Links 11/2/17

Awwooooooooooooooooo! London Review of Books

Big cats in Britain: urban myth or scientific fact? The Conversation

Champs: Astros’ first World Series win is a triumph for Houston Houston Chronicle

Squashed in space: Study identifies changes in astronauts’ brains Stat

Is that service dog a fake? Under federal law, you can’t even ask Kansas City Star


Wall Street regulator warns celebrities, individuals touting digital coins Reuters



France ready to join India’s anti-China front Asia Times


Forget the Ease of Doing Business, India needs to focus on issues of hunger and poverty first

World Bank Rankings: The Myths and Realities of Doing Business in India The Wire

Climate change might be worse than thought after scientists find major mistake in water temperature readings Independent (Jeff W)

Asteroid Impact That Killed The Dinosaurs Made Earth Dark, Freezing Cold International Business Times

Ohio Court Overturns Law Preventing Cities From Voting on Anti-Fracking Measures DeSmogBlog

When People And Societies Change Ian Welsh (UserFriendly)

Metropolis at 90: You’ll Never See a Movie Like This Again American Conservative

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

DHS expanding national biometrics database to hold details on over 500 million people, including many US citizens Privacy News Online

Who Wants to Supply China’s Surveillance State? The West WSJ

Police State Watch

Emmanuel Macron’s Anti-Terror Law Is a Throwback to the Bad Days of Colonialism New Republic


Brexit and the ‘Age of Easy Answers’ FT

UK defense secretary resigns Politico

Sir Michael Fallon admits falling short and leaves the job he loved The Times

Panic Hits Hollywood and Media Elite: Which Harasser Will Be Outed Next? Hollywood Reporter

A Likely Story Medium

Class Warfare

White House opioid commission calls for wide-ranging changes to anti-drug policies WaPo

Report highlights ‘shocking’ divide between dental health of rich and poor Guardian

SoftBank’s $10bn Uber deal held up by last-minute dispute FT

Eminent Domain, Ruined Farmland, Crony Capitalism: Racine County Braces For Foxconn Belt Magazine (Left in Wisconsin). Hoisted from yesterday’s Water Cooler comments.

Report Illustrates Dire Consequences of Corporate Consolidation Throughout Global Food Chain Common Dreams (HopeLB). Ditto.

A Peek Behind the VW Tax Haven Curtain Der Spiegel


Catalonia: Puigdemont ‘will not return’ to Spain for questioning BBC

Madrid on Catalonia: We got this Politico

Sedition in Catalonia — Part 1 Three parts.

Manafort Indictment

In Call With Times Reporter, Trump Projects Air of Calm Over Charges NYT


Is The “Moderate Al-Qaeda” Set To Targeted Hizbullah? Moon of Alabama

Iran, Russia Should Cooperate to Isolate US, Foster Middle East Stability: Khamenei The Wire

How the Kurds lost Iraq: ‘They had tanks and planes and we had no chance’ Independent Robert Fisk

How U.S.-Saudi Marriage Gave Birth to Jihad American Conservative

‘One share, one vote’ U-turn by Hong Kong regulator is welcome SCMP

Trump Transition

Senate Banking Committee approves SEC nominees Hester Peirce and Robert L. Jackson Jr. Investment News

Meet Trump’s Anti-Worker Labor Department Nominees Truthout

Trump signs resolution killing CFPB rule that made it easier for consumers to sue financial firms MarketWatch

Dems to file new impeachment articles against Trump The Hill

Pelosi moves to muzzle Trump impeachment talk Politico. Seems we’re not alone in thinking impeachment na ga happen so why waste time, money, energy chasing that rainbow.

Did Obama’s Stimulus Hurt The Planet? How Trump Could Revive Homegrown Solar International Business Times

Awaiting Trump’s coal comeback, miners reject retraining Reuters

Trump to Tap Fed’s Jerome Powell for Fed Chairman WSJ

South Koreans to protest against ‘war maniac’ Trump Delphi Initiative

Trump calls for New York terror suspect to get death penalty Business Insider

This Is Why You Don’t Fill A Cabinet With Goldmanites Dealbreaker

Members of Congress want you to hack the US election voting system Are Technica What could possibly go wrong?

Americans Are Officially Freaking Out Bloomberg

The Fragile Generation Reason

Kinsley Gaffes: Slavery Edition Progressive Army (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. skippy

    While post-crisis deals are typically tied to corporate credit as opposed to the mortgage debt that helped spur the credit crunch, the return of synthetic CDOs is likely to generate unease among investors who worry that markets are too frothy. The controversial product’s resurgence coincides with a boom in other types of credit wagers, including options on credit derivative indexes and exchange-traded funds that provide quick and easy access to a broad swath of credit.

    There are some key differences in today’s synthetic CDOs versus the pre-crisis vintage. Citigroup said it has created over 50 “full capital structure” deals in recent years, which vary from the single-tranche bespoke deals that dominated before and just after the crunch.

    Read more: As Synthetic CDOs Roar Back, a Young Citi Trader Makes Her Name

    Such full capital structures — which typically include junior, mezzanine, and senior tranches — have historically proved harder to sell because banks must find buyers for all the pieces at once. Senior tranches are more insulated from potential losses but also come with lower yields — one reason that banks created the infamous “leveraged super seniors” before the financial crisis.

    New banking rules, including higher capital charges, have dented the market for single-tranche deals, according to Citigroup. While full-capital structures may reduce exposures for banks selling the deals, they effectively shift all of the risk to investors.

    “Banks operating in the market now seek to buy protection from investors across the entire capital structure,” the Citigroup analysts said. “Once this is done, banks can fully hedge out their risk using single name and index positions, which is far less punitive from a capital perspective.”

    Recent deals also have lower duration. Maturities of just two to three years compare with the 8.5-year average from 2000 to 2010, according to Citigroup. Long maturities spooked the market during the credit crisis, when leverage embedded in the products forced investors to book outsized losses on their positions.

    disheveled… Vlad per the other day… shorting thingy…

    1. cnchal

      Who are the “bag of crap” holders? Pension funds?

      Bernie Sanders: The business of Wall Street is fraud and greed.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Why? We’ve crossed the Rubicon now to a fantasy world where risk no longer exists, the manufacturers and stewards of what used to be called “money” can simply materialize more and more of their new stuff anytime they like and exchange it for anything that appears “risk-like”, these can simply be hoovered up onto their balance sheets as our entire financial fabric recedes further and further from any relationship at all to actual economic activity. Party on, citizen, your only hope is to join the ranks of the asset owners, for woe betide those of us who must do actual “work” in support of our betters, the kings and queens of the New Versailles. Travis Bickle said “someday a real rain is gonna come…”, St. Augustine said “God make me continent…but not yet”. But the real rain is not here today and the financial incontinence continues apace, so go forth and “prosper”.

