Links 1/31/18

Yves here. I got a look at the super blue moon. Did you? Very bright here in NYC.

World’s first talking killer whale: Wikie the orca learns to say ‘hello’ and ‘bye bye’ Telegraph (MGL).

United denies woman’s attempt to bring peacock onto flight Business Insider (Chuck L)

Miami’s new mosquitoes carry sterility bug NBC (David L)

The Executioners Who Inherited Their Jobs Smithsonian (witters)

Looking for an Exit Off the Information Superhighway American Conservative (resilc)

Facebook is banning all ads promoting cryptocurrencies — including bitcoin and ICOs Recode

Do NOT Use Bitcoin Assuming It Is Anonymous Ian Welsh

Woman denied emotional support peacock on United flight Fox News. Resilc: “Moronistan”.

Charles Mann: Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People? Atlantic

Erica Garner and Serena Williams’ stories underscore health inequalities facing black women MinnPost (Chuck L)

New research reveals genetic evidence of “muscle memory” New Atlas (David L)


Don’t Fear China’s Arctic Takeover Bloomberg. JTM: “Yeah, no problem! How do you say “loot” in Mandarin, again?”

The Unintended Consequences Of Trump’s Solar Tariffs OilPrice

North Korea

Entry 32: A Gem from the Virtual Archives War on the Rocks (JTM)

Secret govt files sold off in a cheap cabinet: Biggest security breach in Australian political history (Kevin W)

UN urged to launch global effort to end offshore tax evasion Guardian

Extreme inequality in Germany Der Spiegel (Glenn F)

Venezuelan Pirates Rule the Most Lawless Market on Earth Bloomberg (JTM)


Brexit Winner, Brexit Loser Der Speigel (Glenn F)

Theresa May: ‘I’m not a quitter’ Politico

MPs demand ‘urgent investigation’ into Cabinet ministers’ support for hard-Brexit lobby group openDemocracy

As Richard Smith noted re the tweet below: “Coming off as that deeply captured is not a good look in a financial services regulator, not even a British one.” Background here, here and here.

As I recall, Deloitte was Carillion’s outsourced compliance manager:

New Cold War

Washington Reaches New Heights of Insanity with the “Kremlin Report” Paul Craig Roberts (Glenn F)


Miscalculations in Israel Could Pave Way to Wider War Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

Yemen separatists capture most of Aden, residents say BBC

The condensed case against the White Helmet imposters in Syria Aletho News (Chuck L)

Trump Transition. Keeping SOTU links down so as not to eat Links, so if you saw an analysis you liked not featured below, please add it to the Comments section. And be sure to read Lambert’s live blog, which had oodles of useful info and links, including the full text of Sanders’ rebuttal.

2018 State of the Union Address C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Trump Connects Presidency With Prosperity in ‘American Moment’ Bloomberg. Notice URL, which presumably reflects original headline.

Trump offers same policies in new bipartisan packaging Politico. Great photo of Trump looking barker-like.

Trump’s State of the Union address promised unity but emphasized discord Guardian. Sour-faced here.

Donald Trump’s North Korea Rhetoric During the State of the Union Is an Ominous Carbon Copy of Bush’s Words About Iraq 15 Years Ago Intercept

Trump’s State of the Union Is a Parallel Universe Vice. Resilc: “Same as the last 40 years.”

Analysis: Trump Tries On a New Role as Optimist Wall Street Journal

Trump boasts of tax cuts and booming stock market, taunts hissing Democrats with immigration plan and rips up Obama’s legacy on health and Guantanamo at strident State of the Union Daily Mail

Reality Check: Seven Trump claims fact-checked BBC (resilc)

Health Care

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Team Up to Try to Disrupt Health Care New York Times (Kevin W). Beware of billionaires bearing gifts. And Amazon hates people, expect as appendages to wallets, when a great deal of the efficacy of health care is the result of trust in the health care provider. This serves as a reminder that I need to get serious about becoming an expat, although at my age and with my severely constrained time, I don’t have time or $ for the basics, like identifying “finalist” countries and paying visits.

Senators urge new rule to combat opioid crisis in rural areas The Hill (UserFriendly)

Clinton–Obama Emails: The Key to Understanding Why Hillary Wasn’t Indicted National Review. Oregoncharles:

I can’t believe I’m sending you something from the National Review, but apparently we’ve come to this. It appears to be a densely factual (if correct) investigative piece.

Moi: The entire piece hinges on the idea that Obama e-mailed Clinton’s non-compliant e-mail address with some frequency. I don’t think this is as clear cut at NR presents it. Even 20 e-mails could be depicted as inattentiveness. But I can seem image-sensitive Obama not wanting to touch this for a bunch of reasons, including not wanting to have to ‘spalin himself even if he could and not wanting the close of his Presidency tainted by a huge scandal. After all, there was his Congressional Library to think of.

To me, the much bigger question is why did Obama allow Clinton to continue to have the Clinton Foundation raise $ from foreign donors when she was Secretary of State? Her deal with Obama was that the Clinton Foundation was supposed to cut that out while she was at State. Why didn’t Obama call her on the carpet? Those missing e-mails almost certainly include ones that relate to Clinton Foundation donors.

Washington Activists Sue For Right To Ban Fossil Fuel Trains Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Fake News

Facebook Users Cry ‘Censorship’ After Being Told Which Russian Troll Pages They Liked Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

What Does it Mean, Saving Rate drops to 12-Year Low when 50% of Americans Don’t Have Savings? Wolf Street (EM)

IKEA to Launch “Ready to Assemble” Casket. flat pack furniture assembly services (EM)

The Hot Mess Of The Free Market’s Side Effects Current Affairs (Glenn F)

FEMA To End Food And Water Aid For Puerto Rico NPR

Jackpotting’ hackers steal over $1 million from ATMs across U.S.: Secret Service Reuters. EM:

As interesting as the story is, it is useful to put things in perspective by comparing the amount cited here with oh, say, that stolen from investors in the run-up to the GFC via fraudulent mortgage securitizations (figure on the order of $1 trillion or roughly $1 billion per day for 3 years), or the amount stolen from hoi polloi via the subsequent QE and ZIRP regimes by the Fed and transferred to very same crooked bank cartels, or the amount stolen every day by way of civil asset forfeiture, a.k.a. legalized theft by law enforcement. At least the ATM-hacking crooks had to put some actual serious effort and cleverness into the scheme.

Authers Note: #Resistance is broken. Now what? Financial Times. Authers called the credit market turn in June 2007. We made our prediction a few days later in part based on his work, as well as cracks opening in the subprime dike. Ignore him at your peril.

Class Warfare

Dog-walking startup Wag got a whopping $300 million from SoftBank and hired a new CEO Business Insider (Kevin W)

BBC pay review branded a whitewash: More MEN than women will be handed salary rises by the Corporation after auditors found no gender bias despite 6.8 per cent difference in salaries Daily Mail. What good is an auditor if he can’t make numbers tell the story his clients want them to tell?

