Links 11/30/17

Hummingbirds Are Where Intuition Goes to Die Atlantic

Lobster found with Pepsi logo ‘tattoo’ fuels fears over ocean litter Guardian (YY). Eeek.

Trophy Hunting May Drive Species to Extinctions Faster Due to Climate Change National Geographic (furzy)

Time between world-changing volcanic super-eruptions less than previously thought PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Volcano Super-Eruptions: How Long Before The Next One Wipes Out Civilization? International Business Times (Oregoncharles)

Prehistoric women had stronger arms than today’s elite rowing crews PhysOrg (Chuck L). This is not as surprising as the authors make out. Rowing is an endurance sport. For strength, the maximum exertion period for strength-related activities is ~2 minutes. That is based on exercise physiology (the maximum amount of time you can rely on the lactic acid system). That is why sprinters can run flat out and middle distance runners can’t. So very forceful exertions with rests is better for strength building than repetitive use of the same muscles over longer periods of time.

Bitcoin is a global supernova MacroBusiness. “BTC is shaping as the stupidest thing that I have ever seen in global markets.”

Websites use your CPU to mine cryptocurrency even when you close your browser ars technica

Pulling Iron From Brain May Offer Hope in Alzheimer’s Fight Bloomberg

How Breathing Calms Your Brain, And Other Science-Based Benefits Of Controlled Breathing Forbes (David L)


Latest idea to tackle Beijing’s smog? 15 million people waving giant fans South China Morning Post

North Korea: Trump threatens ‘major sanctions’ after latest missile test Guardian

India Considers a Leading Role in De-Centralised British Commonwealth The Wire

Trust no one: Reviews and ratings mean little to India’s online shoppers Quartz (J-LS)

Australia to hold royal commission inquiry into banks BBC

Queensland election shocks intensify breakup of Australian political establishment WSWS

Praljak: Bosnian Croat war criminal dies after taking poison in court BBC

EU commissioner to slam ‘irresponsible’ Uber Politico


Britain close to Irish border deal The Times. This may be correct, but I don’t see any similar reports at the Telegraph, which broke the story yesterday on the Brexit bill tentative agreement, which was confirmed separately by the FT, the FT, BBC, or the Independent at this hour. Readers?

Theresa May: Brexit bill is still being negotiated Politico

Brexit: Britain to dismantle border controls Richard North. Important, and a strikingly different message than the Times story.

Letter from Guy Verhofstadt, European Parliament Brexit coordinator, to Michel Barnier Reiterates the Parliament’s firm stance on citizen’s rights.

Scottish politicians to ask European court of justice if UK can stop Brexit Guardian. Ahem, how do they have standing to raise this question? This would likely be a non-starter under common law procedures. Do civil law jurisdictions look at standing more expansively?

UK consumer confidence drops to lowest level since Brexit result Independent

New Cold War

State Department Condemns* Designation Of Media As Foreign Agents (*only applies to Russia) Moon of Alabama< Spain accuses Russia of interference in the Catalan crisis WSWS/blockquote>

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook’s New Captcha Test: ‘Upload A Clear Photo of Your Face’ Wired (Chuck L)

Amazon Plans to Send Alexa to the Office Wall Street Journal. So Amazon can spy on you everywhere.

Google faces mass UK data-snoop action BBC

iPhone users could receive £300 payout The Times

Trump Transition

Listen: Trump goes on a Twitter tear The Hill

Donald Trump lashes out at British prime minister over anti-Islam tweets DW

Jared Kushner questioned by Mueller’s team about Michael Flynn, insider says Guardian

Trump’s Big Pharma Nominee for Health Secretary is ‘Worse Than Tom Price’ Real News Network

Trump’s Fateful Mistake on Consumer Financial Protection Project Syndicate (David L)

Tax “Reform”

It Started as a Tax Cut. Now It Could Change American Life. New York Times. Call your Congresscritter, particularly any Republican Senators. The local office is a better bet. E-mail if you can’t get a staffer. Give them an earful.

What the Experts Are Saying About Outsourcing and the GOP Tax Bill AFL-CIO

Trump’s Tax Promises Undercut by CEO Plans to Help Investors Bloomberg

A Republican Tax Scam Advances in the Senate New Yorker (furzy)

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren Propose $146 Billion “Marshall Plan” for Puerto Rico Intercept (furzy)

Get Ready for Concealed Guns in All 50 States Bloomberg. This is nuts. Another reason to emigrate.

Democrats in Disarray

2020 and the Fight Within the Democratic Party Real News (UserFriendly)

Police State Watch

The US Coast Guard is operating floating prisons in the Pacific Ocean, outside US legal protections Public Radio International (furzy). Holy shit.

Diamond Reynolds reaches $800,000 settlements in Castile shooting Minnesota Public Radio News (UserFriendly)

Sex in Politics…Not!

How the Tariq Ramadan Scandal Derailed the #Balancetonporc Movement in France New Yorker (furzy)

KABC, Los Angeles: LADWP’s Ratepayer Ripoff Consumer Watchdog (Joe R)

MPR drops Keillor over inappropriate conduct Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

American Farm Towns, With Changing Priorities, Reject Industrial Agriculture Wall Street Journal

Oops: American Airlines accidentally let too many pilots take off the holidays Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

Goldman Warns That Market Valuations Are at Their Highest Since 1900 Bloomberg

Moody’s Warns Cities to Address Climate Risks or Face Downgrades Bloomberg (J-LS)

Uber says claims about spy unit came from disgruntled manager Financial Times. Come on. From the story:

Uber paid a total of $7.5m to settle with Mr Jacobs and his employment lawyers, which the judge said was a sign the claims may have had merit. “[P]eople don’t pay that kind of money for BS,” US District Judge William Alsup remarked.

Class Warfare

Robots Threaten Bigger Slice of Jobs in US, Other Rich Nations Wired (David L)

Ending shareholder monopoly: why workers’ votes promote good corporate governance LSE British Politics and Policy Blog

Strike Friday at Jacobin

Antidote du jour. A Saturnid Moth Caterpillar, by Marco Fisher, via A New Kind of Human:

caterpillar links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. john k

    I doubt the supers will be changed much… whole idea is to keep Bernie out. Surprised at Kaine…

    Record number of stores closing, more than GR. And Sears/Kmart going soon, maybe January. Top and bottom end stores doing ok… middle class crashing.
    Makes me think of the game monopoly… ends when somebody bankrupts everybody else, they can no longer afford to stay at the hotels… in the real world, what is the income and value of a hotel that has no guests? And how long do the top 10% stay solvent if they can no longer sell either goods or services to the middle class?

      1. Sid Finster

        Look at Brazil or India right now. Although when I lived in Ukraine, I used to tell Ukrainians that they were living in the future right now. “What you are now, I once was. What I am now, you shall be.”

        Most Ukrainians now wish they were living so well.

    1. m

      The economy crashes and they rush to pass the heritage health care plan (dems). The other party takes over now Koch bros get their tax plan & both parties get their grand bargain through an increase in the debt. I feel they only way to the future is to study how people got by during the depression, cause that is where we are headed.
      There really is no hope for future or participating in this “American Dream” nonsense.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve been quoting passages from The Great Depression-A Diary, the past few days, and to witness the daily dose of fear and localized contagion chronicled in the eyes of a critical thinker is something to behold, when you consider how slow news traveled. There was a run on damn near every bank in the country.

        And at the time we were the biggest creditor nation by far…

        I believe we are much closer to a collapse in the way that the USSR went away rather suddenly. And seeing as the US & SU were mirror images of one another, it begs a few questions as to how things end up posthaste?

        Nobody owned any property in the Soviet Union, and rents were cheap, even if you might have to wait a very long time to get a flat. When collapse came, it wasn’t as if things changed all that much.

        Almost all developed property in the United States is owned, and rents are onerous. When collapse comes, what transpires?

        When the endgame came for the Soviet Union, their military was largely on the land in Europe, and not a difficult passage back to Mother Russia. And for the most part, the breaking up of the Iron Curtain was sans bloodshed, save Romania & Russia. Aside from the military, guns were few and far between

        When the endgame comes for us, our military bases are almost all overseas, how easy will it be to bring them back? We have as many guns as citizens, and have been slowly allowing ourselves to accept senseless murders such as the 26 killed in Sandy Hook & a like number dispatched to their maker @ Sutherland Springs, as a ‘oh well, shit happens’ normal part of our lives, will 260, 2,600 or 26,000 dead in one go feel any different?

        The one thing the Soviets excelled at was public transport-as they had to, nobody hardly had cars, how else would you get around?

        Our public transport here tends to be middling at best, awful or non-existent @ worst.

          1. Mark P.

            The former Soviet Union’s inhabitants were much more used to cooperation and maintaining small gardens for growing food.

            I used to know a guy who went over there every six months to do nuclear inspections after the USSR collapsed, forex, when the scientists and other workers in the Soviet science cities went unpaid for 6-12 months. He reported that they cooperated and subsisted on food from their gardens and wherever else they could scrounge together the necessaries to get through the situation

            Another way in which the US doesn’t resemble the US.

        1. Sid Finster

          I was talking about this with a Ukrainian friend of mine.

          If in 1904, you had told anyone anywhere that within 15 years, that Russia would lose two wars, one with Japan; that after some 350 years, there would no longer be a tsar in Russia, not to mention no Kaiser in Germany or Austria-Hungary; and that after some 500 years there would no longer be an Ottoman Empire, they would have locked you up in the “pyskhdom”, the funny farm, as it would have been obvious to everyone that you were a delusional nut.

          Fifteen years later, all these were gone. And they didn’t even have email then, much less Twitter.

          For that matter, as a kid in the mid-1980’s, I recall that the stance of most people who viewed themselves as responsible, respectable intellectuals was that the Soviet Union was here to stay. As it was, the Soviet Union had less than ten years left. No Twitter yet, either.

          Moral – revolutions happen very slowly, then they happen very fast.

          1. Procopius

            I think many people overestimate the power of the “social media.” I don’t think there are any countries now that I can point to, to support my artgument, but I was living in Thailand when there was no internet (there wasn’t one in the U.S., either, although personal computers were beginning to network) and telephones were very rare. There was a five year waiting list in Bangkok. I’ve been away from the States too long, I no longer have a feel for how things work there (well, I never did so the decision to ge expat was easy), but I think when people decide to organize they really have ways to communicate.

        2. Eclair

          Thank you, Wukchumi, for making my gloomy morning even gloomier.

          I already feel like I’m living in an Ingmar Bergman film; here in Seattle it’s black and white and rainy, which on a conscious level I like (after ten years in dry Colorado). But I find myself contemplating death on a daily basis; if I were to answer a knock on the door to find a black-robed stranger carrying a chess board, I would be unsurprised. These were attractions to the Scandinavians who settled here; it felt like home, except without the snow and extreme cold and they could snuggle back into their gloomy contemplation of life, punctuated by shots of aquavit.

          I read (maybe at NC?) a comment a few weeks ago, a rumination on how long our new precariat (which we might all be a part of, now or shortly) will remain content with being killed slowly and methodically, by drug addiction, diabetes, leaded water, use as cannon fodder, and decide, what the hell, it’s better to die quickly and ‘heroically.’ Like so many of the former working class who voted for Trump, you look at the downside to your decision. Opioids, and despair, will kill you for sure. Violence … hey, maybe you will die, but there’s a chance. And you have nothing left to lose.

          And, I think you are correct; it could happen fast.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I have heard it said that another Great Depression is unlike, with the social safe net we have, inadequate as many or all of those programs are.

