Links 12/14/17

We Just Found The Strongest Evidence Yet That Fracking Affects Human Health Sciencealert.com (David L)

Just 20 percent of e-waste is being recycled Ars Technica

PLASTIC OCEAN: FROM THRIVING ECOSYSTEM TO TRASH DUMPSTER WhoWhatWhay.org

The Most Overlooked Environmental Crisis of 2017 New Republic

Global warming boosted Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall by at least 15 percent, studies find WaPo

More Victims of the California Wildfires: Avocados and Lemons NYT

Ireland Recognizes Constitutional Right to a Safe Climate and Environment Climate Liability News

Brexit

Brexit: grandstanding EUReferendum.com. Richard North.

Tory Brexit rebels inflict major defeat on Theresa May Guardian

Why British businesses are calling to stay under EU rules FT

Power matrix: Brexit and the eurozone Politico

Have a cell phone against your ear? You should consider putting it down Fresno Bee

Hotels Add ‘Panic Buttons’ to Protect Housekeepers From Guests Bloomberg.

FT Person of the Year: Susan Fowler FT. The deck: The software engineer who lifted the lid on sexual harassment at Uber and inspired women to speak out.

YOUNG TURKS REPORTER FIRED OVER SEXUAL ALLEGATIONS SUES HUFFINGTON POST FOR DEFAMATION Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality: The internet holds its breath BBC. Summary piece that catches up those who’ve not been paying close attention to this issue. The FCC votes today.

Yes, Net Neutrality Is Being Stolen From Us in a Fucked Up, Undemocratic Heist Motherboard

FCC’s own chief technology officer warned about net neutrality repeal Politico

Here’s a List of the Members of Congress Who Just Told Ajit Pai to Repeal Net Neutrality Motherboard. Including handy details on who has taken how much from ISPs.

Net Neutrality: Republican Lawmakers Join Outcry Against Trump Repeal Move International Business Times. David Sirota.

FCC Boss Claims Net Neutrality Hurts Small ISPs, But The FCC’s Own Data Proves Otherwise TechDirt

2017 Was Bad for Facebook. 2018 Will Be Worse. Bloomberg (resilc)

Steve Cohen Would Prefer A Lockup Period Of Forever, But He’ll Settle For Three Years Dealbreaker

Disney’s deal to buy Fox studio could bring substantial layoffs, analysts say LA Times

Elderly doctor can’t get her medical license back, judge rules, again Ars Technica

Robot investigators ‘could be used to examine documents in criminal cases’ Independent

China?

Australia’s envoy to China summoned over foreign interference law Sydney Morning Herald

Silk Road fever grips the Russian Far East and boosts economy Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

India

WTO Meet Likely to Be a Washout as India and US Clash Over Food Security The Wire

Niti Aayog is in denial about hunger in India – but the problem is worse than the statistics show Scroll.in

Indian Govt postpones linking bank accounts to digital ID Asia Times

Tax “Reform”

Republican Tax Bill Overhauls Rules Many Were Counting On NYT

Republicans forge tax deal, final votes seen next week Reuters

Trump Transition

Grassley: Two controversial federal bench nominees won’t be confirmed WaPo

Kellyanne Conway leading an ‘opioids cabinet,’ as she assumes more active policy role Stat

Donald Trump the ‘greatest source of instability’ in Asia, says Australia’s former PM Kevin Rudd SCMP

Aid for disaster-stricken states could be punted into January Politico

Class Warfare

World’s richest 0.1% have boosted their wealth by as much as poorest half Guardian. Discussion of World Inequality report, published today by Thomas Piketty. Here’s a link to the report itself: World Inequality Report

Nearly 5 Million Americans in Default on Student Loans WSJ. Yves has posted on this earlier today.

Life expectancy in Britain has fallen so much that a million years of life could disappear by 2058 – why The Conversation. From last month, still germane.

AT&T and Union Reach Accord on Job Protection for Workers NYT

DOJ confirms new criminal probe linked to Waymo v. Uber lawsuit Ars Technica

Walmart Will Let Its 1.4 Million Workers Take Their Pay Before Payday NYT

Look closer, and you’ll see charitable foundations are often not about giving SCMP

Jones v. Moore

THE LAST DAYS OF ROY MOORE: INSIDE THE STRANGE, SURREAL, BEWILDERING END OF THE ALABAMA SPECIAL ELECTION Vanity Fair. T.A. Frank

Republicans Shouldn’t Assume Roy Moore Was An Outlier FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver.

Why Jones won: Moore missed Trump’s standard in every Alabama county WaPo

Alabama, Shaken The Baffler

DO TREES FALL IN CYBERSPACE? War on the Rocks

Syraqistan

Turkey switches to full defiance of US, continues Putin courtship Asia Times

EXCLUSIVE: TRACING ISIS’ WEAPONS SUPPLY CHAIN—BACK TO THE US Wired (The Rev Kev)

Iraq, Syria, Iran…Are We To Destroy Iran Next? American Conservative

OIC declares East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital Al Jazeera

As ISIS Recedes, U.S. Steps Up Focus on Iran WSJ

In the Shadow of Honest Journalism: GateHouse Media Publishes Atrocious Anti-Wind Article Devoid of Scientific Evidence DeSmogBlog

This is unprecedented’: Public colleges limiting journalist access Columbia Journalism Review

Guillotine Watch

Lawyer Spends $4 Million On Son’s Birthday Party Above the Law

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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155 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    More Victims of the California Wildfires: Avocados and Lemons NYT
    ~~~~~~~~

    This year, the reign of error allowed lemon imports from Argentina, victimizing his to the right of right constituency (farmers in Ventura, Central Valley, et al) in the process. Argentina is a heck of a competitor, as their currency is worth just a little more than bupkis, and they can undersell local producers.
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    The California citrus industry was livid Tuesday over the Trump administration’s decision to allow lemon imports from Argentina’s top producing region for the first time in 16 years.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that it will lift the ban on lemons from northwestern Argentina on May 26. The decision came days after President Trump said he was reviewing his administration’s position on the issue.

    “We were completely blindsided,” said Joel Nelsen, president of the California Citrus Mutual, an industry advocacy group. “They just flat-out ignored us, and that’s completely unacceptable.”

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lemons-argentina-20170502-story.html

    Reply
    1. Anon

      You may have yet to see REAL devastation if Santa Ana winds re-appear, as expected, on Friday.

      The Thomas fire is currently smoldering on the ridges above Montecito/Santa Barbara. Winds could start conflagrations within these communities that have a combined valuation of $46 Billion.

      My guess is that there isn’t enough water for the 600 fire engines/vehicles staged in town to handle such an event.

      Reply
  2. scott 2

    Re: New Republic article. As much corn is grown in the US for ethanol than is fed to animals (I think it’s even more by a few percent). Meat and ethanol are equal threats to the environment.

    Reply
    1. rjs

      about 40% of our corn crop goes to ethanol production…

      the oil and automobile industries sure do love seeing our pollution problems blamed on agriculture, though…

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Don’t most of the corn exports go to Mexico, where we undercut their prices, which has led to a great lessening of corn grown there?

          Reply
            1. Jean

              And American born carpenters, plumbers, retail clerks, electricians, paper boys lose their jobs to “migrants” and or have to speak Spanish to get a job.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Freedom to choose.

                Some people have to learn Spanish (the Mexican version of it) to get work.

                Some people just love Spanish and they absolutely love learning it.

                The same with immigrants.

                People are told they must get along.

