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Links 11/1/17

Dear patient readers,

Apologies for the lack of original posts. I am bogged down on reviewing a big piece plus fighting a bug.

Now Coming to a Backyard Near You: Weird Chickens Wall Street Journal. I am told chickens are smart and make nice pets.

‘The good Lord couldn’t get rid of them’: Louisiana’s quest to hunt the swamp rat Guardian

Watch: Video about competitive gravedigging Boing Boing

US quietly sanctions China over North Korean missile launchers Asia Times

We May Not Have Enough Minerals To Even Meet Electric Car Demand Jalopnik. You read this first at Naked Capitalism months ago, see here and here.

Brexit

UK households £600 worse off because of Brexit Politico

Theresa May’s Brexit strategy hits a legal minefield Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Ahem, the UK was not listening. The EU said repeatedly, from the very day after the Brexit vote, that any arrangement had to fit in the context of existing agreements, and explicitly that meant the UK would not get better deals than other trade partners had. They’ve said that repeatedly in God knows how many ways. The uK is now surprised that this is a real constraint?

Gordon Brown: Rogue bankers should be jailed BBC

Catalonia

Catalan independence: Spain high court summons dismissed leader BBC

Ousted Catalan leader sounds defiant but accepts election Politico. From Politico’s daily e-mail:

During the press conference, he didn’t say when he would return to Spain, though not doing so could result in a European arrest warrant being issued if he fails to respond to a court summons to face charges of sedition and rebellion later this week. Europa Press said he was spotted leaving the hotel with his suitcase, while El País reports some of his team has arrived back in Barcelona. A clue may lie in his webpage, which has changed from president.cat to president.exili.eu.

Syraqistan

Kurds’ aims in Syria far more likely to succeed than in Iraq Asia Times

New Cold War

Facebook, Google and Twitter grilled by Congress over Russian meddling – as it happened Guardian

Russian Army Gets Specialized Drone-Hunters Motherboard

In our defence we didn’t think you were thick enough for this to work, says Russia Daily Mash

Manafort Indictment

The Real Promise of the Manafort Indictment Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg. My God, something sane.

The Manafort Indictment: Not Much There, and a Boon for Trump National Review (s.n.). I hate being reduced to linking to the National Review, but it has criticized Trump pretty regularly. And this confirms the view of a tax expert, who sees the violations here as paperwork-related and points out there are no tax charges in the filing. Go read the actual causes of action.

Top Trump Campaign Aide Clovis Spoke to Mueller Team, Grand Jury NBC (furzy)

Papadopoulos Claimed Trump Campaign Approved Russia Meeting Bloomberg. This was a junior loose cannon in a campaign widely criticized for being disorganized. But he might have worn a wire, and there were so many amateurs floating around, combined with a complete lack of discipline from the top down, that someone easily could have said or e-mailed something very stupid and damaging to him.

Trump Transition

White House defends Kelly’s civil war remarks and calls criticism ‘outrageous’ Guardian. Hoo boy.

A Refusal to Compromise? Civil War Historians Beg to Differ New York Times

The Supreme Court Has An Ethics Problem Politico

Congress: The Broken Check and Balance Atlantic

GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling to retire after end of current term The Hill

Tax “Reform”

Robert Reich: Trump’s Gang Is Plotting the Biggest Heist in American History Alternet (RR)

GOP Braces for ‘All Hell’ to Break Loose Over Tax Bill Bloomberg

WashPost: House GOP tax plan would keep top rate unchanged on highest earners Washington Post

Trump wants to sign tax bill by Christmas The Hill

Eight killed in NYC terror attack BBC

New York attack: five Argentinian friends named among eight killed – latest updates Guardian. A Belgian killed too. Wowsers, the person being held drove for Uber.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Slavery Thrived on Compromise, John Kelly New York Times. Reslic highlights this part:

Just last week, a black criminal defendant in Louisiana was denied his constitutional right to an attorney because the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled six to one that he hadn’t really requested a lawyer when he told police during questioning: “I know I didn’t do it. So why don’t you just give me a lawyer, dawg, ’cause this is not what’s up?” The willfully ignorant justices ruled that the defendant had asked for a “lawyer dog,” not a lawyer, so he had not invoked his right to counsel.

>Emory University Hospital is refusing a transplant for a 2 year old Color of Change. Because his father has a record.

Inept cops hold family at gunpoint thinking they robbed their own house Boing Boing

Source: FBI opens inquiry into Whitefish’s Puerto Rico contract MSN (furzy)

Utah nurse gets $500,000 in blood arrest row BBC

U.S. Shale Could Bring Bearishness Back To Markets OilPrice

Americans Are Officially Freaking Out Bloomberg. Yet consumer and business confidence ratings are at high levels.

It Gets Serious: Biggest US Cities Where Rents Are Plunging Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

Time to give up on identity politics: It’s dragging the progressive agenda down Salon (Kevin F)

I looked for a state that’s taken the opioid epidemic seriously. I found Vermont. Vox (resilc)

What J. D. Vance Doesn’t Get About Appalachia Washington Monthly

Curing ‘affluenza’ needs to become a cultural priority TreeHugger. Good luck with that.

Wages rose for the bottom 90 percent in 2016 as those for top 1 percent fell Economic Policy Institute

Antidote du jour (Timotheus):

And a bonus antidote from guurst. See original story, The dog that saved the big cats.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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147 comments

  1. Jim Haygood

    After getting smacked down 6 percent last month on a hurricane-related pop in unemployment claims, as well as declining consumer confidence and industrial materials prices, Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator snapped back with a mad vengeance in October, retracing nearly all of its September smash. See for yourself:

    http://ibb.co/dPuBhb

    Conference Board consumer confidence surged to a 16-year high, while the 4-week average of initial unemployment claims fell back almost to its end-August level, before Hurricane Harvey temporarily disrupted the figures.

    The sole weak note is an ongoing 4 percent slide in industrial materials prices since end-August. Other commodity indexes are holding steady to firm, though.

    For now, Ed Yardeni’s indicator is less than 0.6% below its high water mark set in March 2017. Third quarter GDP growth was 3.0% in the first estimate; national house prices (Case-Shiller index) just hit a record high; and the Yardeni indicator chimes in that the economy is trundling along nicely in the roseate sunset glow of Bubble III.

    1. Wukchumni

      The ne plus ultra of bubble blowing for yours truly was 4-consisting of one big bubble with progressively smaller ones within (just the opposite of the current saga) and if memory serves it required 7 wads of Bazooka gum that were chewed on for about 5 minutes, and in the big leagues of blowing bubbles when you’re 10, there’s always the risk of accidentally puncturing the main bubble, so you could get to a bubble in a bubble usually, but that’s when structural issues became a concern, and the 3rd one was risky @ best, and the 4th? A fools errand.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Yes, the Plutocrats Protection Team, AKA the “Plunge Protection Team” (or “PPT”) first acknowledged publicly by George Stephanopoulos on a weekend political talk show back in 2001 has – with a big assist from the Bernanke-Yellen Fed’s QE, negative real interest rates, the Markets Group and their Primary Dealer support network, CEOs’ corporate stock buybacks funded with debt, wage suppression, and consumer debt – carried the day in the financial markets; further boosted the FINANCIAL “net worth” of billionaires, deca-billionaires and Fortune 500 CEOs; concentrated control of the nation’s resources and political influence in ever fewer hands; and absolutely laid waste to the financial resources of much of the former middle class and elderly retirees. No question that macro fundamentals have improved since those halcyon days of autumn 2008. But real economic recovery for the vast majority of citizens and the quality of their lives would have improved more quickly with higher federal domestic fiscal spending, which is the real road out of “Secular Stagnation”.

