Links 11/20/17

This Dog Sits on Seven Editorial Boards Atlas Obscura

Biology’s beloved amphibian — the axolotl — is racing towards extinction Nature

Projections For Adoption Of EVs Are Too Aggressive Econintersect

The Hidden Cost Of Electric Cars OilPrice.com

Hackers could take control of cars and kill millions, ministers warned The Times. “A spokeswoman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: ‘Billions are invested to stay ahead of criminals and new cars have never been more secure. They are already being equipped with the means to prevent remote hacking through regular software upgrades as well as encryption, layering, and alarms and immobilisers.'” So that’s alright, then. Especially the “regular software upgrades” part.

Facebook is a bigger threat to privacy than is Aadhaar, says tech entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa The Economic Times. Includes this splendid — but double-edged — rant from Wadhwa:

Forget about disclosures, there are no rules or regulations in the tech industry. They want to get away with whatever they can get away with. This is the group think in Silicon Valley: they think they are gods over there, and everything they do is perfect. They don’t even understand the damage they are causing. Zuckerberg is genuinely deluded about what he is doing: he did not believe that he is impacting the elections. These are a bunch of kids who don’t have the experience and are building these nuclear weapons-like technologies without understanding their implications. This is why India needs to do it on its own and not depend on Silicon Valley.

Or just maybe Zuckerberg knows what the valuation of his company should really be?

How a half-educated tech elite delivered us into chaos Guardian (Re Silc).

Green finance for dirty ships The Economist

Brexit

The Brexit Vote Inflation and UK Living Standards London School of Economics

Brexit Cost to Aerospace ‘Extremely Worrying,’ Lawmakers Say Bloomberg

‘Copy and paste’ approach to EU free trade agreements cannot work, experts warn Telegraph

German Coalition Talks Collapse Global Handelsblatt

Why Is the Former East Germany Tilting Populist? Der Spiegel

Syraqistan

Saudi Graft Settlements Could Reap Billions Bloomberg

It’s a new world — where Israel shares intelligence with the Saudis Jerusalem Post

Israel Is Growing Increasingly Worried About the Trump Administration Foreign Policy

Puerto Rico

Two months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico struggles to regain electricity and thousands flee the island Los Angeles Times.

Puerto Rico’s DIY Disaster Relief NYRB

Puerto Rico’s bondholders worried after Hurricane Maria turns out lights Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

Six Years After Fukushima, Robots Finally Find Reactors’ Melted Uranium Fuel NYT

GE faces lawsuit over role in Fukushima nuclear disaster Boston Globe

New theory rewrites opening moments of Chernobyl disaster Phys.org

The Indian in the Yasukuni Shrine The Hindu

China

Nepal and Pakistan pulling the plug on Belt and Road plans, casts spotlight on public tender issues South China Morning Post

Coup in Zimbabwe: A win-win for China – for now Asia Times

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe says to chair ZANU-PF congress in December despite recall from ruling party Xinhua

Chaos in Zimbabwe after Mugabe fails to announce expected resignation Guardian. All this breathless “analysis” before events that might happen….

AS IT HAPPENED: Mugabe doesn’t resign in much-anticipated address to nation News24. Zimbabwe. With live text of the address.

Latest: Zanu PF gives Mugabe ultimatum and The fall of a dictator: Not the end Mugabe had scripted The Standard. Zimbabwe.

New Cold War

Red Scares, Then and Now Project Syndicate

Trump Transition

Tax Cut Math: 6 Republican Senators Have Concerns, It Takes 3 Kill It Mish Talk

Trump picks tax bill fight as focus turns to Republican critics FT

Senate plan lets mutual funds skip a tax change that hurts individual investors CNBC

Mixed signals sent on fate of tax bill’s health provision AP

* * *

Senate confirms Trump’s mine safety pick The Hill

Congress Can’t Compromise on Privacy US News

Strong economy boosts Trump among otherwise skeptical voters Los Angeles Times

Sex in Politics… Not.

Alabama’s biggest newspapers urge voters to ‘reject Roy Moore’ CNN

Will the Senate Expel Roy Moore If He’s Elected? The Atlantic (Re Silc). By Betteridge’s Law, no.

Democrats in Disarray

At Little Rock reunion, Bill and Hillary Clinton, allies look back at ’92 Arkansas Online. Rahm Emmanuel: “I would never be in politics at the level I’m doing if it wasn’t for Bill Clinton giving me a shot.”

Democrats Are Hypocrites on Corruption Foreign Policy

The 100 Progressives Elected to Public Offices This November Medium. Interesting compilation, but surely Obama should have cured us of the idea that ascriptive identities lead directly to political affiliations, and from there to policy?

Health Care

Health Giant Sutter Destroys Evidence In Crucial Antitrust Case Over High Prices KHN

What’s killing America’s new mothers? Quartz

Assessing the Preparedness of the U.S. Health Care System Infrastructure for an Alzheimer’s Treatment RAND

VA exploring idea of merging health system with Pentagon Federal News Radio

Luxury Socialized Medicine Jacobin. In France — hold onto your hats here, folks! — doctors actually make house calls. For €31.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

This Can’t Be Good . . . Genealogy Companies Say They’re Willing to Give Law Enforcement Your DNA The Root. Of course they are.

Guillotine Watch

Candid Wall Street barons worry that GOP tax plan will lead to literal euthanasia of the rentier Boing Boing

Why we should all feel sorry for corporate leaders FT

Class Warfare

Effects of health and social care spending constraints on mortality in England: a time trend analysis British Medical Journal. Readers, methodology?