            They first reduce, to some extent, and thereby, prolong the suffering.

  2. Meher Baba Fan

    Anyone know about Scotland attempting to Remain? PlutoniumKen? Have not read a single thing. Surely this is their Prime Directive at thus point.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Not too sure on the Scots angle as I’m Welsh, however, I’ve not heard much coming out of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff of late, which, as with England, voted to exit the EU. However, here’s some details from Cardiff University on Welsh attitudes to the EU, which remain about the same as at the time of the Referendum – not too sure why my peers are so fearful about immigration, given most EU nationals would avoid Wales like the plague given how poor we are:

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t really follow Scottish affairs. Scotland seems to have gone very quiet on Brexit. I think the SNP has decided there is no mood in the country to rock the boat now, so they will bide their time.

    3. Clive

      The Scottish Parliament does not have standing to go to the CJEU and make a plea for Remain. As was explained in the U.K. Supreme Court’s judgement (a more accessible version of which was given in a speech by the UKSC President — along with some interesting discussions on common law as opposed to civil law and the U.K. unwritten constitution), EU law is brought into being as U.K. law through an Act of Parliament. The Parliament is the U.K. Parliament not the Scottish Parliament. The U.K. Parliament has not delegated that authority to the Scottish Parliament.

      The Scottish Government was an intervenor in the UKSC Article 50 appeal and was covered in a lengthy judgement which went through all the angles as far as Scotland was concerned. The full UKSC case and outcome is here, anyone can read it all for themselves, if they have the time and are so inclined. I have, but then I don’t get out much.

      It’s all written in legalese terms but, really, it’s not that difficult for anyone to work their way through, except, perhaps, journalists who should do their own investigation and certainly should have access to legal experts but seemingly can’t be bothered. I also have a dim view of the hundreds of thousands of comments which spring up in response to articles in the MSM from people who have not even tried to engage with the facts and do any kind of research themselves. Do they really think any of the inane noise they generate is helpful, no matter which side of an argument they are on?

      As always with litigation, if cost isn’t a factor (and you’re not the one paying) then there’s always some lawyers or other who will take the case. However hopeless.

      This one is particularly hopeless. Just a publicity stunt and the kind of cheap headline grabbing antics which the people doing it think makes them look smart and preaches to the converted but is basically meaningless posturing.

      1. Clive

        I’m not keen on taking exerts from lengthy bodies of material where the full context is important, but from the UKSC judgement, it is perfectly clear how Article 50 applies to Scotland so I’ll quote it here to save anyone from having to wade through the entire 96 page document (emphasis mine):

        In the Scotland Act 2016, the recognition of the Sewel Convention occurs alongside the provision in section 1 of that Act. That section, by inserting section 63A into the Scotland Act 1998, makes the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish government a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements, signifies the commitment of the UK Parliament and government to those devolved institutions, and declares that those institutions are not to be abolished except on the basis of a decision of the people of Scotland voting in a referendum. This context supports our view that the purpose of the legislative recognition of the convention was to entrench it as a convention.

        The Lord Advocate and the Counsel General for Wales were correct to acknowledge that the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly did not have a legal veto on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Nor in our view has the Northern Ireland Assembly. Therefore, our answer to the second question in para 126 above is that the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly is not a legal requirement before the relevant Act of the UK Parliament is passed.

        In reaching this conclusion we do not underestimate the importance of constitutional conventions, some of which play a fundamental role in the operation of our constitution. The Sewel Convention has an important role in facilitating harmonious relationships between the UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures. But the policing of its scope and the manner of its operation does not lie within the constitutional remit of the judiciary, which is to protect the rule of law.

        1. begob

          The Supreme Court dealt with UK legislation, whereas this challenge relates to a UK executive action and raises an issue of interpretation of EU law. If the UK court accepts the petitioners have standing and there’s a triable issue, I think it’s duty bound to refer to the ECJ. I’d say only the Scot executive has a chance of establishing its standing.

          1. Clive

            No. Read the UKSC judgement. EU law is granted U.K. authority through an act of the U.K. parliament. When the U.K. parliamentary process completes the repeal of the various treaties which establish EU law as U.K. law, the ECJ’s jurisdiction disappears in a puff of constitutional smoke. The U.K. may give EU citizens recourse to the ECJ if it passes the appropriate legislation as a result of the Article 50 negotiations.

            But there’s is nothing that the Scottish Parliament can invoke that trumps U.K. parliamentary superiority.

            Otherwise, in terms of international law, joining the EU becomes like Freddie Kruger — no matter what a member state did, it could never be free of it. Not going to be a possibility that the ECJ will get itself into.

            So this is a hopeless bit of nonsense. I’d describe it as vexatious.

              1. Clive

                No, it’s totally the point. Once The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill gets Royal Ascent there is no referral to the ECJ. The ECJ ceases to have any jurisdiction in the U.K. whatsoever. Why do you think the Article 50 negotiations have been haggling over continued ECJ jurisdiction for EU citizens post Brexit? Because once the bill becomes law, there is no right of appeal to the ECJ.

                I suspect that is what it behind the timing of this case. If it isn’t done now, the ECJ won’t even look at the filing once the Withdrawal Bill is enacted. Even if they do the filing and by some bizzarre happenstance the ECJ finds in the petition’s favour before the Withdrawal Bill is law, the U.K. can just ignore it once it is passed.

                Why would the ECJ even try to get itself embroiled in this messy situation?

                1. begob

                  It’s off point because you’re talking about the constitutional position after the withdrawal bill comes into effect. The proposed judicial review plays out before that. Not post coital.

                  1. Clive

                    Please show me the treaty clause where the ECJ gets to override member states’ constitutions in matters of regional legislative bodies’ respective authorities.

                    Please show me the treaty or ruling which states that the ECJ must hand down a judgement before the Withdrawal Bill becomes law.

                    Please show me the treaty clause which prevents the Withdrawal Bill’s revocation, in a timeframe which is at the U.K. Parliament’s sole discretion, of the various EU treaties giving the ECJ jurisdiction.

                    Saying “I don’t think you’re right because I don’t think you’re right” without substantiation of points of law is an I-know-a-bloke-down-the-pub-who-says… argument. Which is no argument at all.

                    1. begob

                      I’m talking about revocation of the Art. 50 notice – not revocation of the Withdrawal Bill. How did you come up with that? Revocation would be a matter for the executive, not the legislature. The ECJ would be involved because the effect of the revocation depends on interpretation of an EU treaty, not of UK constitutional law. The proposed judicial review could take 6 months, well before the withdrawal legislation takes effect. The ECJ may say that the notice cannot be revoked. It may say that there’s nothing to prevent revocation, and that the validity of the revocation is entirely down to UK constitutional law. At that point we will see Brexiters bringing their own judicial review.

                    2. Clive

                      If — and this is a hypothetical if — the U.K. government attempted to revoke the triggering of Article 50 as an executive action (i.e. without U.K. parliamentary approval) then it is vaguely possible this could be referred to the ECJ.

                      But if the UKSC had not first had the opportunity to consider the appeal, I cannot recall a single case where the ECJ has been willing to make a ruling without the appellant being heard in the lower national courts first. They would have to therefore go through the domestic legal route first.

                      And while it is sometimes possible to bring legal action in a preemptive sense, such as in a stalking situation where you want to prevent a stalker from coming, say, within 500 metres of where their victim lives, it is ridiculous that any court would hear a complaint based on trying to get a ruling “just in case the U.K. government tried to revoke Article 50 by executive action”. The ECJ would tell the plaintiff to come back when the U.K. government had done it — except they wouldn’t even get to the ECJ without going through the national courts first.

                      And, for the sake of completeness, if Article 50 was revoked by the U.K. parliament, the UKSC has already confirmed as a result of the Article triggering ruling that it is
                      perfectly entitled to do exactly that. The U.K. parliament has sovereignty to both pass EU-enabling treaties, to trigger clauses with in those treaties’ provisions and to revoke those treaties. If the U.K. parliament wants to try revoking the triggering of Article 50 (no guarantee the EU has to accept the revocation) it can do.

                      And I referred to “Please show me the treaty clause which prevents the Withdrawal Bill’s revocation, in a timeframe which is at the U.K. Parliament’s sole discretion, of the various EU treaties giving the ECJ jurisdiction.” — this never mentioned revocation of the Withdrawal Bill but revocation of the treaties establishing ECJ jurisdiction in U.K. law. It looks like you simply did not read what I wrote closely and skim-read it once, then responded to what you thought I had written rather than what I actually wrote. I don’t know which would be worse — if you hadn’t bothered to read what I said or if you’re just old-fashioned straw-manning.

                    3. Yves Smith Post author


                      You are being completely obtuse. Clive has explained in vastly greater length and with more detail than you deserve. You are not arguing in good faith. All you’ve done is repeatedly handwave and broken record as opposed to read and engage with what he has written.

                      If you reply on this chain again, I will moderate or blacklist you.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Clive – You do realize this gives the Scots an excellent reason to go their own way?

          The UK is likely to be no longer U. by the time this is done.

          1. Clive

            Yes, I’d agree totally that Brexit is sowing all manner of constitutional ill winds for the future and any new independence referenda voters will look at the Brexit result and consider just how much, or how little, national sovereignty they really have.

    4. paul

      There is no attempt to remain because there is no avenue to achieve it.
      The SNP’s official stance is that they would like to stay in the Single Market Area/Customs Union but that is never going to fly.
      Scotland is a region of the UK as far as the EU is concerned, and has no say.
      It would seem that the legal action refers to the UK over article 50 and Scottish politicians are the only ones ,due to their unequivocal brexit vote, who can stick their neck out for the remain side.
      Westminster can pretty much ignore Scotland,as it usually does.
      Any material change will have to emerge from independence as far I can see.

      1. Mark P.

        Scotland is a region of the UK as far as the EU is concerned.

        As significantly, the Maastricht Treaty says that an EU member nation’s annual deficit should not exceed 3.0 percent of GDP.

        As a territory within the UK Scotland ran a deficit of £13.3 billion last year and £14.5 billion the year before. If Scotland were an independent nation, Scotland’s deficit would be at least 8.3 per cent of its GDP. That’s unacceptable to the EU, obviously, and the Germans would particularly have conniptions about it.

        Since the crash in oil prices, too, Scotland has been to some extent directly subsidized by capital flows from Westminster.

        1. paul

          As I have mentioned before, GERS was cooked up by the conservative Iain Lang and is pretty much worthless.
          Fom the same unionist herald 11 years ago:

          Gers was conceived as a political exercise

          From Richard Murphy
          More on why GERS might properly be called crap data

          GERS: is this why it always says the Scottish deficit is so large?

          GERS 2017: why it remains irrelevant to Scottish decision making

          You can’t put GERS right – Tax Research UK

          Scotland doesn’t run a deficit, as a region of the UK, it can only spend the block grant it is given by westminster.

          1. Mark P.

            Look, I’m fine with it personally if Scotland were magically to become an independent state. I live in California.

            But in the real world — for both the politico-legal reasons Clive walks you through above and because under the Maastricht rules the EU will not tolerate Scotland running the level of deficits that it runs to support its fine system of social services — there’s currently no way for it to happen.

            Good luck.

