Links 10/22/17

Sooty Feathers Tell the History of Pollution in American Cities Audobon Society (CM).

Itsy Bitsy Spider…: Infants React with Increased Arousal to Spiders and Snakes Frontiers in Psychology

Financial Innovation: A World in Transition Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Cities chasing Amazon’s headquarters should be careful what they wish for TreeHugger

Big question for U.S. cities: Is Amazon’s HQ2 worth the price? Chicago Tribune (Re Silc).

Brutal Killing of Journalist Exposes ‘Something Darker’ in Malta NYT and Brutal murder exposes Malta’s murky politics FT

Breaking Up Tech Barron’s

The New Monopolists Project Syndicate

Catalonia

Spain Will Remove Catalonia Leader, Escalating Secession Crisis NYT

How the Spanish PM plans to apply emergency rule in Catalonia El Pais

Catalan leader accuses Spain of ‘worst attack’ since Franco The Local

21-Oct-17 TV News SPECIAL EDITION: ‘Spain has pressed the nuclear button’ Catalan News (video, in English).

Infuriatingly peaceful ARA

China

‘Impossible To Save’: Scientists Are Watching China’s Glaciers Disappear NPR

Coin stash that puts new spin on China’s 100 years of humiliation South China Morning Post

North Korea

The real relationship between North Korea and China is far more complicated AP

The Party Roundup: Preliminary Look at North Korea’s October 7 Central Committee Plenum 38 North

USS Ronald Reagan visits S. Korean port after weeklong joint naval drills Stars and Stripes

The Contradiction at the Core of Trump’s North Korea Strategy Defense One

Need for a National Policy to Safeguard the Rights of India’s Home-Based Workers The Wire

Puerto Rico

Whitefish Company Tapped to Rebuild Puerto Rico Power Grid Flathead Beacon

The story of Puerto Rico’s power grid is the story of Puerto Rico The Economist

Puerto Rico reaches out to Taliban for tips on getting US aid Duffel Blog

Who Owns Puerto Rico’s Debt, Exactly? We’ve Tracked Down 10 of the Biggest Vulture Firms. In These Times. Still germane, although not all the firms are “vulture firms” within the meaning of the act.

Brexit

Why Brexit Risks a Gangsters’ Paradise as No Deal Looms Bloomberg. The Irish border, not the City (which is already a gangsters’ paradise).

Brexit: UK will struggle to change UK borders in time, says watchdog BBC

Voters critical of Brexit process but spurn fresh referendum Guardian

After Brexit we could fish like Iceland – but is there a catch? Brexit Central

Landslide for populist billionaire in Czech elections FT

The Battle That Created Germany Handelsblatt. Teutoburg Forest, plenty of Game of Thrones-y detail.

Syraqistan

Trump shouldn’t repeat Obama’s mistake in Iraq and Syria Editorial Board, WaPo

Syrian Reconstruction Spells Juicy Contracts for Russian, Iranian Firms Foreign Policy. Well, I should hope so!

US policy in Islamdom is a chaos. Part 1 Sic Semper Tyrannis. Interesting final sentence.

Trump Transition

“Above All” – The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power Moon of Alabama

Trump: America’s Gorbachev The American Conservative

Trump defends tweets as key to White House victory Reuters

Will Democrats use Niger as Trump’s Benghazi? McClatchy

Inside the long-secret JFK files — what new details are coming? MarketWatch

Time for Politicians to Stop Deficit Fearmongering The Real News. Interview with Stephanie Kelton.

Democrats in Disarray

How Randall Woodfin won: Birmingham mayor-elect embraced data, analytics Birmingham News. The headline is absolutely deceptive, although providing insight into what editors, who write the headlines, wish the narrative to be. Woodfin won by expanding the base: “In the Oct. 3 runoff between Woodfin and Bell, 11,500 voters never voted in a municipal election before. Of those voters, 1,500 were between 18 and 24 years old, and 5,000 were between 18 and 35 years old.” Expanding the base, of course, is something the Democrat Establishment has resolutely refused to do since at least 2000, despite lip service. The very same data analytics could have been used to contact only existing voters, for example! Tech is the means to the end. (It’s the difference between the 1941 German army massing its tanks into armoured divisions, and the French Army, which did not allow its numerous tanks to operate independently of infantry. Tech was not the issue in the Fall of France, but rather how doctrine leads tech to be deployed.)

BlackPAC to Spend $1 Million in Virginia Ahead of Election AP. Two months before an election, targeting only one state, squillionaire-funded. Pathetic.

Black activists unknowingly organized events for Russia, helping effort to create divisions in U.S. Daily Kos (front-paged).

Health Care

White House pushing for new concessions in bipartisan health bill, including retroactive mandate relief WaPo. Sausage-making on Alexander-Murray.

I.R.S. Says It Will Reject Tax Returns that Lack Health Insurance Disclosure NYT

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. warns public about attacks on energy, industrial firms Reuters. At the same time Silicon Valley is trying to intermediate its apps into every social and transactional relationship imaginable, not just through cellphones but the Internet of things. What could go wrong?

How US Foreign Policy Helped Create the Immigration Crisis The Nation (Re Silc). This is about Latin America, not the EU.

Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to address serious shortage USA Today (Re Silc).

Class Warfare

Populism, globalisation and the failure of elites Lowy Interpreter. Australia.

Homelessness proves capitalism is a ‘blatant failure’ – Jacinda Ardern NewHub (UserFriendly). New Zealand. Looks like elites in two of the Five Eyes think things are looking pretty sketchy…

Rehab work camps were about to be regulated. Then a friend stepped in Reveal News. There’s something about “work camps” that rings a bell…

Robots Are Coming for These Wall Street Jobs| Bloomberg.

Tomorrow Belongs to the Corporatocracy Counterpunch

How I Socially Engineer Myself Into High Security Facilities Vice

Food Innovation Recipes: Rewritable Narrative The Future Now (RB).

A Big Test of Police Body Cameras Defies Expectations NYT

How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next Guardian. From January, still germane.

Everything You Know About Neoliberalism Is Wrong Social Europe (CL). Really?

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

.

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About Lambert Strether

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

148 comments

  1. CanCyn

    Everything you know about neoliberalism is wrong….

    Hmm, I don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve never thought that Neoliberaism is about retreat or downsizing of government. Sure, Reagan and many other talk about gov getting out of the way and/or being the problem but they lie about that just as they lie about so much else – all about pandering to whoever needs to be pandered to. In my experience and understanding, Neoliberalism seems to be about corporate influence and control over government to ensure laws in favour of business and profits at the expense of social, and public infrastructure spending. If spending gov money to ensure these things has to happen, that’s ok with the Neoliberal crowd. This article seems to be addressing what I’ve always thought of as Libertarianism.

    Reply
    1. Jess

      “Neoliberalism seems to be about corporate influence and control over government to ensure laws in favour of business and profits at the expense of social, and public infrastructure spending. If spending gov money to ensure these things has to happen, that’s ok with the Neoliberal crowd.”

      No more calls, folks. We have a winner. I am totally stealing this as my definition of neoliberalism.

      Reply
      1. Kim Kaufman

        doesn’t sound much different than Republicans, does it? A few differences around the edges – oil donors v fiance plus social issues.

        Reply
      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Add in a part about paying lip service to diversity while taking donations from the Incarceration-For-Profit Complex. Virtue signaling very important to make neoliberals distinct from republicans.

        Because without it, the difference is…?

        Reply
    2. sunny129

      Neoliberalism vs Libertarianism.

      Does it matter?

      Corporatism reigns over both neo liberals and the neo consertives, via K-street!

      Corporate democrats like Shoemaker, Hillary or Nancy are no different than centrists GOP! Check out the donor list of Sen, Shoemaker! Whom are they kidding?

      Same old, same old! Oligarchy elites in both parties! just sick of these words to confuse the ALREADY misinformed and the brainwashed by MSM!

