Links 1/4/18

Top Ten Global Weather/Climate Events of 2017: A Year of Landfalls and Firestorms Weather Underground

What to expect in 2018: science in the new year Nature

Expect 2018 to Be More Sane? Sorry, It’s Not Going to Happen Frahood Manjoo, NYT

2017: A Banner Year for Corporate Mergers, Which Further Deepens Inequality Counterpunch

Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? American Banker

Merrill Lynch bans its clients, advisors from trading bitcoin-related investments, report says CNBC

Confessions of a Columnist Ross Douthat, NYT. Yves: “Straight out of MMT…without the words or concept ‘fiat currency.'”

Brexit

BREXIT BOOM: UK to TURBOCHARGE global trade links as HUNDREDS of key negotiators hired Express. See Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man Month: “Brooks’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”

Five-Year Brexit Transition Funding to Help U.K. Farmers Adjust Bloomberg

Tony Blair: Brexit – What We Now Know Institute for Global Change.

London’s Housing Market Nears a Tipping Point Bloomberg

Clubbing, British MP style Politico

Syraqistan

Donald Trump unlikely to certify nuclear deal with Iran FT. One of the few unequivocally good things Obama did.

Erasing Obama’s Iran Success Consortium News

Nobel peace laureate Ebadi urges Iranians to keep up protests Reuters

Here’s Why Iran’s Middle Class Is Mostly Sitting Out The Protests Buzzfeed

Trump’s CIA Director Reaches Out Directly to Iranian Foe The American Conservative

Best Served Cold: Responding to the Iranian Protests Stewart A. Baker, LawFare. Seems an odd way for a putatively great power to run its affairs, but I guess that’s how they roll in the intelligence community (NSA/DHS).

The fate of Jerusalem is not a Manhattan real estate deal Sic Semper Tyrannis (Re Silc).

Nuclear buttons: How easy is the beginning of the end? Deutsche Welle

Trump boasts of ‘nuclear button’ but doesn’t really have one AP

China

China softens tone in drive for Asia influence FT

China Blocked for MoneyGram Acquisition 247 Wall Street

Migrant worker evictions tear at Beijing’s backbone Jakarta Post

Indian low-caste workers disrupt life in Mumbai for second day after clash Reuters

2016 Post Mortem

Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President New York Magazine. Assuming that Wolff’s reporting in Fire and Fury is accurate, we’re not living in Weimar Germany, but in a real-life remake of The Producers. Plot twist: Trump, who doesn’t want to win, dispatches sixteen (16) other candidates* on his way to capturing the Republican nomination. Plot twist: Trump, who doesn’t want to win, was Clinton’s preferred opponent (the “Pied Piper” email), and the Clinton campaign worked to “elevate” him. Plot twist: Trump, who doesn’t want to win, wins, defeating the other, and his second, party establishment. Who would believe this? The 2016 plotting is terrible. And such large portions! NOTE * Leaving out the perennials.

7 wild details from the new book on Trump’s White House Politico. I would love to see a comparative review of Fire and Fury and Shattered.

Michael Wolff tells a juicy tale in his new Trump book. But should we believe it? WaPo

Trump attorney sends Bannon cease and desist letter over ‘disparaging’ comments ABC

New Cold War

Tony Blair ‘warned Trump’ that UK may have spied on him The Times. More from Wolff:

In February Blair visited Kushner in the White House. On this trip the now freelance diplomat, perhaps seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House, mentioned a juicy rumour: the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself.

This was, as Kushner might understand, the Sabbath goy theory of intelligence. On the Sabbath, observant Jews could not turn on the lights, nor ask someone else to turn on the lights. But if they expressed the view that it would be much easier to see with light, and if a non-Jew then happened to turn them on, that would be fine. So although the Obama administration would not have asked the British to spy on the Trump campaign, the Brits would have been led to understand how helpful it might be if they did.

Big if true.

Manafort Lawsuit Challenges Mueller’s Broad Authority as Special Counsel National Law Journal (unpaywalled version here, but with code cruft in it). Here’s a copy of the suit.

Trump Transition

Trump in 2018: Four things to watch in Congress in 2018 Brookings Institute

Analysis: McConnell Wins In Trump-Bannon Feud Roll Call

Sessions names 17 interim U.S. attorneys, including in premier Manhattan office WaPo

Rubbing SALT in the Wounds of Republicans Dean Baker, The American Prospect

DHS weighs major change to H-1B foreign tech worker visa program McClatchy. See NC here. From December 30, still germane.