Some Instacart workers to strike over pay that can be as low as $1 per hour Ars Technica

When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work NYT. Helping America’s youth prepare for the transition from debt slave to fugitive….

Robot army is transforming the global workplace FT

Inferring Mechanisms for Global Constitutional Progress ArXiv.org

Making Sense of Chaos with the Windy-Boat Roger Farmer’s Economic Window

Pete Peterson Has Won Stephanie Kelton, New Economic Perspectives

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

123 comments

  1. el_tel

    Effects of health and social care

    I don’t unfortunately have time to go through the methodology in detail but I’ll just make an observation based on a quotes from the article:

    From 2001/2002 to 2009/2010, the average annual increase in real PEH per capita was 3.82%. Between 2010/2011 and 2014/2015, the average annual increase was 0.41%

    It’s pretty much known that due to ageing population etc the real increase in spending should be 4% per annum in the UK (sorry can’t find the reference but it’s pretty easy to find in various articles). Thus the huge decrease since 2010 would be expected to have at leasat *some* effect.

    Reply
  2. John A

    Re Hackers could take control of cars and kill millions, ministers warned The Times.
    Only read the intro as the rest is behind the Murdoch paywall but enough to read that such hackers can be ‘hostile governments’. Any guesses what they mean?

    Amazing also how the MSM simply states as fact that Russia interfered with the US election. Don’t even bother with ‘alleged’ anymore, though I have never seen any genuine proof or evidence.

    Reply
      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        From 2012, and more important than ever.
        For some reason, Kelton’s post called to mind The Glass Menagerie, and I’d argue that Pete Peterson and the neoclassical economists still look at the world through candlelight, when in fact we are living in an era ‘lit by lightning’ that they profoundly misunderstand, to our collective danger.

        At the end of her piece, Stephanie Kelton argued persuasively that as of Oct 2012, there had been no counter-narrative to Pete Peterson’s collection of fictions, et al:
        — that the US is broke,
        — that the US federal government ‘gets it’s money from China’,
        — that the US government budget functions exactly like a household budget
        — that we must ‘cut entitlements’ in order to ‘balance the books’ because otherwise the Federal Deficit will leave us impoverished
        — that austerity is the only morally responsible path for Congress to implement

        If we go to The Wikipedia, we see that Peterson (b. 1926 in Greece as Peter Petropoulos) arrived in the US at age 17 from Greece, coincidentally around the time that Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie’, opened on a Chicago stage in 1944. (FWIW, Senate Finance Chair Orin Hatch would have been about 10, and Chuck Grassley, 9 years old.)

        The Glass Menagerie is about many things, but it was written during the end of WWII, and about 70% of American households received electrification in the three decades preceding the play.

        The play ends with the main character, Tom, stifled by outdated social structures and his mother’s delusions of her debutante past, telling his sister, “…nowadays, the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura… and so, goodbye!

        Pete Peterson and the neoclassical economists, lobbyists, think tanks, and electeds keep offering candles.
        They do not understand the implications of lightning, to say nothing of the economic implications of digitization and MMT.

        Reply
    1. shinola

      “This is not government by informed consent. This is not democracy.”

      Ks. is the model for Trump & his cronies.

      The Donald just loves him some Sam Brownback.

      Reply
      1. witters

        “Ks. is the model for Trump & his cronies.”

        Actually it is the neoliberal model – and you could have picked this up anytime over the last 40 years.

        Reply
  3. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

    Any time someone suggests that nukes are a good idea, ask them it they are on the volonteers lists to go into disaster areas as members of first responder squads such as the “Fukoshima 50”.

    Pip Pip

    Reply
  4. Jack Lifton

    Projections for the adoption of EVs are too aggressive

    It is the fantasy of an American level global consumer economy that is impossible due to the limitations of capital, energy, and raw materials. Politicians survive on this fantasy everywhere, and when the truth sinks in some will understand for the first time the thread of European history including the reasons that the Americas were settled and populated differently than the rest of the colonial world.

    Reply
  5. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to Brexit, the former Attorney General and remainer, Dominic Grieve, was interviewed on BBC radio yesterday mid-morning. He highlighted some technical issues and said that, regardless of how one voted, these issues need debating. He singled out the UK following EU rules at Brexit, but peeling off over time, and expecting to have access to the single market, not just for goods and services, but civil and consumer rights, too. The BBC’s John Pienaar was having none of it and implied that Grieve was being negative and trying to stop Brexit, Grieve was followed by Pussy Riot, doing the rounds in the UK this week and last. Pussy Riot got a longer segment, as if they are more important than Brexit. Perhaps JP and his crew wanted more time ogling Pussy Riot.

    Further to Zimbabwe, a friend and former colleague is in daily contact with his family in Harare, Bulawayo and Chegutu. He reports a sense of deflation and how the public is perplexed by the army’s tactics, i.e. in what coup was the target allowed to dictate the manner of his departure. My friend’s view is that the army does not want to make it too obvious that Mnangagwa is their man and for the long-term, i.e. beyond elections due next year.

    He reported a conversation with a family friend, a former army colonel, last Christmas, The veterans were getting fed up with Mrs Mugabe and her younger clique, the G40, who were monopolising the fruits for themselves, so the seeds of the army’s discontent have been bubbling for a year or so.

    My friend reckons that Mnangagwa is an even bigger criminal than Mugabe. Former opposition MP Eddy Cross was on the BBC and CNN over the week-end, saying how good a political organiser and finance minister Mnangagwa was. This is because Mnangagwa has more business interests with white Zimbabweans than Mugabe.

