Criticize ideas, not people”? It’s in the bullet points of the Comments Policy.
          Also you have a great chance to correct your righteous but misguided concerns by knowing that the pro-independence coalition is formed by two leftists groups (in addition to one centre-right group), the Catalan Republican Left and the anti-capitalist CUP. I think this new knowledge will make you feel better about the true left-wing credentials of the pro-independence camp.

          “Their followers are mostly middle class”

          What’s wrong with being middle-class anyways? It has to be working class proletariat or else it is not worth your invaluable support?

          1. Massinissa

            “What about “Criticize ideas, not people”? It’s in the bullet points of the Comments Policy.”

            To be totally honest, I thought that only applied to comments and commenters?

            1. Andrew Watts

              I should’ve stated my case in a more diplomatic manner given the reaction I received. Sensitively isn’t exactly my strongest trait.

              My apologies to anybody I’ve inadvertently offended.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Correct. Moreover:

              1. Watts was criticizing the Catalan government

              2. We could never call out corruption in public places otherwise. Public figures are not the same as private individuals.

          2. Andrew Watts

            You’re taking this way too personal. I was attacking the idea that this was at all comparable to the Spanish Civil War. Comparisons to that conflict are absurd given the preponderance and division of forces. Catalonia isn’t in a particularly unique circumstance and it isn’t likely they will succeed. As the separatist movement has marched they’ve continued to alienate and undermine the prosperity they hope to maintain through division.

            I’ve previously stated on NC before that we’re in a period akin to the revolutions of 1848 where we would see many failed rebellions. This prediction was already proven correct with the failure of the Arab Spring, the outcome of the Syrian Civil War, and the inability of Iraqi Kurdistan to become independent.

            The independence of Catalonia will probably happen someday at a time when the Spanish government is destitute and beyond repair. That ain’t today.

            1. Ruben

              I can now see your point well in the context of your previous point about non-comparability with the Spanish Civil War (SCW). So we are cool man. I opined in the same tenor to a question by ambrit, that this situation is not comparable to the SCW, though I couldn’t confirm it.

              I don’t take it personally, I am an outsider to the conflict.

              The Spanish gov’t and its two allied parties are acting like bullies, liars, manipulators of news, cheap propagandists and censors, while the separatists keep a cool, restrained, cautious and firm resolution. Europeans are seeing this and it is showing in the non-Spanish MSM.

              The Spanish gov’t has now managed to set the Basques categorically on the side of the Catalan gov’t. This is the other rich region within the Spanish Crown Iberian territory with strong nationalist support.

              So although your point about this situation being totally different to the start of the SCW is correct, it is too soon to say that the Catalans will get what they want only in the distant future. Don’t underestimate the incompetence of the Spanish crown.

              Finally, even though the alignment of forces is not as clear-cut between good and evil as in the SCW, it still is pretty much evident that any careful observer of the left-wing persuasion will side with the Catalans in spite of their movement lacking proletariat credentials.

  13. Wukchumni

    Le Kosher Nostra

    ACLU slams Houston suburb for withholding hurricane relief to anyone boycotting Israel Haaretz (Dr. Kevin)

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      And right after the US announces it will be locating its first air base in Israel shortly. We’re doomed.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Hmm, will the next step be that anyone receiving disaster relief will have to answer the question first; “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of ….”

  14. Sid_finster

    The Telegraph is onto something, but not quite what it thinks.

    Germany and France must make sure that any brexit punishes the UK, and publicly, lest the populace of other EU countries start to get ideas.

    1. Anonymous2

      The UK is doing a great job in self-harm. It does not need help from anyone else, though it might get some.

  15. Ruben

    I think not, but I’m away from home, can’t reach out to my copy of Beevor’s The Battle for Spain, so can’t say for sure. Anyways these are different times, Europe is the very embodiment of all that is civilized, democratic, mature, advanced, peaceful and progressive, is it not? So I expect everything will be sorted out and negotiated with intelligence and good faith to all parties satisfaction.

      1. ambrit

        I see the idea, but I don’t quite agree. Europe, as a meta-state might be fumbling about at being ‘civilized,’ but people, who are the ultimate building blocks of any state, are still barely removed from the cave, as it were. As above, viewing ‘tribes’ as smaller cultural units, and not meta constructs, gives pause to any European ‘Tribe’ cheer leading. At best, Europe can be viewed as a Confederation, with all the defects of such. A degree of co-operation among the smaller socio-political units is necessary for any positive outcomes. That requires negotiations, not force majeure actions.
        Besides, I can ‘spin’ your comment as pure snark, and very good snark at that.

        1. Ruben

          If Madrid has it its way what will Madrid-controlled Catalan TV show? Classes of Flamenco dancing and paella cooking, appearances by the king and queen and princesses in banquets and horse races, speeches by the brilliantly eloquent Spanish PM? What will the news report? Will the pro-independence media and organizations be closed or censored? There are now proposals to outlaw parties that propose independence and to create a gov’t agency to control what is said in Catalan schools. I should work fine.

        2. Ruben

          In related news, the President of the Basques has sided clearly with the Catalan gov’t (the Generalitat) by saying the decision in Madrid was “extreme and disproportionate” that it “blow the bridges” and that “the Generalitat counts with our [Basque gov’t] support in the search of a constructive future”. This may open up a new front.

          1. ambrit

            Ooooohhh!!! A very nasty divorce coming up! It gives new meaning to the “Three Way,” which is how I view Americas’ ‘Third Way’ movement. (Bill Clintons’ attempt to put a Seal of Approval on his philandering ways.)

              1. ambrit

                And lest we forget; good ol boys like ‘Four On The Floor’ as well. (Clinton was a good ol boy before it was cool!)

                    1. Richard

                      But it has to be a double entendre thing too, doesn’t it? I think we were riffing on the Clinton angle?
                      I couldn’t think of any Fives like that.

                    2. ambrit

                      True. There are points where ‘riffs’ on puns, both semantic and linguistic lose their ‘legitimacy.’ ‘Authenticity?’ ‘Humour quotient?’

              2. polecat

                ‘Third Way’ … as in ‘Triangulation’ ?? … uhmm

                “Clang, clang, clang ! … Get yer grub(by) war’derves while they’re Hot !

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


              “If we weren’t already married to each other, would you choose me again?”

              Apparently, it’s a healthy question to ask, all the time, to keep the relationship going*.

              So, in 1860, someone wanted a no-fault divorce.

              And the other partner said, I am parking my tank in your half of the house.

              And today, California is thinking no-fault, communal property, joint custody divorce.

              “We will get our share of the atomic bombs, and drones.”

              *I got that from watching many Hollywood romance movies.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                “But we’re not leaving you to marry China or Russia. We choose to marry our narcissistic self in declaring secession from the US and our independence.”

                I imagine that’s how it will read.

                *Many men arrogantly assume that there is, has to be, another man.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  How about every year, each state of the union renews its marriage vows?

                  “Sorry, I want out. You nag too much or you ignore me or take me for granted.”

  16. Jim Haygood

    Courtesy of BofA Merrill Lynch, here is a handy birds-eye-view bubble chart for those watching at home:

    Beginning in the late 1970s, it shows the gold bubble of 1980 and the Nikkei bubble of 1989. Then it shifts to contemporary blowouts: the internet bubble of 1999 and the housing bubble of 2006.

