Links 10/4/17

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Watch the sheer joy of dogs riding the waves at a surfing contest

Who Killed the ERA? New York Review of Books

Water 3.0 solves problem of microplastics and pharmaceuticals in wastewater Treehugger

Sputnik, the tiny sphere that launched the space race (The Rev Kev)

The 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded for advances in imaging biological molecules WaPo

How to work out which coral reefs will bleach, and which might be spared The Conversation

New site aims for ‘brutally honest’ environmental news Columbia Journalism Review

Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels Guardian (martha r)

Time to shine: Solar power is fastest-growing source of new energy The Guardian

“NSFW” doesn’t begin to describe Bluetooth security in sex toys Ars Technica

Class Warfare

Uber board truce paves way for SoftBank deal FT. Now aiming for an IPO in 2019. Good luck w/ that.

EU Orders Luxembourg to Recoup Almost $300 Million From Amazon WSJ

MEET THE CAMPERFORCE, AMAZON’S NOMADIC RETIREE ARMY Wired. martha r: “9/15 but still germane”.

Law Schools Rip Bar Exam Cut Score Recommendations Above the Law

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights New Yorker. The deck: “Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.”

Washington failed to regulate Big Tech—and now it’s about to discover that it can’t Quartz

Hackers target weakest links for insider trading gain FT


Catalan referendum: Region’s independence ‘in matter of days’ BBC

Spain’s king blasts ‘unacceptable’ disloyalty of Catalan leaders SCMP

Spain may have succeeded in crushing Catalan independence dreams for now – but at a high price The Conversation

How Did Things Get So Bad in Catalonia? Wolf Street

Macron takes risky bet with tough talk on weedkiller Politico


Brexit Talks Show Continuing Divide Between U.K., EU Lawmakers WSJ

Brexit: a tale of two cities

Theresa May faces calls to sack Boris Johnson over Libya comments The Guardian


To Save ‘Make in India’, Fix GST for Small and Medium Businesses The Wire

Safety first? Not for India’s frustrated rail commuters Asia Times

U.S. pressing India to avoid capping medical device prices, allow withdrawals Reuters

India’s Troubling and Official Growth Numbers Are Only the Tip of the Iceberg The Wire


BIPARTISAN GROUP TO FORCE VOTE ON U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN YEMEN WAR Intercept (JohnnyGL). Hoisted from comments on yesterday’s links.

U.S. Votes Against U.N. Ban On Death Penalty For Homosexuality  New Now Next (The Rev Kev). Joining Iraq, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

First global pledge to end cholera by 2030 BBC

New Cold War

Mueller Tasks an Adviser With Getting Ahead of Pre-Emptive Pardons Bloomberg

The Supreme Court’s Blockbuster Term Politico

Fake news comes to the Supreme Court WaPo

Trump Transition

Mattis breaks with Trump and backs US staying in Iran nuclear deal Business Insider

Trump Aides Deliver Shortlist of Fed Candidates Bloomberg

Hedge fund billionaire flew top Mnuchin aide on private jet to Palm Beach WaPo

White House wants to end Social Security numbers as a national ID Ars Technica

U.S. will expel 15 Cuban diplomats, escalating tensions over mystery illnesses WaPo

Trump’s ICE snitch-line is full of people secretly trying to deport their in-laws boingboing

GOP lawmakers say Trump wants tough measures in Dreamers deal Politico

Republicans Are Reconsidering Full Repeal of State and Local Tax Deduction NYT

Scott Gottlieb rocketed to the top of FDA. He may keep rising Stat

Las Vegas

Bannon warns: “end of everything” if Trump supports gun controls Axios

It Doesn’t Matter Why Stephen Craig Paddock Did It New York Magazine

On Vegas, Shootings and Gun Control Ian Welsh (martha r)

Las Vegas Casinos, Aware Of Mass Shooting Risks, Lobbied For Insurance International Business Times (martha r). David Sirota.

Democrats in Disarray

The Quiet Battle Between Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris in Atlanta NY Observer (ChiGal)

What Reunification Wrought Jacobin

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Relief Efforts Pale to that for Just One Wall Street Bank Wall Street on Parade

Seven graphics that sum up Puerto Rico disaster BBC

Trump Says Puerto Rico Has Thrown the Budget ‘Out of Whack’ Bloomberg

Trump says Puerto Rico officials should be ‘proud’ more haven’t died like in Katrina WaPo

Vulture Capitalists Circle Above Puerto Rico TruthOut. Bill Moyers.

San Juan mayor hopes Trump stops ‘spouting’ comments that are ‘hurtful to the people of Puerto Rico’ Independent

Wells Fargo

Elizabeth Warren tells Wells Fargo’s CEO: ‘You should be fired’ Business Insider

Tim Sloan Walked Into The Senate Banking Committee Factually Naked And Illogically Unafraid Dealbreaker. Included for transcript of back and forth, not for the snark.

Yahoo Triples Estimate of Breached Accounts to 3 Billion WSJ


‘You Can’t Fix Stupid,’ Lawmaker Tells Equifax’s Former CEO Bloomberg

IRS awards multimillion-dollar fraud-prevention contract to Equifax Politico. The deck: “The no-bid contract was issued last week, as the company continued facing fallout from its massive security breach.” No comment.

What’s the ultimate way to defy depression, disease and early death? Exercise Guardian

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Re Nevada guardianship horror story. NY’s law is different, and the abuses described can’t happen here at that scale. In NY the “AIP” (Alleged Incompetent Person) has a right to counsel throughout and will have one appointed by the court off a pre-screened list; once the petition has been filed but before guardianship has been determined, the Court also sends its own investigator to assess the person and situation. And there are other protections too. Of course, if a judge/court is corrupt, or if the other participants are and can keep the judge in the dark, abuses could happen. But the system itself is much better than the way the article describes Nevada.

    1. Sam Adams

      This has got to be ironic or at least sarcastic. . The incomes, assets and real estate values of its “incapacitated persons” are too enticing for the regular players. Do a lit and case search. The horrors of the NYS Guardiahip parts and the handing out of plum lucrative appointments are ledgendary.

      1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        No, just more limited than you’re reading me. I’m saying the Nevada problem can’t happen in NY–systematic, business-model scale abuse wherein competent people have 3rd party guardians petition and take over their lives without the alleged incompetent or even their children knowing until after the guardian has been appointed. NY has corruption and thus abuse. But no business model scale surprise guardianships as described in the article. Since it’s done on the county level, surely the level of protection varies across the state, and of course abuses happen far to often. But the Nevada article is breathtaking. Which is just another way of saying: Statutes matter.

        1. Sam Adams

          Yes, It’s on the county level where NYS guardianship corruption occurs. Although the cross county currents flow easily in the 1st and 2nd depts. Yes that’s true it’s county based, but the relationships cross counties. Simply do the appointment and case searches. Factor the low estate value apointments and then the high value estates and who gets which and cost average the billings. Who gets regular billings, who gets to churn and who gets to hire “experts” to share the wealth. The appointment names repeat, over and over and over. While a formal business organization is less likely in NYS, the informal tendrils of corruption wrap around the incapacitated person’s estate to play out with the same informal partnerships while squeezing the life out of the estate. NYS guardian corruption is just more subtile.

          1. Vatch

            Simply do the appointment and case searches. …

            Perhaps you could do a little bit of this research for us, and post the results in a comment.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, Nothing new under the sun. I believe the Code of Hammurabi had provisions dealing with this problem/situation?

            I believe there was mention in “the Death of the Law” by Lois Forer of how conservator ships were used by white folks to organize the looting and bankruptcy of native Americans.

    2. The Rev Kev

      This story is beyond disgusting and vile. My reading is that all those in the professional classes – the social workers, doctors, nursing home staff, court officers, etc. – have colluded into what amounts to kidnapping and theft on an industrial scale.
      These are all positions of trust in our society and underpin civil society. People are suppose to respect those who hold such positions. You wonder how things got so bad that people decide it would be a good idea to target vulnerable people and asset strip them. I’m sure that Wall Street would approve but I don’t think Main Street would. Then again, who listens to Main Street these days?