    He thinks, after yesterday, Mugabe can survive. The longer Mugabe drags this out, the more he can halt the momentum of his opponents. The longer this goes on, the less likely the public will turn out and be seen to demonstrate against Mugabe.

    My friend, a Shona, also marvelled at the analysis and cynicism of the western MSM. The west was not bothered by the atrocities against the Ndebele and other blacks, but got worked up when white farmers were chased off their land.

    None of the Zimbabweans that my family and my friend know is planning to return. The roots they have put in the British Isles, Australia and USA and, to a much lesser extent, the Gulf, are too deep.

    Reply
    1. el_tel

      Thank you. Informative as always. Do you have any insights into the “chinese connection”? Mnangagwa does indeed sound just as bad a Mugabe *but* the MSM are drawing attention to the fact he and his family have strong connections to China (who have invested heavily in Zimbabwe and probably wish for a more stable economy, whoever runs it).

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        I will ask about the China connection and revert.

        Chinese are settling for good there. My friend’s family live on a golf estate developed by Nick Price in Harare. He reports two Chinese businessmen married to local women on the gated community.

        Chinese settling for good have also been reported by friends in Congo-Zaire and Ethiopia. A wave has arrived in Mauritius, quite distinct from the ones who arrived with French and British colonial rule.

        From the almost live coverage relayed by my friend, it seems the western MSM was engaged in wishful thinking.

        He added that the only Zimbabweans he sees returning are the casual labour spread around the region. He does not see professionals from South Africa and much further afield risking it.

        Reply
        1. Adam Eran

          For the bigger picture, see also, Howard French’s China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They probably see today’s Africa the way Europeans saw the Americas in the 1500’s.

            Admiral Zheng He (in the century before that) came and left, because emperor Yong Le and his court Confucians saw China was the best kingdom in the world and there was nothing they needed to learn nor wanted from the barbarians all over the world.

            Obviously, it’s a ‘fooled me once’ or rather, ‘I fooled myself once,’ situation over there.

            Reply
    2. David

      None of this is particularly new. Like many African states, Zimbabwe has been courting China (it’s called the “Look East” policy there.)ore generally, this is a long-anticipated power struggle within ZANU-PF, which African friends of mine have been expecting for the last fifteen years now. Mugabe has been the best-known face of a collegiate leadership for some time, and Mugabe going will not necessarily lead to much change as such. The military leadership is still dominated by those who fought for independence, and they have always made it clear that, while they are alive, they won’t stand for a leader who was not in the struggle. It was Mugabe’s apparent attempt to hand over to his wife that triggered the crisis, but it was bound to happen at some point.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Feels to me like Robert is overstaying his welcome, he could/should have done a clean resignation and disappeared with his offshore billions, to be welcomed with open arms by the NYC/London/Davos crowd, a true brother. This path has him eventually suspended by his thumbs methinks

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        When Mugabe was the face of ZANU/Army Rule, the Mugabe ZANU Army government welcomed Haile Mengistu Mariam, the Marxist Mass Murderer of Ethiopa, into Zimbabwe as an honored guest when the Marxist Mass Murder Occupation Regime over Ethiopia fell and Mariam had to flee.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mengistu_Haile_Mariam

        If the post-Mugabe ZANU-Army regime over Zimbabwe changes more than its visible face, it will send Mariam back to Ethiopia to face justice. Once Mugabe is out of power, if Mariam remains an honored guest in Zimabwe, then we will know that the post-Mugabe ZANU-Army regime is still the same old ZANU-Army regime, devoted to the same old principles and beliefs.

        And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe Zimbabwe will do better when it takes its place within the rising One Ball One Chain Greater China Co-Prosperity Sphere than it ever did under the British.

        Reply
  6. RenoDino

    Tax Cut Math: 6 Republican Senators Have Concerns, It Takes 3 Kill It

    The Tax Reform Plan will not pass because under no circumstances will Trump be allowed a major legislative win by the political establishment. Where, under concerns listed by MIsh, is the one “hates Trump’s guts for destroying our Party” or ‘hates Trump for personally insulting me?” Giving Trump a Big Win would validate the insults and seal the Party’s fate as the Party of Trump once and for all.

    The bill’s demise must be stage managed carefully so major donors to conservative causes have little recourse to withhold future contributions. We all know that Trump is so desperate for a win he would sign a dry cleaning bill if they put it in front of him. He won’t get a chance.

    It’s also helpful that the bill has become a bucket list of every terrible conservative idea proposed over the last ten years. While it’s unpopular among the masses, it’s a great signaling device to Wall Street and Corporate America that conservatives still have their back despite their personal hated of Trump.

    Reply
    1. John D.

      It’s remarkable, isn’t it? His fellow plutocrats have no legitimate complaint against him on the substance; he really is doing everything they could ever possibly want. But they’re throwing all this crap at him to see what sticks for no other reason than Ego (definitely with a capital “E”), hurt fee-fees, and the fact that the arrogant fat idiot doesn’t kiss their asses to their satisfaction. It’s all purely personal selfish spite.

      If Trump weren’t such a hateful piece of scum himself, I could almost find myself rooting for him. Almost.

      Reply
      1. Bill

        If Trump weren’t such a hateful piece of scum himself, I could almost find myself rooting for him. Almost.

        these guys are good, aren’t they. quite the dust storm they have kicked up

        Reply
  7. Vikas Saini

    Effects of health and social care

    On a first quick read, the methodology seems reasonable and the results convincing. The corroboration with the other outcome variables strongly supportive. A bit surprising that effects are transmitted so rapidly from policy changes. I might have expected some lag, but maybe I missed something in the way they do their calculations. Or maybe it’s just that simple…..