    Curiously, it includes a couple of recent episodes which really don’t meet the standard for having achieved mass participation: the huge runup in Biotech into 2015, and the ongoing pop in the obscure Dow Jones eCommerce index (41 stocks which derive over half their sales from the internet).

    But there’s one glaring omission: the notorious Bitcoin. From its 2010 price of 29 cents, BTC has surpassed $6,000 for a gain of over 20,000 times (or over two million percent). BTC’s epic moonshot blows the top so far off the chart that — scaled for BTC — it would leave the others flatlined on the X-axis.

    Dow 25K for Christmas! :-)

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m proud to introduce rabbit coin, which is expected to multiply faster than all other cryptocurrencies in a troubles with tribits fashion.

      …and each coin comes with a virtual hutch

        1. Wukchumni

          But wait, there’s more!

          The first 5,000 that buy rabbit coin gets the version that can tell if you’re expecting, er profits, that is.

          1. ambrit

            Wait. Isn’t that the good old ‘bait and switch?’ If your ‘rabbit’ is expecting, profits, it dies!
            Something wrong with this picture.

            1. Wukchumni

              Perhaps you’re thinking of next week’s introduction of rabid coin, and if you act in the next 60 seconds, I can give you a 2 for 1 deal if you buy equal amounts of the best thing since sliced bread!

              …operators are standing by

              Call Now

  17. Carolinian

    Re Counterpunch, Hillary, Assange. Barbra Streisand was the most recent interviewee on Alec Baldwin’s WNYC podcast and she spends a fair chunk of it complaining about the treatment of “nice” Hillary, her friend–speculating that since Russia stole the election for Trump a do-over is entirely justified. She also says that G.H.W. Bush and Barbara came to a recent Houston concert of hers and that they were really “nice.”

    The willed ignorance of our current elites about what really goes on behind the curtain of all that nice-ness is quite astonishing. They see what they want to see and if reality doesn’t comport they just make it up. The current mass delusion that seems to have gripped the media and some of the academic world is a perfect example of how things like pre WW2 Germany can happen. It seems with sufficient social support people are capable of thinking themselves into almost any extreme ideology or position. Quite likely that Adolf at home with Eva and his dog was also “nice.”

    At any rate great Pilger piece and this one from Counterpunch is good too.

    Mike Whitney suggests that Brennan is at the center of the Russia-gate spider web and the motive was his need for vengeance after Putin disrupted the planned dismantlement of Syria.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Interesting read, thanks. Also recall the audio leaked of Sy Hersh talking about the Seth Rich case (to be clear, he seemed to think the murder was unconnected, but he did seem to think that Rich was the DNC leaker). One of the remarks he made was “I think this is a Brennan operation” regarding the Russian hacking story. I haven’t seen him publish an article detailing what he’s found in his research, but I hope some institution finds the courage to publish it when he’s ready to do so.

      Courage has been lacking recently with Hersh marooned out to that German magazine when LRB got cold feet.

      1. Arizona Slim

        FWIW, Roger Stone is also on record as saying that Seth Rich was the DNC leaker. Source: Stone’s recent book, The Making of the President 2016.

    2. jrs

      she’s a singer and not a political analyst, how rational is it even to expect great political analysis out of our entertainers? At most a few might make good political based entertainment (a protest song, and anti-war movie etc.) and that’s at most. And of course class wise neither are these rich people’s concerns going to align with most people’s concerns.

      1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

        I know of one middle range British celebrity who lost a substantial sum when Lehman’s collapsed – perhaps this is a factor in turning a blind eye & maintaining the (banks ) status quo….oh & parties etc.

      2. Andrew Watts

        she’s a singer and not a political analyst, how rational is it even to expect great political analysis out of our entertainers?

        How else are we going to get our informed political opinions?

        I’m kidding!

    3. GlennF

      A great new read from Alex Krainer – “The Killing of William Browder-Deconstructing Bill Browder’s Dangerous Deceptions” explains through the debunking of Browder’s “Red Notice” how the USA and the west attempted to destroy Russia after the fall of the USSR during the late 80’s through the 90’s. This is a history that hasn’t been explained in any detail in a readable presentation for the general population. As Krainer explains, if it wasn’t for Putin’s appointment by Boris Yelstin to be his successor, Russia may well have been destroyed. I think a lot of what is going on with the Russia bashing today goes back to the failure of the neocon/libs to get Russia under its control. They are still very vengeful, never forget and hate to loose.

      1. Mark P.

        You’re just realizing this?

        Something else that’s obvious is that a sizable number of elite sociopaths learned from the USSR’s fall how to manipulate and profit from the demolition of an empire, and have been applying the same strategies in the US. You can start by looking up Larry Summers’s friends if you want to learn more.

    4. VietnamVet

      Clearly John Brennan, Joe Biden and Barrack Obama expected Russia to fold after the Syrian intervention and the Ukraine Coup. Instead, Russia is on the point of opening up a landline between Lebanon and Iran. This, not the $100,000 of unseen Facebook ads, is the cause of Russiagate. The Media Moguls in the Israel – Saudi Axis are beating the war drums. The Cold War restarted. The Great Game is back on.

      Donald Trump is a NY outsider. Other oligarchs hate him. To survive the President surrounded himself with generals who accepted to save their military pensions and future corporate jobs. The President is waving the bright shiny object, North Korea, instead of the real threat to the hegemon, the Russia/China alliance. The President has one weapon, his base and alt-right propaganda. Unfortunately, it relies on the hatred of others and ignores reality. All that President Trump will do is speed up the splintering apart of the Atlantic Alliance. Today, waking up, without a nuclear war, is a good day.

    5. KTN

      Well, Brennan (along with Clapper) is the disinfo guy par excellence, er, he just doesn’t happen to be very good at it. And of course he’s a player, those two cooked up the original national intelligence assessment, the one with three, not 16 as was so often trumpeted, agencies signing off. Hersh has covered these things to death in conversation if not print; check the archive for his inaugural podcast with the Intercept.

      This fresh contribution maintains that it was ‘merely’ the Clintons’ desire to take a turn as American oligarchs (à la Russe, of course), coupled with their venality and Obama’s and Holder’s tolerance for corruption that managed to turn a rapprochement with Russia into a new Cold War, all while fumbling away the presidency to Mr. Trump in the process. Hats off. The author, in his charity, manages to suggest that there was almost as much incompetence involved as criminality.

  18. Louis

    Between low-wages, the increasingly common use of just-in-time scheduling, and the continual expectation of doing more with less, it should come as no surprise that retail is having trouble hiring.

    Will retailers realize that supply and demand works both ways and subsequently decide to raises wages or will they persist in the belief that supply and demand only applies when it favors them and rationalize trouble finding employees as the result of people being too lazy to work?

    1. ambrit

      From my admittedly limited experience, the mid and upper echelons of management now look no further than their own personal self interest: stock options, share price, production bonuses, cost ‘containment’ metrics, etc. etc.
      The present climate of business management fits the definitions of “criminogenic” and “kleptocracy.”

    2. Wukchumni

      Work cuts out nice screen, as they frown on you peering into your rectangular prism when you’re doing time.