        1. Wukchumni

          Not true, Wal*Mart has ‘exiters’ that hang out in the lobby of every store, that make sure you paid for whatever is in your cart.

    3. Craig H.

      Apparently these goings on ain’t legal in Nevada either. That New Yorker article is horrifying and I thought the way it was written was a little dishonest. I had to do quite a bit of reading before it became clear to me that April Parks is going to be locked up in a prison. Before I got there I definitely had a sensation of getting worked up. Here is a KNTV update:

      UPDATE APRIL 10: April Parks faces over 200 felony charges including racketeering, exploitation and perjury.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        I’m betting all those judges who “colluded” with April Parks won’t be going to jail, though…..she didn’t pull of this scam alone….

      2. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        Thanks, and I’m sorry I missed that the crooks are being prosecuted. But as a matter of process, it sounds like it’s legal in Nevada to be appointed guardian without the person the guardian is being appointed and their children even knowing the process is happening. The NY statute makes that illegal. That is, April appears to be in trouble for ripping off people she was legitimately guardian for. Now, I haven’t looked up the Nevada statute, but it’s hard to see how the baseline story of NV guardian appointment could happen in NY. Maybe Nevada has similar protections, but if so, the violation of them would surely be part of the story.

      3. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        Thanks, and I’m sorry I missed that the crooks are being prosecuted. But as a matter of process, it sounds like it’s legal in Nevada to be appointed guardian without the person the guardian is being appointed and their children even knowing the process is happening. The NY statute makes that illegal. That is, April appears to be in trouble for ripping off people she was legitimately guardian for. Now, I haven’t looked up the Nevada statute, but it’s hard to see how the baseline story of NV guardian appointment could happen in NY. Maybe Nevada has similar protections, but if so, the violation of them would surely be part of the story.

          1. ArcadiaMommy

            I lived there for several years. It is full of very clannish people who have lived very isolated lives. We would have to drive to San Francisco once a month in order for me to stay sane. Many people had never been to CA except the parts bordering Lake Tahoe or going to Disney land (and I am talking about very well-off people). Liked being able to ski all the time, but skiing and proximity to SF were about the only good things I can think of.

          2. Anon

            Well, you would be right!

            Look, the state is home to the Top Gun fighter jet program (Fallon Naval Air Center), the humungus Nellis Air Force Base, the above/below ground Nuclear Test Site, the top-secret Groom Lake airfield (Stealth fighter/bomber testing), not to mention potential Yucca Mtn. nuclear waste depository

            As a former state official flying a state airplane was intercepted by Air Force jet fighter (live weapons attached) for seemingly navigating too close to Groom Lake in 1989. Commercial flights avoid huge swaths of the state because of all the jet fighter activity/ restricted airspace.

            On the roadways below (like US HWY 50), two-lane roads have NO speed limit (and cattle are not fenced near these roads). That small semi-luminescent dot (the bull’s eye) you see through the windshield will soon enough shatter it, and your life.

            So, yes, it’s not the safest place to live.

    4. FluffytheObeseCat

      I watched the guardianship process in action in Washoe County (Reno, NV) over the past 5 years. A colleague became increasingly unable/unwilling to care for herself between age 66 and 70. She died this past winter. She lived alone, had no children and had long been bad with keeping money, although she worked all her life. She may have had some underlying psych issues.

      County officials dutifully reach out to her brothers, who both lived on the east coast and had limited interest in caring for her. However, they really perked up – were genuinely receptive – only after the brothers hired a local attorney to get her into the county system. The brothers relinquished all right to oversee her care when they did this. Most of her belongings were junk, so there was little money to be made from her stuff, but she had 2 pensions, from a state job and social security.

      She ended up in a series of dumpy group homes in the north central part of the city (AKA poverty flats) that (best estimate) expended far less than half of her income on her upkeep. Where the rest of her income went is a mystery. By the last ‘home’, she was no longer verbal, and the operator* was never informed by the guardian of her dietary needs (Crohn’s disease, left therefore untreated). I have to describe it as being warehoused to death.

      The guardianship business is scary. Most of the public is unaware of how it works, the aged wards are people with mental deficiencies, and no outside advocates are allowed. The age-based assistance she had received from the county was great prior to her incapacitation. She had free representation in a rent dispute. Good representation, all on the county. But, once it was clear that she couldn’t care for herself, and that no family would step up to do so, the world changed.

      *(The owner/operator’s verbal report to me and one other visitor, on the one occasion I visited. She was under no obligation to speak truthfully to either of us.)

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Further to (the) Brexit (links), this morning, I caught up with former colleagues, still working at the UK Finance Association. UKFA is a merger of trade bodies, including our former employer, the body (formerly) responsible for indices :-). The UKFA hosted the event on the fringe of the Tory conference where Johnson made his comments about Libya

    What is being termed Boris’ blunder was not necessarily a blunder. Johnson is not talking to the media or even Tory MPs. He’s talking to Tory members, the ones Clive met recently at a late summer gathering in Daily Mail land. That sort of crassness goes down well (with many of) them and, sadly, others.

    Tory rules state that MPs nominate leadership candidates. The final two are put to the wider membership. Johnson knows he probably can’t get on the final ballot / shortlist without getting local party members, and the public, on side and putting pressure their MPs.

    The fringe of conference event was designed in part to make Johnson and the Legatum mob running Brexit be aware of City concerns. That failed miserably. The Brexit trio and their advisers, often neo-cons and neo-liberals who are not from the UK and have no ties to the UK, are not interested in a deal, even a transition. The conclusion from the City attendees is that a hard Brexit is baked in and to get all systems going, heading for an EU27 location, after the festive season, nothing really new for them or NC readers.

    My former colleagues had fun, even if some are fretting about their futures. The catering was good. The good looking women and men had to avoid Tories who like these jollies away from Westminster, an occasion to play away from home and, for those with beards at home, to let their masks slip.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I see three differing motives for calling for Boris Johnson to clean out his desk:

      1. If you are a loyalist Tory you want him gone because his hijinks are inevitably timed to detract from Treeza’s big moments (Florence speech, her party speech today…)

      2. If you are a Blairist, you call for his head on pure partisan grounds: not only to clutch pearls and signal virtue (where were those Blairites when the UK was actually attacking Libya with bombs instead of just insults), but also in the knowledge that the Conservative bench is sickly thin.

      3. If you are an anti-May Tory, because you want him to be the first rat to abandon May’s sinking ship.

      Regardless of which one fits, as usual the caterwauling has precious little to do with actual policy complaints.

      1. David

        I agree it wasn’t necessarily a blunder, and Johnson knows what he wants and what he’s doing. It probably actually strengthens his position, if not with the parliamentary party, then at least with the activists. The attacks from opposition forces are probably actually helpful to him.
        I don’t see how May can sack Johnson, and I think Johnson knows this. He’s effectively written May off, and is waiting for the moment when she has become so weak, and when the Brexit issue has moved as far as possible in the direction advantageous to him, that the time has come to put the knife in. (He won’t be the only one, of course).
        And to think the Tories were once a serious political party.

    2. vlade

      Agree on who BJ targets – it’s not the MPs, it’s the Tory public.

      That said, I still say that the hard Brexit basically depends on whether some Tory MPs are more loyal to the country or their party. So far I had very little encouragement there though, it seems to me that most believe it’s better to go down with the sinking ship than a mutiny.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I think thats one key reason why a hard and chaotic Brexit is more or less baked in. A very substantial part of the government/Tory party actually welcomes it.

        I thought that by now the pragmatic/business part of the establishment would ‘had a quiet word’ with the crazies, but it doesn’t seem to have happened. I suspect part of the reason is that a lot of the pragmatic elite are busy trying to see how they can profit from it.

        1. Anonymous2

          Is it not the truth of the matter that there is civil war within the Tory party, with at least two factions, the ‘ultras’ and the pragmatists, fighting it out? Sooner or later this is probably going to split the party as at some point there will most likely be a vote when one faction or the other will defy the leadership. A question then will be whether the government can attract enough support from other parties to get its way.

          I think it is more likely to prevail if policy is for a soft Brexit. I assume it could look for support from the SNP and LibDems and some Labour. Would that give it a majority? Who knows? I expect the whips have been busy counting heads.

