Links 12/9/17

The most precious Bronze Age artefacts were made with cosmic materials Science Alert (Chuck L)

Volkswagen executive sentenced to maximum prison term, fine under plea deal ars technica (J-LS)

Toyota’s New Power Plant Will Create Clean Energy from Manure Futurism

How Blockchain Technology Is Helping Syrian Refugees Huffington Post. Kevin W: “I am not going to be snarky and point out that this blockchain is being tested on virtual prisoners in an isolated camp in the middle of a desert, oh wait, yes I am.”

People Who Can’t Remember Their Bitcoin Passwords Are Really Freaking Out Now Slate

The mysterious case of the boy missing most of his visual cortex who can see anyway MedicalXpress

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Trump and North Korea Financial Times

A Proposed Law Is Stoking the Worst Fears of India’s Bank Depositors. Here’s Why. The Wire (J-LS)

What a School in Bengal Teaches Us About Sea Level Rise The Wire (J-LS)

Brexit. I should say more on this today (as in a post) but that will probably wind up not taking place until Monday. Most commentators seem to be looking at pieces of the agreement in relative isolation (Richard North below is one of the exceptions).

Fintan O’Toole: Ireland has just saved the UK from the madness of a hard Brexit Irish Times (bwilli 123) Ahead of itself. Gove praised the “deal” which is not a deal as May winning. The hard Brexiters think that the EU capitulated to giving the UK a special deal. The whole thing could go pear shaped in the next phase. All this did was postpone resolving the inconsistencies in the UK’s position.

May set for new battles after Brexit breakthrough Financial Times. OMFG, get a load of this. I had thought I was recklessly speculating yesterday when I said Barnier was ahead of his principals and the European Council might issue a qualified approval flagging that they thought certain things had to be resolved (as in a coded way of slapping Barnier and putting pressure on the UK). This is an even stronger and faster shot across the bow than even skeptical moi had anticipated:

In a blow to UK hopes, the EU issued instructions to its chief negotiator Michel Barnier that implied substantial discussions on a future relationship may not begin until February or March because Britain had yet to be “clear” about its aims.

Hard Brexit part comes next year Politico

Brexit trade talks could still be months away despite breakthrough Independent

Brexit deal annotated Politico

This Brexit shortcut looks like a dead end The Times. Incorrect re UK leverage, but at least some commentators are trying to kick the tires.

Brexit: nothing bankable Richard North. Deep dive on how unworkable “the deal” is.


Does Trump Want a New Middle East War? Rolling Stone (resilc)

Is Trump Prepared for His Jerusalem Gambit to Backfire? New York Magazine

Donald Trump says recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will bring peace – it will do quite the opposite Robert Fisk, Independent (J-LS)

Trump’s Gift to Hizbullah weakens Saudi Hand in Beirut Juan Cole (resilc)

Israel is Bombing Gaza Defend Democracy

New Cold War

U.S. Demands NATO Action on Russian Missiles Der Spiegel (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Mideast Peacemaking is No Longer Made-in-America American Conservative (Chuck L, Kevin W)

The New Great Game moves from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific Asia Times (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Where the Fuck Is Trump’s Infrastructure Plan? Vice

Trump’s border wall: Climbing tests begin on prototypes BBC

Trump Is Nearing Financial Armageddon Vanity Fair (resilc)

Tax “Reform”

“I Can’t Prove It to You, but I Know It’s True”: Jamie Dimon Puts His Faith in Trump’s Tax Plan Vanity Fair

Rushed US tax reform set to provide loopholes to big groups Financial Times

Trump’s casual tax comments scald his Hill allies, again Politico

The Republican Plan To Raise Your Capital Gains Taxes Forbes

Changes to Capital Gains Taxes Could Radically Alter the Calculus for Home Sellers Zillow Research (resilc). From last month, still germane.

Collins’ Obamacare deal faces moment of truth Politico

Elizabeth Warren And Sherrod Brown Slam Mulvaney For Conflicts Of Interest International Business Times

No One Is Afraid of a Government Shutdown Inside Elections (UserFriendly)

The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken Counterpunch (UserFriendly). Funny and apt.

California wildfires: Businesses face ruin as blaze rages BBC (David L). Bye bye avocados.

Sex in Politics…Not!

I Don’t Think the Moral High Ground Exists Anymore Esquire (resilc)

Democrats Will Likely Hold Franken’s Seat, But Minnesota’s Not As Blue As It Seems FiveThirtyEight

Job Growth Signals Robust Economy, With Gain of 228,000 New York Times. Not confirmed by people I know looking for jobs.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google should be broken up Business Insider (resilc)

Guillotine Watch

A Gift Guide for the .0001% Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Booze, Women, and Movies: Chuck Grassley Couldn’t Be More Wrong about Taxpayers American Prospect

To battle opioids, county turns to better policy and hope Scalawag (Doug S)

The American savings crisis, explained The Week (resilc)

Antidote du jour. A costumed ape:

And a bonus video from Will C. These are his chickens:

We made a follow up video of the baby chicks’ first day out on the homestead and their transition to independence. They’re fantastic layers now at only six months old. One of the chicks turned out to be a pretty great rooster. We’re very happy with them. Mayapple eventually got sick of being cooped up with a bunch of youngsters and moved back to her old home. She’ll hopefully be raising more chicks this spring.

And for fun:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘Donald Trump says recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will bring peace.’

    Advisors; “Mr President, it’s probably best that you try to defuse the situation in the Middle East somewhat.”
    President Trump’s Announcement; “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.
    Defuse, pour petrol on. It gets so confusing at times.

    1. Darius

      It’s supposed to inflame. Provocation begets counter-provocation. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone.

      1. Substance over form

        Is this move just a diversion from something else or is this the point?

        Except for the provoking symbolism, will something substantially change?

        It is not like anybody of the states that scream the loudest against the move, incl. Arab states, Sweden etc., has done anything substantial to stop the expanding settlements, the apartheid system imposed on the Palestinians, Israel-funding of ISIS etc. so I don’t see any positive develepment in the region that is threatened by this move.

        1. witters

          Dropping the mask of “fair broker” and any commitment to the “two-state solution”, and making it clear to your “allies” that all of them except one doesn’t count, isn’t mere symbolism, just as when it isn’t when the drunk bully at home lets the wider world know for sure this is what they are.

  2. Wukchumni

    California wildfires: Businesses face ruin as blaze rages BBC (David L). Bye bye avocados.

    Naaah, it’d be bye bye avocados (or exorbitantly priced) if we get rid of NAFTA, as over 80% of them eaten in these United States come from Mexico.