      1. Richard

        That is like my favorite saying anywhere. It’s so versatile; we can apply it all over the place in contemporary life! Hey, hold on a minute…..

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They will just dream of electric robots working in every retail shop.

      And if some robots should be lazy, harder working robots will be designed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Most prophalactics are one use (recommended) and not recycled, plastic or otherwise.

      Chastity belts, on the other hand, are reusable. But that’s not even an option. Too medieval…too dark.

  19. dcblogger

    Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth

    The leaked emails of Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, revealed a direct connection between Clinton and the foundation and funding of organized jihadism in the Middle East and Islamic State (known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh). The ultimate source of most Islamic terrorism, Saudi Arabia, was central to her career.

    One email, in 2014, sent by Clinton to Podesta soon after she stepped down as U.S. Secretary of State, discloses that Islamic State is funded by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Clinton accepted huge donations from both governments for the Clinton Foundation.

    As Secretary of State, she approved the world’s biggest ever arms sale to her benefactors in Saudi Arabia, worth more than $80 billion. Thanks to her, U.S. arms sales to the world – for use in stricken countries like Yemen – doubled.

    This was revealed by WikiLeaks and published by The New York Times. No one doubts the emails are authentic. The subsequent campaign to smear WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, as “agents of Russia,” has grown into a spectacular fantasy known as “Russiagate.” The “plot” is said to have been signed off on by Vladimir Putin himself. There is not a shred of public evidence.

    1. Olga

      This forced hysteria (first, in the run up to Iraq war and now against Russia) – seeing it first-hand – helps explain how “cultured and civilized” Germans were persuaded to attack the rest of Europe and USSR. A lie thousand times repeated…

      1. JTee

        I thought the same thing during the run up to the Iraq war. People always wondered, “how could the Germans have let that happen?”. It was kind of a thrill for me to get the answer to that question: what happened in Germany was not unfathomable at all, and could (be encouraged to) happen to any people anywhere, any time.

        A repeat with the current propaganda war against Russia became apparent to me the morning after the Malaysian plane was downed over Ukraine. Seemingly within hours all, and I do mean all, major media in the West were simultaneously bleating about Putin’s bone-chilling crime. I checked British, Dutch and German MSM. The similarities among the headlines left me without a doubt that a serious concerted effort to demonize Russia in general, and Putin in particular was afoot, but not for the reasons stated. Of course, that effort continues to this day.

  20. Wukchumni

    Any hot spring soakers among us?

    I’m quite the fan of seeking out natural hot springs, and have a wealth of them within a day or 2 drive to choose from. And i’ll take em’ any which way, be it a commercial hot springs that charges you for the privilege or having to walk 35 miles to one, or kayaking on the Colorado river to slot canyons where the creeks flowing down are 100 degrees, and lead you up to a labyrinth of hot springs, some too hot to go into, others just right. I hate to play favorites, but Saline hot springs is the bomb, well it’s perfect. You have to drive 52 miles on a dirt & crushed lava road to get there-which gets rid of the casual touron going, and once there in the confines of Death Valley NP, are about 6 communal tubs full of interesting mostly nekkid people with palm trees swaying to & fro, with the airshow up above sometimes dropping as low as 300 feet above you. Last time we were there, we had 21 ‘passes’ like this in a 3 day stanza of soaking…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Murrieta hot springs in Riverside county is the local one here in Socal.

      The food is, again (recalling the one for a new mother) not as good as one would find in a Japanese onsen.

    2. Laughingsong

      Although I’ve been to a couple of these in the past, it’s been long enough to say I don’t know what they’re like now. Touron alert: many are fairly easy to get to. I did enjoy my visits, especially if there was a light snowfall:

      I don’t know if you were looking to travel, but I thought I’d post it just in case.

  21. Craig H.

    200,000 protest jailing of Catalonian nationalist leaders in Barcelona

    If anybody has a favorite photo I would be very interested in seeing it. As near as I can see the focus of the marches is in narrow streets in downtown Barcelona and there is no way you can fit more than a few hundred into one picture. A couple weeks ago the big news outlets were using thousands and a couple of websites that I was unfamiliar with ( was one that I recall and I don’t know anything about their reporters or reputation) were using 100 000.

    I have no idea what the mass of ordinary Catalonian Spanish citizens there think about the situation.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    America, Desperately Seeking An Enemy by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

    Something basic to all humans, I think…dating to before light-and-darkness, heaven-hell…the good guys and bad guys in various mythologies .

    So, when we first looked into space, stories of UFOs began to appear.

    And after rich humans have colonized Mars, there will be local monster stories there too.

  23. dcblogger

    Judge Calls NYPD’s Handling Of Precarious Civil Forfeiture Database ‘Insane’
    The lawsuit cites a 2014 Gothamist report on civil forfeiture, which details New Yorkers’ failed attempts to recover property:

    In the middle of the night in March of 2012, NYPD officers burst into the Bronx home of Gerald Bryan, ransacking his belongings, tearing out light fixtures, punching through walls, and confiscating $4,800 in cash. Bryan, 42, was taken into custody on suspected felony drug distribution, as the police continued their warrantless search. Over a year later, Bryan’s case was dropped. When he went to retrieve his $4,800, he was told it was too late: the money had been deposited into the NYPD’s pension fund.

  24. Meher Baba

    Hi Yves, sorry you feel depleted. Whats an oral surgeon- do you mean dentist? Did they put mercury amalgam fillings in your mouth?
    Look into biological dentistry, even if I’m wrong in my line of enquiry its still an essential subject. Dentists whom promote safe practices not limited to, using non toxic materials. If you have mercury amalgams already, they need to be (safely) removed. Ones energy and vitality will soar. Make sure they have accreditaton and are members of appropriate biological dentistry societies etc

  25. Annotherone

    Re “Hillary Channels Nora Desmond” (super section heading by the way!) Her Clintonship appeared on the Graham Norton show in the UK this (or last) week and had ’em feeding out of her hand, if a Twitter thread I saw yesterday is to be believed. There are current pieces in UK rags about her appearance with Graham Norton. Graham Norton’s show is famously lightweight, fun and a tad naughty at times (or used to be, back in the day). Mercifully we don’t have access to BBC America, so will be spared the spectacle of Her in “nice” mode.

    PS: I hope you feel better soon Yves. Spoil yourself – it helps!

    1. Ned

      As her hagship descends the stairs she utters the famous line:

      “I’m ready for my closeup Mister Perez!”

  26. joecostello

    “What are we doing here?”

    Sort of amusing that an article lamenting loss of humanities and particularly history leaves out any mention of Romans/Greeks and mystically asserts the beginning of “the humanist movement” at 1500.

    But then the real destructor of humanism wasn’t just the economists and capitalism, but the great cultural revolution of the 60s and its burial of old dead white men.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Old dead white men.

      One finds teachers in every culture, anywhere one goes in the world.

      And so, as well, one can find old dead men and old dead women all over.

      Sophisticated angels-on-a-hairpin arguments, though, are rarer. Though it would not be surprising if someday, someone says “Our people can not be, and could not have been, freed by a white man in the White House. We free, and have to free, ourselves. And the struggle continues, until we are the ones doing the emancipating, the real emancipating.”