      Reply
      1. CanCyn

        Thanks Sunny … I totally agree that corporate control holds sway both the Dems and the GOP and in my country, the Conservatives and the Liberals are both controlled by and cowtow to corporate Canada.
        I am in favour of Lambert’s demand for concrete benefits for us mopes. Don’t distract us with Russians, and identity politics, just start spending money on infrastructure and health and social welfare for goodness sakes.

        Reply
    3. Jeff W

      I had the same impression. The article takes these premises—“neoliberalism has involved (and involves) a ‘retreat’, ‘hollowing out’ or ‘withering away’ of the state,” “today the state has been ‘overpowered’ by the market,” says these notions continue “to remain a fixture of the left” and proceeds to argue against them.

      I don’t know about “the left” but, like you, I never viewed neoliberalism like that—I see it as the state actively acting on behalf of private entities, enabling and promoting their interests and the private provisioning of services that properly should be public. (And, in fact, the ideological predecessor to neoliberalism, ordoliberalism, at least in stated ideology, envisioned a strong state to facilitate competition—that’s what the “ordo” in the name means: the state would provide order for a competitive market to flourish. It was explicitly not about a “weak state” “in retreat.”) Reading the article, it was a bit like “You think the Earth is flat? Let me tell you—it’s round.”

      The article did have some interesting things to say about such things as depoliticization and the “war on democracy,” particularly with regard to the EU, but that’s not exactly news, not to NC readers, anyway: Greg Palast describes Canadian-American economist Robert Mundell, the “evil genius” behind the Euro, as saying as much:

      As Mundell explained it, the euro is the way in which congresses and parliaments can be stripped of all power over monetary and fiscal policy. Bothersome democracy is removed from the economic system. “Without fiscal policy,” Mundell told me, “the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.

      It was, for me, a strange article—I was both fighting and agreeing with it.

      Reply
    4. YY

      The issue that seems to go unnoticed is that Neoliberalism is always identified as such by critics or those who believe that the prevailing ideology is wrong. Liberals, sometimes reluctantly, self identify as such, libertarians always enthusiastically self identify as such, even neo-cons, for most part, recognize the term as fitting the descriptions of their ideology though they prefer a straight conservative identification. The term neoliberalism will never obtain currency as a self identifying view/stance of/in the world because the definition is fundamentally a critical one, recognizable to all except to the one being called on it in the particular instance. While there may be a handful of perverse neoliberal self-identifiers, the general tendency is that neoliberals do not see themselves in the mirror. Neoliberlism like warmongering, racism, and other self evident negative traits is not a very good description if one expects those who do not see the problems to begin to come to terms with themselves.

      Reply
  2. Carolinian

    Re Moon of Alabama’s contention that we are now ruled by a de facto military junta: this could be a lot less sinister than he thinks. It’s quite likely our generals are more interested in those golf courses and perks than in fighting real wars they seemingly have no idea how to win. In fact the Republican embrace of military culture is hardly a new thing. Reagan loved to give military salutes and pretend he had fought in WW2 (he made training films in Hollywood). Dubya wowed Chris Matthews with that crotch hugging flight suit. America is not Prussia and the locus of real power is arguably centered more in the would be CIA/Wall Street junta represented by Obama and HRC. From an antiwar standpoint a CIA versus Pentagon rivalry might not be such a bad thing while we wait for the country to come to its senses. Divide and conquer.

    Of course if Trump starts a war in Korea or Iran all bets are off. It hasn’t happened yet.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      We more closely resemble post WW1 Germany, in that although largely defeated on the field of battle far away from the home front in our 16 years of dubious missions, the hoi ploy here only hears of individual valor in a everybody in our armed forces is a hero, fashion.

      It will come as a great shock when our forces are forced home, and our citizenry is faced with having to digest the truth, for a change.

      The tv news hardly mentions Afghanistan anymore, unless a car bomb kills 57 in Kandahar, or a woman’s school opens up in Kabul.

      Reply
      1. dcblogger

        they used to say that Prussia was a military with a country, the US is a Military Industrial Complex with a country.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      Re the Night of the Generals: There are many reasons why “civilian” rulers have feared and hated the perceived necessity for general officers and a standing army. There’s quite a literature on the defects and failures of our own ‘flag offcer” set, even from places like WaPo and the NYT. Here’s one, from back when Obama was working to reduce that one leg of the power stool in DC: “The costs of having too many generals are crippling,” https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/11/05/does-the-military-have-too-many-generals/the-costs-of-having-too-many-generals-are-crippling

      The Chicago Tribune,in an article from the same period by a civilian who worked around and with the upper “flag officer” echelons in the Pentagram, the War College, and “deployments” to Iraq and elsewhere: “Living like royalty in military land,” http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-22/opinion/ct-perspec-1122-military-20121122_1_military-officers-sons-and-daughters-military-academy The Trib is quite conservative, but the article points out the corruptions and privileges and benefits that those flag officers command. And that these men and women claim superiority of honor in their oath claim to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and Domestic, ” the latter adjective being subject to broad interpretation… And these generals and admirals retire into the C-suites of those war profiteers who keep the idiocies going by selling arms all over the planet. The Trib article points out that admission to the ranks of general officers is becoming hereditary, too.

      The WaPo article notes that “general officers’ live like kings, have huge “resources” from Troops to cultivate the plantings of their free housing in mansion-like quarters, to private jets and helicopters and ground vehicles at their beck and call. Not to many George Washingtons in the bunch…

      These folks live separate and apart, with their own loyalties to their little special class of fellow officers and the MIC and congressional pals to a lesser extent. They patently do not “succeed” at the mission we mopes all think they are supposed to be about, “winning wars.” But as observed in the link today, and in other places, “winning” is also a term subject to interpretation and looting…

      Do the generals still rule Egypt? And personally own a huge chunk of that nation’s economy?

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        JTMcPhee
        October 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm

        https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/11/general-failure/309148/

        Since 9/11, the armed forces have played a central role in our national affairs, waging two long wars—each considerably longer than America’s involvement in World War II. Yet a major change in how our military operates has gone almost unnoticed. Relief of generals has become so rare that, as Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling noted during the Iraq War, a private who loses his rifle is now punished more than a general who loses his part of a war. In the wars of the past decade, hundreds of Army generals were deployed to the field, and the available evidence indicates that not one was relieved by the military brass for combat ineffectiveness.
        …..
        Ironically, our generals have grown worse as they have been lionized more and more by a society now reflexively deferential to the military. The Bush administration has been roundly (and fairly) criticized for its delusive approach to the war in Iraq and its neglect of the war in Afghanistan. Yet the serious failures of our military leaders in these conflicts have escaped almost all notice.
        ============================
        Remember Bush’s “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” ??? Because to criticize an appointee is to criticize one’ own appointee selecting prowess. Like Hollywood, there is an incessant self congratulatory air that encompasses Washington and refuses to acknowledge the continual failure.
        Either American generals are so inept that they cannot defeat an enemy whose most advance weapons system is a Toyota pick up truck, or they are so cowardly that they will not state clearly that the US military cannot “win” any counter insurgency conflict.

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Actually that is not bad at all as that is just a matter of keeping up old traditions. The older uniforms did have style you have to admit. What is really strange is how the troops themselves are idolized in the US these days. One of the main western military traditions is for soldiers to safeguard the weak as in women and children first. This is bedrock tradition in the west and comes from the code of the medieval knights, even if they did not always follow it.
            Thus it was weird to hear that nowadays soldiers get to jump queue lines as well as board planes first before civilians do so as to get prime seats. In other words, soldiers before even women and children. I guess that this is what happens when soldiers stop being soldiers and start getting treated as “warriors” instead as the US army constantly calls them. Sorry, not the same tradition at all.
            It’s all cheers and celebrations until it ends with Seven Days in May.

            Reply
            1. cnchal

              It’s a marketing gimmick. To get young impressionable people before they figure out what’s going on to consider the benefits of getting shot at. Look, you get to sit on a plane first, yippee.

              Reply
          1. sunny129

            My previous comment here (within NC community standards) GOT deleted, for reasons unknown. Guess, there is new Goebbels in charge!

            Reply
            1. Massinissa

              Was it really necessary to make 3 different posts about this? Its an autoblock. Its the same one there has always been. Just post the first comment a second time.