                Under different circumstances, the same people discover on their own that foreign cultures are wonderful.

                It’s probably easier or morally more satisfying to call them xenophobic.

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  Just read something damned interesting…

                  According to the Village Voice, the local weekly newspaper:

                  The average age of a farm worker (virtually all Hispanic) in the Central Valley, is 45.

                  Reply
          1. Adam Eran

            Not a big surprise that shipping a bunch of subsidized Iowa corn down south of the border would put little Mexican subsistence corn farmers out of business. In fact NAFTA has some provision to compensate Mexican farmers adversely impacted by that treaty (only big farmers claim the compensation).

            Meanwhile, those little farmers were only keeping the genetic diversity alive in what’s arguably the most important food crop in the world…but they weren’t making any money for Monsanto, darn them!

            In the wake of NAFTA, SMU economist Ravi Batra reports Mexican real incomes declined 34%. One has to go back to the Great Depression to see a decline like that in the U.S. And that provoked no great migration…Oh wait! The Okies! (Actually, when the Soviets collapsed and revoked their petroleum subsidy to Cuba, a similar decline occurred…and the average Cuban lost 20 lbs.)

            So…now, we’re blaming Mexican economic refuges…excuse me, “illegal aliens” (Martians with traffic tickets) for our economic troubles. WTF!

            Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > about 40% of our corn crop goes to ethanol production…

        And in our heavily petroleum-based agricultural system, that means we’re using oil to make… oil.

        I think the 75-cent word for this is autocoprophagia….

        Reply
  3. fresno dan

    http://woodtv.com/2017/12/13/retired-cop-criticizes-chiefs-reaction-to-cuffed-girl/

    A retired police officer is among those calling out the Grand Rapids Police Department’s chief for his public comments about an incident in which an 11-year-old girl was handcuffed.

    Chief David Rahinsky’s comments …. the chief said the incident was handled improperly and that the screams of the child made him nauseous.
    Retired long-time police officer Mike Ellis used the same words as the chief in a different sense.

    “I was nauseated by the fact that the chief took the approach that he did,” he said.
    Was it appropriate to handcuff her? I don’t know,” Ellis said. “Was it inappropriate for them to handcuff her? In my opinion, absolutely not. (1) They were securing a scene.”
    …..
    “It could affect the way the officer would handle a future situation to the point where it could wind up getting an officer killed,” Ellis said.

    Ellis said. “I would hate to think that it would affect the way they would handle it in the future because that could get you killed.
    ====================================
    the Washtington Post has a considerable amount of background on this story, but I happened upon this local story and it made my blood boil so I wanted to get this off my chest.
    (1) The Schrödinger’s cat of police conduct – all police conduct is BOTH appropriate AND may be inappropriate.
    In the article the cop talks about how he wouldn’t want his 11 year old daughter handcuffed. Somehow I don’t believe he and his family will ever face that
    AND even if your looking for a 40 year old white woman, black 11 year old girls are so deadly that they always have to be held at gunpoint….
    I am trying to find out how many police, IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, have been shot dead by 11 year old girls.
    I suspect officer Ellis is white. The fact that this man thinks “securing a scene” justifies such conduct tells you why there is such a divide between police and the black community.
    It wasn’t that many years ago that I thought black people overstated claims of police misconduct. I can see now how very, very wrong I was…

    Reply
    1. Biph

      I once asked a black co-worker how often he was pulled over by the police, his response was very telling “Not that often, maybe once a month.”

      Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    I was seeing stars this morning, well, specks of dust hurtling through the heavens that is. 45 minutes in the hot tub netted me about 40. This a.m. was the peak of the Geminids, but there’ll be a 2nd act tomorrow when the curtain call comes in the wee hours.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      i looked out of my window to the southwest earlier this morning, when it was still dark, in search of those beautiful meteors, and was blinded by the street lamp from across the street.

      Such is suburban living.

      Then I reminded myself, street lights were beautiful…too.

      A real Zen man meditates in any noisy marketplace, not just on quite, tranquil mountaintops.

      Reply
        1. HotFlash

          Excellent choice! I would so have loved to have been a student at St Paul’s Girls’ School. Like Vivaldi, Holst wrote complex music that could be played by student musicians — well, *good* students, but still … Accessible.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether

            I saw the Philadelphia Orchestra play The Planets once (in the old hall, not the new one). It was fantastically intense. Wolfgang Sawallisch was the conductor, and he didn’t use a baton; he conducted with his hands. When a solo came up, he would point at them: “You!” Nothing boring about classical music, done right (and without being tarted up, either).

            Reply
    2. jefemt

      Celestial hilite event, seems like 95% of time there are clouds. Swear to Gawd. Only exception, thankfully, was totality of August eclipse in the Rockies… clear as a belkl, other than smoke, everywhere in the west. Four hour drive well-worth it .

      Reply
  5. allan

    Holder redistricting group announces three new hires [The Hill]

    The redistricting reform project headed by former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday announced three new senior staff hires as it prepares for a fight to redraw election maps in 2021.

    The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) has hired Hayley Dierker, the former chief operating officer of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), as its chief of staff. …

    The DCCC? Really? Talk about `credentials’ you might want to delete from your resume.

    But as last year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature once put it,
    among the Democratic Credentialed Class, There’s no success like failure …

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My sense is the lack of Obama haigrophy has been noticed and peeps such as Holder want to rebuild their reputation by claiming to be for an unassailable cause. “I dont want to talk about the past but the future.”

      For a guy who wad the first black AG there should be a path to higher office but the spirited and mindless defenses of Obama over two terms has left little appetite for guys like holder or anyone at the dccc. So how do they rebuild or restart the grift?

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      As we know from Nomiki Konst, there’s a $700 million money trough waiting for consultants and strategists to stick their snouts in.

      Why not make expanding the voter base a core party function? Why outsource it to a “project”? A

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether

      As we know from Nomiki Konst, there’s a $700 million-sized money trough waiting for Democrat consultants and strategists to stick their snouts in.

      Why not make expanding the voter base a core party function? Why outsource it to a “project”? A question that answers itself, once asked.

      Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Mark Alexander
      December 14, 2017 at 7:46 am

      An email I receive about once a week:
      Daniel, you have more friends on Facebook than you think
      The fastest way to find all of your friends on Facebook is importing your email contacts. Once you’ve imported your contacts you can view, manage or delete them at any time.
      =============================================================
      I don’t have any friends on facebook. What I have is a corporation trying to use my clicks to enrich itself that will use any and all manipulation to …uh…er….manipulate me.

      Reply
      1. Mark Alexander

        “I don’t have any friends on facebook”.

        I resigned from Facebook several years ago partly because the whole “friend” and “like” idea there was contrary to my understanding of those terms. I kept getting “friend” requests from people I didn’t know (typically cow-orkers at the Very Large Software Company I worked at). By declining these requests, I was implicitly denying “friendship”, even though my intent was not to be unfriendly. And Facebook’s use of the term “like” for “pay attention to” seemed wrong, too.

        It was also obvious that the whole site was a horrifying crapification of things that were so much better elsewhere: email, instant messaging, blogging, photo sharing, etc.

        Finally, though, what pushed me away was mostly a combination of other factors: the endless notification emails, which I could never seem to turn off, and the realization that everything I placed on Facebook, including photos, didn’t actually belong to me.

        I didn’t become aware of the evil surveillance aspect of Facebook until after I left. That seems like a good enough reason all by itself to avoid that cesspool.

