Links 1/26/18

Happy Australia Day! I very much miss Oz. Pet a ‘roo or drink some good Aussie red today.

Fish skin helped these bears burned in the Thomas Fire get back on their feet San Luis Obispo Tribune

404 Not Found Financial Times (Dr. Kevin). Just trust me and click on the link.

Nutella ‘riots’ spread across French supermarkets BBC

‘Doomsday Clock’ ticked forward 30 seconds to 2 minutes to midnight Guardian

A ‘marine motorhome for microbes’: Oceanic plastic trash conveys disease to coral reefs PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Wind To Blow Past Hydropower As Top Clean Electricity Source In Major Milestone Huffington Post (Chuck L)

Winemakers Turn to MIT to Save Pinot Noir in Warming Temperatures Bloomberg (resilc)

New study shows freshwater input route from melting ice led to rapid cooling PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Port-Liner’s Fully Electric Container Barges to Launch this August Future Tech Magazine (PlutoniumKun)

Researchers Warn of Physics-Based Attacks on Sensors Security Ledger. Another problem for driverless cars.

George Soros calls Facebook and Google a ‘menace’ to society and ‘obstacles to innovation’ in blistering attack Business Insider

Not just bad health IT, but SPECTACULARLY bad health IT Health Care Renewal

Crypto market put on notice — yet again FT Alphaville

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatens Middle East work ban after maid ‘rapes and suicides’ South China Morming Post. As if this hasn’t been happening in Hong Kong for decades? Although the frequency relative to the ama population could very credibly be much worse in the Middle East.

The ever-rising labour shortages in Europe Bruegel. Are there really shortages, or are employers not willing to pay enough?

Davos 2018: Europe squares up to Trump administration in escalating currency war, as ECB chief slaps down Mnuchin Independent

Merkel’s conservatives and SPD start coalition talks DW

Catalan separatists want Puigdemont home for parliament debate Politico


America’s Syrian humiliation is worse than it looks Asia Times

“Who Lost Turkey?” – The U.S.-Kurdish Project In Syria Endangers NATO Moon of Alabama

Trump kicked the Islamic world in the teeth today, and loved doing it. Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

“This Is Serious”: Facebook Begins Its Downward Spiral Vanity Fair (David L)

Facebook Can’t Be Fixed. NewCo Shift (UserFriendly)

Former employees say Lyft staffers spied on passengers TechCrunch (Chuck L). Quelle surprise!

Alphabet launches cyber security company Financial Times. Managed to miss this yesterday.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why the Pentagon Isn’t Happy With the F-35 Bloomberg (resilc)

Trade Traitors

Trump Opens Door to Joining ‘Substantially Better’ TPP USA News (Kevin W)

Australia’s mad dash to balance China MacroBusiness. On the CPTPP, from the Australian perspective.

Trump Transition

Trump to support path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers The Hill

I’ve Watched Trump Testify Under Oath. It Isn’t Pretty Bloomberg. Resilc: “Trump should put it on pay-per-view.”

Trump asked the Guggenheim for a Van Gogh to hang in the White House — here’s what they offered instead Raw Story (furzy). Someone has a sense of humor.

Trump ordered Mueller’s firing last year but was stopped by WH counsel: report The Hill (UserFriendly)

Justice Department Recovers Missing FBI Text Messages Wall Street Journal

About that massive infrastructure plan: Trump might use it to slash enviro protections. Grist

San Jose mayor quits FCC advisory committee  Axios (Chuck L)

Some Mayors Skip Meeting With Trump Amid New Pressure on Sanctuary Cities Wall Street Journal. See subhead:

DACA Joins the Mad Rush to War Glen Ford

DNC Chair Tom Perez, the Democratic Party’s Grim Metaphor Common Dreams

FBI officials worried about being too tough on Hillary Clinton during email investigation, texts show Fox (Kevin W)

Hating Gerrymandering Is Easy. Fixing It Is Harder. FiveThirtyEight. UserFriendly: “Do check out the full interactive map for more detail. Very interesting. IMO we should have maximum competitiveness or fit the state’s partisan lean.​ Definitely not compactness.”

Sex in Politics…Not!

Rep. Meehan will not seek reelection after sexual harassment backlash The Hill

How Job Listing Language Could Be Adding to Silicon Valley’s Gender Divide KPED

Lost in (fiscal) space Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Jared Bernstein ​sorta makes an MMT argument.”

Biggest Stock Sell Signal Since 2013 Sparked By Record Inflows Bloomberg. “Since 2013”? And we are supposed to worry?

Guillotine Watch

Saatchi chairman and his fashion designer wife are branded ‘scroungers’ after raising £5,000 on crowd-funding site to pay for their Instagram star dog to see celebrity vet Daily Mail

Class Warfare

Stockton is giving its poorest residents $500 a month – Business Insider (Dr. Kevin)

Antidote du jour. For Australia Day, we have an Australian Cattle Dog. From Alex C: “The dog who refuses to wear more than three boots is Pearl.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Chris

      It was hardly an invasion, Witters.

      Australia will continue to be a divided nation until people like you move on. Sorrys been said already, didn’t you hear it.

        1. Chris

          I’ll reluctantly reply Brandon, but there is plenty on this in Wiki and one perspective from an indigenous journo here:

          26 January was declared our national day in 1935. In some respects it was not a well thought through and inclusive decision and many non indigenous people, myself included, think it should have been declared on a different day. But it is what it is and I will drink and shake hands with any Aussie, indigenous or not, and celebrate our nation, and be glad that I am here. It is still the lucky country even as our neoliberal overlords try their hardest to make out like bandits at the cost of everyone else.

          Saying sorry was something that many Australians wanted the Government to do, as a means to recognise the past, rather than accept responsibility for it.

          John Howard and other Prime Ministers wouldn’t say the word, but Kevin Rudd did in 2008 as a means to bridge the divide, but wouldn’t go a further step to change the date.

          So, as I said, we’ve already said sorry, but the date remains an issue which divides us and also divides the indigenous peoples.

          1. Brandon

            Thank you Chris, TIL. Obviously the date needs changed, it is by far the simplest solution. It’ll take more than that for the bad blood to dissipate but it seems like a necessary step.

            1. The Rev Kev

              The sad truth is that there never was a historical time-line possible where a nearly eight million square continent was going to be left to its own devices. If it had not been the British it would have been the French or perhaps the Dutch but after the Napoleonic Wars the British would probably have gotten it anyway like they did Capetown. Worse case scenario was a continent divided up by these three powers becoming the own countries. The aborigines have never forgotten their treatment over the past two centuries – nor should they. But people only can control their own actions – not people who are long dead and gone.
              There has been moves by do-gooders to move the date of Australia Day from January 26th as it is regarded as Invasion Day by some. For American commentators, it would be like demanding that the date for your Independnace Day be shifted from July 4th because of what happened to the Indians. The only trouble is whatever date you pick the same thing will crop up all over again so bugger it. The only alternative is to cancel that holiday altogether or to have it as a day or mourning which either way will never fly as who wants to give up a public holiday and work instead? And that is where we are right now.

              1. Chris

                Thank you PK. And, our first peoples were well aware of the peoples beyond their ‘island’ as they’d been meeting and trading with them long before Cook stood ashore. They were passive and welcoming and that was their undoing, IMHO, and that passiveness continues to be exploited :(

                I’m a do gooder. Wrong is always wrong. It doesn’t matter how you frame it, half right is still wrong. The selection of the date was always wrong.

                Rational people understand this. Witters below doesn’t see the insensitivity of his throw away comment.

                I try to influence people every day to explore their empathy. It can grow when you let it.

      1. witters

        Hi Chris! Was invited by my Koori friends to their annual Invasion Day Wake yesterday. We managed to have a lovely time. Anyway, must move on!

