Links 10/27/17

Urge Texas A&M University to end their cruel and useless Muscular Dystrophy dog labs. Please sign. And if you know any Texas A&M grads, get them to send irate messages to the university president.

There’s a better way to wash pesticides off your apples CNET

238 Miles On Foot: Courtney Dauwalter Wins Moab Ultra GearJunkie (Chuck L)

In Antarctica, Two Key Glaciers Accelerate Toward the Sea New York Times (furzy)

Shocking photo shows Caribbean Sea being ‘choked to death by human waste’ Telegraph (resilc)

Here’s How the Weather ‘Bomb’ That May Soak New York Was Born Bloomberg

Senior Editor Admits Biased Political Agenda at New York Times Jewish Voice (TF)

Google Is Sorry Cloud Natural Language API rated being a Jew or homosexual as negative Motherboard (Dr. Kevin)

Digital cross-border constraints are a threat to a business’ growth, so it’s time to act South China Morning Post (furzy). This is Google et. al. trying to argue against the EU’s privacy and anti-monopoly laws as being bad for business. Yes, it is bad for their business.

High court citizenship case: Barnaby Joyce and four others ruled ineligible Guardian (YY). They are Australian MPs.

Australia’s Government Tries to Calm Nerves After Majority Wipeout Bloomberg

Gottiboff: After the housing collapse comes the job losses MacroBusiness. Sydney’s wildly overpriced housing market is finally taking a hit.

Trump Blames Russia for ‘Hurting’ U.S. Efforts on North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Reuters. Second para of the story:

In an interview with Fox Business Network, Trump said it would be easier to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue if the United States had a better relationship with Russia.

ECB to scale back bond buying, signaling policy shift Politico

ECB and Fed Are Growing Apart, Moving Markets Wall Street Journal

University academics to be replaced by Daily Mail readers NewsThump (J-LS)


There are alternatives: late Brexit or no Brexit Financial Times. Key part:

Whitehall public servants say two years was never going to be long enough to repatriate responsibilities devolved to Brussels during more than four decades. More than a year has already been wasted….

This is not just about setting up new customs arrangements, as complicated as that will be. Brexit demands an entirely new national infrastructure of regulation, standards-setting and oversight. Oh, and environment, fisheries and farm policies. Big government, you might call it. And nothing can be done until the cabinet agrees on the extent of future divergence from Brussels.


Catalan crisis: Spain senate debates emergency powers BBC

Catalan leader accuses Madrid of derailing last-minute compromise Politico


EU under mounting pressure to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia Guardian

Trump’s new war in Afghanistan Le Monde diplomatique (resilc)

The Qatar Blockade Could Cause A Regional Recession OilPrice

New Cold War

Twitter Bans Two Kremlin-Backed News Outlets From Advertising New York Times (furzy)

Twitter Versus RT: Which One is State Media Again? Counterpunch

Imperial Collapse Watch

It’s Not Just Niger — U.S. Military Activity Is a “Recruiting Tool” for Terror Groups Across West Africa Intercept. Resilc: “In a privatized military it’s called business development….if you have supply, you need demand growth.”

Bringing Back the Draft Won’t Stop Unnecessary Wars American Conservative. Resilc begs to differ.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

All you need to know about the new restrictions on traveling to the US Quartz (J-LS). I don’t know why anyone would come voluntarily to the US.

What Did Cambridge Analytica Really Do for Trump’s Campaign? Wired (resilc). Frustrating that the tech press parrots Cambridge Analytica vastly overblown claims. See here for a debunking.

Researchers Find Flaw That Could Turn LG Robot Vacuums Into Perfect Spying Machines Motherboard (resilc). This and Roombas, the only silly tech device that I was mildly interested in, since they double as cat toys.

Reddit conducts wide-ranging purge of offensive subreddits ars technica. A reader sent me a link to two child porn subreddits that are still up. The girls have some clothes on them but the comments are gross and make clear the viewers would love to hump the girls, who look to be all of seven years old. I’d link to them as proof but don’t want to get in trouble with the web filter police.

Days after activists sued, Georgia’s election server was wiped clean ars technica (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Trump’s Heated Political Rhetoric Spills Over into Classroom, Increasing Stress and Undermining Learning UCLA

Trump: Opioid ‘national shame’ a public health emergency BBC. Headline not accurate. Trump didn’t declare a public health emergency, as anticipated, which would have resulted in more funds being allocated to the problem. Why he doesn’t have the DoJ start by busting Purdue Pharma and certain pharmacy benefit managers is beyond me.

Trump’s answer to the opioid crisis is $57,000 and “Just say no” Vice

John Kelly’s dangerous aversion to criticism from civilians. Slate

Joe Arpaio Tells Steve Bannon He Wants to Head the Marshal’s Service Atlantic (resilc). I need to get working on that emigration plan….

Interior Department Proposes Huge Hike in National Park Fees New York Magazine. Resilc: “Did Trump subcontract the parks out to Disney?”

House Republicans growing impatient with Russia probe The Hill

Republicans spoil for a fight over Russia probe budget Politico

Tax “Reform”

Washington’s Biggest Mystery: What’s in the Republican Tax Plan? Bloomberg. Keeping the bill secret didn’t work with Obamacare reform.

Republicans Want to Make Corporate Tax Avoidance Even Easier American Prospect

What The GOP Budget Taught Us About The Party’s Tax Reform Plans FiveThirtyEight (resilc)


More ACA Plans to Come With No Premiums in 2018 Wall Street Journal

Gorka Says Hillary Clinton Is Guilty of Treason, Could ‘Get the Chair’ Daily Beast. Reslic: “The chair idea is fine, but not for this.”

Treasury calls for looser federal oversight of insurance companies The Hill (UserFriendly)

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats Are United Against Trump, Divided on Everything Else Wall Street Journal

Puerto Rico

Nurses returning from Puerto Rico accuse the federal government of leaving people to die Vox (resilc)

The Devastation of Puerto Rico Counterpunch

A CVS-Aetna Deal Is Logical But Also a Stretch Bloomberg

Gold-Backed Petro-Yuan Silliness: Reserve Currency Curse? FXStreet (furzy). Mish gets this 100% right. As an aside, I wind up not reading him any more by virtue of his having moved to a platform of some sort.

US visa-for-sale scheme set to stagger on Gillian Tett, Financial Times

US teenager who won golf competition denied trophy because she is a girl Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

George H.W. Bush apologizes for alleged groping incident Politico. Not to worry, this won’t dent Team Dem enthusiasm for him.

HBO, Penguin cancel ‘Game Change’ over Halperin’s alleged sexual harassment Politico. Eeew, some of this is really gross.

Naming sexual harassers without due process is mob justice Asia Times. While I know plenty of women who have been harassed, I also know two men and one woman personally who were falsely accused, and the process of getting the case dismissed was terribly damaging psychologically to one of the men. And worse, I know of no women personally who pushed cases where they have legitimate grievances. So my limited sample says there is a propensity for people to resort to the sexual harassment charge when they want to get someone in situations where a smear will do damage even if they lose (as in there are no adverse consequences for them to make flat out false or highly questionable charges. This is admittedly a comparatively rare set of circumstances yet it is disturbing that that does happen and with enough frequency that with my comparatively small circle I know of this many cases. But it also reflects that I stopped being an employee in male-dominated companies pretty young and thus know only generally pretty decent men. In one case amounted to three women separately complaining each only of one incident each that literally consisted of the man saying the woman was wearing a nice dress or cute shoes [I forget what the third one was but it was of the same ilk]. This was in an environment where management had an agenda against the man, and I assume they couldn’t go after him on the usual default, expense account abuse).

The problem is that the tables are normally so stacked against women that we lack mechanisms for handling this sort of thing well. By contrast, when I worked in Japan, the norms of what was acceptable and not acceptable were so well understood that if a woman complained to the personnel department at Sumitomo Bank (which unlike US companies, is powerful) the man was fired immediately. That was because it was also understood that the bar for complaining was high, since the overwhelming majority of women at Sumitomo in fact were interested in marrying a man there, and even the few women on the professional track would be concerned about hurting their position if they complained on minor matters (like a man complimenting a woman on her dress, which then would have been seen as perfectly fine). The practice was referred to as “the pink purge.” This was such a big deal that not abusing women employees was the topic that the chairman, one of the most powerful people in Japan, chose to discuss with the incoming class during their first month of training. The bank had lost too many promising men to the “pink purge” not to try to warn new employees that they were deadly serious about it. I think one reason management was so hard-nosed is that they viewed managers poaching on women as a source of unproductive gossip and tension, as well as concerns over favoritism.

Weinstein scandal puts nondisclosure agreements in the spotlight Los Angeles Times

ICO Alert (Richard Smith). Clive: “I did look through the entire list and feared that all the bases had already been covered. But then I did spot one remaining gap in the market: “tokenising and monetisation of cat videos”. I think I should bags that one now, before some other bright spark nabs it. I’ll be sure to remember you all when I’m sitting on my billions from the IPO. ” Moi: Investors in this stuff are the finance version of Darwin Award winners. So one could argue that taking them improves the caliber of investing…save that they ICO sponsors are crooks, so more money to them means they go do more harm. But just think if one instead did some ICO-based Robin Hoodery…say, 80% to feed the homeless, 10% for the greater good of Naked Capitalism, and 10% to sue CalPERS.

Amazon’s stock price is soaring after its financial results crushed third-quarter expectations Recode

Amazon Threat Causes Shakeout in the Health-Care Industry Bloomberg

Guillotine Watch

Rolex Daytona Sells For $17,752,500, Becoming The World’s Most Expensive Wristwatch Ever Sold Hodinkee. Mason K: “This is auction report for Paul Newman’s watch. It was the most expensive wrist watch ever sold. Also, 80,200 people are homeless in Chicago, where I live, and where nighttime lows are already in the 30s.” Moi: And Rolexes aren’t particularly good watches either.

Class Warfare

How to Stop Gentrification and House a Nation Counterpunch

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Happy Halloween from the Horned Owls of Huntington Beach Central Park.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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  1. WobblyTelomeres

    Thank you for the “Mish” link. He rather succinctly addresses my petrodollar question from three days ago.

    1. timbers

      I second that. Which leads to the a question:

      What IS a useful sign that might indicate the status of the USD as THE world currency could be changing?

      With the U.S. using it’s currency hegemony so often to control nations, the list of those wanting to end it is on the rise.

      1. jsn

        Mish’s point about the currency needing to be distributed deeply around the world and traded in a highly liquid bond market are in my mind the key indicators.