    Reply
    1. el_tel

      Your thoughts are not a million miles from mine…..it may be worth looking up presentations (probably now on youtube) by Professor Danny Dorling. He found that the 3 year moving average of mortality has stabilised – rather than the constant improvement we used to see. Since it’s a 3 year moving average (with previous increases), a stabilisation must, by definition, mean the current year has shown a reversal (to maintain a constant). Of course published 3 year moving averages mean we don’t have the “current year” by itself (which he said isn’t available for the data he uses) – but his logic is sound.

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    Re: This Can’t Be Good . . . Genealogy Companies Say They’re Willing to Give Law Enforcement Your DNA

    There are other factors of concern here. When you submit your DNA your apparently give them a license to use your DNA, even after you die. This reminds me of a black woman that gave repeated samples decades ago and corporations have made billions from that sample but the family got zip. They never told the woman how important the samples were to them as they kept calling her back for more samples.
    Another factor. I remember reading that Ancestry sold the DNA data to a company that belonged to Google who used this information in longevity for basically the billionaires. Yeah, you can help the high tech billionaires live for centuries – we would never be rid of them. In fact, for interesting samples, they cross-referenced it to families charts that people on Ancestry had put together of their families to aid this research. Law enforcement would be the least of your concerns I reckon.

    Reply
    1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      Aldous Huxley’s novel ” After Many a Summer ” deals with such a wish from a billionaire & I believe it is an example of be careful what you wish for. It must however be a wrench to have to leave all those tokens of one’s own excellence behind, & to in effect become totally powerless. I also imagine that for the children of many of these people, the thought of Big Daddy being around forever might not go down all that well – the possible consequences are probably legion.

      I in my spiteful fashion rather hope that they follow the example of Tithonus as described in Tennyson’s poem by that name, which is from where Huxley stole his title :

      ” Of happy men that have the power to die,
      And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
      Release me, and restore me to the ground;
      Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave:
      Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
      I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
      And thee returning on thy silver wheels “.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        In that novel the billionaire devolves into a troglodyte. How would it work for our current billionaires who are already starting out at the troglodyte level?

        Reply
        1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

          To be honest I cannot remember – all I recall is two ancient carp in a tank, but that might not be associated with what I know was an end that did not go to plan. I have the book somewhere & it is probably a good a time as any to visit it again. It apparently influenced Orson Welles for ” Citizen Kane “.

          Perhaps they are troglodytes in the sense that the shadows they see on the wall, are more delusional than most.

          Reply
    2. Chris

      Another ‘gotcha’ with DNA testing is life insurance(and probably health insurance as well in the U.S.).

      If your test identifies a genetic variant which predisposes to a serious disease, you find the that insurance is either very expensive, or not available.

      Reply
    3. skylark

      That woman’s story was told in the book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Her cancer cells were the source of the HeLa cell line. A fascinating story.

      Reply
  9. pr1et0

    re: Chaos in Zimbabwe…, ‘All this breathless “analysis” before events that might happen’. My feelings exactly about most of the mainstream media coverage on current events: Brexit, Trump, Dems/Repubs, etc.

    Reply
  10. fresno dan

    https://khn.org/news/health-giant-sutter-destroys-evidence-in-high-profile-antitrust-case-over-high-prices/

    Are we surprised?
    John August Sutter was born[3] on February 15, 1803 in Kandern,[4] Baden, Germany, and his father came from the nearby town of Rünenberg in Switzerland.
    Johann went to school in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. At age 21, Johann married [5] the daughter of a rich widow. He operated a store but he was more interested in spending money than making it. Because of family and mounting debts, Johann faced charges that would have him placed in jail. So he decided to dodge trial and ventured to America; he styled his name to Captain John Augustus Sutter.
    In May 1834, he left his wife and five children behind in Burgdorf, Switzerland, and with a French passport he boarded the ship Sully which travelled from Le Havre, France, to New York City where it arrived on July 14, 1834.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sutter

    When I lived in Sacramento, there are a number of monuments and historical artifacts that discuss the illustrious founder of Sacramento.
    And speaking of California’s illustrious, between the capital and “Old Town” Sacramento, these is an underground pedestrian throughway painted with historical political figures of California’s past. And once you get past all the crap you learned in high school*, it is a rogue’s gallery of scalawags, embezzlers, connivers, and land thieves.

    *Kodachrome
    When I think back
    On all the crap I learned in high school
    It’s a wonder
    I can think at all

    Reply
  11. allan

    New study shows homeless live decades shorter than the average resident [WXXI]

    … The average man in Monroe County [NY] lives to be 77, while the average homeless man lives to be 54.

    For women, the average life expectancy is just over 81, but for homeless women its just 42 years old.

    According to Murray, that means that the average woman in Monroe County who is not homeless lives nearly twice as long as a homeless woman.

    “Homelessness is not just a matter of not having a roof over your head, it’s a matter of not expecting to live as many decades on this planet. It’s a death sentence in a very real sense.” …

    His findings did not find any significant difference by race or ethnicity on average age of death. …

    With no identity politics angle to this, woke neoliberals just say TINA and move along.

    Reply
    1. Paul Cardan

      I believe woke liberals prefer to say “houseless” rather than “homeless.” They hope we’ll all learn to talk that way, and then no one will be homeless – since persons formerly known as “homeless” will be called “houseless” instead. Problem solved.