          I think a Hard Brexit is more likely to fail to get support in the Commmons as I see some Tories rebelling and I have picked up suggestions that the DUP are starting to realise that a Hard Brexit means a hard border which I believe is pretty well anathema to them. They will then have a – for them -very painful choice – vote for a policy which could be deeply damaging to them or risk a Corbyn government. I doubt many Labour MPs go into the lobby with the Tories if it means depriving Labour of a chance of seizing power.

          For the time being the power struggle in the government continues.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Thats for that Col., I think BJ has decided to follow the Trump model of wolf whistle by way of casual insult. He knows the key to rising to PM is through the Tory membership, nobody else matters, including sensible pragmatic Tories, as they are now a minority. I think he is bored out of his mind at being FS, he has decided to lunge for real power, he doesn’t really mind if he doesn’t succeed, he’ll find a cosy job somewhere if he’s fired.

      Every political party has its fruitcake fringe, the weird obsessives who everyone edges away from at the bar. It seems that the future of the UK is now in the hands of the Tory fruitcakes.

      I think the interesting thing about the likely exodus out of the UK is whether it will be a drip-drip, or a mad rush to the doors at the last minute. The word in the Irish government is that housing is identified a big limitation on Dublin taking advantage – there simply aren’t enough houses (no big shortage of office space) for a rush of relocated staff – even London based staff are a little shocked by Dublin rent and house prices. There is a huge push on to get the construction industry to work on it, but its not succeeding. There are cranes everywhere on the Dublin skyline, but it takes too long to go from plan to finished house/apartment.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        I hope to dine with former colleagues who are Tory activists soon and will update NC.

        With regard to the exodus, having been overseas for most of the last two months and talking to friends, colleagues and headhunters, in London and overseas, there aren’t many vacancies in the EU27 or London, not just due to the Brexit uncertainty. Many of the British citizens who want out and don’t speak a continental language are looking at the Middle East and even the Cape.

        With regard to your point about the business wing and pragmatists having a quiet word, the City realises that it’s no longer flavour of the month, so won’t be listened to, even in Tory and / or Brexit circles, and needs to keep its powder dry for what it perceives to be the bigger threat, Corbyn.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        Just make sure that they don’t tarmac over the Curragh, Leopardstown, Killarney et al :-).

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Funny you should say that, the first race meeting I attended was at the Phoenix Park Racecourse, when I was 12 years old (20p each way bets on the tote) and I was passing it a couple of days ago. Its now all housing. I don’t know why that racecourse closed when all the others are thriving (it was derelict for many years before being developed).

          But even the biggest housebuilders these days couldn’t outbid the horse industry for land and property, thats for sure. Even Leopardstown, in the heart of a booming development area, isn’t under threat, its too profitable.

          1. Wukchumni

            Horse racing is dying all over America, the fastest sport in the world is just too slow for the times.

            There’s an interesting situation in Arcadia (or as some wags call it: Arcasia) in that perhaps the most beautiful race course in the country-Santa Anita, sits on a ton of land, a good portion of which is parking for 30,000 cars, when you’re getting 2,000 people attending. You could put in 1,000 condos and still have room for the few people still going to the races.

            It used to be Arcadia’s bread and butter-Santa Anita

            But that was before the lure of property taxes~

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you.

              That would be a pity.

              I have attended the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

              Readers Montana Maven and Ambrit are racing fans, too.

              1. Wukchumni

                We too were at the last Breeder’s Cup @ Santa Anita, essentially the Super Bowl of horse racing. I thought there was maybe 15,000 people in attendance.

                I was fortunate to frequent Santa Anita in it’s salad days in the late 70’s, when the jockey colony more closely resembled the ’27 Yankees, the talent pool was so deep.

                Shoemaker, Pincay, McHargue, Cauthen, Hawley, McCarron, Toro (on the turf), et al.

                My favorite horse and race from that era:


                I watched it live…

                1. Colonel Smithers

                  Thank you.

                  I remember Shoemaker, Pincay, Cauthen and McCarron. Cauthen rode in England from 1979 to his retirement.

                  1. Wukchumni


                    My first wager was $2 to show on Quite A Day at the Pomona fair horse races (long since gone) circa 1973. My mom played bookie.

                    It won at long odds and paid something like $42 to win, and I was to be content with $7.60 for my effort.

          2. Colonel Smithers

            Many thanks, PK.

            The closure of Phoenix Park was criminal.

            I attended the inaugural Cartier Milion there in 1988 and remember Manx Stephen Craine’s win. What a super week-end for racing!

            The end of season sales are at Ballsbridge next week. The Maktoums appear to be over their boycott of Coolmore.

        2. skippy

          When people talk about horse racing I can’t stop but think of the Dreyfuss movie Let it Ride, now I can’t get it out of my head….. curse you all….

  3. Darius

    Charlie Rose last night was all about the mystery of why Paddock did it. I told my wife that every society has mental cases. That’s a given. The difference is that in the US, because freedom, mental cases have access to military hardware.

    1. RUKidding

      Good point. I’m at a point where I really don’t care about WHY Paddock did it.

      This kind of brutal mass murdering will continue because the Arms Industry has the entire USA by the short & curlies and won’t let go. They make so much money, and sales skyrocket after each mass murder, plus the stock market often rises. It’s all about money.

      It’s said that the skyrocketing sales of military grade arms is because citizens are fearful of not being able to buy insane quantities of military hardware anymore.

      I say people continue to stockpile ridiculous amounts of military-grade equipment out of bloodlust.

      Let’s get real about what’s going on.

      We live in an incredibly violent culture which shows mega-violent “shows” all the time in various forms of the media, including computer “games.” We’re at War, Inc with at least 7 countries, and the doofus in the white house insists on sabre rattling with N Korea for no perceivable reason, even when his Secretary of State is making headway with diplomatic efforts.

      And when mass murder happens in the USA, what are the consequences? The Murderer gets a lot of attention – almost cult-like status (at least to those who are attracted to it). And nothing changes. So the clear message really is: it’s ok to go on murder sprees here. You’ll be a hero in some peoples’ eyes. For those so inclined – and clearly there’s a lot of mostly white men out there inclined in this direction – why not go for it? Certainly keeps happening, and this particular event appears to have been very well planned, down to paying for the girlfriend to be out of the country at the time.

      That’s my take.

      1. cocomaan

        I am inclined to agree, and especially with the last part. The press immediately starts to try and ascertain a body count in order to pronounce it a “HISTORIC!” shooting or “THE BIGGEST EVAR!”. They are part of the problem, as are prognosticators looking for motive every time something like this happens.

        1. RUKidding

          I heard about some studies done (heard it on the radio) about the younger males who go on murder sprees in schools. I don’t have links, so I’m paraphrasing as best I can.

          What I heard was something along the lines that there is definite information about how the younger high school males thought what some shooter did was “cool” or whatever and sought to emulate them. Hence Columbine was following, to a certain extent, some prior incidents at other high schools.

          IOW: copy cat. But the main idea seemed to be that they would gain attention and fame through murdering their fellow students in cold blood.

          Every one of these events now gets an insane amount of attention – much of it of the sensational variety. As usual, I had to turn off NPR, which just had a ongoing loop about the LV murder spree on Monday. Most of the “information” was specious speculation and endlessly repetitive. I can only imagaine (or I don’t really want to) how this was “playing” out on tv or other media outlets.

          But the shooter certainly gets a HUGE amount of (mostly needless) attention and does achieve a certain type of almost heroic fame.

          And the gun nuts out there are quick to rush to the Internet to defend the “right to bear arms” and come up with a million ways to “blame” this latest murder spree on something, something… usually the “left” or the Democrats. Or at least that’s what I was reading in a lot of commentaries on various sites this time around.

          1. JTMcPhee

            If only the people at that concert had been better armed, this would never have happened. The Army has tech devices that would have pinpointed the shooter’s location, and a TOW missile prone of the other Smart Eeapons would have Taken Him Out!!!! /s (sort of)

            “An armed society is a polite society.” Yeah, Heinlein, you got it… works Great in Syria and Afghanistan and such…

            On the other hand, I draw great comfort from my own store… sort of…

          2. Wukchumni

            One thing the coverage of these mass murders misses out on completely, is how long it takes for the living to come to terms with a loved one no longer there…

            About 30 years ago a friend who might’ve been the meekest fellow you ever met, fell in love with a woman who was going to wear the pants in the family, and we were so happy for them.