EPI applauds USDA decision rejecting poultry industry petition to speed up processing lines Economic Policy Institute

Why Big Firms No Longer Pay (Much) More Institute for New Economic Thinking

Antidote du jour. Fro MGL’s photos of NZ kakariki (red-crowned parakeet) from December 2017. This one was in captivity at Mt. Bruce, Wairarapa, N Island. He also had ones from the wild where he couldn’t (understandably) get a close, so this one gives a better idea of what they look like and how beautiful they are.

And a bonus video from furzy:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Miscalculations in Israel Could Pave Way to Wider War Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

    I don’t think its been caused by Trump, but the ineptitude of his son-in-law and the others in his entourage are I think accellerating the long term process set in motion by Bush Jnr to realign the Middle East in a way that isn’t very favourable to the US or Israel.

    The Middle East (and the wider world), just skirted serious conflict in 2017, but we may not be so lucky in 2018. Trump is regarded as Israel’s “best friend,” but is that really so? Israel’s future seems much less secure one year after he assumed office. The landscape has darkened. Israel misjudged Syria; it misjudged its Syrian proxies; and (probably) will find that it has misjudged MbS – and now, a further miscalculation, this time with Turkey.

    It may misjudge Iran next.

    A huge power vacuum is opening up from the Gulf to Egypt. The US is no longer respected or feared. Israel may be feared, but I suspect has pushed their luck too far. The Gulf States must be wondering if its in any way sensible to be too tied to MbS in Saudi Arabia given his serial blundering. Either the EU or China may feel it is sensible to step in as fairy godmother to keep cash flowing to the Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt to replace the former funders. Even if they do, it seems far more likely that the Iranians and Russians, maybe in alliance with the Turks will fill the space. And who knows what Trump will do if he finally works out that his son-in-laws obsession with pursuing his narrow interests could destroy his presidency? Interesting times.

    1. Sid Finster

      Israel has made misjudgment after misjudgment, but it has been largely shielded from the consequences of its misjudgments. Therefore Israel will go on making them.

      Like betting with other people’s money.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The Israelis must be getting worried. They purchased a coupla squadrons of F-35 fighter jets not long ago but with their deteriorating strategic position they are realizing that perhaps they should buy a plane that actually works. They are now deciding if they should go with a squadron’s worth of refurbished F-15 Eagles for their next purchase. Since some of their fighters go back to the 1970s, this is a matter of urgency for them.

      1. Wukchumni

        We have a squadron of F-35’s based here @ Lemoore naval station, in case there is an assault on the milk cows in adjacent areas and/or a prison break from one of the many establishments holding those to the discourage of their own convictions.

        As rotten of a plane as it apparently is, this dual-task capacity seems ideal for it’s stated mission.

        1. Plenue

          In (semi-)seriousness, as far as I know the F-35 still can’t fire its internal cannon (they literally haven’t written the software driver for it yet), so it can’t strafe stationary cows, and it has a very limited capacity to carry bombs and missiles, so won’t be able to massacre very many of our countries vast number of prisoners.

    3. Olga

      “Even if they do, it seems far more likely that the Iranians and Russians, maybe in alliance with the Turks will fill the space.” I think that is quite clear, plus add China… all part of the new multi-polar world. Expect the twins Is/US to do all to oppose any such development. If they cannot control the parties/situation, they’ll at least create continued chaos… Oh boy, do we have fun times to look forward to…

  2. Wukchumni

    United denies woman’s attempt to bring peacock onto flight Business Insider (Chuck L)

    We lived in an upscale ‘hood in L.A., and when we bought our home there, the realtor didn’t say anything about the peacocks that ruled the roost, beautiful terra-ists almost resembling royalty with their long train of feathers when out strutting their stuff as if en route to a coronation, that in theory could and did fly if only for short hops, but mostly they spent their time terrorizing us with cries stolen from bad horror films, the soundtrack played like a broken record. Don’t get me started on stepping in their runny remnants, or their penchant of a pecking order on anything you left outdoors that specifically you wanted ruined.

    …we didn’t disclose the information either, when selling the place

      1. Kevin

        Reminds me of little kids carrying security blankets and teddy bears around.

        Are we becoming children or are our childhood insecurities coming back with a vengeance?

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          possibly animal companions are a better if more visible solution to PTSD than psychotropic drugs?

        2. JTMcPhee

          Look at all the people carrying around those special-snowflake healthy, protective water bottles, that have nice innovative high-tech nipples from which to suck their Diet Water: “Just one word, my boy: plastics!”

          Speaking of mass infantilization, especially of the Credentialed. As a species, per the movie line from Blade Runner, “Then we’re stupid, and we’ll die.”

          1. Off The Street

            An emotional support chicken could provide in-flight eggs, just the thing to supplement that beverage, as in eggs-in-your-beer.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      My first reaction was, How much emotional support can a peacock provide?

      But the antidote clip set me straight ;-)

    2. DJG

      From the Business Insider article: “The regulations will require passengers to show Delta documentation of an animal’s health 48 hours before a flight. Passengers traveling with an emotional-support animal will also need to present a signed letter from a doctor or mental-health professional, as well as a signed document saying the animal can behave properly during a flight.

      Delta has faced backlash over the regulations, but other airlines are likely to follow suit as they try to prevent passengers from using support-animal provisions to travel with their untrained pets for free.”

      My strongest impressions at the airports and on flights these days is that the airlines treat people shabbily. Yet our culture produces remarkable disorder, too. Can’t we load passengers in a plane from back to front? No! We must let in first class, the frequent flyer peeps, and “pre-boarding.” And then the scramble.

      Yet my biggest impression is that the passengers are fearful. Many / most don’t seem to understand how a plane works–so it must be by magic, which means bringing in one’s magic talisman peacock.

      How do democracies decline? Engulfed in sheer ignorance.

      Now where is my packet of Biscoff Lotus cookies?

      1. scoff

        I don’t understand the point of your reply. Does the one obviate the other? Do I believe Idaho is the future epicenter of progressivism?


        What I do believe is that every action to resist the slide into barbarity should be recognized and applauded.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > I don’t understand the point of your reply.

          The point is that each inhabitant of a Red State is responsible for the actions of every other inhabitant.

          Until the Red State is turned Blue, of course, when they will no longer be responsible.

  3. Kevin

    Looking for an Exit:

    In a world of often-crippling loneliness, we are moving full speed ahead towards producing 320 million societies of one.

    nail on head I’d say.

    1. Louis Fyne

      or 30 million islands of one who cling onto emotional support peacocks, security blankets and bespoke ‘spontaneous’ selfies and turn into public train wrecks while the rest of us gawk, shrug, then get on with our lives.

  4. charles 2

    If you look for “finalist” countries, have a look at Malaysia and Thailand, “grey hair” visas are quite accessible there. Southern Peninsular Malaysia is next to Singapore, which is a first rate metropolis useful if you have complex healthcare situation. NYC is very far though…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder why immigrants would bring their aging parents to this country.