        1. Jeff N

          nothing came up for me either, nothing to scroll to either
          Oh wait – the 5th or 6th time I refreshed, I got the full text

  1. integer

    Re: Happy Australia Day!

    Thanks! FWIW my Australia day consisted of nursing a massive hangover; I celebrated one day too early.
    Oh well, I guess I have always liked to think of myself as being ahead of my time.

    1. Chris

      You too, Integer.

      Spent my afternoon at the pub, pie eating competition, bbq, beer, usual stuff.

      We also had a wake for a friend who passed recently, so it was special for a number of reasons.

      And, we had a few indigenous in our ranks, all mates, as it should be.

  2. Wukchumni

    Stockton is in my opinion, the most dangerous big city in California.

    It’s a freshwater Oakland-sans San Francisco, although it is Galt-adjacent.

    It’s a violent place, with robbery & assault leading the charge.

    Giving the poorest people there each $500, is just asking for trouble.

    1. ambrit

      Well, that $500 USD beats the old method; giving each a bus ticket out of town. Down in Dade County Florida, the County once rounded up all the homeless and street people before a Super Bowl and bused them to the (northern) Broward county line and kicked them out. (“Don’t come back! At least until we’ve squeezed the last dollars out of the tourists.”)

    2. Eureka Springs

      Because robbery & assault is so much more fun (and likely) when you don’t need the money to, you know, eat, have a beer or take a shower… maybe put some duct tape on the hole in your jacket or tent.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Basic income, if it’s universal, means everyone (not just the poorest) gets $500.

      Then, we wouldn’t have to pick on the poorest.

    4. Daryl

      I’m glad someone is doing it. There is all this constant talk about UBI, little actual information. Only one way to find out.

      1. sylva

        Please tell me what information you think you will receive from a “UBI”, where it is not a real UBI but another Welfare program, and where it isn’t publicly funded but rather privately funded?

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          If the source of the payment tracks the results, we would have yet more data that giving poor people money without attaching all kinds of strings about where, when, how, and why they can use it has positive results. As it stands, too many people are ready to embrace the neoliberal mantra that they’ll just waste it on booze, drugs and other uselessness.

  3. Jim Haygood

    David Stockman on the R party’s disastrously ill-timed fiscal stimulus … and its baleful long-term consequences:

    The very idea of running a 6% of GDP deficit at the tail end of what would be the longest business expansion in recorded history is just plain insane.

    Public debt is up by 220% from the pre-crisis peak (Q4 2007) while interest expense has risen by only 20%. With debt rising ten times faster than its service cost, why would anyone expect politicians to do anything but kick the can?

    More than 25% of the carry cost of the Federal debt in recent years has been hidden [by Federal Reserve profit remittances]. Net interest expense will double to $600 billion within three years and soar past $1 trillion per year well before 2027. Public debt will soon be growing by $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion per year.

    While this pedal-to-the-metal borrowing orgy may help the R party hang on to one house of Congress in 2018 midterm elections, it’s also igniting a deadly whoosh of inflation, rising oil prices and leveraged speculation in real estate and stocks.

    Our English language lacks adequate words to characterize the sheer malevolent ignorance of the retarded elephant party.

    Bubble III ends with an earth-shattering bang, followed by a prostrate post-bubble wasteland resembling Rachel Carson’s sepia-toned Silent Spring. Got food?

    1. TroyMcClure

      Typical violations:

      1) Broken record: Repeating the same point over and over again, especially when it’s long been refuted. That includes taking an argument that was rebutted on one post and repeating the same argument on another post.

      I thought this was an MMT site after all. At long last isn’t it time you say WHY a given percent of “debt to GDP” will result in armageddon for the US?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Stockman’s observations in the third quoted paragraph are new — published yesterday. Whether you agree with him or not, Stockman probably is the most knowledgeable critical commentator and forecaster of the US budget, having been an insider in the Reagan admin.

        His premise is that pouring fiscal stimulus into the tertiary stage of an historic bubble will jack it higher than it otherwise would have gone, then crash it lower. I concur.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I’d like to add a couple of points….

          1) of the 1.4trn in tax cuts, something like $200bn is actual money in normal people’s pockets. The rest of it gets socked away in cold storage of whatever kind rich people prefer these days. That means money VELOCITY slows down quite a bit. Yes, $1trn is still real money, but it’s going to have a small multiplier and leave a smallish ripple effect on the overall economy. To Comrade Haygood’s point, it certainly may spillover into the stock market and give it a big kick higher, but I suspect that’s priced in after a year of getting hyped.

          2) In the context of my point 1), keep in mind the monetary tightening that’s ongoing in various forms….rate hikes and QE unwinding. That’s going to have a dampening effect on the fiscal fires.

          3) Regarding debt/GDP and deficit/GDP ratios…..yawn….I’ll get troubled by this kind of stuff when Japan falls off a cliff as the NON-MMT economics world has told me is REALLY REALLY close to happening any time now for…..decades.

          Until Japan collapses…..anti-MMT folks have some ‘splainin to do.

          To paraphrase Dick Cheney….Reagan proved deficits don’t matter. But, Japan REALLY hammered the point home for all to see.

          1. Jim Haygood

            monetary tightening … going to have a dampening effect on the fiscal fires

            No doubt — and with unpredictable results. This year is looking a lot like 1987, with loose fiscal and tight monetary policy. Mnuchin threatened in Davos to let the dollar slide, just as then-Treas Sec James Baker did in Oct 1987.

            Not content to rest on his laurels, David Stockman has unleashed a fresh broadside this morning, training his withering fire on the central planners:

            Even a 250 basis point rise in average yields over the next several years would amount to $325 billion of increased interest expense, or about 25% of current non-financial business profits before tax.

            Every recession of the modern Keynesian era has been caused by the Federal Reserve, and most especially the calamity of 2008-2009. There is nothing behind the Eccles Building curtain except a posse of essentially incompetent economic kibitzers who spend 90% of the time slamming the same old “buy” key on the Fed’s digital printing press.

            The real message is that even the Keynesian central bankers are gathering acorns with extreme urgency in order to prepare for the next economic winter.


            Ramp it then crash it … same as it ever was.

            1. Jim Haygood

              David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff in Toronto elaborates:

              “Rising bond yields. Full employment. Fed tightening. Trade frictions. Weak dollar. Rising twin deficits, spurred by tax reform. Sound familiar? It should. This was 1987. Start rebalancing.”

              1. JohnnyGL

                1987 parallels are definitely there. Good points regarding the fundamentals.

                I think the shape of it would look different, though. I don’t think we can do 25% in a couple of days, though. Circuit breakers would kick in.

                It’s more likely we see a kind of ‘flash crash’ of 2010 type of thing. Perhaps a series of them as all the big players are running their own skynets and they start attacking each other? :)

                1. sylva

                  “The real message is that even the Keynesian central bankers are gathering acorns with extreme urgency in order to prepare for the next economic winter.”

                  They don’t prepare for winter – they prepare to buy your stack of acorns for less acorns, same as it always is.

                  Please tell me though, how is the elephant party dumber than the donkey party? I see no difference at all.

      2. Plenue

        This is Haygood’s shtick. He’s well aware of MMT and why public debt doesn’t matter; but he just refuses to accept it. As far as I can tell everyone’s just given up on arguing with him.

  4. Loneprotester

    Questions about Stockton’s Basic Income pilot:

    Given that the town is essentially bankrupt, where is the money coming from?
    Who is going to receive it and how were they selected?
    How many are getting it and for how long?

    These are the kinds of questions that good reporters used to ask and answer as a core part of simply doing their jobs. Today? Meh.

    1. j84ustin

      Looks like from the article that the money is coming from a nonprofit set up by the mayor but funded by rich Silicon Valley dudes. I agree, it’s pretty short on details.