    When I was a kid growing up in L.A. there were avocado orchards everywhere, as I lived not far from where the Haas variety originated, but damn near every orchard got replaced by single family homes, along with extensive citrus orchards all over SoCal. (Orange County was named that for a very good reason, ha!)

    Down south towards SD, Fallbrook and environs used to grow a lot of avocados as well, but it wasn’t quite housing that chased the orchards away, instead it was the availability of water, as the price was jacked up to the point where it wasn’t feasible to grow them anymore, and guess where that water went?

    To supply all those new houses in Tijuana-adjacent they’ve been building like crazy, the past few decades.

    1. Lee

      And in my lifetime there were fruit orchards covering the 400 square miles of some of the most fertile land on earth that now lies under the asphalt of silicon valley. Let them eat chips!

      And there are damned few walnuts or open creeks left in Walnut Creek, where the black walnut was first scientifically identified and are used as root stock upon which the edible English walnuts grown in CA are grafted. Let them live in sterile suburban sprawl!

      Maybe I should change my user name to The Old Curmudgeon. Or maybe Grumpy Old Man. Suggestions welcome.

      Happy Holidays one and all!

      1. JBird

        Oh yeah, among my earliest memories are the scents of the last fruit orchards In Santa Clara just before the developers finished their work. Heavenly scent.

        I am not sure how much irrigation they needed, but California use to get three solid months of rain each year with the occasional dry year or two. I think it’s been reversed.

  3. divadab

    Re: Avocados threatened by CA fires – even if the acreage affected is relatively small – the article says 460 acres, which is a drop in the bucket – the news will be used to justify an increase in avocado prices. Watch for it. It will be a great year for Central Coast and Mexican avocado producers.

    But – it won’t affect CPI, magically, due to assumed consumer substitution with other, cheaper products – in this case, probably some kind of GMO corn product – win-win for the corporatists!

  4. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    Thank you for ” Headless Chickens ” – Many a true word spoken in jest – hilarious & I needed a good laugh.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Gawd, my head was spinning trying to follow that whole sequence and yes, it was hilarious. I had forgotten some of that. One part made me curious about something so try this. Go to eBay and put in the search term pink pussy hat and check out some of the prices. It’s almost like the Resistance is a virtue-signalling money scam.

      1. Arizona Slim

        During Tucson’s Rally for Science, I saw quite a few people wearing Resist tee shirts. To them, I had this to say:


        I wish I could say that they understood what I was talking about. Most of them didn’t. And, mind you, the event was a Rally for Science.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I have been having a lot of with my D friends’ Faceborg posts.

        If it’s an article about Trump’s rude and crude behavior, I respond by citing Richard Nixon and LBJ. Incompetence? Well, how about Warren Harding and George W. Bush?

        Then there are those Trump supporters. What a crass bunch. I respond by sharing the inaugural party that Andrew Jackson threw for his supporters. The White House got trashed.

        So far, my history lessons haven’t been challenged.

      2. Jean

        What link are you referring to? This website could use some vertical bars arranged in rows so that one knows who is responding to whom?

        1. Lee

          December 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

          Fresno Dan, I think it is, always posts the header of the message he’s responding to. For now, that may be the only way to avoid confusion. I don’t always do it but it’s a good practice. It would also be nice if one could access comment histories of one’s own or others.

    2. Wukchumni

      The donkey show exhibits unintentional humor-which is usually the best kind, but it’s turned into a sick joke.

  5. David

    The EU has now released the full text of Tusk’s remarks here . I don’t think anything more positive could reasonably have been expected, but on the other hand it seems unlikely that the 27 will provoke a fresh crisis by rejecting the draft guidelines. The truth is there was no “deal” yesterday, as was clear if you read not only the alleged “agreement” but also the Council Communication, which not many journalists seem to have done. There was some political signaling (e.g. on reciprocal rights for individuals) but that’s about it. The hard – and perhaps impossible – work is indeed still to come.

    1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      An Irish friend posts the Taoiseach Varadakar’s weekly progress reports on FB which I can usually tear myself away from, but I watched last night due to the Brexit issue. All very upbeat & he basically guaranteed that all will be just fine, but then using a bit of stolen Churchill – ” End of the beginning “, sort of thing, went on to be slightly more cautious about what he had just set into concrete.

      He then mentioned that Ireland had joined PESCO ( EU military defense pact ) before his happy salesmen demeanour faded somewhat as he announced that his government had raised the retirement age for public sector workers to 70 from 65. All voluntary he assured his audience twice, after all according to him 70 is now it seems the new 50.

      I shall not repeat the experience.

  6. Judith

    What a beautiful costumed ape. From wikipedia:

    The red-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus) is a species of Old World monkey, among the most colourful of all primates. This monkey is sometimes called the “costumed ape” for its extravagant appearance. From its knees to its ankles it sports maroon-red “stockings”, and it appears to wear white forearm length gloves. Its attire is finished with black hands and feet. The golden face is framed by a white ruff, which is considerably fluffier in males. The eyelids are a soft powder blue. The tail is white with a triangle of white hair at the base. Males of all ages have a white spot on both sides of the corners of the rump patch, and red and white genitals.

    The word “douc” (pronounced ‘dook’) is a Vietnamese word meaning “torch”.[3] The douc is an arboreal and diurnal monkey that eats and sleeps in the trees of the forest.

  7. Croatoan

    Blockchain will be used to replace the computers and punch cards that IBM gave to the Nazi’s.

    If these technologists do not scare you, they should.

    1. Wukchumni

      Years ago I met an elderly formerly German gent in Santa Monica, and I like to pick brains when I come across promising grey matter upstairs, and it turned out he was one of the engineers for the ME-262 jet fighter, responsible for the swept wings concept, very impressive!

      So after awhile more of scintillating conversation he says to me:

      “Young man, where do you think the engines for early luftwaffe airplanes came from?”

      I shrugged and said nothing, and he told me:

      “They came from the USA, and the airplane manufacturers of the era were only too happy to supply the 3rd Reich with them built under contract, for a price, of course.”

      1. ambrit

        A very good friend of ours from years ago told a story gathered from an uncle of his. The uncle had been an MP sergeant in the American army during WW2. At the very end, his uncles’ unit was sent to guard a U-boat base near the Baltic. There, the uncle and others had to rescue two American representatives of Standard Oil of California who were about to be lynched by a mob of soldiers. These two had evidently been representatives of the oil company while said oil company was supplying lubricants to the Germans, all through Sweden.
        I often laughed to myself when considering the ‘absurdity’ of that story. As I get older, I give that story more and more credence.
        We underestimate greed coupled with wilful stupidity at our peril.