      A lot of Americans would like to get away from here to get better healthcare, even if they can’t take their parents with them abroad.

      1. Lord Koos

        I’m sure things are more conservative in the rural areas, but don’t forget that Chinese Malaysians, although a minority, have a lot of wealth and political power, and their influence tends to balance the extremists. I would encourage you to visit the country before making any assumptions.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s an interesting country.

          Some Imperial Japanese Army soldiers refused to surrender and stayed for decades over there.

          Imamura made a documentary, In Search of Unreturned Soliders.

          Kind of like Alexander’s Macedonians in Bactria. Today, you read about the descendants of Roman legionaries living in China.

          Will that be the case for some American soldiers?

        1. Objective Function

          Vietnam is really coming along well, just got back yesterday. They dislike their Chinese cousins (as Poles do Russians) but they are following a Chinese model based around fostering export industries and moving up the value chain.

          The state infrastructure, including health care, is basic but quite functional and recognizable. Plenty of competent doctors and nurses. English is still patchy, but there is almost no crime.

    2. Lord Koos

      We were very impressed with Malaysia when we visited for about 10 days in 2012, mostly in Kuala Lumpur and Pengang. Friendly people, great food and decent public transport. I didn’t have any direct experience with their health care, but I’m guessing they are fairly up to date, as is Thailand. Unless things have changed since the last time I checked, retirement visas in both countries do require a non-trivial amount of cash to be deposited in a local bank.

      1. Procopius

        Thailand requires a deposit of ฿800,000 (about $26,000) OR a guaranteed pension of at least ฿65,000/month (about $2,100 at current exchange rates). I’ve never been able to accumulate the lump sum deposit, but my Army pension and Social Security combined exceed the pension requirement, so I’ve lived here for many years. You have a lower income requirement if you are married to a Thai citizen or are supporting a Thai citizen (I don’t know the details of how that one works), but I wouldn’t recommend trying to live on less than $2,000 a month. If you don’t speak Thai it would be better to have more.

      1. Jim Haygood

        The dollar’s value is important when living overseas (though Ecuador and Panama use the USD).

        DXY fell through 89 overnight, now 88.84. I too support the dolar fuerte. /sarc

    1. Eureka Springs

      Haha! According to this site monthly costs in Cuenca:

      Utilities (including phone, water/electricity, internet, and DirecTV) $155

      IESS (social security) healthcare $80

      And you can buy as much fresh produce as you can carry for 10.00 at the mercado.

      I’ve got to get out of here (USA)!

        1. Off The Street

          Fly over Patagonia on your way south, and imagine the secure future in the Bush estancia compound when it all goes south.

      1. SoldierSvejk

        Bought a flat in Central Europe three yrs ago… Cost of healthcare (compulsory for all) is about 60e/month (unless your employer pays). Human-scale architecture, good public transport, tons of culture, friendly people… what else does one need? (Silly politics one can ignore.)

      2. Oregoncharles

        Cuenca is quite high. My parents were altitude-restricted when they got older. Something to consider.

    2. Alex Cox

      One of the safest places for retired Americans is Nicaragua, where death squads and gang violence are far less prevalent than in other parts of Central America.

      Thanks to the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution in 1979, Nicaragua is perhaps the best place in all of Latin America for rich gringos and Europeans to acquire a second home.

      (Unless one of them becomes pregnant and needs an abortion — illegal in all circumstances thanks to Ortega’s deal with the Vatican)

  5. Christopher Dale Rogers

    With Brexit interest being high – although, other important events are happening in London that undermine our neoliberal society, I’m sure Yves or Lambert would have linked to this Speech by Yanis Varoufakis, given in one of Westminster’s Committee Rooms on 29 January – here Yanis discusses a Norway Plus deal that would be acceptable to Labour’s Left:

  6. fresno dan

    Clinton–Obama Emails: The Key to Understanding Why Hillary Wasn’t Indicted National Review. Oregoncharles:

    I can’t believe I’m sending you something from the National Review, but apparently we’ve come to this. It appears to be a densely factual (if correct) investigative piece.
    I think Andrew Mccarthy’s reporting on the whole FISA thing has been dispassionate and in a media landscape almost devoid of intellectual honesty, a good example of at least TRYING to be objective and apply the same criteria to both sides. As well as the fact that the so-called “liberal” media has a profound disinterest in government surveillance. (actually, it is unfair to blame the media – the dems go along completely with MOAR FISA – what is the media suppose to do, keep reporting on that whackadoodle* Rand Paul?)
    I read both sides NOT because I think most sources are wrong on what they report, BUT are trying to leave pertinent FACTS (those, rare, RARE nuggets that inadvertently get put into the narrative occasionally) out.

    *sarc – Paul is to be commended, not just for FISA but for showing unequivocally that we have one party rule and that freedom is just a branding exercise.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Interesting compilation of “evidence,” but let’s face facts. hillary clinton was not “indicted” because she was hillary clinton, queen of the ruling elite and rightful heir to the presidential throne.

      Same reason, by the way, that no bankers went to “jail,” and continue to defraud their customers to this day. Same reason the military spends unlimited blood and treasure starting and losing endless, countless, illegal wars “to keep us safe.” Same reason the surveillance state shreds the Constitution in “justifiable” secrecy.

      To pretend there is an explanation for lawbreaking, is to accept the idea that there are “laws” to break. But for certain people in this country, there just aren’t. And that’s the fact that nobody seems to want to acknowledge.

      1. Ed Miller

        I respectfully disagree, but it might be considered a moot point. There are laws to break, and many of the important ones for the public have been on the books for over 100 years, like the Sherman Anti-Trust act. When was the last time RICO charges were used against the forces of collusion?

        No laws are applied to the “special people” because of corruption in government brought about by the buying of said government by these “special people”. The result is obvious – some are above the law, like the gods they think they are. The rest of us are subjects, aka peons. The results don’t look much different, except for the fact that having uninforced laws allows for pretending that we have laws that protect the public interest.

        We actually live in a world analogous to Disneyland – I call it Bernays World.

  7. Ed

    “Charles Mann: Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People? Atlantic”

    Mann is normally excellent and the article is filled with information, but instead of worrying about the best way to produce more food, we could produce fewer people. People are doing that already, just not enough. You don’t have to worry about feeding 10 billion people (the article also never answers the question about whether you can) if you don’t have 10 billion people to feed. The article never brings up that option.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ve read elsewhere that 10 billion is the maximum for carrying capacity for the Earth but I don’t see that being sustainable. After that the gloomy Dr. Malthus would have some say on the issue. My own guess is that 2-3 billion is what is sustainable long term but not if they all insist on a middle-class lifestyle. You would probably find that today three-quarters of the world are going to bed hungry while the other quarter is dieting but that is not sustainable either. As future developments go, either we change or change will be imposed on us.

      1. Wyoming

        I read the literature on this issue quite a bit.