            So, fast forward to a month or 2 before the wedding, and his fiance is over at his sister’s house, and despite a court order not allowing his sister’s estranged husband to be anywhere near her domicile, he showed up and an argument broke out, followed by him shooting and killing her, and my friend’s fiance was trying to call 911 when this was going on, so the murderer, despite never having met her, decided to kill her as well.

            My friend was a wreck for years afterwards…

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              There was an similar incident last month in the Dallas TX area. Woman is hosting a football party for six of her friends. Ex-husband walks in and kills all seven. The number of murders in the US committed by known domestic abusers is appalling, but the law claims there’s nothing it can do till someone is dead.

          3. Duck1

            Well I came across a video demonstrating a bump stock conversion of a semi-auto yesterday. Took about a minute, screw something on, attach new stock. Gun had a barrel magazine, so lots of shells. Emptied the gun in one long burst. Luckily there are laws protecting citizens from gunsels with machine guns

          4. witters

            In a celebrity culture, mass murder is one still functioning avenue for social mobility. It has come to this.

    2. PhilM

      Yes, to military hardware, but not to sympathetic, accessible, non-judgmental psychiatric care and cheaply manufactured, extremely effective anti-psychotic and mood-stabilizing medications. Possibly you will never successfully deny access to the first, but at the very least, offer the second, for the love of humanity.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Humanity includes people everywhere in the world, who, without their consent, experience a wider variety of military hardware…more often, as well.

        Their tragedies are as tragic as ours.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mental case Dr. Strangelove, with his access to military hardware, doesn’t just reside in Las Vegas, though.

      Gun control for West Point graduates?

      The biggest purveyor of violence in the world is who?

      1. Wukchumni

        We toured West Point before 9/11 when they’d let anybody in, and it’s so beautiful with an everything is in it’s place feel, and the setting above the Hudson is strictly sublime.

        What I wasn’t really ready for though after leaving, was watching drug deals go down on the streets of Newburgh, less than 10 miles away.

        Looking up the numbers for 2016 just now, Newburgh has a violent crime rate of 18.64 per thousand residents, versus a 4.1 per thousand violent crime rate for the state on average.

        It was like yin and yang, the 2 locales~

    4. Ben

      I find myself always looking for the motive so I might understand why – and never finding an answer. However, one common thread among them seems to be pharmaceuticals – usually anti-depressants (psychotropic) – not that there’s a causation, but there does seem to be a correlation.

    5. Jeff W

      As the New York magazine article says “…we already know many of the reasons why America is a dark outlier when it comes to gun violence in the developed world, with rates far, far higher than those found in similarly wealthy, developed nations.”

      Asking the question why this particular shooter did it serves to individualize these events and block any look at the systemic causes.

  4. Sam Adams

    Re: How the Elderly Lose Their Rights
    If this story scares, look to the NYS Guardianship parts of the nys Supreme Court and its special players, it’s regular attorneys, guardians and its judges handing out plum appointments. The value of real estate around NYC allows large commissions and regular billing annuities for the participants.

    1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

      Again, NY has plenty of abuse, and corruption is at its core. But the Nevada problem can’t happen because the statute is better. Which system would you want your mother in? And yes, NY needs to clean its corrupt house, and that’s at every level of government.

  5. kees_popinga

    Yipes, that CamperForce story. It’s written in such upbeat terms but what an American tragedy. Work your way up at McDonald’s from french fry maker to manager, lose the retirement nut to shaky Wells Fargo investments, end life as a warehouse slave for Jeff Bezos. Perky!

    1. AnnieB

      Agree the loss of retirement funds is tragic. But the people interviewed are admirable, and, although their lives are difficult, they seem to be coping well. My brother, who is a retired work camper, says that conditions working in Amazon warehouses are better than many jobs he had in the printing industry. My question is what happens to work campers when they are too old, or infirm, to continue earning money in this way.

      1. Laura

        They die on the job, or in the camper,.or on the couch at a friend/family member’s house or on the street.
        The loss of pension is not tragic, it’s a crime -see Nelson Peltz above for details.

    2. Vatch

      Chuck still remembers the call from Wells Fargo that brought the 2008 financial crisis crashing down on his head. He had invested his $250,000 nest egg in a fund that supposedly guaranteed him $4,000 a month to live on. “You have no more money,” he recalls his banker saying flatly.

      Jeez, what kind of fund would crash to zero? The stock market didn’t fall that low. Where did Wells Fargo put that money? Allow me to indulge in some sarcasm: it’s a good thing that Obama was elected President, so that he and his firebrand Attorney General Eric Holder could prosecute the financial executives who caused tragedies like this to happen.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Unfortunately, there was no way that a “nest egg” of $250,000 was ever going to provide $4000/month for very long, no matter what interest rate was “promised”…… the math….even at a 10% earnings rate that money would only have lasted 7 years…..

        The problem is that most people don’t understand even basic finance, and therefore, just believe whatever they are told…..and as of yet, there is no law against lying to people…..

        1. Vatch

          Your point is valid. It’s possible that what happened to the account was unrelated to the crash. Still, if it was advertised as being able to provide that high of a return, that seems like fraudulent advertising.

          1. Off The Street

            Divide and conquer springs to mind. Hard to resist the societal tides as one piece of jetsam. Given the low savings of most Americans, there is an oversupply of potential workamperserfs to depress wages through their remaining nasty, brutish and shortish lives. If there are silver linings, then those may be through human connections, less need for a wired or credit-driven world and more appreciation of what people once had. Who knew that the Mad Max movies were destined to become instruction manuals? What other movies are in the works now ;p

            Side note on Wired magazine. When it first appeared, I called it Breathless, based on the very breezy faux-urgent writing style.

            1. kees_popinga

              Wired seems determined to put a gloss on anything “tech,” including Bezos’ satanic labor mills. My favorite part: “The Stouts reported to the warehouse on October 1 for orientation, training, and a period of half-days called “work hardening,” meant to help newcomers adapt to the physical stress of the job. Then the 10-hour shifts began.” Fun!

        2. RUKidding

          True re many citizens lack of understanding about finance, etc.
          True that a $250k fund could in no way pay $4k per month indefinitely.

          The bottom line, though, is that Wells Fargo somehow “lost” the entire $250k and this person was left high & dry with zero$.

          Agree also that it’s infuriating that ObamaCo did bupkis to address these very issues for which so many of us (me only in 2008) voted that charlatan into office.

          1. justanotherprogressive

            Rule #1 of Finance: If someone promises you something that seems too good to be true – run! Don’t invest your money with them…..

            Same advice I gave to people using those wonderful “loans” to buy a house in 2006…..

            1. kees_popinga

              There is a South Park bit “…and it’s gone,” which appears to be modeled on Chuck’s experience with Wells Fargo.

        3. DonCoyote

          In fact, you would need ~20%/year returns for this to work long-term. As I’m sure Yves can attest, such returns were in fact being “offered” in the run-up to the latest crisis…

          Allow me to quote from one of my favorite “Tanta” pieces, titled Reelin’ In the Suckers extensively (since this is probably my favorite piece of hers:

          June 1 {2007} (Bloomberg) — Bear Stearns Cos., the fifth-largest U.S. securities firm, is hawking the riskiest portions of collateralized debt obligations to public pension funds.

          At a sales presentation of the bank’s CDOs to 50 public pension fund managers in a Las Vegas hotel ballroom, Jean Fleischhacker, Bear Stearns senior managing director, tells fund managers they can get a 20 percent annual return from the bottom level of a CDO. . . .