        1. skippy

          Kudlow – we need to make the pie bigger, so everyone can have a bite…

          disheveled… rational agent models in algos with market shaping volume…. because stoopid humans were glitchy…

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Makes one wonder how the Clinton courtiers will try to discredit Brazille. Can’t play the race or gender or not-a-real-democrat or crazy-progressive cards.

      I have it: they’ll say she’s a dupe of the Russians.

    2. DJG

      NotTimothyGeithner: I just read the article, which is in my FB feed this morning being circulated among the Sanders wing.

      Is it an apologia? There are lots of exclamation points! Never a good sign.

      Is she trying to get rid of Clinton? [When I reposted it on my FB page, though, I noted that Yves and Lambert had diagnosed long ago that the DNC had turned into a slush fund / money recycler / starve-the-state-parties organization.

      Are people in the DNC suddenly afraid of indictments?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL “indictments” LOL
        It’s always interesting when people refer to a system of justice that no longer exists.

    3. freedeomny

      I had the same thought – did she really write this and why? Is she now trying to jump on the progressive bandwagon?

    4. Doug Hillman

      Almost stopped reading after “…after the Russians hacked our emails…”, but it’s interesting to see her almost acknowledge the supreme irony of accusing Russia, against all compelling evidence of an insider leak, of meddling in elections. How? By exposing the blatant “meddling” of the DNC in rigging the primary — an almost comical irony never, ever noted by deep-state media. Like Snowden and Manning, the real hackers of DNC corruption should be praised as champions of democracy.

      Given its timing, as the Clinton Foundation/Russian uranium bribery scandal gets traction and as the Wasserman-Schultz affair simmers, this reads like a CYA piece by Brazile, who contrary to the deeply-tormented spiritual soul she portrays herself to be, has always been a player herself. Prepare to witness more rats scurry as the Clinton/DNC barge begins listing.

      1. Ned

        “I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process…”

        Here’s some of the mechanics of how that was done in California.
        Watch “Uncounted” on Youtube.
        It’s a video about how tens of thousands of potential Bernie voters were disenfranchised by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who just happened to be on the “Elect Hillary Clinton President” team.

        1. audrey jr

          I don’t know about you, Ned, but I would like some answers from our current state AG, Xavier Becerra, about his role in the Awan affair, which my political gut tells me is a most important story being ignored by all and sundry.
          Becerra kept Imran Awan on the payroll far longer than most congresscritters, as did Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and I want to know why since this guy is now our states top LEO.
          On Oct 9 Awan and his now estranged first wife, Hina Alvi, appeared in federal court with separate legal representation. Ms. Alvi has filed fraud charges against her husband in Pakistan in September, before she returned to the U.S. She states that he threatened her and her relatives with bodily harm if she “told on him” in
          what she alleges are many scams and schemes perpetrated by her husband in the U.S. and in Pakistan.
          She states he has another legal wife in VA. He states that he divorced this second wife the month before his ill-fated get away back to Pakistan in July when he was detained and arrested by FBI.
          The only source covering this story is “The Daily Caller.” Yes, I know, it’s the Daily Caller and should generally be taken with “a grain of salt” as Granny used to say, but they have been relentless in their coverage and they have documentation to back up their reporting which passes my smell test.
          A most important story. And Becerra is mentioned more than a few times.

        2. HotFlash

          Hi Ned, do you have a link, please? Nothing coming up for me re Uncounted — got a whole lot of other interesting stuff, just not that one.

    5. Craig H.

      This looks like the coup de gras to Hillary 2020 ambitions, outreach to disaffected Sanders supporters, or an ad for her shlock book available on Amazon 7 November and now pre-order-able.

      “This book is a triumph.”–Walter Isaacson

      Who thinks Brazile actually wrote this garbage with no ghost writer listed? Ask Zizek about how stupid it is to use ghost writers.

    6. JohnnyGL

      Wow, this is a must-read. Lots going on here. Money laundering, breaking election rules (re-hashing last year’s story that disappeared quickly). Also, it’s more blame-cannon fodder, throwing DWS, HRC, and even Obama under the bus.

      They gave the DNC the full neo-liberal austerity treatment just like Greece!

      It’s actually fairly nice to Bernie, interestingly. Is Brazile acting like a weathervane, here? Is she thinking she’d better start cozying up to Bernie since he’s probably going to gain control sooner or later?

      Also, lovely to see a hack like Brazile shopping a new book around.

      1. Massinissa

        Even if he ISNT going to ‘gain control’, at some point people like him will gain control, and maybe those people can give her another job.

        Or if not a job, invite her on tv shows to talk about stuff. Still Ka Ching. She may not like Bernie or his supporters, but better them than a sinking ship. Brazile is just the first of the large rats to jump ship.

      2. Procopius

        I don’t get how she can get away with claiming she didn’t know about Hillary taking back most of the money “shared” with the state parties. I saw the story several times last year, explaining quite clearly the mechanics of how it worked and why it was so bad for the state parties. Probably Naked Capitalism was one of the places I saw the story. Nobody actually working in the DNC headquarters building could plausibly claim to not have known about it. Well, I guess they could if they were in a position to say, “Oh, I just never had anything to do with the money side of it.” I don’t think that describes Donna Brazile’s position.

    7. Mr. Vandalay

      As Lambert would (and likely will) say, “when you’ve lost Donna Brazille . . . . ”

      When this particular rat jumps off the ship, you know that sucker is going down. Frankly, I take this as a (happy) data point suggesting the DNC is much nearer complete implosion than I had hoped. Given difficulties of starting a 3rd party, I still think taking over the D party is a better hope for real progressives than starting from scratch. An institutional husk with all prior insiders discredited is a win in my book.

      1. Spring Texan

        YES! (to “DNC much closer to implosion” and “taking over the D party is a better hope”)

    8. DonCoyote

      I think I’m going to have to wait on confirmation from Bernie’s camp on this one. Given that the book is supposed to come out next week, I wonder if this is just “exaggeration for effect”, otherwise known as ka-ching.

      And I still can’t square:

      “The polls were unanimous in her winning but what, he wanted to know, was my own assessment?

      I had to be frank with him. I did not trust the polls, I said. I told him I had visited states around the country and I found a lack of enthusiasm for her everywhere. I was concerned about the Obama coalition and about millennials.”