        One can only come up with a number like 10 billion by leaving out many factors which a system oriented person would say are significant factors. On the other end of the estimates some scientists end up with a number as low as 500 million or 1/20th that of the high estimate.

        Some calculations don’t include sustainability as a foundational requirement. But to many, me included, if you are not at sustainable levels then you are already past carrying capacity and a collapse is already baked in the cake. Many estimates don’t take into account climate change and that the effects of that are decreasing global carrying capacity a little more each day. Use of chemical enhancements to industrial agriculture, as we all know, has deleterious effects and their long-term use is almost certainly going to be an impactful factor. Top-soil loss, loss of biodiversity in the soil, biodiversity in the seas, dead zones in the oceans due to the chemicals mentioned above, ocean acidification, etc, etc. Depending on what factors you leave out or choose to ignore will result in wildly different numbers. It is like climate denial articles or arguments – lots of cherry picking and selectively ignoring critical facts.

        Since ‘real’ sustainability is so hard to come by I use the rough bound that sustainable has to be at least 500 years.

        If one examines the state of the world today it is clear that we are in the unsustainable part of the curve already and have been for a long time. We are past the carrying capacity now and the rapidly rising population will run us down to agricultural collapse quicker at the same time climate change is decreasing base carrying capacity. This is, to understate it a bit, not a good situation to be in.

        Having gone through all the estimates and which factors different calculations are based upon looking at the problem from a systemic basis and taking into all known factors I would put the limit at something no more than 2 billion and maybe, taking specifically into account how bad climate change is likely to be, 1 billion.

        1. Paul Cardan

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you have to treat throughput efficiency as fixed in order to arrive at those numbers? But it’s not actually fixed. It’s possible to waste much less than we currently do in productive processes; it’s also possible to dispose of much less in natural “sinks” relative to current consumption levels than we do at present. In theory, throughput efficiency could increase at a pace that would outstrip population growth, so that a much larger human population would be sustainable. A short paper by Robin Hahnel, “Environmental Sustainability in a Sraffian Framework,” is instructive in this regard, or so it seems to me.

          Of course, none of this is meant to suggest that requisite improvements in throughput efficiency will be forthcoming, given the manner in which economic processes are currently instituted (i.e., self-regulating markets). Given that we treat “land” as a commodity, improvement of that kind would be miraculous, like winning the lottery. Still, if we recognize that this is at least theoretically possible, the problem of population growth appears in a rather different light, revealing a host of solutions that aren’t typically considered by neo-Malthusians, deep ecologists, etc.

          1. Oregoncharles

            All systems have a failure rate.

            Just as important, you get efficiency improvements only once, then it’s as efficient as it’s going to get. So it might stave off the evil day, but not all that long.

            I’m with Wyoming.

            1. Paul Cardan

              For all I know, you’re right. Still, it doesn’t seem to me as though it’s possible to make any well-founded claims about the carrying capacity of land without knowing about the efficiency with which resources are taken from the natural environment, on the one hand, and thrown back into that environment, on the other. At the very least, you’d need to know parameters within which throughput efficiency can be expected to vary (which, of course, it does).

              Also, perhaps I’ve misunderstood, but it seems as though some improvements in efficiency can be made repeatedly. Raw materials worked up into durable goods, for instance, can be made more durable, over and over again. One simple way of doing this is to make them repairable. Renewable energy technology also allows for repeated increases in efficiency, since later instances of such technology can be produced using energy generated by earlier instances. There are lots of other examples, I think, some of which have to do with community design, others housing design.

        2. rd

          I think there is a wide range in the number that is a function of planetary hygiene.

          If we are careful stewards (not today’s worldwide culture), then I think the planet can support many, many people.

          However, sloppy hygiene will make it difficult to support a lot of people as past historic periods (Black Death, famines due to regional deforestation (e.g. Easter Island), cholera, typhoid fever, 1918 Spanish Flu, etc.) .

          So historically, much of the pollution was human and animal waste in water supplies and city streets. Now it includes air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, invasive species, sedimentation, plastics in the ocean. We have also industrialized resource stripping including deforestation, over-fishing, over use of herbicides and pesticides, etc.

          So it is a choice. We can continue to do the equivalent of crapping into our drinking water supply or clean up our act and acting as stewards for the future. The difference is probably at least 10 billion people of carrying capacity in the future.

    2. Alex

      At some point all the problems we’ve created will impact the cost of producing food (eg because less land will be available due to desertification). So then the rising prices will hopefully push down the consumption of meat and other stuff that is high up the food chain.

      1. polecat

        ‘become vegetarians’

        Cuz we’re all gonna loooooove consumning ever moar of that GMO/Neonicotandiode/RoundUpReady/It’$ForYourOwnDamnGood corn, soy beans, wheat … and whatever Other wonderous New-n-Unproved victuals that corporate crop (crap?) science has to offer going forward ! …

        1. Old Jake

          Cuz we’re all gonna loooooove consumning ever moar of that GMO/Neonicotandiode/RoundUpReady/It’$ForYourOwnDamnGood corn, soy beans, whea

          What do you expect they feed the creatures the carnivores eat? The higher you are on the food “chain” — actually of course, it’s a pyramid — the more concentrated the contaminants.

        1. polecat

          I think this omnivore is gonna take a cue from John Micheal Greer … and down a cheese burger !

    3. Summer

      An idea: In the here and now, with around 7+ billion people, do a kind of “stress test.” Actually provide food for who is here on the planet. At the end of the day, despite all the “wizardry,” it’s still only a theory that societies could keep a 7.6 billion population sustainably fed. That would be the best way to see whay kind of sustainable path the world is on. Until that is actually done, it’s a lot of whistling in the dark.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      It’s one thing to produce enough food to feed 10 billion people and another to get that food onto their plates. How many countries were better able to feed their populations before Globalization? How many mass starvations were policies of war or the exertion of political power?

      1. Summer

        It’s only an assumption and a lot of hype that food can produced to sustain the current 7 or so billion. It’s an assumption about the production capabilities and because getting the food to plates in the here and now already raises questions about sustainability. It has not been done.
        The only worry the establishment has that if food production sustainability is called into question, current management of the global order would be change.

    5. Oregoncharles

      I guess I’m a “prophet”, but I resent those who take that “10 billion in 2050” line seriously. I think it’s obviously impossible, just not going to happen, and trying (as Mann mentions) will make things much, much worse.

      It isn’t just food, which we could conceivably provide (maybe already do, if it were used wisely; why does that sound like a fairy tale?); it’s EVERYTHING. We passed the carrying capacity a long time ago. I didn’t finish the article – don’t know where Mann came down. I did learn something: didn’t know about Vogt, or his long rivalry with Borlaug.

      1. Quentin

        I don’t have Twitter. Maybe you could just say what ‘resistance’ refers to here. Or supply a link.

          1. beth

            “You don’t need Twitter to see postings.”

            Kevin, your link was to the FT article on FT web page. Please try again. I can no longer see anything on FT. The subscription cost for Premium FT is 599/yr.