      1. Anon

        My city, and others in California, have the problem of too little affordable housing and too few “living wage” jobs to solve the homeless and “distressed living” conditions (family double-up). Yes, a UBI is cheaper than welfare care, but many cities provide that care with Federal assistance (Block Grants). Most cities are under tight budget constraints. (If not politically divided on social issues.)

      2. sylva

        They need to run services. Its kind of like their job.

        UBI will never work in America. Such a harebrained idea is laughable from every angle.

        You either assume the citizens all work for the greater good, and thus innately receive some share of a public fund backed by real, physical assets OR you assume that citizens work for themselves and strive to create a fair and free market.

        What we currently have is a rotten hybrid of both, where America assumes citizens work for themselves and thus have to pay for everything (as in healthcare, education, transportation, etc) but instead of a free and fair market you have the state acting as a bad salesmen ingratiatingly selling virtually all of America’s assets to the corporations on the cheap.

        A UBI to Walmart would be like winning the Mega-lottery three times in a row. With a UBI, the corporations have a PERFECT excuse to pay people even less! And since we have like 10 corporations left in America, all the rest having been swallowed up already, they will absolutely drive up the price on all goods. For Walmart, this is a win-win-win.

        UBI reminds me less of trying to create a more socialistic utopia like Sweden/Norway, and more of the story of the company store. The company takes over an entire region and promises you a guaranteed job, yet what they don’t tell you is that every store in the region is owned by them. By the time you figure it all out, you’ve slaved your entire life away and are permanently in-debt, even though you were never unemployed – in fact, your way of self-employed life prior to the company store was better!

        My reasoning for such pessimism should be obvious: did you or any other American receive even a single share of GM during the bailout? What about JPM? BOA? AIG? No? Then why would you expect anyone but YOURSELF to foot the bill for any government run endeavor?

        The Stockton Experiment is useless – unless they believe that Silicon Valley would also foot the bill for a real UBI. That’s the problem with small privately funded UBI experiments – they fail to take reality, i.e., the entire system into account.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Sensible legal advice for our “I can BS my way through it” president from Pat Buchanan, who’s not even a lawyer but a journo:

    Asked if he would agree to be interviewed by Robert Mueller’s team, President Donald Trump told the White House press corps, “I would love to do it … as soon as possible. … under oath, absolutely.”

    On hearing this, the special counsel’s office must have looked like the Eagles’ locker room after the 38-7 rout of the Vikings put them in the Super Bowl.

    If the president’s legal team lets Trump sit for hours answering Mueller’s agents, they should be disbarred for malpractice. For what Mueller is running here is not, as Trump suggests, a “witch hunt.” It is a Trump hunt.

    Trump should not sit for any extended interview by FBI agents whose questions will be crafted by prosecutors to steer our disputatious president into challenging or contradicting the sworn testimony of other witnesses.

    This a perjury trap.

    Let the special counsel submit his questions in writing, and let Trump submit his answers in writing.

    After seeing how they nailed Flynn on the “gotcha” so-called crime of lying to the FBI, the prez would be insane to run Mueller’s gauntlet. But a giant ego and a big NY mouth may interfere. :-0

    1. sleepy

      After seeing how they nailed Flynn on the “gotcha” so-called crime of lying to the FBI, the prez would be insane to run Mueller’s gauntlet

      If Mueller turns down any offer of written questions and answers and he wants to play tough, I’m not sure that Trump has any choice. If Trump won’t voluntarily submit to a face-to-face interview, Mueller will just issue him a grand jury subpoena.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Happy Australia Day, guys! Hope that you all have a good one. I’m sure that if Yves, or Lambert for that matter, ever decide to bail out on those cold New York winters, that they would be more than welcome to come down south for the holidays. We’ll make sure to reserve a stretch at the beach, a flagon of red ned, a slab of tinnies and a coupla chops and snags on the barbie. That way they can work on their tans. Cheers!

    1. ambrit

      Nice invite Rev, but, do you have any idea of how long it would take to sail the ‘Econ Tiki’ from the West Coast to Oz? As the philosophers say, “Just getting there is the experience.”
      Now, for us technophiles; when is Musk going to inaugurate a “Mars Day?”

      1. lee

        The logic of genetics and evolution dictates that we are all each others 50th cousins or closer. I read that somewhere sometime so it must be true. Frankly, I’m profoundly ambivalent about my relatives.

    2. Darius

      Nobody does smashed avocado on toast with a fried egg like they do in Victoria. In fact, it’s not even a thing elsewhere. The food in general is much higher quality than in the US, even in a place like the Sovereign Hill cafeteria in Ballarat, where it was all hand-made on the premises, not prepackaged in another state, as is customary in the US.

      The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka commissary would be considered high-end gourmet in the USA. Nothing fancy but prepared with great care. Scones handmade on the premises at the Melbourne Botanical Garden cafe, which was swarming with waiters and other staff. Neoliberal labor cuts apparently haven’t made it as far in Oz as in USA! USA!, where vending machines and picnic tables are the norm in such settings. Oz is a schlepp for USAians, but it’s worth it.

      By the way, check out the Doctor Blake Mysteries, set in Ballarat.

      1. Lord Koos

        I spent a couple of weeks visiting Australia in 2001 and was struck by the quality of the food in the supermarkets. The produce, meats and dairy products were of much better quality than in the USA.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Even the chicken! They had been hormone free for years when I lived there for a couple of years. And yes, the produce in the little fruit and veg shops was always great, plus where I lived, there was a man who had a stand and I’d get great mangoes (even by Australian standards, he’d always have beautifully ripe ones) and avocados from him.

          1. Darius

            For me it was the eggs. Huge with deep orange yolks. Delicious. I don’t know if it means anything but the shells were twice as thick as American egg shells.

    3. RUKIdding

      Happy Straya day to you, matey.

      I’ll be down there shortly apparently driving on the “right” side of the road. I’ll be the one who turns on the windscreen wipers instead of the turn signal. Be afraid, be very afraid!

  7. el_tel

    re: Gerrymandering

    Whilst I recognise the need to write such a piece under the assumption that the current two party-dominated system and first-past-the-post system is preserved, it does inevitably omit a discussion of what might happen with a more pluralistic society (in terms of number of parties, primarily). Now, since FPTP has a tendency to lead to two party-politics (in that “coalitions” are simply formed BEFORE we get to primaries and general elections) it inevitably makes one wonder if thinking outside the box might stimulate more debate, viz., understanding how legislatures would look if there were electoral realignments caused by different voting systems.

    Yes, I recognise that constitutional and other rules mean that in the US we’re getting into VERY counterfactual territory….but given the occasional huge relatively rapid changes in aspects of US constitutional law and party politics etc at certain points in history (such as the changes in the Republican Party resulting from the success of FDR) maybe some broader analyses might get more people thinking about what, as the piece acknowledges, is currently a very difficult issue….?

  8. Jim Haygood

    Fourth quarter GDP misses the “3% trifecta” which the financial press was excitedly touting all week, at least in today’s advance release (two more updates will follow):

    GDP expanded at a 2.6% annual pace in fourth quarter. Consumer spending, the main engine of the economy, rose a strong 3.8%.

    Inflation as measured by the PCE price index increased at a 2.8% annual rate, the highest pace since 2011. Core PCE rose at a slower 1.9% clip.

    When top line GDP in Table 3 of the full release — $19.739 trillion — is compared to $18.906 trillion in 4Q 2016, nominal GDP (before inflation adjustment) rose 4.4%. That’s up from 4.1% in the third quarter comparison, pushed partly by quickening inflation.