        I personally think a massive drop in international trade and a reversion to earlier means of financing trade, like letters of credit, will be a more likely outcome than a change over to a new dominant currency.

        The nations who have the capability to finance world trade, other than the US, have no interest in making their currency nor their domestic labor markets subject to global trade fluctuations in the way the US has since WW2. This willingness is the political corollary to the financial requirement that the currency be widely distributed.

        1. timbers

          This makes me think that escaping the USD “hegemony” is possible, and separate from, USD as the world currency.

          For example China and Russia claim to have completed or nearly completed an alternative to SWIFT.

          Does creating this so called alternative to SWIFT allow nations to blunt some of the bad affect os U.S. sanctions?

          1. jsn

            In my opinion, the US has over the last two decades tried to weaponize its reserve currency status using digital advances to impose policy through the dollar clearing system, and SWIFT has been central to that.

            To my memory, this was first done as a response to 9/11 going after terrorists, but I suspect it had been going on earlier.

            The China Russia thing that other countries are beginning to engage with is expressly to circumvent this weaponization of the dollar trading system. That is a very different program from trying to achieve “reserve currency” status.

            1. timbers

              Could Greece develope an alternative to SWIFT – or the EUR version of it – and escape the “weaponized” austerity imposed upon it?

      2. Jef

        “What IS a useful sign that might indicate the status of the USD as THE world currency could be changing?”

        When the US MIC begins to disband.

          1. Wukchumni

            Actually, Spanish 8 Reales coins (aka dollars) were made out of silver and legal tender in the USA until 1858.

            At the Donner Museum there is a photo of their money that they hid away during their ordeal in the 1840’s and was found in the 1890’s, and about 1/2 of it was in the form of Spanish 8 Reales, to give you an idea of how commonly it circulated.

                1. jsn

                  Yes I knew that, I also know that most of the silver that Spain imported from the New World advected to China as China was using silver for trade at the time and silver inflation in Spain essentially drove it out of the country (which would explain in part why it was still in circulation elsewhere hundreds of years latter).

                  Most of what I know about Spanish money I’ve learned laterally from other bits of history.

                  I’ve been told the reign of Charles II in Spain is a reasonable analogue for the current condition of our Empire, but haven’t had time yet to test the claim!

                  1. Wukchumni

                    China was all about silver in terms of their economy, and Spanish galleons plied the trade from Mexico to the far east and points inbetween, bringing back goodies from the orient bought with silver. A number of sunken galleons have been found in the past 40 years around Indonesia, the Philippines, etc., some full of Ming dynasty porcelain, worth a large fortune, today.

                  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Also silver from Japan.

                    From Iwami Ginzan (Wikipedia):

                    Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine played a pivotal role in East Asian trade, where silver was a key currency. In Europe and China, the mine had been known as the largest silver mine that could compare to the renowned Spanish colonial Cerro Rico mine of Potosí in the Viceroyalty of Peru, a present-day World Heritage Site in Bolivia.
                    In foreign countries, because the silver mined at Iwami Ginzan was of very high quality, it came to be known as one of the Japanese brands of silver, sold as “Soma Silver”. The name derived from the village of Sama (Soma) in which the mine was located. This silver was given the highest trading credit in East Asia. From the 17th century on, the silver coins made from the mine’s silver were traded as not only one of the basic currencies within Japan, but also as the currency for trade with China, Portugal, and the Netherlands. (Portugal began trading with Japan in late 16th century, and the Netherlands in the 17th century)

        1. John k

          It’s when the world’s savers decide they want something else in their mattress, with the restriction it must be a currency whose country is willing to accept a huge trade deficit and the resulting loss of jobs. No contenders just now…
          Only then will the savers stop bidding up dollars, resulting in the end of our trade deficit.

          Of course, oil being fungible, it could be priced in anything without affecting the reserve currency. It’s all about savers’ preferences.

            1. John k

              Thought that is what I said… our deficit is their surplus.
              Anybody that accepts reserve currency status must run a trade deficit and accept the resulting loss of jobs, anathema to china, Germany, etc.
              we win, if that is the right term, by default.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Having the world’s reserve currency is a curse because it necessitates a willingness to have endless trade deficits .
      Mathematically, as long as China runs surpluses, foreign holding of yuan will not match foreign holding of dollars.

      While I don’t pretend to know much about this subject, I do have a question. In all the time that the dollar has been the world’s reserve currency, has the u. s. always had a trade deficit? I was under the impression that there was a time when the u. s. was a net exporter. Back when manufacturing was not a dirty word.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Back when manufacturing was not a dirty word.

        Or, perhaps, back when the rest of the industrialized world was recovering from the smoking hellpit that was WWII?

      2. Brian

        Yes K; And this is likely a “big” part of the deal, the reason why other nations are itchy about having to make deals that harm them consistently. A hot potato(e) to pass on to others if you will, just don’t get stuck with it as more and more money is printed to devalue the whole every day of every week. Isn’t it rather like paying a bookie for everything you purchase?

      3. jsn

        The Marshall Plan programs charged the world with dollars, both to rebuild defeated adversaries and damaged allies in our likeness and to spur the purchase of US manufactures, the dominant industrial plant on earth at the time.

        The success of that effort left out former enemies and allies with newer better plant than we had when they re-built. That and the petering out of the Texas oil fields left us as net importers by the late sixties.

        Nixon ended Bretton Woods at that point to prevent the BW required export of gold periodically to settle the foreign trade balances. At that point our new competitors figured out they could run classical mercantilist policies and the US would fund them with fiat by using US unemployment to anchor the foreign trade value of the dollar.

        That system was adapted by US multinationals to enrich their executive suites who then used the wealth thus made to distort US government through “campaign finance” to sustain the unemployment anchor for the dollar. This has left the US a hollow shell that continues to fund its own erosion through a Fed/Treasury that no longer cares at all about most Americans. It will take a political event to end this in my opinion, the nature of fiat means the Fed/Treasury can sustain the financial ponzi indefinitely, or that is, until external reality intervenes.

        So I think the short answer is yes: the willingness to make that massive deficit grant is what made the dollar the “reserve currency”.

        1. Wukchumni

          {…pulls on tinfoil hat tight…}

          Having watched Wall*Street on it’s worst behavior morally the past decade and inclined to steal whenever possible, I kind of wondered what has become of our Au reserves underground in the Big Apple and in Fort Knox as well.

          In theory it’s all held in 400 oz bars, of which there is scant accounting as few have access, and if I was a bad apple highly placed on Wall*Street with access to the barbarous, this is what i’d do:

          Tungsten has just about the same specific gravity as gold in density and is worth bupkis, and is very brittle making it a non-starter in terms of counterfeiting struck coins that would need to be gold-plated to pass muster, but switch out 400 ounce gold-plated tungsten bars for the real thing, and they would be the perfect host for a crime of a magnitude unimaginable heretofore.

          I can only hope that this hasn’t happened yet, or that i’m giving them any ideas…

        2. psv

          Thanks for this explanation, jsn. Could you explain one thing further for me, though? I don’t quite understand how unemployment anchors the foreign trade value of the dollar.

          1. jsn

            High interest rates are used to slow the economy which creates unemployment.
            Unemployment reduces labor bargaining power.
            Capital is able to capture a greater share of the value of increased productivity as profit rather than sharing it as wages.

            At the same time high interest rates attract foreign capital.
            Foreign exporters are able to benefit from the same greater profit share in the US.
            That profit share gets recycled to the US as Bond purchases.

            Deregulation created “consumer credit” which has been used to give US workers their share of the value of increased productivity but as debt rather than equity.

            US workers, through this debt, have sustained demand which has been made even more profitable by the theft of the wage share of productivity gains by capital after capital has loaned that share back to them in the innumerable forms of debt no endemic to our system on which workers pay interest for income that should have been theirs.

            I had a longer version of this that I either obliterated with fat fingers or it may emerge from moderations…

            1. jsn

              Simpler still:
              High interest rate policy deliberately creates unemployment to suppress inflation.

              High interest rates also attracts foreign capital.

              Foreign demand for T Bonds drives up foreign purchasing power of the dollar.

              Using unemployment to suppress inflation creates a strong dollar.

                1. jsn

                  It’s confusing now because it still works with near zero interest rates. That’s because the entire trade circuit has been habituated to free money from the Fed, so even with consumers maxed out on debt foreign exporters continue to recycle their profits here to manufacture demand to pay for their products and keep their local politics pliant.

                  As long as Fed continues to stuff banks with free money conjured from nothing but trust, the whole charade is monetarily sustainable. Rather than The Communist International, it’s a sort of Communism for Multinationals, run by Central Banks!

              1. Lord Koos

                In whose world is inflation being suppressed? Aside from wages, food, medical costs, and housing costs have all inflated greatly since 2007. Of course, suppressing workers’ pay is the whole point I guess.

                1. jsn

                  Yes, I don’t agree with the Fed inflation definition, but the policy focus is wage suppression which creates an anchor for those sectors of the economy free of other subsidies.

  2. taunger

    Counterpunch article on gentrification is so poorly written/edited as to be near unreadable and incredible.

    1. xformbykr

      I had no trouble following the article and found the material interesting and even hopeful. How to ‘insulate’ areas from the market at large is complex to be sure. The article’s stories of the grassroots activities were very interesting.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Agreed. And I didn’t see a word about housing co-ops. Perhaps diptherio can weigh in on this topic.

      1. diptherio

        That article didn’t make my cut this morning, so I have no comments on it. But housing co-ops are a good way to maintain affordable housing…so long as they are properly structured. Limited-Equity co-ops are the way to go.

        In a housing co-op, you buy a share that gives you the right to occupy one of the units (often there’s a monthly maintenance fee too). If you decide to move-on, you can sell your share to another person to recoup your membership buy-in, or the co-op will buy it back from you. Of course, in a market with skyrocketing housing prices, the market-value of a co-op member share skyrockets as well, which decreases affordability and increased the chance of de-mutualization if enough people decide they’d rather cash out their share than keep living in the co-op.

        So limited-equity co-ops specify that shares can only increase in value at some fixed rate — i.e. if you bought your share for $5,000, you’ll only be able to sell it for $6,000 after 10 years (as an example). That way, affordablility is maintained and the co-op is protected from de-mutualization by ensuring that it will not have to come up with a bunch of money to buy-out someone’s share if the surrounding housing market happens to get hot.