      Donna’s Urban GOTV $5 million

      “But there also were millions approved for transfer from Clinton’s campaign for use by the DNC — which, under a plan devised by Brazile to drum up urban turnout out of fear that Trump would win the popular vote while losing the electoral vote, got dumped into Chicago and New Orleans, far from anywhere that would have made a difference in the election.”

      If you already think your candidate is that shaky (shakier than the polls) why are you wasting money on the popular vote? Unless you really thought Illinois and Louisiana were going to be in play???

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think they thought Hillary could win the electoral vote (even with not trusting polls and a lack of enthusiasm everywhere), but her popular vote looked shaky.

        In that case, they needed to hunt for votes anywhere they could get them. Big cities were their targets.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Big cities were their targets.

          Except Milwaukee, where it might have actually made a difference.

  2. Roger Smith

    Put your coffee down folks: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC, by Donna Brazille

    This is tangible proof that the Democrats are flat-lining on the table. Brazille throws everyone under the bus and explicitly appeals to Sanders voters. She also admits to Clinton’s money laundering for debate funds. This is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. Of course, all of these appeals are fake and calculated to do a dramatic about face before the party dies for good. And of course, these words of melancholic regret mean nothing coming from the woman who, despite the attitude displayed here, you know, HELPED CLINTON CHEAT. Don’t fall for it folks! The end is nigh!

    Gem: “I had to keep my promise to Bernie. I was in agony as I dialed him.”

    1. Roger Smith

      Also Sanders ultiamtely comes out looking like an even bigger fool who couldn’t go the distance.

      Donna: Bernie, you were cheated. Mhm, starting in 2015. Yes a whole year before now. Mhm. Also Clinton is a bad looking candidate who I think might actually lose. Please help.

      Bernie: Alright, I will campaign for her.


      “Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call. ” hahaha

      1. voteforno6

        I disagree with that…if anything, it makes him look even better. He still campaigned for her, despite knowing what they had done. This leaves even less for the Hill-bots to grouse about (though they will keep trying).

        1. Roger Smith

          Look better to whom? Were those people ever going to change their minds anyways? They didn’t even after he campaigned for Her. He had nothing to lose, but propped up a corrupt, miserable human being while leaving the people who actually cared about the policies he championed out in the cold. Our political system would have benefited much more from a person in his position candidly laying the truth out and standing up for values and the legitimacy (or lack thereof) our political system, even if he lost and Clinton or Trump still won. What we didn’t need was another obviously awkward, tension based, insider agreement to scratch backs (though I am still not sure what Sanders ‘got’ out of any of this) that everyone knew was logically inconsistent and full of crap.

          1. Bill

            I think it goes to that old “being a good soldier for the party” crapola, since he ran as a Dem. It is an agreement I heard that he made. But all bets should have been off after the way she and her campaign conducted themselves so shamefully in rigging the primaries prior to the convention

          2. Doug Hillman

            Agreed. The whole sorry story makes Bernie look like a clueless dupe, a DNC diversion from the start, or both. Bernie is a progressive lightning rod, protecting the DP from frying, but when crunch time comes, on votes for war, miltary funding, AIPAC’s agenda, Healthcare racket bailouts, or rigged elections, Bernie reliably folds.

            1. JohnnyGL

              “The whole sorry story makes Bernie look like a clueless dupe, a DNC diversion from the start, or both.”

              — No, if Bernie reacted with outrage, “but, how could they?!?!?!” THEN, I’d say, wow, he’s a clueless dupe.

              “Bernie took this stoically. He did not yell or express outrage.” (from the story) — He reacted this way because Brazile just told him, “hey, I’ve gotta confess, I’ve just discovered that water is wet”.

              Bernie knew they were going to serve him a manure sandwich. He’s not going to get all worked up when it finally arrives.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                “What are Hillary’s chances?” That was his question.

                1. She could win narrowly. Then, Sanders needs to campaign for her to secure it.

                2. She could lose narrowly. Then, he needs to campaign for her to overcome that projection and win it.

                3. She is looking at a landslide victory. He won’t have to campaign for her? He won’t have to endorse her?

                4. She is looking at a landslide defeat. Might as well expose whatever you Donna just told me?

                1. dk

                  Calculus correct.

                  Politics isn’t fantasy football. You play the hand you’re dealt, if you fold it’s min. two cycles (4-8 years) to recover. Bernie’s too old to fold now, and say what one wants, he knows it.

      2. Doug Hillman

        You laugh? I found that one line, “I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music.” soooo deeply moving myself.

        And then there’s this: “I urged Bernie to work as hard as he could to bring his supporters into the fold with [crooked] Hillary, and to campaign with all the heart and hope he could muster.” And like a.useful idiot, he did.

        1. Tooearly

          I got to love all the people calling him Dupe and fool given that he is the most popular politician in America and is apparently the only one if stature trying to do the right thing

      1. Yves Smith

        This is a way to sucker Bernie people that they want them w/o giving up corporate Demdom. Throwing Hillary under the bus is a twofer: tells her she REALLY needs to go, she’s sucking up the air supply of the new annointeds like Kamala Harris. And since they need to do that anyhow, this fake coming clean (like a company dumping all its writeoffs in one quarter) is to pretend the Dems are turning a new leaf when they aren’t.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve no special insights or information on internal Dem politics, but that isn’t what it reads like to me. For one thing, she aimed at least one sharp little dart at Obama, which I doubt she would do if it was intended to load all the blame on the USS Hilary and then sink it. Secondly, I would have thought that if there was a faction plotting a fake ‘coming clean’ in order to give lift off to Harris it would have been more co-ordinated, and less overtly kind to Sanders.

          It does strike me more as either a genuine epiphany, or, more likely, a case of the rodents switching sinking vessels, or maybe a complex mix of both. But only time will tell I suppose.

    2. Jane

      In all, it reads like another mealy mouthed way to blame Sanders for HRC’s loss.

      I had to be frank with him. I did not trust the polls, I said. I told him I had visited states around the country and I found a lack of enthusiasm for her everywhere. I was concerned about the Obama coalition and about millennials.

      I urged Bernie to work as hard as he could to bring his supporters into the fold with Hillary, and to campaign with all the heart and hope he could muster. He might find some of her positions too centrist, and her coziness with the financial elites distasteful, but he knew and I knew that the alternative was a person who would put the very future of the country in peril.

      I guess Bernie’s people had more trouble holding their noses than Trumpers did.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Really? I didn’t get that at all. Sure, it may be self-serving, but that doesn’t diminish the sting of this to the DNC and the HRC dead-enders (viz. the odious Peter Daou’s frantic tweets this morning, plus the risible #IAmHillary trending). After the recent purge of genuine progressives from what’s left of this party’s leadership, this sad excuse for a party will continue to decay. Good riddance.