    In the long term, nominal GDP growth (currently 4.4%) and the 10-year Treasury yield (currently 2.64%) tend to equal each other. Imagine 4.4% Treasury yields … if you can. :-0

      1. a different chris

        Not sure borrowing and spending are as elastic as they are assumed by the current crop of economists.

        We have near ZIRP for quite a while. I have seen everything from that to 12% in my lifetime – in fact, for the majority of my life ZIRP would be considered craziness. Yet the correlation would not be that convincing if everybody wasn’t telling us it was.

  9. The Rev Kev

    New study shows freshwater input route from melting ice led to rapid cooling

    Guys, this is really a big deal. I am going to go by memory here so forgive any mistakes. There is an underwater current called the North Atlantic Conveyor that is warmed up in the equatorial regions and around the Caribbean that cuts north across to northern Europe. This current then sinks down off Greenland and the heat of the current is released into the atmosphere. The prevailing winds move this mass of warm air towards Europe which is why it has a temperate climate. If that current gets shut down like it did in the Younger Dryas, then the climate of Europe reverts to what is should be – something like they have in Siberia and not the nicer parts either. If that happens the Europe will have an even bigger refugee problem but it will all be in the other direction.

    1. Lee

      If that happens the Europe will have an even bigger refugee problem but it will all be in the other direction.

      When Europeans emigrate en masse it tends to take the form of an armed invasion followed by occupation, settlement and elimination and/or subordination of the native population. They won’t be looking for jobs but creating them for servants and slaves. If history repeats, that is.

      1. georgieboy

        That is certainly correct about the last 500 years or so.

        Mass immigration has been common throughout the human ages, usually accompanied by mass death, enslavement, and/or hasty forced emigration. What’s different?

        1. Wukchumni

          “Mass immigration has been common throughout the human ages, usually accompanied by mass death, enslavement, and/or hasty forced emigration. What’s different?”

          What happened in Australia largely didn’t occur in NZ. The Maoris were fierce warriors that fought the English to a draw repeatedly, and won their respect. Kiwis started intermarrying with Maoris in the 19th century, totally unthinkable in the Lucky Country with Aboriginals, in comparison.

    2. ocop

      Putting a big chill (har, har, har) on the “Day After Tomorrow” scenario my understanding is that this is not a major concern in the near future as previous events which have stopped the “conveyor” (the Atlantic Meridinal Overturning Current), have been predicated by massive pulses of fresh water into the North Atlantic. Even with global warming we lack the preconditions for these–massive freshwater lakes caused by melting ice sheets, which experience a sudden, dramatic collapse of “ice dams” holding them back .

      The case suggested by the linked article:

      Some people have even speculated that a comet caused the cooling period. We found convincing evidence, however, that it was fresh water – a river the size of the Mississippi that flowed into the North Atlantic.

      “As the ice sheet retreated, there were enormous freshwater lakes that drained down the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico,” Carlson said. “But at some point, the Lake Superior region became ice-free and it was like removing a dam. That water shifted from a southern drainage to an eastern drainage, and into the North Atlantic.”

      Since we’re out the ice age, there just may not be enough melt potential to cause a dramatic shift. Maybe if Greenland rapidly melted there would be issues, but for now contending with sea level rise is bad enough.

      1. Wyoming

        You are certainly correct that it is not possible to have a melt pulse comparable to those which occurred at the end of the last ice age.

        But we are seeing enough melt to slow the AMOC already and there is a strong case it will get significantly worse – just not like those mentioned above.

        However, there is still cause for deep concern here as conditions in Northern Europe will still be significantly harsher due to the AMOC slowing a substantial percentage or possibly stopping. Climate conditions there may reach the point where there is a large scale impact on agriculture productivity. This is a serious issue.

        A period of several decades of harsher winters and cooler/wetter summers resulting in significant reductions in harvests in Europe starting sometime near mid-century would run smack into declining productivity across large regions of the tropics due to the rising heat and corresponding productivity issues in the main grain growing regions across the globe resulting from the constantly rising global temperatures and changing weather patterns.

        Combine reduced agricultural productivity with our rapidly rising population and a crisis will manifest itself eventually.

        1. Lee

          Malthus and Boserup fighting in the captain’s tower, as it were. I wonder if there’s a way to slip contraceptives into the food supply? Best of all worlds might follow: if you want to have kids, you’ll have to stop eating. I kid!

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          Also, too, if the Thermohaline Conveyor slows down, that slows down the subduction of CO2 into the ocean.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        The Earth’s climate presents an extremely complex non-linear system. Both paleoclimate studies and the best models indicate the climate system can respond extremely rapidly — a matter of decades even of a couple of years when conditions in the climate cross certain tipping-points. I too took heart from the theory speculating that collapse of the AMOC in past eras resulted from a sudden influx of fresh water. Like you I doubt the AMOC will suddenly shutdown — but that’s an opinion based on optimism more than knowledge. There have been indications the AMOC is slowing. There are indications the Arctic pole is approaching a state when there will be sudden changes in the extent of Arctic ice. Even if the AMOC doesn’t shutdown completely a slower AMOC will have some difficult to predict impacts on the climate. One effect of a slower AMOC will be an increase in sea level on the East Coast of the U.S. There are several recent papers on the AMOC available at The paper “The underestimated danger of a breakdown of the Gulf Stream System” at [] contains numerous references to other papers.

        I believe the take-away from all this is that our best science cannot predict exactly what might happen as the ongoing Climate Disruption progresses. However our best science can predict the possibility of some very unpleasant changes taking place — some of which could take place over periods as brief as a few decades or a few years. Rapid transitions have occurred in the past and nothing suggests they will not happen again. A further point to consider is that even slow changes in Climate may trigger “social” tipping points. Human society is closely coupled with the Earth’s climate. Like climate systems human social social systems present extremely complex non-linear systems with their own tipping-points and potential for rapid transitions.

        1. Wukchumni

          Was talking with a neighbor about all of the odd new growing times in nature’s realm, ferns that should have died back months ago are still lush, buckeye trees leafing out a month ahead of time, etc, etc,

          It’s as Mother Nature’s clients are already anticipating the new normal, while we are stuck on the old schedule, most not really noticing the changes, as they live surrounded by concrete & asphalt.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            What is more scary than the new normal you describe is the kind of normal we are seeing in the Northeast this winter. We have several days of unusually cold weather followed by several days of unusually warm weather. I fear the the time when trees and plants will leaf out in response to a warm cycle only to be hammered with a freeze in the cold cycle.

            Those of us who “live surrounded by concrete & asphalt” are further removed from the strange new cycling of the weather and removed from its impacts on the plants that feed and shelter us until we look for vegetables, pasta, or bread at the supermarket.

  10. Louis Fyne

    The Doomsday-Nuclear clock is suffering from a bad case of grade inflation. I guess no one on the Atomic Scientists Board was alive during the duck and cover years?

    11:58p = 1950’s level. But I’d rather take the geo-political state of the world today than in 1959. aka right before the Cuban Missile Crisis where the world literally was on the verge of blowing up.

    1. Wukchumni

      Is this a nuke which I see before me,
      A mouse click away from my land? Come, let me clutch thee.
      I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
      Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
      To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
      A bomb of the mind, a false creation,
      Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
      I see thee yet, in form as palpable
      As this which now I draw.

    2. Wukchumni

      You never know…

      My mom was telling me of the grief she got by having a baby, {from some quarters-what was she thinking, how could you bring a child into the world right now?!} as the Cold War was heating up and that infant wasn’t quite a year old when the Cuban Missile Crisis happened, only making the naysayers opinion more strident…

      …that baby was me

      1. RMO

        The Doomsday Clock now factors in other ways humanity is playing Russian roulette with the planet (climate change). Things are plenty dangerous right now on the nuclear war front as well what with the U.S. triggered proliferation, the commitment to build even more weapons and the Cold War being brought back from the dead because, apparently the first one didn’t get us within a gnat’s eyelash of annihilation with pure dumb luck being the only thing saving the world often enough.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I was a senior in high school, a boarding school in New England. We were terrified. Of course, being teenage boys, our plan was to head for the nearest girls’ school – but it was really too far.