            If you can give us summaries of the articles. Same with WSJ.

            They now say “No way Jose.”

              1. djrichard

                I’ve started using the web page from my local library to get access to NYTimes, WaPo and WSJ. The Financial Times doesn’t seem to be a part of that subscription however.

          1. jhallc

            I was able to read the article this morning but, can no longer get access. My main takeaway was from the comment section where Authers, in responding to a comment, mentions that it’s his general belief that we are in the “Euphoria” (Stage 3) phase of the 5 Stage “Bubble” cycle. He’s not sure if we are closer to the beginning or end of that stage.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Thanks for the tip. It’s blood orange, about 15 deg above the western horizon now (central AZ).

    2. Lee

      In sf bay area up at 4am and set up scope on my street corner. Saw the shadow creep across, then cover the moon. The color was interesting: a pale red-orange suffused with gray. The quiet, uncharacteristically empty streets were strangely delightful. I used to get up this early more often and have resolved to get in the habit of doing so again.

    3. LifelongLib

      It was cloudy where I live (near Honolulu) but managed to glimpse the partial eclipse around 2 AM and totality around 3:30.

    4. Anon

      Yeah, the trifecta moon (super, “blue”, and red) was a sight to see this morning on the Central Coast of California. The new LED street lighting obnoxiously interfered with a more sublime delight. The end of the display was too close to the local coastal mountains and approaching daylight to make it a lifetime event though. (I’ve experienced a similar super-red-moon during its rising phase and THAT was a truly visual delight, as the moon looked larger and a more brilliant red.)

      Glad to see others up and about to experience this super-moon eclipse.

  8. The Rev Kev

    BBC pay review branded a whitewash

    Had something similar along these lines not long ago down under. A popular Channel Nine TV presenter named Lisa Wilkinson had the temerity to demand a $2 million pay deal ( which was about the same as the male hair-do sitting next to her each morning. At the time she was earning about half that. They told her they would give her a raise but no equal pay so she bailed and joined Channel Ten instead. A lot of bitter recriminations going both ways with lots of smears but she was far more popular and well know than her co-host so it was not like she did not have a strong case.

  9. Dr. Roberts

    Re: Yemeni Separatists take Aden

    This is a major turning point in the war, and it seems to me the Saudis have basically lost completely. The separatists will likely make peace with the Houthis and that will be that, as long as the Saudis are incapable of regaining control over Aden. This is actually really great news.

    1. a different chris

      Except the Saudis, like some other country we know (cough, US, cough) has the money to lob missiles indefinitely into that poor country. Another thing that makes “the Rich different from you and me”: They do not have to admit defeat.

      1. Dr. Roberts

        If the Houthis have their southern front freed up, they might be able to occupy Najran and launch attacks deeper into the kingdom. I think that would be threatening enough to force a peace on the Saudis.

  10. Tom Stone

    Why not Mexico, wonderful food, wonderful people, a great climate and firearms ownership by the general populace has been banned for many years, an important consideration for Yves.

    1. Louis Fyne

      29,000+ homicides in Mexico in 2017. 3x the per capita rate of the USA.

      the bulk of it is gang v. gang violence and outside of the ex-pat areas. but still 29,000 is 29,000.

      And being an ex-pat holed up in an ex-pat enclave sort of defeats the purpose of being an ex-pat except for the cheaper living costs.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I’ve got an ex-pat friend in Oaxaca city. Loves it, she says it is safe and the food and culture is beyond wonderful.

      2. Lord Koos

        There is also the Yucutan peninsula, which I’ve heard has little to no drug and gang activity, the area not being a route to the American border.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From Newsweek:

          Jun 16, 2017 – This latest shooting adds to a spate of violence in the tourist resort area in the state of Yucatan. which is disputed among the drug gangs of Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel. Just last week, two people were shot dead at a cocktail bar, and a shooting with the police ensued as the killers attempted to flee the scene

          And further down:

          Local media reported this week that escalating drug cartel violence in the Cancún region killed more people in the first six months of 2017 than in the whole of 2016. According to news website Noticaribe, 62 people were executed in first 161 days of 2017, an average of 3 every week. In comparison, there were 61 executions in 2016, one every 6 days.

  11. Craig H.

    Facebook is banning all ads promoting cryptocurrencies — including bitcoin and ICOs

    In the state of the union chat post last night NC’s server served me an ad for bitcoin for my retirement account. The internet probably has me cookied up as a very stupid person but I was still surprised. I usually ignore the advertising fractions so am not sure but this might have been my first ever bitcoin ad; it was the first one I noticed.

    1. a different chris

      I love when stuff like that shows up on NC, Yves pockets the money and nobody here is stupid enough to fall for it.

  12. fresno dan

    Why Big Firms No Longer Pay (Much) More Institute for New Economic Thinking
    Mr. Volpe’s insight (his comment on the above article) is so good, I’m stealing it:

    Vic Volpe • a day ago
    Tighten up the labor market and you will need to do another study and revise your stats.

    In 1965 with a workforce of approximately 75 million, less than half what it is today at almost 160 million:
    Monthly jobs —– Monthly jobs
    added in 1965: —- added 2016:
    Jan — 162,000 — 126,000
    Feb — 217,000 — 237,000
    Mar — 203,000 — 225,000
    Apr — 256,000 — 153,000
    May — 233,000 — 43,000
    June – 198,000 — 297,000
    July — 273,000 — 291,000
    Aug — 265,000 — 176,000
    Sep — 262,000 — 249,000
    Oct — 228,000 — 124,000
    Nov — 279,000 — 164,000
    Dec — 324,000 — 155,000

    And 2016 was better than 2017.

  13. Jeff

    “This serves as a reminder that I need to get serious about becoming an expat, although at my age and with my severely constrained time, I don’t have time or $ for the basics, like identifying “finalist” countries and paying visits.”

    Costa Rica – free health care, longer life expectancy than in US. US expats are flocking there in droves – Drawbacks? Really hot (tropical) and get used to really big bugs.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wherever the final choice, some little voice inside me is saying not to choose a place direct on a coastline.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some countries are more popular than others.

      Sweden (mentioned below), Costa Rica (here), etc.

      Some rarely get mentioned (like those Trump would avoid).

      Is it OK to say ‘I’d like to retire or move to Norway, and not Haiti or some countries in Africa?”

      1. polecat

        The thing is, unless one has an accessible income stream (pension,ss,trust fund,grifting,etc.) already in place, then one is precluded from ever considering such a move … and there are far more of us stuck in the later category, then the former ..
        … and I don’t seem to recall hearing about any Yanks ‘bootstrapping it’ to their paradise of choice !

        “All I wanted was a free and fair country …. and all I got was this pitchfork !”

    3. Joe Renter

      And how do the locals feel about that? I would not want to be there just because so many gringos are flocking there.