      Reply
      1. Burritonomics

        The preferred phrase nowadays is “experiencing homelessness”. I’m serious. It’s usage is to suggest that it is temporary. It’s aimed at the person, so as not to brand them as “homeless”, but it cuts both ways. Why bother addressing a problem that’s not permanent? Genius!

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          “Experiencing houselessness” “Experiencing foodlessness” um are those like the other “experiences” the new lifestyle blogs rave about? I can see the clickbait ads now: “The new way to save for retirement!” (houselessness) “The diet guaranteed to shed pounds!” (foodlessness).
          And of course the Dems will want to “start a conversation” about this mysterious foodlessness condition, with focus groups to find out how people really feel about it, and ways to improve their marketing messaging around it. At least Shrub Bush had the common decency to call it what it is: “catapulting the propaganda”

          Reply
    2. perpetualWAR

      I am going to reiterate:

      18+ MILLION UNLAWFUL FORECLOSURES…..2006-Present Day.

      But…but…but, we are soooooo concerned about homelessness.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        Stop giving bullshit numbers. It discredits the site. You’ve done this before which is why you are in moderation. You are accumulating troll points with this behavior. There were ~9 million foreclosures in total. Some were of bank-owned mortgages, which means they were “lawful”. There are only at most 55 million houses with mortgages.

        Reply
  12. fresno dan

    Hackers could take control of cars and kill millions, ministers warned The Times. “A spokeswoman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: ‘Billions are invested to stay ahead of criminals and new cars have never been more secure. They are already being equipped with the means to prevent remote hacking through regular software upgrades as well as encryption, layering, and alarms and immobilisers.’” So that’s alright, then. Especially the “regular software upgrades” part.
    ============================================
    Sure wish those auto software guys would work security for Equifax….
    and a whole bunch more
    https://www.csoonline.com/article/2130877/data-breach/the-16-biggest-data-breaches-of-the-21st-century.html
    than everything would be okey dokey……

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      I wonder what percentage of software/security updates are a response to some sort of vulnerability rather than ahead of the curve?

      Reply
    2. John A

      If the biggest selling point of EVs is safer roads ie. fewer people killed in RTA, why not make the driving test much harder and install alcolocks and speed restrictors in vehicles?

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        John A
        November 20, 2017 at 9:45 am

        There is nothing that will get me into a self driving car faster than the possibility that it can ferry me around from bar to bar. And I look upon software glitches that cause dying drunk in a fiery crash as a feature, not a bug….

        Of course, for a lot of couple, why go to an expensive bar or restaurant? Just put curtains on your self driving car, buy a bucket of KFC and a six pack, and go at it in the back seat….

        Reply
  13. PKMKII

    The Pentagon Has Avoided Audit For 27 Years

    In 1990, Congress passed the Chief Financial Officers Act requiring every Department and Agency in the Federal government to produce verifiable financial statements that can be fully audited. To date, each major agency has been able to complete this task except one— the Department of Defense. Congress has allowed the Department of Defense to get away with 26 years of noncompliance with the law.

    Reply
  14. bassmule

    In Race Against Moore, Democrat Is On His Own (NYT)

    “The Democratic Party is not behind him pushing him up the hill to victory, because they don’t have a wagon for him to ride in right now,” said Mark Kennedy, a former state Supreme Court justice and erstwhile chairman of the Democratic Party. “He’s got to do it all by himself.”

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      An entire “analysis” of the race, and not a single word about what Jones is campaigning on. It’s all about “not Moore.”

      I went to Doug Jones’s website to see what he had to say for himself, and I give him credit for being a very skilled tightrope walker. His platform is essentially progressive in tone but he very carefully avoids being specific about anything. If he were running anywhere but Alabama, that might be cause for suspicion, but that careful wording strikes me as pretty savvy.

      It won’t do him much good, though, if the volunteers out pounding on doors for him are only offering anti-Moore reasons to vote for Jones.

      Reply
  15. Carolinian

    That Guardian “half educated tech elite” article is a load. The notion that the new cyber elite is any more sociopathic than the old classically trained gentleman elite ignores such phenomena as predatory colonialism or the Malthusian designs against their own citizens by the English upper classes of the 19th century. Indeed one reason for the heavy interest in the Roman empire among that group is that they were seeking pointers on empire management. Meanwhile the article’s version of “chaos” boils down to

    It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters.

    In other words Zuck gave us Putin gave us Trump. This undoubted nonsense points to the real way our elites are half educated–they have no understanding of computers or the internet and merely see them as things to be feared or fear mongered. Self admitted non techies like Hillary
    Clinton suggest hacking is an “act of war”–not knowing or caring that in web world absolute attribution is almost impossible. Meanwhile newspapers print falsehoods that could be debunked in five minutes should the reporters bother to spend a little time on the internet (perhaps using the evil Google). Our technology has dangers but it is also a fantastic tool. To take advantage you need to learn to do more than start a Twitter account.

    Reply
    1. Meher Baba Fan

      and the idea that studying ethics is enough to actually have ethics. ‘ oh they just took the wrong courses at university..’

      Reply
      1. SimpleMarvin

        This article is bad in so many ways. Completely agree with the above comments.

        My counter-point to the article’s main thesis is most lawyers have undergraduate degrees in liberal arts / humanities. As we know, the bar is a bastion of virtue.