      Actually, it’s very human to say, We can do it ourselves.

    2. nihil obstet

      I probably shouldn’t comment because I gave up reading fairly early in the article; it had already become clear that Robinson didn’t know much about the development of universities, yet regarded inclusion in the university curriculum as crucial for the status of a field of interest or endeavor. The stance of “I look at what I see around me right now and express my feelings about it” is kind of a bad joke about stereotyping the humanities. I have to admit, she is up front about “This is a good gig for me.”

  27. Wukchumni

    Wells Fargo Fires Four Foreign-Exchange Bankers as Woes Spread to Investment Bank Wall Street Journal.

    Orwells Fargo is like a rotten onion, and no matter how many layers you remove, the next one reeks even more.

  28. PQS

    Re nursing homes prowling hospital corridors
    Perhaps this is a state regulated activity? Have not seen it here on the west coast and went through a placement for my mother last year in California. Also I work closely with nursing homes doing construction and am unaware of this policy and have not heard of it. Nursing homes do try to get onto hospital referrral lists but it is left to the family to do their own field research. Family in Arizona also recently placed grandma for a short stay and weren’t solicited to my knowledge.

  29. Wukchumni

    Can’t get it up anymore…?

    Ask your financial doctor if Buyagra* is right for you!
    Is the Fed Getting Cold Feet about the QE Unwind? Wolf Richter

    *Symptoms simply too numerous to list

  30. John k

    Fatigue and oral surgery likely connected. Possibly dangerous. Take a week off, plenty of rest, no exercise, check temp could be infection. Drink lots of water. Suggest gargle with prescription solution.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The surgeon removed all the abscess (eew). I’m already on antibiotics. Clindamycin, which I’ve taken a zillion times and tolerate well (yes, I know, antibiotics, but sometimes it’s a lot better idea to take them than not). And yes, I take tons of probiotics.

    1. ambrit

      Well, around here, camos are de rigueur.
      The prevalence of military clothing on the street could be an indicator for local impoverishment. The strivers are signing up to get the H— out of Dodge, or Flint, or Bakersfield, or where ever.

      1. Wukchumni

        Bakersfield is a sneaky rich town-but only for the chosen few in the oil biz in town, oil drilling is mostly to the east. Places around Taft & Maricopa might have you thinking you’re in Saudi Arabia, so many oil wells.

        It’s like Fresno, but with more charm and less meth

        It was rescued from other similarities to it’s neighbor to the north by the Bakersfield Sound, epitomized by who else but ‘Buck’ Owens

        1. audrey jr

          My dad worked for Buck Owens for years. Buck owned a radio station in Phoenix, AZ which my dad ran for him. Buck used to leave his little yellow corvette in town with my dad when he was on tour in the ’60’s and it was fun to be driven around in that gas guzzler as a kid.
          Buck was the public face of the Bakersfield ‘power people,’ but, believe you me, it was his formidable sister, Dorothy, who ran that show.


  31. Brian

    sorry if this is a double post, but the site didn’t accept it first time

    We must cut through the crap before we can wade into the mire. The rights of people, both real and imagined, are transitory. EU has the ability to talk a great game, imagining gloriuos outcomes without exposing their creation to sunlight or conversation. Pomp and adhesion to loyalty benefits only the institution that guarantees your experience to be less than what was guaranteed. I was introduced to the oddities of western Europe when 12, as we crossed border after border and found different worlds around every corner. There is no agreed way of life, and there is not today. Instead, and outside force has compressed it into a mold that has exceeded its shelf life, and now must achieve total control over all the peoples to keep them from arguing, guaranteeing the argument to fester.
    The history of this melting pot never changed, and the fires of self identity are burning and seeking fuel that will end such an experiment. Notice it is the victims of the past that are most concerned today. No one will forget the crimes of the nazi’s, and no one is going to give in when their heirs go too far to control their lives again, with the terrifying exception of those that admired their works past. When we ask ourselves what about Greece then and today, do we ignore the facts? Why Belgium as the headquarters when it is a divided state
    Those nation-states that today want to be one with each other, were happy to have been conquered or controlled by the master in 1939. Spain was always a nation without democracy, as is apparent today. Belgium is a forced alliance of people that would vote to end the nation if given a chance. The Balkans likely thought that their lot would improve after the USSR ended.
    The UK said no more, and is being punished so that no other might consider such an option. The EU is now terrified that their separate and unequal states will choose self determination and will use all means of control to prevent it. Add in mass immigration of new cultures forced upon the nation and city states that are seething from this type of control already, and you have the pot full and the flame on high.
    Now we have seen that democracy is the all encompasing totem to bring them and bind them in whgat is clearly becoming a totalitarian state that makes demands that push it over the edge. Add to that the external forces that favor the one ring be in the hands of the loser of our last world war.

    The people are speaking. And those treated the worst are reminding us of how it all began before. Good luck with that. There are no guarantees.

    1. clinical wasteman

      you can walk around the corner of a city block in London, Montreal, Istanbul, Baltimore, Sydney or even Suva (Fiji) and see genuinely ‘different worlds’; then if you live in one for a while you’ll start to see the ‘different worlds’ within it. It just doesn’t follow that each of these ‘worlds’ can or should be set up with ‘its own’ post-Versailles treaty (or post-USSR)-type ethnostatelet. Even if that were possible, it would only repeat in microcosm the ‘problem’ you see in the largest ‘supranational’ entities. Subjective national sentiment is one of many kinds of strong social group identification that fluctuate and overlap even within single individuals. In other words a terrible basis for a political/administrative unit. It’s easy to see why hundreds of millions of people in subordinate regions of empires wanted national states instead, and likewise easy to see how they came to be disappointed so fast, not by the (notional) disappearance of the empire, but by finding themselves living in its bonsai reproduction. Basil Davidson’s history of modern Africa (sorry, I forget the title & don’t have it in front of me, something like ‘Africa In History’) spells this out quite well.

  32. Wukchumni

    A Cub Scout pressed a lawmaker about gun control. Then his den kicked him out, his mother said. Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

    We slit our risks of anybody talking about our cylinderella story, by turning cub scouts into mum scouts now, nice.

  33. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Are Your Wages [fees] So Low? Democrats And Republicans Don’t Know, But Marxism Does BuzzFeed (Dr. Kevin)

    In a far away land of Leninism-Marxism and Maoism, the wages are also, or even, lower.

    Is it a case of false advertising? Or falsified data?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That far away land is China, nominally Leninist/Marxist/Maoist, who knows the competitiveness of low wages (see Japan Inc).

  34. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ACLU slams Houston suburb for withholding hurricane relief to anyone boycotting Israel Haaretz (Dr. Kevin)

    Why pick on a little guy?

    Here is congress (from UK’s Independence paper): A bill that would criminalise boycotts against Israel has been signed by 45 US senators and 237 congressman.

    Actually, there are 51 sponsors in the Senate now.

    “What hurricane relief? You’re lucky you’re not in jail.”

    1. Daryl

      I’m surprised that they thought this would go over well, but also surprised they chose Israel as the hill to die on. I would have expected some vague “belief in a higher power” stipulation from a suburban Texas city. Guess someone on the city council must be a fan.