        1. Steve in CT

          I was an affordable housing developer in CT for almost 40 yrs operating on a small scale. Before that I worked in the late 60’s and early 70’s at New Haven Redevelopment Agency. During that time, the Agency developed a large number of limited equity coops on Redeveloment land using federal money and federal housing Section 236 program. They were scattered all over the city in urban renewal neighborhoods.

          By late 80’s all but a couple had defaulted and were no longer coops. The conclusion of most observers including me was that limiting the equity gave the occupants the attitude that they were really only tenants and not owners. Common fees remained static because the incomes of the coop members were very low. Little maintenance was done and the projects started to show deterioration.

          Limited equity coops in CT have no credibility even now so no one even thinks about developing any. This has been the case for many years.

          1. diptherio

            Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience. Interesting. I hadn’t heard about the CT co-ops before, but I do know that a lot of co-ops went under in the late ’80s, due at least in part to the financial market crash.

            The problem of getting people into an ownership mindset, as compared to an employee or consumer mindset, is a common one for co-ops of all types. That’s why extended education on co-ops is indicated in almost all situations where people are starting a co-op, and for new members being brought in to an existing one. All too often this essential preparatory step is skipped over in the rush to get to “doing something.”

            Jessica Gordon-Nembhard has commented often that what she discovered while writing the book Collective Courage, a history of Black co-ops in the US, is that every successful co-op started with a book club or study group of some kind. I think it’s a lesson worth remembering for those of us looking to develop cooperative projects.

            I’ll also add that statements like “The Agency developed a number of housing co-ops…” give me the impression that this was a top-down affair — a situation which is often fatal to co-ops, for exactly the reasons you describe. Imho, co-ops need to be developed by the members, with assistance from agencies like yours, not developed by the agencies and “filled-in” with members. The latter way is a recipe for ending up with members who are there for the wrong reasons, and without the requisite knowledge or passion to make it work…that’s my 2 cents.

            1. Steve in CT

              You are correct that in New Haven it was a top down effort. The Agency did do training but the impetus came from above. Also the Agency loaned some occupants the money to buy in. I knew the people who ran the program and they were really good people but the community was only involved after the project was approved.

              I wonder if housing coops are more likely to fold that other types? I have not been able to see how either model works very well for housing. It did get some very low income families in new housing.

        2. jrs

          It sounds a lot like rent control, although I’m still confused about who buys the property in the first place? Is it bought in the housing market at market rate (or is the argument this should be heavily government incentivized or even that the property should be owned by the government?) If it’s bought at market rate and we’re talking about the things Julia Stein writes about, that is EXPENSIVE housing markets, it seems you need to be doing quite well financially to even get in the door.

          So in that case it’s not the most pressing issue for an affordable housing article, when people are struggling to pay rents.

          1. Steve in CT

            In New Haven the land was taken by eminent domain which is how Redevelopment Agencies all over the U.S. acquired land back then. Presumably it was taken at market rate prices. The federal gov’t paid the cost and it was put into the coop project for $1.00. It was definitely not market rate housing because of the federal mortgage program.

            These days that program is not available so if a new development is being proposed the developer whether private or non-profit would have to pay market value. In order to become affordable, which is a very vague designation used by many to mean different things, the only program is low income housing tax credits which usually means 20% of the units have to be affordable for families earning 80% of median income.

    3. Theo

      There are a number of awkward sentences but the mistakes are ones of one or two extra words or loss of an “and,” or other mistakes, all of which are easily corrected mentally by the reader. Yes, it should have been better edited. One sees mistakes such as these quite often on the internet. The article is highly informative and is recommended reading.

    4. Alex Morfesis

      Counterpoint gentrification julia stein…really like julia stein but hopefully she was just misled by the closet lib racists lurking around america…chicago and nhs as an example of ? Grassroots ?…

      To the victor go the history books…nhs(neighborhood reinvestment corporation) was authorized by congress as a federality, like the red cross and the imf and it was and has always been of the banks, by the banks and for the banks…hopefully she just didn’t dig deep and just drank the juice…

      But speaking of chicago…no mention of polikoff and the pirg krewe milking the gautreaux case for 40 years and the planned disruption and destruction of black chicago in the name of “helping”…

      And how can one discuss “affordable housing” & fighting gentrification without mentioning “Electchester” in new york city, just off the highway, in pomonok, south flushing, queens, owned and control by
      the ibew local #3

      No soup for you julia…

  3. timotheus

    The non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment lawsuits are the private-life version of the non-admission-of-wrongdoing deals for the bankster class. So individuals can be unmasked, but the corporate guys remain untouched. Moral: if you keep your hands to yourself, it’s okay to use them to stuff other people’s cash into your own pockets.

  4. Wukchumni

    “The plan to raise entry fees and collect an addition $70 million in revenue follows the proposal in Trump’s budget to cut $400 million from the National Parks Service. If Congress gives Trump what he wants and the fee increase goes through, that would leave the parks with $330 million less than they had last year while Americans are asked to pay nearly three times as much to visit. Sounds like a bad deal.”

    I’m not so hep to goings on in other National Parks, but am intimately familiar with Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP, having made my first visit here in 1963, and at that time the infrastructure was mostly new (not that I knew, I was just a toddler) on account of “Mission 66”, a decade long effort to modernize the National Parks in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the NPS, which commenced in the mid 1950’s. The main visitor center @ Lodgepole in the NP was built in the early 60’s and the men’s bathroom has 3 toilets and 2 urinals-this for a NP that gets close to 2 million visitors a year. That’s just a taste of the $12 billion backlog of projects in all of our NP’s that’s needed to bring them into the 21st century. All over SEKI you’ll find infrastructure that’s horribly dated, inadequate for use based on demand, or both.

    During the main season in the summer, it’s not uncommon in busy times for there to be not enough parking for the amount of cars, so you’ll see people driving around kind of aimlessly, frustrated at not being able to see much, aside from out the windows of their jalopy.

    A $70 fee to get into the NP will certainly cut down the amount of visitors, but the proposed $400 million deficit in NP funding will also lessen the amount of scant services available, a lose-lose deal.

    For the past decade, i’ve been watching services in SEKI get cut in a multitude of ways, such as the road between Sequoia and Grant Grove in the winter not being cleared anymore, after 75 years of it being cleared, that sort of thing.

    Our National Parks are our treasure, and one of the few things we’ve largely left alone in not developing them too much-in terms of intruding on nature, but the creature comforts as far as human beings go, need an overhaul bad. We really needed a ‘Mission 16’, but to give you an idea of how things are now, last year on the centennial of the NPS here in SEKI, if you were around on the date of the 100th anniversary and went into the visitors center or a ranger station, they gave you a 1×1 inch piece of cake and a commemorative decal, to celebrate.

    1. jackiebass

      Sound like a bad deal depend on who you are. For the Trump administration it is a good deal. For the rest of us it’s a bad deal. Remember Trump says he only make good deals without defining what good means. This is one part of Trumps version of make America great again.

    2. Carolinian

      Trump probably sees public recreation like National Parks as competing with his resorts and golf courses. However the Republicans, going back at least to Gingrich, have put public lands in the bulls eye as part of their drive to drown government in a bath tub. Extremism didn’t start with Trump. And lets not forget that the Clintinoids such as Bruce Babbitt also favored user fees and Babbitt said people paid big bucks to get into Disneyland, why not the National Parks?

      Ironically rich people like the Rockefellers were once some of the biggest supporters of the National Parks and saw these shared “commons” as fostering a sense of unity and patriotism in our polyglot nation of immigrants. But noblesse oblige is out the window in late imperial America where the only thing that seems to matter is money–at least to the elites. The public in general still love the parks, and these moves by Trump could be a club to be used by the Dems if they weren’t so obsessed by Russia.

      Some of the parks are grossly overcrowded and solutions need to be found. But they belong to all of us, not just to those who can afford the admission.

    3. nihil obstet

      Two suggestions on the national parks:
      1) We need more of them. Every park doesn’t need to be centered on something as spectacular as Yellowstone. Cheap, accessible parks would help reduce the crowding in the major publicized ones.
      2) The park service needs to develop ways of reducing auto traffic in the parks. Automobile traffic jams are not non-invasive compared to public vans/buses. Frequently run “get on/get off wherever you want” circuits around the parks could make some experimenting with keeping many cars out possible.

      1. Wukchumni

        Zion NP has eliminated car traffic, and you have to take a bus to get anywhere, and it’s the perfect setup as the road dead ends @ the Narrows. We were on a bus there a few months ago, and thought it was done well.

        Here in Sequoia NP there are free shuttle buses all over the place that take off from the usual spots: the Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow, etc. The problem being, that you have to drive your car about 20 miles* into the NP, to be able to park it and hop on a bus. They’re quite cosmopolitan in that when you’re on board, often english is a 2nd language, and you’ll often hear half a dozen tongues being spoken.

        * a very windy mountain road not suited for buses

      2. curlydan

        Completely agree with the need for more parks. It could be a major initiative and job creator–moreso than the ridiculous pipelines being constructed here and there.

        The same may be said of state parks. On my last two visits to Texas, I have either been delayed for 1 hour getting into Enchanted Rock or simply turned away from another state park nearby. The overcrowding is ridiculous.

        Also, they need more campgrounds. Making a reservation 6 months in advance for a weekend campground is a major pain.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    I think Gorka is way off-base about HRC’s future. While I recall something about Hillary’s own pre-election concerns about the gallows, most of her detractors are enjoying her misery and ongoing self-humiliation too much to bring it to an end.

  6. Andrew

    re: Massachusetts golfer

    To clarify, Emily Nash played from the men’s tees – so no advantage. Also, the “runner-up” who got the trophy offered it to Emily who declined.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      I understand that she played without handicap and still beat all the boys, but the rules are in place for a reason. Would there be the same outrage if a boy who played in a girls tournament won and was denied the trophy?

      And the boy who offered the trophy to her showed great class.

      1. TK421

        Would there be the same outrage if a boy who played in a girls tournament won and was denied the trophy?

        Considering that boys are prohibited from entering a girls’ tournament, we’ll never know. I guess that’s “equality”.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          They are prohibited because they would win most of the time. Upper class boys (junior and senior) should hit the ball longer than their female counterparts on average. The young lady who won is a fantastic golfer.

          1. Anon

            Yes, in most sports (after puberty) boys have a distinct size and strength advantage. Golf, however, is a supreme *skill* sport that requires exquisite muscle control, as much as muscle power. Like swimming, golf is a *technique* sport that additionally requires consummate recognition of how to apply one’s game to the golf course at hand.