            1. paul

              Clive is not walking me through anything and I do not expect anything to happen magically in politics
              I understand the situation well enough and I haven’t made any claims that there is some special loophole available for Scotland.
              Personally, I am no fan of the EU, (the arbitrary 3% deficit figure is one of its crazier nostrums) .
              However,in or out of the UK, we will be outside the EU and facing great difficulties. The notional deficit the GERS figures conjures (stage magic is the closest we ever get to magic in politics) is the least of them.
              The callous,vindictive incompetence of westminster certainly is.

    5. begob

      The Supreme Court said in January that the Scot parliament does not need to be consulted on Brexit legislation that affects its powers – in other words, the parliament is powerless on the issue.

      On the point about standing, the MSPs have chosen the right issue (revocation of Art.50 notice), which was raised in a case in Ireland that was abandoned in the summer for various reasons. The point is to use the reference mechanism under the treaty of Rome, so that the ECJ can give the definitive interpretation that would bind the UK. Not convinced that individual members of parliament have standing, but the Scot executive may intervene as they did before the Supreme Court. That’s the only way I see it progressing, and the reasons for abandoning the Irish case would have to be considered, and I can’t recall those.

      It puzzles me that the UK government sent the notice without clarifying the revocation point. May did receive advice on this, and I assume she’s operating on the understanding that revocation is possible at will. I assume that because advice to the contrary would have been publicised to hammer home that the die is cast, whereas admitting a revocation-OK advice would have immediately opened up a clear strategy for remainers. More savvy observers are free to point out the flaw in that reasoning. There may be an occasion in the next 12 months when May is forced to revoke, but I guess that depends on sterling and job losses.

      On Scot independence, my view is that Brexit cooks their goose – within the sterling zone they will be as helpless as Greece was. And Labour will regain much of what they lost to the SNP – so it’s possible that May revokes as her last executive act, and Labour storms the election (including Scotland).

      Happy days! Or not, since nobody can keep track of the moving parts – particularly the razor-tipped boomerang that is the Irish border. Bear in mind Scotland and north-east Ireland have been intertwined for 1500 years. All MacDonalds and O’Neills will know this: “My son hath many heads …”

      1. paul

        I can’t see Labour coming back in Scotland at all, they are completely moribund, dwindling membership, pathetic leadership and bafflingly nailed to the unionist cause (recommending, against party rules, to vote conservative, happily forming coalitions with the tories at council level).
        Their latest former leader swanning off to a reality show typifies them.

      2. RWood

        Sommat of the thinking in Scotland:
        It was the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh who claimed that all tragedy consisted of was underdeveloped comedy. The comedy of Brexit is ever realised in the antics of Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Davis Michael Gove and co and their ham-fisted impersonations of politicians, negotiators and democrats. They are the cast of a new kind of comedy: the theatre of humiliation. Their singular joke is that they, apparently, represent the people of the UK, when they so obviously have only the interests of their own class in mind. Oh yes, they do! As John S. Warren has repeatedly pointed out on Bella, the shambles that is the Tory negotiations with the EU is the plan. These people know what they are doing even if they give off the appearance that they do not. What they want the mass of people to think is one thing, what they are actually up to is another. Look out, they’re behind you!

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            Upper management at all large U.S. universities is similarly corrupt. So much so that the details of their thefts are blurred by normalization. The specifics in this Grauniad article are some of the best I’ve seen however; the journalist did his work for this one. And he presents the information very well. He has ~4 paragraphs detailing insane remuneration + perks for top leaders (president or provost equivalent positions) followed by a description of pay rates for “casual contract” (i.e. adjunct) lecturers, compared to what the average student now pays (in a system that used to be free). Nice piece. Real reporting about real news.

          2. Christopher Dale Rogers


            A bit late on this thread today, that’s the 13 hr time difference for you, 8 hrs for the UK. I’ve been following the Vice Chancellor’s story, the one about Bath, so was somewhat alarmed when Danny Blanchflower staring sticking his oar in on this issue yesterday on Twitter, in his opinion, that is as an over paid talking head on full tenure at Dartmouth College, VC deserve every penny of their salary & no one else can do the job as you need to be qualified, that is qualified to gouge as those whom you are supposed to look after, namely the faculty members, sink further and further into low pay and debt. And people wonder why the Blairite fringe within the Labour Party are detested by the majority of the membership – Blanchflower was highly critical of Corbyn & McDonnell last year, unlike Varoufakis, who sees some merit in Labour’s economic policies, which for me at least, are not radical enough & too focused on growth, rather than redistribution, which itself would drive sustainable growth in those parts of the economy that actually need it.

    6. Jeff

      imnsho opinion, Scotland cannot attempt to remain. They would need to split from UK and become independent (very messy stuff, will take a few years), and then apply to join the EU (they need to wait in queue, so another 5 to 10 years). Even if everyone agrees – which is a very big if to start with, during the first years Scotland will be Brexit-like: no trading agreements anywhere, no import/export, no access to radiotherapy, no planes flying in or out …
      In short, you take a whole generation back to the stone ages hoping the kids will see a better world. I can understand nobody considering this option, which is even worse than the Brexsh*t the Tories are foisting upon the Scottish people.

      1. a different chris

        Not disagreeing with your post, but can somebody actually explain this fact that gets repeated over and over, and I must have missed the meeting:

        > (they need to wait in queue, so another 5 to 10 years)

        My thoughts are
        – there are 420 million people in the EU
        – the EU Parliament and whatever other body generally does as advised

        I know it takes time, years, but I don’t get the “queue” part???!!?? It’s not like each of the 751 EUP members has to do a Planes/Trains/Automobiles in every area that want’s to become part of the EU. And they certainly don’t, I doubt the (family blog)ers do much of anything the rest of us would recognize as work. They have “people” that eventually figure it out for them. So of the 420million, can’t those people assemble more than one freaking competent team to evaluate EU applications?

        So explain it to me. Why. Cannot. This. Happen. In. Parallel — up until the final vote. It’s like Ford can only sell to one customer at a time.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          There is a precedent for skipping the queue – the East German option. East Germany joined the EU by simply becoming Germany. So theoretically I don’t see any reason why Scotland couldn’t, as some have suggested, simply join as part of Irelands membership (of course, it would have to forgo its own seat at Brussels). There is the advantage of course that there would be no need for regulatory convergence as at the present its regulatory system is an EU one. I think the issue of aligning regulatory systems is the main reason for the long period required before joining.

          However, I think the window of opportunity for this option has long closed. I think the SNP missed a huge opportunity just after the original vote. I think she should have simply said ‘the people of Scotland voted to Remain. Therefore, we will Remain, and we will pursue every legal method to ensure this happens.’.

          1. paul

            That might’ve worked if there was any legal method to pursue.
            The best chance to throw some sand in the gears was for the devolved administrations to prevent the invocation of article 50 and the supreme court ruled against them (8 to 3).
            Foreign affairs are a reserved matter,regional assemblies have no say, continuing to tilt at legal windmills is fruitless.

      2. paul

        All of which applies within the union. We will be like greece with regards to westminster.
        Do you think westminster will repatriate any meaningful EU powers to the regional assemblies?
        Accession might be expedited as we have been compliant with EU directives/legislation for a long time. We’re hardly going to flood the continent with migrants.
        Who knows how things will pan out.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Britain close to Irish border deal The Times. This may be correct, but I don’t see any similar reports at the Telegraph, which broke the story yesterday on the Brexit bill tentative agreement, which was confirmed separately by the FT, the FT, BBC, or the Independent at this hour. Readers?

    Theresa May: Brexit bill is still being negotiated Politico

    Brexit: Britain to dismantle border controls Richard North. Important, and a strikingly different message than the Times story.

    The Richard North article is indeed important, and unbelievably disturbing.

    Therein lies the enigma. The UK imports goods from all over the world and, apart from EU goods, applies border controls of varying sophistication, as well as the “official controls” on animals and foods, and other products. But once we leave the EU, to us, EU countries have to be treated the same as all other countries with which we trade, under exactly the same terms.

    This is a matter of WTO rules – the one’s that so many “ultras” are so keen to pursue. The WTO non-discrimination requirements mean that, if we apply no checks to EU goods at the Northern Irish border, then we cannot apply them anywhere else. It really is as simple as that.

    Yet, here we have two ministers of the crown, and a room full of MPs, and none of them thought to mention this simple fact. They were all prepared to blather about anything under the sun, but not one seemed to be aware that what was being proposed could not be validly implemented under international trade law without us first dismantling all our other customs and sanitary controls.

    Last night some Irish online outlets were reporting that a deal was almost done on border issues – one quoted a Guardian report that I couldn’t find in the Guardian. The EU Agriculture Commissioner, who is Irish, has been dropping widely reported hints that they are close to a deal.

    However, this morning it has all gone very quiet, nothing I’ve seen in Irish papers – they are usually better briefed on EU matters than UK papers. So I think it was a rumour which as proven to be false.

    I had thought, from my reading yesterday, that there were perhaps some very active negotiations being done on a civil service level, similar to with the exit bill, and May was doing her best to knock heads together to try to get her cabinet to accept that they hadn’t a leg to stand on. But I suspect now that his is wishful thinking. It may be that British officials are actively ‘doing deals’ but then they are being vetoed at a political level in London. Thats just my guess.

    1. vlade

      One thing I believe North overlooks on this is that EU _could_ enter into a special treatment trade treaty which would specify NI border a special in trade terms. If they at the same time covered Gibraltar, they could even avoid the accusation (and a potential case) of preferential treatment (of NI).

      WTO requires you treat all the same unless you have a specific bilateral treaty.

      That said, if there are no controls on the NI border, it opens a whole can of worms unless NI treats even the UK imports as third-party. Which is the move-the-border-to-Irish-sea May was so much against.. But hey, maybe the rumours of her giving up on negotiations and giving it entirely to the civil service (gutted as it is) may be true.

      I’m now curious to see whether there are going to be any fireworks, as while the money paid to the EU could be well hidden under the royal-marriage soap opera, I’d expect the internal NI/Britain border to upset DUP a lot.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I wonder though what form that sort of a treaty could take, since any preferential treatment would have to apply to the UK as a whole, otherwise trade will simply all go through that border to avoid issues elsewhere. I think any deal like that would involve ‘special’ treatment for NI, which is a red line for the DUP. I don’t see, for example, how such a deal could avoid dealing with phytosanitary arrangements for agriculture, and as such would be both hugely complicated, and would inevitably involve the ECJ, otherwise it wouldn’t get past other EU members.

        I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, I just can’t get my head around what form a bilateral treaty like that could take that wouldn’t be so technically complex that it would be effectively unachievable.

        1. Anonymous2

          Thanks Yves, PK, vlade. Usual shrewd comments.

          My reaction, on reading the Times report is that it is probably principally a plant by UK government. Yes ok there is a bit of support from Dublin reporting ‘movement’. I believe PK is almost certainly right that a lot of work has been done at Civil Service level and perhaps this is an effort to build momentum to try to push the ultras into accepting something. At present I think that something could be a sea border between NI and rUK, defying the DUP to bring the Government down and risk Corbyn taking over.

          By chance I was lunching with Tory party member Leavers yesterday. They were very unhappy that May appeared to have caved on finances, arguing that she should have ‘called the EU’s bluff and walked away’. It is a very strange mind-set which assumes that the UK can break promises it has made to other European countries and that the rest of the world, having seen this happen, will rush to make agreements with the UK. They are all, I think, Telegraph readers, deeply brainwashed.