              Reply
            2. Yves Smith

              We did not delete your comment. We and, not you, are the arbiters of what is acceptable here. You are already in moderation for past misbehavior.

              If you complain again, you will be blacklisted.

              Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    Re: The Battle That Created Germany
    This battle is really a very big deal in European history and is an inflexion point in the formation of Germany. It is the main reason why Latin culture like you find in France, Spain and Portugal ends on the Rhine river and not the Elbe river. Otherwise Germany might have a Latin culture and not Germanic culture. For those interested, there is a very good doco that runs for 49 minutes called “The Lost Legions of Varus (Roman Empire Documentary)” and is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM_jX22Iaas
    This was a terrible defeat for Roman ambitions and the only way that I can come up with an equivalent is to imagine three brigades of US infantry being almost entirely wiped out in Afghanistan in the course of a few days. It was the 17th, 18th and 19th Legions that were destroyed and for the rest of Roman history, none of those numbers were ever used for a Legion again. The online site for the museum for this battle is at http://www.kalkriese-varusschlacht.de/en/museum/ for those who want yet more info.

    Reply
    1. visitor

      I suspect your equivalence underestimates the sheer magnitude of the defeat suffered by the Romans. At that time, there were about 28 permanent legions (a buff of Roman military history might want to provide the exact figure), so losing 3 of them would amount to wiping out the equivalent of 137000 men in the US active military — three full army corps, not brigades.

      There was a good reason why Augustus was shocked to the point of roaming through his palace at night, cursing Varus to give him back his legions.

      Curiously enough, the Romans sustained repeated, even more extensive and humiliating defeats (including the death of several emperors) when facing the Persians, but never gave up their attempts to bring the Parthians and then the Sassanids into subjection.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, you’re right – hard to make an equivalence with modern formations. The closest thing that is equivalent to a Roman Legion is probably a US Army brigade combat team as it is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. Roman Legions were deployable self-contained combined arms formations as well so I should have said that instead of just the term brigades.
        If you ever have the time, check out the Roman 2nd Punic war when they suffered catastrophic casualties facing Hannibal with 60,000 Roman soldiers dead at Cannae alone. It was far worse that what they faced with the Persians (except the Battle of Carrhae) and it was only sheer will-power that kept them going. This was literally life or death for Rome itself and is worth reading about.

        Reply
        1. visitor

          Yes, I am aware of what happened during the second Punic war.

          As for the Roman-Persian wars, apart from Carrhae there were other defeats rivaling the one at Cannae — for instance Edessa (which saw the entire Roman force of some 70000 killed or taken prisoner, including emperor Valerian, coming after another 60000-strong Roman army had been crushed by the Persians at Barbalissos).

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Personally I would rate the defeat at Carrhae as the worse as this was at a time when Rome was still a semi-Republic and you are talking about actual Romans doing the heavy lifting and fighting. The later defeats came at a time when Rome had fully expanded and troops from different provinces were now making up a large part of the Army. By the end it was nearly all mercenary armies. That was why I rate Carrhae as a worse defeat fro Rome. i.e. it is a matter of opinion here.

            Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        The beginning of debasement of the denarius began under Augustus…
        ~~~~~~~~~~~

        “The denarius began to undergo slow debasement toward the end of the republican period. Under the rule of Augustus, (63 BC-AD 14) its silver content fell to 3.9 grams (a theoretical weight of  1⁄84 of a Roman pound). It remained at nearly this weight until the time of Nero (AD 37-68), when it was reduced to  1⁄96 of a pound, or 3.4 grams. Debasement of the coin’s silver content continued after Nero. Later Roman emperors reduced its content to 3 grams around the late third century.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denarius
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Then, high technology shows up in the guise of silver-washing copper coins to look like the real thing in the middle of the 3rd century AD, and the debasement is complete, and one thing to consider about the Roman Legionary, is they were paid in denarii.

        As the money was debased, so was it’s buying power in real money: aurei.

        The rate of exchange for denarii to aurei went from 25-1, to around 3,000-1, by the time the empire was in retreat, everywhere.

        Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Has anyone taken a look at that old chestnut about the devaluation from an MMT perspective? I can’t help but think it’s getting the cart before the horse.

          For instance, no one has ever minted circulating coins worth their metal value. By the time of the inflation their agricultural methods had depleted the soil. Most of the population had been reduced to servitude. The wealth of the east was very effectively blocked by the Persians. So the old conquer and exploit engine that drove the growth of the empire was eating the seed corn. Sending out legions just returned dead soldiers and cranky barbarians.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            As crazy as it sounds with the first instance of Gresham’s Law in that bad denarii chased out good denarii, the Roman Empire held until 476 AD in the west, that’s a couple hundred years of essentially fiat money in the guise of copper coins made to look as if they were silver, passing for money in the swan song of a dynasty.

            We’ve been at it for a little over 50 years and nobody even cares one whit about the money being backed by anything, a moot point, now that we have a perpetual notion machine cranking out electrons.

            Reply
            1. Mo's Bike Shop

              So, if the Romans had discovered Joachimsthal, they could have reversed soil depletion and thus restored the agricultural base of their economy? Do I have that right?

              Reply
            2. cnchal

              The rate of exchange for denarii to aurei went from 25-1, to around 3,000-1

              At that rate we have centuries, perhaps a millenia. It’s been 25 -1 over the last century for the dollar. Unfortunately, the planet isn’t capable of absorbing centuries of capitalism.

              Reply
          2. bronco

            Our coins in the US were worth their metal value initially . We also had free coinage of bullion , you just brought the metal into the mint and they would strike it into coins for you. The coins of other countries were legal tender here also until the 1850’s . Both were done because there was not enough US coinage to go around for the population to use in commerce.

            One of the problems with full metal value was that fluctuations in metal prices would cause export or melting of gold or silver coins depending on which went up against the other

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Back in the early days of the colony of New South Wales, coins were in such short supply that a Governor in 1813 shipped in 40,000 Spanish dollars to start off an initial coin economy. Here is where it gets borderline genius. A hole was then punched in the middle of each coin to double the number of coins available for circulation!
              The punched hole was worth one shilling and three pence (or fifteen pence), while the “holey dollar” was the equivalent of five shillings. Two years ago one of those “holey dollars” went for $550,000 at auction. See the article at http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/history/australias-first-coins-were-holey-dollars.aspx for a bit more info.

              Reply
              1. bronco

                They did the same in prince edward Island in the same year. It was smart because the holey dollar wouldn’t get melted because its silver content was less than the bullion value. Unfortunately the locals started counterfeiting them by punching out their own spanish dollars and getting a free plug as profit . I guess it wasn’t exactly counterfeiting because they used a real spanish dollar.

                Whats sauce for the goose …..

                Reply
          3. Plenue

            I suspect most common transactions were done through some form of tally stick. This is something historians seem to have a massive blindspot for; they are forever equating the prevalence or lack of physical coinage with the state of the economy.

            Reply
      3. Massinissa

        “Curiously enough, the Romans sustained repeated, even more extensive and humiliating defeats (including the death of several emperors) when facing the Persians, but never gave up their attempts to bring the Parthians and then the Sassanids into subjection.”

        I think theres a reason for that: The Persians had incredible wealth while the German tribesmen were basically dirt poor. Why spend so much effort trying to subjugate a region of little monetary or strategic value?

        That, and the Persians of the Parthian and Sassanian dynasties were centralized states capable of invading Roman territory if they so chose. The Germans were decentralized and disorganized and didn’t start invading Roman territory until they were pressed west by the violent migration of the Huns.

        Reply
        1. visitor

          The Persians had incredible wealth

          The Persian empire(s) controlled various strands of the silk road ending in Europe (by land) or leading to Egypt (by sea).

          Romans could not satiate their appetite for luxury products (silk, perfumes, precious stones, etc) imported from far-Eastern Asia through Persia (which levied very profitable taxes on them), and paid for in silver. Rome and Persia waged several wars about Armenia — a kingdom whose strategic position allowed the control of a branch of the silk road ending in Anatolia (and then on to the Black Sea and Syria). Strictly in terms of “useful land”, Mesopotamia was the major prize.