Trump abolishes controversial commission studying alleged voter fraud WaPo. See NC here.

Democrats in Disarray

Will Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both run in 2020? (Re Silc). The New Republic. With an Establishment-backed “dark horse” no doubt making a stretch run…

The Supreme Court’s Quiet Assault on Civil Rights Dissent. On qualified immunity. “The Clinton and Obama appointees to the Court seem to be all in on undermining the most important civil-rights statute on the books.”

Our Famously Free Press

The Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror The Intercept. (The horrid mobile-friendly formatting goes away after the lead, so grab a cup of coffee and keep reading.)

Why I Left The Intercept: The Surveillance Story They Let Go Untold for 15 Months emptywheel

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs The Register

Kernel panic! What are Meltdown and Spectre, the bugs affecting nearly every computer and device? Tech Crunch

Researchers Discover Two Major Flaws in the World’s Computers NYT. “Amazon told customers of its Amazon Web Services cloud service that the [Meltdown] vulnerability ‘has existed for more than 20 years in modern processor architectures.'” Which makes you wonder how long the intellignence community has known about the flaws. Eh?

Tech groups race to fix chip design flaw FT. I always regard “race to” in a headline as a bullshit tell. And in fact, the flaw is said to have been discovered in June 2017, and the entire industry has been working to solve it in concert, as paragraph 13 makes clear. Do better, FT.

Net Neutrality

What is net neutrality? It protects us from corporate power Matt Stoller, Guardian. Still germane.

Report: LePage Tells Maine High Schooler Concerned About Net Neutrality To ‘Pick Up A Book’ MPR

Imperial Collapse Watch

Richard Haass: U.S. now “a principal disrupter” of world order Axios. CFR dude.

Neoliberal Epidemics

Short-term exposure to low levels of air pollution linked with premature death among U.S. seniors Harvard School of Public Health

Guillotine Watch

Upgrade your jail cell – for a price Los Angeles. “Some people convicted of serious crimes pay for better digs.” Prisoners in the Bastille could do this, IIRC.

Class Warfare

Anthropic Capitalism And The New Gimmick Economy Edge. Interesting post, from the managing director of Thiel Capital.

McDonald’s workers win biggest pay rise in 10 years after successful strike action last year Morning Star (MR).

Meanwhile, in Canada:


Democratization vs. Liberalism in Canada Zero Anthropology (E. Mayer).

The Case for the Subway NYT (SC).

A fantastical ship has set out to seek Malaysian Airlines flight 370 The Economist

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice BioScience

GIMPS Project Discovers Largest Known Prime Number: 277,232,917-1 Mersenne.org (E. Mayer). E. Mayer writes:

In case you were wondering what I did to keep busy between Christmas and New Year. :) Most of the details in the above press release will be omitted in the resulting newsmedia pieces, but for you algo geeks, note that Andreas Höglund’s verify run using my code on one of the recently-introduced Amazon Web Services C5 instances (based on the Intel skylake Xeon architecture and its 512-bit vector-arithmetic capability) was actually done at a larger FFT length than was required for this particular number – had he used the optimal FFT length his run would have needed ~48 hours, but he wanted to do runs at several distinct lengths because of the very different roundoff error levels that yields for the resulting hardware primality tests. One of my goals over the next few years is to get that time under 24 hours via improved code parallelism and cache performance.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

110 comments

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Los Angeles generates enough criminals to support a little jail-time export business. Adjoining cities like Glendale provide some overflow capacity, or just plain nicer inmates, than their big neighbor, and make a few bucks to stretch that muni budget. For example, local press reported that when Kiefer Sutherland was sentenced for DUI some years ago, he paid extra to do so in Glendale, and was a model inmate.

      Reply
  1. Wukchumni

    Upgrade your jail cell – for a price Los Angeles. “Some people convicted of serious crimes pay for better digs.” Prisoners in the Bastille could do this, IIRC.
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    If memory serves, there were 7 prisoners in the Bastille on that fateful day when the French Revolution got going in earnest. You kind of wonder what the disappointment must’ve been like for those ‘storming’ it?

    Reply
  2. hemeantwell

    Wrapping up the Links with pictures of predators — today, a snowy owl as seen by a Victim Cam-wearing rabbit with a few seconds left — might be fitting, I reluctantly admit. Me, I’m with the bystanding nuthatches.