        Reply
          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Once, in a galaxy far far away, I had signed up to Facebook in order to access a wall where some old camp counselor chums of mine were discovered chatting. After doing that, but then suddenly getting barraged with ‘friend requests’ from people I knew from high school etc – but who I didn’t like then and sure as hades didn’t want to renew ties with again – I committed Facebook suicide.

            That was 7 or 8 years ago, and the burner email I had used to register fell out of use, unnoticed, that whole time. I recently rediscovered it in an old spreadsheet of burners and in the process of checking them out to see if there was any non-spam correspondence I might want to be aware of I found literally hundreds and hundreds of Facebook pleas of various kinds….come back, you have more friends, have you been trying to login?, forgot your password?, look who we found for you!, Old flame trying to find you?, etc etc

            I laughed and laughed as I shift-click/deleted them all. I know the CPU time required from Facebook to keep spamming me until the sun finally goes nova is miniscule….fractions of a cent…but by damn I sure do like the thought of some little algorithm fretting and moaning to itself…. “Why don’t he write??”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvp71LGVISs

            Reply
          1. Jim Haygood

            Cow-worker” is vital, inclusive language, JT — cowboy now being unacceptable for its gender stereotyping. :-(

            Reply
  6. sleepy

    From dkos, the hustle never stops:

    “To keep our Alabama win from being a fluke, strong financial support for future elections is needed”

    Reply
  7. allan

    The Taking: The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse, mistakes and unfairness [Propublica]

    … the most aggressive seizure of private land by the federal government in decades. In less than a year, the Department of Homeland Security filed more than 360 eminent domain lawsuits against property owners, involving thousands of acres of land in the border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. …

    An investigation by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune shows that Homeland Security cut unfair real estate deals, secretly waived legal safeguards for property owners, and ultimately abused the government’s extraordinary power to take land from private citizens. …

    Bipartisan goodness under Bush, Obama and Trump:

    … Homeland Security and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers referred questions to the Justice Department.

    A Justice Department official, who insisted on anonymity, said all agencies involved in the land seizures followed proper procedures. He declined to respond to specific questions. …

    Michael Chertoff, the former secretary for Homeland Security under President George W. Bush who personally approved the condemnations in Texas, declined to comment. …

    Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Kellyanne Conway leading an ‘opioids cabinet,’ as she assumes more active policy role Stat
    ~~~~~~~~

    “The White House has been criticized for delegating a significant policy role to Conway, who has no prior experience working on addiction issues or as a policymaker. But Conway said she is unbothered by the perception that she is serving as a sort of stand-in for the formal agency heads.”
    ~~~~~~~~

    The Farce Side is a cartoon with no illustrations, but hilarious nonetheless.

    Reply
      1. HotFlash

        A good friend’s *veddy* British mother explained to me that MontyP were not comic genii, but rather very (*veddy*?) acute observers.

        Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      I know I’m going to hate whatever it is the Republicans come up with on opiods.* On the other hand, if the Democrats are actually doing anything, it has escaped my attention.

      * Which is a proxy for “deaths of despair” generally; opiods is just one path in that neoliberal epidemic.

      Reply
  9. Jim Haygood

    J-yel’s last press conference announcing the fifth and final rate hike of her career was a non-event, lost among more dramatic political news. The economy’s on autopilot and no one cared.

    Though he’s not letting on publicly, it may have occurred to her successor Japewell that Bubble III is close to boiling over. Despite five taps on the brakes since Dec 2015, this highballing express train is still gaining speed as cryptocurrencies streak overhead like errant bolides.

    Blogger ffwiley shows in this chart that cumulative gains from stocks, mutual funds, real estate and pensions since 2009 have blown away all previous records, including those of the Internet Bubble (RIP) and what we may become obliged to call Property Bubble I (2001-2006) to distinguish it from the current “Everything Bubble.”

    http://ibb.co/fnn5S6

    Japewell’s dilemma (as it will be styled should I pen an economics text) derives from shifty foreigners in Europe and Japan, still running administered negative interest rates as some of them (Japan, Switzerland) ramp stocks with their kited-check currency. Money being fungible, this excess liquidity sloshes into the US seeking higher yields and global franchises such as our Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse.

    What’s a central planner to do? Punt.

    Back on the bottom line
    Diggin’ for a lousy dime
    If I hit a mother lode
    I’d cover anything that showed

    I don’t care
    What you do
    I wouldn’t want to be like you

    — The Alan Parsons Project

    Reply
  10. Jim Haygood

    Skulduggery and burner phones, oh my! Excerpt from Senator Grassley’s letter to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein:

    Another text from Ms. Page to Mr. Strzok on April 2, 2016, says the following:

    So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting bc you feel bad that you’re gone so much but it can’t be helped right now.

    That text message occurred during Mr. Strzok’s involvement in the Clinton investigation and days before he interviewed Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills on April 5, 2016 and April 9, 2016, respectively. Thus, the mention of “hillary” may refer to Secretary Clinton and therefore could indicate that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page engaged in other communications about an ongoing investigation on a different phone in an effort to prevent it from being traced.

    If he’s not careful, the good Senator may blunder into subjects that even Republiclowns can’t talk about. “No Such Agency” doubtless has a transcript of that telecon, as the exabytes pile up to the ceiling in their dark satanic data mill at Bluffdale, Utah.

    But NSA responds to subpoenas from the peoples’ ostensible representatives like mail carriers swatting away barking curs. Checkmate!

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        The cynic in me considers that anyone ‘these people’ would have been in contact with would have been “higher up” than them. (IE, the ‘people’ in question are about as low as one can go.)
        This entire Clinton/DNC sponsored anti-Trump drama fits the definition of disinformation campaign.
        On a Meta plane, the basic definition of this entire exercise is Treason.

        Reply
  11. Tony Wikrent

    Robert Kuttner reviews new biography of Karl Polanyi

    …To the chagrin of those who look to the democratic left to restrain markets, the reaction is mostly right-wing populist. And “populist” understates the nature of this reaction, whose nationalist rhetoric, principles, and practices border on neofascism. An increased flow of migrants, another feature of globalism, has compounded the anger of economically stressed locals who want to Make America (France, Norway, Hungary, Finland…) Great Again. This is occurring not just in weakly democratic nations such as Poland and Turkey, but in the established democracies—Britain, America, France, even social-democratic Scandinavia.

    We have been here before. During the period between the two world wars, free-market liberals governing Britain, France, and the US tried to restore the pre–World War I laissez-faire system. They resurrected the gold standard and put war debts and reparations ahead of economic recovery. It was an era of free trade and rampant speculation, with no controls on private capital. The result was a decade of economic insecurity ending in depression, a weakening of parliamentary democracy, and fascist backlash. Right up until the German election of July 1932, when the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag, the pre-Hitler governing coalition was practicing the economic austerity commended by Germany’s creditors.

    The great prophet of how market forces taken to an extreme destroy both democracy and a functioning economy was not Karl Marx but Karl Polanyi. Marx expected the crisis of capitalism to end in universal worker revolt and communism. Polanyi, with nearly a century more history to draw on, appreciated that the greater likelihood was fascism.