    4. RMO

      Drawbacks (Costa Rica) homicide rate is 11.77 per 100,000 population (U.S. 4.88, Mexico 16.35, Belize 34.4, Canada 1.68, Singapore 0.25 for comparison) though I expect your own personal chance of being murdered could be highly dependent upon location and activities so things there may very well not be as bad as the bare figures suggest. Certainly the people I know who have spent time in Costa Rica (and Belize and Mexico) liked it a lot.

  14. Michael

    Super blue blood moon very cool here in San Diego this am. Caught the last quarter before descending into redness where it sits now on its way into the Pacific. Awesome sunset last night a prelude to tonight’s show: Moon rises full in the east while sun sets full in the west. In my front yard!

  15. fresno dan

    IKEA to Launch “Ready to Assemble” Casket. flat pack furniture assembly services (EM)

    The Hot Mess Of The Free Market’s Side Effects Current Affairs (Glenn F)
    I usually read in reverse order, so after reading about market flaws, and than reading the IKEA satire it occurs to me that the article on market flaws leaves out one big Godzilla sized flaw – all the commerce I am FORCED to engage in – why do I HAVE to buy a casket (OR be cremated) – now, no doubt my stinking, rotting corpse will pose an “externality” but certainly orders of magnitude less than all that nitrogen pumped into the waterways or CO2 pumped into the atmosphere…..but NO, fresnodan has to be disposed of properly….
    no high priced K street lobbyists defend my corpse’s right to lie where I die, to point out that animals (including humans) have been dying and rotting since time immemorial. And part of the great circle of life for buzzards, beetles, and microbes.

    1. a different chris

      You can donate your corpse to one of those “criminal investigation” farms, where they will let you rot whist future CI’s occasionally come by and poke at your remains.

      Well, that’s the best I’ve got. For me: I’m wondering if cremation or a plain wood casket (inc. the digging with an diesel-guzzling fume spewing backhoe) is less worse on the environment.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Do an Ötzi: If/when you have determined that you have a very short time left…but you are still ambulatory…book passage to somewhere that still has significantly-large glaciers: up in the Canadian Rockies, SE Alaska, or wherever.

        Stock yourself up with warm clothes, a bottle of Everclear, and a big bottle of painkillers. Well, that and a whole bunch of completely random & bizarre personal effects (Hello Kitty backpack, late-80’s cell phone w/an iphone cover, MAGA hat autographed by a card-carrying Socialist, a package of Soylent, an Elon Musk Flamethrower, some fountain pens with human blood in the inkwell, just the wackiest weirdest stuff you can think of)

        Then, get as far up the glacier as you possibly can, find a really deep crevasse, consume Everclear & pills, then as you fade out…pitch down into the black.

        Then, in 50/100/500 years…once the glacier melts….whatever socio-archeo-anthropologist as find you will have a field day trying to explain your personal effects. ;)

        1. fresno dan

          January 31, 2018 at 1:00 pm

          Now that is a good idea!
          I am flummoxed however, with coming up with the most bizarre porn to carry along….
          anthropologist: did they REALLY do that, or is that just CGI?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And why are we forced to spend to cloth ourselves?

      I think it’s to do with what you do or say that might offend, and not what you feel comfortable with.

      “I’m OK with being naked, but people are shocked.”

      “I’m OK with saying ‘a person and his pen’, but people are offended that it’s not ‘a person and his/her pen.”

      “I’m OK with fewer immigrants and more Americans living abroad, but people are shocked at the racism.”

      1. fresno dan

        January 31, 2018 at 9:50 am

        I don’t mind people laughing at my naked body, but I can’t afford the law suits when they laugh so hard they injure themselves…..

    3. Ancient1

      Reply to Fresno Dan
      1/31/18 – 9:07 AM

      What to do with my body when I no longer need it has been a question I have been pondering for sometime. I decided to donate it to a teaching medical center. Now that is a gamble as they may make use of my remains as a teaching object or they may sell off some tissue and bone. Whatever. That would be better than wasting it in the flames or being doused with embalming fluid, placed in an ornate, overstuffed box and then encased in another concrete box and placed six feet into the earth. My only concern is that I might be rejected and have the expense of the other options. Frugal to the end…….

      1. drexciya

        If you want to know more about more environment friendly methods of burial, you should check the YouTube Channel Ask a Mortician. Caitlin Doughy even had a special about alternative burial methods including “aquamation”; which is using an alkaline solution to dissolve a corpse, which is way less bad for the environment then cremation.

  16. RabidGandhi

    It should be to no one’s shock that the BBC article on Yemen buries the lede:

    The situation was made more complex by divisions within the Saudi-led coalition. Saudi Arabia backs Mr Hadi, who is based in Riyadh, while the United Arab Emirates – a key partner in the coalition – is closely aligned with the separatists.

    So the partners in the Saudi ‘Coalition of the Killing’ have amassed so many arms from their Western enablers that they have now turned on each other to fire off the excess. And they looked so happy together in the wedding picture!

    Either way, chalk up yet another a win/win for Lockheed Martin.

  17. allan

    RPI email to alumni: Criticism of leadership rooted in racism, sexism [Albany Times Union]

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sparked outcry and debate Tuesday when its entire alumni listserv woke up to an email from the school shaming graduates who had stopped donating and questioning whether such action could be the result of internalized racism and sexism.

    The email was originally crafted by Christopher Bystroff, an RPI professor of biological sciences and Computer Science Director of the Bioinformatics Programs, who sent it to fellow faculty on Jan. 22, a day after the Times Union published an article about the growing share of alumni who had stopped donating amid concerns over the school’s direction and governance. …

    Jackson, who began in the role in 1999, is the first woman and African-American to serve as president of the esteemed engineering school.

    “I can’t help thinking that if she were white, male (and maybe a bit taller!), she would not be so quickly dismissed as an autocrat,” Bystroff wrote.

    On Monday night, that email was forwarded to the alumni listserv by RPI Vice President of Institute Advancement Graig R. Eastin, who wrote: “Because you are all ambassadors of the Institute, I wanted to make sure you received a copy of (Bystroff’s) email.”

    That should definitely allay the concerns of the disgruntled alums.

    1. Off The Street

      Illustrious RPI alumnus Yogi Berra ;p may have asked If people don’t want to donate, how ya gonna stop ’em?

    2. bob

      They hired the DNC to run the PR campaign.

      DNC: Just call everyone stupid racists. That’ll be $5 million dollars, for the use of our consultants.

    3. bob

      More context-

      “The highest paid college president in the US now makes more than $7 million a year — after receiving a $5.9 million pay boost — taking in twice as much money as the private university head with the second largest salary, according to a recent report from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

      Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) Shirley Jackson – the first black woman to lead a prestigious US research university – is a nuclear physicist who serves on multiple government boards and is a director at IBM and FedEx.”

      Ms. Jackson is a tried and true Clintonian-

      “served as the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under Bill Clinton, and is now the co-chair of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, among other honors.”