      But they can go ahead and declare “Victory”. For they’ve “won”… even though most Americans, who were being channeled to focus on ‘The War on Terra’, were utterly unaware there was a class war on against them and that they were to be the targeted victims.

      But not to worry. I’m sure the key players will notify all financial markets participants when they will be pulling support for Bubble III. And that in turn is unlikely to occur before “tax reform” for the One Percent.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Warren Buffett told us mopes years ago, right “in our faces,” that “Of course there’s a class war. And my class, the rich class, has won.”

        For some definition of “won.” And of course, unless the Innivators come up with a tech fix for “death.,” he and many of the other Dirigible Peopke (who soar well attended high above the Crap), will escape all consequence and retribution via a very comfortable death…

        1. polecat

          Maybe some lowly plebs could accompany ol’ Warren and his co-hort onto a fleetstreet of golden derigibles, go up high into the stratosphere, and, pitching off, see if they can collectively reach escape velocity … without shutes !

        2. screen screamer

          You know, Warren Buffet had a pretty good stream there leading up to the big show. He owned WF who sold a bunch of worthless mortgages and sold them off as AAA. WF paid his other outfit, I believe it is Moody’s, to secure those AAA ratings, which were then shoveled into the economy via derivatives that he then insured through AIG which was stop gapped one hundred per cent by yours truly.
          All I ever recall receiving from this lack luster investor was a curt video of Munger extolling the virtues of Bernanke and company. Never even a damned card of thanks. Unless of course you consider the seasons wipings of my 401k. All this under the auspices of a Harvard educated scholar.
          It warms the cockles of my heart to hear such luminaries as Lynch and Minority Leader Schumer wax poetic about the importance of the rule of law o’er the land. The former at Harvard School of Law and the latter in the latest dash to shame in regards the latest investigation of the Teflon Don.

  2. Ed

    What wound up happening with the Philadelphia meetup? I did a search and the last thing posted here was about the difficulty with the venue. Or does Yves’ bug make the whole thing moot anyway?

  3. Emorej a Hong Kong

    First thought, on seeing Gordon Brown increasing his visibility: has Blair’s non-viability become so clear to the anybody-but-Corbyn crowd that Brown might be trotted out to play a public role in political realignment?

    Regardless, it seems increasingly clear that Corbyn will have to be allowed leadership of another election which will probably make him Prime Minister. Only then can the campaign to discredit him start making real progress.

    Each day that the Conservatives cling to power, and to the poisoned chalice of implementing Brexit, is one less day in which, after they eventually punt this chalice to Corbyn, progress can begin on assigning Corbyn a portion of the blame for later stages of Brexit disasters.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I was wondering why Brown is coming out now (apart from cashing in on a book of course), and from the tone of what I’ve read he seems surprisingly open about regretting not being radical and left wing enough in power. I doubt he would get involved in a pro-Blairite anti-Corbyn campaign as he seems to loath Blair more than anything. Its possible he (and others) wants to present themselves as a ‘sensible pragmatic middle’ between the Blairites and Momentum. But I get the impression that there aren’t any ‘Brownites’ left in the Labour Party and he doesn’t really have much influence, except maybe with the Scottish Lab Party, others more in touch may confirm or deny that.

      I don’t think any campaign to assign blame to Corbyn would have much traction with the public at large – it is far too closely tied up with the Tories – but certainly there is a core of the Labour Party who deeply resent his ambiguity on it. I would be inclined to agree with them, in that I think he hasn’t tried nearly hard enough to make sure the Tories ‘own’ Brexit 100%. But you are right that its important for a Corbyn government that the real Brexit chaos which now seems inevitable (bar a humiliating retreat) occurs on the Tory watch. I wouldn’t put it beyond some on the right to plot for a snap election delivering government to Corbyn right in the heat of the chaos, ensuring he has to deal with the chaos and inevitably take some of the blame.

      1. begob

        Maybe Tory rebels will be told to vote for a motion of no confidence (or to defeat the government on a Finance bill) on condition that Labour commits to revoking the Art.50 notice. They can’t do that in conjunction with just Labour rebels, as any commitment would be worthless, so they have to go through Corbyn.

        The revocation issue is unclear (on purpose?), but it doesn’t deny the referendum result and puts the onus on Corbyn as the price of power. What will he choose?

        I dunno. Every option is unfeasible. The government waddles toward the toilet bowl with its anus squeezed, buttons already undone, but everyone expects an untidy evacuation – just a question of whether a shovel will be needed.

  4. TiPs

    Reich claims Trump’s tax plan will lead to higher interest rates due to “crowding out.” I wonder if he’s looked at the evidence? Use the argument when it suits I suppose…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Biggest Heist in American History” might be a wee bit of an overstatement.

      I’m thinking repeal of Glass-Steagall, the endless wars in the Middle East and the bank bailouts for starters, and that’s just in the last 18 years.

      “Biggest Heist in the Last Ten Minutes” sounds quite a bit more accurate.

    2. JerryDenim

      Yup. I immediately picked up on that too. Reich is trotting out the typical monetarist talking points bandied about by neoliberals seeking austerity. Either he is showing his true neoliberal colors or he just doesn’t know any better. Japan’s debt to GDP is currently around 250% but yet their bond yields are hovering just above zero and their central bank is still fighting deflation. The economic dogma of classical monetarists has been destroyed by recent real-world central banking experiments, yet important policy makers like Reich, who claim to be liberal progressives no less, continue to espouse debunked monetarist theories as gospel. So to those better schooled in MMT than I, is the good professor correct? Does a tax cut for the wealthy which increases the debt automatically command an increase in consumer interest rates? Or is he lying about the connection between government debt, bond yields and interest rates?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Google evil:

    Later Tuesday, Google said in a statement that it had “made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. A fix is in place and all users should have full access to their docs.”

    Although the error appeared to be a technical glitch, the fact that Google is capable of identifying “bad” Google Docs at all is a reminder: Much of what you upload, receive or type to Google is monitored. While many people may be aware that Gmail scans your emails — for instance, so that its smart-reply feature can figure out what responses to suggest — this policy extends to other Google products, too.

    http://tinyurl.com/y7noybw5

    After this incident, no responsible business should be using Google Docs. Both their content spying and their denial of service are an utterly unacceptable security risk.

    I says, Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
    Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
    On my cloud, baby

    — Rolling Stones

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      November 1, 2017 at 7:51 am

      “made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. A fix is in place and all users should have full access to their docs.”

      a small percentage of billions is…..quite a few
      And I’m sure Google is working on this as fast as possible…that there in no significant affect upon their profits

      1. Hepativore

        I might be late to the party on this one, but in addition to DuckDuckGo and Quant search engines to avoid feeding the Google beast, there is something called Hooktube

        You can look up YouTube videos on HookTube and it removes Google’s search-prioritization, ads, tracking, restriction, and blocking mechanisms. While this means that creators that you might like and support do not get monetization revenue and your viewership is not counted, it might be worth it to jab another stick into the all-seeing eye of Sauron that is Google. As a bonus, the videos load much faster, too.

        You can also view any YouTube video link on HookTube by replacing the “YouTube.com” in the URL with “HookTube.com”.