        On a not-quite-conscious level, we were seeing a beloved President playing chicken with our lives at stake. That was enough to make anyone deeply cynical. You can hear that in Bob Dylan’s songs from the period.

        When my cohort got to college, all hell broke loose. First Kennedy was assassinated; then there were the Free Speech Movement and the Sixties. That was, literally, my class, though the leaders were mostly Red Diaper babies and a bit older. Mario Savio was a grad student. I think there was a direct connection back to the Cuban Missile Crisis and that period of terror. Admittedly we were also troublemakers in high school, at least at my school. Born at the very end of WWII.

  11. Lee

    New study shows freshwater input route from melting ice led to rapid cooling PhysOrg (Chuck L)

    So global warming could cause catastrophic cooling, particularly in western Europe, for a prolonged period of time. If the UK thinks they are out in the cold over Brexit, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Nature does not discriminate – this time, the UK will be joined by other western European countries, like Germany and France.

  12. Jim Haygood

    The Old Grey Lady offers a smug defense of political duopoly and insider elitism:

    In the Democratic Party, superdelegates encourage candidates to seek the advice and support of people they will be working with if elected. Reducing their role is shortsighted for those who care about effective government.

    It is essential that parties and professionals maintain a prominent role in recruiting and screening candidates — alongside, not instead of, voters. By virtue of their insider status, they have a long-term interest in having parties govern responsibly.

    Unsurprisingly, one of the authors is a senior fellow at Brookings Institution. Its corrosive “war is the health of the state” agenda requires a stable, insider-controlled Depublicrat duopoly. Naturally the “Operation Mockingbird” NYT is glad to oblige in catapulting the Brookings Institutions’ poisonous agitprop.

    1. Lee

      Much the same tone struck in an interview I posted about a couple of days ago.

      Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are experts in what makes democracies healthy — and what leads to their collapse. They warn that American democracy is in trouble.

      They deplore the loss of “gate keeping” function by the two major parties as represented by direct primaries preferring smoke filled rooms.

      The Democratic Party has superdelegates. And so there is built into the Democratic Party presidential selection process – continues to exist – this kind of element of gatekeeping. The Republican Party does not have superdelegates. And so one of the interesting kind of things to think about is, you know, had there been superdelegates in the Republican Party, would have Donald Trump actually won the nomination?

      Oddly, no mention of campaign financing or economic distress or FISA as threats to democracy. Fancy that.

      1. LifelongLib

        I don’t see any evidence that today’s primary system gives us better candidates (or candidates that better represent average Americans) than the old smoke-filled room system did. In fact the opposite. Rather than giving us more democracy, today’s system just seems to give more leverage to special interests, especially ones with big money.

      2. Darthbobber

        Had there been superdelegates in the Republican Party would they have won the general election? Premise seems to be that the gop should also buy into the Times version of responsible gatekeeping in preference to prioritizing the winning of elections. Of course, even with superdelegates Jeb could not have been installed.

  13. allan

    [Outgoing Michigan State president] will be very well paid after resigning amid Nassar scandal [WaPo]

    Ex-president staying on as a tenured faculty member is completely standard.
    (And in this case Simon was an MSU faculty member before becoming president.)
    Getting paid 100% of the presidential salary for the first year and 75% thereafter is not.

    The winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature will need to update his old lyrics:
    There’s no success like failure,
    and failure is no success at all unless contractually obligated.

    1. a different chris

      …and don’t forget our distinguished professor doesn’t have to do a day of, even what in those halls qualifies as “work”, for it…

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How Job Listing Language Could Be Adding to Silicon Valley’s Gender Divide KPED

    Body chemistry – I wonder whether the ratio of male-after-shave-chemicals to female-perfume-chemicals in a room impact the one or two female workers in that room, and also contribute to further gender divide?

    “You’re sending chemicals, including body odors, to invade my body without my consent and my work has suffered.”

  15. Hepativore

    Just a quick note, the title for the article about the FBI going soft on Clinton does not contain a link.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If correct, that’s quite disturbing.

      The next question is, how pervasive, and how high does that attitude go?

  16. Wukchumni

    Would it possible to get a no-fault divorce from Afghanistan?, they get to keep the country, we get the hell out of there.

    1. voteforno6

      Only warehouse workers? I know some people who worked for Amazon, and it’s not just the warehouse. They run everyone into the ground. I think the attitude is, most people will burn out before their options vest.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        such burnout arbitrage has worked pretty well for things like fast food and big box retail.
        my policy was to never even apply for a job at a place that kept a running help wanted ad in the local paper…it means they have priced in turnover, and are likely terrible people to work for.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Bezos is the master of the bait and switch.

        I lived in Seattle when Amazon started doing business and had friends who were pretty well-treated working in the warehouses, back when they only sold books. From what I read now, warehouse people are treated like slaves and the office workers not much better.

        It was back in the 90s when we first started hearing about the tech industry being the wave of the future and that that’s where all the high paying jobs would be. Well maybe for a while, but the nature of the industry is that it doesn’t require as many people to begin with, and those that are there seem awfully busy automating themselves out of jobs or having to compete with H1Bs in the race to the bottom for wages.

        Not a huge fan of Soros, but the article above where he blasts the tech companies is very encouraging. But they need to be put down, not just broken up so they can reassemble later.

  17. Craig H.

    George Soros calls Facebook and Google a ‘menace’ to society and ‘obstacles to innovation’ in blistering attack

    There has got to be a good word for this scissors-rock-paper configuration. Facebook thinks Russia is a menace to society; Russia thinks Soros is a menace to society; and now Soros thinks Facebook is a menace to society.


    It’s something like the antonym to the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    1. Lee

      A contradiction among the oligarchs? Game of drones?

      Or, more gruesomely, to paraphrase D.H. Lawrence: they are dinosaurs gnawing away at each others’ necks while sinking into the ooze.

    2. Rates

      He’ll change his tune once he’s invited to be on the boards. Soros is just complaining of his lack of access. Once they give him a button that enables him to manipulate the masses’ opinion, he’ll change his tune.

      1. Hypocrite

        Soros is just worries that his open society operations is losing influence.
        He has no concerns regarding democracy or nations well-being.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Agreed. If he is having a whinge about Google and Facebook it is probably because he can’t stop stories appearing on them about all the stuff that he does to countries around the world, including America. Example – some of the first hard protest right after Boss Tweet was elected were financed by organizations that had ties with his foundations.

    3. integer


      The beginning of a war of the D party affiliated oligarchs?
      Pass the popcorn.

  18. RUKIdding

    Happy Straya Day to you, too, Yves!

    I, too, miss Aus a lot (having lived there way back in the never never for about 8 years). These days I’m able to get back about every other year to see me good Chinas.

    This year’s adventure includes a coupla weeks in Darwin & vicinity, plus a road trip ’round parts of the NT visiting a variety of Nat’l Parks. Viscious rumor has it that a certain bloody seppo may even be behind the wheel attempting to maintain a cool whilst driving on the, uh, “wrong” side of the road. Look out downundah!!


    1. Lee

      The closest I ever got to Australia was Borneo. Now I settle for their films and TV shows. Rake, Brokenwood Mysteries, The Slap, Doctor Blake Mysteries, Deep Water, The Code, Jack Irish, Janet King et al.