          The ultras will of course be taking soundings to see how the party members have reacted to the news on the finances and decide their next step accordingly.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think this is another key problem which indicates why a deal is almost impossible. The collective establishment in the UK simply haven’t been prepared for a series of major concessions. The penny still hasn’t dropped among a lot of people who should know better. Its quite astonishing really – as the Richard North blog points out, there is nothing complicated about the border WTO issue, he quite succinctly explains the issue in one short paragraph. And yet a whole swathe of people at various levels of power are still delusional about Britains negotiating position.

            Yves was so right at the beginning of all this to draw comparison to the Greek situation. Any deal is impossible when the weaker party grossly overestimates its strength.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I thought about the plant part, that was my first assumption, but it quoted some (as in more than one) EU sources. But then again, the UK has a very few sympathizers like Poland. Could it have put one of them up to help? Not at all normal but Brexit as we all know is way outside any norms.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Just to add to this, I was basing what I wrote on online additions. The ‘paper’ addition of the Irish Times has a front page report that reads like an official briefing from Irish sources.

      Short version: There has been intense work behind the scenes to get a deal on all three aspects, but especially on the Irish border issue. There is ‘cautious optimism’ that a deal can be made but… the crucial kicker is that it says that the deal thats been worked on (presumably with London officials) will need ‘compromise’ from the UK – in other words, May will have to sell a climbdown to her party. But there is seemingly a workable solution on the table, so to speak.

      The article indicates that the Irish diplomatic corps has been working full time not just on the deal, but on the EU as well – it says that they are ‘confident that the EU will not force Ireland into a compromise’. In other words, they are confident (or are selling themselves as confident) that the EU has Irelands back on this.

      1. Anonymous2

        It seems to me a reasonable assumption that the EU is behind the Irish. People speak of the Irish border at times without recognising that post-Brexit it would also be the EU’s border.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I think the Irish delegation is just paranoid that they might be left high and dry if the EU negotiators tried to do a deal balancing off the Irish border issue with some other issue (such as money). They don’t want to be left with the dilemma of using their veto or not. But I think there is little danger of that.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Yes, that’s exactly the problem: Ireland doesn’t want it treated as an EU border, because that will cause endless trouble. Several commenters were fairly colorful on how much trouble.

          Is Ireland pushing this because of the chance it will peel NI off of Great Britain?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Peeling NI off the UK is the last thing the current Irish government wants. Who on earth wants to have the lovely Arlene Foster and her band of merry men in your country? The current Irish government are 100% focused on protecting the economy and preventing violence and trouble on the border. The reality that the only probable way of achieving this is to come to an agreement for NI to become closer constitutionally to the republic is more of a byproduct.

            But if a new government comes along dominated by the more nationalist minded Fianna Fail and possibly Sinn Fein, then that calculation would change – they would be ideologically focused on undermining British power in Ireland.

    3. Mark P.

      PK : The WTO non-discrimination requirements mean that, if we apply no checks to EU goods at the Northern Irish border, then we cannot apply them anywhere else.

      Yup. I read North’s piece last night and let loose a Homer Simpson-like duh.

      It may be that British officials are actively ‘doing deals’ but then they are being vetoed at a political level in London. Thats just my guess.

      We know from Ivan Rogers and others — I have a friend who went back to the UK to audition for the Tories’ Post-Brexit Industrial Strategy body — that that’s true. According to him, those who aren’t Ultras were still in the Kubler-Ross denial stage about Brexit.

  4. financial matters

    The US needs to abandon its anti Iran and anti Russia rhetoric and start acting like a responsible party.

    2 hours ago

    This could mean help is on the way for Libya. TMENA is, slowly, embracing Russia and China all around.

    Breaking: Egypt to allow Russian fighter jets to use Egyptian airbases via @thearabsource

    1. a different chris

      >The US needs to… start acting like a responsible party.

      Good luck with that. Who is going to make them?

      1. a different chris

        omg Freudian slip: You know, I *am* American. So it should have been “make us”, not “make them” but this country is so far from a democracy anymore I don’t feel any connection, to what is done in the US’s name at all.

  5. Meher Baba Fan

    Aluminium in the body, and depleted B12 reserves have long been considered leading causes of Alzheimers. I am sure other heavy metals such as mercury care of mercury amalgams are a factor.
    methylcobalamin considered the most bioavailable version of B12. It”s very cheap on Iherb. ( compared to the more common cyanocobalamin) sublingual tablets the most absorbable and cost effective
    There are various ways to remove heavy metals from the body deserving of study. Mostly dietary and supplement related. Clinics can provide an IV application of a chelating agent, known by an acronym EDTA from memory. A couple of sessions and life is never the same

    1. ewmayer

      OK, I’ll bite –

      “Aluminium in the body, and depleted B12 reserves have long been considered leading causes of Alzheimers.”

      By whom?

      “I am sure other heavy metals such as mercury care of mercury amalgams are a factor.”

      Based on what?

      1. kareninca

        I sure as hell wouldn’t go to a chelation clinic, but you might want to read about drinking silicon-rich mineral water as a way of safely chelating aluminum. The research was done at Keele University in England:

        “We have shown that drinking up to 1 L of a silicon-rich mineral water each day for 12 weeks facilitated the removal of aluminum via the urine in both patient and control groups without any concomitant affect upon the urinary excretion of the essential metals, iron and copper. We have provided preliminary evidence that over 12 weeks of silicon-rich mineral water therapy the body burden of aluminum fell in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and, concomitantly, cognitive performance showed clinically relevant improvements in at least 3 out of 15 individuals”

        We gave our dog Fiji water because her fur aluminum levels tested high. Our alternative vet approved. Our regular vet thought it was a crock, but didn’t think it would harm her (it didn’t). If Alzheimers ran in my family I’d be drinking the stuff daily. Although maybe not Fiji brand, due to environmental issues with that one.

  6. QuarteBack

    Re the MGI automation study, I need to study this report. It is observing the same trends that I am witnessing, but they offer a theory that demand will grow in other sectors around the globe. My initial intuition is that this will not be the case. Their assumptions would seem to require a radical change in migration behavior to satisfy the demand in more remote undeveloped regions. IMO, the inability of migration to meaningfully and temporarily fulfill the new demand will serve as a forcing function for these remote pockets of new labor demand to embrace automation faster; especially with hordes of globalist investors touting automation knocking at their door.

  7. The Rev Kev

    Re Australia to hold royal commission inquiry into banks

    The look on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s face when he announced this royal commission inquiry could best be described as “man giving birth to broken glass” and I am positive that it nothing to do with the fact that in an earlier life he was a banker himself.

    Also, Queensland election shocks intensify breakup of Australian political establishment

    That night I saw a glum party apparatchik state that 1 in 3 votes were going to the smaller parties and independents. People for years have been getting sick and tired of choosing one of the two main parties only to have the same policies enacted i.e. punish the poor with higher fees and taxes and use the proceeds to give tax breaks to corporations. I think that people here are more comfortable with minority governments and hung parliaments now as they are not so prone to get over-arrogant as you do when one party has ascendancy.
    Just for context, voting is compulsory here in Oz on the Federal, State & Local elections and the counting of votes, I can guarantee you, is of a very rigorous order. Scrutineers for all parties watch every step that you make after voting stops and counting starts and the voting ballots are treated like $20 notes. Yeah, it’s paper ballots all the way, baby, with manual counting that is double checked.

      1. Chris

        Thanks Kev.

        The banking Royal Commission is way overdue as our banks have been unethically earning super profits for years.

        Empty (MT – Malcolm Turnbull) may have looked sour on the outside, but with the Royal Commission, he can work with the banks on getting a good TOR – eg not looking into the non-existent macro-prudential controls which allowed banks to lend more money to more people who can’t really afford it.

        The government had already conceded to a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, as the National MPs had broken ranks and were supporting it. With a Royal Commission, MT will be able to control the outcomes better.

        On the news, the banks lost a bit and continue to drag down our stock market – which continues to underperform against overseas markets.

        In sunny QLD, Kev is right, over 30 per cent of us voted for a minor party. Yet, with preferences, only a few seats went to the minor parties. This is how democracy works here, not.

        Re seeing a Jacinda type. No, I don’t think so, the idea of a Labor (there is a reason the party uses the American spelling) Party supporting the working class and the poor again has gone (left in the 80s) as they’ve accepted political donations which limit how progressive they can be.

        And, unlike UK Labour, the leader and most of the preselections are picked from within, no voting by the rank and file members.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I thought Malcolm should just let it ride with the coddling of the banks, he’s going down in a year or so anyway.

          The ire of the populace is tangible, with a taxpayer-supported industry running roughshod over laws and decency while earning bonuses kings and princes would be proud to call their own.
          But who cares? Ramming corporo-neo-fascism down the throats of the plebes is the trend almost everywhere, and by pretending he cares Malcolm just shines a bright light on the teensy tiny “middle way” needle he tried to thread the whole time.

          Better to just go full billionaire monopolist robber baron than make a pathetic last-ditch attempt to show people how “reasonable” or “responsive” or “caring” he is.

          1. norm de plume

            ‘The ire of the populace is tangible, with a taxpayer-supported industry running roughshod over laws and decency while earning bonuses kings and princes would be proud to call their own.’

            Check this as a measure of ‘the ire of the populace’. In 30 years, the singular Peter Fitzsimons has never had a reaction to a column like he did last week when he shredded the NSW government’s ‘case’ for spending 2 billion on rebuilding two seldom filled sports stadiums, while imposing austerity on health, education, transport etc.

        2. dcrane

          It remains to be seen whether Jacinda does much to challenge the neoliberal order of her predecessor. She is cheerleading for the TPP now, for starters.

          (but I’ll give them some credit for initial signs of meaningful changes on purchases of farmland by nonresidents)

        3. norm de plume

          ‘Empty’ – very good. A mate has taken to referring to the capital as ‘Can’tberra’

          Re the prospect of the banks via the Liberals turning the Royal Commission into an effective damage control exercise, Gittins today is good.

      2. norm de plume

        ‘Could a Jacinda type ever be a PM in Oz’

        Perhaps in time but right now we don’t have anyone remotely resembling a Bernie or a Jeremy or a Jacinda. As they have risen I must have moaned to friends a dozen times, ‘where is our analogue?’

        Well, we did have Julia Gillard for a bit. She was vilified by our shock jock-heavy, mostly Murdoch-owned media, and white-anted relentlessly by the odious Kevin Rudd. And she wasn’t really in the Ardern ballpark, progressive policy-wise.

        But then, the neoliberal worm has turned a fair bit since her tenure, making a red in too tooth and claw stance far more plausible for left party leaders, and as Turnbull (the 200 million dollar man) shows, increasingly a necessity for the right wing.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Not so in the wretched Honduras:

      Erratic behavior by the electoral commission since the polls closed has lent credibility to the opposition’s allegations of fraud. The commission, which is controlled by allies of President Juan Orlando Hernández, suspended the counting of ballots early Monday after Salvador Nasralla pulled ahead by almost five percentage points.

      Counting resumed a day and a half later, on Tuesday afternoon, and the gap steadily began to close. After Mr. Nasralla signed the O.A.S. agreement [to respect the commission’s results], the commission’s computer went dark again. The commission’s president said the server was overloaded.

      Mr. Nasralla’s early lead in the election was a surprise. As president, the conservative Mr. Hernández, 49, had established control over all the branches of government, including the electoral commission. His handpicked Supreme Court lifted the Constitution’s ironclad presidential term limit, and his allies in the media assured largely favorable coverage.

      His allies in the media assured largely favorable coverage” — like the NYT’s ten months of pure fantasy on behalf of “Her Turn” Hillary, after endorsing her in Jan 2016.