          1. Hepativore

            No, I have just been lurking here for awhile as I have been reading Naked Capitalism for around two years. I have had a vendetta against Google since Google “ate” my blog on Blogger two years ago and I have only grown more furious with them as time goes on. Because if this, I am trying to find ways to “de-Googlefy” my life in every way that I can, such as de-booting my Android device and installing the LineageOS operating system and rooting it to rid myself of Google’s spyware and bloatware.

    1. John k

      To be slothful is to be laid back.
      I am fairly laid back… but not, I confess, as cute as the antidote.

  6. Wukchumni

    White House defends Kelly’s civil war remarks and calls criticism ‘outrageous’ Guardian. Hoo boy.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Are we that far away from the Junta del Este claiming that WW2 got going because of a refusal to compromise?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When you asked ‘unconditional surrender’ from the Tenno, that was refusal to negotiate (to negotiate which would involve compromises). We didn’t want to negotiate with evil.

      As for Kelly’s remarks, I believe there were people on both sides wanting to negotiate a peace treaty (involving, I imagine, compromises). In that case, that is, in that case, the war was not ended earlier due to a refusal to compromise….in that case.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Feudal Japan was mentioned in the context of being an enemy of ours during WWII, not that we were feudal Japan.

          And while getting going may or may not have involved compromising, the ending of it was done without it (it was unconditional).

      1. marym

        http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/31/561069584/john-kelly-claims-civil-war-caused-by-lack-of-compromise-history-shows-otherwise

        Briefly: The history of antebellum America is full of concessions over the question of slavery, including several pivotal agreements with “Compromise” in the name.

        The Three-Fifths Compromise in 178 determined that enslaved black people would count as 3/5 of a person for purposes of representation (while not counting as human at all, in terms of their own rights). The Missouri Compromise in 1820 maintained the balance between slave states and free states. The Kansas-Nebraska Act later replaced that compromise with a different negotiated deal, leaving the question of slavery up to individual states.

        The Compromise of 1850, a painstakingly negotiated package of bills, prohibited the slave trade in Washington, D.C., but also compelled Northerners to return fugitive slaves from the South to the owners they had escaped from.

        Each of these deals perpetuated the institution of slavery — prompting some to ask if Kelly was suggesting that America should have permitted slavery to continue in the name of compromise.
        ….
        “Compromise on what?” asked Joshua Zeitz, a historian and the author of Lincoln’s Boys, asked on Twitter. “Extending chattel slavery throughout the western territories?”

        “The only compromise on the table in 1861 would have given slavery explicit constitutional protection,” writes Jamelle Bouie, chief political correspondent at Slate.

        “Focus on compromise only makes sense if you view slavery as bad but not *that* bad,” Bouie later wrote.

        Also from the link, as Ta-Nahisi Coates points out:

        Coates also directly rebutted Kelly’s assertion that “we make a mistake … when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more … and apply it back then.”

        The “notion that we are putting today’s standards on the past is, in itself, racist — implies only white, slave-holding, opinions matter,” Coates writes. “Majority of people living in South Carolina in 1860 were black — they did not need modern white wokeness to tell them slavery was wrong. Majority of people living in Mississippi in 1860 were black. They knew, in their own time, that enslavement was wrong.”

        1. JBird

          I really haven’t followed this latest pseudo scandal, but l will say the Southern Slaveocracy’s leadership became more uncompromising themselves, the more people stopped actively supporting or ignoring the Peculiar Institution.

          Most Americans, most Europeans, were horribly racist, but most people believed that all people were human beings, and not things to be treated worse than one would treat an animal, and didn’t actively support it. The various Great Awakenings, or religious revivals, didn’t help. If the abortion can cause such conflict, imagine what beatings, torture, rape, among other things of men, women, and children would do? The South’s continued efforts to get all the States and their citizens involved in catching escaped slaves, and in the corruption of the legal system (much like the drug war’s corruption today) forced Americans to look at slavery, and increased the antipathy towards it.

          It was in the Constitution and people didn’t want a civil war so it festered, and it probably would have lasted decades more, but who really knows? However, most didn’t want war, or another Bloody Kansas, then the racist(!) Lincoln got elected, the South flipped, not because he was a radical Abolitionist, he wasn’t, but because he did not support it. The Civil War clarified the issue.

  7. jackiebass

    The article Wages rise for the bottom 90% and dropped for the top 1% is deceptive. For the top 1% wages are only a small part of their compensation but for the bottom 90% wages are the compensation. The top 1% are compensated more in other ways, stocks being just one other way. They have a multitude of other perks that are part of their total compensation.

  8. fresno dan

    HICAP (health insurance counseling and advocacy program) update.
    For those following my adventures in volunteering to help people with their medicare heath insurance, medicare might be good for them, but it is about to kill me. The problem is that among the paid people in the HICAP office who give guidance about medicare and often associated medicaid benefits, some of their ignorance, as well as the rules about what we can’t “advise” (or more accurately, simply tell – I mean, what does “counseling” mean? what does “advocacy” mean?) people is about to cause me to have a stroke. The rote answers and institutional helplessess is making me think more and more about why I should put up with this for free….

    I wrote paragraphs and paragraphs (it had to do with health saving accounts – Yes, medicare has them:
    https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/medicare-health-plans/medicare-savings-accounts/medical-savings-account-plans.html), and it would just make everybody’s eyes glaze over, so I decided to spare you all – and it wouldn’t have gotten posted as well. Suffice to say the problem is like not being allowed to say that objective data proves that European health systems cost less and provides better results than the American system (because no where does Medicare specifically say this).

    1. ambrit

      It sounds like you’d do more good walking a picket line outside the venue of this “advocacy” scheme.
      How about we sue the DHHS and petition the UN or EU to send over some ‘monitors’ to evaluate Americas’ medical system?

    2. HotFlash

      Mr.Dan, could you post that somewhere that you could link to? I have some server space I could loan (indef), if you don’t.

      1. fresno dan

        HotFlash
        November 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        long story short is a woman comes in, will be starting (original) medicare and wants a medigap policy (also called supplemental policies) because she is concerned about the cost of deductibles. Now, the only thing she could be talking about that makes any sense when she says that she will no longer have the “benefit” of a health saving (i.e., medical saving accounts and after 65 medicare medical saving accounts) from her employer are these types of plans. What we needed to explain to her (and my problem is that we didn’t and didn’t want to follow up to know exactly what she was talking about – I suspect that the unwritten policy is not to speak ill of anything medicare offers) is that these plans are “free” because the deductibles are usually a couple of thousand dollars.

        This is a woman who was having a problem accepting drug deductibles of a few hundred dollars. AND, if you in fact have a medicare medical saving account, you CAN;T have a medigap policy. Again, it is up to her to decide, but if she was to clearly understand what is at stake, I very much doubt she would forgo original medicare or even medicare advantage (HMO’s) for the “benefits” of a medicare medical saving accounts (BTW, although they are called “medicare medical saving accounts they are sold and administered by private insurance companies) with very high deductibles when she doesn’t want to accept the much, much lower deductibles that come with a prescription drug plan.
        Everything else I had written were links and large swaths of text from the medicare site which I omitted in the interest of brevity (which I had to translate from bureacratise to English). REMEMBER, if you want to look this stuff up yourself, its Medicare.gov – – NOT Medicare.com

        1. flora

          Thanks for the link.