            (This is why weekend golfers bend their clubs.)

      2. makedoanmend

        “…but the rules are in place for a reason.”

        For what reason? Just because people makes rules don’t make the rules necessarily good nor the reasons good?

        As for the fella playing and beating all the girls in a girl’s tournament, I don’t imagine there would be all that much outrage.

        I don’t play golf (ruins a good walk…WC Fields?) but I’d imagine that at a certain age, as females tend to mature a bit earlier, a golf tournament with boys and girls is doable. Might instil a certain respect between all players and hopefully that respect would linger into later life for all concerned.

        1. Brian

          Hear hear MDA, the “reason” appears to be ego related instead of performance based. The people sponsoring such a tournament appear to have a problem with inclusion. To those folks, the boys were “beaten”, not the girl did best. I hope they work on understanding that part.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          As for the fella playing and beating all the girls in a girl’s tournament, I don’t imagine there would be all that much outrage.

          Oh yes there would.. the parents would cry foul at it. They would complain that the boy has a physical advantage, even if there isn’t one.

          1. diptherio

            I suggest switching from gender/age based divisions to weight classes, like in boxing or wrestling. That should just about level the playing field…so to speak…

  7. Marco

    A financially distressed acquaintance starting driving for Uber (and Lyft…most drivers do both…and Lyft is just as bad) He shares that his faith in humanity could never be lower. Most users never really understand the horribly “extractive” act of wearing out a vehicle (most driving scenarios are punishing for an automobile) And the way Uber and Lyft “train” riders to always expect a cheap fare. Also his experience is that only 1 in 10 passengers manage to tip. After gas and repairs he estimates hourly rate around $5.

    1. j84ustin

      I try to tell my friends that Uber and Lyft are highly exploitative and should be avoided. I generally get one of two responses: I know, and I feel for them, but it’s too convenient; or, well, then they shouldn’t drive for Uber and Lyft. I continue to take public transit, occasionally drive/bike or rarely taxi.

      1. John

        Re: highly exploitative and should be avoided

        I’ve had similar “discussions” with “progressive” friends when talking about immigration. Generally it goes:

        Them: It’s wrong to limit immigration because it would be immoral.
        Me: Wouldn’t it cause wages to increase, which would be a good thing (right)?
        Them: We can’t do that, my lettuce would cost too much. But we should have a minimum wage of $15.
        Me: Wouldn’t that cause lettuce to go up?
        Them: No, it’s been shown that minimum wages don’t affect prices.

        1. jrs

          no those who defend immigration are really not purely in it for themselves, they are often advocating for the immigrants (I don’t mean business people who want cheap labor, but those are probably not the progressives you talk to either). I mean illegal immigrants actually are kept in often cruel ICE detention centers, the dreamers actually often do know no other country than the U.S. as they did grow up here etc.

          And I’m not saying immigration is all win-win or anything, I really think population growth in most cities isn’t working, I’m just saying where the perspective actually comes from, and it’s not the same one as: “I want cheap Uber fare so that my ride is cheap!”

      2. John k

        I find this idea confusing. Dont the drivers want your business? Aren’t you hurting the drivers by boycotting them? What would they say if asked?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          The drivers want some of your business, not all of it. My buddy tells me a trip to the airport for example is a pretty decent fare. But mixed in with those are all the other cheap rides that are money-losers. Unfortunately the drivers don’t really get to pick and choose so it’s a crapshoot whether you’ll make any money at all on any given day.

          If you asked my buddy whether you should book a ride with him, he would say that the job sucks, he only does it to maintain some sanity while he looks for something better, and he doesn’t really want your $3 fare because it will cost him $$$. Luckily for him his household has a 2nd income stream or he’d probably be living in his car too based on what he makes from driving it.

    2. RUKidding

      I don’t need a taxi/taxi-like service very often, but when I do, I hire a cab. I am currently using a cab driver in my home town as my go-to cab service. He is reliable. His fare is higher than Uber, but then he is licensed and has had to pass certain tests to get one. I prefer to pay his higher rate, which compensates him appropriately for the use of his cab and his time.

      If people can’t afford a real cab, then maybe they should, as j84ustin says he does, walk, take public transit (if available), bike, drive themselves or just not go.

      In another place that I live part-time, I have a friend who has asked me to utilize her like a cab. I have mis-givings, but she needs the money. I’m glad she’s not driving for Uber. I pay her approximately what I would pay a cab, which I have used, for the same drive.

      I don’t want to stiff people, which is what you’re doing when you use Uber or Lyft, even you tip.

      Most people don’t believe me when I tell them how poorly Uber/Lyft drivers are making out on this deal, but then again, they simply don’t want to believe that this is a super bad deal for the driver when they are getting such a “good deal” themselves.

      It’s all about MEEEEEEE. And I’m entitled to cheap everything that clearly rips someone off somewhere along the line. But who cares? I got mine, eff everyone else.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          And this is what I tell my family members if they use Uber.. tip the driver or he is losing money.

          1. Solar Hero

            Exactly. Public Trans. in Marin Cty, CA sux so I use Uber all the time, carry cash and tip $5 for each $10 of fare (stil cheaper than a lic. cab)

    3. lyman alpha blob

      My buddy in Seattle is in the same boat. He reports that many of the fares he gets are $3 rides taking millennials down the hill to their Amazon jobs and that they rarely tip. For comparison, I believe a peak hour bus fare in Seattle is now more than that. A door to door car trip that’s cheaper than public transportation can only be done by ripping off the driver and/or blowing billions of venture capital to subsidize the real cost.

      Never taken an illegal cab (aka Uber/Lyft) myself and I just don’t understand the mentality of those who do use them for these short trips. Are they too precious to take the bus? Do they not understand that the fare they are paying hardly pays the driver’s expenses?

      When I lived in Seattle I would never have dreamed of getting in a cab and paying less than $5 even if I were just riding a few blocks up the street to avoid the rain. And that was 20 years ago.

      Not sure if you can still do this or not, but here’s a tip for those looking for a real cab ride who want to keep the cab driver happy. If you’re taking a relatively quick trip, negotiate a rate with the driver before getting in and ask them to leave the meter off. The good drivers will jump at the offer because they can make a few bucks without losing their spot in the dispatching queue; otherwise they might be taking your $5-10 fare at the expense of a much better one.

        1. Lord Koos

          You can go across town in Chiang Mai Thailand for about $2, riding in the back of small pickup trucks aka songtaews, even cheaper riding in the little 3-wheeled tuk-tuks.

    4. Chris

      Thank you Marco, a friend of mine was laid off recently, almost 60 years old. Five years till gets the ‘aged’ (pension, and lucky – my sons will have to wait till 70 (because we all living longer ffs)), plenty of other jobs, but too old…

      Bought new Mazda for around $40k and loves the job.

      Making $1600 on good week, so he appears to be making enough for the cost of the car.

      Yet, I also know that, unlike Taxi plates which are capped in number, Uber and Lyft and GoCatch and others, including those working for self, have no such cap and Uber will keep hiring drivers, regardless of your capacity to earn. More drivers for Uber, more for them.

      As aside, I am also needing some income, so my own car is going out to work for me. Shame it’s not driverless

    5. homeroid

      I have been driving cab for off and on 30+ years. I do not own my cab, i pay a lease. The owner maintains the cab. Does all the paperwork,keeps track of the other drivers who lease the cab. A small company we have four cabs and nine drivers. Small city Alaska what can i say. Uber Lyft would not work here. The wear and tear alone would bankrupt an individual. I make good money in the summer tourist season, after that it’s community service. come Jan-Feb about three dollars an hour. But hell somebody’s got to do it.

  8. John A

    The ridiculous Newman watch price reminds me of the ridiculously expensive, very old bottle of French wine bought at auction, allegedly once owned by Franklin or Jefferson or one of that ilk. It got proudly put in a glass case on display with a spotlight on it. The heat caused the cork to shrink and drop into the bottle so perforce, the wine was actually tasted. The worst ever vinegar.

    1. Wukchumni

      Watches are one of the few things that men who are paid exorbitant amounts of money, can show off on their person. A man with a flawless 28 carat diamond pinkie ring would simply look ridiculous, in comparison. a nearly $18 million dollar watch speaks volumes, although it tells the very same time as a $18 Timex. On top of things, Rolexes are considered quite gauche compared to Patek Philippe’s, IWC and a host of other high end Swiss watches.

      The proof of this is in the idea that no vintage woman’s watch is worth anywhere near as much, but then again women have a multitude of ways of playing the peacock, other than a ticking bracelet.

    2. Jbird

      I don’t think heating the wine so much that the cork helped either. There’s a reason wine is often stored in a cool dark cellar.

    3. Jbird

      I don’t think it was age, but heating the wine so much that the cork failed. There’s a reason wine is often stored in a cool dark cellar.

  9. Patrick H

    Fed Race Narrows to Choice Between Tweedledum, Tweedledee

    The contest to become the next Federal Reserve chairman appears to have narrowed to a two horse race, with President Donald Trump sending mixed signals that suggest he’s undecided between the claims of Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

    ”I really like Tweedledum,” Trump told Fox News early Friday. ”He’s my kind of guy. A winner!”

    The apparently robust message of support sent a frisson of excitement through the Tweedledum camp. The candidate, a distinguished academic, is best known for a landmark paper arguing that monetary policy — and, in some interpretations, policy on defense, education and foreign affairs — is best left to algorithms.

    But later in the day, the president was singing a different tune.

    ”VERY impressed by Tweedledee,” Trump tweeted after meeting the incumbent. ”Hunble, respectful — and smart! We could do a lot worse!”

    In her four-year tenure at the Fed, Tweedledee has raised rates by a handful of basis points and done little else. That, her defenders say, is a powerful argument for keeping her on: With monetary policy a busted flush, there is nothing good the Fed can do for the economy, and the best that can be hoped for is a Chair who doesn’t actively make it worse.

    ”This is a time for masterly inactivity,” a senior economist said. ”We know that Tweedledee won’t do anything much. She deserves another chance to do it!”

    Trump’s decision is being treated as a matter of cosmic importance by investors, because of the enormous powers the Fed is supposed to wield. The past decade, however, has provided ample reason to question how far those powers extend beyond asset markets and into the real economy. Monetary policy makers have proved that they can put a floor under output in a crunch, but have little idea how to make it rise significantly above that floor. And they have no tools capable of fixing the worsening problem of distribution.

    In the event of another crunch, the economist said, it will probably make little difference who holds the reins at the Fed.