    2. meher Baba Fan

      Hey Rev Kev. Well that all sounds very admirable about the voting oversight. I do however recall the story of white atheist friends living in suburbs known for being extremely Muslim dense in Melbourne, when Howard was up for re election. Known for his romance with Prez. W.B and anti Muslim stance.
      They went to the polling booth and were told that no votes from that suburb (polling location) were to be counted. What if they went to another polling place? They were still registered for that suburb so their vote would not be counted. I cant remember how it came up but I think they were quizzing the attendee about how it worked, and learnt the underlying situation. My friends were utterly devestated by the bursting of their idealism in democracy. Ruined.
      A journalist wrote a book about election fraud by the liberal party ( Howards party) in those years which I came across in the library once

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nothing would surprise me about the John Howard years. He extended his years in office by turning Aussies against Muslims and adopting the policies of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. He would refuse to leave until not only was he personally turfed out of a safe seat, but he took damn near his whole party with him. By the end he tried something new by trying to turn Aussies against black Africans in Australia (huh?) and trying to jail some poor hapless Muslim doctor on terrorist charges in a guilt by association tactic. One team of comedians had their own views of him refusing to leave in the following clip and John Howard is the short old garden gnome-like bloke. As you can see, he is not on my Christmas card list

    1. Meher Baba Fan

      petal- powerful legs? can you explain? ( i would have said abdominals )
      I am reminded of an excellent documentary titled The Vikings by the BBC. In three parts. I sourced it on DVD. when examing skeletal or fossilised remains, it was amazing how much commentary could be offerred upon the persons utility, identity and respective physical traits ‘ This one was a rower, the bones are thicker in this area from repetitive strain’ ‘ this one wielded an axe ‘. really fascinating and enlightening

      1. petal

        Your arms/hands should be…like hooks on the oar. You are mostly using your legs to push (in the drive phase). Novice rowers get yelled at by their coach for pulling hard with their arms instead of using their legs. There’s a lot out there on the web if you do a search. The seats in the boat slide, see, so it goes 1)push hard(explosive) with your legs, 2) lean your back back, 3)then arms. Rowers look like they have strong arms because it’s a full body exercise and they’re athletes(you don’t work on just one part of the body, right?), but their quads are sick if you look closer-much more power there than in the arms. Legs are where it’s at in rowing. I was watching a guy last night on an erg who obviously had never rowed before-all he was doing was pulling with his arms, and he also wasn’t having a slower recovery like one should. It was like he was trying to blow up the rowing machine like a he-man. I almost said something but since he was trying so hard to show off I just walked away when I was finished with my 2k.

        I am interested in osteoarchaeology, too. It’s so neat! Very interesting stuff. If I got a second chance at life maybe I’d go into that!

        1. meher Baba Fan

          Thanks for the comprehensive reply. ‘ their Quads are sick’ haha. I am familiar with rowing machines in the gym, the moving seat explains it of course. Reminds me of boxing where by the strength in a punch or rather , the force, comes from the legs. I was thinking of actual rowing where, to my awareness the seat doesnt move. Anyway you have me interested in rowing now.Find the Vikings doc on Netflix :-). peace from France xo

          1. Enquiring Mind

            Boxing advice: put some hip into it.
            Baseball (hitting) advice: hip rotation.
            Both require awareness of how to apply all that lower body power.

            1. Chris

              Same with golf, tennis – any sport where you are using one dominant hand to mimic the action of skipping a stone…

        2. Anonymous2

          Good stuff Petal.

          Readers will have noticed that most top oarsmen are very tall. The advantage lies with those who have very long legs and can therefore maximize the length and power of their stroke. I once knew an Olympic Gold medallist. He was about 6 ft 8. with very long arms and legs . On the rowing machine he could deliver so much power that the far end lifted off the ground with each stroke. Astonishing to watch.

          1. petal

            Yes on the tallness. It means a lot better leverage. I got cut from my first university team-they cut every single person under 5’9″ no matter how good your technique or splits were. I ended up at another university a year later and started a team there.
            And diptherio, thank you much for clarifying! I guess I have a one track mind.

        3. WJ

          These comments (and the one noted in the link itself) are to the point. Relative measures of “strength” cannot so easily be quantified in this way. Not only because, as a couple people have pointed out, rowing is an endurance exercise whereas delivering one, or two, or five, heavy blows (or doing one, or two, or five near-maximal effort bicep curls) is, neurologically, a completely different thing altogether, for it involves the recruitment of way more muscle fibers than does the former. Also, because rowing is a learned movement in which technique makes a difference, and in which right technique disperses strain through the legs and lower back much more than through the arms alone, it is hard to see why the arms of rowers are of much comparative use for the present purposes.

          Which leads to a bigger problem in “exercise science” as a whole. That being that even peer-reviewed scholarship in the field refuses to differentiate between, say, doing actual barbell squats and doing smith-machine squats or, god forbid, leg presses. Anybody who has trained by doing actual barbell squats correctly, and who has also done smith-squats and/or leg presses, will tell you there is simply no way adequately to compare the relative difficulty of these exercises. Actual barbell squats are much, much harder, and work many many more muscles than either smith-machine squats or presses, etc. And so weight-units compared across the exercises are pretty useless. The problem is that you have lots of exercise scientists who have no actual experience training in these ways, and so they are simply blind these differences.

          And anyway, arm muscles are relatively small in mass compared with the muscles of the posterior chain, back, quads and pectorals. People who are strong overall are strong overall because these muscles are strong, not because their biceps or triceps are strong. (And the way that biceps and triceps get strong is by doing compound movements involving the bigger muscle groups listed above.)

          So I think that while these questions are certainly interesting and worth pursuing, the way of pursuing them in this piece is not especially helpful.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            This is a great comment and agree with the general point, that movements done with free weights are both neurologically and muscularly more taxing and thus produce “better” results in terms of muscle development as well as translating into functional movement (sports performance, how you manage your body in your daily life). Smith machines are a pet peeve of mine. For squats in particular, they impose an unnatural movement pattern. I don’t understand the point of them, save maybe for chest presses (the many places you can rack the the weight means someone might be able to work without a spotter at closer to their max strength safely than with a regular bench press with an Olympic bar) and even then only very occasionally.

            However, apparently in the last decade, there has been a great increase in academic work on weight training, and some of it is much more specific (in terms of protocols tested and results) than typical “exercise’ studies. The old research was largely based on cardio training, where you don’t have many parameters to deal with. As you suggest, MDs who don’t know sports/athletic technique or weight training principles aren’t good at designing studies that get at issues related to athletic performance and aren’t even much interested (you see studies like “We had elderly patients weight train 3 times a week” and have no idea what it really amounted to).

            The best research on weight training is in German. Charles Poliqin, arguably the top strength and conditioning coach in the world (he has trained and rehabbed more Olympic medalists than anyone) learned German (he already read French) to read the medical research on weight training.

      2. Ames Gilbert

        As a former rower who raced shells (4s and 8s), I confirm that it is ‘largely in the legs’. Most of the stroke is made during the slide, as one straightens the legs, with the arms making the most of the last of the momentum of the oar and finally lifting it out of the water and twisting for the return. It is still good to have the best arms and shoulders (and core) you can develop, every bit helps.
        Sliding seats are a relatively recent invention by George Warren, coach of the world champion Ned Hanlan of Toronto, Canada, in the 1870s. So when studying the arms of ancient vs modern oarsmen, one is not comparing apples and oranges. Without a sliding seat, one mostly uses the arms. With a sliding seat, the legs. Also, longer oars on riggers were developed to complement the sliding seat, which amplified the distance the blade travelled and allowed more power for longer—if you were athletic enough.
        I imagine the arms and upper bodies of full–time rowers in ancient times, those powering military and commercial ships, would put any modern bodybuilder to shame.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg’s editors bang the propaganda drum against the Putin threat:

    After years of focusing on the Russian military threat to its eastern border, Europe is now awakening to the grand scope of Vladimir Putin’s expansionist dreams. It’s a welcome, if belated, realization.

    The U.S. has rightly urged its European partners to do more for NATO, including meeting the requirement to spend 2 percent of their budgets on the military. But it’s hard to imagine Pesco [a separate EU military organization] would be anything but duplicative of NATO’s existing command structure.

    If allowed to go forward, Pesco would simply put needless pressure on the trans-Atlantic alliance. You know who would love that? Vladimir Putin.

    Although the anglophile Michael Bloomberg who maintains a $25 million mansion in London may not have personally scribbled this atlanticist nonsense, he surely would approve of it (as moi heroically struggles not to barf breakfast.)

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Putin and his krewe do have expansionist dreams…they are desperate to convince russian men to be nicer to Russian women to hopefully make more babies and expand to the EAST before russia wakes up one morning and finds the chinese have decided to emigrate to a few time zones east of the urals just north of Mongolia…

    2. WJ

      Not to get all tin-foil hatty on this issue, but it bears pointing out that one historically important feature of NATO was that it enabled the CIA and MI6 to leave behind (or recruit) teams of operators in those countries that would serve the interest of the “West” (i.e.big business) by keeping any country from veering politically too far toward the “Left.” This aspect of NATO was known as Operation Gladio and it is not a conspiracy but a verifiable historical fact. One thing that these operators would do is undermine left political movements in the host countries by various means, and so forth.

      This is why NATO must remain even after its “purported” reason for existing–the USSR–no longer does. The real aim–or at least A real aim–of NATO was never so much to limit the USSR as to limit and undermine the leftward drifting social democratic movements of post-war Europe. Again, PART of why these movements were to be undermined was the fear that behind every labor union and worker’s movement there was a Soviet Communist, but this was only part of it. Even IF these unions and movements were not State Communist enterprises, they were nonetheless bad for the “West” because they undermined its “stability”–i.e. the fundamentally oligarchic and corporate structure of the US and UK.

      So NATO must remain to protect the West from populist democracy, which is probably more dangerous than Soviet Communism in any case. :)

      1. WJ

        I.E. To understannd NATO you have to understand, that, yes, the CIA really DID try to assassinate Charles de Gaulle after he kicked them out of the country…

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      How dare Putin attempt to increase the influence, wealth, and prestige of his country.

      Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to be a vassal like Yeltsin?

      The idea of a newspaper owned by a billionaire in the nation with military bases in 189 countries all around the world talking about someone else’s “expansionist dreams” is hypocrisy writ large. I hope I can emigrate before the empire collapses. It will happen in a hurry once it starts unraveling.

  9. divadab

    Re: Garrison Keillor fired from MPR – fired and all business terminated based on one allegation? Where is the due process? This man’s reputation and continuing income has been trashed utterly by a pusillanimous organization which will never receive another dime from me.

    What a lack of judgement. What a crock. Disgusting.

    1. Lee

      If Keillor’s version of the event in question is true, and it is indeed the only one, then at this point I would agree. This might be a cowardly replay of the Dems abandoning ACORN.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s unfortunate that at this point many of us don’t know, and might not know for a long time or forever, in many cases.

        Will there be legal actions?

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Hopefully the court case will be the great author and storyteller Garrison Keillor v. MPR, APR and his accuser for destroying his reputation at age 75.

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        I worked with a young lady years ago who filled a complaint against a guy who she said looked like an ex who had stalked and harassed her. She knew very well it wasn’t the same guy, but said she couldn’t work with him. HR called him in, spoke with him, he was very confused, started to worry about his job. We were all very happy when she left.

        1. Lee

          So, these employers forced this guy and other employees to work with her? Perhaps they were being compassionate and hoped things would work out? OTOH, there’s a big difference between supporting a disturbed victim and allowing said victim to inflict her pain on innocent bystanders.