    As Polanyi demonstrated in his masterwork The Great Transformation (1944), when markets become “dis-embedded” from their societies and create severe social dislocations, people eventually revolt. Polanyi saw the catastrophe of World War I, the interwar period, the Great Depression, fascism, and World War II as the logical culmination of market forces overwhelming society—“the utopian endeavor of economic liberalism to set up a self-regulating market system” that began in nineteenth-century England. This was a deliberate choice, he insisted, not a reversion to a natural economic state. Market society, Polanyi persuasively demonstrated, could only exist because of deliberate government action defining property rights, terms of labor, trade, and finance. “Laissez faire,” he impishly wrote, “was planned.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Lords Of Finance, by Liaquat Ahamed is a heck of a read on the Au standard, and the central bankers of the era, recommended!

      Reply
    2. Stephen V

      Really appreciate this! Methinks the revolution will take an individualist anarchist form, but no one wants to hear that.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          DSA is encouraging so far. As an institution, they seem to be doing smart things and learning from each other. Of course, they’re nowhere near real power, at which point the [family blog] will hit the fan…

          Reply
      1. rd

        They often start that way, but people don’t like disorder and anarchy, so fascism/totalitarianism quickly takes over as they promise to make everybody safe and employed.

        Examples: French Revolution; Russian Revolution; Germany late 1920s; Arab Spring; numerous third world countries.

        Reply
    3. ted

      Thanks for reminding people of Polanyi’s great work. Everyone should drop their FB rants and celebratory hats at the Roy Moore burial, and read that book (it’s tough sledding, so take your time).

      I think looking back at the last hurrah of Globalization 1.0 we see that it is not only fascism that emerges but more generally a strong central state much more willing to manage and regulate the economy. In many cases this state was welfare socialist, rather than fascist. Also, note that Davidy Harvey has written about these bubble dynamics more recently, you will find a nice accessible summary in his Rebel Cities book. There you will find a discussion of Napoleon III (?) as a model for saving capitalism from its excesses post 1847 (cue parallel’s to Xi, and China as the savior of capitalism in the present.

      Reply
    4. Jim Haygood

      Right up until the German election of July 1932 the pre-Hitler governing coalition was practicing the economic austerity commended by Germany’s creditors.

      Creditor no.1 was Woody Wilson’s United States, presiding over a Versailles conference which punished Germany with war reparations amounting to a preposterous 900% of GDP, while depriving it of industrial capacity for earning foreign exchange to pay the exorbitant fine.

      Maynard Keynes quite appropriately demolished America’s bankster-instigated scorched-earth austerity in The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

      War and war reparations override markets. So do central banks which provide the thin-air credit to prosecute wars.

      Reply
      1. Byron the Light Bulb

        Nonsense. Hyperinflation was self-inflicted. After nationalists assassinated Walter Rathenau in 1922, the Germans adopted the Rentenmark in order to weasel out of reparations in the name of political revanchism. An ill-conceived symbolic gesture because the Versailles reparation clauses were open to revisions, intended to be paid with fruits of excess industrial capacity, and likely to be forbeared, so long as Germany refrained from threatening her neighbors. Germans chose Plan B and became even more unhinged. [Cue the 1923 Putsch.] During the post-war self-pity party in the Zones, Cold War expediency allowed Germans to pretend that they had been bullied and of which taken advantage.

        After WWI, Germany was still extremely wealthy with Capital: mines, farms, industry to be retooled for peacetime. The US loaned large amounts of money, as much as possible, to Germany because of the opportunity the idle German infrastructure provided, even during the Great Depression. The returns on these loans kept coming back even after hostilities began in 1941. [Standard Oil, IBM, Chase Bank, I’m looking at you.] The Great War had not been fought on German soil. By losing 1/4 of Europe’s military-age male population, all of Europe was primed for wage increases and full employment not seen since the Great Plague flared out. The inflated Rentenmark only succeeded in wiping out the savings of the German workers, destroying quality of life, and instigating widespread labor unrest. The Rentenmark was then scapegoated as a Jewish plot [one-stop shop for the petulant] rather than a dumb political stunt.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I started reading your missive, and sadly you’ve got it all wrong, the rentenmark was what stopped 1922-23 reichsmark hyperinflation.

          Read: “When Money Dies” by Fergusson, to get a better idea of what’s what.

          Reply
  12. el_tel

    re: life expectancy in Britain.

    Sadly this is old news – as I mentioned a while back, Professor Danny Dorling reports on the 3 year moving average statistics (which are released earlier) and which have stalled….given the continual improvement in the past, there was only one conclusion, namely that life expectancy had FALLEN in the most recent year – it’s a mathematical impossibility for the moving average to stay constant unless it has fallen in the most recent year. Given the effects of austerity “on the ground” with respect to health restrictions etc this is entirely unexpected…..now we wait to see if the British public will explode sooner or later.

    Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Lambert stated eloquently the other day that we seem to be in an AI situation monetarily already, and it’s become our master, taking away the job of being responsible largely.

    When the inevitable backlash comes against invisible means of support, what do we turn to for manna mañana?

    Reply
      1. skippy

        Great link.

        Gets right to the point about what constitutes information and its application wrt humanity, oh, and the rest of the stuff on this orb….

        Reply
        1. RMO

          I duuno… I thought it was as inane as anything Friedman ever wrote, though at least I didn’t have to endure a recounting of a (likely imaginary) conversation with a taxi driver. Capitalism/capital isn’t an emergent artificially intelligent entity, it’s the result of deliberate actions by people of power to enoble and enrich themselves and their institutions to the detriment of the rest of the world. The whole piece struck me as nothing more than a dark version the ridiculously glowing “market as god” rubbish we had so much of earlier.

          Reply
          1. Adam Eran

            You mean God doesn’t have an invisible hand?

            The Great Commandments cover this if you look at them as the Great Observations.

            Love your neighbor as yourself? Sure, if you hate yourself, you’ll have a hard time loving neighbors.

            Love God with all your heart mind and soul? Sure, whatever you can love that way amounts to a deity, even if it’s the Oakland Raiders.

            …Just sayin’… We can fool ourselves into believing we don’t have deities (like those poor unfortunates throughout history), but it’s just delusional to deny religiosity of the market. After all, the root word for “credit” is the Latin “credere” — to believe.

            Reply
      2. Synoia

        Capitalism as AI? Capitalism might be “A” but I see no sign of the “I” part.

        Generally in capitalism you need customers with money to spend.

        Reply
  14. allan

    Chicago Police Win Big When Appealing Discipline [Propublica]

    A secretive appeals system has been knocking down the punishments of Chicago police officers no matter how serious their misconduct, undercutting the results of lengthy investigations and layers of review long after the public believes the cases were concluded.

    In the first examination of its kind, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois found that 85 percent of disciplinary cases handled through the Chicago Police Department’s grievance process since 2010 led to officers receiving shorter suspensions or, in many cases, having their punishments overturned entirely. …

    By the time an officer’s misconduct appeal reaches the Police Department’s Management and Labor Affairs Section, where grievances are handled, the officer has already been found at fault in an internal affairs investigation or after an inquiry by the city’s police watchdog agency, whose findings are public. In some cases, the discipline already has been upheld by the Chicago Police Board, whose decisions also are public.

    But the department’s labor office operates behind closed doors and according to requirements contained in the police union contract. Victims and complainants were not told when an officer filed a grievance nor were they notified of its outcome. …

    And self-proclaimed “victims’ rights advocates” are nowhere to be seen. Weird.

    Reply
  15. el_tel

    re:cellphone use

    I tended to be sceptical about this issue in early years but given that like many Europeans I tend to go with the precautionary principle I have rarely had my phone close to my head…. though this is often because I don’t make many calls and need a headset for good clarity when I do! IIRC blinded trials looking at wifi effects on people who claim to be affected by it have shown nothing so I still am sceptical but it can’t hurt to continue using headsets etc just to be sure. can’t hurt to adopt precautionary principle until we have a lot more data.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are like guinea pigs ourselves, in so many areas of our lives.