        1. Jane

          Given the responses (which I hadn’t seen earlier) you may be right. What a choice, odious Hilary or repugnant Trump :(

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        1. I believe money laundering is illegal.

        2. I also believe people can seek political asylum in Russia. A good Jedi can sense the presence of Russian interference, that dark force, already.

        1. Sid Finster

          Money laundering is one of those Schroedingerian crimes that can be indictable or not, depending on who is bringing charges against whom.

    3. Kokuanani

      Just starting the Donna Brazille tome, but already I’m loving

      President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt

      Ya think?

    4. JimTan

      “This victory fund agreement, however, had been signed in August 2015, just four months after Hillary announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she officially had the nomination.”

      Wow. I wonder how this affected Superdelegates, as over 63% of 2016 Democratic Party superdelegates were ‘DNC members’ or ‘Distinguished party leaders’?

    5. Wukchumni

      All of the developments politically as of late on both sides of the equation in Humordor, must have a similar feel to what French politics of the late 1930’s must’ve felt like, as in rudderless.

    6. Elizabeth Burton

      I especially like the lighting of the candle and the putting on of gospel music before phoning Bernie part. And the tears in her eyes after revealing what everybody not obsessed with Trump already knew. And that Bernie—such a nice misogynist for not getting all upset.

      What this piece of nicely timed propaganda does mainly is throw Debbie Wasserman Shultz under the bus big time. And maybe just a bit of snidery about Obama, since he’s blamed for not paying his bills so the Clintonites had to come and bail out the poor DNC. Does that make him, by extension, responsible for their shenanigans? “They gave us no choice!”

      I say “nicely timed” because the indictments of the Awan brothers et al., who were promoted to colleagues by the aforementioned Wasserman Shultz, who also behaved in a very desperate fashion following their arrests, are coming home to roost. What better way to deflect attention from those Dems who gave the Awans full access to their computers than to blame it all on spendthrift Debbie? Notice that reference to “extra staff”?

      Frankly, as much many of my fellow progressives are rejoicing at this “revelatory” CYA piece, to me as a writer, editor and journalist it stinks worse than a commercial pig farm’s sludge pool. I even went to the effort of saving it to PDF so I could annotate it. Copies available on request.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        Clinton parties will be represented by the firm of Snide and Snider. Apparently, Jarndyce & Jarndyce was conflicted out.

      2. kareninca

        “I say “nicely timed” because the indictments of the Awan brothers et al., who were promoted to colleagues by the aforementioned Wasserman Shultz, who also behaved in a very desperate fashion following their arrests, are coming home to roost.”

        How is the Awan case coming home to roost? I’m seeing nothing about them in the media. Has the WSJ mentioned them at all? I’d be thrilled if you’re right, but my impression is that the topic of the Awans has been disappeared.

  3. The Rev Kev

    Re Panic Hits Hollywood and Media Elite: Which Harasser Will Be Outed Next?
    That’s nothing! As bad as the idiotic and vulgar behavior towards women has been (and still is) that is one thing. What happens when the other shoe drops and the stories about pedophiles start to come out.
    Remember, there are a lot of child actors in Hollywood and statistically in a population as large as the Hollywood community, there must be some pedophiles. If there is one thing that all these stories about Weinstein and company have established, it is that as long as these sort of people make money for important people, then they will be protected.

    1. jefemt

      It’s unnervingly odd that the “Press” is not getting after the leaders of the free world: Bush 1, Clinton, and especially Trump, on this. Legions of congressmen… with a diverse gender bias in choosing victims.
      Why the muzzle?

    2. Pat

      They won’t have far to look. Besides Feldman who has been yelling about this for years, there have been stories out there for decades about people including various Nickelodeon producers and executives. In one case, similar to the Catholic Church, one producer whose name kept coming up was given show after show.
      While the they make money protection might go, unfortunately I can imagine some real protection on this will be how many have ties/dirt/evidence to and about those in top positions in government, similar to the cover up in Britain and how the supposed Epstein connections to top officials seems to have kept those stories from the press.

    3. Harold

      Somewhat — but not completely — off-topic: a few years ago I read an article in the Times Lit. Supplement that said that kidnapping of attractive (and even middle-class) children as actors/ sex slaves was legal and routine in the Elizabethan/Jacobean theatrical world and this was a reason for widespread sentiment against theaters that today we find so hard to understand and why Cromwell and the Puritans banned theater. Plus ça change (or permutates).

  4. Jim Haygood

    As good grey J-Yel is supplanted by Japewell at the Fed, speeches such as this one have come into focus:

    “Simple policy rules are widely thought to be both interesting and useful, but to represent only a small part of the analysis needed to assess the appropriate path for policy,” said Powell in February. “I am unable to think of any critical, complex human activity that could be safely reduced to a simple summary equation.”

    My, my: a simple task which humans mastered in the Bronze Age — that is, establishing stable money by laboriously mining it — has been academically fluffed at our vacuous PhD mills into “a critical, complex human activity.” Mwa ha ha ha — how spectacularly fatuous, not to mention predictably self-serving on the part of the self-anointed high priests of policy.

    No evidence has ever been adduced that the FOMC’s ham-handed day trading of the economy adds any value. Their gilded boardroom full of useless-eater PhDs could be replaced by a 29-dollah Arduino processor housed in a cast-off shoebox with room to spare.

    For now, though, Japewell looks to be the designated bagholder to sail the ship of central banking off the edge of Bubble III, steering by the deranged doctrine of normalization. As such, Japewell may be the final Fed chair before his star-crossed institution of arcane value subtraction and economic obscurantism is finally shuttered and its buildings converted into some marginally productive use such as self-storage lockers, abattoirs or chicken houses.

    1. cnchal

      . . . I am unable to think of any critical, complex human activity that could be safely reduced to a simple summary equation . . .

      The business equation.

      (Material Meets Tool X sales) – expenses = profit or loss

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      I don’t like to always harp on sexism, but in re The Donald, I was always utterly certain he wouldn’t re-appoint Yellen for reasons which have nothing to do with policy. (Clearly. Powell is expected to be a compleat Yellen redux). Donnyboy just will.not.tolerate a woman in a position of real, primary power. High visibility, decorative positions, like Conway’s, or trivial sinecures like DeVos’s at Education, sure. Likewise Haley at the U.N., in a hi-vis, lo-power position. No problem. But, never where the money is.

      1. Sid Finster

        He did have the first presidential campaign to be run by a woman, IIRC.

        He also hired women as construction managers before anyone else in NYC would.