    2. Wukchumni

      I probably spent a year of my life in the Lucky Country…

      So i’m playing blackjack @ Wrest Point in Tassie circa 1982, and the casino was open from 3 pm to midnight or something like that, and all punters had to wear a coat to be able to indulge, and didn’t have one, but you could rent a well worn black model for $5, and me and half the other gamblers are sporting matching upper body duds. I get on a winning streak and am up about a grandido when the clock strikes midnight, so I amble over to the hotel desk and use some of my winnings for a room, and when I get in, there’s a little fridge full of bottles of booze, and never having seen such a configuration before, I think to myself, these Aussies, they know how to deck up a hotel room!, and the next morning I cleaned it out, 27 tiny tinkling airplane bottles in my luggage. I thought it was on the house…

      I imagine there’s still a warrant for my arrest, in Hobart.

  19. allan

    Drawing Voting Districts and Partisan Gerrymandering: Preparing for 2020

    A Statement endorsed by the American Statistical Association and the Council of the American Mathematical Society

    FACT 1: Existing requirements for districts generally do not prevent partisan gerrymandering. …

    FACT 2: It has become easier to design district plans that strongly favor a particular partisan outcome. …

    FACT 3: Modern mathematical, statistical, and computing methods can be used to identify district plans that give one of the parties an unfair advantage in elections. …

    The AMS and ASA do not endorse any one approach or metric for measuring fairness of voting district plans. The appropriate measure, or measures, should be determined by policymakers and the courts. We do urge, however, that mathematics and statistical science be employed to evaluate the fairness of district plans. Further, we note that open and transparent research practices have facilitated more robust, reliable, and accepted findings involving mathematics and statistical science. We believe such openness and transparency could benefit the processes for evaluating and drawing voter districts. …

    Maybe John Roberts will be less comfortable talking about statistical or mathematical gobbledygook than he was referring to “sociological gobbledygook” during the oral arguments for Gill v. Whitford.

    1. oliverks

      There was a good article up on Nature about Gerrymandering

      The clever idea is they developed a metric to demonstrate if a map has been Gerrymandered. It doesn’t attempt to draw the map, it is a statistical test you need to pass to prove that the map was unlikely to have been Gerrymandered.

      This really makes sense, because it removes the checkers from the drawers. So you can appoint whomever you want to draw the map, and then the map is checked for the likelihood of being fair. Courts can then interpret what a reasonable level of fairness is.

      If adopted by the Supreme Court, it would radically alter US democracy.

      1. JTMcPhee

        My aunt dealt with two kids demanding the lion’s share of whatever cake was left. She did that old thing about letting the one kid divide the whole piece, and then the other got to choose first. Amazingly precise distributional fairness.

        Not that such a scheme would ever fit or be allowed in what, it must be recalled, has been called, essentially forever, THE SPOILS SYSTEM. A rugby scrum would be more likely to produce a “fair result,” maybe? But the system is designed to generate spoils, now on a global scale.

        The little niggling around the edges that the oligarchy allows, is to keep us mops more distracted, and immersed in, and willing against all evidence to bear the myth that there is, or ought to be, a “government of laws, not of men.” And to continue to subject ourselves, for want of a different organizing principle, to a system of completely faux “legitimacy,” ensures that short of the likely collapse (tipping point and direction of fall but dimly visible), not even Bernie can lead “the nation” to anything better. For some definition of better.

  20. JohnnyGL

    I’d like to launch my rant on the awfulness of Marcy Wheeler’s tweet from yesterday and why I think it’s really profoundly bad. Two major reasons:

    1) It’s id pol at it’s cartoonish worst….which plays into the hands of the alt-right types, “dems hate you because you’re a white guy”. This kind of stuff is absolutely toxic when what we as a society is really more solidarity building. I’m not a full-on id pol hater, because too often important voices get drowned out or left out entirely. But using id pol as a qualifier is very much the wrong approach, which brings me to point 2….

    2) The idea that certain people should be “allowed” to run or not (I know she didn’t use that word) is reprehensible and should be thrown away entirely. It’s anti-democratic to its core! Yesterday, I mad a comment, issuing a call-to-arms where I said EVERYONE should run because I want to beat them.
    It’s not just because I think ‘my’ person can and will win in such a competition, it’s because I want the electorate to have as many options as possible. Strategizing over who’s electable or not based on this or that criteria is fun (I do it all the time) but it’s deeply troubling if it spills over into ‘permission’ to run or not.

    I like Marcy Wheeler a lot, and I’m sure, if pressed, she’d say, “yes, anyone should be allowed”, but I think there’s still this awful mentality among, well, liberals, about being ‘smarter’ than everyone and using ‘shape of the field of candidates’ tactics to engineer what they think gives them the best chances.

    One major lesson of 2016 for political pundits should be to take notions of ‘electability’ and throw them immediately in the trash can. The parties should do this, too.

    Critique the Repub clown-car primary of 2016 all you like, but the Koch Bros at least tried to engineer consent from the electorate with a variety of choices and the party did, in the end, respect the will of the voters. By contrast, the Dems only gave their voters 1 ‘real’ option (Sanders and the others were supposed to be cannon fodder). All other potential ‘electable’ candidates, Biden? Warren? were told to stand aside because ‘it’s her turn’. Of all the volumes of criticism leveled at the Dems post-2016, only Thomas Frank has attacked the Dem Party for its so-called, ‘clearing the field’ for HRC. This problem needs to be discussed more.

    I’ll end by saying the answer to the question “should xyz run for office” should always and everywhere be YES!!! Because we have to believe in democracy and let voters choose.

    The answer on how to make our political system (and our society) better should involve MORE democracy, not less.

    Thanks to anyone who made it to the end for bother to read my rant. Have a good weekend!

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Is this a private rant or… /smile

      I’d also like to see an end to the horserace complaints about ‘My G*d! It’s nearly February and the nomination isn’t locked down already!!11!!”

      A drawn out primary is the only way to keep Cable News from returning to dead blondes and forgetting to remind people there’s an election on. Imagine if Hillary had sewn things up by March 1 and gone silent until Labor Day when she sent out ‘how her much do you hate Trump’ questionaires/donation letters?

      Although that probably would have resulted in a much higher cut of the funds for the consultancy class.

  21. Synoia

    Researchers Warn of Physics-Based Attacks on Sensors

    Ah, I understand. AI needs AS.

    AS = Artificial Skepticism.

  22. Jim Haygood

    The Empire strikes back:

    New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Friday announced they had launched a coalition to sue the federal government to challenge the recently passed reduction in state and local tax deductibility.

    Governors of the three states said in a statement that the tax law changes “unfairly target” states whose residents have come to rely on being able to deduct big local tax burdens from their federal tax returns.

    New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the changes “a clear and politically motivated punishment of blue states — like New Jersey and our neighbors — who already pay far more to the federal government than we receive.”

    In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also pledged to “launch a repeal-and-replace strategy,” and to “explore the feasibility of a major shift in the structure of state tax policy.”

    Good luck with that. In the Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare’s individual mandate to buy health insurance, Johnny Roberts cheerfully deferred to Congress by characterizing a penalty as a tax (where anything goes, apparently).

    All three of these blue states were delighted with National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. Now they are hoisted on their own petards in their quixotic quest to overturn another provision of the tax code. SAD!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are Red people in Blue states.

      You punish people, not states.

      It would be hard to argue they are motivated to punish Red People.

    2. Fraibert

      I doubt any lawsuit will succeed. The only legal theory I could see as being viable is a claim that the Equal Protection Clause is violated by singling out certain states that disfavor President Trump, or something along those lines.

      It’s true there is a line of cases holding that the Equal Protection Clause prohibits government action motivated solely by a desire to harm a group of people, even if that group of people isn’t otherwise part of a suspect classification (i.e., of a certain race, national origin, gender). But I don’t think any court would extend that to states.