    Reply
    1. John A

      Perhaps a victim cam wearing rabbit that has not kept up with climate change evolution to switch from brown to white fur and back in spring/autumn in line with the start/end of the snow and ice season. A big problem for arctic prey animals these days.

      Reply
  3. Skip Intro

    Upgrade Your Jail Cell – This one could also be filed under the not yet available category “Snow Crash saw this coming”. Will it be The Clink tonight, or can you afford the Hoosegow?

    Reply
    1. bassmule

      Speaking as one who cannot afford to buy citizenship in Malta or the Caribbean, I wish somebody would start up “Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong.”

      Reply
  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Largest Known Prime Number: 277,232,917-1’

    Without superscript to indicate ‘2 to the 77,232,917th power minus 1’ the idea of a very large number is not quite conveyed.

    Dozens of billionaires have 277 million dollars (approximately the cash value of last night’s unclaimed PowerBall prize), but nobody’s got 2 to the 77 millionth power dollars.

    Reply
    1. allan

      For those following at home, the number of elementary particles* in the universe is only about 2 to the 285.
      Full stop.

      * Not counting dark matter, since its structure is not known.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Nice to be updated. When I was in high school (1951-55) the number of elementary particles was estimated (but announced as a definitely known quantity) at 10^75. I haven’t carried out the calculation, but I’m pretty sure 2^285 is quite a lot larger.

        Reply
        1. blennylips

          That 50’s calculation stands up pretty well. There seems to be agreement of around 3×10^80 these days.

          Lots of caveats: Do you use the size of the observable Universe? What constitutes a particle?

          Numberphile had an episode last summer about this:

          How many particles in the Universe? – Numberphile
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpj0E0a0mlU

          /pedantry

          Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I assume it’s not for a typical consumer of general news (perhaps some footnotes are helpful) :

      In case you were wondering what I did to keep busy between Christmas and New Year. :) Most of the details in the above press release will be omitted in the resulting newsmedia pieces, but for you algo geeks, note that Andreas Höglund’s verify run using my code on one of the recently-introduced Amazon Web Services C5 instances (based on the Intel skylake Xeon architecture and its 512-bit vector-arithmetic capability) was actually done at a larger FFT length than was required for this particular number – had he used the optimal FFT length his run would have needed ~48 hours, but he wanted to do runs at several distinct lengths because of the very different roundoff error levels that yields for the resulting hardware primality tests. One of my goals over the next few years is to get that time under 24 hours via improved code parallelism and cache performance.

      FFT = Fast Fournier Transformation?

      (That’s graduate school level math for engineers. )

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It also mentions ’round off error levels,’ hinting at numerical analysis*, which is upper division college math and, again, which most engineers take when in graduate school.

          *Which you need when doing FFT, instead of Fourier Transform, because you are only working the first few terms, and dropping the rest of the infinite series.

          Reply
          1. oliverks

            The Fourier Transform in the general case is an infinite sum, but when looking at a finite time series it is ~n^2 the number of data points.

            The FFT is finite by definition and requires much less than n^2 operations. Under ideal conditions it can be done in o(n log n).

            The numerical errors get into the system because of floating point errors in computers, and some windowing effects, and other bizzareness of DFTs, not a truncation of an infinite series.

            Reply
      1. Lee

        MyLessThanPrimeBeef
        January 4, 2018 at 9:53 am

        In case you were wondering what I did to keep busy between Christmas and New Year. :)

        Impressive. All I did besides a few Xmassy things was binge watch The Walking Dead. It gave new meaning to Sartre’s, “Hell is other people.”

        Reply
      2. Procopius

        I am not an engineer, but I’m pretty sure the Fast Fourier Transform is studied at the undergraduate level. I think it’s even included in Business Administration math courses when you get up to 4th year of an undergraduate degree, although I don’t think many Bus. Ad. types would want it, just those planning to go into consulting who would also be taking Operations Research.

        Reply
  5. bassmule

    Manjoo’s piece seems to have a lack of agency, as though “Tech” was a natural, inevitable development. As we know, what he’s really discussing are companies run by humans, companies whose activities are, as Lambert often says, described as “disruptive” when the more accurate description is “illegal.” And, the people who run these companies have been made rich beyond the imagining of ordinary people, which I believe means that, in this society, anyway, they are themselves above the law. A combination that makes one feel a bit queasy.

    Reply
    1. oliverks

      This exploit is pretty subtle. ARM has a good write up about it this morning, with a good break down on which of their cores are vulnerable to which type of attack. See the Register article for more info and a link to ARM’s website.