    2. polecat

      And just how many of these fine .. uh .. upstanding ‘representatives’ of the people ( which ones??) Have dual U. S./Israeli ciitizenship??

      There really needs to be a contitutional amendment stipulating that NO ONE who is a U.S. Government EMPLOYEE, including the House of Representatives AND the Senate, hold duel citizenship, of ANY kind, from ANY foreign country, while in office, as a way of breaking what obviously a dangerous usurpation to the sovereignty of this country !!
      That and concrete term limits would eliminate a lot of greed and foul chicanery that currently be falls us !

  35. George Phillies


    How did these rather inconspicuous people first find out what story the reporter was working on? There appears to be a gap in the coverage here.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      I simply accepted it as a sloppy reveal of who is really behind PropOrNot and its unidentified “former intelligence analysts.” After all, now that they’ve convinced the majority of people in the country the Russians are in the process of taking over, they don’t need to be quite as diplomatic as when they were just getting started.

      Oh, and the World Socialist Web Site’s Google traffic is down by 92%, and when they did a Google search for both the site and one of their stories—by complete title—they got a no-result.

      1. ambrit

        I guess that it’s back to samizdat for us.
        Since hand printed paper copies of anything are a “lost art,” expect soon for the ‘Powers’ to mandate a back door in every computer printer that connects to the “Office of Thought Regularization.” “This statute is being promulgated to protect Americans from the pernicious effects of ‘fake news’ of any sort, in any medium,” said OTRs’ spokesperson, Meritricia Bunkum.

  36. s.n.

    a good summary of the story to date:

    The Obama Administration’s Uranium One Scandal

    “…The Justice Department instructs prosecutors that when Congress has given a federal offense its own conspiracy provision with a heightened punishment (as it has for money laundering, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and other serious crimes), they may not charge a section 371 conspiracy. Section 371 is for less serious conspiracy cases. Using it for money laundering — which caps the sentence way below Congress’s intent for that behavior — subverts federal law and signals to the court that the prosecutor does not regard the offense as major.

    Yet, that is exactly what Rosenstein’s office did, in a plea agreement his prosecutors co-signed with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Fraud Section. (See in the Hill’s report, the third document embedded at the bottom, titled “Mikerin Plea Deal.”) No RICO, no extortion, no fraud — and the plea agreement is careful not to mention any of the extortions in 2009 and 2010, before CFIUS approved Rosatom’s acquisition of U.S. uranium stock. Mikerin just had to plead guilty to a nominal “money laundering” conspiracy charge. This insulated him from a real money-laundering sentence. Thus, he got a term of just four years’ incarceration for a major national-security crime — which, of course, is why he took the plea deal and waived his right to appeal, sparing the Obama administration a full public airing of the facts…”

    more of the same at:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did we luck into this story, or is what we are looking at, this critical examination of the previous administration, simply a routine job for the press?

  37. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Body Cam Study Shows No Effect On Police Use Of Force Or Citizen Complaints NPR

    I wonder if bullet-proof, non-violence robot cops are the answer here.

    Just walk up to the bad guy and give him a big hug (and together, get into a self-driving steel wagon and head back to the station).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        True, but a hug is less lethal (hopefully – depending on the skills of the compassionate, or not, robot designer, I suppose) than a bullet.

  38. Richard

    Okay, if you live in the state of Washington, or even if you don’t but want to try it out, try this: try to contact Maria Cantwell. And then reflect on just how much she cares.

  39. willf

    Body Cam Study Shows No Effect On Police Use Of Force Or Citizen Complaints NPR

    This piece reminds one of the articles found in publications like Slate, where opinions backing the status quo are presented as contrarian.

    We have one study, with one police department, conducted by the city, with help from some think tank called The Lab@DC, which is financed by something called the Laura and John Arnold Foundation — John Arnold being a hedge-fund manager who has given lots of money to charter school grifters over the years.

    The idea that the body cams are useless is reified by a pithy quote from someone named Harlan You, who works for a p.r. shop called Upturn, which pretends to be a think tank, until you get to their “values” section, where you read this:

    Empathy: We’re experts without the attitude. We adopt our clients’ perspectives and focus on their goals.

    A list of clients whose perspectives have been adopted in the past includes the World Bank.

    The results of this study should be taken with a grain of salt

    1. Daryl

      Also, even if both the assertions in the title are true, the body camera footage can still serve as evidence in crimes, both those the police encounter and the ones they commit.

  40. George Phillies

    “…but Marxism does…” One might instead suggest that high unemployment means low pressure on wages. High unemployment is in the process of ending. Some would suggest that the Federal Reserve Bank consistently wages class warfare against workers, and should be abolished – some Libertarians advocate this outcome though not all for the same reason.

    Also, ‘rate of exploitation’ appears to be giving the phenomenon a name, which is not the same as giving it an explanation.

    1. KTN

      Indeed labeling has no explanatory value. One wishes this point were better understood every time the media gets hold of a new term; the phenomenon of ‘explanatory labeling’ that in fact explains nothing is unfortunately a rampant pandemic in the sciences (e.g., ‘dark matter’) as well.

      On the other hand, it’s clear that the ‘formula’ higher productivity=higher wages has fallen flat on its face and means zilch in an economy lacking any sort of human(e) values, true patriotism, or sense of responsibility – you know, the things they beat out of you in business school. Its explanatory value is 0.

      The ‘rate of exploitation’ though manages to be descriptive where ‘skills gap’ and broken ‘formulae’ do not, since all that is happening here is that labor is being more profitably – for corporations – employed, used, or, dare one say, exploited.

      Postscript: Isn’t this going on the ninth year in which ‘High unemployment is in the process of ending’? Maybe there’s a ‘learning gap’ in the economics departments…

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but, these pronouncements are being disseminated by The Office of Thought Regularization. It’s more a subject for Political Economics.

        1. KTN

          The cryptic compression of the remark leaves one scratching one’s head; this commenter has only a loose affiliation with the ROTR – the Reformed branch.

          But more seriously. Surely the ‘rate of exploitation’ is the beginning of a politco-economic approach, whereas broken ‘formulae’ that fail to reflect even the present state of affairs cannot claim, in any seriousness, to be an approach to reality. After all, one does not use the Pythagorean theorem to obtain the area of a square.

          1. ambrit

            Sorry about the Cryptosis. Not only does one not use the Pythagorean theorem to figure out the area of the square, but one does not use any mathematical theorem to figure out the best uses of a square. It is a matter of definition. There we are in agreement. We also agree, I believe, that “management” has willfully ignored “general reality,” or reality as experienced by the entire range of the population. While “the rate of exploitation” does open up the field to consideration of the socio-political aspects of economics, such a development is at odds with the underlying rationale of mathematical economics, to wit, the elimination of ‘chance’ and associated unquantifiable factors. Your Pythagorean Theorem remark is on the mark.

  41. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Japan Inc.

    Two overarching factors seem to be pushing the nation’s manufacturers to cross the line. First, Japanese companies face unrelenting pressure from upstart Chinese rivals. Second, a whistleblower protection law passed in Japan in 2006 has increased the odds of wrongdoing coming to light—and the digitization of records and internal conversations has made it easier for incriminating data to be passed along to regulators or authorities.

    It’s not a universal law, but here, it’s price over quality.