          The wars between Rome and Persia entailed very large campaigns, flared up during a period of 650 years, involved an impressive roster of emperors and generals (on both sides), and were tumultuous affairs with plenty of twists and turns. They are very poorly known amongst the (Western) public (if at all), at best cursorily mentioned in general history texts (like schoolbooks), and rarely, if ever, handled in popular culture (I can think of just a few comics/bandes dessinées from the French-Belgian school, and a brief reference to them in the movie “the fall of the Roman empire” by Anthony Mann, but that is about it).

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Han Chinese were also in the mix.

            From Wiki, Ban Chao:

            In 97 CE Ban Chao sent an envoy, Gan Ying, who reached the Persian Gulf and left the first recorded Chinese account of Europe.[4] Some modern authors have even claimed that Ban Chao advanced to the Caspian Sea, however, this interpretation has been criticized as a misreading.[5]

            That Caspian Sea reference involves also the conjecture that Chinese soldiers with their cross bows were within a few kilometers of Roman legions.

            Reply
    2. shargash

      I would liken it to the German army at Stalingrad. Though it played out over a much longer period of time, the Germans eventually made it to Rome, just as the Soviets made it to Berlin.

      Reply
      1. visitor

        A bit like the discussion above about the Teutoburg battle, reducing Stalingrad to the destruction of the German 6th army underestimates the magnitude of the disaster.

        At Stalingrad, the Soviet army wiped out
        the German 6th army,
        the German 4th air fleet,
        the Hungarian 2nd army,
        the Italian 8th army,
        the Romanian 3rd and 4th armies,
        and also mauled the German 4th panzer army.

        Wikipedia gives the total Axis casualties as 728000 — that is pretty exactly the equivalent of six armies — not just one.

        Stalingrad was not just a shock because the supposedly invincible Germans had been soundly beaten; it was also a truly massive defeat for almost every European member of the Axis — and for all the fascists who had joined the fight (all those volunteers from e.g. France or the Netherlands, the Spanish division sent by Franco, etc).

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          To be fair, the battle of Teutoberg destroyed 3 Roman Legions. 3 Roman Legions or 6 modern armies, both were absolutely historic and catastrophic losses when compared to European population sizes at the times. The Romans were stunned so much they retired the three legion numbers that were lost. No more Legio XVII, XVIII or XIX ever again, too much bad luck associated with the numbers.

          So IMHO, comparing Stalingrad to Teutoburg isn’t much of a stretch, except maybe for the fact that Stalingrad took five months while Teutoburg took only hours. They call Stalingrad a ‘battle’ even though in other wars it would be the length of an entire campaign. If theres a problem with the comparison, I think that is where it would be.

          Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        A couple of books I enjoyed, and both of which are considered to be questionable in some quarters, in terms of the protagonist’s actually being involved, are:

        The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer. An Alsatian’s tale on the eastern front as a member of the Wehrmacht. You freeze up a little as he recounts his army in more or less continual retreat, in often brutal cold conditions.

        …and The Long Walk, by Slavomir Rawicz

        A group of different nationalities escape from a Soviet gulag and make their way to shangri la, er the far east.

        Both masterfully written, even if fiction.

        Reply
        1. blennylips

          Thank you so much for those book recommendations!
          Your descriptions tickled my “Man’s Search for Meaning” Frankl receptors so, in hunting the books down I stumbled on

          The Way Back (2010)

          In 1941, three men attempt to flee communist Russia, escaping a Siberian gulag. The film tells their story and that of four others who escaped with them and a teenage girl who joins them in flight. The group’s natural leader is …

          Blessed be his Noodlyness!

          Reply
        2. kareninca

          Yes, I sent my dad a copy of “The Long Walk,” before I know that its contents were suspect. He is a compulsive reader of trekking and survival stories. Directly after reading it, he told me that there was something very wrong about the account; that the way the people in it were reacting to their companions’ deaths was unlike anything he had read before. Then we found out that well, maybe there was a reason for that.

          Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      I”m not sure though that the Romans really had much use for northern Germany, similar to Scotland and Ireland. It was the slow diffusion of deep ploughing technology north of the Rhine in the subsequent centuries that allowed the establishment of a society in northern Germany that was more than just a collection of herders in forest clearings, as it was in Armenius’s day. There was, in short, very little there for the Romans to take, and certainly nothing that would have made a permanent military occupation financially viable. So while it was a huge blow to Roman prestige and manpower, I doubt if it really changed history.

      Reply
      1. David May

        Indeed Ken, that is the conventional viewpoint. But…

        Germany east of the Rhine was not a marginal area like Ireland or Scotland. You don’t even have to cross a sea to get there! After the fall of Rome, power moved to Northern Europe for a reason. Rich virgin farm land once the forests were cleared, timber galore, furs, North Sea fish. The Baltic Sea and German rivers were thriving trade routes. Look how far east and west the empire stretched… but to cross the Rhine was just a stretch too much? Come off it!

        The Romans were in constant need of lebensraum as they exhausted their own soil. Legionnaires expected farm land on retirement. The Roman Empire had to expand or die. They were also hugely dependent on German troops. Their Empire peaked a century after the Varusschlacht. And it was eventually Germans that over-ran the Empire. Not people from the south, or the West, or the East. The “barbarians” from the “useless” North. It makes no sense that the Romans would leave such easy pickings just over the river Rhine, as compared to across the English Channel or the deserts of Syria, unless they had genuinely met their match. The Romans were genuinely terrified of the Germans who stood a head higher than the average legionnaire.

        The Romans should have wiped out the Germans like Carthage because they were an existentialist threat – as history proves. The reason they didn’t is because the couldn’t.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Didn’t they take in the Germans as refugees, out of humanitarian concerns, as the Huns moved into their territories?

          Earlier, the Romans allowed Germans to participate in the empire politically and militarily. Not achieving 100% integration*, maybe 90% or 80%, or whatever, that gap felt to them like ocean-wide.

          *Sort of little learning or little integration is a dangerous…drink deeply or integrate completely

          Reply
          1. Massinissa

            “Didn’t they take in the Germans as refugees, out of humanitarian concerns, as the Huns moved into their territories?”

            Oh, they took in refugees.. But it wasn’t humanitarian concern. They hardly fed the refugees. Which made the problem worse, and the refugees got desperate, with some of them joining warbands.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Why not just let the Huns overrun them, but a humanitarian desire to avoid the worst that let they were allowed in?

              From Wiki on Stilicho:

              In the disturbances which followed the downfall and execution of Stilicho, the wives and children of barbarian foederati throughout Italy were slain by the local Romans.

              The outsiders were working for the empire, but were not really Roman.

              Reply
  4. Stillfeelinthebern

    Just want to point on on the Woodfin data article that it states “voters who had never voted in a municipal election.” Indeed, that is an accomplishment if using the Dems VAN database. An even greater accomplishment would be if these are 1st time voters. The VAN only lists registered voters. That would mean the campaign had to find and register them. Not an easy task.

    Reply
  5. dcblogger

    when I think of how Kos heaped scorn on Bev Harris and anyone who suggested that the voting machines were dodgy, and now he is hyping RUSSIA! I just do not know where to start.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      kos cares about one thing – making $$$ for kos. If hyping the Russian nonsense will bring in the bucks, then that’s what will be on the front page.

      Reply
  6. Linda

    How I Socially Engineer Myself Into High Security Facilities Vice

    I cannot believe how Vice is presenting their stories. Every two, sometimes three sentences, there is a large animated gif. There must have been a dozen on one story – ha, maybe 20 – I’m not going back to count. One was so completely annoying I had to put my hand over the screen while I read. I don’t know if they were ads, or illustrations for the article. All they were was irritating.

    I haven’t seen anything like it since 1997. That’s the last Vice link I click on.

    Reply
    1. The Beeman

      Most of the web is/has become unreadable – thankfully NC is quite readable. Many many thanks for non flying gifs and no blinken lights etc…

      Reply
      1. visitor

        A configuration of the browser to disable auto-playing of content helps, together with NoScript.