        2. Enquiring Mind

          There have been grifters out and about since time immemorial. The ease of internet research and increasing difficulty of staying unknown will expose more of them but not without that impersonal-sounding yet very personal collateral damage.

          My buddy paid $100K in absolutely unnecessary legal fees to defend himself against false accusations by a serial grifter. She was exposed and left the company where they both worked, but not before ruining lives and shattering morale before moving on to her next prey. During the internal investigations, people discovered that she had pulled the same shakedown stunts at a prior company in the same industry a few time zones away. I met her, a chilling experience.

          1. RUKidding

            I’ve witnessed something similar in two prior jobs. It definitely happens.

            I also had a friend accused of abusing a child in his class (he was a teacher). He definitely had not done so, and he was eventually exonerated. But it was really a terrible and stressful thing for him.

            Just saying that not everyone who says they’ve been abused/groped/whatever is necessarily telling the truth.

          2. Lee

            I was on the board of a non-profit that operated a half-way house for people who had had a psychiatric hospitalization. The founder-director was, in my opinion falsely, accused of sexual harassment by a young woman. We paid her $10K to go away. Turns out she was a member of a network of gay gal grifters, known to be operating in our area.

            1. a different chris

              “Gay Gal Grifters” … didn’t want you to think that turn of phrase was unappreciated!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I don’t believe for a second that the “news” of these crimes by powerful males comes as a shocking “surprise” to any of these organizations, regardless of their claims of complete ignorance of the longstanding situations to the contrary.

      I also think the public is being completely played when the female cohosts of some of these men tearfully “wrangle” with the conflicted feelings of “love” for their dear, close friends who have committed such reprehensible acts and of which they had absolutely no inkling.

      It’s all the same cynical crock that created the carefully cultivated, now unceremoniously destroyed, fake squeaky-clean personae in the first place. A total CYA exercise that is the only rational choice when an asset becomes a liability.

      Make no mistake, all of these guys would still be pulling down their multi-millions as the guy next door during the day while waving their junk in women’s faces (or worse) the rest of the day, if Rose McGowan had not unleashed the mob by dropping the dime on weinstein.

      PS. Poor john conyers is “in the hospital” and “resting comfortably” as a result of the intense media scrutiny of his iconic underwear. Color me verklempt. Not.

      1. Marco

        RE Conyers (Pelosi just called for him to resign)

        I had no clue he was 88 years old! Civil rights rockstar status aside…is it “ageist” to suggest that is a rather advanced age for any leadership position?

        1. Lee

          If you want to hear Gwen Moore rip the interviewer a new one, listen to the following. Greene starts to criticize the Black Caucus for its failure to sanction Conyers. She start with, “As someone who was raped at age four….” and goes on from there.

          David Greene talks to Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, about Rep. John Conyers, who says he will fight allegations of sexual harassment. Moore is the Congressional Black Caucus whip.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The average age of our politicians, and the average number of years in service in Washington DC, accumulatively, are indicative of the entrechedness, the rigidity of the system.

          My guess is we are at or near all time highs with respect to those 2 averages.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Lauer was supposedly an open secret for years. A button under his desk that quietly locks the door to his office? ICK.

        Which makes the “we’re so crestfallen” act of his former Today co-workers all the more vile.

    3. JTMcPhee

      I’m guessing Keillor has just passed his use-by date, his stuff is stale, his former audience is either distracted, dissipated or deceased, and his pay package and residuals and such costs a lot of money to the Rulers who actually own the “public radio and TV” machinery and staff.

      “Never let a crisis go to waste.” “Fortune passes everywhere.”

      1. Lee

        Keillor’s income and net worth are pretty modest. I doubt he represents much of a drain on MPR resources. This is either a case of egregious misbehavior by Keillor (which at present I doubt) or craven cowardice on MPR’s part.

        1. sd

          Someone gets fired when they become a liability ($$) for a company. It’s not altruism that’s leading the charge, it’s just business. Weinstein finally fell because the outing of his behavior meant that not another single project would hit the screen with the Weinstein brand on it. No one wants to be identified as standing with Weinstein.

          I would love to see advances in society stop this type of behavior based on a new found sense of responsibility. But I am too cynical.

          1. RUKidding

            I agree that it’s “just business,” but it does seem as if MPR acted quite precipitously under the circumstances.

            Of course, I keep hearing about the alleged fabulousness of NPR’s (not sure whether also MPR or not) new “sponsor” Koch “Family” Industries. I’d wager that it’s the sponsors/1% owners who’re very keen to see Democratic-supporting Garrison Keillor get the boot.

    4. Lee

      Didn’t know that. Gotta source? I just read some comments by a woman who has worked closely with him for many years, and she was surprised by the allegation.

    5. RUKidding

      Does Keillor have a reputation for this type of thing? If so, first time I’ve heard about it (not that that means much). Do you have links about other such incidents?

      I agree that this is entirely possible, but all of a sudden I’m reading comments like this on various blogs about how Keillor is “known” to be predatory. If that’s the case, it would sure be helpful to have some corroborating information.

      1. Lee

        Keillor has made some comments that will probably enrage some. He used the term “mania” to describe the spate of recent accusations and the resulting media coverage and commentary. He also did an op ed defending Al Franken. Day after that he was fired. Not being subject to hyperventilating moral panic under circumstance such as these can be deemed heretical by some. We have degrees for many crimes including murder; we have due process, proportional punishment and reparations for dealing with them. We need these standards and processes for instances of sexual misconduct. They need to be taken very seriously.

        1. Lee

          Also, re “mania”

          Let us not forget the McMartin preschool trial. A real media circus and legal shit show that ruined lives, cost the tax payers millions, and was based on false allegations derived from so-called recovered memories of children.

          McMartin Defendant Who ‘Lost Everything’ in Abuse Case Dies at 74
          Court: Peggy McMartin Buckey and her son were acquitted in the sensational Manhattan Beach case.

    6. Brian

      The accusations are hearsay until proven, but it looks like we have forgotten law in most of its forms to have a good old fashioned witch hunt. Let investigation and facts take the place of innuendo or we will have wars with everyone everywhere. The ones that resign appear to be saying they are guilty or know they can not spend their life savings fighting claims. But which is is?

    7. Edward E

      A beautiful woman I work with, we flirt and carry on like we’ve known each other forever. So one day I go into the terminal and she’s having a bad day or something. Can’t recall what it was about but she was kinda rude or thought she was. Later she comes over where I’m at and wraps her arm around my shoulders and apologized for whatever it was. I reached up to wrap my arm around her and tell her I didn’t take it that way and my arm went straight up her back underneath her blouse. Total accident, just one of those days when unintended things happen.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Comrade running dogs like you must report immediately to the Committee for the Purification of Bourgeois Gender Thoughtcrime, there you will be struggled and your historical gender errors will be expunged. You will learn to sing the revolutionary model opera “I Used to Be a Man but Now I Am Reformed”.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      The beatings will continue until the donor dollars dry up. But why would they? Most of them are republican wolves on policies that matter who cloak themselves in social-justice-virtue-signaling-sheeps-clothing (Hi, Harvey et al!) to seem “progressive”.

      If only there were a massively popular leftist in favor of Health Care for All who could raise huge amounts of money without the donor class…

      1. John k

        Yeah… but if there was somebody like that, what party should he/ she run in?
        Consider trump campaigned with working class promises, and won the rep nom… maybe our hero should run as a rep, seems to have a more open and democratc party.

  10. Jim Haygood

    An earnest utopian floats a social wealth fund scheme in the NYT:

    Another way to bring assets into the fund would be to modify the way the Federal Reserve pumps money into the economy. Currently, the central bank does that by buying up Treasury bonds.

    If instead we used newly created money to buy up stocks that are then deposited into the social wealth fund, it would gradually socialize wealth ownership without the need to raise taxes on anyone.

    These kinds of asset purchases could also be ramped up during recessions, allowing the federal government to acquire significant portions of the national wealth relatively cheaply while also stabilizing financial markets and stimulating the economy.

    Using public money to ramp stocks: that train has already left the station. That’s how we got Bubble III.

    Yet the author probably opposes investing Social Security in equities, which would accomplish the same goals in an existing statutory vehicle without “printing money” to fund purchases.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another way is for the Fed to buy people’s IRS debt.

      In theory, the people can owe (that is, borrow) as much as the people want, to the IRS, without being jailed. (Congress has the sovereign authority to make it so).

      At some point, there occurs hyper-inflated rage at the service agency. And it might want to go after the people.

      But if the Fed buys, taking some amount off the Treasury’s books, then, the people can borrow more from the IRS, or Congress can up the ceiling.

      Here the IRS sort of acts like the People’s Bank, with debts as account entries on their computer…Robin Hood’s anti-Sheriff.

      1. Goyo Marquez

        That is a good, analogy. I’ve been trying to get people to hear for a while that the Federal governments spending money into existence is a tax. I see your analogy as being along the same lines.

    2. JTMcPhee

      How many times is this nonsense about putting SS wealth into the equities “market” going to get floated here? All that payroll-deduction pre-deposited retirement money that we workaday mopes earn by, you know, working, dumped into the cheating, lying, fraud-generating paws of Wall Street? One has to ask how Mr. Haygood, who is subtle and wise in the realm of investments (SIC: more correctly, “exposure to risk,” except for those with special knowledge or insider position) might expect to personally benefit from dumping the trillions of EARNED wealth (including the ’employers share,’ which is really just part of the employee’s compensation, of course) into the Casino racket he excoriates or at least pontificates on in other comments?

      “Using public money to ramp stocks”: Is that a no-no, sir, or not? If it’s a bad thing, when done via giving wealth to rich people, presumably like yourself, through the way money is currently created, to let them spin up and leverage the machinery that generates that Bubble III or whatever number we are on, why is it a good thing to essentially steal all that wealth, that now “public” money, that working people worked to earn, and put it in the hands of a subset of the rich people in the equities racket, to bleed off into fees and all the other “market” scams and frauds that NC documents so well? Maybe “invest” it in a nice string of Juiceros? And when the mopes complain, shunt them into individual arbitration under stacked-deck rules, and remind them of the small print stuff about “hey, there are winners and there are losers, and Mr. Muppet, you are a loser.”

      At least you kind of acknowledge that shoving the SS “money,” that gets paid off I believe by having to feed it through the other money-creation machine, “would accomplish the same goals” as the “printing money” system you currently benefit from.

      Aren’t there some guidelines here about repetitive posting of certain kinds of stuff?

      1. JeffC

        There is also a rule about ad hominem attacks, which you violate above as in earlier cases by presuming various negative attributes on the part of a commenter with whom you disagree.

  11. JCC

    Regarding the AFL-CIO article on Outsourcing and the Tax Bill, does anyone know if the Tax Bill also exempts individuals from taxes on overseas income? Or does this apply to Corporations/Businesses only?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Looking for another reason to get angry about the tax “reform,” or for help with a personal loophole?

      1. JCC

        Your question seems to have been put in a slightly biased way :-) But I’ll answer it honestly.

        12 years ago, when serving in Iraq, it would have been the latter reason, whether the loophole that already exists will continue to exist, i.e., the first $90K or so is exempt from Federal Income Tax.

        Today it is for the first reason you mentioned, except not to get angry, but to discover whether Corporate America is, as usual, being treated differently under the law than individual citizens are being treated. Has the exemption been removed or continued or matches that of U.S. Corporations?