          1. Vatch

            Lucifer is considered by some to be a benevolent figure like Prometheus of Greek myth. The word means “bringer of light”, “dawn bringer”, or “morning star”. In Isaiah 14:12 in the Greek Septuagint, the word was “Ἑωσφόρος” (Heosphoros). This was translated as “lucifer” in the Latin Vulgate Bible. Even the serpent of Genesis could be considered benevolent, because he or she provided Eve with the knowledge of good and evil.

            Satan has a less positive connotation, and the word means “adversary”. However, in the Book of Job, my impression is that Satan is merely acting as hired muscle or a prosecutor on behalf of Yahweh.

            The Achaemenid Iranians ruled Israel from the mid sixth century BCE until the later fourth century BCE when they were conquered by Alexander of Macedon. During that time the Jews were heavily influenced by the dualistic theology of the Iranian Zoroastrians and they adopted the concept of Satan/Lucifer as the supremely evil one in imitation of Ahriman. Later, the Christians copied that concept from the Jews.

            1. Procopius

              I have long thought there was something weird about medieval Christians hating Judas Iscariot and wanting vengeance on the Jews for crucifying Jesus. If God’s plan to redeem the sinners by having Jesus act as a human sacrifice, then Judas and the Jews were obeying God’s will and bringing immense benefits to the human race. Jesus had to die. God said so in prophecy (they said). Judas and the Jews were necessary to do that. Christians should have been eternally grateful to them, but … Just one of the reasons why I decided at an early age that I couldn’t “believe.”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Then you got the Archetypical entrepreneurial disruptive character, WW II’s “Catch-22” Milo Minderbinder, who as CEO of the “syndicate” that grew out of his position as mess officer, that “syndicate” in which “everyone has a share,” contracted with the Germans to use American-built B-25s and their American crews to bomb the snot out of the American air base from which the American B-25s and crews had been getting killed while flying ever more missions to bomb the German and Italian infrastructure of places like Bologna.

          And after the bombers had bombed the base, killing Americans and demolishing the base structures with high explosives, but not enough destruction had been done to satisfy Milo that the contract terms had been met, the B-25s returned to strafe the field and grounded aircraft and the tents and buildings the troops and officers lived in, with .50-cal fire from all the squadron’s guns. All equipment and consumables and staffing to be provided by the syndicate.

          Terms were cost plus 15%, as I recall.

          “Catch-22. That’s sure some catch.”

          “It’s the best there is!”

          And “our” generals and admirals and colonels and captains and such are happy to engage in selling secret info to people who are not supposed to have access to it, in relatively benign ways (sort of) like ship movements,–422828434.html

          And in Vietnam, we had a supply sergeant who was selling captured “trophy weapons” back to the “gooks.” The weapons the troops captured were required to be put in the supply room under lock and key, since the “fragging” of obnoxious and over-hung-ho NCOs and officers had started. Said sergeant was found in a ditch between camp and ville with his throat cut. No resolution of whether done by GIs unhappy with his entrepreneurialism, or by the “wogs.”

          Yep — “Catch-22, it’s the best there is.”

          On the other hand, any more, who can actually really care?

        2. Jean

          Try watching “JFK to 9/11, a Rich Man’s Trick” for an elaboration of all the suppliers in the U.S., both of money and material to the Third Reich.

          1. Octopii

            Russ Baker’s deeply researched book ‘Family of Secrets’ is a comprehensive history of the Bushes all the way from Prescott to W. The Bushes were into all kinds of shady (or evil) stuff. When H.W goes, Hell will gain a new occupant.

      2. Sid_finster

        I find that hard to believe, considering that the Me-262 flew (badly) in late 1942 and was operational in 1944, well before any American jet.

        FWIW, the (Germa Heinken) 177 was the first jet to fly, and Sir Frank Whittle built the first jet engine in Britain, both in 1939. The US wasn’t exactly then a leader in jet engine technology.

          1. EGrise

            FWIW, I read “engines for early luftwaffe airplanes” as referring to earlier piston-propeller aircraft, not jets. If I’m wrong, then your point certainly stands.

        1. ambrit

          I think that he meant internal combustion engines, for propeller style aircraft.
          For what it’s worth, the IBM company did supply the early style computer system, the Hollerith version, using punch cards, to Germany through IBMs’ German subsidiary. The book, “IBM and the Holocaust” lays it all out. IBM was complicit in the ‘elimination’ of undesirables, an older locution of deplorables, through its’ direct and continuing involvement in the identification and locating of said undesirables. This remunerative work continued throughout the war.
          That no IBM employees were shot for treason after the war is a cautionary lesson to us all concerning legal forms of “immunity” of the elites.

        2. none

          Planes earlier in the war used propellers and the US was good at making those. Also, even when the US wasn’t at the cutting edge of technology, it was (back then) better than anyone else at mass-producing stuff that worked even if it was slightly behind the state of the art. No matter how fantastic the carefully built German stuff was, the US overwhelmed it with sheer quantity of lower-grade stuff.

          1. Phacops

            A little farther afield than aviation, the US was far more advanced in submarine design and construction than the Germans. I’ve been in the German, U-505, and the USS Cobia and the Cobia’s design was well integrated for its function and crew. The U-505 by comparison appeared to have a poor quality design and lacked good integration for undersea operation.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Having your country being bombed day and night does tend to inhibit good design. Your post reminded me of a story that I read years ago. At the end of the war the Allies swept in and grabbed all the research that they could. The big ticket items were rocket technology of course. Swept wings in aircraft mentioned earlier were another which American designers immediately incorporated in their jet aircraft designs like the F-86. What your post reminded me of was the diesel engines used in that latest generation of U-Boat designs. I believe that the British took them and it is that diesel engine design which powered British diesel locomotives for years to come.

              1. Objective Function

                Yup, my Dad was an apprentice at DeHavilland skunk works, Hatfield UK and I have sketches of his diagramming the dual fuel pumps of the BMW 801.

              2. PlutoniumKun

                Not just the designs – up to at least the 1980’s surplus U-Boat engines that had been siezed by the British after the war and mothballed were used as emergency back up power units in North Sea oil exploration rigs.