    Here, meaning, under the current paradigm, the status quo system.

    As for the second factor, I thought product quality would have exposed these problems. “Why is this Kobe steel performing no better than the Chinese steel used in the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge?”

  42. Chris

    Thought I’d leave this here – more confirmation of the shocking trajectory we are all on. This was about mall shopping, but an embedded video shows how the chinese govt are going all in and have a face pic for every adult in the country, and probably yours too –

    And, glasses, a hat and fake mustache won’t cut it anymore….

    And, why does the camera light on my android phone keep flashing.

    (re-wraps head in alfoil)

    1. polecat

      Time to purchase some units of latex and silicon … and learn to self-apply some serious Special F X ….
      No doubt there’s probably scores of internet ‘how to’ tutorials !

      1. polecat

        Uh …. that’s silicone …
        The silicon is for the solar cells to be applied to those humoungus Ferengi styled prostetic ears, thus powering the faux voice modulator.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      You need a fake nose. And a fake beard that makes your face look longer or otherwise changes your apparent jawline.

      For women it’s easier. We can go in drag. The fake beard is a no brainer for us. Wig could help too.

      1. Chris

        Thanks Mark, Polecat, Ambrit and Yves. Am laughing, but it’s still not a nice trajectory we are on. Privacy is something of the past. Don’t like it when the state knows where you are and what you’re doing 24/7

  43. JerryDenim

    Buzzfeed article, Low Wages, Marx Knows:

    Yeah Marx knows but does the author? This article exhibits a curious reluctance to name names for a piece that purports to have answers to a puzzling phenomenon. The article seems to leave readers with the impression that wages just aren’t rising because CEO’s are greedy jerks, but it doesn’t really bother to explain exactly what’s different in 2017 from the 1950’s. Is this due to Trump’s faux-populism making any type of critique of globalism, free trade and mass immigration (excess labor) unpalatable, or is Malcom Harris simply aiding and abetting the shareholder class by muddying the waters and avoiding identitfying the real causes of wage stagnation? I couldn’t tell but aside from some charts confirming what everybody already knows (wages are stagnant) the piece was devoid of a clear diagnosis or policy prescriptions.

  44. Elizabeth Burton

    Dickinson’s mayor is only complying with state law, which our corporate owned state government passed with great enthusiasm. “Israel is our pard,” drawled the ever-popular Gov. Greg Abbott as he signed away some more of our civil rights. “Nobody oughta be talkin’ mean about our pard.”

  45. Oregoncharles

    “200,000 protest jailing of Catalonian nationalist leaders in Barcelona WSWS. From a couple of days ago, not widely reported. ”

    I just saw a livestream showing the same thing; a “demonstration” that completely filled the streets for as far as the camera could see. That would be the key to non-violent resistance to a central government takeover: crowds that simply stop movement, keeping the Guardia in their barracks and shielding government officals. Incidentally, that shuts down about 20% of Spain’s economy.

    The big question then is how long they can keep it up, and how the government responds.

    An escalation would be disabling national police vehicles and blockading the ships many of them are staying on. I have no idea what the Catalonians plan; we shall see.

    The livestream:

      1. Oregoncharles


        “Catalan separatists prepare for war of attrition against Madrid”

        The latest headline on GNews.

    1. clinical wasteman

      Delighted for friends & whanau in Aotearoa that you (pl.) got rid of the KeyEnglish* MerrillLynchmob.
      Honestly hope your (implicit & tentative) optimism, Aotearoan, will be proved right and my instinctive shudder at the thought of W*nston P*ters in the same room as immigration policymaking (combined with recent memory of the foul quadripartisan treatment of Metiria Turei) will turn out to be irrelevant.
      Scott/Sikoti Hamilton, author of the wonderful <>, expresses a similar guarded pessimism/willingness to be proved wrong. SH, among others, has noted the relatively poor performance of Labour in West & South Auckland, which ex-Labour MP Chris Carter attributes squarely here <> to “failure to connect with ‘ethnic voters'”. Carter emphasises “Chinese, Indian & Korean” communities — rightly in that it can’t be repeated often enough that Asian immigration and cross-border real-estate speculation are NOT the same thing — but perhaps he should have added that Pasifkans also hear anti-immigrant bilge when politicians spout it, and have good reason to worry about being — sorry, continuing to be, as ever since Muldoon’s dawn raids — the slated scapegoats.
      And Pasifikan votes are not pledged in perpetuity to Labour, contrary to stereotypes of inordinate power held by Community patriarchs.
      Apologies to NC readers for whom all this reads as a blur of microlocal detail. There is a broader point here, namely: a (relative) metropolis like Auckland, London, Mumbai, Mexico City or NYC is never just a nest of yuppies, however “vibrant” the gentrification may be. An urban — and within that, an urban “foreign”/”immigrant”/”of-colour” — working class exists (with or without actual paid work) in almost every city, with potentially corresponding political power.

      *”Bill English” is a combination of words almost as heavily freighted with ugliness as “Imperial War Museum” (thanks Hari K for pointing out the latter in yr book a few years back), to the point that I almost
      feel sorry for him for having to live with it. No such pity for Key, as The Fall proclaimed precociously/unwittingly 38 years ago with the mighty “No Xmas for John Keys“:

  46. dbk

    Re: nursing homes (Central Illinois Rust-Belt)

    When my father was admitted for the last time to hospital (at 106, with nothing actually physically wrong apart from the fact that his systems were slowly shutting down naturally), they gave us a couple hours’ notice he was being released, and my 98-year-old mother and I (an ex-pat for 40 years) had to take a decision in less than an hour about where dad would go. The hospital had reps in the wing and one appeared in zero time, basically to flog homes the hospital was allied with.

    We chose one; it wasn’t very good, but it was clean, more or less.

    Cost: $8500 a month + $4000 for private caregivers (2 shifts) because my mom and I couldn’t bear the lack of care/interest on part of staff. Both of us were totally distraught during the four months he lived after admission.

    One of the worst experiences of my life. “Scandal” is too polite a term.

    Best anecdote: I accidentally came upon one of the administrators making my mom sign all the paperwork the first week. She was about to sign the “arbitration agreement” when I walked into the room and asked what it was.
    The administrator explained and I said, “Um, I think I’ll request advice from my son, who’s an attorney in New York.”

    That was the end of the arbitration agreement.

    Humble advice to all: Don’t sign arbitration agreements; you’re signing away your rights to advocate on behalf of your parents.

    Terrible, awful.

  47. D

    People don’t imagine how evil the US Skilled Rehab/Nursing Home Industry is until they have to deal with those For Profits and many Non-Profits™.

    Isn’t there a saying that goes something like:

    How a society treats its elderly and [Disabled] children is indicative …

    I would add that a country whose JUSTICE $ystem/Indu$try refuses to provide EXPERIENCED legal assistance to those: who can not afford $400 dollars an hour; and those who are not currently employed is a country which should be condemned for its amorality:

    January 6, 2014, By Marshall Allen and Olga Pierce Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won’t Take Your Case – Studies show that nine of 10 patients seeking a medical malpractice attorney won’t find one — women, children and the elderly in particular.