      Economic experiments, technological trials, medical tests, etc, continue to be conducted on us, either involuntarily, or with our ill-informed/information asymmetry/brainwashed consent.

      Reply
    2. Hepativore

      There has been a lot of alarmism about the radiation given off by cellular telephones. Keep in mind that the radiation it produces is non-ionizing radiation which does not directly interefere with the bonds of DNA within the structure of a cell. High doses of non-ionizing radiation can cause horrible burns, but it does not seem to have mutagenic effects. In any case, take a look at this:

      https://hooktube.com/watch?v=qbsYj8dWR78

      There also an excellent analysis done by Brian Dunning, a well-known proponent of science-based rational inquiry:

      https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4117

      Keep in mind as well that the sun gives off massive amounts of non-ionizing radiation as well in the form of radio waves and so on which dwarfs the amount of non-ionizing radiation people are exposed to from small devices such as cellular telephones.

      Reply
      1. kimyo

        New Kaiser Permanente Study Provides Evidence of Health Risks Linked to Electromagnetic Field Exposure

        …researchers asked women over age 18 with confirmed pregnancies to wear a small magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours. Participants also kept a diary of their activities on that day, and were interviewed in person to better control for possible confounding factors, as well as how typical their activities were on the monitoring day.

        Objective magnetic field measurements and pregnancy outcomes were obtained for 913 pregnant women, all members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Miscarriage occurred in 10.4 percent of the women with the lowest measured exposure level (1st quartile) of magnetic field non-ionizing radiation on a typical day, and in 24.2 percent of the women with the higher measured exposure level (2nd, 3rd and 4th quartiles), a nearly three times higher relative risk. The rate of miscarriage reported in the general population is between 10 and 15 percent, Dr. Li said.

        “This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” he said.

        Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        I recall the same kinds of reassurances coming from spokespersons for the tobacco industry (“9 out of 10 doctors recommend Pall Mall,” and “More doctors smoke Camel than any other brand…” — http://www.hospicenet.org/html/preparing_for.html And when it comes to fracking and greenhouse gasses and climate change and self-driving vehicles and genetic manipulation and “AI”,, “we” should trust those science-based spokespeople to tell us that eating eggs is OK (or not, depending on what week this is), and that adding antibiotics to animal feed is “riskless” and just good business, and Roundup is GOOD for us, in the larger sense of increasing World National Output, and “derivatives” are necessary to spread risk…

        My personal anecdote is that when I get into my wife’s car with her cell phone and mine and Bluetooth and ambient “non-ionizing radiation” from every freaking cell tower and power line and etc., the fact, observable and reproducible, that the skin on my fingers assumes the appearance of “dishpan hands” and I can feel a slight burning and buzz in said fingers. And when I am just sitting and typing on my iPad add-on keyboard, which adds Bluetooth radiation to the stuff coming from all the transmitters and radiators (?FCC-compliant, that makes me as a former government regulator feel SOOO safe and comfortable!) in the iPad case, I can also “feel the burn.”

        But I am now reassured that a couple of experts have told me I have nothing to worry about, it’s just non-ionizing radiation, must be “all in my head…”

        Despite or because of the wide use of ICNIRP guidance, it also encounters criticism. The Council of Europe says: “it is most curious, to say the least, that the applicable official threshold values for limiting the health impact of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and high frequency waves were drawn up and proposed to international political institutions (WHO, European Commission, governments) by the ICNIRP, an NGO whose origin and structure are none too clear and which is furthermore suspected of having rather close links with the industries whose expansion is shaped by recommendations for maximum threshold values for the different frequencies of electromagnetic fields”.[3] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Commission_on_Non-Ionizing_Radiation_Protection

        Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    Australia’s envoy to China summoned over foreign interference law

    This story is getting screwy. The new foreign interference laws may sound reasonable in themselves but the government here went out of their way to point the finger at China instead of making a standard boiler plate statement. You have to remember that China is our biggest trading partner and if they wanted to, they could really put Australia in the hurt locker in spite of politicians statement that it would hurt them more that it would hurt us. The government her is in on only a razor thin majority so our own local neocons seen to be having more say than they should.
    Our local useless MSM is also going full retard about the issue as well so perhaps they were given their marching orders. We have even been sending ships to those islands the Chinese built up even though we know how touchy the Chinese are about the whole place. Real smart that. It will be interesting to see if they apply these laws to other countries and I can think of one or two that have been getting their sticky fingers in here. What we should be doing here is having a semi-neutral stance in order to act as go-between with a rising China and the other powers in the Pacific but instead some group is winding up people here to go gung-ho over the Chinese ‘threat’.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Biggest trading partner.

      That makes it seem as if trade is not some neutral act, but more like the laying of mines.

      “Don’t move this way.”

      “Don’t go there.”

      “Stay (the status quo), once the mines are remotely activated.”

      Reply
      1. Anonymous2

        ‘Biggest trading partner.’

        Welcome to the real world. Trade and power have long been intimately connected.

        Thucydides had some insights on the relationship between the strong and the weak which still have relevance.

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      …….. China is our biggest trading partner and if they wanted to, they could really put Australia in the hurt locker in spite of politicians statement that it would hurt them more that it would hurt us.

      China could also cancel Christmas in the u.s. if they wanted to. Can you imagine? It would bring this “peace on earth” hyper-consuming nation to its knees in one fell swoop at a time when hyper-consuming goes into overdrive in about a week without firing a shot.

      There must be something here about China-bashing I’m missing.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Thank you, Katniss. That’s a thought that will keep me merry over these interminable commercial “holy”days. I have stocked in all my groceries, won’t go oout until Dec 27, I just hate the Xmas Muzak.

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are dealers all over the world supplying cheap consumerism-dope to us.

        Do we go after the addicts or the dealers?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Most everything I buy in a non food consumer vein comes from China, i’d say well over 90%, who are these mystery dealers supplying the goods from elsewhere?

          Reply
      3. Chris

        Thanks Kev, PB and Katniss.

        Yes, the hyperbole is beyond belief.

        But frankly, the gates should have been shut long ago, in terms of sustainable immigration numbers and all those students and vacationers and overstayers being allowed to work.

        Not to mention allowing corporations and non-residents to buy our land, ffs.

        Now that everyone has woken up – we knew this 20 years ago – we are only now making these token gestures.

        GDP growth was the only metric that seemed to be important.

        ———

        Xmas shopping…. thank goodness we can buy just about anything online these days.

        Reply
  17. allan

    Who Pays for Judicial Races? The Politics of Judicial Elections 2015-16 [Brennan Center]

    Under the constitution, our courts are obliged to provide equal justice regardless of wealth, status, or political connections. But in a new report, the latest in the series The Politics of Judicial Elections, we found that the integrity of our state supreme courts is increasingly under threat from a torrent of special interest money, often from secret sources. Using data from every state supreme court election in the most recent 2015-16 cycle, the report is the only comprehensive analysis of these and other trends, and includes examples of what big spenders hope to achieve, the kinds of ads the fund, and the threats they pose to the appearance and reality of evenhanded justice. …

    * Outside spending by interest groups shattered records.
    * Supreme court elections saw an influx of secret money.
    * There were more million-dollar supreme court races than ever before.
    * More than half of all states with elected high courts are now impacted by big-money elections.
    * Campaign ads targeted judicial decisions, often in misleading ways. …

    Yes indeed the states are the laboratories of democracy

    Reply
  18. jfleni

    RE: Disney’s deal to buy Fox studio could bring substantial layoffs, analysts say.