    ”Tweedledum would probably do some more QE,” he said. ”Tweedledee would too. What else have they got? But it won’t work. ”

    1. flaneur-frustre

      Delectable comment! So true. Much better than anything the Borowitz report could come up with.
      More like it, please!

  10. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    My stepson worked for Yahoo in London during the mid nineties & was tasked with finding & assessing child pornography sites. I happened to visit him after about a month of it, just before he had a nervous breakdown & left the job.

    He used Roy Batty’s words in a completely different sense one night when he said ” I have seen things you people would not believe “.

  11. JacobiteInTraining

    I decided to implement your CatVidCoin ICO in Basic as a POC, since that would add ‘nostalgia’ to ‘cute’ and lead to megaprofit.

    I started with:

    10 Print”Watch Cat Video!”
    20 GoSub 30
    25 End
    30 Print”CatVidCoin Created!”
    40 Return

    This was great – so for every cat video watched, a CatVidCoin was created. Sadly, my AppleSoft Basic skills weren’t enough to expand beyond this basic app so I ended up with only a single $1 trillion CatVidCoin. Can’t hardly unload that on anyone, well…maybe a CentralBank somewhere might be interested…so I took a stab in the dark…changed line 25:

    10 Print”Watch Cat Video!”
    20 GoSub 30
    25 GoTo 10
    30 Print”CatVidCoin Created!”
    40 Return

    Now I have infinite CatVidCoin inflation. :(

    Well, I’ll stay on it and get back to you….

    btw, I’ve picked out a space for the new corporate front office and dev space. It’ll be an open office layout, vintage 80’s coinop videogames in every cube,free solylent and sodas, likely need to scale to 10-20,000 employees soon. 200 acres in downtown San Francisco should suffice, zoned commercial/office. It will be built in stainless steel and glass shaped like a giant kitty litter box. Can’t find suitably eccentric architect yet, but looking.

    Lets get cracking on this!

    1. Clive

      Just remember it was my idea. Sorry, got to go. I’ve got SoftBank on hold wanting to talk about making a strategic investment at pre-IPO pricing…

  12. Wukchumni

    Gold-Backed Petro-Yuan Silliness: Reserve Currency Curse? FXStreet

    At one time we cornered the market on all that glitters, holding something around 75% of all known above ground deposits. The Breton Woods agreement that made the U.S. Dollar the world’s reserve currency, perhaps only happened as we allowed foreign governments to use Dollars to buy as much of our gold as they desired @ a set price, a prospect not so likely in a broken and destroyed world that wondered more where the next meal was coming from, than accruing our currency.

    It’s hard to say how much of our gold was redeemed for Dollars by the time Nixon put the kibosh to the practice in 1971, but it’s pretty obvious that the flow of physical metal more recently has been largely on a 1-way street, to China.

    A ‘Goild’ standard seems like an anachronism, in that one of the things backing up your currency is something you hide away in a bank vault-while the other is what makes the world go, but should there be a repudiation of fiat currencies in any fashion, China would be sitting pretty, as the world scrambles to figure out plan B.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Naming sexual harassers without due process is mob justice Asia Times

    Its a very difficult issue. I’ve been involved on the Union side in cases and its frustrating on the one hand when I’ve talked to women who feel they’ve had problems, and I’ve no doubt they had, but they’ve been too ‘borderline’ to take through formal processes (i.e. the harrassment stopped short of being overt and proveable). The first time I was in the role I found it shocking and eye-opening at the number of complaints I received – I’d been in the organisation several years and had no idea what many of my female colleagues were facing. I found that the great majority just wanted someone to listen to their stories, almost all refused to make formal complaints.

    But I also know second hand of two cases where the accusations were almost certainly either false or greatly overstated. In one case (in an academic context) the woman had been accidentally employed in a technical role to which she was not qualified (someone simply misunderstood her qualifications), and within weeks brought allegations against a slightly eccentric but generally harmless colleague which got very nasty. Most thought she did it to protect her own situation. Another one was much worse – a woman who had been hired despite very dodgy references (there was chronic understaffing at the time and they were desperate) immediately brought allegations of bullying against female managers and sexual harrassment against male managers. One of the latter had to take medical leave as he found it so stressful. She bogged the whole organisation down in legal writs and formal complaints, it took them years (and a lot of money) to be rid of her. I actually suspect she had a personality disorder.

    I also, it should be said, know of a case where a male temporary staff member brought allegations of sexual harrassment against another male member of staff (a very quiet and shy man who was utterly baffled by this), but this was resolved when it was discovered the complainant was wanted by the FBI for murder! But that, as they say, is a very long story.

    1. el_tel

      I think personality disorders are an increasing issue… On both sides. As you suggest, they can be there on the complainant side and manifest in a destructive way against innocent bosses. I believe that (as implied by your post but apologies if I’m misinterpreting you) they are likely more common on the “boss” side, or if there on the complainant side they’re “legitimate” in showing boss malpractice.

      All very very difficult to unravel and lead to the horridly difficult cases you mention.

      1. Livius Drusus

        Social skills are also declining especially among the young as Jean Twenge and others have pointed out, largely due to too much time in front of screens and other devices and not enough in-person socializing.


        Workplaces will likely have to deal with interpersonal problems more often in the future as much of the future workforce will likely suffer from personality disorders and poor social skills. Talking to older workers, it seems like some of the issues that people are discussing now were resolved by the parties themselves before they ever became more serious and demanded formal action. I have no doubt that this was likely due to previous generations having superior social skills due to spending more time socializing in-person.

        1. el_tel

          I don’t deny that that’s *an* issue but most personality disorders develop due to exposure to inappropriate parenting skills. It’s very very difficult for modern medicine to “undo” these problems, particularly if not caught in adolescence and treated with a lot of psychotherapy.

          1. jrs

            shhhh don’t tell anyone or people might realize there are 40 somethings, 50 somethings, 60 somethings etc.. who still have some problems due to how they were brought up (although lack of social skills and full blown personality disorders like narcissism are actually usually on different axis of the DSMV), and all to old to primarily be the “smartphone generation” influenced by evil Apple and Android.

            I think adolescence is actually far too late in life to do much good because a great deal of the personality is formed by then, caught in childhood really is the only way.

        2. Ned

          Look me in the eye and speak clearly, answer questions and ask the right ones if you want to get hired.

          Anyone who looks at their phone during the interview is told to leave.

          What’s with people playing videos along with audio that everybody has to listen to on their phones in public places? I thought talking on cell phones sitting near strangers was bad…

          “HEY, is there some reason you can’t wear headphones?” seems to get their attention.

    2. RUKidding

      I know that a lot of sexual harassment goes on far to often, and typically is never addressed or addressed inadequately/inappropriately, or retaliation happens. I am glad that the “lid” is coming off, so that, hopefully, these types of workplace incidents will: a) decrease dramatically, and b) methods will become available for addressing situations appropriately and swiftly. As well as having those who are harrassed knowing that that they can come forward, be taken seriously and not face retaliation.

      That said, I am personnally aware of three distinct situations where sexual harrassment was alleged but did not really happen. IOW, false accusations. Like another incident discussed in a comment, above, one was by a woman who appeared to have a personality disorder, plus who was generally not competent for the job and was under some appropriate scrutiny that would likely lead to her dismissal. This person alleged sexual harrassment from a male colleague, which was 99% likely not true. But the business did take it seriously and implemented appropriate steps as if it was true. As they investigated it, the male quit in distress. It was a mess, and it took ages to finally dismiss the female employee who was quite clearly not competent for the job.

      Won’t go into the other 2 cases in detail but both involved very minor infractions that were definitely borderline as to whether actual sexual harassment really happened. One involved an off-color (but not that bad) joke told in front of a whole group of people with just one person from the group claiming they felt sexually harrassed by it (no one else did), and the other was someone complimenting a young female on her looks and clothing (not a good idea these days).

      I think clear rules and standards need to be set and implemented.

      That said, for the past 2 decades I have worked for organizations that have strong anti-sexual harassment policies in place, along with how to take steps to deal with it, if you feel you have been harassed.

      Where I see a gaping hole is what could be termed bullying or general, not sexual, harassment. In my experience, that’s happened more frequently in the workplace, but it’s hard to define it without any real legal standing. And while some workplaces do talk about having good working relationships and such, I’ve never seen any specific Anti-Bullying restrictions or processes for how to address it.

      1. el_tel

        Yeah bullying is rife in some sectors. When I see the “don’t hesitate to be a whistle blower” posters I laugh in a “that’s not funny” way.

      2. jrs

        oh yes, there are all kind of workplace abuses that are not illegal in any sense. The boss can be the sadist from heck, and it is not illegal. And if a woman were to allege sexual harassment in a bullying situation, or anyone to allege legally prohibited discrimination (on the basis of a protected category etc.) in a bullying situation, it’s kind of understandable even if they fabricate stuff, though of course it’s not really legitimate.

        The reality is that bullying that has nothing to do with a protected category or sexual comments or sexual favors or etc. isn’t illegal, but I could understand someone using it as their tool to fight back against an abusive but not otherwise illegal situation they have no actual legal recourse against. Because they ARE afterall being wronged, just not in a way that they have any real legal defense against. Most people of course just quietly move on and find another job, but that assumes one has other job prospects and of course all of these might be less for minorities, for older people etc..

    3. M Raymond Torres

      It is a very thorny issue and far more complex than is being discussed on the whole.

      For instance, what do we call unsolicited advances that we enjoy or are flattered by? If a drunk Leon Wieseltier gives me a sloppy kiss on the mouth, it’s harassment. If a drunk hot co-worker that I like kisses me in the hallway at the Christmas party? Seriously.

      I brought a sexual harassment complaint against my boss back in ’91. He was a highly-placed and powerful operative in the state Democratic party and a political henchman for the then Lt Governor. I knew that I was jeopardizing my career. And as unfair as that reality was, there was no way I was going to let him get away with what he was doing. What happened? Total CYA. They—pretty brilliantly—created a position for him with an accompanying $10K raise and made sure the position could not be construed as having any supervisory duties and then recommended me for a transfer to a much better, higher-paying job as well. Done and done.

      To say I was lucky is an understatement obviously. But I was prepared to end my career.

      In that same office I was having a flirtation that eventually blossomed into a brief secret affair. It began as I describe above with his grabbing me and kissing me in the hallway leading to the bathroom at a Christmas party in the home of an aide to the then Governor.