        Reply
      2. Paul Cardan

        Yes, and those who study ethics would agree. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus, for instance, regularly berates students who mistake having read more books for having become better people. More to the point, J. S. Mill observed that our institutions allow a few people to further their own private interests in a manner that is oblivious to or knowingly detrimental to the interests of the many other people whom they affect. The former are not accountable to the latter. It is only to be expected that these few act in a narrowly self-interested yet collectively destructive manner. So, if you want better behavior its certainly not a bad idea to have people read this or that book, but its much more important to change institutions. Legislation might help, as would actually enforcing existing law by, for instance, prosecuting those who commit crimes in the financial sector. Oddly enough, that sort of thing seems to be off the table these days. Wrong-doers are counseled to take business ethics courses instead. “Let them read Kant.”

        Reply
      3. Bill

        Does behaving ethically (having ethics) pay, result in monetary gain? Nope, unless you are talking about being good to the profit model.

        Reply
    2. Sid Finster

      HRC doesn’t care whether absolute attribution is or is not impossible.

      Absolute attribution happens to be her most convenient argument at the moment, so that’s what she’ll use. To a sociopath, truth or falsity is irrelevant. What matters is usefulness.

      Reply
    3. David

      The Naughton article attracted about 700 comments (that I saw) mostly dismissive. It’s not a question of being half-educated, but unethical. Whatever your background, whatever your education, you can’t escape moral responsibility for the consequences of your actions, and you should know and acknowledge this. The problem is not education, it’s a change in social norms, so that the sociopath is now actively welcomed rather than shunned as previously. An honest market trader or plumber would understand perfectly what this is all about.

      Reply
      1. skippy

        The economic argument wrt sociopaths…

        I had a conversation in the past on this site only to witness some armchair econnomist actually state – “we need to harness such individuals creativity and productivity better”.

        Reply
    4. cocomaan

      Our technology has dangers but it is also a fantastic tool.

      What area of human flourishing has been improved through application of these technologies? The benefits aren’t self evident to me at all. In America, the inventor of the internet and many associated technologies, standards of living have been dropping across the board.

      Reply
  16. DanB

    Re: The Der Spiegel article “Why Is the Former East Germany Turning Populist?” Recently I returned from a trip to Berlin to give talks on my book about how the East German intellectual class reacted to and faired after the unification of Germany. I’ll be as brief as possible here and serve up some gross generalizations. Most West Germans, many without being fully conscious of what they were doing, automatically deemed East Germans psychologically and morally defective and intellectually inferior. And they treated East Germans as such. Several East Germans I either new or formally interviewed in 1990-91 held a different view: that democracy in the West was more a sophisticated sham than the heavy-handedness of how the GDR was run. They said they saw the sham clearly because they lived with it so long in the GDR. Regarding how East Germans have faired in unified Germany, W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of “double consciousness” helps us to understand how East Germans have experienced their lives since the unification of Germany. To generalize, they feel like –and I would argue are still treated like- aliens in their own nation. While one will find few East German intellectuals who support AfD, most of them understand AfD support among East Germans as a boomerang effect of being treated as second-class citizens for 28 years and a failure of the West Germans to ever have a serious discussion with East Germans about economic inequality and German collective identity.

    Reply
    1. Petter

      Everything we were told about the Soviet Union turned out to be a lie but everything we were told about the West turned turned out to be true – Russian joke

      Reply
    2. Brady

      I would be very interested in reading your book. I can read German well and have been fascinated with the subject of reunification from the Ossi perspective for a while. Any idea how I could get ahold of it?

      Reply
      1. DanB

        Try interlibrary loan; several university libraries I know have already ordered it. It’s titled, “East German Intellectuals and the Unification of Germany: An Ethnographic View,” published by Palgrave McMillan.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just curious the extent to which this mindset has influenced one citizen who grew up in the East in particular: Frau Merkel?
          And the West gave the East a very generous 1:2 marks when they unified, wasn’t that a positive gesture?
          (Too bad the people designing the conversion mechanism for the Euro introduction didn’t get their math right, hence the South versus North divide and the Target2 insanity)

          Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…psychologically and morally defective and intellectually inferior.”

      That sounds like something straight out of the 1930’s and early 1940’s Germany.

      Reply
  17. Tomonthebeach

    VA-TRICARE Merger. The article states: The two departments generally serve very different patient groups —older, sicker veterans treated by VA and generally healthier service members, retirees and their families covered by TRICARE.

    What they leave off is that the VA patients are far more likely to be indigent and literally surviving on VA welfare payments. Most Americans and most Congress members are ignorant of the fact that the VA treats indigency as a service-connected disability.

    Given that roughly 25% of new recruits are found to be unfit (fired) and become separated veterans within 6 months of entering basic training, this generates a large pool of people with lifetime mental health issues who should never have been recruited in the first place. That 25% number continues into the 30s within 2 years.

    Congress could save a bundle on VA by tying benefits to those medically discharged for service-connected disabilities, and retirees.

    Reply
  18. Ben Around

    Zimbabwe’s media has been unknown to me since Peta Thornycroft was kicked out years ago when she wrote for the Telegraph. I see she is still at it:

    Reply
  19. dearieme

    “a liberal arts major familiar with works like Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, or even the work of ancient Greek historians, …”

    Very droll: there soon went be any of such majors if the people who want to drive the work of dead white men out of the curricula succeed.

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      The Guardian recently published a list of authors / books it would like taught in British universities, making the English literature curriculum more cosmopolitan. There may be something to be said about an evolution of the curriculum, but one had the feeling that the Guardian wants to promote identity politics and “atomise” the UK, so that the public / citizenry has little in common and can be divided and distracted.