          Then you take the lowest possible tranche of the CDO–the “equity” portion or the very first part to take any losses, which is so high-risk it is referred to as “toxic waste,” the stuff that is unrated by the rating agencies because it has no “credit support” whatsoever–and you put it in a pension plan managed by some goofball who thinks that it must be a good deal because a party who owns some of the higher rated tranches–the ones you “support” with your equity piece–tells you that if the planets align and the Messiah returns and everybody rolls a lucky seven, you’ll make 20%!…

          Teachers, firefighters, and police officers: you are not just the sucker at the table here. You are the sucker at the table of the suckers in the big casino of suckers. Your “managers” of your pension money just took the “opportunity” to assume the risk that Wall Street does not want to keep because it doesn’t think a “20% return” is worth it.

          Now Bear Stearns did “disappear” about a year later. And the entirety of the equity tranche disappeared in a lot of CDO’s. Now slivers of equity tranches being marketed/sold to individual investor…that seems less likely.

        4. jrs

          yes it does make one shake one’s head, because really these are fantasy returns, but not everyone is savy clearly.

      2. Doug

        As much as I despise the industry, whenever I hear one of these claims it’s more likely than not that the person is lying /mistaken /didn’t understand from the outset…. Lost it ALL? $48/yr on $250k??

        1. JTMcPhee

          How many commenters in this thread who blame the “investor” have sat through the presentations that the salespeople who front these scams put on? Lucky they are to have the education in money and the cynicism and resolve to avoid or resist theBernays-coated pitches and recognize the impossibility of the “mere puffery”-as-promises to deliver? And how many of them have secret tales of times when they themselves got scammed, or missed the signals that should have triggered wiser heads to “risk off” and take their winnings?

          Maybe if “we” socialized care of each other seriously, and didn’t sniff or gloat at the misfortunes and results of fraud upon others, yeah, like that’s going to happen in Calvin’s and Hayek’s America… how many millions take in the shorts while a couple of smarta$$es can pull off the Big Short?

    1. Off The Street

      Just watched Tillerson’s press conference. Maybe Haass and others should consider resigning instead. Too much palace intrigue amongst the courtiers. And just where are those courtesans when needed? The Trump admin is probably due for another Wheel of Misfortune scandal overreaction any day now, as Russia and other topics ebb.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        When politicians have to face the “resign” question from the press, it’s just a matter of time…..I’m sure Tillerson’s family is going to need him badly sometime in the near future….

    2. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Can they both lose? I am sure the CFR guy is itching to install a tool who will push for more trade deals and foreign wars.

    3. lamber strether

      I thought the whole thing was ridiculous.

      Add to it that Tillerson, for an Exxon executive, seems relatively sane. He hasn’t bombed Libya or (so far as we know) supported Ukrainian fascists. And his replacement would probably be worse, given The Blob wants war, any war.

  6. Wukchumni

    Las Vegas Casinos, Aware Of Mass Shooting Risks, Lobbied For Insurance International Business Times
    I’m allergic to Vegas, it ain’t me babe.

    In my opinion, gambling has been one of prime causes for much of society’s financial ills, whether it be wagering on stocks, homes, cards, sporting events, etc.

    So, about a decade ago my wife and I are on a 2 month trip to visit ancient indian wall art all over the southwest (there’s some fabulous 3,000 year old Anasazi panels less than an hour from sin city @ Valley of Fire State Park) and stay @ well known casino/hotel overnight, and I notice a funny thing in that those staying in the hotel have to walk the periphery of the casino floor to get to the front desk, to check in. Most of them have their luggage in tow and a number of bags are unattended, as the intended lure of playing Pavlov’s fido on hotel guests is working to perfection, as they had hoped. Nice doggies!

    This was about 5 years post 9/11 and I was gobsmacked at just how easy of a target this establishment was, not only for a lone gunman, but for any sort of terrorist attack.

    1. Lee

      Did you read Stephen King’s The Stand? A post apocalyptic sci-fi, horror epic in which Las Vegas is the capitol of nihilistic supernatural evil. It resonated perfectly with my take on the place. It is in an alley off Wall Street, a strutting clown, sprinkled with glitter, and in your face.

      1. Wukchumni

        I haven’t read that one yet, i’ll still staring down King’s 11/22/63, which has doubled nicely as a doorstop heretofore.

        Earth Abides is my favorite of the genre~

  7. Jim Haygood

    Trump Jubilee!

    “We are going to work something out. We have to look at [Puerto Rico’s] whole debt structure,” Trump said during an interview on Fox News Tuesday.

    “You know they owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street. We’re gonna have to wipe that out. That’s gonna have to be – you know, you can say goodbye to that. I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs but whoever it is, you can wave good-bye to that.”

    See, it ain’t all bad having a property developer as prez. He gets how this jubilee thingy works. :-)

    1. Wukchumni

      You dangle a debt jubilee to one group of American Citizens, and the others are going to be rather jealous.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The jubilee cat is out of the bag. The debt forgiving pandora’s box has been opened.

        It’s beyond Trump’s fickleness.

        1. wilroncanada

          It’s a stopped clock statement, like almost every other statement he has made.
          The rest of the time….

          The only reliably repeatable statements from him are: I am perfect. I am the world’s greatest businessman. I am beautiful. Everybody loves me. I…me…I…me…I…me…ad infinitum ad nauseum.

    2. Jess

      A former FDL commenter, on the FDL Facebook page, pointed out that according to what he’s read, about 60% of the money owed by Puerto Rico is to pension funds that invested in PR muni bonds. If they’re wiped out or forced to take a steep haircut it’s bad — perhaps catastrophic — for many retirees.

      1. skippy

        Foie gras…. now’s the time for harvesting…

        disheveled…. a – few – will make a killing, such is the glee for some.

        P.S. Jim expect an invoice of 2 points gross worth for using thingy….

  8. dcrane

    Just wondering why Japan is on the (short) list of countries voting against the UN resolution banning the death penalty for homosexuality:

    The other countries who voted against the resolution were Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, China, Japan, Qatar, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia (which currently has the death penalty for sodomy).

    1. RabidGandhi

      One reason is most likely because the resolution is not just against the death penalty for homosexuality. Had it been strictly limited to that it would have been easier for the US & friends to support, but luckily for them it also condemns the death penalty for minors, the mentally disabled and pregnant women, thus broadening their excuses for rejecting it. And the Forces of Freedom must reserve the right to electrocute mentally incapacitated seventeen year old mothers.

      1. Joel

        You’ll notice the US is no longer on the list of countries that execute offenders who were minors, or the severely mentally disabled (small mercies).

    2. a different chris

      I dunno. What I wonder is if there is any “moral” stance – quotes really important – we would take that wouldn’t put us on the same list as Iran? Well, nobody fights harder than brothers, I guess.

    3. Off The Street

      My guess: Japan looks at the list of OPEC providers for all that oil it needs to survive, and charts its own course. That sense of self-preservation likely helped it navigate the oil embargoes of years past.

    4. ScottW

      Japan imposes the death penalty (by hanging) for murder. The U.S. will never support any resolution that bans the death penalty and Japan seems to be the same.

  9. Croatoan

    Sorry but “Watch the sheer joy of dogs riding the waves at a surfing contest” is horribly anthropomorphic in the least. The woman interviewed said the surf dogs “do it voluntarily”? What? How is that possible?

    You can train both dogs and humans to do anything, it does not mean they enjoy it.

    Anti-antidote to me.

  10. Meher Baba

    Croatoan thanks for comment about dogs. There are some amazing performances of horses displaying incredible control and response to the rider. They undergo incredible sufferring via the disciplining required to
    make them perform so, however

    1. Jeotsu

      Depends on the circumstance.

      We’ve taken our llamas and alpacas for beach walks (because why wouldn’t you, given the opportunity!). If the sea is calm, we’ll see if any want to go in for a wade or swim. Some are nervous but willing. Some say “no!” very clearly.

      Yet others will sit down in the surf just to let the waves crash over their backs. And we had one animal (otherwise a willfull jerk) who dragged his handler into the actually quite rough seas, leaping over the surf as he ran out to sea, like a dog frolicking in the waves.

      Sufficiently smart critters can do amazing things completely willingly. So perhaps what is pictured arose from abuse and bad animal welfare, but it might also have come from finding animals that enjoyed the stimulation.