    Translation: “Steamboat Willie” snags “The Kangeroo in Chief” with the inevitable result of not just layoffs, but increasing trash on TV and movies. Plutocrats just can’t win but for losing!

    Reply
  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Republicans Shouldn’t Assume Roy Moore Was An Outlier FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver.

    It seems to me that any “analysis” of trends in future elections based on the concept of “generic” democrats or “generic” republicans should define the terms. If there’s one thing that the 2016 election should have demonstrated, it’s that there may be no such thing anymore.

    And what about the growing number of “independents” who reject both labels?

    I’d think accurate “modeling” is going to have to involve more than adding and subtracting historical margins of victory and assuming that such arithmetic is predictive.

    Reply
    1. Plenue

      I find it cute Nate Silver still thinks his opinions about elections have any value or credibility. Stick to baseball, boyo.

      Reply
      1. Adam

        He was the few who was remotely accurate re: the 2016 election. He even said that if the all the polls were biased in the same direction (as they were), then everything could be wrong.

        Reply
  20. Corbin Dallas

    Not sure if you’re following this but people at Vox and associated “properties” have unionized and the “liberal” owners won’t recognize it; Ezra Klein, vunderkind Lib, won’t join despite having written articles about the worker. Its a perfect example of this kind of northeast liberalism (i won’t call it leftism, because it isn’t) I despise: write nice articles about the environment and pro-choice issues, but pretend the worker doesn’t exist.

    Follow along at https://twitter.com/vox_union and if you can follow tweet threads (I not always can) check out

    https://twitter.com/vox_union/status/941066071460798466

    https://twitter.com/RichardTrumka/status/941322886295572480

    Reply
  21. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Republicans forge tax deal, final votes seen next week Reuter

    Despite expressions of confidence about passage from party leaders, the path to a final vote in the Senate could still be perilous. Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority in the 100-seat Senate, can lose no more than two votes on the tax bill.

    Republican Senator John McCain, who has brain cancer, was in a military hospital to undergo treatment for the side effects of cancer therapy.

    They are showing photos of mccain, in the senate chamber, on msnbs this morning, presumably from several days ago since he missed votes on Monday and Tuesday according to azcentral.com. The length of his current hospitalization is unknown.

    He is pictured in a wheelchair, and it appears that his condition is deteriorating quickly. I can’t help but wonder if the rush to get this tax bill hammered out and passed has something to do with the fact that his condition is far more serious than the country is being led to believe.

    I have no idea whether he would be a reliable “yes” on the bill, but, well……I just wonder……

    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2017/12/13/sen-john-mccain-hospitalized-side-effects-cancer-treatment/949880001/

    Reply
    1. allan

      Meanwhile, in another advanced country:

      Japan’s ruling bloc approves big corporate tax cut to encourage wage hikes
      [Reuters]

      Japan’s ruling bloc approved a plan on Thursday to slash the corporate tax rate to around 20 percent from 30 percent – but only for companies that raise wages aggressively and boost domestic capital spending.

      The carrot-and-stick approach is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s most aggressive step yet to convince companies to lift wages 3 percent, which he believes is needed to stimulate consumer spending and vanquish the deflation that has plagued Japan for nearly two decades.

      Qualifying companies would also need to substantially boost investment in factories and equipment. …

      The nerve.

      Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    There’s about a million people of Persian heritage in L.A. (nicknames for the City of Angles include: Irangeles & Tehrangeles) and should we go to war against Iran, will they be treated to a banquet of consequences?

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Remember what the “Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West,” http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Native_Sons_of_the_Golden_West/Native_Daughters_of_the_Golden_West/, did to “all those little Asian critters” in the early days of WW II, American Style…https://iconicphotos.org/2015/12/10/japanese-internment-1942/

      After, of course, getting rid of those pesky Injuns and uppity Mexicans and their land claims and such…

      “La-aand of the Free-eee, and the Home of the Brave.”

      Reply
  23. s.n.

    sadly the National Review seems the only major media source covering this unfolding story:

    1) One Mueller-Investigation Coincidence Too Many
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454543/mueller-investigation-too-many-anti-trump-coincidences

    Donald Trump at this point would be unhinged if he were to fire Special Counsel Mueller — given that the investigators seem intent on digging their own graves through conflicts of interest, partisan politicking, leaking, improper amorous liaisons, indiscreet communications, and stonewalling the release of congressionally requested information.

    Indeed, the only remaining trajectory by which Mueller and his investigators can escape with their reputations intact is to dismiss those staff attorneys who have exhibited clear anti-Trump political sympathies, reboot the investigation, and then focus on what now seems the most likely criminal conduct: Russian and Clinton-campaign collusion in the creation of the anti-Trump Fusion GPS dossier and later possible U.S. government participation in the dissemination of it. If such a fraudulent document was used to gain court approval to surveil Trump associates, and under such cover to unmask and leak names of private U.S. citizens — at first to warp a U.S. election, and then later to thwart the work of an incoming elected administration — then Mueller will be tasked with getting to the bottom of one of the greatest political scandals in recent U.S. history. Indeed, his legacy may not be that he welcomed in known pro-Clinton, anti-Trump attorneys to investigate the Trump 2016 campaign where there was little likelihood of criminality, but that he ignored the most egregious case of government wrongdoing in the last half-century.

    2) Why Did Two FBI Officials Discuss an ‘Insurance Policy’ In Case of Trump’s Election?
    http://www.nationalreview.com/morning-jolt/454648/fbi-hillary-clinton-investigation-bias-insurance-policy

    this is why Trump probably shouldn’t order that Mueller be fired. Whatever Mueller finds, Trump can argue that it is the unreliable work of a partisan crew that openly expressed a desire to prevent his election and derail his presidency, going back to 2016. Trump can win that argument in the court of public opinion, in part because it’s true, or at least true enough. Mueller shouldn’t have included Strzok, Weissman, Jeannie Rhee, or Aaron Zebly on his team and it’s reasonable to suspect that partisan passions may have influenced their decisions and perspective during the investigation. (All of those figures also should have had the good judgment to realize they were jeopardizing Mueller’s effort by signing on to help.) If Trump fires Mueller, then there will be demands that another special counsel take his place — and that counsel would be able to continue Mueller’s work without the perception of partisan bias.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The major media sources can’t be all busy with fake news (inadvertently creating, of course, or eradicating) all the time.

      Reply
    2. Jim Haygood

      Trump can win that argument [of Mueller’s bias] in the court of public opinion, in part because it’s true, or at least true enough.

      Yes. By the same token, Peter Strzok’s utterly biased editing of Hillary’s felonious “gross negligence” into the legal nullity of “extreme carelessness” likely won’t be revisited, for reasons of bipartisan comity.

      Politics stops at the water’s edge, comrades. And “we” have got wars to fight.

      Reply
  24. Harold

    It is possible that Strzok was assigned to the FBI by NSA? I may be wrong but I was under the impression that counter intelligence was a branch of the Military.

    Reply
    1. Buckeye

      Nope. Counter-intelligence is the FBI’s main function. The other spook agencies have no lawful authority inside the U.S. FBI Counter-intelligence division has always been bigger than all their other divisions combined. So says my cousin who worked for them. FBI= America’s KGB.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Didn’t Obama sign something on his way out the door that rescinded the ban on the CIA operating within US boundaries?