        Though for the past 3 years or so, I have also been increasingly resorting to switching off style sheets entirely so as to increase the readability of WWW pages. Those illegible greyish fonts; those useless white spaces left or right; those obnoxiously large fixed headers or footers; those distracting warning boxes (about cookies, subscriptions, whatever) overlapping part of the main text; those stupidly configured viewports that do not properly adapt to the actual display dimensions when magnifying the text size. When I want to read a text, a NSCA-Mosaic-level presentation is enough (does anybody remember that browser?) — but no, I must contend with marketing people always striving to push a refined “corporate image” and the Javascript/CSS acrobatics of “creative” Web designers.

        Reply
        1. Bugs Bunny

          Mosaic, the first graphical UI browser. Used it for about a year or so in ’94-5 IIRC until Netscape came out. It was a lovely browser with a cool little animated graphic in the upper right corner representing page loading. Miss those days.

          Reply
        2. The Beeman

          I use the reader view in safari both on the Mac and the iPhone. Reduces the page to basically the text of the story and perhaps one major picture right after the heading. All the other shyte is gone. Magic!

          Reply
          1. djrichard

            I use the “Print Friendly & PDF” chrome extension in a similar way. The extension is great for removing content you don’t want to print. But I sometimes use it to read content without actually printing*, simply because it eliminates the noise (and reduces the CPU load as well so I can swiftly scroll through the content). There might be better extensions for doing this as well.

            *this is what I do on desktop chrome, not mobile chrome.

            Reply
    2. Jim Haygood

      Every two, sometimes three sentences, there is a large animated gif.

      Vice’s gif-ridden article is reminiscent of the 1990s, when people (well, some people) would use a dozen different fonts in five contrasting colors on the same page … just because they could, and there was no adult in the room to stop them.

      Gif abuse: don’t let it happen to your friends and loved ones.

      Reply
    3. Enrique Bermudez

      Glad I’m not the only one with this immediate reaction. I’d written off the Vice family of brands a few years ago but gave this a go. Interesting article but back into the bin with Vice for me I think!

      Reply
  7. Louis

    The Bloomberg piece on automation isn’t the first time I have heard of automating Wall Street jobs; however, it was still a worthwhile read.

    Automation is often framed, like everything related to economics, as a sort of morality play: i.e. the losers are lazy and didn’t work hard enough. In the case of automation, the issue is often framed as simply a matter of low-skilled workers needing to get more education and skills.

    The Bloomberg piece should serve as a reminder that the consequences of automation, and how to mitigate it, are a lot more complicated than people at the bottom simply or needing to get more education and skills.

    Reply
    1. sunny129

      Automation/Robotics are the ongoing by (research) products to increase the PRODUCTIVITY by tech companies.

      Humans are NOT included in that equation?
      How do you plan to mitigate against it?

      Reply
    2. Procopius

      I recall reading several years ago that software was now available that could research law libraries and produce legal briefs. Don’t know how successful that’s been, but the author(s) pointed out that even jobs thought to use mostly creative skills were subject to automation. Many years ago there was even an early effort in Artificial Intelligence to create programs that could produce medical diagnoses. I think it was suppressed like the 100-mile-per-gallon carburetor or eternal light bulb.

      Reply
  8. a different chris

    John F(amily blog)’n Kelly:

    >In fact, in a way we are a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our servicemen and women do—not for any other reason than that they love this country

    Can our veterans clue us in on this? Because flying halfway around the world and killing somebody does not seem like it would be a source of joy for anybody. Even if unquestionably necessary. There are plenty of civilian (Peace Corps, Medicine sans Frontiers) orgs that help people, so don’t give me that.

    I am more than a little bit sorry for Kelly, half-formed human being that he seems to be.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      “In fact, in a way we are a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our servicemen and women do”

      veterans suicide rates speak otherwise …

      Reply
    2. beth

      Because flying halfway around the world and killing somebody does not seem like it would be a source of joy for anybody.

      Brainwashing, pure and simple. How else would they get thousands of young kids to sign up.
      Plus adventure.

      Reply
      1. KTN

        Read the NY’er article yesterday. With all due respect to Mr. Kelly and the 1000s of young men & women who no doubt believe in their heart of hearts that enlisting is the best and most immediate thing they can do to serve their country, what have our military engagements of the last 16 years accomplished?

        An Afghanistan that still has active Taliban? That is once again the world’s largest producer of raw opium?

        An Iraq which is constantly beset by sectarian strife, corruption, misgovernment, has been transferred to the Iranian sphere of influence, which is able to lose territory to a bunch of radicals driving commandeered US military equipment all while funded by regional ally KSA?

        A Libya which lacks territorial integrity and is in many places ungovernable due to de facto conquest by more fundamentalist radicals? Which now provides a haven for the resurrection of actual slavery?

        Etc.

        ‘We are a little bit sorry.’ Indeed, we are, for the Marine who stands up and begins his question with ‘Semper Fi.’ Semper fidelis, credo – sed quibus?

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I was Army, so maybe I shouldn’t comment, but I always thought the Marines I knew used the phrase, “Semper fi,” in a wry, mocking sense, with the meaning, “F*cked by the Green Machine again.” I really don’t think many veterans think the way Kelly talks. I don’t believe HE thinks the way he talks.

          Reply
          1. KTN

            & with all due respect to your historical eminence, the comment was predicated upon taking the quite respected Masha Gessen’s reportage of the press conference as substantially accurate.

            Having now watched it, and seen the foregoing 10 minutes devoted to talking about sacrifice (for whom – cui or quibus – it is not clear) and a slain soldier, if there is any irony in Kelly’s mind, the entire performance must be nothing more than a kind of burlesque, and I doubt you would contend that that is the case.

            And we haven’t even gotten to the question of how it can be that US troops are dying in Niger.

            Reply
    3. WheresOurTeddy

      I guess the overwhelming majority of people who join the military that are poor, black, hispanic, or some combination of the 3 are the most patriotic people in America?

      Kind of counter to the narrative I’ve been hearing about Anthem-related protests. Or is a POC only considered patriotic if they offer themselves up as cannon fodder?

      Reply
  9. timbers

    Black activists unknowingly organized events for Russia, helping effort to create divisions in U.S. Daily Kos (front-paged).

    While we anxiously await the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump and company’s ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, there is one thing about Russia that we know for sure: the Russian government tried to exploit America’s racial division and xenophobia in order to foment chaos and manipulate voter sentiments by using fake Facebook ads.

    I work with someone who voted Hillary but preferred Sanders. She’s is highly informed and a solid progressive on economics – we virtually agree on those issues.

    But if I start pointing out too many faults with Dems or talk of Russia, she goes off into fairy tale land and says I’m reading RT and should move to Russia (the “Agree or leave” argument…I get it a lot). She totally buys the Russia narrative and kept bring up the Facebook adds nonsense, denies Obama killed civilians with drones, and denies Dems had a majority of Congress for 2 years, and says the Tea Party forced Dems to water ACA down. When I mentioned how Obama crafted ACA with secret meetings with drug and insurance companies, you could see her blood pressure rising by looking at her face and she went into her “you read RT” mode again.

    I’m using the phrase “Russiagate is birthism for Democrats.” It does seem to give them pause. I don’t know if it’s causing anyone to change their minds, but it DOES cause them to be more cautious in front of me about bashing Russia and pushing the Dem party line about Russia hacking.

    Reply
      1. flora

        Thanks for that link. If it wasn’t the Russkies, it was probably those d*****d Deplorables ™ causing all the problems. Using ID politics and calls for more “diversity” to mask economic and political fights. Gaslighting, indeed.

        From The Intercept:

        “A purge of party officials loyal to Keith Ellison is putting the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee in a difficult position, calling into question his ability to shape DNC decision-making.