  8. Jesper

    About the jobmarket… The definition of shortage of qualified applicants can differ between countries, I tried to find the definition for it for Sweden. From memory it was if there were less than five qualified applicants per job advertised then there was a shortage, If there were ten qualified applicants per job advertised then it was the job-market was to be seen as being in balance.
    Those numbers approximately match what is in this article:

    So for me when I hear about problems in recruiting despite low participation rate then I start thinking about how picky employers are. The shortage of qualified applicants is to me about as serious as the shortage of luxury cars.

    Changing the definition for job-market being in balance to be a bit more in favour of the people applying for jobs might (in my opinion very likely to) change the analysis of how the job-market is at the moment.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      I’ve been going to job fairs. I didn’t see any temp staffing agencies. Maybe they were disrupted by the gig economy?

      1. Jesper

        My experience, based on where I am and the business that I am in, is that job-fairs are for employers looking for recent graduates.
        One of the first things that unemployed are told/advised to do is to register with the termp-agencies so the temp staffing agencies do not need to go to the job-fairs to find potential employees. In the current job-market it seems that temp staffing agencies chase job-openings more than they chase job-applicants.
        Other people might have a different experience, but for me in my situation I don’t (yet) see the disruption/change.

    2. Louis

      So for me when I hear about problems in recruiting despite low participation rate then I start thinking about how picky employers are. The shortage of qualified applicants is to me about as serious as the shortage of luxury cars.

      Somehow supply and demand applies when wages are low but not when business can’t find qualified employees.

      1. Vatch

        I’ve asked some candidates for political office to tell me their position on H-1B visas, but none has responded yet. I’m not trolling them; these are politicians who seem to be pretty good to me in general, and I just want to get more information about their policy positions. It’s rather disappointing.

  9. Altandmain

    Needless to say, the Unity Commission is not going well:

    I think it has become clear that the Democrats are beyond reform. As for the article about why liberals care so much about diversity and so little on inequality -it’s because they are overwhelmingly part of the upper middle class. They have not been hit by the worst of the class warfare coming from the rich. It’s the poor and middle class that has. In some ways, worse, they have benefited.

    So they are socially liberal, but economically very conservative and quite neoliberal.

    1. Ted

      We fail to understand the processes of capitalism and economic class formation at our own peril. The professional classes are the direct and very well compensated beneficiaries of the present oligarchic political order. This story is direct evidence if it, a chair person who is also a “conultant” with a half million dollar contract at the DNC. The most ardent supporters of the DNC come from either the consultant classes, financial prestidigitators, or from the various classes of readers, writers, and critical critics (aka the “thought leading” classes like academics and journalists). All traffickers in symbols of this or that sort, and none members of the working classes (you know the plebs who use their hands for a living … increasingly to clean the toilets and the arses of the members of the professional classes who so love the DNC?). As such, expecting the DNC and its power brokers to wake up some morning and suddenly give a damn about economic inequality is the very height of opium fueled delusion. I suggest reading a little Marx or at least David Harvey once in a while.

    1. Spring Texan

      Yes, there’s no end to the cruelty and exploitation, and we are now really making it easy for the profiteers by imprisoning peaceful immigrants who they make clean the prison and cook the food for $1 a day and I’m sure they’ll do pricey skype visits for them too.

      Yes we are nothing but revenue streams. :-(

      1. JTMcPhee

        One wonders what might happen if enough lootables did like Nancy Reagan told them — you know, the part about “just say no”?

        Like, for example, if a majority of those trying to push unsupportable student loan debt up that infinite hill of “compound interest,” a hill that is owned like most everything else by the 0.01% and steepened by the minions in the credentialed class, all just stopped sending ANY “revenue” to the banksters and scammers who operate that particular part of the wealth extraction rackets? I mean, it’s not like social media don’t provide a sort of means of organizing such a “rent strike.” Most states still have minimal protection for renters being abused by slumlords, in allowing escrowing of rent payments where the premises are unlivable, where the tenants experience “constructive eviction.”

        Of course, those statutory and in some cases common-law rights and remedies are targets for the Ownership Class, and under constant attack. And what possible chance is there that any jurisdiction these days would enact laws that would enable a forced Jubilee of insupportable debts (except for Corporate Citizens, of course)? And where is the brave and suicidal judge who would recognize a common-law remedy for student debtors?

        Of course, as many of us are starting to recognize, this train has no brakes, and is headed ever faster downhill, toward the ultimate trestle that’s washed away by the floods engendered by the many elements of “commerce” that produce “global warming” and other externalities…

        1. Jean

          Easiest thing to do every day is use cash to throttle payments to the cream skimmers at the credit card companies. Give the difference to the merchants who get 100% of the sale price that way.

          1. JTMcPhee

            How many student loan debtors and other lootables have CASH?

            But yes, one good idea, that like a student loan #JustSayNo requires a whole lot of people doing it before it becomes effective…

      2. flora

        In case anyone missed this monstrosity:

        “The mother has been forbidden from any contact with her newborn for 14 of the 18 months the child has been alive. After reaching out to the MacArthur Center, an attorney there looked into the matter and found other cases in which the judge had barred poor people from seeing their children until they paid off court fines.
        “The good news is that the judge has now resigned and the youth court in Pearl, Miss., has been closed. But this clearly goes beyond a single judge. A police officer detained someone, causing her to be separated from her newborn, over unpaid misdemeanors. The officer then claimed she had abandoned the baby, despite the fact that it was the officer’s actions, not hers, that left the child without a parent.”

        This sort of thing is why DSA is holding free brake light replacement clinics.

  10. DJG

    Charles Pierce and Dahlia Lithwick on the moral high ground. The kicker from Lithwick’s article at Slate:

    “Sure, don’t stoop to their level. But let’s acknowledge that the game Republicans are forcing everyone to play insists morality is for losers.”

    Then a rhetorical question from Lithwick within the article:

    “Who knows why the GOP has lost its last ethical moorings? But this is a perfectly transactional moment in governance, and what we get in exchange for being good and moral right now is nothing.”

    Lithwick can’t be this dim. I’ve read her other astute commentary. And the answer to her question is this: “Because it works.” [Note to Lithwick: Read about FDR (would that he were around now) and the Court-packing scheme.]

    I include that summarizing sentence from her article because it is typical of the Democrats and liberals: “a perfectly transactional moment in governance.” Does that mean anything? (I suspect it means “here comes the ‘entitlement’ reform.”)

    I have many complicated thoughts about how the legitimate accusations of rape have played out in the world of entertainment and of politics, where the women who have made those charges are now being studiously ignored. The problem with rape is that one of our luminaries may have to go to jail. Sexual harassment is harder to prove, and unless the accusers are willing to press charges, we are going to see a lot maneuvering and career wrecking and good old American / Puritanical panicking.