    Ernie Ciccotelli was trying to do a good deed when he donated a kidney to his brother. But within days of the surgery, his incision was oozing green fluid and his guts were rotting.

    Ciccotelli said he was almost killed by an infection, and the follow-up surgeries and months of disability nearly ruined his fledgling legal practice. So he looked for a malpractice attorney who would help him file a case against the hospital.

    That’s when he ran into a problem faced by many who are harmed in a medical setting: Attorneys refuse their cases, not because the harm didn’t happen but because the potential economic damages are too low.

    It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of patients a year suffer some type of preventable injury or die while undergoing medical care. For many of these patients or surviving family, a lawsuit is the only hope to recover losses, learn the truth about what happened and ensure the problem is corrected.

    But lawyers may have to invest $50,000 or more to pursue a case, and they usually only get paid if they win or settle. The payout is determined largely by economic damages – lost earnings, medical bills and future costs caused by the injury. Those who don’t earn big paychecks – including children, the elderly and stay-at-home-moms – are the least likely to find an attorney, studies show.

    See also:

    January 9, 2014, By Marshall Allen and Olga Pierce Ten Patient Stories: When Attorneys Refused My Medical Malpractice Case – Dozens of readers responded to our post about Ernie Ciccotelli, who couldn’t get a lawyer to pursue his claim for damages from a life-threatening infection he acquired in the hospital.

    For those living in California (which has a rather UGLY history as to Skilled Rehab/Nursing Homes), this website might have some good information:

    1. sunny129

      Bad outcome as result of medical treatment is NOT automatically equated as ‘medical malpractice’ a common myth and perpetuated by frustrated patients and their families. It is a laborious and costly undertaking for the plaintiff attorneys, even there are ‘deep’ pockets in their sight!

      By studies, it is proven that many patients although well ‘qualified’ by legal standards fail to initiate malpractice suits. It is NOT a black and white issue.

  48. D


    For those living in California (which has a rather UGLY history as to Skilled Rehab/Nursing Homes), this website might have some good information:

    I should have added that: they actually provide a phone number, and actually answer their phones, or, they call you back; which used to happen in a somewhat saner world, after all, every adult has a phone, for emergency purposes.

    1. kareninca

      I have a neighbor who had her mom in a nursing home in Redwood City, CA. Her mom and most of the other residents had Alzheimer’s. The owners of the home decided that they could use the place for something more lucrative, and gave everyone 30 days notice to get out (totally illegal). No-one sued, as far as my friend can tell. They were too busy trying to find a new place.

      So, my friend put her mom in a nursing home in the East Bay. Then her mom had to go to the emergency room. When she was discharged from the emergency room, the nursing home wouldn’t take her back; I didn’t quite understand the excuse they claimed they had. She had nowhere to put her mom. So she took her home, to her condo; a small condo that already had four people in it; she and her husband and their two sons. This actually worked out; her mom lived for about six weeks, and died there in their living room (which was actually very hard on them). My friend and her husband have flexible hours, and hospice came in. But it only worked because of their flexible hours.

      The poor old folks’ place in Redwood City where she put her father (about seven years ago)(he died a while ago) is like a terrifying gigantic warren. Her dad nearly died of a neglected UTI there. One evening she went there and the “help me” alarm in his room was broken; she was frantic at that point; she called the cops. The cops came and they actually were’t annoyed at her (though they didn’t do anything); they were very nice; they said that they got neglect phone calls all the time from people whose parents were there.

    1. Expat

      As someone on ZeroHedge pointed out to me, “if they aren’t happy, those damn PR’s can leave America and go back to where they came from!”

  49. The Rev Kev

    Big or small cities: On city size and economic growth
    It is a pity that such a study couldn’t also go into the livability of a city as well as it’s main purpose of being a generator and processor of capital. A case point is Germany. When I was there years ago they had a few very large cities like Munich, Hamburg and Berlin and a very large number of smaller cities such as Freiburg, Bonn, Trier, etc. Coming from a country where the bulk of the population lives in only a handful of very large cities, this was an revelation. I took time exploring a lot of these smaller cities as well as those in other countries.
    In my own personal opinion and experience, I found that the best cities to live in were those that had a population of 100,00 to 250,000 people. On that scale you had museums, restaurants, etc that made living in a city enjoyable while it was small enough that you could meet neighbours and friends on the streets in your travels. Over 300,000 people and it started to get a ‘heavy’ feel to it but by 500,00 you had all the problems of a big city that could include slums. At smaller sizes, the city authorities could still get a good handle on managing it. This is just a personal opinion, mind you, and other people may enjoy living in mega cities.

  50. Expat

    re: Brexit
    Brexiteers lied to the voters. The UK would have all the advantages and none of the burdens of EU membership. They would recover more money than they even put in. Europe would come crawling on its knees begging the English to please, please not leave them.

    Early on the Continent made it clear that Britain was acting like a petulant child and that they were welcome to piss off (to use a good English expression) since they were ever only lukewarm Europeans on the best of days. The EU clearly stated from the beginning that outside the EU they would be just another 2nd world country (been to the UK? I mean outside of the City) with no privileges. Britain never had any negotiating chips other than the precedent of a country leaving the EU (again, they were never in the monetary union and too much America’s poodle to be Europeans).

    As things turn sour and reality bites deeper, the Brexiteers will seek to blame the EU when the the EU’s position has been clear and open since before the referendum. If Brexit sinks the City, as it seems it could do, then England sinks with it. Without the billions in money laundering flowing through the City, London property markets and the UK economy will collapse.

    Perhaps if the UK leaves, they will get around to fixing their dismal plumbing. LOL

  51. Meher Baba

    Yves a root canal is extremely toxic material ( the dead rotting tooth ) that is locked in place and sealed. Sounds like it could be leaking into your blood stream . ( i am not a doctor nor do i act as one on the internet :-)
    biological dentistry considers the root canal very dangerous. try some searches using words like biological dentistry treatment for leaking root canal, supplements for treating root canal. vitamin C in high doses, ( several grams) zinc, selenium and garlic are generally indicated. get researching and good luck. ( unless i have entirely missed the mark again haha oh well someone will benefit)

  52. Ignim Brites

    “Is the Fed Getting Cold Feet about the QE Unwind? ”

    The FED will never unwind QE so long as NYC real estate market is even slightly stressed. Wolf Richter should know that. But more seriously the FED should not even contemplate unwinding QE. Whatever damage was created by QE, all the ill conceived buildings, restaurants, startups, etc. will be unwound in the bankruptcy courts gradually in the absence of additional QE. FED unwinding will only accelerate and intensify the process and almost certainly cause a deep recession.

  53. D


    I hope your still checking this page, as I had logged off before you responded.

    I am so sorry about your friend’s experience, I’ve witnessed some of that California Skilled Rehab/Nursing Home neglect; in that instance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [UDHHS] finally sued, then settled for 4M in 2015 (their investigation started in 2012, regarding charges from 2007 to 2012). The UDHHS charges:

    … the defendants persistently overmedicated elderly and vulnerable residents of the nursing homes, causing infection, sepsis, malnutrition, dehydration, falls, fractures, pressure ulcers, and for some residents, premature death. ….