      If Mr Disgusting Boss Man had grabbed and kissed me, (well, first of all, I probably would have punched him) that really would have been harassment because he was my boss. But what if I was attracted to my boss? What if he kissed me but never used it in any way to manipulate or control me and it never was mentioned or happened again? What if I pretended like it was okay because I didn’t know how to respond. What if it really was okay, but only because I was drunk? What if…

      So many questions. In a society that doesn’t consider male sexual aggression to be a prima facie wrong, the borderland between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors is vast. And aggravatingly contextual.

      Is there really no difference between telling a co-worker that her mini-skirt made your day and asking for a massage in your underwear? Come on! Is a power imbalance really sufficient excuse for my choosing not to report my boss because it would interfere with the career path I was angling for? Really? Can I buy you a moral compass? I find so many of the responses self-serving at best and completely disingenuous at worst. I mean, who hasn’t heard of the “casting couch?” Just what did people think that meant?

      Also, one thing that really stands out is that this crusade doesn’t have an organic feel to it at all. Anybody else noticed that the culprits being kept center-stage are all powerful Jews? That has so many creepy implications since one of the depictions anti-Semites have historically used to vilify Jews is their supposed lascivious nature. I smell a rat.

      Anyway, that’s my two cents.

        1. M Raymond Torres

          Please don’t straw-man me. I do not think he is being persecuted and I don’t see what in my comment could be construed to suggest that I do.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        As you point out, the same behavior can be considered a welcome flirtation or an unwelcome advance depending on who’s doing it. If a person compliments another’s appearance or asks them out or makes a slightly off color joke, IMO that should not be considered harassment at all until the other party says they don’t appreciate it. If they do and the behavior continues, then it’s harassment.

        The gray area comes in when the offended party doesn’t speak up which depending on the circumstances can be completely understandable. That’s what makes a lot of these current accusations difficult to apprise.

        That being said, the kind of stuff Weinstein is accused of goes waaaaaaaay beyond harassment into criminal territory and if true, which seems extremely likely, he should be spending many years behind bars.

        1. M Raymond Torres

          I agree. The allegations against Weinstein describe clearly predatory and much criminal behavior. Nevertheless, we need to ask about how these people get away with it. And that, I’m afraid, takes us into a world of many uncomfortable truths. But I think we can learn a lot about the mechanics by teasing out the notions swirling around the issue.

          What is complicity? What constitutes consent? Who is truly free to consent? What is responsibility? What role does ambition play? What role does power play? Shame? Courage? Ethics? For that matter, what is the role of sex? How much of this is even about sex? Why are we confused?

          Who holds the power in such exchanges? How do we know/can we tell? What are the stories we tell ourselves in order to feel absolved of responsibility in situations where we had more agency available to us than we chose to act upon?

          I think we need a long, ongoing conversation (Sorry, Lambert.) about all of these questions and many, many more. It’s the questions not the finger-pointing that will get us closer to a solution. And, yes, meantime, lock ’em up and throw away the key!

      2. jrs

        “If a drunk hot co-worker that I like kisses me in the hallway at the Christmas party? Seriously.”

        uh it is CALLED ILLEGAL. This is straight out asking for a lawsuit period, every firm that wants to avoid a lawsuit makes it clear 1000 times over with training etc.. Every single firm has sexual harassment etc. videos about how this is NOT OK conduct at the xmas party, it’s not actually ambiguous and a long philosophical discussion. People who say it is are promulgating nonsense that has nothing to do with current laws and the modern workplace.

        But what if …. two coworkers sneak out of the xmas party, get a hotel, make out, and tell noone? Well there is still a risk it will blow up at some point, but that actually is somewhat different than basically hitting on people at an work function.

      3. jrs

        you basically want a long philosophical discussion on questions that are considered legally settled, legal and moral are not the same thing always of course, but while there is some ambiguity about how repetitive or extreme an action has to be to constitute harassment, it’s not really that open ended in law however open ended it might be in people’s heads (true every legally legitimate sexual harassment case doesn’t win it’s day in court, but courts are far from perfect instruments of the law either).

  14. Enrique Bermudez

    Mark Halperin a skeevy perv? Who would have guessed that? I mean other than everyone who ever watched that creep for more than an instant or two.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Posts on Yardeni’s weekly indicator and new Russia-Saudi-Iran index repeatedly go to spam file.

    Done for today!

    1. ambrit

      How would we say ‘Skynet’ in Hebrew? (Re. the Russia-Saudi-Iran “news” item.) Where does the Skynet algo originate, anyway?
      Seriously, you thought that fighting the ‘good fight’ was going to be easy? I suspect that the era of the groups like YouTube Heroes is just beginning.
      See, for as long as it’s permitted:

      1. Ned

        The Terminator movies. It was the computer controlled anti-missile defense force that decided to eliminate human beings for a perfect economy. :-)

  16. Expat

    Re: Traveling to the US
    I travel extensively across Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East. I often get asked, “What is the purpose of your visit?” I find this normal when traveling to Nigeria or Kazakhstan. I explain that I am there for business. I get a smile and a stamp in my passport.
    When I travel to the US, I get the same question, but it is aggressive and hostile. I am asked who I am seeing and where I will be staying. How long I will be staying. And why I live in France. What do I do for a living. Who I am married to.

    This might seem normal. This is not even Trumpian. This has been the case for twenty years.

    Oh, did I mention I am an American traveling on an American passport.

    Why, indeed, would anyone visit America? I do it only because my family is still there. Otherwise, I would avoid it like the plague.

    1. Wukchumni

      Since after 9/11, we treat foreign visitors to our country in the same manner that the police would treat the suspect of a crime, by taking a mug shot and fingerprints of them, in the midst of perhaps their first interaction with an American on our soil, going through customs.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you weren’t already married, would you do it again?

      It’s said to be a good question to ask now and then, or everyday.

      If you weren’t already a citizen, would you want to be? If you don’t want to visit a country, would you want to be living there or a citizen of that country?

      In the future, will people of the world to have the freedom to choose which country they want to be? That basic right, that basic freedom, not recognized universally today.

    3. RUKidding

      Although I agree that traveling to the USA is getting to be a draconian process – and I’m opposed to that – I’ve had some different experiences from you.

      Just got back from a month visiting the 5 ‘Stans in Central Asia. Fabulous trip; loved almost every minute of it. However, getting across land borders is a form of tedium and insanity, especially going into/out of Uzbekistan. Wonderful country and highly recommended, but avoid the land border crossings at all costs. Most of us had our luggage intensely searched, including questions about every single pill I had in my bag. And you have to declare the exact amount of money you have going in and coming out. They didn’t check mine, but often they do. And no taking out Uzbekistan money for some reason (I didn’t).

      Ditto hassles for getting into and out of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan weren’t so bad. I’ve also gone through protracted border entry or crossings in Thailand, India, Bhutan and Viet Nam. Getting out of Trukey last month was also another form of insanity, but that was bc of Trump’s edicts to increase security when one leaves from Turkey (3 magnatometer scans, 2 pat downs, 1 thorough bag check, plus having my passport checked 9 times – yes really – before I got on the plane). If one flies back to the USA from Hong Kong, don’t buy bottled water from within the airport bc you cannot take it on the plane (another USA inflicted insanity).

      Of course, getting into and out of the USSR back in the olden days is another story, but that was then.

      I haven’t really had the rude behavior coming back into the USA that you have experienced, and I have, in my past, lived overseas as an expat. I must say, though, that I was mildly surprised at the cheerfulness of the Border agent I had when I returned to SFO last month. Most are pretty dour, but she was very gracious and welcoming, which was nice.

    4. Annotherone

      Expat: “When I travel to the US, I get the same question, but it is aggressive and hostile. I am asked who I am seeing and where I will be staying. How long I will be staying. And why I live in France. What do I do for a living. Who I am married to…..”

      I still remember those same questions put to me on my first trip to mainland USA in 2003 ( from the UK) when I came here to meet my now husband, in the flesh – having met him, originally, online. I answered the officer warily, recalling advice from a British Ex-pats forum that we should answer questions as briefly as possible, keeping in mind this model: “Question – “Could you tell me the time?” Answer: Yes.”
      The person perusing my passport wasn’t overly hostile, but a tad annoying. When I said that I was here “on holiday”, he corrected me, advising that I should say “I’m on vacation”.

      All in all, I’m not sorry I married a US citizen, emigrated from the UK to live in Oklahoma, and eventually became a US citizen. However, were I and husband some 20 years younger it could be a very different story – Canada would beckon!

    5. Bugs Bunny

      I get exactly the same treatment and am usually sent off to secondary screening (which is seriously frightening at JFK). My theory is that they think expats are all pinkos who hate America and its Freedom™.

      I dread going there more than almost any other country and I’ve been around.

      1. sporble

        I’m a US-American living in Berlin (Germany) for over 20 years – never had any problems getting (back) into the US (I go visit my family every year or so). Ever since 9/11 there hasn’t been any humor or smiling in airports, but I’ve never had to endure aggressive/hostile questioning. The weirdest thing, to me, is when a border patrol agent says “Welcome home, sir” when he stamps my passport. It’s pretty clear that my home ain’t in the US!

    6. Chris

      Thank you Expat. Reading NC discourages me from visiting.

      It would seem that border agents really believe they are there to intercept terrorists…. do they ever get any?

  17. allan

    Whitefish Energy contract bars government from auditing deal [The Hill]

    A deal reached between the government and a small Montana energy company located in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown prohibits the government from reviewing labor costs or profits related to the company’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico, according to a leaked copy of the contract. …

    Only natural for the party of small government. (Of course, the government of PR is nominally Dem, but has a gun held to its head by its financial overseers on Wall Street and in DC.)

    1. Peronella

      You beat me to it.

      70 votes in favor, 10 against, 2 blank. The three unionist parties staged their usual walking-out-of-the-Parlament stunt that they are so good at and so fond of.

      Yesterday, Thursday morning word came out that Puigdemont had decided to dissolve Parlament and call for new elections if that would stop Art 155 from being activated. When word came back that it would be activated either way, Puigdemont scrapped the early elections and instructed the Parlament to proceed with the mandate from the Oct 1 referendum which happened today.

      We will soon see what Madrid does. The Catalans are ready, and after the violence they’ve already experienced, know what to expect.

      For those who consider the Oct referendum questionable because it represented a turnout of under 50%, I came across an interesting statistic. In the French presidential election early this year, which elected Macron the total voter turnout was 42.64% of registered voters significantly below the Catalan turnout which was under assault by “storm troops”. Unlike in Catalonia, in the French election there were no police truncheons and rubber bullets, injuring over 1,000 peaceful voters, no stealing of 770,000 ballots which, if counted would have brought the turnout numbers in Catalunya to about 55%.