  11. nippersmom

    The Quiet Battle Between Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris in Atlanta
    Sent off a donation to Vincent Fort’s campaign last night. Living an hour outside Atlanta, this particular battlefield is very close to home.

      1. Arizona Slim

        A mini-wow from Tucson: I live in City Council Ward 3. For the first time in ages, there was competition in the primary to replace the three-term council member. Three Democrats — and it was quite a race.

        The Trump Derangement Syndrome guy won, and he’s up against an Independent with almost no name recognition. Should be interesting.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Count Birmingham, AL in the win column! Looks like Our Revolution was involved.

      If Fort can pull off a win in Nov/Dec, that would make a hat-trick of
      1) Jackson, MS
      2) Birmingham, AL
      3) Atlanta, GA

      Perhaps the south can become the firewall of the Bernie-crats?

      Is that the faint sound of Democrat consultants soiling their undergarments about their future job prospects?

      Quick! Order up another round of op-eds calling for ‘unity’ and for Bernie to reign in his supporters, as if, bizarrely, he’s got them on some kind of leash.

    2. Ned

      If it’s tokenistic and based on something like race, gender or a pretty face, something that no one has control over, then Kamala Harris will tout it.

      She has made a career out of trumpeting something she has that she was born with as though it were an achievement.

      She was a mediocre district attorney in San Francisco, a mediocre attorney general, the best friend the banks ever had in that position and I assume she will go onto virtue signal her way through the senate, always representing the donor class with a dash of dashiki.

    1. Barry

      Wrong Bird
      The link is for a laughing kookaburra.
      The bird in the photo is a blue wing kookaburra
      It´s voice is nothing like the laughing k.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Looking at my copy of Moorcombe, I think you’re likely right. Blue wing kookaburra.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    U.S. Votes Against U.N. Ban On Death Penalty For Homosexuality New Now Next (The Rev Kev). Joining Iraq, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

    Why not just ban death penalty, period?

    Just ban death penalty, and all should be covered.

    Scared of China much?

  13. Jim Haygood

    Chris Hedges writes about what most mainstream economists — even those with tenure protection — will not (Alfred McCoy at U Wisconsin-Madison being the rarest of exceptions, though he’s an historian):

    The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe.

    Empires in decay embrace an almost willful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateral threats and the blunt instrument of war.

    This collective self-delusion saw the United States make the greatest strategic blunder in its history, one that sounded the death knell of the empire—the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    “While rising empires are often judicious in their application of armed force, fading empires are inclined to ill-considered displays of power,” historian Alfred McCoy writes. “Often irrational even from an imperial point of view, these micromilitary operations can yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the process already under way.”

    “For the majority of Americans, the 2020s will likely be remembered as a demoralizing decade of rising prices, stagnant wages, and fading international competitiveness,” McCoy writes. The loss of the dollar as the global reserve currency will see a massive rise in the cost of imports. Unemployment will explode. Domestic clashes over what McCoy calls “insubstantial issues” will fuel a dangerous hypernationalism that could morph into an American fascism.

    Well the good old days may not return.” — Tom Petty, Learning to Fly

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m strictly a child of the Cold War-born in the heat of hostilities, back when governments erected walls to keep their populace in, they weren’t worried all that much about outsiders attempting to embrace their lifestyle, the machine guns were only positioned to shoot inwards of the wall.

      Growing up in the USA I never wanted for anything, nor ever missed a meal, it was a given that prosperity was a way of life. But on the other hand, I could see how my relatives behind the iron curtain fared, and not too well-as you see they wanted for everything, for communism as practiced then was really more like austerityism. I remember talking to my aunt in Prague about the Nazis & Soviets and living under their respective jackboots, and I was a little taken aback when she told me how much worse it was under the latter rather than the former, at least in her eyes given the duration differences. She felt Stalin et al had stolen 40 years of her life.

      Both capitalism and communism were really mirror images of one another in a Bizarro World sort of way. We could’ve been the one that fell apart first, but that’s not how it went down.

      We’re destined to follow them into the trash heap of history, but our ending will be of course the flipside of how communism went away-with hardly a wimper.

      1. mpalomar

        The USSR’s totalitarian regime that initially pursued communism was placed under siege by their capitalist neighbors at the end of WWI. Of course a siege mentality resulted. One can only speculate about the outcome if the USSR had been welcomed into the international community instead of targeted. One wonders why Cuba’s revolution hasn’t gone further off the tracks than it has considering interference by the US.

        What the possible different results from Russia’s revolution might have been will never be known. The western capitalist imperial powers use for the Russian people was cannon fodder in WWI and again in WWII when the USSR became an ally and then after the war was targeted for regime change one way or another. Citizen welfare was of little concern. Still it can be mooted that despite the crushing of civil liberties by these regimes the majority in these countries fared better than they might have and were raised by education and health care for all.

        We could’ve been the one that fell apart first, but that’s not how it went down.

        I’ve long felt the US is the dead man walking, having emerged mortally wounded from the destructive policies that culminated in the USSR’s no mas.

        1. Wukchumni

          A great film from 50 years ago, is Milos Forman’s “The Fireman’s Ball”.

          In theory it’s a movie about a party for a retiring fireman, but really it’s a less than thinly veiled attack on how things were in Czechoslovakia @ the time. I saw it about 10 years ago for the first time, and asked my mom about it, and she told me that the populace of the era didn’t have much, and was constantly stealing from one another.

          1. mpalomar

            I remember following Dubcek and the Prague Spring closely as a teenager. It was revelatory and my second great disillusionment, dispelling my callow belief that the USSR might represent a positive alternative to the American war machine which was in the process of destroying great swathes of SE Asia; my first disillusionment compounded by the brutality of the US police state vis a vis the civil rights and anti-war movement.

            I can vaguely recall that Podgorny, Kosygin and Brezhnev were in a power sharing arrangement and the Soviet hardliners won out over the liberalizing forces at work and sent tanks into Czechoslovakia. How might Dubcek’s reforms have played out if the US and the USSR were not at the height of their cold war antagonism? What is interesting is that we have a partial answer to one piece of the puzzle. As the USSR dissolved after 1989 NATO expanded into the satellite states offering us a glimpse of the rationale behind the Soviet hardliners decision to crush the Prague Spring.

            I remember it but never saw the Fireman’s Ball, I’ll look for it.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      “Ah, the glory that was Rome!”

      Great Britian’s history is interesting because they often came to the brink like Rome did, but they always managed to pull back. I don’t yet have a theory of why that was so…..

      So…the question is: Are we Rome or are we Great Britian? I guess time will tell……

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Great Britain was great; now, it’s almost like the 51st state of the American Empire.

        Did Rome come to an end, or did it become the Church of Rome? Is it still around?

        1. Wukchumni

          Did Rome come to an end, or did it become the Church of Rome? Is it still around?
          As always, ya gotta follow the money trail…

          …and it lead right to Byzantium

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          There is a case Attaturk and the Allies finally ended the polity founded on the banks of the Tiber if we accept the Sultan meant it when he proclaimed himself Caesar when the Muslims took Constantinople and were present at the death of Constantine XI. The Pope was subordinate to the old emperors. The Papacy’s occupancy of the Lateran Palace, I believe this is the longest and oldest functioning compound in the world, was established by an emperor in Constantinople. I don’t believe any Pope has ever claimed imperial power.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Imperial power.

            I was thinking about the Roman 1% who jumped onto an everlasting ship, with a power greater than the caesar.

            Is it true that some families continued to supply popes for over a thousand years? It would be like a few exclusive families supplying the wife for the reigning Tenno in Kyoto for even longer.

          2. Mo's Bike Shop

            Well, there was the incident of Charles, Leo III, and ‘is that a crown in your pocket?’.

      2. neighbor7

        The line in Poe’s poem “To Helen” is “The glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome.”

    3. Carolinian

      I watched all 18 hrs of The Vietnam War (minus potty breaks) and don’t believe the phrase “US imperialism” came up once.even though it was quite common during the 60s. When protestors did use the phrase it was often met with outrage by the “who, us?” establishment.

      Perhaps the difference between then and the 2000s is that a government official can now unabashedly claim that “we’re an empire”–a Bush Jr official to be sure but with Haley lined up to replace Tillerson who can doubt that this is still the modus operandi?