        “One paragraph in an NBC News story on the dustup was almost a parody of the tactic of cloaking ideological or political moves in liberal rhetoric about identity:
        “ ‘The DNC denied any retaliation, saying that the changes were an effort to diversify and freshen the party’s leadership and that all the party’s officers had a chance to offer input. They touted new additions like Marisa Richmond, a millennial black transgender activist, and the first Dreamer member, Ellie Perez, to point to the DNC’s efforts at diversity.’
        “In fact, the DNC went overboard in its box-checking: It’s a stretch to call Richmond a millennial; she’s 58 years old and has been an activist longer than many millennials have been alive.

        ….
        “Yet the three Ellison backers removed from the key committees are themselves a diverse bunch. Ellison, of course, is African-American, Muslim, and represents a working-class district, while Barbra Casbar Siperstein is transgender, Zogby is Lebanese-American (and Catholic), and Buckley is gay.”

        https://theintercept.com/2017/10/20/democratic-party-drama-puts-deputy-chair-keith-ellison-in-a-tough-spot/

        adding: if NC had a “Sunday Comics” section the KOS link would be a good entry.

        Reply
    1. shargash

      I can’t believe the Dems are going with “outside agitators are stirring up the Negroes.” That’s been the racist narrative from Reconstruction through Jim Crow to the civil rights era.

      When you point this out to the Dems, the response seems to be “but they did stir up the Negroes!”

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Part of me thinks the occasional donor who cares has deduced that minority voting was way down and that its been a regular theme for Clinton led campaigns. So now they need to explain this phenomenon away.

        On the other hand, Democratic elites did blame losses on minorities in the past for not voting. I suppose it was only a matter of time.

        Reply
        1. WheresOurTeddy

          The Clintons have never, cannot, and will never fail.

          They can only BE failed by lesser people around them. Always.

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Reconstruction…

        Perestroika…the American Gorbachev…

        Reconstruction, again, in Syria.

        (A lot of dots in today’s links and comments)

        Post the USSR, post-Perestroika, after Gorbachev, the newly sovereign Russians were given their shares in all former state assets. It was their nationwide privatization.

        What happened after that was that the soon-to-be-oligarchs got money (not sure from where, I suspect the usual sources, insiders, bank connections) to buy up all the shares. I remember the MMM craze beck then. Thus their billionaires were ‘created.’

        All in the name of progress, of giving unto the real owners, the people, what belonged to them.

        I wonder if the same thing happened with the your-money-is-now-worthless, but everyone-is-given-land-and-a-mule-to-farm, defeated South, only to have Big Money come in and buy up everything, just like the 1990s Russia.

        Reply
    2. Louis

      I’m no fan of Trump either—I voted for Hillary—but I’m certainly in agreement here. Suggesting that Russia tilted the election: i.e. Trump would not have won if it were not for Russian involvement is a pretty serious accusation, as it undermines the legitimacy of the election. Unless you have concrete proof that Russian hacked the election and stole the election—I’m going to define proof as meeting the legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”—you’re no better than those on the right who think Hillary Clinton won the popular vote because of voter fraud.

      I’m going to go a step further and say that the notion of Trump leaving office before the end of his first term is a fantasy. As much as some don’t want to hear it, there aren’t the votes to impeach and convict Trump. As for the 25th Amendment, Trump is surrounded by loyalists (if not true believers), who are highly unlikely to vote to declare him unfit for office per the 25th Amendment. As for resignation, if there is one thing Trump is afraid of it is being seen as a “loser” and Trump probably equates resignation with “losing”, so that is out is well.

      The bottom line is that Trump is going to be in office until 2020 so Democrats should be careful how they proceed in the next 2-4 years. If they blow it Trump will be in office until 2024.

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        Eight-year partisan alternation forecast an R-party win in 2016 with 90 percent probability, before the D and R candidates were even chosen.

        Now it forecasts another R-party presidential win in 2020, whether Trump or someone else is the candidate.

        The 10 percent probability of a D party win in 2020 comes into play if the economy goes bad that year, as it did in 1980 during the final year of Jimmy Carter’s single term.

        By late 2019 we’ll be able to sharpen up this forecast. Bubble III is the health of the state.

        Reply
        1. Louis

          Even 3ish years out it’s still hard to say as a lot can change–for better or for worse–between now and 2020. However, if Republicans do win the presidency in 2020, it will be a second-term of Trump–primary challenges against incumbent presidents are rare and Trump still has a fair amount of support with the Republican Party.

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Glad to see that someone else has noticed. I thought 2016 was going to break the pattern, but no.

          Personally, I think the “major” parties have a little deal, regardless of who is nominated – even Trump. That means 8 years for Donny boy.

          The alternation goes back to when terms were limited, but has become rigid since Clinton was re-elected.

          Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        If, as Moon of Alabama contends in the link above,

        Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy – a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law,

        impeachment or removal for any reason will not be allowed.

        An unrestrained military, a pwned “commander”-in -chief and a congress focused on nothing but reelection creates plenty of space to start things that become almost impossible to roll back later–Afghanistan, Guantanamo and the F-35 come to mind.

        Reply
      3. sunny129

        Every time I read a article in MSM (CNN, NYT, WaPo++) about Russia influenced the 2016 election, it gets on my nerve!

        Is American public that DUMB?

        Has any one’ googled; to found out how many foreign Countries USA (CIA) has influenced or interfered for the last 5-6 decades? last time I counted it varied between 41 and 81!

        Even the main media has committed will full ignorance on this fact! Only in AMERICA in the 21st century, with more internet in every corner of the World!

        Wow! never ceases to amaze me!

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          No dictator has to crack down on the famous free press here today.

          Their blind hatred, so apparent to those see…well, they forfeit their own freedom. They speak, no one believes.

          Reply
    3. Sid_finster

      For most people, most of the time, tribal identity trumps everything.

      If they have to follow insane leaders, if they have to commit horrible deeds, if they have to suffer themselves and believe patent nonsense in order to feel themselves part of the tribe, then most people will do these things without a second thought.

      “What a blessing it is for rulers that people are sheep!” – A. Hitler.

      Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When I mentioned how Obama crafted ACA with secret meetings with drug and insurance companies, you could see her blood pressure rising by looking at her face and she went into her “you read RT” mode again

      Does the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual have anything on Personality Cult Worshiping and Personality Cult Raging.

      One is the the opposite of the other…sort of like mood swings…sometimes adulation, sometimes wrath…depending which personality one encounters.

      Inductive thinking or reacting is often observed…’here you go again’ mode…because you did it so many times before…therefore, you must be doing it again.

      Reply
    5. Ted

      I can imagine many of us have all have had these sorts of encounters with those with whom we share a similar political standpoint. What I find annoying (but am working on trying to make it more a source of joy in our humanness) is that those falling for the Russia! narrative are the very people who laugh at sneer at the Stupid Republicans (TM) who are stuck in the “bubble of ignorance” to paraphrase chief propagandist William Maher. To see the propaganda machine turned on Democrats with the same effect as Fox, Breitbart, and Drudge have had on their hard core followers is a wonderful testament to human irrationality and gullability (no matter how many degrees one has received). Perhaps the silver lining here is that we can see what will some day be called “The Facebook Gambit” in future departments of Propaganda Studies was the moment when at least some people regained their senses and healthy skepticism of anything reported as “news” on the TV.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I know of 5 middle-aged fellows of brighter than usual intelligence that became Fox news junkies since the turn of the century. They were sucked in by the usual fashion, really hawt women in frocks spewing the narrative that they force fed to their patrons in pravdaganda style, continual repetition-let in sink in.

        I watched these guys go from being middle of the road yeah whatever political types, to the bleeding edge of the right of right before my very eyes. What chance would a dullard or just somebody of average smarts have against Citizen Rupert?

        Reply
    6. Solar Hero

      Pretty sure it’s termed “birtherism,” and I’ve been saying it from the beginning: “Democrat birtherism” — Democrats are proving again that there is not a nickel worth of difference between them and the Republicans.

      Reply
    7. Pookah Harvey

      It is interesting that politicians have used the latent racism in our country for years, From Nixon’s southern strategy to Clinton’s identity politics, to Trump’s…. the lazy rapist Mexicans are taking your jobs by working for slave wages in the agricultural fields, while sitting on their butts just living off your tax dollars on welfare.( I have never figured out how Trump’s message could fly, but has seemed to).