        I thought it was a fair question. I honestly do not know and since I don’t have the time necessary to pour through the Bill since I work 9 to 10 hours a day and have more than enough to keep me busy on my off-time.

        I’m hoping someone has already looked and knows the answer.

  12. jfleni

    RE: Websites use your CPU to mine cryptocurrency even when you close your browser.

    All the more reason to AVOID the usual software monopoly!

    1. Croatoan

      True. That.

      I bought a Thinkcentre M90 for $70, threw in a 120GB SSD for $60, installed Linux Mint 18.3, and I have no worries. Well, mostly no worries.

  13. Wukchumni

    The US Coast Guard is operating floating prisons in the Pacific Ocean, outside US legal protections Public Radio International

    Manifest: destiny unknown.

  14. Bugs Bunny

    The caterpillar picture is terrific!

    I did some quick looking around and it’s actually an Automeris Larra – Saturniid is the family. Lives in South America.

    Here are photos of both the caterpillar and the adult moth.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Lobster found with Pepsi logo ‘tattoo’ fuels fears over ocean litter Guardian (YY). Eeek.

    How big is a googolplex?

    Most people can fathom large numbers.

    The oceans seem capable of absorbing infinite amount of garbage. We treat the land or air portion of Nature the same way.

    Not necessarily in theory, but in practical terms, we thought mistakenly we can borrow from the material world without constrain.

    We also live in a material world of the economics ‘science.’ That material world puts constrain on any theory, just as friction puts constrains on idealized models of physics.

    We don’t say ‘you can roll that ball and it will keep going forward’ because there is heat loss.

    In the material world we live in, can we say we can inject unlimited amount of money into the economic material (not the theoretical) world? Do we modify our theoretical claim to a more realistic one (the government can spend as much as possible, vs. the government can spend a lot)?

  16. Carla

    Re: Tax Bill — Called Sen. Rob Portman’s Cleveland office just now — “Sorry, the mailbox is full and there is not enough room to leave a message.” Called his D.C. office — “Sorry, the number you have called is temporarily not in service.”

    I will try his stupid email form on his idiotic Senate web site.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Always remember George Carlin:

      There’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.

      Those phone numbers and email addresses are just pressure release valves for your anger. Like steam, it goes into the atmosphere and then….nothing changes.

      1. Carla

        Well, Yves urged us to call our Republican senators. So since Portman is not accepting calls, I did send an email.

  17. allan

    Convicted ex-coal exec releases first ad in Senate campaign [The Hill]

    Former coal executive Don Blankenship has launched his campaign for the United States Senate with an advertisement asserting his innocence in a mine disaster that killed 29.

    Blankenship’s ad, posted online Wednesday night, alleges that the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, for which he has been blamed, was actually “Obama’s deadliest coverup,” and specifically implicates Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). …

    This doesn’t quite have the intellectual heft of Edward Teller claiming that he was the only victim of Three Mile Island, but makes up for that with its in-your-face brazenness.
    It’ll be interesting to see how many votes Blankenship gets.

        1. Pat

          I would also guess that his natural constituency beyond the CEO class would be people who are or have friends and family dependent on coal for making their living. Pretty damn sure they know whom to blame for the disaster. This is one case where the tribalism is unlikely to work with a significant portion of the electorate.

  18. allan

    As predicted, the #GOP_Resistance start folding like cheap pocket Constitutions:



    “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill.”

    Please tell Mr. DeMille that Bob Corker is ready for his closeup.

    If only the other party had run an electable candidate who might have vetoed this monstrosity …

    1. RUKidding

      McCain’s family stands to gain from this tax bill. Probably the same for Corker. So why should they vote against their own interests? They have no morals, ethics or scruples, and they are all very greedy and entitled.

      It’s all a case of “I got MINE!!! Eff you, peons.”

      1. Arizona Slim

        McCain’s wife’s family owns Hensley Distributing. They’re in the alcohol distribution business here in AZ. And they have the nicest delivery vans in the business.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Robots Threaten Bigger Slice of Jobs in US, Other Rich Nations Wired (David L)

    I eagerly await the first robot-that-incorporates-itself-as-personhood mayor.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Shoot I thought writing that up and therefore didn’t put it in Links. The losses are ginormous, $1.5 billion in one quarter, yet the press is focusing on the Waymo trial instead.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s like Amazon, which a NYU Stern professor opined “has negotiated a new and different relationship with capital markets relative to their profitability”

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The US Coast Guard is operating floating prisons in the Pacific Ocean, outside US legal protections Public Radio International (furzy). Holy shit.

    That’s only one possibility to avoid any nation’s protections.

    1. floating medical clinics…what regulations should apply?
    2. floating cocaine direct-from-shipboard-lab-to-consumers factories?
    3. floating marijuana farms and 5-star resorts?
    4. floating banks (anything goes)6
    5. floating germ warfare research centers
    6. floating garment factories…what min. wage?

    1. Arizona Slim

      ISTR reading that William F. Buckley had pot parties on his yacht. Before lighting up, he and his guests made sure that they were in international waters.

      1. Huey Long

        Sounds apocryphal to me after reading 14 U.S. Code § 89 – Law enforcement:

        “(a) The Coast Guard may make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the United States. For such purposes, commissioned, warrant, and petty officers may at any time go on board of any vessel subject to the jurisdiction, or to the operation of any law, of the United States, address inquiries to those on board, examine the ship’s documents and papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and use all necessary force to compel compliance. When from such inquiries, examination, inspection, or search it appears that a breach of the laws of the United States rendering a person liable to arrest is being, or has been committed, by any person, such person shall be arrested or, if escaping to shore, shall be immediately pursued and arrested on shore, or other lawful and appropriate action shall be taken; or, if it shall appear that a breach of the laws of the United States has been committed so as to render such vessel, or the merchandise, or any part thereof, on board of, or brought into the United States by, such vessel, liable to forfeiture, or so as to render such vessel liable to a fine or penalty and if necessary to secure such fine or penalty, such vessel or such merchandise, or both, shall be seized.”

        In other words, if the USCG felt like boarding Buckley’s US flagged yacht full of US citizens they’re well withing the bounds of federal law.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In the future, or maybe even now, one can set up a fictitious business on the Lunar Republic or the Principality of Mars and fly its flag.

    2. Huey Long

      USCG vet here, got out about a decade ago.

      The holding of prisoners aboard ship offshore has been going on for years, this isn’t anything new. We used to routinely hold drug traffickers and migrants on the flight deck underneath a collapsible canopy for days and occasionally weeks.

      We only had traffickers once and because we were operating a helo we dumped them off on another ship shortly after we got them.

      Hatians and Dominicans used to be returned to their respective countries within a week or so of being picked up, while Cubans usually stayed on board way longer until ICE could fly somebody out to hear their cases. Some Cubans were sent back, some ended up at Gitmo in limbo, and others received asylum in the US.

  21. Fred1

    As to the Garrison Keillor case, the following is speculation and other readers may have more info and better insight.

    I think this comment upthread may be very close to what’s going on: “his pay package and residuals and such costs a lot of money.” I think this because MPR stated that it will change the name of the Chris Thile hosted show going forward.

    So who owns the intellectual property? It seems like Keillor does. If so, this is not a firing as that term is commonly understood, but rather a failed renegotiation of a contract. Keillor announced that he had been fired first.

    Since his retirement from the regular show, he has done both a live solo tour and a live stripped down version of the regular show called the Love and Comedy Tour, accompanied by Fred Newman, Rich Dworsky, Heather Masse, and a back-up band. Other than no guest acts, it is for all intents and purposes the same as the regular show. The advertisements reference PHC and PCH is referred to from the stage. I don’t know if he can or will continue these shows. One scheduled for the near future was canceled by the venue.

    It appears that MPR decided that keeping the name of the show and the use of the other IP wasn’t worth what they were paying. Maybe they had decided that before yesterday.

    I believe this is the end of PHC, which fits broadly within Keillor’s many riffs about aging and death. The Chris Thile version can be seen as maybe Keillor’s attempt to give PHC some sort of a second life. But with yesterday and the pending name change, I think it’s hopeless, notwithstanding Thile’s obvious talent. If Keillor continues, maybe he can somehow weave all of this into a Lake Woebegon monologue about death.

    1. Lee

      For good or ill, Thile is no Garrison Keillor. Codger that I am, I preferred the Garrison version of PHC. And at the moment, pending further developments, I tend to favor his side of the current dispute.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Latest idea to tackle Beijing’s smog? 15 million people waving giant fans South China Morning Post

    That sounds like Mao’s Great Leap Forward with its home-made, or rather, backyard steel furnaces.

  23. marym

    The NYT post referenced in the Links is a very good big picture look at what the “tax” bill does to our politics, economy, and society..

    2 more links

    How Tax Bills Would Reward Companies That Moved Money Offshore

    AARP: 5.2 million seniors could see taxes increased by GOP bill

    In an article published Wednesday on the group’s website, the AARP’s vice president and policy director argue that 1 in 5 seniors, about 6.3 million taxpayers, will see either no change or a tax increase in 2019 under the plan passed by the Senate Budget Committee. Of those individuals, 1.2 million people would get a tax hike.
    Another issue of concern for older Americans, the AARP says, is the automatic cuts to Medicare and other services under the GOP plan.

  24. readerOfTeaLeaves

    General observation: after coddling Trump for a very long time, more and more media seem to be (finally!) willing to speak up about Trump’s increasingly, alarmingly, erratic behavior.

    Morning Joe (msnbc) was pretty clear this morning:

    Yesterday, after Trump’s bizarre retweets from a right-wing Brit outfit, Ari Melber (msnbc) had ‘Art of the Deal’ author Tony Schwartz on his show[Nov 29]. Schwartz gave a clear, frank assessment of how severe Trump’s health issues may be. That program was followed several hours later by Lawrence O’Donnell’s interview of a former Harvard Med School psychologist explaining how Trump is probably going ‘in and out of’ reality.

    Apparently, the NY Daily News, which would be familiar with Trump over the years, got fed up after yesterday’s craziness, and (like Joe Scarborough and Lawrence O’Donnell and Ari Melber) ‘called the question’ on Trump’s health:

    For those of us who will be calling our Congressional reps today and tomorrow about the Tax Monstrosity, some of you may also want to ask why they are not seriously talking about removing a man from office who appears to be losing his grip on reality.

    This falls completely outside of partisan politics. Any of us who have had to deal with elderly relatives whose cognition can become impaired realize that partisan politics is actually not even relevant in this context. It’s really about whether or not people have the capacity to look out for the general welfare.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I hate to say this, but Trump’s behavior is starting to remind me of that of close relatives when their Alzheimers really got bad.

    2. Bill

      I have relatives (passed on now) who were rabidly bigoted, malignantly narcissistic and insecure and lived in a world like Trump’s. There are more people like that than you would think running around loose, and Trump seems to be gathering them all together to make their world view the new normal. I see the denial that this could ever happen as a huge problem. TPTB are more than willing to use Trump as a vehicle to further their purposes, (like the Kochs) IMO.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “…more people like that.”

        From John K’s very first comment at the top:

        Record number of stores closing, more than GR. And Sears/Kmart going soon, maybe January. Top and bottom end stores doing ok… middle class crashing.

        Yet, two days ago, it was reported the US consumer confidence was near the highest in 17 years.

        Middle class crashing, yet, there must be more people not experiencing that, for the consumer confidence to be like that.

        More people out there like that, than what we perceive the world to be here.