    3. a different chris

      > establishing stable money by laboriously mining it

      ???!!!??? … and if we suddenly discover an easy way to mine it, then what? Aluminum used to be more valuable than gold.

      Digging a hole in the ground, displacing all the useful crop-growing, water-controlling-and-replenishing and saying “hey this proves we are rich” is just so stupid I can’t imagine anybody other than humans coming up with it.

      The irony is we didn’t even have any freaking real use for gold until the electronics age decided it was a good way to keep contacts from corroding.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I say let’s stick with the empirical evidence at hand.

        Gold’s track record as money: +/- 2,500 years without interruption.
        Debt-based money emitted by sovereigns and others: 100% failure rate, average lifespan 43 years.

        1. Wukchumni

          Even more interesting in that vein of thought, disparate cultures far removed from one another recognized it’s rarity and valued it so, with the indians of north America being a notable exception.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Gold is eternal, or as eternal as most things can be. You melt it, and it’s still gold.

          What is the average life-span of a sovereign?

          The Japanese emperor can say his ancestors went back 2,000 years.

          The Shun Dynasty lasted no more than a few months. From Wiki:

          The dynasty was founded in Xi’an on 8 February 1644, the first day of the lunar year, by Li Zicheng, the leader of a large peasant rebellion.

          Li, however, only went by the title of King (王), not Emperor (皇帝). The capture of Beijing by the Shun forces in April 1644 marked the end of the Ming dynasty, but Li Zicheng failed to solidify his mandate; in late May 1644, he was defeated at the Battle of Shanhai Pass by the joint forces of Ming general Wu Sangui and Manchu prince Dorgon.

          Choose your sovereign currency wisely. Avoid those like, say, Vichy paper money.

          In an ironical twist, while the people of Venezuela, who are nominally the masters of their country, can”t reject their paper money, you, the foreigner can.

          Because foreigners are special…exceptional.

    4. David May

      Doesn’t NC have a policy about agnotology? Metal-based money has been incredibly unstable. Please stop posting lies.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Metal-based money has been incredibly unstable.

        Yes, that’s why the Treasury keeps 147 million ounces of gold worth $180 billion locked safely in a vault at Fort Knox. The unstable shiny stuff is practically bouncing off the walls. :-)

    1. cm

      Read the Constitution. The Supremes cannot be removed from office, period, end of story. From the article:

      In fact, Supreme Court justices are the only federal judges who are not bound by a formal code of conduct. The reason, as explained by Chief Justice Roberts, is that the Supreme Court is the only court created under Article III of the Constitution, while the lower courts are created by Congress.

      This is yet another distraction.

      1. Vatch

        Supreme Court justices can be impeached. It has only happened once, to Samuel Chase in 1805, and he was acquitted. The recourse of impeachment is available, but don’t expect the morally challenged Congress to use it, unless they want to get rid of an ethical justice.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How does the Supreme Court handle it if someone comes before the court and disputes some aspect of Article III of the Constitution, relating to how the court should operate or be constituted?

        Should all justices recuse themselves?

  5. Wukchumni

    Is that service dog a fake? Under federal law, you can’t even ask Kansas City Star

    It’s illegal to take pets on the trail in the National Park, and starting about 4 years ago, all of the sudden i’ve seen about a dozen parties with their pooch-servicing them no doubt, as per the commonly used name for such animals.

    In the past, NPS has been johnny on the spot in regards to dogs in the backcountry, and I think it’s a $250 fine, and you have to leave the NP immediately, but I think they’ve kind of thrown their hands up on the matter, as they are defenseless against a $29 certificate somebody bought on the internet, certifying that yes, that Lhasa Apso is legit.

    A friend’s brother is a long haul pilot for United Airlines, and somebody brought a miniature horse service animal on board, and like the NPS they had to allow it.

    1. scott3

      On my flight to SFO Tuesday there was a service poodle and a service Italian greyhound on the flight. If “emotional support and companionship” is the reason behind pet ownership, aren’t all pets service animals?

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m thinking of labeling myself a ‘service mammal’ so if we go to a movie, concert or sporting event, my wife can get me in for free.

      2. Bill

        I have known a lot of pets who would much rather be left at home–not into the sharing everything buddy experience at all. It takes a special friendship and trust to go anywhere with your human friend, and not be howling and running to hide under the nearest shelter. I would benefit from an animal friend that’s steady and calm…I tend to want to howl and hide myself when thrust out into the world.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Overheard an acquaintance just last week saying this is precisely how she obtained certification… because the dog kept her calm, especially in situations such as air travel.

    2. Ned

      My service burro is kind and lovely, he has big eyelashes and deep brown eyes that the ladies just love.
      Another advantage, besides being a chick magnet, he can haul a ton of groceries on his back and pull a decent sized freight wagon.

      Seriously, a woman brought a service miniature horse into AssWhole Foods in Monterey a couple of years ago and the critter started chomping on the lettuce in the produce section. They forced the animal out by demanding that she pay for everything that it had touched.

      Make the fine for fake service animals commensurate with pretending to be a federal police officer and this problem will disappear.

    3. tongorad

      Dog-mania has taken over local parks as well, in my area at least. Here in San Antonio, there’s a great Natural Area park for hiking…might as well be a dog park, despite the clear sign-age stating their prohibition.
      Leave your damn dogs at home, I say. Despicable creatures.

      1. kareninca

        “Leave your damn dogs at home, I say. Despicable creatures.”

        Wow, so what do you have to say about humans? Since last I checked, dogs haven’t committed genocide via death camps and mass graves, engaged in pograms, tortured and starved individuals and populations, waged wars, built and run gulags, filled up prisons, committed child sexual abuse, enslaved populations, run Tuskegee experiments and Unit 731s, caused individual and mass extinctions, killed entire river systems, filled the ocean with plastic, and imperiled all life on the planet via nuclear weapons. I think I may be missing a few things.

        Maybe the dogs should be given the run of the parks, and the humans should stay home.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Whenever I see a dog with one of those service dog-type vests, I assume that it’s a fake. And I steer VERY clear of it and its owner.

      1. Wukchumni

        …worth a read

        “What a wonderful time it is for the scammer, the conniver, and the cheat: the underage drinkers who flash fake I.D.s, the able-bodied adults who drive cars with handicapped license plates, the parents who use a phony address so that their child can attend a more desirable public school, the customers with eleven items who stand in the express lane. The latest group to bend the law is pet owners.