      Meanwhile Hedges under fire because he has a show on RT. The elite hysteria seems to occupy both sides of the aisle.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Provinces and colonies tend to jump off a sinking empire.

      Some have agitated for independence all along, perhaps they were involuntarily included in the empire.

      Others do it for because the empire is no longer useful to them.

    5. ScottW

      To date, a majority of Americans default to supporting war over peace. Nixon won all but Mass. & D.C. against McGovern. Bush’s popularity soared after “shock & awe.” Current opinon polls show public support for Trump’s threats against NK and his popularity will increase if he engages in war with them.

      As set forth in the Vietnam Documentary, Nixon knew the People did not want to hear the war was lost.

      Speaking the truth is the quickest way to losing political office.

  14. Matthew G. Saroff

    The Uber reorg/truce is because the investors realize that if they don’t get out soon, they will lose most/all of their stakes.

    Not only is Uber getting bad press over its business practices, but increasingly mainstream press is noticing, as Yves pointed out years ago, that they have no path to profitability.

    The board knows that they have hit the iceberg, and they are scrambling for the life boats.

    1. PhilM

      I’m getting older and it’s harder to find words, but this one is an easy correction. It should read “feckless” Equifax.

    2. Doug Hillman

      The Register? Not The Onion? Yeah, The Onion can’t top the self-parody/satire of the US kleptocracy —- a semi-organized crime syndicate masquerading as a democracy.

  15. Wukchumni

    We can mostly agree that the internet killed the spoken joke, and truth be said the hardest part in the telling was the timing, and there isn’t any on this contraption as all you’re doing is reading jokes now.

    One hallmark of the Soviet era was telling off the government via humor, and they did it in the way of clever gibes. I wonder when we start hearing/seeing similar variations here?

    A few examples lifted from the internets:

    A judge walks out of his chambers laughing his head off. A colleague approaches him and asks why he is laughing. “I just heard the funniest joke in the world!” “Well, go ahead, tell me!” says the other judge. “I can’t – I just gave someone ten years for it!”

    Three men are sitting in a cell in the (KGB headquarters) Dzerzhinsky Square. The first asks the second why he has been imprisoned, who replies, “Because I criticized Karl Radek.” The first man responds, “But I am here because I spoke out in favor of Radek!” They turn to the third man who has been sitting quietly in the back, and ask him why he is in jail. He answers, “I’m Karl Radek.”

    Q: Is it true that there is freedom of speech in the Soviet Union, just like in the USA?

    A: In principle, yes. In the USA, you can stand in front of the White House in Washington, DC, and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished. Equally, you can also stand in Red Square in Moscow and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished.

    Q: Is it true that the Soviet Union is the most progressive country in the world?

    A: Of course! Life was already better yesterday than it’s going to be tomorrow!

    Khrushchev visited a pig farm and was photographed there. In the newspaper office, a discussion is underway about how to caption the picture. “Comrade Khrushchev among pigs,” “Comrade Khrushchev and pigs,” and “Pigs surround comrade Khrushchev” are all rejected. Finally, the editor announces his decision: “Third from left – comrade Khrushchev.”

    1. OldClark

      Here’s another:

      Under US capitalism, man oppresses man. Under Soviet Socialism, it is the opposite.

      1. Gaianne

        A gem from the 1990s:

        Of course, everything they told us about Communism was false.

        Unfortunately, everything they told us about Capitalism was true!


  16. Livius Drusus

    Re: the reunification of Germany, that reminds me of this great blog post by a man who grew up in East Germany and compared it favorably to West Germany. Here is an excerpt:

    Unlike most East Germans, I had lived in the West and I was able to compare things for myself. Despite the daily frustration of life in real-existierenden Sozialismus (real socialism, as it was called), I actually preferred my life in the East. It was simpler and it was easier to be happy.

    A program I recently watched maintained that people are their happiest not when they have all that they want, but rather when they have all that they need. This may be the reason that East Germans, despite many of the so-called deprivations, were happier than many of their West German cousins. The problem was, they just didn’t know it. Today, two decades after unification, former East Germans know what they gave up. And they gave it up for bananas, video recorders and a Golf GTI. And as Germany grapples with record numbers of welfare recipients and unemployed, suddenly Socialism doesn’t look quite so bad. That’s right, I said it again.

    Full piece:

    This blog post discussed some important truths about what makes people happy. Ian Welsh also discussed East Germany and the happiness paradox.

    Basically the main takeaway is that for most people a more limited life can lead to happiness. People are unhappy in the West because we all want the best of everything (jobs, cars, houses, spouses) but most of us will never obtain our goals so we are frustrated and constantly unhappy and unsatisfied. Advertising and social media help to fuel and exacerbate this problem.

    Alan Ehrenhalt made pretty much the same argument in his book on 1950s Chicago called The Lost City: The Forgotten Virtues Of Community In America.

    Most people need some degree of stability to be happy which is why very few people are libertarians and why libertarians tend to be better-educated and wealthier than the general population. For libertarians (meaning people who are economically right-wing but socially liberal) a constantly changing society is exciting because they have the ability and means to enjoy the fruits of such a society. On the other hand most ordinary people experience such changes as troublesome upheavals. This likely explains why there is such a huge divide between elite groups and ordinary people on the subject of globalization. For elites globalization means easier travel abroad, exotic food and product choices at lower prices and a selective and enriching engagement with different cultures. For ordinary people such changes are experienced as the disruption of rules and work patterns that guided their lives (“I did everything right but I am still struggling!”) and result in frustration, confusion, anger and a willingness to find scapegoats among weak actors like immigrants.

    1. Wukchumni

      I contend that the system fell mainly because the people had been held on such a short leash for so long in terms of needs, wants & desires. Once a trickle leaving became a flood in late stage communism, they were drawn to the west like flies to the light, an unstoppable force.

      I think it’s amazing that the citizenry was kept on what was essentially a WW2 rationing scheme, in terms of abundance.

      That said, that sort of lifestyle (sans communism) might be one to emulate if push>meets<shove, under our current aegis.

    2. Punta Pete

      I recall reading about a study awhile back that claimed that sex was more frequent in the Communist countries than in the West as well.

  17. Ned

    Re Water 3.0

    Standard wastewater treatment plants are like giant stomachs, with huge tanks of bacteria that digest the sewage after it has passed through screens that filter larger objects out. This produces gases, akin to farts, that can generate energy. Plastic is undigestible and just passes through the “guts” of the sewage plant.

    By the way, why is sewage treatment not a profit generating enterprise?

    Isn’t sewage treatment an important part of our overall health care system at the disease prevention stage?

    Shouldn’t that serve as a partial model for a non-profit basic health care system?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Be more cautious in where you look for profits. Save your concern for the quality of wastewater treatment and the quality of the water that it provides. Water already has a big Neoliberal bulls-eye on its side.

      1. Ned

        That was a rhetorical question designed to show the hypocrisy of charging people for basic health services. I’m on your side.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Me too! I’m on your side.
          Before checking back here — I’ve been attempting to make a bridge between Phillip Mirowski and G. William Domhoff — wish me luck.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Too bad us Nacerima,, go all “eeeww icky” at the very thought of composting human manure, an approach widely used elsewhere and from a recent link here, even becoming a VC profit opportunity. Much “better” to use a couple of gallons of nice pure drinking water to send it “conveniently” and “antiseptically” off, via billions of dollars of maintenance-needy pipes, to billion-dollar “treatment plants.

      Haha, “VC,” I just got the joke! Like VC, like the Viet Cong, that troubled my life for a year and my dreams for decades…

  18. freedeomny

    I found both the New Yorker article on guardianships and the older Amazon “workcampers” horrifying for different reasons. The “let’s be perky, happy and positive” vibe being pushed on older workers who have to work for $11 an hour for the privilege of walking many miles during a shift is offensive. And I suspect elder abuse with regards to guardianships will become more common in the future. And not just with state ordered guardians – but with family members who feel entitled to inheritances.