    And what was the precipitating incident? Some genius published the audio of Trump’s “grabby” speech. Some genius didn’t think that what goes around comes around. No wonder Donna Brazile is having a meltdown. She was trying to run a party, and the fan club was trying to get the really juicy gossip out there. And Hillary, the Movie, was in development with that groovy Harvey.

    And I won’t even mention how the liberal / Democratic opinion leaders, as it were, have ignored endless war in the Middle East, the game of coups, and torture at Bagram in Afganistan and at Guantanamo. Gosh darn, the rule of law is for losers, now isn’t it.

    1. Carolinian

      what goes around comes around

      Having failed–so far–at getting rid of Trump the Dems are now eating their own. I’m not sure I or anyone else knows the whole story of what went on with Franken or Keillor but there’s no doubt that they were hard core Democrats. And in the case of elected officials perhaps questions of morality, short of actual criminal convictions, should be left up to the voters.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Franken is no Bernie but he does seem to genuinely care and tries to do the right thing for the most part. I generally don’t see him tied to corporate interests, at least not as much as other Dems, and he is a bit of an interloper in the Senate, not being a career politician.

        Makes me wonder if that might be why he was chosen for defenestration in this case. It sure as hell wasn’t because of some new found ethics on the part of the FDemocrat party. I’m guessing the Dems are probably going to replace him with another empty suit Tim Kaine clone and not with the 2nd coming of Paul Wellstone.

    2. Deschain

      This piece (and many like it) are the equivalent of yelling ‘stupid Ned Stark’ at the Dems.

      There may be no high ground now, but I think there is value at moving out of the low ground, one step at a time. Otherwise what’s the point of winning.

    3. Sid_finster

      Team D told Franken that he had to go, hence his whiny, petulant, “I didn’t do anything wrong when I was a Senator but I’ll resign at some point” speech.

      Franken had to go so that Team D could take clear shots at Trump and Moore with being burdened by whatabouttery.

      1. ambrit

        This is going to backfire in a big way.
        I’m waiting for the flight logs for Epsteins’ “Lolita Express” to be leaked. Bill going down in flames will probably drag many of his enablers down with him. Hillary will not survive the fallout from that.
        We read about Team Blue and Team Red. I’m puzzled as to why we aren’t reading about Team Purple. You know, the bipartisan effort to get someone anointed as “Supreme Fearless Leader of America.”

        1. sleepy

          Rumors about the release of the Lolita Express flight logs have been making the rounds for 18 months now. Will they be released?

          Also, on Franken–as many have stated he in no way would have been asked to resign if Minnesota had a republican governor who would appoint a republican senator as his replacement.

        2. Marco

          I keep hearing about Bill Clinton and Dershowitz’s “Lolita Express”. Can someone point me to the most authoratative exposition on this subject that doesn’t involve a right-wing news outlet or blog? Not disputing it just want a clear background. If Bill Clinton goes down so does Hillary so I REALLY hope there is some truth to this.

            1. HotFlash

              Oh my, interesting! The article is from May 2016, the final para is:

              Beyond the powerful couple, Epstein is linked to other well-known public figures such as former Clinton Press Secretary George Stephanopoulos, Britain’s Prince Andrew, TV personality Katie Couric, actor Kevin Spacey, and filmmaker Woody Allen.

              I love the sound of shoes dropping in the morning…

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Didn’t protecting Bill already backfire? Trump is President, and he won white women. It might not be a wave, but elections are decided by small margins.

          A line of attack against Trump doesn’t work when the Democratic Party is united behind an enabler of a predator in Hillary.

          1. ambrit

            The question might be; would Hillary have had such a high profile political career later if Bill had been purged after l’affair Lewinsky? Her obvious lack of ‘charisma’ hurt her on the campaign trail even with Bills continuing sacrosanct status. Her handlers obviously knew this, witness the manufacture of the ‘Cult of the Great Female’ centered around Hillary. Other female politicos I observe haven’t had to hide behind their own skirts.
            Your point about the vote breakdown is valid, but is open to debate as to causes. For instance, how many of the Trump supporting white women voted for him for populist reasons, like family financial degradation? One of the quintessential female country singers from the long ago, Tammy Wynette, sang both “Stand By Your Man” and “D I V O R C E.” So, nothing’s quite as simple as it appears.

        1. ambrit

          I don’t know what was on Sanders’ mind when he said that. He of all people should know that American politics is hardball. Trump is the duly elected President. For example, Nixon resigned probably because he saw that he would be removed from office for felonies, not ‘misconduct.’ If Weinstein et. al. committed rape or abused underage girls, and boys if the truth be told, then they should be prosecuted for those serious crimes. Trump is a big bore; crass, venal and immoral. He’s our bore. He is sort of an object lesson in “Local boy makes bad.” Where are the lines dividing creepiness and criminality drawn today?
          What has changed in American politics is matched by changes in American culture. The culture has coarsened considerably. Now our politics is following suit. Don’t be too proud to admit that Trump is America today. This is almost a parody of the dictum that “Form follows function.”
          To badly paraphrase Alfonso Bedoya as the bandit in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”: “We don’t need no stinking purity badges!”

          1. petal

            I can’t remember who it was on here(Lambert, perhaps?) that said quite a while ago that’s where all of this was headed-to get Trump to resign. When I saw the article about Sanders the other day, I thought “Yup-they were spot on.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It’s the same in 2, 3 or 11 dimensional chess – you sacrifice a pawn, a bishop to check the king. (This was posted a while ago.)

    4. djrichard

      New t-shirt idea, “Why occupy wallstreet when we can occupy the moral high ground?”

      Occupying the moral high-ground gives them all kinds of benes:
      – it’s a prereq for “occupy authority”. How can one occupy authority if they’re not moral? “Surely it’s not truly a function of simple crass voting. Yes we do let you vote us in, but that’s just so you can validate our moral superiority.”
      – it doesn’t bring any attention to what that authority itself is doing. As long as the entities that “occupy authority” are beyond reproach, then any expression/ exercising of that authority is by definition, beyond reproach as well.

      Case in point, check out this article GOLDMAN SACHS: There’s an attractive way to profit from the $1.3 trillion student-loan bubble . About the only moral squeamishness brought up in the article is to acknowledge that what’s being exploited is in a bubble. “Do we really want to validate bubbles?”. Otherwise, the article is basically saying, “hey, look at how we can eat our own”. There’s no worry about validating that. Though I do get a whiff that the author is also hanging it out there just to see if anyone will bite, and say, “hey, this is immoral!”. [But look out if those GS guys have moral failings otherwise, because then the the s**t will really hit the fan. And everybody will say it was a long time coming. SMH.]