        Take a look around. See the St. Bernard slobbering over the shallots at Whole Foods? Isn’t that a Rottweiler sitting third row, mezzanine, at Carnegie Hall? As you will have observed, an increasing number of your neighbors have been keeping company with their pets in human-only establishments, cohabiting with them in animal-unfriendly apartment buildings and dormitories, and taking them (free!) onto airplanes—simply by claiming that the creatures are their licensed companion animals and are necessary to their mental well-being. No government agency keeps track of such figures, but in 2011 the National Service Animal Registry, a commercial enterprise that sells certificates, vests, and badges for helper animals, signed up twenty-four hundred emotional-support animals. Last year, it registered eleven thousand.”

  6. Deadl E Cheese

    The Fragile Generation Reason

    Meritocracy, regional chauvinism, bourgeois machismo, neoliberal social darwinism, and Tiger Mom-envy are at the root of the psychosocial and psychos*xual dysfunction of our sublimated gerontology. So I’m not exactly seeing the problem here.

    1. Ultrapope

      Very interesting take. I’ve always thought the whole helicopter parent phenomena as a logical outcome of suburban living. There is very little sense of community and almost all local news is sensationalist drama designed to scare you into watching it. Why let your kids play alone at the playground when you don’t know any of your neighbors and only get news about kidnappings, murders, etc.

      Take into account too that our society essentially demands every moment of a child’s time is filled with some sort of “activity”. Why wouldn’t you sign your kid up for every God foresaken extra curricular activity when they are so fetishized by schools (not just university, private schools and even preschools). Self directed play and exploration are essential for children’s development but they aren’t activities that prepare kids for the mind numbing service jobs they’ll be forced to take as adults.

      Anyways I agree with you in full Deadl E Cheese: Don’t see what the problem is here. The “fragile generation” is being raised to succeed in the super managerial, social Darwinian meritocracy that is our society. Ironically this is the kind of world Reason magazine itself kept pushing for…

      1. Wukchumni

        So, for most of the week of playing parent, my nephew was wearing a shirt to school that had the emblem and colors of Cal Berkeley on the front, and on the back it stated loudly…

        “I am college bound!”

        On a 10 year old, really?

      2. Deadl E Cheese

        I made that criticism more in the sense that a generation of wilting, conflict-averse, low-delayed gratification snowflake is morally and existentially superior to a generation of authoritarian social dominators that have ruled since Reagan.

        I mean, laugh all you want about the stereotypical entitled children of helicopter parents who demand participation trophies, their ideology wasn’t the one that drives the triple evils of neoliberalism, climate change centrism, and burgeoning fascism. The generation who enabled these existential threats to humanity were the supposedly Manly, American, Steely-Eyed Take-No-Shit (Boomer) REAL TRUE AMERICANS.

        And it’s more than time these people owned up for their supposedly hardheaded, pragmatic ideology probably permanently fucking over our species.

        1. Alex

          You can only say that one generation is superior to another in hindsight, preferably after 100 years or so to see all the hidden consequences of their actions

      1. Deadl E Cheese

        They only cancel each other out if you ignore the overriding trend: a relentless need for familial/individual domination against ‘suckers’ and/or people too weak to resist the generationally powerful.

        That impulse, identified by scholars of right-wing authoritarianism as social dominance, is in my not-so-humble opinion the real driver of human decline.

        1. Bill

          how can you have a true meritocracy and neoliberal social darwinism at the same time, is one thing I wonder.

          1. Deadl E Cheese

            Is this a joke? It’s harder to think of two more complimentary policies. Maybe you’re confused with how meritocracy works in theory and how it works in practice?

            1. Bill

              I dunno if it’s a joke
              Social Darwinism

              a 19th-century theory, inspired by Darwinism, by which the social order is accounted as the product of natural selection of those persons best suited to existing living conditions and in accord with which a position of laissez-faire is advocated.

              Meritocracy example

              an elite group of people whose progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth. 2. a system in which such persons are rewarded and advanced: The dean believes the educational system should be a meritocracy.

              Except that say, you get a job as an accountant, and you are are excellent with accounting practice, but that’s not what the job is all about–it’s about using your expertise to do the books the way the boss wants them done. So, you think that having done your diligence to become an excellent accountant was what gave you merit, and it turns out that you have to be useful to the boss’s agenda in order to have merit on your job. You’re not a good book-cooker, so you’re a lousy accountant from your boss’s POV, but you still have excellent merit as an accountant. So in your boss’s world, no, you will not rise according to your merit. But you still have great merit as regards accounting practice. It’s the social subjectivity that cancels that out.

              1. Deadl E Cheese

                Social darwinism and meritocracy perfectly compliment each other so long as you realize that a human being’s future ability and intelligence is largely fixed by decisions largely out of their control by age 5. Critical development theory and all.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Ed Yardeni’s weekly indicator has recovered almost four-fifths of its hurricane-related plunge after the end of August. Chart:

    All three components — Bloomberg consumer comfort; raw industrial material prices; and 4-week initial unemployment claims (inverted) — gained.

    Unemployment claims are of particular note, as they have plunged to a 44-year low. FRED chart:

    On a roll!

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Even though I am a fan of the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow, think I’ll stick with Warren Mosler’s view:

        My take on the GDPNow forecast is that he relies on input from a number of government sources that have frequently been overly “optimistic”. This effect seems to be particularly pronounced at the beginning of each calendar quarter. Just my view, and we will see; although I do hope the GDPNow forecast is accurate. Hard not to wonder how much political pressure there is.

  8. David

    The New Republic article on the new anti-terror law is over the top, and features interviews with professional anti-racists, of whom France has many. There is no connection with colonial laws, and one of the instances of the state of emergency cited (1961) was actually in response to the terrorist campaign of the (very white) OAS – radical Algerian colonists responsible for hundreds of deaths. Macron has no interest in stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment, and knows that if he does so he will not benefit politically but rather strengthen the Right.
    The government’s official description and justification of laws (here for anyone interested) specifically says that many of the provisions of the State of Emergency have been watered down and gives examples. The main measures are the ability to establish a security perimeter around sporting and cultural events, enhanced security checks around ports, airports and international train stations, surveillance of individuals under certain criteria, and temporary closure of religious institutions. You can argue that these are excessive (and even draconian) and I think there’s a good case to be made against them, but they are not aimed at France’s immigrant, or even Muslim, community, the vast majority of whom are unsympathetic to the perpetrators of recent attacks. The real concern is the scope for the use of such powers against political opposition groups in general, irrespective of their beliefs.
    In reality, there are probably two simple reasons for the law. One is Macron’s authoritarian tendencies, which have been much noted, and the other, more importantly, is the impossibility of continuing the state of emergency for ever and ever, and the political risk of lifting the state of emergency only to have an attack follow immediately. That’s the trouble with all states of emergency – much easier to get into than out of.