      By that same measure, shouldn’t Macron’s election be considered invalid? What’s good for the goose . . . .

      My hope is the Catalans will forego the EU and join EFTA instead. They will be in good company with Switzerland which has similar characteristics, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

  18. Wukchumni

    238 Miles On Foot: Courtney Dauwalter Wins Moab Ultra GearJunkie

    I mentioned the other day how younger adults are getting into backpacking and i’m all for it…

    There does seem to be a propensity to want to bite off more than they can chew though. Sometimes when i’m getting a wilderness permit in the ranger station, i’ll hear of their itinerary, and the 1st day they want to walk 34 miles over a couple of 12,000 foot passes and gain and lose 11,400 feet in altitude in the bargain. I was more of a speed freak going shorter distances when I was their age-so I can relate a little, but now that i’m approaching codger status, I like to go slower, as I might miss something.

    238 miles is about the distance I backpack/dayhike in total every summer in the High Sierra, I couldn’t imagine nor would I want to do it in 58 hours though.

    1. LifelongLib

      Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power “to raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years”. So I assume a new appropriation has to be made every two years, but it’s not unconstitutional.

    2. A Farmer

      I think the founders may have believed standing armies were a tool of tyrants (and thus one of the reasons why a well-regulated militia gets an often forgotten call-out in Bill of Rights), but since I’m not an originalist, you would probably have to check with a Scalia-type to get the apologetics of why a standing army sucking up 20% of the federal budget is within the intentions of the deities known as The Founding Fathers.

  19. Wukchumni

    High court citizenship case: Barnaby Joyce and four others ruled ineligible

    Speaking after the decision, Joyce, who was born in Australia but held New Zealand citizenship by descent from his father, said he had “no reason to believe that … I was a citizen of any other country than Australia”.

    It’s interesting times for Kiwis in the Lucky Country, as Australia has always been the place for an enterprising New Zealander to make it, as opportunities in NZ really weren’t there, in comparison. Almost all of the immigration went one way only…

    Lately though, Kiwis have been giving up on the Australian dream and returning home to NZ, or not even immigrating there in the first place.

    The 2 countries have long had a David & Goliath relationship, not dissimilar to the USA-Canada relationship in terms of population difference, but you get the idea that with the Aussie economy not doing so well now, it’s open season on scapegoats, well, at least 1.

    1. RUKidding

      I used to live in Aus and still visit frequently, so I was aware of this situation, which I watched with interest. It does appear that, as the Aus economy gets tighter, the onus against Kiwi’s is growing, which is somewhat more like “our” (well, not mine but what is espoused by our current “leader” and GOP government) attitude towards Mexican Americans. i.e., Get out!

      I do recall the days of reading T Shirts at Bondi that said something like: “Will the last Kiwi leaving please turn out the lights.”

      Welcome to the New World Order.

    2. Chris

      thank you Wukchumni, you have broad interests.

      The decision of the High Court to read the constitution literally and to uphold the premise that ingnorance of a law is no defence was expected.

      Joyce was deputy pm and leader of Nationals (the smaller coalition partner of the Liberals). He wouldn’t step down when asked and his votes in the intervening period in Parliament may not count….

      He has said he will go back and seek to get back in the bielection, after renouncing his NZ citizenship. He has a lot of support in his New England electorate, but so does Tony Windsor, an independent, and I actually expect that Joyce’s numbers are not as sound as he thinks. He has had the foresight and the money to buy rural land that just happens to have had regulatory approval for coal seam gas fracking. Most people I know see him for the corrupt c that he is.

      Meanwhile the Govt’s majority in the lower house is just 1 and, given they have supplied the Speaker, who doesn’t vote, it is interesting times in Australian politics.

      And, there are signs that Aussie RE is cooling in Sydney and Melbourne.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Researchers Find Flaw That Could Turn LG Robot Vacuums Into Perfect Spying Machines Motherboard (resilc). This and Roombas, the only silly tech device that I was mildly interested in, since they double as cat toys.

    On the other hand, if the Pentagon or the CIA would fund more biologists, they could – if they were really smart – turn cats into spying machines.

    A general inner dialogue (You don’t need to be a biologist):

    “Why are you funding my research? I must assume the worst. Sorry, I can’t take your money. Yes, I won’t be a famous scientist. There goes my chance. So be it.. I must not pretend I forgot to ask.”

    1. Wukchumni

      The hope is that if a bad person threatened me or my wife, that our guard cats would do something other than arch their back or go hide under the bed…

      …the idea that they could spy on us is a given though, as they like to hang out on high watching our every move, but thank goodness they are technology challenged

      Now that said, naming one of them Alexa 7 years ago, seems like a mistake in retrospect.

  21. TK421

    Trump’s Heated Political Rhetoric Spills Over into Classroom, Increasing Stress and Undermining Learning UCLA

    Is he the only one with “heated rhetoric”? What about calling people “deplorable” or saying the president is a traitor because he may have talked to a Russian during the campaign?

    John Kelly’s dangerous aversion to criticism from civilians.

    And that differentiates him from who? The Democrats who love to be criticized by average citizens? They love it so much that they instituted superdelegates so they don’t have to listen to voters, and blast white noise outside their meetings.

  22. Jeremy Grimm

    Considering all the Russia paranoia and ongoing flirtations with potential nuclear conflicts and hearing so few praises of true heroes for our times — our Gotham needs a true hero and reminder of how close we have come and might come to true MADDness. (I don’t recall the year or which of the links below Yves or Lambert pointed us to — but I never forgot reading that link.)

    “Thank you Vasili Arkhipov, the man who stopped nuclear war”

    “On October 27, 1962, a man you’ve never heard of saved your life …”

    As these dramas [Russian Missile Crisis] ratcheted tensions beyond breaking point, an American destroyer, the USS Beale, began to drop depth charges on the B-59, a Soviet submarine armed with a nuclear weapon.

    The captain of the B-59, Valentin Savitsky, had no way of knowing that the depth charges were non-lethal “practice” rounds intended as warning shots to force the B-59 to surface.”

    “And an order to launch a nuclear missile against Americans was actually given by the commander and political officer of a Soviet nuclear submarine.”

    ” The launch of the B-59’s nuclear torpedo required the consent of all three senior officers aboard. Arkhipov was alone in refusing permission.”

    Link to another story:
    [ ]

    So I’ll raise a glass today to say “Thank you Vasili Arkhipov”

  23. Ned

    Better way to wash pesticide off your apple?
    O.K. so you are stuck in some job trailer in the oilfields and you want to clean off the poisons from the only fruit available? Great article.

    However, why go out and deliberately buy a carcinogen that you eat? Especially when most people reading this have a choice to either buy low quality chemically contaminated food or to buy high quality organic food?

    Cost? How much is your deductible for each doctor’s visit for various chemical triggered maladies, let alone serious diseases?

    The danger of this article is that people will assume that they can do the same with other fruits and vegetables. Those plastic covered fields are where methyl-iodide is pumped into the soil to kill everything, to and including the microbacteria and fungi that help plants grow. The nerve gas toxin is absorbed into every single cell of the strawberry and you cannot “wash it off.”

    Pesticides and GMOs, which are sponges for more profitable pesticides and licensed seeds that enrich corporate rentiers, are for higher corporate profits only. Their profits, your cancer and other diseases at your expense.

    Are your children Roundup Ready? Here’s a list of conventional foods contaminated with Rounup weed killer and associated pesticides that are genetically engineered to tolerate.

    Go organic, it’s the only sane thing to do for your health and your pocketbook.

    1. Wukchumni

      Apples have kind of a dull gloss (as does most fruit) when you pick them, and the fun part is taking a soft cloth and bringing out the shine. Sometimes it’s pretty dramatic-the before and after look.

      1. Ned

        That dull gloss is often natural yeast from the air. Unless your air is contaminated, you should eat it as well as brown spots, blotches and other things, to and including worms, if you really are hardcore, that help raise your immune system and diversify you gut bacteria.
        Oh, and that natural yeast is what helps ferment apples into cider and hard cider.

        1. Wukchumni

          We have some of the worst air pollution in the country here, but luckily I grew up in L.A. in the 1960’s, when it was even worse. So I was indoctrinated to smog, sort of speak.

          The most hideous place in the country is Arvin, near Bakersfield. I read that it rates 1 on a scale of 1-100 as far as air quality goes.

          1. skippy

            Doing a job near Griffith observatory in the 80s started with clear air, by mid afternoon the stop sign at the end of the block was difficult to see.

            disheveled… and some wonder why it is said, Calif is actually west of the 405.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  I’ve eaten the seeds for years, even at times when I was eating apples daily. There isn’t much cyanide there. And not that this was why I was doing it, but there is a theory that low doses of cyanide are a cancer preventative.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s a key link you mention there – organic and deductible or copay for each doctor’s visit.

      Thus, it’s not universal healthcare.

      It’s free, premium free and copay free, zero deductible universal health care.

      And that link, that connection recognized, free organic food.

      Unless, this time, it’s ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’ that we believe. Then, we live with something less than perfect (or as perfect as we can best explain today…tomorrow, there might be a better best-explanation).

  24. ebr

    Wow great links today (and the Phillips Curve article)

    Re: “Senior Editor Admits Biased Political Agenda at New York Times” — Journalists nowadays keep mixing moral philosophy with their “these are the facts sir” Glenn Greenwald does the best job (that I know of) of making it clear “this is me writing about moral philosophy” and “these are the facts of the matter” for example

    I am more upset that the NYTimes (and the coastal media generally) cannot write about ‘flyover country’ as if we were a foreign nation, such as

    Re: “why would anyone voluntarily come to the US” — the fact that people do want to come, legally or not, is a question that we should ask directly of those who overstay their visa’s or hop the fence. The fact that we are legitimately angry at Trump (and America) does not lead to the conclusion that America is without value to non-Americans

    Note, that is a pretty bad report as it doesn’t count land borders (cough, Canuck’s) but that does not make the report untrue. Most everyone reading this blog is either a member of, or adjacent to, the credentialed elite. “America” looks different to those not in that elite. For much of the world, “American Sprawl” (William Gibson’s term) looks more like a promised land than a hell hole. That question of who gets in, who should get in, who wants to get in, will not go away just because we are snarky about how rude Homeland Security is.