  11. Louis

    Regarding the New York Times article about job growth, it’s no secret that much of the job growth since the 2008 recession has been in low-wage, part-time positions. As for claims of a shortage of qualified applicants, when one looks at the requirements versus offered salary for a number of jobs, claims of a shortage are questionable.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      If there was a real shortage of qualified applicants for real positions, then real wage data would show an increase. That is all the evidence I need.

      1. Louis

        Indeed–if there were a real shortage of qualified applicants, wages would go up, experience requirements would go down, or a combination of the two. It’s a shortage of applicants at the wages being offered, not necessarily a true shortage.

        If nothing else, it should also show that introductory economics (“Econ 101”) which so many, especially those who are misinformed or bought and paid for shills, like to to cite as a rationale for things working the way they do, explains the real-world of economics about as well as introductory physics–you assume a perfect surface and don’t take into account variables like air-resistance–explains the real world of physics.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Big-hearted America:

    The Trump administration delivered an unusually blunt warning to Saudi Arabia on Friday, saying the U.S. might curtail its support for Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen unless the kingdom takes immediate steps to allow more humanitarian aid into the besieged country.

    “We” bomb the sh*t out of Third Worlders … then send in our surplus ag products to feed the homeless.

    Thousand points of light!

    1. Sid_finster

      At this stage, I’ll take what I can get.

      Who wants to bet that upon receiving the news, Kushner ran screaming to Trump that MBS is his special friend?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I loved the story about the fat Saudi oligarch who paid a cool billion so they’d take the thumbscrews off of him at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh.

        There are so many sides and subtleties and factions it boggles the mind, Bibi playing footsie with the House of Saud, US paying one side to fight in Syria then the other side to fight in Iraq, banks and mega-corps jockeying for their place at the tax bill trough.

        But at the end of the day, in almost every country, there is one dividing line that can be counted on: with the mega-corporate military billionaire government types on one side, and the hapless people of the world on the other. The rest is just theatre to confuse the plebes, these guys all party together at Davos and just agree which group of people they’re going to plunder and kill next. “Waiter! More Veuve Cliquot! What’s the matter with you anyway?”

      1. Wukchumni

        My mom is a bit of a camera nut-especially @ xmas, and for years the family suffered through 100 flashes of light, and one time my brother-in-laws had enough of the Kodak moments and made off with it early on in the game and gift wrapped it, and stuck it under the tree, with a: “To Mom, Love from the Family” sticker on it, and she begins freaking out, “Where’s my camera!” and everybody is in on the joke, and we play stupid, and after a couple hours of potlatching, it was the very last gift opened, and oh how we howled with laughter after it was ‘found’, including her!

        1. ambrit

          Wait a minute there. “Potlatching?” Isn’t that where people vie with each other over how many valuable items can be destroyed??!! If so, your family was much more spiritual than mine!

          1. Wukchumni

            Xmas is largely a potlatch, but there’s no need to destroy the gifts-mostly PRC imports, as they tend to fall apart soon enough.

          2. Vatch

            I’ve seen contradictory descriptions of a potlatch. In some descriptions, the leader boastfully displays his wealth by destroying a significant portion of it. In other descriptions, the leader shows his wealth and benevolence by providing gifts for his underlings. Possibly one of those is the original potlatch of the Pacific northwest, and the other is a similar but different custom in other societies.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Potlatch: The two versions co-existed. I think the gifting was the basic concept, found in a lot of cultures where tribal chiefs are important, and the destruction was an extension of it.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Not the same as Moka exchange.

            From Wikipedia:

            The Moka is a highly ritualized system of exchange in the Mount Hagen area, Papua New Guinea, that has become emblematic of the anthropological concepts of “gift economy” and of “Big man” political system. Moka are reciprocal gifts of pigs through which social status is achieved. Moka refers specifically to the increment in the size of the gift; giving more brings greater prestige to the giver. However, the reciprocal gift giving may be confused with profit-seeking, as the lending and borrowing of money at interest.[1]

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If you are nice to me, I have to be nicer to you…that kind of moral gift/debt.

              “Thank you.”

              “No, thank you.”

              “I thank you more.”

              “And even more thanks from me.”

              “I am warning you. You will never be nicer than I am.”

              1. JBird

                A “potlatch” originally was the local high ranking, and wealthy, chiefs of the American Pacific Northwest finally putting out all the stuff he had accumulated by tribute, tithe, or trade and then giving it away. It was a way of accumulating status and power, but it also ensured that the poorer members would not be suffering. If you’re out clothe, tools, or the boat sank, or whatever you would be given replacement and maybe some extra. There really wasn’t anything you could call “money” and the extensive trading networks between the coastal and inland villages allowed the local elites a chance to accumulate stuff to cement their authority, aid the needy, reduce tensions (remember it was the neediest that got the most), and a chance for everyone to party.

                Gaining power by distributing instead of acquiring. And yes, sometimes the chiefs also destroyed stuff just to show off. And gain even more authority.

                1. HotFlash

                  Or to clean the house? Perhaps like burning the undergrowth?

                  Lessee, perhaps it went like this:

                  Mrs Wukchumni: “Sweetie, can we please pitch this (large ceremonial object)?

                  Mr W: “Well, it’s a gift from Important Person Z, dunno how we could explain if he came visiting and it wsn’t here.”

                  Mrs W: “I have this great idea.”

  13. fresno dan

    The mysterious case of the boy missing most of his visual cortex who can see anyway MedicalXpress

    speaking of vision:

    A series of wavy horizontal lines are shown. All of the lines have exactly the same shape – a sine curve. However, half of the lines appear to have a much more triangular, “zig-zag” shape, when they are superimposed on a grey background. This “zig-zag” appearance is an illusion.
    as they say, don’t believe everything you read and only half of what you see….

  14. Charlie

    Jamie Dimon and faith in Trump’s tax plan:

    “America’s least hated banker.”

    Though the points made in the article about the effects on 99% of the population are good, I had to just stop right there. The guy would be in jail if he wasn’t Obama’s chummy buddy.

    1. Lee

      My WaMu mortgage got bought or given or whatever the deal was to beloved Jaime’s bank. They were complete phkrs: lying to me for 14 months that i had been approved a loan modification (which i hadn’t); advising me to stop making payments to speed up the modification (which i didn’t do); and somehow losing track of my full and timely electronic bank to bank payments. They illegally started foreclosure proceedings and sicked a Filipino pit bull of a woman on me who would call at all hours and yell at me to “pay dee money”. I don’t know if she even heard, but she certainly did not seem to understand a word I said. I got congressman Pete Stark’s office involved and they straightened things out. I hung on, didn’t lose the house and refinanced with another bank. So far, so good.