        Reply
  25. Jean

    Plastics in the ocean.

    We state when ordering anything on the phone, online or in person, that we will accept no product with Styrofoam packaging.

    If it arrives with styrofoam peanuts, shells or encasement, we send it back. If the shipper tries to bill us, we call the credit card company and call it a fraudulent purchase.

    Walk into a cafe that uses foam cups and tell them you will boycott them until they use paper, or, if you are aggressive, order their most expensive drink. When asked to pay, tell them that you don’t want to expose your body to plasticizers or pollute the ocean then walk out.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When people used to have time, when they weren’t parts of a giant machine that can only afford minimal down time from these parts (that’s you and me), coffee was served in a ceramic cup in all cafes.

      Then, they were washed and cleaned by decently paid (compared with today’s) workers.

      Demand to sit in a coffee shop for hours (bring a copy of War and Peace, if you like) with your coffee in a real cup.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        yes of course, but then coffee drinkers also used to drink most of their coffee at home or the office and only go out for coffee when they wanted to get away from home to relax (and read, people watch etc.) or to meet socially. Now we have SBUX drive thru. So we have both less time and way more silly and wasteful ways of getting caffeine into the bloodstream.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Agreed.

          Drink coffee and eat at home…if workers weren’t so stressed out and short of free time, they’d be grocery shopping more frequently (daily?) and cooking more at home.

          Buying fresh food more frequently will cut down on packaging.

          The ultimate source of much pollution is our fast (involuntary and voluntary) life style.

          Reply
  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Just 20 percent of e-waste is being recycled Ars Technica

    Avoid ‘e’ whenever possible

    Then, there would be less e-waste.

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Thank you, MLTPB! Next time someone corrects me (“Fewer!”), I shall note that “less” has one “e”.

      Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Can’t they be recycled, or something?

          Is there a market opportunity there? Maybe one could copyright or trademark all vowels, and then charge a rent or royalty (what a telling root that word has) for every use?

          Lots of litigation futures there — Is “y” a vowel, or not?

          Reply
  27. Lee

    Net Neutrality

    I’m looking into getting internet access from a local start up. The deal they offer is better than those offered by the big three: ATT, Verizon, and Comcast.

    The concern is that so far as net neutrality is concerned, a small ISP may be dependent on upstream providers and so be unable to provide net neutrality if their upstream overlords don’t allow it. I’ve read the Wikipedia article on the Internet backbone but I’m still unclear on how all this works out down here on the ground.

    Reply
  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hotels Add ‘Panic Buttons’ to Protect Housekeepers From Guests Bloomberg.

    That’s an idea with widespread applicability.

    Congressional offices, casting couch…

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Not on my Firefox browser with the NoScript add-on installed, they’re not. Jeebus, retake control of your web browsing, people!

      Reply
  29. JTMcPhee

    Re insupportable student loan “overhang:” How about everyone agrees to #justsayno, and #juststoppaying? Seems social media would be a good way to get folks to think about the notion, and maybe collectively act on it, since so many of the people who are being stripped of present and potential futures by these scam loans are the younger ones who use such connections to create their culture. Though I have a friend who at age 60 was still pushing the rock of loans that are nearly 40 years old up the proverbial debt hill.

    “What is a person to do?” Pretty simple. Do like Banksters and Venture Capitalists and corporate looters do, when applying their business acumen to loading up on unsustainable debt they happily incur in their looting practices: #justsay no. Or maybe #juststoppaying.

    If the landlord rentier stops maintaining the premises, and the plumbing fails and the roof leaks and rats and roaches start chewing on your babies, you can do a rent strike, “legally” in many or most places. “Insupportable debt” is a thing, and has been since people have been operating debt-generating money mechanisms. Wiser ages had regular Jubilees to restore some balance.

    Let’s remember that people with power routinely welsh on debts, and stiff their creditors. But because they have “people” to facilitate such behaviors, and sit on piles of “capital,” tradespeople always hope that the rich folks will pay them, so they keep giving them real actual stuff, in exchange for promises to pay. See how the Upper Crust in Merry Olde England treat and treated THEIR creditors, and how many Rich Folks here in the US and Australia and elsewhere stiff their “creditors,” in blunt and novel ways…

    Granted, there are many student debtors who would probably be happy to take “jobs” applying the cudgel and whip to their fellows, in hopes of earning enough to keep current on their own “obligations,” to protect their invaluable “FICO scores” and hence “rights” to keep consuming in self-pleasing bliss (/s). In keeping with the reminder that stated long ago by class warrior Jay Gould, that “he could pay half the working class to kill the other half.” But maybe there would be enough upright folks willing to #justsayno and #juststoppaying into that self-digging hole so many of them have been lured into. It’s not like the gangs that trick them into signing up and falling into the pit have what the lawyers call “clean hands.”

    Maybe the people making up DSA could think about this as an organizing principle and “strange attractor,” among the others they are groping towards. Could make their brand very popular, and be very (though I hate to use the word) “empowering.”

    I think ambrit observed, in the thread under today’s post on student loans, that this whole scam is just a covert form of “QE,” of MMT wealth transfer to the banksters and loan advisers and “servicers” (barnyard meaning) and credentialed “administrators” and “managers” that run “higher education,” doing all the kinds of siphoning and defrauding that are documented here at NC. Yes, it is a”market” in the same way the Pentagon runs a “market,” following the tenets of its patron saint, Milo Minderbinder.

    #justsayno.

    #juststoppaying.

    Reply
  30. Jim Haygood

    Ed Yardeni’s weekly fundamental indicator is showing end-of-year strength today. Chart:

    http://ibb.co/gvgAS6

    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort weakened, but industrial materials prices popped a brisk 1.6% from last week, while the 4-week average of unemployment claims fell to 234,750 — its third-lowest level of the year, signifying continued healthy labor demand.

    Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now projects 3.3% real growth in the 4th quarter. This is likely to translate into nominal GDP growth (including inflation) of around 4.4% year-on-year — still considered feeble by late 20th century standards, when values as low as 6.0% typically were only seen during recessions.

    Reply
  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ireland Recognizes Constitutional Right to a Safe Climate and Environment Climate Liability News

    1. Environment and climate can often be ignoring national borders, so that, one country’s constitution is powerless.

    2. To the extent possible, citizens should have the right to a healthy (if not safe) climate and environment, and a right to a healthy self. Here, we are talking, not necessarily Ireland, but say, a different, but exceptional country, health care for all.

    Now a right to free speech does not mean you have to speak, if you have nothing to say. It only means you will not hindered, if you have something to say.

    Similarly, a right to a healthy body doesn’t guarantee you will be healthy (that depends on your DNA, life style, diet, etc). But it means you will not be hindered if you want to care for your body, or seek a cure.

    Reply
    1. allan

      Collins and King just had to get in some last minute preening:

      Kyle Griffin‏ @kylegriffin1

      Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are urging FCC Chair Ajit Pai to cancel today’s vote on net neutrality repeal.

      Mavericky.

      Reply
  32. Jean

    “It’s hard to do justice to the weirdness of Roy Moore. It’s so pronounced that he couldn’t even pretend to be normal, not even for 30 minutes, not even long enough to stop scaring people who might be on the fence.”…

    Yet this cowboy hat wearing, bible thumping hymen bustin’ buffoon only lost by the skin of his teeth to a qualified U.S. attorney.