  19. Ignacio

    Re:Time to shine: Solar power is fastest-growing source of new energy The Guardian

    Yeps. Solar is gaining traction very fast. I believe that solar farms are taking the lead but the big moment will come when roof solar panels become more widely installed. When space is limiting panel efficiency is what matters. I am still not recommending solar panels in roofs unless there is plenty of space. It is expected that in few years (or months) PV efficiency will increase so I recommend delaying this investment decision when space is limiting. I am recommending it in buildings dedicated to office space in which energy consumption schedule is more or less coincident with with maximum solar PV production. Bear in mind that solar farms require lots of soil usage for energy while roof panels use already zoned areas. It is much more environment-friendly!

    Sadly in Spain we are not progressing. We have this catalan story… and stupid Rajoy aligned with utility companies, as usual.

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    [Initially commented to 3 OCT instead of 4 OCT — sorry for error]
    RE: ‘brutally honest’ environmental news —
    I don’t know about “Earther” — I clipped three gushes from the editor — Maddie Stone — that suggest reason for alarm.

    “The balance between writing about environmental challenges and optimism is how we differ. We are going focus on environmental solutions, things that are working, and how we can use examples of what’s working to build a better future for life on Earth.”

    “I think having this somewhat optimistic tone and this focus on how we can learn from some of the really scary terrifying things that are happening on our planet right now is going to set us apart.”

    “We want to bring news about the changing environment from a place of excitement and wonder. Not that I’m saying it is great that climate change is happening, but there is a lot of groundbreaking science coming from the changes happening, and that is inherently interesting.”

    Phillip Mirowski warned of three stages of Neoliberalism’s approach to Global Warming. This “Earther” website smacks of an early entrant into the stage three prepping for GeoEngineering “solutions” for the problem. Little phrases like “examples of what’s working to build a better future for life on Earth” have an eiry ring.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    First global pledge to end cholera by 2030 BBC

    No pledge to respond to antibiotic resistance bacteria by 2030?

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Elizabeth Warren tells Wells Fargo’s CEO: ‘You should be fired’ Business Insider

    Plus a few senators.

    But decorum. We must have decorum.

    1. Wukchumni

      The claim is that the dimensions of the Unabomber’s cabin and the cabin of a Gulfstream V ferrying a Unabanker, are very similar.

  23. Kim Kaufman

    re Las Vegas. Questions asked, and yes, I know it’s zerohedge, but it came from elsewhere first:

    16 Unanswered Questions About The Las Vegas Shooting That Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want To Talk About

    Questions I don’t think were asked in the article (based on the source article I read earlier): how did he break the windows? Those windows in Las Vegas hotels are virtually unbreakable. I don’t believe a hammer could do it.

    It asked how he got all the guns, ammo, etc., into his room. But an added detail is that he was on the 32nd floor, a high roller floor and those floors have extra heavy security since someone could be walking around with maybe $50k cash. So, how is it at all possible he got all that stuff into his room/s with no one seeing?

    1. mpalomar

      Wasn’t he in the room for several days? I would guess he could have brought the arsenal in with suitcases, maybe a golf bag in a few days.

    2. AnnieB

      The taxi driver video on you tube is well worth viewing , very strange. Sorry can’ t provide link right now

    3. ewmayer

      If a hammer or heavy object (e.g. fire extinguisher) repeatedly smashed into the window doesn’t do the trick, just fire a few rounds at it – easy.

    4. Matt

      Doesn’t Las Vegas have gun shows? Maybe the staff didn’t think carrying an arsenal was unusual.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      -Sledge hammer. There is unbreakable and “unbreakable.”
      -He supposedly checked in on Thursday with his car parked nearby. He could easily have moved everything during the next three days. He could have taken the weapons apart and reassembled them to make movement easier. “Security theater” doesn’t only apply to the government, and the security is to keep the riffraff and those who look prime to OD out.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘You Can’t Fix Stupid,’ Lawmaker Tells Equifax’s Former CEO Bloomberg

    You can’t fix greed.

    Why are people so obsessed with being smart and looking down at less smart people?

    Is IQ everything?

    Go fix greed, first and foremost.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Yahoo Triples Estimate of Breached Accounts to 3 Billion WSJ

    Equifax also upped their number of hacked accounts, millions more, just yesterday, I seem to recall.

    At the point in time, maybe we work from the other end and ask, how many are not hacked? How many are not compromised?

    Maybe we get a small number is each case.

    And since many of us are math challenged, not familiar with large numbers, perhaps it’s easier to understand.

  26. Kim Kaufman

    re Las Vegas

    16 Unanswered Questions About The Las Vegas Shooting That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want To Talk About

    Questions not asked: how could he have broken the windows… with a hammer? Those Las Vegas casino hotel windows are virtually unbreakable.

    He was on the high roller floor that has extra heavy security since someone could be walking around with $50k cash. How is it possible he evaded detection bringing all the guns, ammo, etc., into his room.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Catalan referendum: Region’s independence ‘in matter of days’ BBC

    Will the King of Spain preserve ‘their union?’

    Why is there no standard, accepted way for a political divorce or independence?

    Looking at say, how America achieved independence, did anyone worry over money owed to the British? Or how the Soviet Union or Israel became a nation. They just declared so. There wasn’t even a vote.

    If people had to worry about how many jobs would be lost, or how much hardship (physical, emotional, financial, etc) they would suffer, would London have continued to rule over America?

  28. Phil in Kansas City

    I am continually told by radio hosts that the problem isn’t the weapons, but the evil in the heart of the perpetrator. There’s nothing, then, that can be done.

    So, does this logic apply to Kim Il-Un?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many think Mr. Kim is evil, and nothing to be done with his evil heart, but it would be insane not to try to talk peace.

      From his perspective, Washington is the mad one, but can he ban top grade military hardware in America

  29. El Gordo

    The New Yorker piece on guardianship is mind-boggling. Remind me not to move to NV in my old age (coming up quickly!).

  30. Wukchumni

    In an alternative universe, we spent all the do re mi that we wasted on the wars in the ‘stan box, rebuilding Detroit, Cleveland and the rest of the rust bucket, so much so that new condos were fetching $550k in the motor city.

    The VA was doing a great job, there being so few veterans to care for.

    Wait, who am I kidding?

  31. mlipow

    The National Association of Manufacturers announced its support for the ERA in the 1920s. Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford supported it from their first days in Congress. California Senator Joseph Knowland (Who lost China?) twice led the floor fight to get it out to the states for ratification. With friends like these you have to wonder what was going on. Alice Paul and the women of the National Woman’s Party were examples of the first women after WWI to hit the glass ceiling. For them protective legislation for women stymied their advancement, and they were willing to sacrifice the majority of working women (and a lot of men who benefited from the legislation) to get their way. Their version of an equal rights amendment embodied an equality of the lowest common denominator. If employers discriminated against women who would have to be paid overtime in favor of men who didn’t, better to drag everybody down so no one would get overtime.

    The labor opponents wanted an ERA that would preserve protective legislation, and they successfully amended it twice and the business interests and their supporters in Congress killed it twice rather than see that version go out to the states. During the ratification process lawsuits across the country led state after state to throw out protective legislation, and huge numbers of women found themselves frantically phoning to make arrangements for kids stuck on the doorstep after bosses asked them to work a second shift, now at straight-time pay. Only in California, I believe, did the labor women led by the Union Women’s Alliance for Equality (Union W.A.G.E.) and the state AFL-CIO successfully achieve reenactment of the body of protective legislation. Their approach in the state legislative hearings, opposed by the National Organization for Women, was to have protective legislation extended to men and then ratify the ERA.

    Serious money was involved, and once the business supporters got what they really wanted, riding on the backs of the N.W.P. and later the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and N.O.W., they dropped them like a hot potato. That’s when the Republicans dropped their decades-long support for the ERA as a platform plank. This was noted by the Women’s Bureau of the Labor Department but forgotten in the wave of mobilization that accompanied the effort to enact the (unamended) ERA.

    Let me add that a better approach would have been to apply the language of the 14th Amendment directly to women, which wouldn’t have been a bar to protective legislation or comparable worth approaches.

    Linda Greenhouse would have done well to include mention of “The Hidden History of the Equal Rights Amendment,” by Hal Draper and Stephen Diamond.

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