        I don’t often see the world the same as others, and I’ve learned to not argue endlessly, but to live with differences. So, I don’t know…how the heck can consumers be confident?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Then, you have October new home sales nearing 10 year high, reported 3 days ago.

            I am not sure who funded this other report.

            Two different entities would make that a conspiracy.

            1. Bill

              the technique of manipulating stock prices with rumors has been around for a long time–it’s just a technique, not a conspiracy. It’s always best to take news about statistics with a healthy dose of skepticism and knowledge of how statistics were reached.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                When it’s news, it’s not a rumor. And if people get together to produce false stats, that’d be conspiracy.

                Of course, it’s usually more subtle and not outright faking.

                So we go back to being skeptical.

                Usually, it becomes more credible, or less suspect, when you have two pieces of data (hopefully independent, but we have be skeptical here too), instead of one. That’s more or less math (0.9 x 0.9 is less than 0.9, for example, for two consecutive same outcomes.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I am not sure even if that is reliable.

                    I make a point, for example, not to ask if someone is a public employee, or a politician (or related to one), when discussing MMT or the government can spend as much as it can.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From links above:

      Time between world-changing volcanic super-eruptions less than previously thought PhysOrg (Chuck L)

      Volcano Super-Eruptions: How Long Before The Next One Wipes Out Civilization? International Business Times (Oregoncharles)

      Ancient Romans, near the end of their empire, knowing their civilization was to be wiped out, engaged in toga parties and orgies.

      They had Nero’s.

      Is this Trump’s mental health or something more broad, if he was re-tweeting others’ tweets?

  25. Lord Koos

    Your post about facebook and facial recognition hit home this morning. Earlier in the week I had shared an embarrassing photo of a Republican politician on facebook, a picture that could easily be found online. A day later I was informed that my facebook account had been disabled as a result of that post. Then, in order to get my account unlocked, I was asked to send proof of indentification which needed to include my name, date of birth, and a photo. I sent them a quick pic of my drivers license (with my address & license number blacked out), which apparently was too low-res for them to use for facial recognition, as they declared my identification “ineligible” and asked for it again. I think I’ll pass – I’ve been thinking about quitting the platform for awhile and this was the tipping point.

  26. Bill

    Facebook also wants your nude photos.

    I hope it’s OK to include this comment from that post.


    Lmao – even with the more detailed explanation – this is the dumbest shit yet I have seen come out of Facebook.

    Facebook would essentially be creating a repository of sensitive photos (regardless of how temporary that repository may be)
    Whenever a human is involved, there will be abuse. With 100% certainty, if humans are involved, one will eventually abuse their moderation power.
    Facebook is acting like their own network is the only one people use to post revenge porn. Facebook doing this has practically no effect on revenge porn being posted elsewhere
    We can’t even trust Facebook to identify and stop the spread of propaganda on their own platform, why in the hell should anyone trust Facebook to stop the spread of revenge porn, let alone identify it?

    No Facebook. Just no. The potential for catastrophic failure in this endeavor far far far outweighs the benefits.
    Posted on Nov 10, 2017 | 1:16 AM

    FB has about as much credibility with me as Trump’s “administration”. No wonder Zuckerberg is thinking of running for Prez.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Facebook wants lots of things these days.

      Does anyone else suspect that what they’re actually going to get is millions of photos of Rick Astley?

  27. Lord Koos

    The post about Facebook and facial recognition hit home this morning. Earlier in the week I had shared an embarrassing photograph of a Republican politician on FB, an image that is easily found online. As a result, a couple of days later my FB account was disabled. After I inquired, I was asked to provide proof of identification in order to unlock my account — they wanted an image of a document which included my name, a photograph, and my date of birth. I sent them a low-resolution photo of my drivers license with my address and license number blacked out. Luckily, it seems the photo was too low-res for proper facial recognition, as they are now asking for another image. I’d been thinking of leaving FB for awhile anyway, but this was the tipping point.

  28. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re Facebook CAPTCHA

    Yelp already requires a clear photo of your face to set up a commercial account. When I expressed alarm to colleagues-even peers-upon my discovery they were all totally nonchalant. Like, “Yeah, so?”

    I’m increasingly fearful of what my last 30ish years will be like. But thank you NC for providing a place of sanity. Reading here is a daily salve.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Isn’t it shocking how many people really don’t value their online privacy?

      When I hear people respond as such, I reply the Snowden quotation:
      “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

      1. HotFlash

        “Nothing to hide!”, they tell me. “Yeah”, I tell them, “Anne Frank’s parents probably thought the same.”

        Problem: Young person — who’s Anne Frank?

  29. dcblogger

    Yves, I would luv to know more about the Birmingham meetup. Did anyone mention the Senate race? Because I would really like to hear from people on the ground. Anyone from Alabama here?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We did discuss. One reader was from Gadsden, which is where Moore is from. BTW, the area where my mother lives has more Doug Jones signs out than I’ve ever seen for any candidate, and not a single Roy Moore sign. But the suburb she is in is upscale and one of the ones nearby has been gentified by gays. So not representative of the state.

      There is not a lot of fondness for Moore in Gadsden. However, the bottom line seems to be that there are a lot of Southern Baptists who are staunchly anti-abortion and will vote for Moore no matter what.

  30. Alex Morfesis

    2Lips moving as satoshi screams…my best guess is john nash(& friends) was satoshi…bitcoin…well…

    have a few friends that won’t talk to me since they were asking my thoughts at ten cents, thirty cents, about a buck, near five and then 25…& obviously told them it was insanity since the conversation came up when they would ask me and then ask me to meet with their “friend” who was already in it…the “friends” being a glorious assortment of gun nuts, drug fiends and other types you would not leave the care of a child(or drunken woman) to…however…

    It has sadly reached some type of critical mass, despite the dubious and patently criminal argument one can actually own a millibitcoin…but buying art (a 45 billion dollar per yr industry) & gaming are not things this commentator cares about either…

    seems not much is actually being commerced with these bitcoin codes as instruments…

    But…they have become some form of man made electronic synthetic jewel…

    300 billion per year in America is handed off to dubious charities while only about 100 billion per year is pushed into actual business start ups…

    The church of the holy electrons is now in session…all hail electricity and magnetism…the binding force of all matter…

  31. Edward E

    Trophy hunting and fishing have rarely ever appealed to me. I have a few trophy fish mounts on the wall of my living room, all are made of fiberglass from photos taken of big fish that were caught and released.

    Trophy animals get a pass by me, why not just make a replica? Take a photo and frame it beside the display and let the magnificent animal live. Many big game trophy exhibitions are replicas anyway.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also international flights are really bad for the environment.

      I haven’t flown in close to over 20 years.

      Then, a day or two ago, someone said fashion was even worse…more carbon emissions.

      For the Deplorables, they do little of either..are not fashion conscious, and don’t travel to broaden their minds.

    2. diptherio

      I’ve been an advocate of catch-and-release duck hunting for some time now, but despite a general public interest both in scuba-diving and in interacting with wildlife, it has yet to catch on. On the upside, there are, as yet, no license requirements…

      1. Edward E

        Hilarious! Bet them poor frightened ducks remember your ponds and never come back! Do you recommend that if someone tries catch & release duck hunting, should probably use decoys? Can you make a snorkel that doubles as a duck call? Sounds like a lot of fun!

  32. perpetualWAR

    Yves: Ahem, how do they have standing to raise this question? This would likely be a non-starter under common law procedures. Do civil law jurisdictions look at standing more expansively?

    Good question! However, as someone who’s been fighting unlawful foreclosure in the Superior and appellate courts in US, judges really don’t give a rat’s bottom (family blog) about standing anymore. The judges assume the party that shows up in court has standing. Full stop.

    It’s an incredibly depressing state of our judiciary. Perhaps EU has better legal standards, who knows?

    1. alex morfesis

      is it the judges who don’t understand standing in american foreclosure cases or the parties making the argument who don’t give a (family blog) about what is required to win a case…including lawyers who want to hand wave instead of layering the record so the court can be properly held to account on appeal if the ruling goes sideways…

      stop asking the jurists to be heros…the real world is not judge judy…

      and there is much injustice in the world from paltry and under performing counsel losing winning cases by not knowing what it takes to win…starting from the wondrous mistake most “genius” foreclosure defense parties trip over by not even understanding the note belongs to the homeowner/property owner since they are the “maker” of the instrument…

      which is why historically, the note on a home loan was required to be surrendered to the “maker” to be “voided”…the homeowner, since it was their note…

      that the lender provides the form and asks the homeowner to execute the document does not make the loan the banks originally…

      the bank exchanges currency or currency credits in return for the note the homeowner/property owner “makes”…only after that “payment” does the instrument get transferred to the lending sources for consideration given.

  33. Oregoncharles

    From the Richard North article: “Between them, under questioning from the chair, from Conservative MP (former Colonel) Bob Stewart and Lady Hermon (Independent), they affirmed that the UK would take no steps to harden the Northern Irish border after Brexit, even if we crash out without a deal. This is picked up by the Irish Times which quotes Walker at length. ”

    Clive was right.

  34. The Rev Kev

    Get Ready for Concealed Guns in All 50 States

    Well that should be good news for the polices forces of America. Before, when they stopped a car, there is always the question of whether anyone in that car has a gun or not. Now it has been simplified. It will be ALL of them now.

  35. ewmayer

    o “Prehistoric women had stronger arms than today’s elite rowing crews PhysOrg (Chuck L). This is not as surprising as the authors make out. Rowing is an endurance sport.” — So are most daily activities of the subsistence/hunter-gatherer lifestyle such as pounding grains into flour, cleaning and processing animal hides, and carrying infants around. I’ve found a useful tiny-taste of this sort of exertion using rather more-recent household implements is to grind a hopper full of coffee beans using one of those old-style wooden-box coffee grinders. Then try to imagine around 100x that exertion, done on a daily basis. Old-fashioned hand laundry is another useful ‘endurance sport’ exemplar.

    o “Moody’s Warns Cities to Address Climate Risks or Face Downgrades Bloomberg (J-LS)” — Moody’s should just get it over with already, by replacing ‘cities’ with ‘humankind’.

    o “Uber says claims about spy unit came from disgruntled manager Financial Times.” — Classic misdirection via ad hominem “consider the source” argumentation. One is supposed to conclude that disgruntled equates to “making stuff up”. Rather like the DNC accusing the Deporable Rooskies of hacking Podesta’s e-mails in order to distract from the *content* of same, whose veracity the DNC never disputed. Thankfully judge Alsup called Uber out on precisely these grounds.

  36. Jen

    Prehistoric women had stronger arms than today’s elite rowing crews…I call BS.

    Rowing is a lower body sport. The sliding seat in the shell allows the rower to use the largest muscle groups (legs, followed by back) to propel the boat. The arms serve mainly as a connection point between those large muscle groups and the oar.

    As to endurance vs sprinting, there are two forms of racing events in rowing: 1) sprints, which involve distances of 2K for collegiate and international competition, and 1K for the “masters” (i.e., old farts) on the mistaken premise that the shorter distance is easier, and 2) head races, which are distances of 2-3 miles or more.

    Sprints are a special form of joy which, yes, given the distance relative to running, require endurance, but also the ability to tolerate oxygen deficit – that inevitable point where you consume more oxygen than you produce. For me, as a “master” rowing a 1K, the first 250m is fun, by the second I think I’m going to die, and by the third, my main worry is that I won’t die soon enough…and there’s still another 250K to go. I three mile race is much less painful, oddly enough.

    David Halberstam’s The Amateurs is both an good read and an excellent primer on the sport.

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