  18. Alex Morfesis

    Glorious blood moon pulled all the gulf waters out as if a massive hurricane was about to approach…45 minute plus difference from nyc here in Tarpon/st petersburg area didn’t allow for full view of total eclipse as the earth rotated and left the moon out view…almost full eclipse…

    Last time this happened in 1866, freedom broke out…

  19. perpetualWAR

    Yves, the blue moon last night was simply stunning. I was so grateful that Seattle was not overcast and I actually saw it. Beautiful.

    1. a different chris

      Are you sure you are still in Seattle? Look carefully at the stars (the fact that you can see them may be enough of a clue), it’s possible that somebody carefully recreated your neighborhood, sedated you with those drugs that make you forget everything, and transferred you there during the previous day.

      It may seem far-fetched, you may be unable to think of anybody with both the reason to do this to you and the technology to make it happen. But, once we eliminate the impossible (a clear night in Seattle in January), the improbable must be true.

  20. perpetualWAR

    Deloitte being Carillion’s manager:

    Wasn’t Deloitte also WaMu’s manager?

    Just what took Arthur Anderson down again?

  21. allan

    Scholars Defend Stanford Professor Receiving Threats [Inside Higher Ed]

    Nearly 600 supporters of David Palumbo-Liu, the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor and professor of comparative literature at Stanford University, have signed an open letter asking his institution to “enunciate a strict code of ethics for journalists, distinguishing between opinion pieces and news reporting.” The letter was prompted by a recent article in an independent [conservative] student newspaper, The Stanford Review, about Palumbo-Liu’s affiliation with the Campus Antifascist Network, calling it “undeniably a chapter of a terrorist group” that embraces “vigilante thuggery.” Fox News picked up the piece, as did several right-wing websites, and Palumbo-Liu says he’s since received graphic death threats and other hate mail from across the country. …

    Radio Rwanda couldn’t have done it better.

    1. Brian

      Journo’s were once trained to concentrate on the WWWW and H. Journo’s today appear to want their opinionated twit broadcast to the world.
      It would be easy to go back to real reporting, but would it be profitable?

    1. ChrisPacific

      Kakariki is also the Maori word for ‘green.’ Worth remembering for any aspiring immigrants (most New Zealanders know a few words of Te Reo).

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    United denies woman’s attempt to bring peacock onto flight Business Insider (Chuck L)


    Seems a bit unfair. Many people (though I haven’t been on a plane in a while, I imagine it’s still the same) bring fleas and ticks on board, in various ways, with them.

    So, they are OK, but not peacocks?

  23. RenoDino

    Venezuelan Pirates Rule the Most Lawless Market on Earth Bloomberg (JTM)

    Where Huggies are literally Booty.

  24. a different chris

    The “Jackpotting Hacker” story is unintentionally hilarious. First, look at the caption for the picture….the writer wasn’t even trying. Then I liked the description of “how”:

    >described steps that criminals had used to compromise ATMs. They include gaining physical access, replacing the hard drive

    I have an image of the crook literally tossing the money aside in order to dig down to the hard drive. This stuff is ridiculous.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The easiest way to Single Payer is to let everyone, every corporation know that they will not have to pay anything at all, versus what they are spending now.

      To do that, one can explain MMT to them.

      “You get this free….no strings attached.”

      But if you don’t believe in it, well, it’s much harder to explain and sell.

      “You see, this is not a new tax. And you’re already paying a lot…”

      1. David Carl Grimes

        Jimmy Dore had a segment on this. Jeff Bezos, the guy who has ambulances posted outside his warehouses so that they can readily whisk passed out employees to emergency rooms instead of airconditioning his warehouses, will now provide us with healthcare.

        Most likely, it’s not going to be preventative healthcare.

        1. cnchal

          Who says they are whisked to a hospital. The ambulances are air conditioned so the tortured employee can get a drink and cool down, have their pay docked for the hour needed for recovery and sent back to the dungeon, where they can continue to “earn” their keep.

          As for three of the greediest people on the planet joining forces to provide a non profit hospital system for their employees, I am still laughing. They want their cut of the health care scam.

          Consider Captain Greed himself. A big seller of Coca Cola, Dairy Queen and who knows what other sugar dispensary system also sells life insurance. That’s what I call synergy.

    2. jawbone

      Possibly this is calculated to get Bernie’s single payer plan pushed onto some back burner or out of the kitchen entirely??

      Oh, please let Bernie succeed with Medicare for All Improved.

  25. Jim Haygood

    Politically incorrect:

    Brenda Fitzgerald, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has resigned after a report that she bought tobacco stock after taking office.

    Politico reported Tuesday that Fitzgerald bought and sold shares in Japan Tobacco Inc. after taking office last year. Bloomberg and other outlets reported Wednesday that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has accepted Fitzgerald’s resignation.

    Maybe Brenda should try her hand at portfolio management. Japan Tobacco (symbol JAPAF) is a sleepy old plodder. But it offers a fat 3.77% div yield — incredibly high with 10-year Japanese govt bonds offering an infinitesimal 0.08% yield. Chart:

    With big players like CalPERS out of tobacco, the gov-sponsored Big Tobacco cartel is arguably like a long-term bond with an equity kicker.

  26. m

    I am not sure how the monopolist & other billionaires think they will solve the healthcare problem. Replace the present bloodsuckers with their own fangs? Overpriced crappy EMRs which hospitals & MDs are forced to buy to stay in the Medicaid/Medicare business; overpaid managers & not enough actual healthcare providers; overpriced medicines; for profit insurance that covers nothing; serious shortage of primary care physicians; polluted environment, unhealthy food, & all work no exercises makes Jane a fat girl. HA!

    1. polecat

      ” Welcome to the Robotic Medical Spider Wellness Clinic, courtesy of our creators warren, jamie, & jeff ….
      How can we $uck your husk even drier ? “

    2. rd

      Healthcare is about the same dollar volume as retail. However, many parts of healthcare are generally much higher margin than retail. Wal-Mart restructured retail in the 80s and early 90s. Amazon then restructured it again.

      Healthcare is just a ripe pear hanging from a low-hanging branch waiting to be plucked by people looking to restructure it. A major impetus will be billionaires owning corporations tired of mailing huge checks to healthcare companies for insurance (private costs highest in the world) and tired of paying taxes to cover public healthcare costs (3rd highest in the world per capita).

      There is lots of fat to be cut and quality to be improved.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And as if either one of those will be done in a way to provide actual health care to the rest of us. Heard that crap about cutting fat from the “right” all my life. Always works out that the mopes get screwed. But then you know that. Pity the poor oligarchs atop the supranational corporations, ‘tired’ of paying avoiding taxes, and looting until the eyes of the mopes bleed…

        “Juste a ‘dollops,’ a soupçon, une petite morceau of Sauce Bernays, m’sieu?

  27. Barbara Kurth

    Muscle memory: n=8; untagged, epigenetics mean nothing to an average reader which is not saying people are not bright; would need to see the study details to make any sense of this sumary.