      Reply
      1. Ned

        Oh come on. You just know that obscure lesbian slave descended West Indian transgender poets helped build Western Civilization. It’s just not fair to exclude them. We must give them at least half the space in our curricula, or perhaps 90% as historical reparations.

        How come there’s so little evolution, diversity and multiculturalism in economic theory and practice?

        If the same stagnation applied to literature as applied to the creation of money, interest and all that, along with the family and landed fortunes, we’d all be reading nothing but Romantic poets and Dickens.

        Reply
        1. marym

          The second sentence of your comment is both illogical and inaccurate. It’s illogical to expect that people from groups largely marginalized or silenced by the prevailing Civilization would contribute to building that Civilization. And yet, against all odds, they have, in every area of endeavor, and continue to do so every single day.

          Reply
          1. Ned

            Example? What percentage?
            Numbers please.

            “It’s illogical to expect that people from groups largely marginalized or silenced by the prevailing Civilization would contribute to building that Civilization.”

            Logic is so yesterday under certain people’s new prevailing dogma of virtue signaling absolutely everything any time and anywhere.

            Reply
      2. georgieboy

        Heh, as NC might say, the Guardian is politically ‘ascriptive’, indeed.

        As to medical costs in France, they have about 3.4 doctors per 1,000, versus about 2.4 in the USA. How much would costs in the USA go down were the supply of — hopefully — domestically-trained doctors to rise towards Eurozone levels?

        Reply
  20. fresno dan

    http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/crime_courts/2017/11/15/he-confessed-minor-crime-then-city-hall-billed-him-31-k-his-own-prosecution/846850001/

    Garcia got in trouble with Coachella City Hall in 2015 after a city code inspector discovered he had expanded his living room, making space to run a small day care center, without first getting building permits. Silver & Wright, a law firm contracted as Coachella’s city prosecutor, took the building permit case to criminal court, filing 29 misdemeanor charges. Garcia signed a plea agreement, brought his house up to code, paid a $900 fine to the court and moved on with his life. But then, this April, Silver & Wright mailed Garcia that hefty bill for the cost of his case, saying if he didn’t pay up a lien would be put on his property and the city could potentially sell the house from under his feet.
    ….
    Indio contracted Silver & Wright in 2014, then Coachella followed in 2015. Within a year of hiring the firm, both city councils created new nuisance property ordinances empowering the cities to seek prosecution fees without needing approval from a judge. Then Silver & Wright started taking east valley property owners to criminal court.
    ….
    Silver & Wright would not comment for this story. The firm’s second partner, Curtis Wright, said he couldn’t discuss the prosecutions in either Indio or Coachella due to “attorney-client privilege,” despite the fact that this privilege does not apply to prosecutors because they work for the general public.
    ====================================================
    does not apply to prosecutors because they work for the general public
    Uh, I don’t think they do work for the general public.
    Is there work that is more profitable and evil than government contract work? To use my Madisonian voice, is there such a confluence of interests that offers lessor privation for greater aggrandizement than the temptations of the public purse?

    Reply
    1. JBird

      What the f—— is this? The defendants are sent bills for their prosecution by a private law firm, sometimes reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars, after the six month’s limit for filing appeals, or withdrawing their guilty pleas, for code violations.

      Each time I think I cannot be further surprised about the privatization and monetization of everything something comes along to disabuses me.

      Reply
  21. Livius Drusus

    Re: Why Is the Former East Germany Tilting Populist, the article seems to suggest that economic factors are not entirely at the root of the success of AfD as East Germany is apparently doing much better now even if it is still behind the West. I am not so sure if the rosy picture of the German economy is entirely true. Bill Mitchell has written some good pieces on the German economy and why it is not as great as is usually depicted. Here is one such piece that also includes links to some of Mitchell’s other articles about Germany.

    More Germans are at risk of severe poverty than ever before

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=36380

    However, even if we assume that the German economy is doing well there is still the issue of growing unhappiness and anomie in the advanced countries as people suffer from the consequences of the loss of community life. Ian Welsh has written about the issue in the context of East Germany.

    http://www.ianwelsh.net/happiness-and-freedom-east-german-version/

    Few people want to touch the issue of whether we have lost something in developing our modern, open, socially liberal societies. Nobody wants to appear to defend socialist East Germany or 1950s America like Alan Ehrenhalt did when he wrote The Lost City: The Forgotten Virtues Of Community In America back in the 1990s. But I suspect that there is a trade-off that people make when living in a modern liberal society. You gain more choices and opportunities and people are perhaps more tolerant of differences but you lose the social glue of close-knit communities and some degree of stability and certainty in your life. I don’t think this trade-off benefits most ordinary people as can be seen in the increasing rates of depression and other mental disorders that are almost certainly linked to the conditions of modern life.

    Depression as a disease of modernity: explanations for increasing prevalence

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330161/

    People are voting for populists in part due to economic factors but also because they want to recreate a sense of community in their country and to try to deal with the rapid changes that have occurred in recent decades. Unfortunately these impulses often expresses themselves as bigotry. That is why it is important to take issues like community seriously. Communitarianism was big in the 1990s but seems to have almost disappeared as a political movement. I am afraid that the right-wing populists have taken the place of the communitarians which is unfortunate.

    Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ah yes where is our melanoderm former Dear Leader these days, basking in the glow of the vast field of his true accomplishments and reforms while in office perhaps? The rumor is he is golfing alot, chewing cannabis gummy bears, and selecting which version of bronze statue of His Coolness will grace his presidential library.
        Maybe like Shrub Bush he will retreat into infantilism, quietly painting rudimentary bathroom scenes with puppies, keeping his head down while History slowly figures out what a massive fraud he was.