  9. Vatch

    Senate Banking Committee approves SEC nominees Hester Peirce and Robert L. Jackson Jr. Investment News

    From the article:

    Ms. Peirce, a senior fellow at the conservative Mercatus Center at George Mason University, would replace Daniel Gallagher Jr., who left the SEC in October 2015.

    As many Naked Capitalism readers know, George Mason University receives millions of dollars in “charitable” donations from the Koch brothers and their allies. See Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, by Jane Mayer, for more information.

  10. Jim Haygood

    A couple of key compromises from the just-announced Republican tax plan:

    – Permits home mortgage interest deduction for newly purchased homes up to $500,000, half the current $1,000,000
    – Permits deduction of state and local property taxes (SALT) up to $10,000

    The scorched-earth approach would have been to abolish both these deductions entirely. But R’s from high-cost tax-hell states weren’t on board, so capped deductions are the new plan.

    Of course, a $10,000 SALT deduction don’t help much in the tonier NYC suburbs, where property taxes on a modest house can easily run $20,000 to $30,000 or more.

    On with the show! :-)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That includes rental homes, vacation homes or just one’s principal residence?

      It’s hard to justify subsidizing vacation homes with mortgage interest deductions.

        1. todde

          Main home and one vacation home.

          Because congress people have to have a home in their district and one in DC

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe two at the most.

            A third or more would be luxury.

            And if you make them rental, that means they are income property mortgage interests. I believe they are treated differently or will they be treated differently, that is, not get eliminated with the current proposal? People can still speculate and enjoy the mortgage interest deductions? That won’t help making housing more affordable.

  11. allan

    … The bill also repeals the alternative minimum tax. The amount of assets exempt from the estate tax would initially be doubled, and the tax would be repealed after six years.

    The corporate rate would be lowered from 35 percent to 20 percent. The bill would also lower the top rate for non-corporate “pass-through” businesses from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. ….

    The GOP tax plan is definitely a massive windfall for John and Mary Backrowkids.

    Actually, the most interesting dynamic is that the bill would be a massive wealth transfer, from the bottom 9.9%
    of the top 10% to the top 0.1%. These are people who might not be big-time donors like the Kochs or Mercers,
    but they turn out to vote in large numbers.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yes, despite the proposed elimination of the AMT, the tax bill is optimized to hit double-income, professional degree holding, $400,000 a year working stiffs. The not-poor, but thoroughly over-regimented and over-worked coastal strivers have bullseyes on their backs.

      And don’t let’s forget the proposed total elimination of medical expenses from deductions off gross income. Boo-yah! What better way to beat down the self-employed, and keep high-skilled professional grinding away at corporate jobs long after their upward movement plateaus.

      It is a wet sloppy kiss for the 0.1%.

      1. a different chris

        Well, revolutions only succeed when the bourgeois get angry. Maybe this will do it (not hopeful we seem to have the stupidest bourgeois ever).

  12. Wukchumni

    The Fragile Generation Reason

    Crip van Winkle reporting:

    My sister & her husband took a well deserved 10 day vacation away from their 10 & 12 year old boys, and we got to play parents…

    Despite the elementary school being only a third of a mile away and largely flat, I never once saw a renegade youth walking unescorted to school, for the few that walk are always with a parent or 2.

    The usual mode of transport is parents dropping their progeny off via vehicle, and then picking them up again in the afternoon.

    The school itself was in a prosperous area of San Diego, and more approximated a prison in looks. All it needed was a flooded moat and drawbridge to complete the imagery. The main gate of entry had a ‘greeter’ to ensure you weren’t verboten. It had a concentration camp-lite feel.

    …a Penciltentiary

    We also noticed hardly any kids playing in the street or making their own fun, at least not visibly-on a drive by of their turf for 10 days.

    We took a gaggle of boys bowling, and a 12 year old told me that he used to play in the street, “but a strange white van has been seen driving around the neighborhood a lot by my mom & dad…”

    There’s a fear out there, that’s not not just under the surface, it’s oozing out into the open.

    1. Bill

      the sad fact is that drug dealers recruit kids to deal at schools, and kids get bullied into doing things they don’t want to do, among other things. Instead of talking to their kids and encouraging their kids to have enough trust to talk to them, parents just surround them with surveillance. (And it’s probably still true that the preacher’s kids are the biggest troublemakers, so whadda ya gonna do)

  13. allan

    Rand Paul determined to strike in U.S.:

    Science advocates are calling a proposal from Senator Rand Paul a blatant attempt to inject politics into federally funded research.

    Paul, a Kentucky Republican, is one of the Senate’s biggest critics of what he sees as wasteful spending by the government. His latest target is federal research he believes has little or no payoff for taxpayers — a situation Paul would address by altering the peer-review process for evaluating grant applications at all federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, as well as smaller agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    He proposes in legislation introduced in October to add two new members to the peer-review panels that judge applications for federal funding — one expert in a field unrelated to the research proposed in the grant application in question, who could not have worked at or been affiliated with a college or university for 10 years prior to the grant review. The second addition to peer-review panels would be a “taxpayer advocate” who Paul says would consider the likely returns on the research funding for society.

    The bill would also move the responsibilities of the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General to an entirely new government entity charged with determining whether a random sample of research proposals at the agency would “deliver value to the taxpayer.” Those that failed that test would have their funding denied. [Inside Higher Ed] …

    Add this to Pruitt’s banning of EPA supported scientists from EPA review panels and you almost have a pattern.

  14. Bill

    So, please tell me what do you all think of this?
    A female friend told me she was waiting for the bus near the town’s private college, and a student came to ask about another bus that stops there. Was it usually on time? He asked her if she liked riding the bus, and she said she did, and did not have a car anyway. He asks, “What’s up with not having a car, not that there’s anything wrong with that…?” She replied, “I can’t afford a car.” He looks here up and down and says, “You look like a perfectly respectable person, why don’t you have a car?” She said, “I’m on Social Security, I’m in my 60s.” He looked horrified and his bus came and he ran. LOL.

    1. RUKidding

      Sometimes I take the bus to/from work in Sacramento. This is a government town, so most riders are govt workers. IOW pretty much middle class but generally a range of ethnic backgrounds.

      A friend’s snobby boyfriend was literally horrified that I could lower myself to use icky awful nasty public transportation. He even stepped back away from me, I guess so he wouldn’t get bus cooties.

      These people! Where do their attitudes come from I wonder……

      1. Bill

        bus cooties, lol. they’re not fatal. maybe it was lower classes cooties he was worried about–he would rather die than have his self-importance threatened, I bet. Those people
        It made me laugh that this guy told my friend she looked perfectly respectable. Like people who can’t afford a car don’t. ugh

        1. MichaelSF

          Bus cooties, or at least germs, are a thing. Once my wife retired and no longer had to take the streetcar downtown to work she had fewer colds each year. Anecdote, but it seems to hold out.