          If the woman is still employed and has employer’s insurance AND makes the initial enrollment in Medicare, she’s in the position of the IRS eliminating her work health insurance HSA tax deferment, even if she uses only her employer’s insurance while she’s working. (And if she’s working and has an HSA she may want to wait to make initial enrollment in Medicare. (Look for SEP exceptions. ) It’s confusing for sure.)

          see:
          https://www.ncoa.org/wp-content/uploads/Part-A-HSA-Penalty.pdf

          1. fresno dan

            flora
            November 1, 2017 at 8:06 pm

            thanks for adding that – looks like you know more about it than me.

            1. flora

              fresno dan,
              I only know about what my univ has presented, which is not comprehensive, so I think you know more than me about Medicare overall. My univ has a lot of profs working past 65, so they talk a lot about that.

              One other thing about HSAs. if I may:
              If you work past 65 and have employer health insurance, and want to do the initial Medicare enrollment in part A, and want to keep employer health insurance, and deferred med spending account you can switch from your employer sponsored HSA account to your employer sponsored HRA account. Medicare and HRA accounts are OK. No IRS penalty. People can check with their HR departments for details. Size of business or entity can affect this. HSA vs HRA.

              adding: I’d welcome more info from you on these MSA programs. So if you have some more written about them and consider posting the info, that would be great.

        2. flora

          fresno dan,

          Thanks for the information about MSAs. My large univ gives seminars every year about “things to consider for retirement”, but this is the first I’ve heard of MSAs and how they’re run. More info is welcome.

    3. UserFriendly

      fresno dan, I have a medicare question for you…. Both my parents are turning 65 soon; my Mom in December and my Dad in March. They currently have insurance through my mom’s job but my dad’s does offer something too and neither are retiring any time soon. Should I encourage my mom to sign up ASAP or have her wait till he’s eligible too? Their current plan is crap, earlier this year my dad broke his shoulder playing softball and they wanted $100 to fill a script of percocet…. He wouldn’t have taken them anyways but that is crazy.
      Is there anything else I need to know about what parts they need to choose or whatnot?

      1. fresno dan

        UserFriendly
        November 2, 2017 at 12:12 am

        I would love to help you, but I am still a rookie at this, and I would find it unconscionable to steer anyone wrong. At the HICAP office, I have people watching my back with regard to such questions.
        In CA there is HICAP, and despite my b*tching about it, the employees and volunteers do know quite a bit about the in and outs of medicare and do try to do their best – they are just constrained by the written and unwritten rules. I believe all states have SHIP (state health insurance programs) – they go by different specific names and they are available to assist seniors and about to be retired people who have health insurance questions.
        Your parents should always take their medicare card (when they get them) and the SPECIFIC name of their health insurance when they go. and should think about and write down the questions they have so they don’t forget anything important that they want to know.
        People’s insurance varies so much, that until you run a side by side comparison, it is hard to know what the best course of action is. In my own case, I was convinced that my retiree health insurance was fine, but that was because the premiums were automatically deducted, and I never read what was covered and what the deductibles for various things were.

  9. The Rev Kev

    Re Rogue bankers should be jailed
    In WW2 General Patton used to be able to judge which of his divisions were doing hard fighting by the number of second lieutenants that were getting killed in combat in these divisions. I have often thought that a good way to judge how effective law enforcement of financial crime should be in the number of corporate and bank executives that are being sent to do hard time prison sentences.
    I am given to understand that during the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s that 1,000 executives were sent to prison for their part in this so that was effective enforcement one can say. Nowadays? I do not know how many executives have been sent to prison since the 2008 crisis but I would say that it would easily be smaller than the number of people that turn up for a NC meetup.
    The ones that I have heard about usually seem to have been born in counties like France and not US born. When you see hundreds of executives being sent to hard time prisons, then you will know that there is once more effective law enforcement on wall Street.Till then, not so much.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s a whet dream that’s never gonna happen, in fact, I heard rumors that the Unabankers are going to erect a statue in lower Manhattan depicting the statute of limitations running out.

      1. trypsix

        Good one haha!

        On another similar note, this article is a parody of it’s own: “Wages rose for the bottom 90 percent in 2016 as those for top 1 percent fell”

        Sorry, but who the f*** in the top 1% cares about wages? That’s a poor people thing, yo!

        Top 1% has been buying land, stocks/fin instruments, cryptos by the boatload (thanks to the Fed), and making insane amount of wealth through capital gains.

        Its kind of funny actually: the method of making money through money (and very little labor) is taxed less than money made through hard labor. Flip-flopped completely.

        The Silicon Era should really be called the Silly Con Era.

        1. Expat

          Years ago, even before the crisis hit in 2008-9, I wrote a comment on Barry Ritholz’s blog saying that Wall Street was corrupt to the core, that everyone is in on the scam from the CEO’s down to the secretaries. He scoffed at this and claimed it was just a few bad apples and Wall Street was overall staffed by honest, hard-working people looking out for America, their banks, and their clients.

          I maintain my position now as I did then that a few neutron bombs on Manhattan from mid-town to Battery Park would do more to solve America and the world’s problems than one hundred UN agencies. Harsh, right? Yeah, but McSorely’s would be left intact!

  10. Medbh

    I’ve had backyard chickens for about the last 10 years, and the ones we’ve had have been sooo stupid. We originally got them thinking they’d be pets, but couldn’t come up with names because they were so bland and lacked personality. We joked it’d be like naming couch pillows.

    They’d repeatedly try to walk through the coop chicken wire to get at a treat, and couldn’t think to step 1 foot to the side to go through the door. I’d have to pick them up and put them in the coop, or they’d ram the fencing all day trying to walk straight to the treat.

    I’ve got nothing against chickens and will continue to have them, and would encourage other people to get them too. It’s amazing the number of bugs and worms they can eat, and it seems like they’ve wiped out the tick population in our yard.

    I’m sure there’s a range of smarts and personality, and you occasionally come across a star. The best I’ve gotten is one that would follow me around while I worked in the garden, but I suspect that was more for the bugs than my company. In my experience, chickens are closer to fish than a cat or dog.

    1. Wukchumni

      My mom grew up on the farm in Alberta in the great depression, and she’s 92, and there’s this place on the web called StoryWorth, that hits her up for the answer to a query, such as this week’s:

      “What did you do during the day when your kids were in school?”

      It’s great fun and something to look into for your parents or grandparents to do as well.

      One of the week’s questions asked

      “What was it like growing up?”

      Mom wrote that she had to milk 2 cows twice a day w/o fail, and the farm she grew up on had no electricity or running water, and to get water, you had to walk about 100 yards down a hill to where the spring was, and after milking the cows, she’d put it through a manual cream separator…

      A visual:

      https://i.pinimg.com/236x/8e/fa/bd/8efabda20d0c934ea69cb51a77ba0d92.jpg

      …and have to walk down to the spring with a 5 gallon bucket to fetch water, to bring it back up the hill and boil it, and then sterilize the cream separator, repeating the same process day after week after month after year

      She related how utterly stupid cows were, and I think she might have had an extra oomph of animus towards them, somehow.

        1. Wukchumni

          I have no quarrel with the bovine set, and only occasionally come across them in the open, and when such an episode happens, I usually only have to yell “T-Bone” or “Sirloin” or “Ribeye” and they move on out of the way.

          On a scale of 1-10 in terms of intelligence from what i’ve seen:

          A cow would be a 1 or a 2, whereas a black bear more like a 7.

          1. JEHR

            As for intelligence in animals: animals are as intelligent as they have to be to stay alive by getting the food and water and shelter that they need to live. Each has different needs and each is intelligent in its own way. Why compare chickens to cows then? One should perhaps stick to comparing various human beings rather than across species.