      The underlying theory of current Equal Protection law is that the courts should be especially attentive in cases where “discrete and insular minorities” (as the term goes) are potentially being given disparate treatment because these groups (as minorities) cannot adequately defend themselves through the legislative process. However, states always have significant legislative representation (one or more representatives, and more significantly, two senators each with the ability to filibuster), so they aren’t going to be seen as entities that can’t protect themselves through normal legislative means.

  23. dcblogger

    I suspect that Yves has written about this, but my search skills are slim, why is it economic for banks to hold on to thousands of empty houses rather than sell them?

    1. JohnnyGL

      couple of reasons…some simple, others more complex

      1) for the same reason OPEC holds back oil supply….to boost prices.

      2) The servicers didn’t want to hire more staff to process the back logs.

      3) Banks often didn’t foreclose and left defaulting owners officially in place if there wasn’t much value in the house so they wouldn’t get stuck paying local real estate taxes and paying for maintenance to bring decaying houses back up to compliance with regulations

      4) accounting reasons for items 2 and 3 where they’ve got a house on books bought for 400K and the local market plummets and it’s now worth 200K, outstanding mtg is 300K, and they don’t want to take the loss on their books….so called, “mark to make believe”

      5) didn’t have proper chain of title to prove ownership and didn’t have standing to foreclose, so courts slowed the process down… a ‘get out of jail free’ card from Obama on this massive scale fraud.

      I might be missing a few, but I figure it’s a good start.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If you start selling off all your inventory at foreclosure prices, the entire housing market starts cratering which does not do wonders for the value of the banks’ loan portfolios.

      Better to extend and pretend.

    3. sylva

      Control has a worth and the worth is actually huge in the case of land. Imagine: they own a high % of a city, that means they can dictate rent levels in an area, etc.

      Also, over any 10 year period land prices have risen. If you have the cash to hold, you should always hold.

      Another reason would be population growth, though that is on a macroscopic scale.

    4. Alex Morfesis

      Oh joy…well now that the New York fed has unleashed my vibe by allowing bonuses and stock buybacks…

      The foreclosures aside from the usual question of is a servicer really allowed to blah blah blah and bring suit or take actions to strip ownership/foreclose
      on homeowner…

      The one that got away…The mortgage insurance..the pmi people…the ones you thought were there to keep your (family blog) from being crushed when you didn’t have that magical 20% down payment ??

      Well…lenders could also buy additional mortgage payment insurance “after” the closing from the same krewe or overall bond insurance from ambac or mbia…my useless two cents being the crash might have not been as bad if william slackerman and his round tank company had not taken down ambac and almost crushed mbia…


      But back to the pmi krewe…almost all foreclosures with less than 20 % down…which pretty much meant everyone had pmi who, but unknown to most people, the pmi cruise were actually managing the foreclosure process and giving specific instructions to plaintiffs bar and trustees…

      For those lawyers in Florida who could not figure out how brad essman and his little old sancho panza (aka (family blog) me) were able to confuse and delay foreclosures to no end with the backwards and unconventional and often confusing sequence of filings…it’s all in the wrist…or in this case the algos…had found an old training reference manual from fidelity/chicago title/LPS and their navigator data system…and just reverse engineered the algos based on the data system inputs…

      In the old days, the pmi company and parties(lender, trustee, servicer, etc) would work it out before a final judicial or trustee sale, as to what the damage would be and how much of a loss would be paid by the pmi folks, or soon thereafter…and similarly, when there might have been a short sale, back in the good olde days when mister fartbook was still in diapers…the pmi would be part of the short sale process…

      But…that was too logical…instead, the pmi geniuses and claimant parties would now wait until some time after the sale to reconcile the books…with nothing being able to be done unless the pmi company signs off…pmi companies were always notoriously under capitalized…and technically are all still under water…they are refusing to release and pay out claims…with additional backlogs of isda mediations being adjourned (mediations not needing to be disclosed vs arbitration) and dragged out where the pmi companies had offloaded purported risk on other undercapitalized counterparties…

      The german landesbanks who had caused a mess by thinking guaranteeing payments on loan pool traunches was easy money, especially with all the germans down her in the tampa bay area who were faking down payments on deals down here to inflate values after 2006 (i see you AO peoples) and attempt to not force a call on their capital…well that didn’t work, after the august (family blog) capital crash of the 7th, 2007, the german institute of arbitration (DID) suddenly in the fall of 2007 decided that the world needed to “rethink” the jurisdiction selection issue in section 13 (b) 1 and 13(c) in respects to removing dispute jurisdiction from New York or uk as described in the isda 1999 & 2002 rules…

      There is more…but that is hopefully enough…the rabbit hole runs in circles…But of course, all the employee pensions as counterparties were stripped of their exposure and booked loses post haste…

      no “equity” soup for you..

    1. Anon

      Holding a single-family residence (especially in a suburb) without a renter inside is NOT a good investment. The structure will deteriorate quicker than you can imagine; by weather, shoddy construction, or vandals.

    1. Brandon

      RawStory is one of the best real news websites out there and prior to Reddit would be the first to report on many breaking stories by multiple days.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I think he’s real. He’s just reciting religious-right dogma. The truly religious can’t tell how they sound to others.

        We get this sort of thing from the Catholic hierarchy from time to time, too. They don’t realize they sound evil.

  24. rd

    Re: Guggenheim

    I don’t get the humor.

    I think its obvious the Trumps turned the generous offer down because they didn’t need any more gold toilets.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was thinking on a different tack, in that all that glitters is a pretty soft metal, and would it support the reign of error’s heft?

  25. Veri

    While 538’s article is interesting… Republicans used voter suppression to gain control of many State legislatures, Congress, and The Presidency.

    Greg Palast is a fount of information on voter suppression. If 538 fails to take into account, Republican voter suppression? The conclusions 538 draws, are already flawed in some regards.

  26. Jim Haygood

    Neocon eclownomist Martin Feldstein (from Hahhhhhvid, natch) shills for the War Party:

    Another form of spending to stimulate the economy would be increased outlays for defense. Because of the “sequester” rule in the Budget Control Act of 2011, the level of defense outlays is required to decline from 4.3% of gross domestic product in 2012 to just 2.8% of GDP in 2023, the lowest GDP share since World War II. Defense experts agree that this level is far too low for America’s defense needs.

    An increase in outlays to 4% or more of GDP would be a significant source of increased overall demand and a crucial contribution to national security.

    Lies … all lies. The National Defense Authorization Act of last November busted the sequester caps big time. Let’s rewind the tape:

    $626.4 billion for the Defense Department’s base budget is well over the $549 billion cap mandated by the Budget Control Act. The other $65.7 billion is placed into an emergency war fund, which is not subject to sequestration caps.

    Deceitful old lizard Feldstein can’t even get basic facts straight. But he thinks he can BS us from his Hahhhhhvid bully pulpit. Wrong-o!

    1. Jim Haygood

      But wait … there’s more. Today the WaPo reports that Trump will propose a $716 billion defense budget in FY2019. That’s a 13 percent increase over 2017 when the United States spent about $634 billion on defense.

      Most of it is Soviet-style value subtraction. Reagan bankrupted the Soviet Union with an arms race. Now we’ve turned the big guns on ourselves.

      Big grins at Feldstein’s CFR and Trilateral Commission hangouts. You can’t crush the middle class without industrial-scale malinvestment.

      1. ebbflows

        Mr. Jim

        I thought the Chicago boys played that confidence trick on them, the momentary one, not that it worked out in the long run. Seems the effect is reversed now days, not that the story about Ronnie makes for a ripping yarn.