    That tells you all you need to know about the modern Democratic Party.

    The Democrat party isn’t a reform party.

    Reply
  33. Andrew Watts

    RE: EXCLUSIVE: TRACING ISIS’ WEAPONS SUPPLY CHAIN—BACK TO THE US

    The article had almost nothing to do with the headline. The original report from the CAR can be found here and makes for an interesting read. They don’t make the assertion that either the US or Saudi Arabia directly handed over AGTWs. But they found it only took two months from the completion of the manufacturing process to the transfer to Syrian “moderate” rebels ’til IS acquired them. That probably means that some of those Free Syrian Army warlords were selling arms as just about everybody suspected.

    Other findings included the fact that more than 50% of the weapons used by IS were manufactured in Russia/China which were probably captured from Iraqi/Syrian government forces. Almost all the chemical precursors used to make IEDs and suicide vests came from Turkey. There wasn’t any evidence that IS ever captured Coalition/US provided arms/ammunition from the SDF.

    The report thanked the Iraqi Security Forces, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, and YPG for facilitating their work which was primarily around Kobani and Hasakah in Syria and from all over Iraq.

    Reply
  34. ewmayer

    o “Just 20 percent of e-waste is being recycled | Ars Technica” — What the article alas does not discuss is the percentage of e-waste taken for recycling which actually ends up being recycled. A similar issue is in play for conventional household recyclables, where there have been numerous articles about the appallingly high % of that which actually end up in landfills.

    o “Republicans Shouldn’t Assume Roy Moore Was An Outlier | FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver” — And establishment Dems shouldn’t assume the elcction result was the beginning of a trend. I mean, if they couldn’t nominate someone who could beat an appalling creep like Moore, how pathetic would that have been?

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Doug Jones is likely the only Democrat who could have had a chance to win in Alabama, and too many people seem to lose sight of that fact. What remains to be seen is whether the progressive notes on his website reflect his real positions or were just put there on the advice of the DSCC.

      Not even the African American women who are responsible for his win are expecting a whole lot from him; they just weren’t about to let Massa Moore get elected. They didn’t do it for the Democrats; they did it for themselves. Still, he may surprise us, if only just a little.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > Not even the African American women who are responsible for his win

        That’s a monocausal explanation and it’s plain wrong; see e.g. I understand why the usual suspects immediately started chorusing it*, but that doesn’t make it true.

        NOTE * Since Obama’s record on unemployment, which disproportionately impacted blacks, and on foreclosures, which detroyed a generation of black wealth, was so poor, Democrat loyalists need to assure blacks that they are “listened to,” and so they should get their minds off pesky ideas of looking for material benefits like #FightFor15 and #MedicareForAll, both of which Jones opposes (making him a reliable soldier for the Establishment Dems who oppose these things too).

        Reply
  35. D

    Re: Have a cell phone against your ear? You should consider putting it down

    The near decade old backstory which forced the California Department of Public Health [CDPCH] to release that warning, which the Fresno Bee should have noted, emphasis mine:

    12/14/17 Cell Phone Safety Guidance from the California Public Health Department – California Issues Cell Phone Radiation Warnings

    ….

    This document originally prepared in 2009 by health professionals within the CDPH Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control underwent numerous revisions but was never published by CDPH until now.

    In March of this year, the Sacramento Superior Court ordered the CDPH to release the draft documents to Dr. Joel Moskowitz, the plaintiff in a law suit filed under the California Public Records Act by the Environmental Law Clinic at UC Berkeley Law and the First Amendment Project.

    ….

    In July, the California Brain Tumor Association held a demonstration in Sacramento outside of CDPH to call for the public release of the cell phone warning document.

    ….

    The document that CDPH published today understates the health risks from long-term exposure to cell phone radiation because the preponderance of the research finds that cell phone radiation poses a major risk to human health. In February of this year, the agency argued in a court hearing (Moskowitz v. CDPH) that it was afraid of creating panic among the public if the Department were to disclose the health risks from cell phone radiation exposure.

    The Federal Communications Commission, the agency responsible for regulating cell phones, .relies on industry-generated guidance that is two decades old. More than 230 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on electromagnetic fields and health have signed a petition calling on all nations to adopt stronger regulations and disclosure to the public about the health risks of electromagnetic fields.

    If one prefers the above to come from non EMF researchers, there’s this from the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the backstory:

    03/03/17 Long-overdue release of information about cell phone risks

    It took years of public pressure and a lawsuit, but the California Department of Public Health has finally released a set of guidelines for the public about the risks associated with cell phone use and the best ways for cell phone users to reduce their exposure to potential dangers.

    Most Popular1 Ayesha Curry’s ‘Great American Baking Show,’ pulled from… 2 A’s nearing trade for Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty 3 Ed Lee: just an ordinary guy who transformed a city 4 UCSF fired head of sexual harassment prevention office 5 London Breed painting herself as logical mayoral successor to… 6 Despite progress, acting SF Mayor London Breed inherits… 7 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo eager to play before his new Faithful What on earth took so long?

    We asked the department for an answer to this question. It didn’t offer us a direct response but wrote, “Th(is) project was discontinued when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued national guidance on the same subject.”

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that more research is needed about the subject.

    However, the state’s document, dated April 2014 and stamped “draft and not for public release,” used then-existing scientific research. It paints a very clear picture of the potential dangers of cell phone use.

    ….

    California’s public health department released the document only after a judge said she would order the guidelines to be disclosed. Joel Moskowitz, a public health researcher at UC Berkeley, sued the department last year after repeatedly requesting them.

    Further down in the piece, and Likely one of the very, very few worthwile things Gavin Newsom has taken on:

    There have also been a substantial number of public officials calling for caution — and being shot down.

    In San Francisco, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom championed 2010 legislation mandating cell phone retailers display radiation levels next to each phone for sale.

    The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, a trade group representing cell phone companies, sued San Francisco over the law. San Francisco dropped the fight after a three-year battle.

    Reply
  36. D

    Should be [CDPH], not [CDPCH] in that first paragraph in my above comment.

    Also, don’t you just love when you paste something assuming the text you see will be the paste result? That nonsensical paragraph, which starts Most Popular1 Ayesha Curry’s …, of course, should not be there, and isn’t visible in the article, at least on my browser, sorry.

    Reply
  37. Lambert Strether

    We Just Found The Strongest Evidence Yet That Fracking Affects Human Health

    This:

    Greenstone and fellow researchers analysed records of more than 1.1 million births across Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013, looking to see what differences if any were evident between babies born close to fracking sites compared to babies born further away.

    There was significant opposition to fracking in Pennsylvania (see this series starting in 2010*). I have no doubt that if studies were conducted in Colorado, where there was also significant opposition, the results would be the same (or worse; IIRC in Colorado frack sites were in the suburbs, sometimes near public schools).

    And:

    What they found was that babies born within 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) of fracking sites start to show greater risk of being born at a low birth weight, which in turn increases their likelihood of things like infant mortality, ADHD, asthma, and lower educational and earning outcomes.

    In other works, fracking has created a neoliberal epidemic. We have both Dick Cheney’s energy task force and the Obama administration to thank for this, so well played, all.

    NOTE * Interesting, a Google search on “Pennsylvania fracking” doesn’t bring up those posts, another case of Google being unable to “find” material that I know exists. I don’t know whether it’s because Google search is 100% crapified, or if it’s censorship, or if it’s censorship as a happy by-product of crapification. Either way the result is the same.

    Reply

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