          2. John k

            All animals have to catch food. For cows that means catching grass. Meat eating Predators have a tougher challenge, intelligence is a must have.

              1. Oregoncharles

                A friend who grew up in rural Cuba told me that one reason people keep chickens in the tropics is that they maintain a death zone around the house, eating insects, scorpions, and even snakes, as well as mice, that try to wander in. They aren’t up to rats, though. You need a dog or male ferret for those.

                Gene Logsdon, a writer on organic farming, noted that his cows would put their heads down and hold very still while the chickens picked flies off their eyes.

                So yes, they’re both predatory and fairly clever about it.

              2. polecat

                Cough ! .. Omniverous .. cough !

                But it is true that everything that crawls, flys, or slinks in the mud is fair game to a chicken …
                Why … they would, given the chance, eat your eyes for jujubes, as they would a grape !

                Little dinosaurs are they.

    2. Gary

      I always thought of chickens as plants that walk around. Birds tend to be smart though. Geese are smart. Parrots are smart. Chickens not so much!
      They are still very usefully. They can eat coffee grounds and cigarette butts and turn them into a nice pretty egg.

      1. KFritz

        Grew up on a 7 acre farm near the NY Jets practice facility in NJ. We kept 50 chickens, and occasionally ducks, who were strictly for slaughtering and meat. The ducks seemed to me to have more personality. My dad always had about 20% Rhode Island reds/80% white Leghorns (who are actually white LIvornos–as in Italy). The leghorns are the most prolific egg producers, but the reds are much calmer–a calming influence on the leghorns. The reds allowed themselves to be petted, unlike the leghorns. Brown eggs are more expensive because the feed-yield ratio is weaker.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Leghorn is just the silly English name for the Italian city of Livorno, they mean the same thing.

    3. petal

      We had Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red chickens when I was in high school and after. They were very smart, knew their names, came when called, etc. They were great fun to watch and they’d make me think of dinosaurs. They produced and lived for a long time. The only thing I hated was cleaning the coop and the potential for them to become egg-bound. So sad.

    4. a different chris

      >I’m sure there’s a range of smarts and personality

      Bingo, there certainly is. A good part of our human-centric science was saying “chicken is this smart, ferret is that smart” when scientists would would never say “Jones kids are this smart, Duncan’s kids are that smart”.

      Gathering from a large set of sources, our chickens are in the middle somewhere. The best example is a friend of my wife’s, who has one chicken that does obstacle courses at a near border-collie level, some chickens that mess with it but don’t really do anything impressive, and one that just is so stupid it hasn’t a clue what is going on.

      I come to a complete stop just on how something with such a tiny brain can (speaking of our chickens again) respond to different people, recognize both its individual name and the group name (“here, Ladies!!”), and just figure out a lot of surprisingly different things. And like I said, ours seem average.

      I’m starting to feel weirder and weirder about eating them, fortunately they personally have no compunction about eating each other so that helps. Funny source from my moral centering, huh?

      1. kgw

        I have a book that I have been reading slowly, inbetwixt other reads, that is entitled, “ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?”, by Frans De Waal. I recommend it highly…May have even learned of it thru Lambert’s links…

    5. polecat

      We’ve had 4 Americana hens going on 5 years now, and I’ve got to say, they are smart, with a very sweet disposition …. except when in molt. For such a small chicken, they actually can produce a rather large (AA+) egg ! …. and they take cold weather better then some other breeds.
      As for smarts, well … they’re smart enough to compel moi to feed them some of the annual bounty from our yard !!
      Circle of life thingy …

      p.s … I thing the WSJ is ‘weird’ ……… just sayin

  11. PlutoniumKun

    ‘The good Lord couldn’t get rid of them’: Louisiana’s quest to hunt the swamp rat Guardian

    They have gone native in Europe too – they are Coypu, but known as Ragondin in France. The first time I saw one – a family swimming in a river in a town in central France, I thought they were beavers. Then they got out and walked through the outdoors seating area of a restaurant… and they looked like… the biggest rats I’ve ever seen. Apparently they do quite a bit of damage to river banks, but are generally semi-tolerated as they are quite cute from a distance. Apparently they don’t tolerate cold winters, so this stops them spreading too far north.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Back in the 1970s, Burger King suffered through a rumor in New Orleans that their burgers were made from nutria meat. Their restaurants had been advertising that their burgers were 100% meat instead of 100% beef. They changed their menu boards once they figured it out.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It seems the Louisiana authorities are trying to promote the meat for consumption. They would be well advised to start calling them ragondin rather than swamp rats, the former sounds much tastier. Nutria sounds more like one of those horrible silicon valley attempts at cruelty free fake meats.

      2. Wukchumni

        “In 1981, horse meat labeled as beef was discovered at a Foodmaker plant that supplied hamburger and taco meat to Jack in the Box. The meat was originally from Profreeze of Australia, and during their checks on location, the food inspectors discovered other shipments destined for the United States which included kangaroo meat.”

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

        And the idea that Jack in the Box was owned by Ralston Purina @ the time, makes for even extra irony…

        1. fresno dan

          Wukchumni
          November 1, 2017 at 9:32 am

          You know, if 5% or less of the dry weight of a product is composed of soylent green, they don’t have to list that as an ingredient…

      1. rd

        Trump promised to get rid of the swamp rats. I always assumed he meant Louisiana instead of DC. I guess not.

    2. Craig H.

      Nutria, Andouille and Oyster Gumbo

      I looked at the wikipedia taxonomy charts on rodents and nutria and my mind was boggled after three minutes of trying to discern how close nutria and rats are related. It turns out it is a little closer than I thought but I gave up with the impatiently formed opinion that the rodent taxonomy chart is not reliable.

      1. Oregoncharles

        They’re water rats. I wish I’d had a recipe handy when my dog killed one. They’re impressively large. She had a little help from me, as I was trying to drive it back to the water. They’re a MAJOR pain in the tuchis when they try to live under your house.

        We have BOTH beaver and nutria.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Kurds’ aims in Syria far more likely to succeed than in Iraq Asia Times

    Speaking to Russia Today in late September, Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem said: “Syrian Kurds want a form of autonomy within the framework of the borders of the state. This is negotiable and can be the subject of dialogue.” However, creating an independent state in northern Syria was completely off-limits, he said, echoing a statement issued by his deputy Faisal Mekdad in early August that “Syria will never allow any part of its territory to be separated.”

    Authorities don’t seem to mind accepting a certain degree of de-centralization in Kurdish villages scattered east of the Euphrates, something that would undoubtedly satisfy Syrian Kurds, who accounted for approximately 15% of the population nationally before the outbreak of the present conflict in 2011.

    I assume the Russians have made it clear to Assad that they won’t support a military operation against the Kurds. If so, this is a very sensible move to satisfy the YPG Kurds, annoy Erdogan, undermine the remains of US influence in Syria, and bring a rapid end to the Syrian war. The Syrian Kurds deserve self-determination and seem to be creating a genuine model for a fairer society, but its unrealistic for a Kurdish homeland to survie in Syria alone (and they probably don’t want to hook up with an Iraqi Kurdistan, in the unlikely event that comes to pass).

    Creating cantons with a high degree of local autonomy is probably a very sensible solution to the problems of much of the wider region, but better it be done through negotiation than through the ad-hoc disintegration of central control.

  13. fresno dan

    In our defence we didn’t think you were thick enough for this to work, says Russia Daily Mash

    There’s a sucker born every minute
    P.T. Barnum apparently did not say that, but it certainly is true, particularly in America….