        In other news did you see Romer’s stepping down, seems curious after the bit about questionable metrics in determining investor sediment about nations. Something about changes in metrics which put countries on a investor down grade list, if the wrong sorts got elected, rigorous economic forethought was abdicated in lieu of political views. One would think such actions fly in the face of EMH or any other such contrivance. I mean what can one make of such an institution – changing – its metrics in evaluating economic performance [future tense] to fit a desired outcome base on part by political views.

        Without so much as military force ™ or open accusation, one can influence investor decisions not unlike damming the river up stream. Then sit back and wait to openly chastise said governments – for their obvious failure – requiring aforementioned experts to send in preferred administrators to sort it all out. Then investors will get the all clear signal [information] – wise men indeed.

        China’s top Davos man is just the cherry on top, Harvard supply side guy that doesn’t have a problem with stepping on toes when things get frothy or destructive.

      2. ebbflows

        I was really hoping you could add your considerable experience and knowlage in fleshing out such events.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Do you suppose they’re still using the same typewriters?

      So where’s all that budget money going? Some very rich generals?

  27. marym

    Re: The Hill “Trump to support path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers”

    Trump’s “offer” to Dreamers comes after he stripped them of the minimal protections of DACA, and stripped people from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras of protected status. Both groups are now hostage to a white supremacist legal immigration policy. The Democrats can’t seem even to clarify the benefits of family reunification or correct Trump’s vile misinformation about how the diversity visa lottery works.

    It’s sad to see people replying in twitter that the “blue wave” will have to reverse all these policies. Are any of their candidates running on such a platform? Is reversal just back to the Obama deportation regime? How can they hope to change policy if Democrats never never never have a message and a vision on which to build a platform?

    1. Anon

      Yes, that path to citizenship is a perilous 10-12 year slog for the Dreamers. See today’s for an insightful editorial on immigrants.

  28. a different chris

    Hey don’t forget about Puerto Rico… oh, you did already. They are counting on that (my bold). Never let a crisis go to waste!

    Roughly 4,000 power restoration personnel are now working to restore the electricity to more than 450,000 customers. That effort will grow in the next few weeks as an additional 1,000 workers, along with hundreds of bucket trucks and other equipment, are being brought in to “accelerate progress,” according to a statement released by the Corps.

    Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello recently announced plans to privatize the power authority. The Corps has said it expects that the entire island will have power again by May.

    Notice how the very public Army Core of Engineers is necessary to fix the problem but somehow a private company is needed to run it.

  29. Tom Bradford

    Hi Yves. If you enjoyed Australia you should try New Zealand – it’s Australia without the poisonous spiders and snakes, the red dust in yer undies, the 40’c days and, best of all, without Australians.

    Happy Oz day, Cobbers!

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      …with a climate that is endearingly called “maritime”.
      Translation: rains every day, sometimes all day. I lived in both Seattle and Auckland and it was a real contest to decide which had the drearier clime.
      But: Green! So there’s that.

    2. Wukchumni

      Hear, here.

      Says the admirer of the land of the long white cloud~

      Not so much Auckland (too many JAFA’s) but the South Island and the majestic Southern Alps, that’s the ticket!

      1. Wukchumni

        I was at a hut on the Rees-Dart (the Cascade Saddle is amazing) tramp, and there were Kiwi & Aussie brother-in-laws there, and the gent from Oz starts going through a litany of living things that’ll put the hurt on you or kill you, and before you know it, 4 other Aussies pipe up with stories of whoa, “a funnel spider was on my steering column as I was doing 100km before I noticed it there, deadly you know.” it became a game of one-upmanship in regards to whom could top each other, ha!

        The Kiwi gent just laughed, as aside from sandflies-which are like mossies on steroids, nothing can put the hurt on you in EnZed.

        1. integer

          Once I removed a towell from the washing line and felt something tickle my arm. I looked down and a female Redback spider was dangling about a foot below my forearm on a web that I must have interfered with. I quickly walked over to a bush and severed the web on a branch, leaving the spider dangling from same branch. Phew!

  30. DJG

    The Nutella Riots in France. Well, the campaign for world domination is over, now that France, the test case, has fallen. The Piemontesi have brought France to its knees.

    You thought that the Russians were playing the long game, slowly grinding their way through U.S. ballot-box software and the 30,000 excruciating HRC yoga e-mail messages.

    But plucky little Piedmont, quietly undermining international willpower, have now left their chocolate-hazelnut fingerprints all over the proud French nation.

    Who will it be next? If France took a week, Brexit-addled England will take an hour.

    Prepare to welcome your new gianduiotti masters.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’d be interesting to have Hershey’s milk chocolate bars here on special for 70% off. Yeah, there are some that enjoy that waxy sugary mud with slivers of real almonds (the only thing they couldn’t cheapen out on) but even at a steep discount, er no thanks.

  31. Paul Boisvert

    Re Jared Bernstein supporting MMT:

    His colleague and co-author, Dean Baker, also went totally MMT (as much as one can expect outside of UKCM) on us on Jan. 20 on his blog Beat the Press:

    Blog Post: ‘Lessons in Economics for Bret Stephens: Apple and Donald Trump’s Big Tax Cut’

    Key excerpt:
    “The reason the government taxes is to reduce demand in the economy. The purpose is to prevent the economy from overheating and experiencing inflation. When the economy is near full employment we face the standard story where we have to tax to finance spending. In other words, if we want additional spending we have to pull demand out of the economy to open the space. However, when we are below full employment, the government is not constrained by its tax revenue.”

    At the end of the 2nd to last sentence, there is an implicit [if we want to avoid inflation.] But otherwise this could almost be from an MMT primer.

    His commenters went bonkers, as baffled as could be–except for one obviously mmt-informed dude…


  32. johnnygl

    That’s interesting that baker’s moving towards MMT, at least in rhetoric. Next, maybe he’ll start taking about banks aren’t reserve constrained, and there’s no link between savings-investment.

    I wonder if the japan example got to him. Easiest way to ‘prove’ MMT is to point out that MMT has an explanation for japan and conventional economics really just doesn’t have one.

  33. marym

    Trump, Miller, Sessions, Cotton have made their positions on race, and their willingness to use the power of the state to enforce those positions, very clear.

    1. marym

      This was supposed to be a reply to a reply to my 2:42 comment, questioning the use of “white supremacist” but that reply to my original comment isn’t there any more.

      1. integer

        Yes, I gathered that this was the case. I apologize for my (now deleted) less than tactful comment, though I remain very wary of terms such as “white supremacist”. In any case, I have left another comment in its place, and would be interested in your reply if you would care to indulge me. FWIW although I sense we have significantly different views on this matter, I am not indifferent to the human element in all of this.

  34. Plenue

    >Why the Pentagon Isn’t Happy With the F-35 Bloomberg

    “It will be late 2019 before developing, testing, verifying and deployment is complete for all the needed on-board electronic files, or “mission data loads,” that identify the types of Chinese, Russian, Syrian or Iranian radar and air defense systems an F-35 pilot may encounter.”

    For the last two, how about we just…not fly near Syria and Iran?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good page at on the F-35 for those who like technical stuff with tons of links. The F-35 not only affects the American air and naval air fleets but also those allied nations that have assigned up for it. Countries like Norway and Britain are already crippling their military in order to pay for them. Australia has signed up for them so we will be stuck with them for decades.
      On a related note, Indonesia is to replace its fleet of American F-5s with Russian Su-35 aircraft and I don’t think that it is the only country in the region to order cheaper, more reliable high-powered Russian aircraft. We are a huge continent and the F-35 has only short legs with only a single engine (lose it and you lose the plane unlike the twin-engine jet it replaced) so the choice of this plane was a political decision and not a military one.
      We had Aussie pilots in the early days of WW2 going into combat against far superior Zeros in obsolete planes and at least one radioed back: “We who are about to die, salute you!”. I hope that we do not repeat the same again down the track.

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