      1. Wukchumni

        “Wall*Street is not a casino.”~ Jamie Dimon

        He’s right you know…

        Casinos stand the chance of losing to their customers~

    1. Arizona Slim

      I see a familiar name in this story: Michael Picarretta. One of the best defense attorneys in Arizona.

      The cop hired the right man for the job.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I live in Australia, where behavior anywhere close to this by a cop would result in immediate jail time, a national inquiry, prolonged soul-searching and debate in the media, politicians losing their jobs, and actual angry people in the streets.

        The utter passivity of the entire American populace while their freedoms, health, money, and their very lives are extracted from them by the State is really a wonder to behold. And not in a good way.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Agreed. As a USian, it’s appalling the the vast majority of people can look at something like this and seemingly accept it as ‘just the way things are’. That was an execution pure and simple and I don’t see how anyone could see it any other way.

          My local police have stocked up on military surplus (MRAPs, automatic weapons, etc) which of course then leads them to look for excuses to play with their new toys. A couple years ago they wound up being deployed essentially in my backyard in response to someone in the neighboring apartment complex having a mental health crisis. Somehow a SWAT team pointing machine guns at him was supposed to help.

          When I showed up in front of the city council to complain, I was the only one to do so and was looked at as if I had horns sprouting from my forehead.

        2. witters

          “The utter passivity of the entire American populace while their freedoms, health, money, and their very lives are extracted from them by the State is really a wonder to behold.”

          But I thought they were so anti-gummit, as shown by their fearless determination to arm themselves to defend their personal freedom from gummit tyranny…

  15. QuarterBack

    Re the “cosmic materials” article, this is an “ah hah” moment for me. What strikes me the most is how this theory would add a factual basis for the many myths about great weapons (like Thor’s Hammer and many others) and other religions artifacts being built from materials handed down by the Gods; because for all practical purposes of time, they were. This could also explain the reverence for the profession of alchemy. These professionals were no seen as mere artists and engineers, they were replicating the materials that had previously only been delivered by the Gods. My guess too is that the earliest gold had similar provenance.

    I would expect that fire was mastered in much the same way. Early man found fire through extremely rare events. The earliest masters of fire were conjuring power only known to be handed by Gods, which could be why fire is such a primary and universal symbol in nearly every religion.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Raising Cap Gains taxes

    From the link:

    Buy Shares Price Basis
    First Lot 100 $50 $5,000
    Second Lot 100 $100 $10,000
    Third Lot 100 $150 $15,000
    Sell Shares Price Basis
    ? Lot 100 $150 $15,000
    Taxable Capital Gains
    Current Law $0
    Proposed – Average Cost Basis $5,000
    Proposed – FIFO Cost Basis $10,000

    (See the linked article for a more readable presentation)

    Why would you owe nothing under the current law but be taxed on either $5,000 or $10,000 of gains under the Republican tax plan? Because under current law, you can select which tax lot you sell. Naturally, you will choose to sell the lot that generates the least amount of taxes.

    I thought under the current law, it’s ALREADY either average cost, or FIFO? I remember a few years, all the mutual funds asked for a selection on new shares purchased (from that point in time forward).

    In any case, choosing specific shares is a lot of paperwork to track those shares.

  17. Jean

    “Americans are terrible at saving money.”

    What percentage of Americans income goes to outbound mortgage, car, appliance interest payments, fees tacked onto pharmaceutical products for licenses, landlord’s interest payments to banks as part of the rent they pay or interest payments for bonds as part of taxes, plus other fees and skims like credit card interest?

    How much more would people have to spend on consumer items, health care and food if money were lent at zero interest by a giant credit union run by the Treasury or post office?

    This is a big question and the answer eludes me no matter how much I try to research it.
    Any resources or numbers available from informed people?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Household debt is almost $13 trillion … roughly $10 trillion in mortgage debt and $3 trillion in other debt (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc).

      The survey doesn’t say what the interest rate is. However, if we pencil in 4% for mortgage debt and 6% for the rest, that’s $580 billion of annual debt service or 3 percent of GDP ($19.5 trillion).

      The problem with zero percent loans is moral hazard — the demand for free money is infinite. In 2001-2 Mitsubishi famously offered a “zero-zero-zero” deal: zero down, zero interest, zero car payments for one year. Customers signed up in droves, then defaulted at unprecedented rates.

      Probably it would safer to start with free beer, and see how that works out.

        1. Wukchumni

          Would there be less marriages in these United States if the bride had to come up with some do re mi in the guise of a dowry?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The worth of a dowry vs. the present value of future alimony payments.

            You have to treat it as an investment.

      1. bronco

        I think you will find Mitsubishi still made money though. They stuffed the channel with those 0 – 0-0 cars and showed great sales numbers and the dealerships probably took the hit.

        Mitsubishi finance can probably sell all those notes for 97% of face value and put someone else on the hook .

  18. tooearly

    Re Minnesota and Blueness: One can thank the evangelical churches for that IMO. Not nearly enough attention gets paid to that.

    1. Carolinian

      From your link

      If this were, in fact, a deliberate attempt to cause a false and highly inflammatory story to be reported, then these media outlets have an obligation to expose who the culprits are just as the Washington Post did last week to the woman making false claims about Roy Moore (it was much easier in that case because the source they exposed was a nobody-in-DC, rather than someone on whom they rely for a steady stream of stories, the way CNN and MSNBC rely on Democratic members of the Intelligence Committee). By contrast, if this were just an innocent mistake, then these media outlets should explain how such an implausible sequence of events could possibly have happened.

      Thus far, these media corporations are doing the opposite of what journalists ought to do: rather than informing the public about what happened and providing minimal transparency and accountability for themselves and the high-level officials who caused this to happen, they are hiding behind meaningless, obfuscating statements crafted by PR executives and lawyers.

      There’s a new movie coming out celebrating Ben Bradlee and the triumph the WaPo shared with the NYT in printing the Pentagon Papers. What has been pointed out is that ten years later Bradlee himself supervised some fake news that received a Pulitzer, was then exposed.

      The newspaper also published a postmortem by its independent ombudsman, Bill Green, who criticized the willingness of Post editors to publish Cooke’s story without knowing the sources of her information. Green also questioned the ‘scramble for journalistic prizes.’ [MS Encarta]

      Our current Woodward and Bernsteins seem to think they are reliving the earlier episode when it’s likely more like the later. Thank goodness we have the web….