    But H.L. Mencken did say
    No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
    ‘Notes On Journalism’ in the Chicago Tribune (19 September 1926)
    The first sentence is often paraphrased as “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”

  14. Jason Boxman

    I have a friend that recently moved into a newly constructed luxury rental in Cambridge, MA. They did offer him several months free, but I hardly consider this much of an improvement when the after incentive rent is still in the low ~$2000 range per month. (He makes really good money as a product manager.) I’ll believe cheaper rent in Boston when I see it.

    I’m fortunate enough to live in Somerville, which is relatively close to Boston and on the MBTA. Rents are still expensive, though.

    Also, in Orlando rents were getting crazy expensive when I lived there. The traffic and weather are simply terrible, so I don’t understand the appeal and I am grateful every day to have successfully fled.

    1. Mark P.

      Jason Boxman wrote: They did offer him several months free, but I hardly consider this much of an improvement when the after incentive rent is still in the low ~$2000 range per month.

      Low $2000 range is actually pretty good for a fancy apartment in Cambridge, MA, these days.

      For the last three years, out of morbid curiosity I’ve been wandering into the lobbies of the new apartment buildings they’ve been throwing up in Berkeley and West Oakland, and asking what studio apartments and 1-bedrooms start at, and it’s always $3200 and up. Decent penthouse apartments with 2 bedrooms in Berkeley are renting for $4,400 in some cases.

      A lot of this is supported by all the mainland Chinese students going to UC Berkeley, and the Chinese capital flight that’s effected real estate values in all West Coast cities, up to and including Vancouver. Still, it’s simply unsustainable and I’ve been waiting for the bust part of this boom cycle in rentals. Hopefully Wolfe is right and at the very least a lid on rents is emerging..

  15. fresno dan

    Slavery Thrived on Compromise, John Kelly New York Times. Reslic highlights this part:

    Just last week, a black criminal defendant in Louisiana was denied his constitutional right to an attorney because the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled six to one that he hadn’t really requested a lawyer when he told police during questioning: “I know I didn’t do it. So why don’t you just give me a lawyer, dawg, ’cause this is not what’s up?” The willfully ignorant justices ruled that the defendant had asked for a “lawyer dog,” not a lawyer, so he had not invoked his right to counsel.

    ===============================================
    The fact is, no dog, or lawyer dog, was supplied showing that the TRUE intent was to eviscerate the 6th amendment. Of course, appeals courts would find that Louisiana courts do not meet the minimum threshold for competent legal representations….not because they use dogs or lawyer dogs, but because they use the humans that they use….

    1. David

      From the court document,

      The defendant voluntarily agreed to be interviewed twice regarding his alleged sexual misconduct with minors. At both interviews detectives advised the defendant of his Miranda rights and the defendant stated he understood and waived those rights. Nonetheless, the defendant argues he invoked his right to counsel. And the basis for this comes from the second interview, where I believe the defendant ambiguously referenced a lawyer— prefacing that statement with “if y’all, this is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog cause this is not what’s up.”

      As this Court has written, “[i]f a suspect makes a reference to an attorney that is ambiguous or equivocal in that a reasonable police officer in light of the circumstances would have understood only that the suspect might be invoking his right to counsel, the cessation of questioning is not required.”…In my view, the defendant’s ambiguous and equivocal reference to a “lawyer dog” does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview and does not violate Edwards v. Arizona , 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981).

      Rule No.1 – Don’t waive Miranda.

  16. Wukchumni

    Why is killing 8 people with an automatic transmission car-an act of terror…

    …whereas killing 58 with automatic weapons is just a mass murder?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think, spraying insecticides on one’s farm is an act of terror.

      You might have to compress the time-scale to see it, but it’s there.

      1. JohnnyGL

        MLTPB, I love you as a commenter on here, but I really disagree with that sentiment.

        But yes, a lot of insecticides need to be done away with.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks, I say what I believe (I am wrong often, if I could learn from them, I am thankful for the people here), but in this case, I respectably disagree.

          Why do we focus on the more instantaneous, the more visible, I have always posed the question here, unrelated to this incident?

          It may be less visible, but it’s more wide spread, and the victims suffer more and longer.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Sorry.

            Let me correct myself.

            Human victims may (and often do) suffer longer.

            Insect victims die instantaneously, most of the time.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Insecticide-induced birth defects, asthma, liver and (urk) spermatogenesis malformations, on and on, all so the whip holders of BayerMonDowsanto ca Live Large…

              “In the end, there can be only one…”

          2. Vatch

            The problem is the routine use of insecticides, even when there is no evidence of an infestation. Sometimes, techniques of integrated pest management can prevent a problem from occurring, but if that fails, and a crop is infested, then it is appropriate to use insecticides on that crop.

            Excessive use of insecticides is bad for people’s health, and it also helps to breed insecticide resistant bugs.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Monocultures aren’t. But you probably know that very well.

              And in the real world, there’s DowDuPont and Monsanto and their captive extension services and sales forces and plain old momentum (“always done it that way”) and the whole USian preference for easy-peasy solutions. “Crop” is an interesting concept too — vast industrialized “fields” of fenceline-to-fenceline stuff, disappearing topsoils hardly worth the name, except as carriers for “applied chemicals and fertilizers.” There’s a lot to be said for some manifestations of “integrated pest management” and permaculture, but how often, and at what scale, do those approaches get followed, and function in what mopes would maybe see as a healthy and growing way?

              And yes, there are many people who try hard to farm organic and honorably. but still… Like my sister and her ex, whose hard work to gain that “organic” certification, that meant something in the late ’80s, got wiped out by the County workers who did a drive-by application of herbicides by spray truck all along the fence by the road… My guess is that “crops” are always “infested,” by multiple organisms that tend to be inimical to the “crop,” just because “crops” are attractive sitting ducks…

              Of course, “It’s complicated.” And I am no farmer, just a grower of a few kitchen herbs and tomatoes and peppers and radishes. But I was a part of a bunch at the US EPA that did spend a lot of effort trying to enforce the steadily weakening laws on pesticides and pollution regulation, 1978-90. Very little of that kind of work being done by EPA under the current and even the prior three administrations… Good luck finding plants at the Big Boxes and many “garden shops” that have not been been treated with neonicotinoids and other stuff… Even seeds get dosed, and you have to rely on the honor of the seller to even place honest warnings as required by those weakened laws, since field inspection and enforcement of stuff like the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act is weak and spotty at best. Let alone the gutting of premanufacture notification under the Toxic Substances Control Act that is supposed to keep really nasty new chemicals out of the “crops” and commerce and hence our precious bodily fluids…

    2. Arthur Dent

      One is motivated by Islam. The other is just “boys will be boys”.

      All the difference in the world why one is worse than the other.

      1. JTMcPhee

        As often pointed out by careful posters and others, it’s the “boys” who like Fundamentalist Christians and orthodox of other religions, and often FBI and other state security agents who are provoking actions, not “Islam.” Islamophobes parse the Koran and commentaries looking for bits of text that justify their preferred conceptions. One can have a lot of perverse fun reading through the Pentateuch and the rest of the Old Testament to find allegedly YHWH-ordered or -sanctioned horrific genocidal violence and piracy and enslavement and lots of examples of hypocrisy and duplicity.

        I don’t see a distinction that proves any difference. Humans “R” Us.