          Buses, street cars, air planes, and small children are significant plague vectors and are best avoided. Workplaces should be added to that, as there are so many people who come to work sick because they can’t afford to stay home and not infect their coworkers.


    2. hreik

      “You look like a perfectly respectable person, why don’t you have a car?” She said, “I’m on Social Security, I’m in my 60s.” He looked horrified and his bus came and he ran. LOL.

      What I think? Guy’s just a jerk. It’s not complicated.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I think the kid got a horrifying glimpse of his own future.

      Interesting that “respectable” was equated with “enough money,” though.

  15. Ned

    Two positive easy things anyone can do to fight corporate takeovers, globalism and economic strip mining of communities.

    Buy local organic and boycott remote corporate managed businesses.
    If you can’t look the owners in the eye, spend elsewhere.

    “Since 2004, one investment group, 3G capital, has led or accompanied mergers which have created the world’s largest beer company (AB InBev), the third-largest fast food company (Burger King), and the fifth-largest food processor (Kraft-Heinz),” Luig said. “Massive job cuts and the closing of bottling stations in the beverage industry are part of the plan. We urgently need regulations that limit the grip of the financial sector over the agrifood sector.”

  16. a different chris

    The difference between the people in “the sticks” and the more sophisticated, and why they are such prey for these creatures:

    DeGroot took the microphone and reprimanded Gallaher for using “the F-bomb” in the chamber at a previous meeting, a claim Gallaher adamantly denied.

    “Having said that, you will not be speaking in these chambers again until…

    She should get a lawyer and threaten to sue his (family blog), his family’s (family blog), and for good measure his dog’s (family blog) off. He has no right to limit her right to speak for the reasons he is claiming. He has no write to demand a “written apology” from anybody for anything.

    He needs slapped and hard. Instead she seems to have just meekly accepted this bullcrap.

  17. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re “‘Metropolis‘ at 90″ — No doubt Metropolis was an important film that has influenced subsequent film makers and writers from Orwell to the present day, as well as unrelated events like the 1939 NY World’s Fair. Particularly impressive is that it was created in 1927 against a cultural backdrop that in many ways was the antithesis of the stark, authoritarian society reflected in the film that emphasized the dehumanizing aspects of repetitive assembly-line manufacturing and the clock.

    The review itself was fascinating. I was previously unaware of the integral role that Fritz Lang’s wife, Thea von Harbou, played in creating the film; the creative tension between the two that resulted in the synthesis of components of capitalism and socialism; or Harbou’s subsequent co-option by and submersion in the Nazi party.

    However, I do feel that Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 German propaganda film “Triumph of the Will” had a more profound effect on her contemporaries (and lasting effect on us) than did Metropolis. Screen shots that Riefenstahl used still influence media treatment of political leaders most everywhere IMO.

    1. Wukchumni

      Triumph of the Will is a masterpiece race early work of propaganda, the screen shots still lure you in seductively even today.

      Another thing to consider, is sound.

      We went on a silent movie watching binge, and it was all about physical sight gags for the actors in lieu of saying their piece.

  18. Wukchumni

    One thing about Manafort, he was living large…

    …reading through the list of his goods, I thought for a minute it was for a more upscale version of Huggy Bear, albeit a bit less flamboyant

  19. Vatch

    Awwooooooooooooooooo! London Review of Books

    Porphyria is mentioned in the article in the context of lycanthropy, but not vampirism. Since people with porphyria are sensitive to sunlight, the disorder has also encouraged belief in vampires, who are supposedly nocturnal.

  20. Wukchumni

    Champs: Astros’ first World Series win is a triumph for Houston Houston Chronicle

    A ho hum finale, but an entertaining World Series, and they launched something new as far as commercials go, little 6 second snippets with a split screen showing the lack of action on the field combined with a sales pitch, for that’s when they can squeeze them in.

    1. seattle/hack

      I noticed that as well, the commerical snipets. I watch Mexican soccer on TV and they have been doing that for years. I guess it makes more sense in this case since there is ongoing play for 46 to 50 minutes at a time. Anyway what a great series. I am not really a baseball fan per say. Go Houston.

  21. Synoia

    How China Swallowed the WTO

    The U.S. helped create the group to smooth global commerce and integrate a rising China. Instead, it’s become a battleground for intense national rivalries

    Umm, right. I’m sure the US’ actions were completely benevolent, and bore no trace of self interest.

    When GATT (the predecessor to the WTO) was created in 1947/1948, the US had the world’s only industrial economy standing after WW II. Reducing tariffs was in the US’ interests, and not for countries recovering from WW II, not for the third world, countries escaping colonization and trying to grow their economies.

  22. Ben Around

    Americans love credentialism so much, they even apply it to pets.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have laughed about an evening I spent 15 years ago in a Brussels pub that had a dog running around and over our drinks along the bar.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. Which Harasser Will Be Outed Next?:

    Facing backlash, Rolling Stone writer posts second apology for ‘hurtful’ book | Reuters

    [Journalist Matt Taibbi] has faced outrage in recent days over the 2000 book “The Exile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia,” which chronicles his time as the editor of an English-language newspaper in Russia.

    Critics say the book, co-written by Taibbi and another editor at the now-defunct paper, Mark Ames, contains passages seemingly detailing mistreatment, sexual harassment and even assaults on their female staff and other young women.

    Taibbi and Ames insist that the book is fiction, intended as a satire of American expatriates in Russia.

    That explanation has done little to mollify critics in the media and on Twitter who point out that “Exile” contains a note making clear that it is nonfiction.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Taibbi would be sorely missed.
      I do recall that he did not respond well to my wife’s attempt to point out sexist language in one of his pieces.

      I haven’t read the book and probably won’t; was Taibbi responsible for the abusive behavior, or just a witness?

      1. Yves Smith

        I think the point was:

        1. A very high proportion of the expat population in Moscow was doing the same thing

        2. Ames and Taibbi outed themselves so as not to be blackmailable

        3. That means arguably they could have said they did stuff they could have been accused of as known hard-partying types that they didn’t do. The thing that makes everyone nuts is Ames having written up having had sex with a woman who said she was 16 who later said she was 15 (16 is the age of consent; lower than that is rape even if the guy thought she was older). Ames has since said he made that up and his writing is less specific than in other accounts of his out-there sexual antics (like trying to sleep with 9 prostitutes in 9 hours). But it could just as well as have had the writing version of a bad hair day.

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