    Oddly (3 – 4 inches of documentation and charges were made to the FBI) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not contact at least one of those whistleblowers regarding the lawsuit and subsequent settlement (can’t help but wonder if any of them were informed and exactly where that settlement money ended up, if not to the victims who were robbed and abused?). In the particular patients case, they were supposed to be there for skilled rehab but it was quite clear that the intent was to reside the patient in the next door nursing home with a feeding tube and feed off of their Social Security until they died. Thankfully, in that case, the patient is still living in their own apartment but it was living hell, and a not insignificant chunk out of that patients pocket, getting them out of there.

    Notably, California took no action against the Nursing Home (which related chain of Nursing Homes has witnessed numerous patient and Advocate lawsuits). California has repeatedly been accused of allowing these abuses to happen. For instance:

    October 10, 2017 Lawsuit Takes on Nursing Facility Chain for Illegally Dumping Vulnerable Nursing Facility Residents into Hospitals

    Sacramento, CA – Eighty-two-year-old nursing facility resident Gloria Single filed an explosive lawsuit against Pioneer House nursing facility, RHF Foundation, and their corporate affiliates, charging that they illegally dumped her into a hospital, and are willfully violating a State order requiring that they allow her to return home. She is seeking an injunction so she can return to Pioneer House to be with her husband, who still lives there.

    Ms. Single is joined as a plaintiff by the public interest organization California Long Term Care Ombudsman Association (CLTCOA). According to the complaint, CLTCOA “has taken the extreme measure of bringing this case because nursing facilities, such as Pioneer House, routinely ignore State Readmission Orders because the State refuses to enforce them itself.”

    Pioneer House sent Ms. Single to a hospital, then refused to allow her to return home after the hospital medically cleared her to leave. In response, Ms. Single exercised her right to an administrative hearing before the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), where both sides submitted evidence and sworn testimony. After she prevailed at that hearing and DHCS ordered the facility to readmit Ms. Single, Pioneer House and RHF Foundation continued to refuse to readmit her.

    According to the complaint, California nursing facilities have been dumping Medi-Cal residents, such as Ms. Single, into hospitals and refusing to allow them to return in an effort to increase revenues and make space for more lucrative Medicare and private pay residents. “As a result, Ms. Single is spending what may be the last days of her life separated from her husband, who lives at Pioneer House. Each day this occurs, Defendants are imposing irreparable and cruel injury on Ms. Single and her family,” the complaint states.

    Under federal law, states must provide a “fair hearing” for nursing facility residents who claim that they have been illegally evicted. The suit alleges that because California has failed to enforce the readmission orders resulting from such hearings, facilities like Pioneer House see no downside in disobeying the orders. The Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed with the Court state that RHF Foundation and Pioneer House “claim to be part of a ‘faith-based’ organization, rooted in the ideals of the United Church of Christ. RHF’s website also claims that part of RHF’s “concern for the whole person includes residents, their families and staff and RHF strives to be fair in all relationships.”

    “This is a tragic situation,” said Plaintiffs’ counsel Matthew Borden of BraunHagey & Borden. “Everyone deserves to spend their last days with their loved ones. The worst part is that there’s no legal defense for this case. Ms. Single has an order from the California Department of Health Care Services requiring Defendants to allow her back home. They know what they’re doing is wrong.”

    “The problem is that no state agency will take responsibility for enforcing these orders,” said Kelly Bagby of AARP Foundation Litigation, who also represents Plaintiffs. “Resident dumping is a growing trend and serious danger to seniors in California. Until the State does something, our only recourse is going to be filing suits like this. Three years ago the federal government told California that it had to enforce these orders, and it has done nothing. The time has come for the State to protect its elderly citizens and stop this abusive practice.”

    1. kareninca

      hi D – so that explains what happened. Thank you for the info. You know, I hate California. I know poor people in Rhode Island and Connecticut (family friends) and it is not like that there, as far as I can tell. I am terrified at the thought of growing old in CA.

      The thing is, my friend’s mother was not on Medi-Cal. She was self-pay. So the nursing home did not have an immediate reason to dump her. But her money was starting to run low; she was down to about $80k. So I guess they were planning for the near future; getting rid of her when they had the chance. I presume they know to the penny what one’s remaining assets are. At least now I see that my friend would have been wasting her time by suing; she knew that instinctively. One thing is – who would want to live in a home that wants to dump you? God only knows what they would do to you if you managed to move back in.

  54. sunny129

    Yesterday, I responded to a comment re Aspirin and it’s health advantages. But the ‘whole discussion of that thread’ is missing within 24 hours!

    I have encountered similar ‘strange’ missing, or selective and arbitrary ‘moderator action’s in years I have been associated with NC. They were ALL within community standards.

    My faith and trust in NC is lot less than say about 5 years or before! May be I am paranoid!

  55. D


    I’m not at all clear (and you gave no examples from the articles I linked to) on what your point was, in your response to me:

    Bad outcome as result of medical treatment is NOT automatically equated as ‘medical malpractice’ a common myth and perpetuated by frustrated patients and their families. It is a laborious and costly undertaking for the plaintiff attorneys, even there are ‘deep’ pockets in their sight!

    By studies, it is proven that many patients although well ‘qualified’ by legal standards fail to initiate malpractice suits. It is NOT a black and white issue.

    I was making the point that when there is Malpractice, one has no recourse if they are retired (unless very, very wealthy), unemployed, or poverty ridden.

    And, I personally know of two such cases where charges were made: the one I’ve noted directly above, and another one, where the patient had not only the misfortune of having a first, ‘World Renowned’ Hospital, near kill them (I drove them to the emergency ward) by leaving a verified bone spur behind, but then had another Renowned Surgeon ‘follow-up’ with even more damage (that Renowned Doctor just recently made headlines all over the US).

    Sorry in advance, I’ve got a busy day with loved ones, which I’m now behind with, so I won’t be responding soon to any response you make.

  56. D

    By the way, sunny, those two Malpractices happened one on top of the other, in Sunny California, … no breathing room between those two horrors.

    And then, yet another horror related to the US and California’s contempt for its citizens popped up for the one person who might have been able to at least give more financial relief.

  57. D


    I posted an earlier response to you nearing four hours ago, which got snagged who knows where, so I’m making this one as short and simple as possible, I know how you feel, I hate it too, particularly Silicon Valley, which I’ve lived in for decades. Many hugs to you dear.

  58. Roland

    Re: city size.

    It doesn’t take long for the economies of scale to be exceeded by the diseconomies of scale.

    However, most of the benefits of the economies of scale are usually enjoyed by different categories of people than those who bear most of the costs of the diseconomies of scale.

    If the benefits are enjoyed by powerful people, and the costs are borne by weak people, then the megalopolis just keeps on growing, perhaps until the society goes into a major war or internal crisis.

    Lewis Mumford, in his book The Culture of Cities, described a schematic progression from polis to metropolis, then on to megalopolis, tyrannopolis, and finally to necropolis.

    In my personal experience, I have found that most of the benefits of an urban community can be enjoyed in a relatively small urban community of no more than 5-10 kilopersons–as long as it is compact. I continue to be surprised by how much more I could enjoy the culture of urban living in a very small city in the interior of British Columbia, compared to expensive and time-wasting ordeals of life in today’s Vancouver, which leave one scarce means to enjoy anything.

Comments are closed.