        And let’s not forget the role of Empire and Business in fomenting and prolonging a whole lot of murderous violence. Over many centuries. We are all way too human , squatting in our glass houses…

      2. Expat

        Perhaps it would be more just and realistic to say that one is fighting a war while the other is just a murderer. Americans glibly call Islamic and Arabic attackers evil terrorists and pretend they attack us because “they hate our freedoms.” This ignores the decades of US murder, torture and repression of Arab muslims throughout the world.

        Trump wants to send this latest one to Gitmo to be tortured. Surveys of Islamic “terrorists” have shown that the greatest recruiting tool in the past century was Abu Graib. Even blowing up women and children with drone missile strikes has been less effective.

        You wanna fight Islamic terrorism? Next time don’t “liberate” Kuwait and put the autocratic royal family back in power. Don’t eviscerate Iraq’s structures and expect the country to function. Don’t bomb Afghanistan back into the 11th Century (the Russians took it back into the 18th, the Taliban into the 15th). And so on.

        If you really want to be cynical about the attack, you can simply add it to the thousands of car deaths every year. Or compare it to intra-family gun deaths. It is a trivial incident in reality made into an affront to America only because of American ignorance and arrogance.

        I wonder, would this be terror if the guy had been flying a bomber and not driving a truck?

    3. Oregoncharles

      Definition: “terrorism” is a crime with political intent – that is, meant to pressure government by spreading fear among the populace.

      The Las Vegas shooter, on the other hand, had no apparent motive at all. He didn’t even object to country music – favored it himself. Last I saw, they were doing a microscopic examination of his brain.

      The emphasis on motive is a bit questionable, but it’s a real distinction.

  17. Byron the Light Bulb

    “Bal des Ardents,” a dance of the burning, a term coined by poet Léon Kochnitzky to describe the imploding utopia of the Free State of Fiume in 1920. The party was coming to an end. Piracy could no longer sustain the Arditi. Having an Italian leader, rather than Slavic, who had never governed before, obsessed with only personal glory, made it seem like politics would change forever, that the Italian Regime could be overthrown. The exultation lasted less than a year, a metaphor for the Trump administration.

    We could get into jammed-up bag men, wheels going un-greased, loyalties so ephemeral, they’re metaphysical, quaint understandings of FinCen, and people’s campaign job qualifications had the activity not been unlawful. A more capable incoming admin would have cracked a le Carre novel, doubled-back, burned benefactors, collected some foreign scalps, and swept the whole affair under a NatSec rug–There was a mole, even. Mnuchin could do the movie adaptation. But for dimness and Trump never admitting his campaign was penetrated, with his masculinity issues, yo, we have a leadership bus roll-over.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Real Promise of Manafort Indictment:

    An investigation into the origins of the money that fed this toxic culture, and efforts to recover it and cut off its circulation, would do the U.S. a world of good by helping to clean up both major parties. Mueller’s mandate is by no means that broad. And it’s hard to imagine a real estate billionaire who keeps his taxes secret and his business private leading the charge. It would be left to U.S. law enforcement agencies to take the lead.

    Would that make it selective prosecution?

    From Wikipedia on the same:

    The United States Supreme Court has defined the term as follows: “A selective prosecution claim is not a defense on the merits to the criminal charge itself, but an independent assertion that the prosecutor has brought the charge for reasons forbidden by the Constitution.”[1] The defense is rarely successful; some authorities claim, for example, that there are no reported cases in at least the past century in which a court dismissed a criminal prosecution because the defendant had been targeted based on race.[2]
    See also[edit]

    That’s hard to believe…no reported selective prosecution cases.

    1. Byron the Light Bulb

      One could hang their hat on hobbling prosecution’s reciprocal discovery by claiming attorney-client privilege, had Manafort not asked his attorney, “How do I launder money?” rather than, “Can you help me? I launder money,” thereby waiving atty-client privilege under the crime-fraud exception to secure the indictment. When lawyers end up under glass, pretending things are fine is not an option.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Seems to this former government enforcement attorney that the better way to characterize the current state of play is selective non-prosecution..

    3. JTMcPhee

      The Real Peomise: too bad Mueller’s brief would not appear to extend to bringing the largely chimerical Force of Law down on all the other agents of foreign governments, like SA and “our greatest Democratic Ally in the Middle East…”

      But hey, that’s not of course how the Game of Thrones is played.

      I wonder if Season Eight will reveal how the Seven Kingdoms can durably be ruled from a single throne with a Liberty and Justice for All…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It feels like two countries.

      It might have been two countries from the start, in 1776.

      Further back, there were 500 nations. Likewise, China is many nations, some claim. And many other countries are multi-nation states as well.

      If so, the problem was that there were too many compromises to preserve the union of two different countries.

      An alternative would have been to compromise so the two could part ways peacefully.

  19. Wukchumni

    GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling to retire after end of current term The Hill
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    If only we could get a trifecta of him, Joe Barton & Louie Gohmert leaving, why it’d raise the average IQ of the congress into the high double digits…

  20. Matthew G. Saroff

    The thing about the Kidney transplant is more complex than is represented.

    The kid was not denied a transplant because his father has a record, but because his father, who is also the kidney donor, was jailed on a probation violation.

    They made arrangements to transfer him from jail to do the transplant, and then Emory balked.

    I still think that it is blatant racism, and their requirement that the donor (who happens to be the father) not have a violation for 3 months is complete crap, but it appears to be a problem with the parent as donor, not with the parent as parent.

    Still, whoever made this call at Emory should be fired and publicly humiliated. It’s garbage, but marginally more justifiable than as presented.

  21. allan

    Company behind surprise medical bills says it’s making a change [Marketwatch]

    Haha, just kidding:

    Envision Healthcare’s about-face won’t hurt the company’s revenue, management said, and could even boost it …

    Envision’s EmCare unit, which helps staff emergency rooms with doctors, was featured in a July National Bureau of Economic Research working paper that found in 22% of emergency department visits, a patient who went to an in-network doctor was treated by doctors that were out-of-network — resulting in an expensive, surprise medical bill.

    The practice has been a lucrative business for Envision, amounting to about $1 billion in out-of-network doctor services revenue from health insurers at the end of 2016. The company brought in $3.7 billion in total revenue that year. …

      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        She’s my second cousin once removed, (Never met her though) but I agree that it’s time to go.

  22. rd

    Note to 1% re: 600 pound hit per family by Brexit

    When you structure the system to greatly enhance wealth and income for the wealthy, then at a certain point the unwashed masses may decide that burning down the house is the preferred way to get rid of the pests since the situation doesn’t seem to be improving any other way. Brexit was essentially revolution by referendum instead of physically storming the Bastille with pitchforks.

    The most successful parasites are the ones that don’t actually kill the host. This is a lesson that the 1% does not seem to have understood as they keep pushing policies to give them more. In this case, the host decided to take extreme action to reduce the parasite burden even if it provides pain and suffering in the short-term.

    1. Mark P.

      This is a lesson that the 1% does not seem to have understood as they keep pushing policies to give them more.

      Don’t expect the 1 percent to learn anything.

      Do a search on Peter Turchin and his theory of elite overproduction and how it’s a feature of all late-stage empires. Essentially, we have too many aspirant elite types competing with each other — think of the opportunities that the FIRE sector provides, forex — and the field where they compete is the immiseration of the rest of us.