    2. ewmayer

      Someone should send each of the lying liars in the MSM one of the wildly popular Vladimir Putin 2018 calendars as a year-end holiday president. The specific ebay-auction link in The Sun piece shows the going price at a hefty £24.99, 50% higher than the £15.99 cited in the article, but I found many similar items on each of ebay USA, UK and Australia simply by searching for “putin 2018 calendar” on each. Just ordered a slightly different 2018 Putin wall calendar as an amusng Xmas gift for a friend, only $8.99 including shipping from Russia direct to Oz, which avoids me from having to expensively re-ship from the US. С РОЖДЕСТВОМ!

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The mysterious case of the boy missing most of his visual cortex who can see anyway MedicalXpress

    From the article:

    . One of the areas called the pulvinar is normally involved in managing sensory signals, the other, called the middle temporal area, is normally involved in detecting motion. In B.I.’s case, the pathway had grown larger than normal to allow it to do the work that his visual cortex was supposed to do, allowing him to see—a form of neuroplasticity.


    You disregard your title.

    “That is not in my job description.”

    That’s rigidity.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What a School in Bengal Teaches Us About Sea Level Rise The Wire (J-LS)

    Another lesson schools over there or India can teach us is how cheap they can graduate software programmers.

    Cost of living is one factor

    T-shirt factory workers in America had not been given reasons by anyone who cared to defend them that their work should be protected. Instead, they jobs were exported so consumers can enjoy less expensive clothes.

    Fortunately, we’re not exporting teaching jobs.

    1. ambrit

      “Fortunately, we’re not exporting teaching jobs.”
      Oh yeah? I expect a ‘surge’ in computerized lesson delivery programs in the future, with a concomitant reduction in actual wetware teaching beings. Naturally, the ranks of back office aparatchiks will enlarge to ‘manage’ the software.
      These jobs will be exported into the Ether.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Good riddance – those lucky ducky teachers with their cushy union jobs are just a bunch of MOOCs anyway. /s

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We don’t remember the unlucky ones.

          That’s a double tragedy.

          How many kids know that there used to be American made TVs?

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The most precious Bronze Age artefacts were made with cosmic materials Science Alert (Chuck L)

    I will be on the look out for bronze age iron objects in antique malls, auctions, etc.

  22. Altandmain

    The Democrats are at it again:

    Leaked Memo: Democratic Campaign Committee Demands “Unity” of 2018 Candidates

    That means more neoliberals. They are determined not to learn anything about 2016.

    Plus today the Democrats’ Russia stuff sounds an awful lot like the “Birthers” around Obama. We know that it was made up by Clinton in a desperate bid to re-direct responsibility.

    1. mle detroit

      The comments to the linked TYT article consist of pitches for joining one of the smaller, barely organized parties (Greens. DSA) vs.taking over the Dems from within. Those comments end with a rant about “We need the Dems for nothing” that fails to include one little thing: ballot access in all 50 states.

      1. Massinissa

        Look I’m sorry, but people have been trying to ‘take over’ the Democratic party since the 1960s at least, and it simply. hasn’t. Worked. The same actors have been in control of the party machinery for decades, and I don’t see this changing any time soon. I don’t see how this strategy is any more quixotic than trying to start new parties. If anything, it might be better to try both at the same time.

  23. Wukchumni

    The country has been on the verge of a nervous breakdown for years, and electro-shock-therapy vis a vis the internet has only pushed us closer to the edge, but what event pushes us over?

  24. Sluggeaux

    I don’t usually comment on Links, but this has to be some sort of sign that things are out of whack. In my spare time I’m a bit of a car buff. I tell myself that the mostly re-built 30-year old Porsche that I’ve owned for over a decade is a “green” car because it has fully-amortized its production and distribution impact many times over, and its components are mostly re-used and not in a landfill.

    The “Bloomberg Pursuits” Gift Guide for the .001 Percent lists a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina cabriolet to be auctioned by RM Sothebys at an estimated at $1.5-$1.8 million dollars. Between 1990 and about 2008, that particular Ferrari model (and perhaps this very car) was a $75-$85,000 dollar car all day long. Something has gone terribly out of whack when the “value” of a crappy old Italian car has increased nearly 20-fold in 15 years. This is where the money liberated by the GOP tax “plan” is going. Up in the smoke from that old crock’s worn valve-guides…

    1. ambrit

      Oh Deity. And to think that I once had an old Post Office jeep with the Dasher four banger in it. If I could have found a performance head for it…

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Zillow, Cap Gains Taxes…

    I can’t open that but if the plan slows down/deflates the housing bubble, it is not so bad.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Donald Trump says recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will bring peace – it will do quite the opposite Robert Fisk, Independent (J-LS)

    Will Trump recognize Taiwan?

    1. ambrit

      Oh my. First he lets the djinns out of the lamp, and now he wakes the Dragon. What’s next, Bear baiting? Oh wait, now that I think of it…

  27. The Rev Kev

    Re A Proposed Law Is Stoking the Worst Fears of India’s Bank Depositors

    For India, this is a long time coming but I suppose that they had other fish to fry. People here might remember the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia back in November of 2014 when all the attention was on ‘punishing’ Putin. Well, one of the things agreed then was that bank deposits would be regarded as part of a bank’s capital and subject to ‘bail-in’ provisions.
    What that means is that if you have money in a bank and during the next financial debacle that bank gets into deep trouble, they will be able to seize your money to help bail themselves out with and gives you some sort of shares or some such paper in return. And then the bankers could give themselves an extra bonus. This model was tested out in the 2012-2013 Cypriot financial crisis and people could not get their money out but were left swinging in the wind. The president of the Eurogroup of European finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, proclaimed it to be the “template” for the entire EU. Sweet.
    Furthermore, it was pledged that the G20 countries would change their legislation to actually make this act of theft legal and I think that the EU did this in January 2016 and Australia also did so that year. The UK had already enabled this in January of 2015 and India is just catching up is all. One final thing. Remember all those ‘derivatives’ that helped blow up the world’s economy back in 2008? I understand that at this G20 that it was also decided that they are officially ‘secured debts’ – unlike your money in the bank that is. They should have told the holders of those papers to go take a hike as holders of make-believe paper but instead they decided that it was vital to make all those billionaires whole so that they did not suffer for any stupid bets that they made.
    I could say take your money out of the bank and hide it under your bed but you don’t want to do that – that is where the Russians are hiding!

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