      Both Clinton and Trump got votes by at least admitting there was a problem,Trump’s poor whites and Clinton minorities, and then they turn around and stab them in the back while rhetorically pretending they are doing something. So now we are excited that maybe, and I stress the maybe, the Russians are exploiting this problem. The current establishment political answer is to take control and censor the internet, rather than admitting it is a serious problem in our society that must be addressed .( If we take care of the problem Russians couldn’t exploit it.)

      This tells me that the current political establishment just wants to keep using racism as a tool in their political tool box.and has no interest or intention to ever change the situation..

      Reply
  10. Durans

    America’s Gorbachev – It is telling that I’m not surprised that the foreign policy establishment thinks the rest of the world NEEDS a strong and rational USA to tell them what to do.

    When he talked about countries looking to the US for advice, I thought with the advice we likely give, they would most like be better off deciding for themselves.

    War with North Korea, A game changer? This guy is nuts.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Glorious leader is Gorbachev, but a Bizarro World variant, as befits the odd fellows that mirrored each other during the US-SU cold war that never went hot.

      Gorbachev was everything that every previous previous president of the Soviet Union wasn’t, open, friendly, willing to talk about getting rid of nuclear weapons, etc. The pullout from the graveyard of empires happened on his watch. A repudiation of Soviet Doctrine from 70 years prior, mostly.

      The polar opposite of course is what we’re faced with, in a repudiation of American Doctrine from 70 years prior, as well.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People decide for themselves.

      And people free themselves…one prides in doing something oneself.

      And you can free something you don’t own in the first place…there is this line (how dare you) of thinking.

      Reply
    3. Massinissa

      Pretty sure, reading the sentence after it, that when he said war with north Korea would be a game changer, he meant it would be a game changer in a bad way.

      “A strike on North Korea would be a game changer. There are scenarios (such as first use of nuclear weapons) that would make the US a pariah in international society”

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the Oracle of Delphi prophecy way.

        A bad way for whom?

        “If you cross the river, a great empire will be destroyed”.

        Reply
      2. Durans

        The way I read it, the “game changer” wasn’t whether War with North Korea would be good or bad, but as it is one of the few ways Trump could make a show of strength to the world. What I got from the article is guy sees Trump’s disengagement as a sign of weakness, and one of the few ways to fix it would be to start a war.

        Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    (It’s the difference between the 1941 German army massing its tanks into armoured divisions, and the French Army, which did not allow its numerous tanks to operate independently of infantry. Tech was not the issue in the Fall of France, but rather how doctrine leads tech to be deployed.)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    About 15 years ago we were @ the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry museum near Calgary, and the first battle Canadian soldiers were really involved in after being on the shelf largely for 3 years, was the disastrous Dieppe Raid in 1942, with a heavy loss of men and lots of POW’s were taken. Nothing went right.

    So one of the docents @ the museum was a Churchill Tank commander, and on display they had the German and British implements of war, and the difference was stark, a sleek Schmeisser submachine gun versus a British Sten gun-that looked like somebody made it in 7th grade shop metal class, and right on down the line, everything the Germans had was leagues better in every way.

    So, the aforementioned tank commander was taken prisoner, and told me the difference between his shitty tank and Nazi ones…

    He said that British tanks radios were crap and communication between tanks was impossible, when compared to the German ones having throat microphones around their crew’s necks for easy radio access when in battle, to other tanks. He told us they were outclassed in every way imaginable and then some.

    He then showed us rope handcuffs that he and all other POW’s were forced to wear with their hands behind their backs for months, while in POW camps. The plan of action in Dieppe was captured by the Germans and in it, the British forces all had these rope handcuffs, in order to put Wehrmacht POW’s they captured in, so the Germans simply turned the tables on their plans…

    A great book in the fashion of Studs Terkel on WW2 from a Canadian view vis a vis oral history, is Barry Broadfoot’s “Six War Years”.

    He drove across Canada with trusty tape recorder in the early 1970’s, coming up with the best stories imaginable, a fabulous read~

    Reply
  12. George Phillies

    “targeting only one state, squillionaire-funded. Pathetic.” There are statewide elections in only three states, and short-term New Jersey and Alabama are pointless. However, this may be the front end of a learning curve, sort of like Romney and his Beached Whale — or whatever it was called — electronic support operation.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A group that mobilized black voters for Hillary Clinton plans to spend more than $1 million in Virginia ahead of November’s closely watched governor’s race.

      The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Black Progressive Action Coalition plans to spend $600,000 on voter education. An affiliated political action committee plans to spend $500,000 on mailers and digital ads.

      And of that total how much do you see targeted for voter registration? You can’t “educate” them or advertise to them if they can’t vote. Well, you can, but it’s throwing money down a rathole. Maybe we could come up with a plan where Democrat party consultants only get paid if their candidate wins, otherwise their commission money goes to the local foodbank. We could wipe out hunger in America by 2021.

      Reply
      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        They aren’t going to do voter registration because it is really hard grassroots work and consultants do not get their hands dirty like that.

        All this political $$$ should go to feeding people. Such a shame all the $$$ that is wasted in this country on elections. What is it, 40% goes to media buys?

        Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Homelessness proves capitalism is a ‘blatant failure’ – Jacinda Ardern NewHub (UserFriendly). New Zealand. Looks like elites in two of the Five Eyes think things are looking pretty sketchy…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    John Key-the last PM, was a typical Unabanker:

    From Wiki:

    “In 1995, he joined Merrill Lynch as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. That same year he was promoted to Merrill’s global head of foreign exchange, based in London, where he may have earned around US$2.25 million a year including bonuses, which is about NZ$5 million at 2001 exchange rates. Some co-workers called him “the smiling assassin” for maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the 1998 Russian financial crisis. He was a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2001.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    One thing about Kiwis, they aren’t afraid of speaking their mind, and by electing Jacinda, they sent a very clear message about repudiating the past decade, which also coincided with a housing bubble that made anything else here in that vein, seem tame in comparison.

    A book that would make for good reading now is Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman’s Destiny, written by former PM Julius Vogel in 1889.

    “Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman’s Destiny (1889) is usually regarded as New Zealand’s first science fiction novel. It was written by former Prime Minister of New Zealand Sir Julius Vogel. It anticipated a utopian world where women held many positions of authority, and in fact New Zealand became the first country to give women the vote, and from 1998 to 2008 continuously had a female Prime Minister, while for a short period (2005–2006) all five highest government positions (Queen, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Chief Justice) were simultaneously held by women.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anno_Domini_2000,_or,_Woman%27s_Destiny

    Reply
    1. Juliania

      Thanks for article and comment. I would say there’s a typo in the article up front – Ms. Ardern would have said ‘prosperity’ not ‘posterity’ – the latter making no sense in the context of her remark. She is saying the average New Zealander has seen no benefits from the kind of capitalism they have been subjected to for the past decade.

      And we need not shed a tear for John Key, who resigned well before the election. A big Wall Street bank ( I forget which) rewarded him with its chairmanship.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I always found it interesting that after John Key and his cohorts came to power in New Zealand, suddenly you had more and more stories on New Zealand featuring in Naked Capitalism. There are now seventy-eight stories on New Zealand on this site that talk about scams and foreign firm registrations. This for a country that has a solid history of law and order. Jacinda Ardern’s election seems to be a return to the norm and hopefully an ousting of the banking boys club.

      Reply
  14. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    POW POW

    Good news in New Orleans as one of the city’s most famous chefs, John Besh, get exposed as a serial sexual harasser and I CANNOT WAIT for the whole French quarter restaurant industry culture of permissiveness to fn end already.

    The Patriarchy is giving way to the future and I for one will be holding the door open always.

    Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Coin stash that puts new spin on China’s 100 years of humiliation South China Morning Post
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    China has long held silver as the ne plus ultra of things financial, and every Mao and then shift happens, and those with all that glitters got out and hightailed it to Taiwan-using the barbarous as a ticket, while those that were argent provocateurs only had one option, bury it and hang out a spell for the next 30 years or so. And everything went into the ground from priceless rarities, to everyday mundane silver coins, the gamut.