        Reply
    1. Summer

      I still think we can’t forget those that are in situations or a community and want to get out, but can’t. That’s also a driver of depression or feelings of alienation.

      Reply
  22. Ned

    Poor Axolotl.

    There is a dark story by Julio Cortzar about a man who becomes hypnotized by his pet Axolotl and like Bartleby The Scrivener, renounces the complications of his existence and becomes…

    Oh never mind. Just read it as part of your humanities education.

    Reply
  23. Jason Boxman

    I’m late to the party, but came across this:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/health/dermatology-skin-cancer.html

    Dermatology strikes me as a racket. In my own experience, I frequently saw PAs rather than a physician. It seemed to be the typical model across 4 different practices I’d had appointments with in both Orlando and Sarasota.

    I’m not surprised the medical group in Maitland has a call center setup there. Orlando and the immediate area is big for call centers about medical stuff. Express Scripts has a call center in Lake Mary, Optum (I think) has one near Orlando for health plans.

    I suppose these are jobs that can’t be easily outsourced, or they would be. I don’t know if it’s licensing or language skills.

    Reply
    1. Bill

      Back in the early 90s I developed severe rosacea. Instead of knowing and telling me it was a digestive malady (hypoacidity in the stomach, and food-related to IBS, and the facial aspect was hypersensitivity to sun) the Doc prescribed antibiotics until I could not remember my phone number (literally). Then he wanted to give me topicals that burned off layers of skin. Then Retin A (which is really an incredible drug, but increased photosensitivity). Who knew antibiotics could do that to you? Anyway, now I am on a strict diet and wear strong sunscreen and hats, and no problems.

      Reply
  24. Meher Baba Fan

    With the challenges in Rhodesia – sorry – Zimbabwe , shall we expect an appearance by Captain Bono to save the day? Best mates with Mandela and all that. Quoting bits from his autobiography and claiming Mandela told Bono personally, and all that

    Reply
  25. petal

    If you want to use a regular card(like one uses now), that’s an extra $5. You know, because everybody has a smart phone!
    MBTA Dialing Up New Fare System:
    “The MBTA will ask its board today to approve a $723 million contract to completely overhaul how it collects fares with a new system that will let riders pay for the T just by tapping their phone…
    The existing Charlie Cards won’t work with the new system, and likely won’t work after mid-2020. Passengers who do want a physical card will be able to buy one for a $5 fee. Block-Schachter said the T will make free cards available to community groups to give out to populations including low-income or disabled riders.”

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      And they won’t be taking cash either –

      Eliminating cash transactions on buses, Block-Schachter said, could reduce travel time by as much as 10 percent.

      Last I checked bus drivers never made change to begin with – it’s always been exact fare or the municipality keeps the change so I have never once experienced a backup caused by people trying to pay a fare in cash. But check the weasel words – could reduce time “by as much as 10 percent” which likely means it won’t save time at all but will allow one more part of your life to be tracked by Big Brother.

      Reply
      1. John Zelnicker

        @lyman alpha blob – You’re dating ourself as a youngster.

        I remember when bus drivers made change. They had those neat belt changers that had tubes for each denomination of coin, you’d press a lever and one coin would drop out. Some had an extra tube for quarters. I was a very excited kid when my parents got me one for the change my mother let me keep after going to the store for her.

        Theft of the money carried by the driver was one of the main reasons for bus companies going to exact change, as well as the time factor.

        Reply
  26. perpetualWAR

    Reminiscing about the Clintons:

    “….each of us has tried to be one of those thousand points of light,” Bill Clinton said.

    Ummm, like a grenade or something?

    Funny article! I didn’t realize that Trump had 60% of the popular vote in Arkansas! That speaks volumes.

    Reply
  27. Matthew G. Saroff

    I do not understand why Merkel has not made overtures to to Die Linke.

    Them in a coalition is unlikely, but they have enough seats that the CDU/CSU could use them to play both ends against the middle with regard to the Greens and FDP.

    I understand the history, Die Linke is the descendant of the communist party, but to not even make an overture is to grant an outsize influence to the FDP and the Greens.

    Reply
  28. Austere Checking

    I’m curious, fellow NC readers. What’s the general consensus here on ‘Russia-gate’? Was Putin as big a player as MM suggests, or is this a DNC head fake?

    Reply
    1. bob

      Anything to get people NOT talking about Dem failures and their continuing lack of any coherent policy beyond getting the corporate class paid.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Putin could be actually even bigger, if the DNC head fake is part of his master plan to divert attention from something profitable to him.

      So, we might as well look into DNC-Russia collusion as well.

      Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    From “Projections For Adoption Of EVs Are Too Aggressive”:

    ” If the cars could be retrofitted it would be quicker than my estimate (which follows).”

    Cars can be retrofitted. I’ve seen one, talked with the guy who designed the electronics. He drives a spiffy little Fiat – retrofitted. It’s being done by a company in Portland. I’ve no idea how the cost compares – evidently not real cheap. But it would get cheaper with scale, as the parts and procedures get standardized.

    It wouldn’t make sense to retrofit a heavy car, but there are a lot of light ones out there.

    Reply
  30. D

    Yes, cocomaan!

    What area of human flourishing has been improved through application of these technologies? The benefits aren’t self evident to me at all. In America, the inventor of the internet and many associated technologies, standards of living have been dropping across the board.

    I’ll second that.

    Reply

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