  23. allan

    Infusions of young blood tested in patients with dementia [Nature]

    The first controlled, but controversial and small, clinical trial of giving young blood to people with dementia has reported that the procedure appears safe. It has also hinted that it may even produce modest improvements in the daily lives of people who have Alzheimer’s disease. …

    Wyss-Coray and his colleagues tested people aged between 54 and 86 with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The team gave the 18 subjects weekly infusions for four weeks. They received either a saline placebo or plasma — blood from which the red cells have been removed — from blood donors aged 18–30. …

    Who says that the economy isn’t generating jobs for young people?

  24. Vatch

    We May Not Have Enough Minerals To Even Meet Electric Car Demand Jalopnik. You read this first at Naked Capitalism months ago, see here and here.

    This is something that people really need to be concerned about. Sure, there might be technological innovations in the future that allow the use of other more common substances in the batteries, but we can’t be certain that will happen. One partial solution is to lower the number of customers who will drive cars. This can be done in two ways:

    1. Expand the availability of public transportation, which isn’t likely in the U.S., where public transportation costs keep rising.
    2. Reduce the number of people. This isn’t likely to happen in the near future, either, even though it is absolutely necessary (for many reasons). Usual disclaimer: population reduction must be achieved by lowering the birth rate, not by raising the death rate. And this applies to all countries, especially the ones where large numbers of people drive cars.

    1. John k

      …must be, or ‘is preferred to be’?
      If 7 billion, or 9 billion, or whatever, is not sustainable, then the reduction is likely to be far more rapid than can be achieved by, say, a one child policy, which is anyway now abandoned in the one country that tried it.
      Today’s carrying capacity is likely higher than tomorrow’s on account of global warming and rising seas… speaking of which, the sea’s peak protein production is probably behind us. And we are degrading farmland while killing off critical insects such as bees are as we speak. And note nearly nothing is being done on any of these issues.
      Some combination of wars, hunger, pestilence and disease, rather than any planned reduction in births, is bringing about the desired sustainability. I say ‘bringing’ rather than ‘will’ because the migration into Europe is evidence this has already begun.

      1. Vatch

        John, I use the word “must” because there are trolls who will jump at the chance to try to discredit any advocacy of population reduction. So I use a very emphatic word to make it crystal clear that I don’t want any additional deaths.

        Of course you are correct that if we don’t do something effective about overpopulation now or in the very near future, nature or human desperation will cause a catastrophic number of human deaths.

        Advocating population reduction is one of the most pro-life things that a person can do.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    We May Not Have Enough Minerals To Even Meet Electric Car Demand Jalopnik. You read this first at Naked Capitalism months ago, see here and here.

    Great foresight.

    One could reason and arrive at a similar conclusion based on the realization of Jevon’s Paradox. It’s slightly different, in that, if we don’t consume less, nothing, including those minerals in question here, is ever enough.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      And a story coming our way in the near future (see comment re: effect of “young blood”:

      We May Not Have Enough Millennials To Even Meet Blood Demand

  26. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Americans Are … Freaking Out”
    I can’t conclude much from this survey report. Based on the survey — and the questions I guess it may have been based on — it’s hard to tell the extent to which Americans are down about “the future of the nation” on account of broader concerns and how much anxiety is related to the unending post election malaise.

    But I have noticed a fair number of the older people I talk or correspond with expressing a strange benefit of having reached their age. I would summarize what I’m hearing as — ” The future … but at least I may be dead in another 15 or 20 years ….”

    1. Wukchumni

      I grew up in a golden age when everything was possible, and musicians vied against one another to outdo each other in talent, and we went to the moon not once but 6 times on a computer that might better be used in a child’s toy presently.

      I can see what lurks ahead around the bend, and it ain’t that pretty at all, but if I live as long as my father did, I too will gone in a couple decades, when it’s somebody else’s mess to clean up, and good luck with that.

      The ongoing saga is more enjoyable to take in when you’re on the verge of codgerism.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m the end of the line, so it’s more interesting than terrifying, but if I had kids or grandchildren, my opinion would differ no doubt.

          It’ll be a reckoning like no other.

    2. HotFlash

      Another codger here. I did what I could. I yelled at the windmills, I had zero kids, I ride a bike. I grow as much food as I can, I buy local, I don’t even use toilet paper, ffs.

      I know how to make ink, soap and hard cider and can save us reinventing the wheel — if I am spared when the Hungry Hordw
      es come here. My plan is to be too gristly to eat, do ya think it’ll work?

      1. JBird

        And I assume that, like me, you all survived the Cold War. You know. The war we all thought was going to end civilization in an afternoon. It could have, and it should have. It didn’t. Maybe, just maybe, we will do fine. Just saying.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          We only had one worry during the Cold War — Nuclear Holocaust. Now — thanks to our Neocons — we can add that one worry back our growing list of ways to end the world in our time. In my Grimmer moods I wonder if us old guys are just being optimists in thinking the shit won’t hit the fan for another twenty years or thirty years.

          At other times I’ve been trying to ideate how Society might survive the coming Collapse — actually Implosion better fits what I feel will come — but come out wiser and better — though on a smaller scale.

  27. allan

    U of C economics department gets $125 million naming gift from Citadel CEO:

    To: Alumni, Parents, and Friends
    From: President Robert J. Zimmer
    Subject: Department of Economics Gift
    Date: November 1, 2017

    Today, I am pleased to announce that the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund intends to make a new $125 million gift to support the Department of Economics in expanding its leadership in education and research with wide-ranging public impact. The new gift will support new generations of faculty and students and the impact their work can have on fundamental societal challenges. This latest gift will bring Ken Griffin’s total giving in support of UChicago Economics to nearly $150 million. In recognition of his giving, including the second-largest gift in the history of UChicago, the Economics Department will be renamed the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics. …

    So, remember all you UC Econ haters, when discussing the coup in Chile
    you now need to refer to the Kenneth C. Griffin Chicago Boys,
    and when discussing the Law and Economics cult,
    refer to it by Law and Kenneth C. Griffin Economics.

    1. a different chris

      The fundamental societal challenge I suspect is that people insist on believing in what their lying eyes (and wallet) tell them and not what the UC economist department says is true.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I think a worse problem is that our government — as run by our Corporate Overlands doesn’t care what we believe in and worse still — and genuinely dangerous — a growing number of our Overlands have become “True Believers” in Neoliberal Ideologies. They stand ready to disrupt human society and possibly break our fragile hold on this dying Earth. [Sorry — feeling Grimm today.]

  28. roxan

    J.D. Vance didn’t seem to ‘get’ any of his culture! Maybe the young have no idea of history. When I grew up, most folks were rabid fundamentalists who never touched a drop or dreamed of having children out-of-wedlock. My mother would throw out a fruitcake that had ‘spirits’ on it. One thing I never see mentioned is the demise of the Chestnut trees–an entire culture evolved around them. The destruction of the Chestnut groves drove many Appalachians out of the mountains, or into the mines. Now, many of the mountains themselves have been blown to bits. I had a friend whose whole town dispersed after mine debris caused a flood–they are allowed to dump it in the nearest stream.

  29. Wukchumni

    I’m like most, in that I didn’t watch a complete MLB game during the regular season, just snippets here and there, nothing really.

    But come the playoffs, it’s like a spark has been lit on a fuse and i’m enthused. This World Series is reminiscent of the 1975 fall classic, and the only problem is, one very good team has to lose.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “In our defence we didn’t think you were thick enough for this to work, says Russia Daily Mash”

    Good one. The new Onion?

  31. KFritz

    Re:Antidote

    That’s a tropical animal “hanging out” in cold season temperate forest. Could Timotheus provide a back story, if known?

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