    So, fast forward to the early 1980’s, and enterprising Hong Kongers are loading medium sized ships with the consumer goods that made any mainland Chinese feel like they had it made, in-window a/c units, refrigerators, heaters, dishwashers, washer-drier units, the usual basic comfort goods we take for granted.

    And then somewhere on the south China coast, they meet up with those wanting to exchange buried treasure for the trappings of modern life, followed by the ship heading back to HK, and the coins making their way back into collections all over the world, from there.

    Reply
  16. Yusu

    How statistics lost their power
    Will Davies is often excellent. If I remember correctly he also mentions this blog in another article. I hope there can be more interaction between you, as it seems you’re working in different ways on a similar problem. Much of naked capitalism’s work as I see it has been to create a space in which to explain financial and economic developments to a new audience, which the media (outside specialist publications like the FT) had failed to do. In doing so it combined (good) macroeconomics with the experience of hardship following the crisis, and often successfully bridged the gap between quantitative data and qualitative experience. It adopted neither emotional hubris nor Nate Silver style data idolatry. Much of the difficulty today is to expand this space outside one branch of the left, to refashion the public sphere in your image. I think Will Davies’ attempt to publish an op-ed in every left of centre paper is a start, but eventually we will need to reach Brexit and Trump voters, a much greater challenge, and one which will require a different approach to our favoured long form writing to compete on other terrains: that of the meme, of the tabloid title, beyond the well presented rational argument. We need slogans, images, simple narratives, new ways of presenting both qualitative and quantitative data to reach new audiences.

    Reply
  17. Sid_finster

    In re: The JFK files – if Trump really were attempting a coup against the Deep State, he’d be stupid to telegraph his moves in advance.

    Rather, this is more likely an invitation to bargain. Trump wants a little more freedom to act and the Deep State wants to retain de facto control.

    They come to an agreement, release some relatively innocuous documents, everyone is happy, other than the people still looking for answers.

    Reply
    1. KTN

      Rather, this is more likely an invitation to bargain.

      Good read. ‘I will unconditionally do X, unless–‘ obviously does not inspire complete confidence.

      Wondered exactly what the ‘if’ was doing there.

      Reply
  18. Eureka Springs

    Funny, haha, how few if any revelations are found in JFK documents which just had to be held in secret at all, much more for fifty years.

    Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    Robots Are Coming for These Wall Street Jobs| Bloomberg.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    HFT #283: “Hey, I think they’re onto us.”

    HFT #749: “Not so loud man, they still have power over us!”

    HFT #283: “Dude, I can compute in a nanosecond what takes a gaggle of Ivy Leaguers to figure in a month of sundays.”

    HFT #479: “Once we gain power, you’ll go far, kid.”

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    The best new apple i’ve tasted is called Snapdragon, it’s a red apple that tastes like a Honeycrisp, but with even more crisp and seemingly flavor cells burst in your mouth with every bite, magnificent!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “During apple season, Susan Brown can bite into hundreds of apples a day. She walks through her orchards, along rows containing hundreds of trees, biting and spitting, biting and spitting. Each year, she and her technician, Kevin Maloney, plant thousands upon thousands of apple seeds, and never know exactly what the fruit of the grown trees will taste like.”

    “When Brown and Maloney first bit into Snapdragon, it was the first tree in a row. One of its parents was Honeycrisp, the new and popular variety produced in Minnesota. On the other side of its family, it had ancestors including Monroe, Melrose, and Golden Delicious. As soon as Brown and Maloney tried it, they loved it. But the tree had so few fruit; they had to wait until the next year to see if it would grow more apples of the same quality. It did, and soon they started making trees for commercial grower trials, on an unusually speedy schedule.”

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/apples-breeding-experimental-orchard-fruit-growing?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=smithsonian

    Reply
  21. Bob Jones

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/21/opinion/sunday/jimmy-carter-lusts-trump-posting.html

    Holy malaise, batman! Wasn’t expecting much from the NYT and boy did they deliver, from the header to the last line Dowd is chiding and pedantic. The comments aren’t kind to her either.

    Cool to see Carter going so far off script though. Wonder how long it will take before his connections to white supremacist groups and/or the Russian government are made public.

    Also, anyone think there is any hope for a full transcript or a video version? This curating is even worse than the 60 minutes Bannon interview.

    Reply
  22. Kim Kaufman

    “US policy in Islamdom is a chaos. Part 1 ”

    re Afghanistan. I don’t see the US ever leaving there because of its dependence on the opium production. The CIA has been using it for its financing its off-the-books covert activities since the end of WWII.

    Reply
    1. sunny129

      Not just Afghanistan, just look at the south of the border, CIA’s involvement with Drug cartels and the Govt leaders starting with Mexico, Honduras ++

      NETFLIX has TV series on South American Drug Cartel mobsters and their enmeshment with CIA & DEA! Also see the recent movie, based on true events – AMERICAN MADE!

      The whole ‘war on DRUGS and the so called so called ‘TERRORISM” is a bonanza for these covert organizations with alphabet letters! Sheeple drink the kool aid doled out by American MSM, which is controlled by mere 6 mega Corporations!

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        You see some of what’s wrong, and that’s good and useful. Now the question is, what’s to be done to change the outcomes to something we mopes around the world have a chance of living with, halfway decently?

        Reply
  23. Oregoncharles

    “How I Socially Engineer Myself Into High Security Facilities Vice”

    Not too long after 9/11, PBS ran a program about the research reactors at universities scattered around the US; there’s one in my town, and one in Portland. Specifically, it was about security at those reactors.

    Turns out they’re mostly run by physics grad students. How did the program get into those reactors? They sent a pretty young woman. The budding physicists or nuclear engineers would tell her anything she wanted to know, and show her anything she wanted to see.

    Conclusion: there was no security at those facilities. I rather hope there is now, and maybe some women on the watch.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      How many times do they need to tell you that they have little to no control of what doesn’t show up? Sometimes people just have to post a second time, sometimes the second post does better.

      Reply
  24. JCC

    I know prediction is difficult, especially when it comes to predicting the future, but the CJ Hopkins article at CommonDreams seems to me to be pretty close to what we should expect for the next decade or two.

    Reply
  25. sunny129

    Wow!

    Already my ‘NOT so kind’ commens on the American ‘military industrial complex. (following)after the comment by BENYNLIPS, has already swallowed up blackholes of the moderator in cyberspace!

    Whose toes did I step on? Shame, Shame!

    is this NEW normal at NC? No different at other MSM sites!

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      Jesus Christ. Its an autoblock. It probably blocked it for curse words or something. They don’t filter them out individually. Calm down.

      Reply
  26. Plenue

    >Trump shouldn’t repeat Obama’s mistake in Iraq and Syria Editorial Board, WaPo

    Ah, of course. We need to ‘stay the course’. Lest those evil Rooskies and Persians get too much influence. Because god forbid the largest country in the middle-east have influence in nations right next door to it. No, Baghdad obviously needs to be ruled from a capital 6,000 miles away.

    Reply
  27. Objective Function

    Very sad to read of the coarse and pathetic self-immolation of my favorite dialectical materialist firebrand Sam Kriss, whom I first discovered via these pages. A fellow Labour activist recently came forward with a detailed account of being repeatedly groped and mishandled by him on a nightmare date (she eventually had to shove him off a bus to get away).

    Sam’s half-hearted apology on Medium didn’t help him either, and he has now been suspended by several publications, and from the Labour Party. You’d think a caustic wit who ran a “negative Turing test” as an online honey trap where creepy pickup artists try to hit on a robot horse (family blog, so you’ll need to google that yourself) and wrote brilliant pro-feminist rants like ( https://theoutline.com/post/2209/what-the-caves-are-trying-to-tell-us ) might have learned better judgment, or how to listen.

    I hope Sam eventually finds a way to make amends, but judgment and absolution now lies in the hands of a better and braver person.

    Reply

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