    1. Annotherone

      ebr: ” Most everyone reading this blog is either a member of, or adjacent to, the credentialed elite. ”
      Really? I’m not, for one! Some of the most regular commenters here may be (I’m guessing), but readers are surely far flung and of very varied background?

      1. todde

        I’ve got credentials.

        But my old high school has an over 70% poverty rate and a 6% pass rate for the ACT test.

        the point is the same person might have far flung and varied backgrounds.

        1. Annotherone

          I was, perhaps, taking a different meaning from “the credentialed elite”. LOL! Frasier and Niles Crane come to mind. ;)

  25. Left in Wisconsin

    I finally got around to taking the Pew “where do you fit politically” quiz.
    I scored as disaffected Democrat, which is a perfectly accurate description for me (even though I would say democratic socialist) and probably most other Bernie supporters. What’s weird, or not, is that the DD category is two slots further to the right on Pew’s left-right typology than “solidly liberal” (i.e. HRC supporters) and to the right of “opportunity Dems” (i.e. Bezos, Uber-ites, etc.) Perhaps that was because there were no questions on the quiz asking me about public ownership of ISPs or breaking up big banks or Uber.

    Continuing with that “left”-right spectrum thing where “solidly liberal” is the furthest left position seems like a conscious effort to keep the Overton window rigidly in (a bad) place.

    1. Ned

      The Pew Trust is funded by big coal and oil money.

      Do you think that it and NPR that it controls is on the side of the environment and the American people?

      How about the Alfred Sloan Trust? Head of General Motors for decades.

    2. SpringTexan

      Well I got “solid liberal” and am definitely a Bernie/Corbyn supporter, so you may have had some anomalous answers. Agree that the range of questions were limited and I liked your ISP/bank/Uber suggestions which would discriminate more. I would guess HRC supporters to be “opportunity Dems,” myself, but I’m guessing.

  26. ebr

    Outraged, no. But that they cannot clearly separate their editorial functions from their news functions weakens both functions. The NYTimes isn’t a very good newspaper anymore, it is just a newspaper where a lot of smart people work & sometimes do good work (see how they broke the Weinstein story) If we take anything from this sad tale, it should be that we should not imitate the mistakes of the NYTimes in our own writing & thinking (or in this comment section for that matter)

    For example, Lambert takes the position that Trump’s victory was not caused by White Nationalism or Facebook. He is probably right, but we should also consider seriously the claims that Trump was elected by White Nationalism & Facebook, and then disprove those claims on the merits rather than dismiss them with snark. The NYTimes hides its snark well, but it is there all the same.

    Aside: it occurs to me that I or someone should write an essay on the Aristotelian quality of ‘snark’ in the tradition of Harry Frankfort’s essay ‘On Bullshit”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Your comment is out of line. Lambert has actually posted quite a few deep analytical dives on the election. It appears you missed them. He’s done the work, so his comments are not snark but are based on extensive research.

      And if you seriously think $100K of ads could make a difference in an election where Clinton spent $1.2 billion, a full four orders of magnitude more, you either have a problem with math or believe the Russians were using magic, not ads. And that’s before we get to the fact that those ads were “Russian” (WTF does that mean?) and there is no proof that the Russian government was behind them.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I have yet to see the Facebook ads linked to (a) actual voters changing their minds in (b) jurisdictions that would have affected the outcome of the election. There’s a lot of stuff out there in the zeitgeist, and not all of it is meaningful. The same goes for “White Nationalism” (caps in the original). My take was, and remains, that Obama voters flipping to Trump was a critical “path to misfortune” (see here and here) for the Clinton campaign, and that such voters flipped on economic grounds. We don’t have a theory of political causality, so it’s hard to make that take rigorous, but the view/method I have adopted goes all the way from the highest level of abstraction, the Electoral College, down to the precinct level with individual voters, as interviewed (and their views about economics correlate to the general hollowing out of the flyover states through deindustrialization.) If a different fact set appears, then I’ll change my mind.

      To put this another way, if “White Nationalists” (caps in original) voted for Obama, and then flipped to Trump, there’s something else going on than white nationalism.

      NOTE You also may be confusing “snark” (I would prefer “light irony”) with the use of talking points based on a readership familiar with past work at NC. We can’t be recapitulating everything, all the time, for those who came in late.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Gold-Backed Petro-Yuan Silliness: Reserve Currency Curse?

    Having the world’s reserve currency is a curse because it necessitates a willingness to have endless trade deficits

    It’s like celebrity-hood. Celebrities (many, or at least a few) claim it’s a curse, but somehow, they became celebrities, so that, let’s see now, they can escape the maddening masses to live in the wild, or on an island.

    So, why the altruism to run trade deficits?

    Well, if you can shift the negatives (of running trade deficits to the Deplorables, with them losing their jobs), the 0.01% can actually use that fiat reserve money (especially when it’s free, straight from the printing press) to buy up the world.

    Now, when the Chinese elites realize they can let their comrades go unemployed, but sedated with opioids, trade deficits should not be problematic when they can lord over the rest of the world.

    Now, if Mish says the Chinese don’t have property rights, etc. to claim the reserve currency status, that’s technical.

    It doesn’t mean they don”t want it, or it’s a curse (as mentioned above).

  28. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Mish’s pedantic post is correct but misses the bigger picture.

    China is not looking to dethrone the dollar, but they are looking to de-weaponize it.

    Any country that needs dollars to trade has to go through the western banking system, unless they keep huge surpluses of cash lying around. And that makes them vulnerable to economic sanctions and other tools the empire uses to keep them in line.

    See Iran, Russia, North Korea.

    Of course those countries have other ways around sanctions even if the New York/London banking system is shut off to them. They can trade oil for food, weapons, opium or other commodities. However, allowing direct trading in their local currencies with the Yuan as an exchange currency will make life easier for Iran, Syria, and others.

    1. flora

      I was wondering why Qatar is suddenly on the hot seat. I recall that 2 years ago they set up the MiddleEast’s first Yuan payments clearing house. Now Qatar is supposed to be a bad actor for some reason or other. I thought the US and Qatar are strategic allies.

      I agree with Mish that the money denomination for oil payments really doesn’t matter. Wonder if our US politicians understand this point?

      from 2015:
      “DOHA, April 14 (Reuters) – Qatar opened the Middle East’s first centre for clearing transactions in the Chinese yuan on Tuesday, saying it would boost trade and investment between China and Gulf Arab economies. ”

  29. Bugs Bunny

    All the way down here and I’m the first to mention the dog subjects being horrifyingly abused for MD research. I signed and tweeted it to my little group of followers. Hopefully some of them haven’t muted me.

    Imho as an occasional professor of biotechnology ethics, the protocol there should not have been accepted by the Texas A&M Institutional Review Board. It clearly, very clearly in fact, violates the most basic standards for using animals in research.

    Look up the 3 R’s of ethical use of animals in medical research. Very basic.

  30. Wukchumni

    Gottiboff: After the housing collapse comes the job losses MacroBusiness. Sydney’s wildly overpriced housing market is finally taking a hit.

    I’ve got friends in Auckland and they’re all homeowners that have profited greatly during the housing bubble, and lately i’ve been asking them how the market feels?

    None of them really have any clue about financial bubbles, babes in the woods, sort of speak. They simply have no experience.

    One told me that the market was just taking a breather, another related that although interest was not all that keen compared to the glory days of last decade, prices hadn’t fallen much from the peak.

    I asked if any were thinking of selling, and not one of them is all that interested @ this point.

    None of them can scarcely believe that their pride and joy is overvalued @ nearly NZ$1 million, despite the homes being worth maybe $100k 20 years ago.

  31. Oregoncharles

    On Brexit: “This is not just about setting up new customs arrangements, as complicated as that will be. Brexit demands an entirely new national infrastructure of regulation, standards-setting and oversight. Oh, and environment, fisheries and farm policies. Big government, you might call it. And nothing can be done until the cabinet agrees on the extent of future divergence from Brussels.”

    That last sentence sounds like the Tories have no intention of going through with it. That would explain a lot.

  32. barrisj

    Re: travel to US/returning from abroad…my wife (Green Card holder) and I have had Nexus cards for several yrs., enabling expedited travel between US and Canada. The card also can be used for expedited Customs clearance per Global Entry cardholders as well when returning from foreign travel. We recently returned from Europe to SEA-TAC, where we were politely escorted away from the masses of people queuing for Customs and conducted to a bank of terminals where accredited travelers have passport/Green Card scanned, then fingerprint imaging, and if all good, a printout that is shown to a Customs officer whilst exiting Baggage Claim. Hassle-free, no glowering CPB types querying one’s bona fides, minimum interaction with officialdom, couldn’t be smoother. Much, much different from previous experiences upon our return to States after being abroad. $50/5yrs., what’s not to like.

  33. polecat

    In light of the ongoing clinton clusterf#ck, I present to you the lyrics of my new song .. it’s titled ‘Malice’

    One Pol makes you grovel
    And one Pol puts you in awe
    But the choices .. the Partisans give you
    Don’t do .. anything all all

    Go ask Malice
    When she wanted it allll

    And when you went chasing .. pussywabbits
    As they saw you take that fall
    Tell them the blunt smokin .. heads of CONgress
    Have given you their corporate all

    Call Malice
    When she thought she had it alll

    When Deplorables are on the monopolyboard
    You went and ‘told them where they could gooo !!’
    And you’ve just donned a mao-like costume
    With your sycophants all in towww

    Go ask Malice
    We think SHE knowwws

    When illogic .. and projection
    Have put fly-over .. in such a dred
    And the Whitehouse keeps tweeting backwards
    With the DNC screaming ‘REDS !!’

    Remember .. what the big blob said

  34. Oregoncharles

    “All you need to know about the new restrictions on traveling to the US Quartz (J-LS). I don’t know why anyone would come voluntarily to the US.” My first thought: it’s the only way to see Yellowstone before it blows up. Then I saw:

    “Interior Department Proposes Huge Hike in National Park Fees New York Magazine” So this is a rational measure to reduce the strain on immigration and customs, by discouraging visitors to the US.

  35. Kim Kaufman

    “Joe Arpaio Tells Steve Bannon He Wants to Head the Marshal’s Service Atlantic (resilc). I need to get working on that emigration plan….”

    I renewed my passport a couple of weeks ago.

  36. Richard H Caldwell

    Yes, VERY SAD about Mike “Mish” Shedlock moving to that awful new site that is just a complete abomination with no RSS feed. I miss his old site terribly. What a loss.

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