  28. cm

    wrt “Washington Activists Sue For Right To Ban Fossil Fuel Trains”, the governor just shot down an attempt to site an oil refinery on the Columbian River just across from Portland. This was a result of a years-long grassroots protest, a rare case where the little people beat Big Oil.

    Amazing it took this long to kill it, though, after an oil train derailed & burst into flame just outside a small town on the Columbian River in 2016. Just sheer chance that the explosion didn’t take out an elementary school.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The first talking killer whale, hello and bye-bye.

    Time to get a job as a greeter in a chain store, then.

  30. Dita

    Re: Amazon/Berkshire/JPMorgan healthcare venture, I wonder if they will buy hospitals and pharm outright? As if mutant American healthcare isn’t hellish enough…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Private equity tried buying hospitals and stopped because they could not improve the economics, as in cut costs. There were pesky regulations.

      1. sd

        I’m surprised they havent discovered the unregulated world of sober living and rehab centers. You’d think some local authority would at least inspect the kitchens where meals are prepared…nope.

      2. rd

        The US system is so fragmented, I don’t think it works to just buy one component, like hospitals, and expect to make a big dent. Ultimately, the cost savings will come from integrating the parts into a whole, such as the way HMOs do it. I think that is why it is Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan looking to do it together as they each have separate expertise for wide swathes of the whole puzzle.

        I don’t know if will be for good or ill, but it certainly looks interesting. The GOP has been bad-mouthing the single payer Medicare-for-all model that Bernie has been espousing in favor of private sector solutions, so this looks like an attempt to try the private sector approach. Just cudgeling Obamacare into the ground is not a solution to anything other than campaign rhetoric.

        1. UserFriendly

          I thought it was obvious… They are doing it to stabilize Obamacare markets. If Trump manages to run all the insurance companies out of a state I could see them offering plans to bolster the dems.

      3. Anon

        But private equity (Carlyle?) is involved in the administration of healthcare through health plan “Exchanges”. They took over Towers Watson and now incompetence abounds: long phone waits, untrained/unknowledgeable agents, website that can only functions with Internet Explorer browser, and a general erosion of quality service.

      4. Dita

        Ah, I did not know that. From what I’ve read today the reaction is rather crazed with fear and loathing of Amazon. I’m way beind the curve, but poking around I found this (i know it’s Motley but still):
        “Companies in the healthcare industry have been watching Amazon closely for months. Reports emerged in May that the company was hiring a new general manager tasked with developing a strategy and finding a path into the highly regulated and complex healthcare industry. In October 2017 it was revealed that Amazon had received approval to be granted wholesale pharmacy licenses in 12 states, with applications pending in others.”

        Also not sure this the right questions, but won’t all this trigger anti-trust investigation, or is positioning it as a nonprofit protection?

        1. JTMcPhee

          All that’s required is to do away with all those pesky regulations. Nothing to it, see? The current administration seems to have that approach well in hand. Although of course the same folks are using “regulation” and “enforcement” to benefit preferred donors who nominally are all part of the Big Club that us mopes aren’t in, and club the mopery into deeper submission.

          Most folks can’t keep in mind that the reason there are laws and regulations at all is the experiences people have had everywhere, over centuries, with the effects of “unbridled capitalism.”

          Not so long ago, early 20th century, an “effective” weight loss remedy was thought to be a gelatin capsule with a couple of tapeworm cysts inside.

          Whether such a method of weight loss was actually ever a common or widespread practice remains a subject of debate. Purported vintage advertisements for tapeworm-based diet pill products dating from the early 20th century are often cited as proof that it was, but whether such products actually matched their advertised descriptions would be difficult to verify at this remove. Just because an ad for a diet pill proclaimed the product contained tapeworm eggs doesn’t mean it really did — duping people into buying medicinal nostrums by way of making false and exaggerated claims was standard procedure in the days before government regulation of food and drug products.

          The people of the FDA are supposed to enforce the precautionary principle and determine that medications and medical devices are “safe and effective.” Supposed to — it would be great if that directive had a prayer of surviving the constant assault of the regulatory-capture armies of lobbyists and self-seeking corrupt politicians and corporate monsters… All the important incentives and vectors point only in one, likely fatal, direction.

          I’d commend once again the interesting series posted here at NC, a six-parter under the title “Journey into a libertarian future.” Starts here:–the-vision.html For those pimping for a corporate-operated medical system.

          Like everything about “our” Constitutional republic (sic), there’s how the shibboleths tell us it is supposed to work, and how it actually works…

  31. El Gordo

    “Trump boasts of tax cuts and booming stock market, taunts hissing Democrats with immigration plan and rips up Obama’s legacy on health and maintains Obama’s policy on Guantanamo, at strident State of the Union”

    There I fixed it.

  32. JEHR

    The more I find out about Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, the less I want to become further involved in the digital age. I am glad I won’t be here much longer because what I perceive of the future is not going to be pretty. I would rather go back to my book reading and magazine prescribing in lieu of watching TV or using the Internet were it not for the fact that it would be hard to do banking without the Internet. The world is in a very sorry state and most of us are not fully aware of how much.

    An Honest Man or Woman is Now a Wondrous Thing.

  33. Summer

    Re: Facebook Users Cry Censorship

    Ends with the typical pass or chearleading for the “disrupt and break things crowd.”:

    “In the meantime, calm down folks. We’re all figuring this out together.”

    The responses clearly show there was little “figuring this out together.” If figuring it out “together” was on the table, there would be more contemplation of consequences. There would be more asking “Why does this or that need to be done?” Not just the preoccupation woth how it’s done. If “we” were all in this together, people who aren’t even online wouldn’t have woke up one day and been able to see private, personal info about themselves if there name was searched.

    So the message really is everybody else calm down, but disrupt and break things crowd – carry on.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I have two friends who’ve now said they’ve been, one, removed by FB (back under a different name), and, two, his posts restricted. Neither is all that radical; both are Greens. No problem with the party FB pages, though; it’s almost disappointing. But that’s rather a lot of censorship cases for one person to know of.

  34. The Rev Kev

    Washington Reaches New Heights of Insanity with the “Kremlin Report”

    I think that I will have to rethink my thoughts on this one. According to a story at they had a team to compile a list to go after Russia that would have been ruthless and antagonized Russia no end. At the last moment, this team’s list was deep-sixed and an ad-hoc list was used instead that sourced the Russian Government website and Forbes’ List. Thus an attempt to antagonize Russia and sow dissent in Moscow was spiked by someone, probably in the White House. May have been a smart play on someone’s part to stop digging the hole any deeper.

  35. Objective Function

    I liked the Smithsonian piece on the outcaste executioner clans of Europe. Getting an urge now to dig out and reread Gene Wolfe’s fantasy epic “Book of the New Sun”.

    Quite a remarkable scholar Wolfe is. As well as continuing the Western picaresque/ bildungsroman tradition of Cervantes, Voltaire and Twain. Combat rifleman in Korea too. Truly a life lived in full!

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