      In essence you need to get the process to try and speculatively load memory, and measure the timing of how long that took to do. I don’t think it would have been apparent to me, if I was designing such a system, that it could lead to such a bad security flaw.

      Simpler lower power processors from ARM appear not to be vulnerable to any of these flaws.

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    Re Best Served Cold: Responding to the Iranian Protests

    I think that Stewart Baker is being very disingenuous here when he says that the US should pay Iran back for their part in the attacks on US occupation forces during the Iraq war. I know that this may be hard for some people to acknowledge but lets go back to the Invasion of Iraq. Bush and Chenney had made it abundantly clear that after Iraq, the US was gunning for Iran next. One senior Bush official even said back in ’03 “Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.” It was an article of faith among the neocons back then who of course never had to do any of the actual fighting. By ‘regime change’ if possible but direct invasion from an occupied Iraq would be the next choice. Huge bases were set up to support this invasion plan. They even boasted that “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years”.
    And so Iran supported the Iraqi resistance with whatever they could as a form of spoiling attack and it worked. The US found itself in a quagmire and never went into Iran. The US troops did what they could but they were too few in numbers and the actions of the senior offices left a lot to desire. If this article was meant as a form of justification for aggressive moves against Iran, maybe it was published in Lawfare – where even the law is militarized – to see how this idea would fly. Watch for this idea to appear in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Call it Operation Iranian Freedom.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      ““Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.”

      “Anyone can send someone else’s kids to war in Baghdad. Real men send someone else’s kids to Tehran.”

      FIXED IT!

      Reply
  7. epynonymous

    https://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/features/lightwear-introducing-magic-leaps-mixed-reality-goggles-w514479

    I ended up having an IRL conversation about VR yesterday after comments, and heard a cool story about “Magic Leap”

    No public prototype yet, but they’re promising augmented reality.

    What they do have is a brilliant website and 1.9 billion dollars.

    https://www.magicleap.com/

    Their mock-up shows transparent goggles (I wonder how bright they can get things), but I wonder if the solution isn’t to just put a camera on front of the goggles, and re project a digitized image and the real image inside of the headset.

    Google Glass 2 is reportedly under development (hopefully with an automatic light-sensitive brightness control this time.) I still feel like I haven’t got a good report out of all the hundreds of articles published on this. It took me a year to find out the battery life topped out at only 2 hours.

    -What I don’t know is the brightness and display resolution possible in this kind of set up.

    Reply
  8. Jim Haygood

    Conservative value investor Jeremy Grantham bites the Bubble for a “possible near-term melt-up”:

    Two months ago, Robert Shiller made the point – as I will do – that not nearly enough signs of euphoria were yet present to make this look like a late-stage bubble (although in my opinion they have finally begun to pick up in the last two or three months).

    This time as the US market hit a 2-sigma level, it had almost none of the other more important bubble indicators of investor euphoria and even craziness. Similarly, early 1998 had none when we reduced our risk levels to a minimum based on price alone. In complete contrast, late 1999 and early 2000 had very many signs of bubbly, completely irrational behavior, just as mid, or even early 1929 had.

    Recently an academic paper titled “Bubbles for Fama” concluded that in the US and almost all global
    markets, the strongest indicator [of a bubble] – stronger than pure pricing or value – is price acceleration.

    My favorite advice: Keep an eye on what the TVs at lunchtime eateries [and gyms!] are showing. When most have talking heads yammering about Amazon, Tencent, and Bitcoin and not Patriots replays – just as late 1999 featured the latest in Pets.com – we are probably down to the last few months.

    A melt-up or end-phase of a bubble within the next 6 months to 2 years is likely, i.e., over 50%. What I would own is as much Emerging Market equity as your career or business risk can tolerate, and some EAFE [Europe, Australasia and Far East index].

    https://tinyurl.com/y9pb3n3t

    In the 22 months since C-Man Fund was formed, its emerging market equity fund has gained 57 percent.

    Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    To be fair, the letter from Tim Hortons, regards just a couple of franchises in Ontario owned by the son of the founder Ronald Joyce, Ronald Joyce, Jr.

    But that said, what a PR nightmare.

    Reply
    1. m

      Employee comment from local paper,

      “That was a big benefit [health care] for the people who work at Tim Hortons, because it’s not a great paying job,” said the employee, who said they were making $13 an hour prior to the minimum wage hike.

      That is really petty. A dollar an hour raise leads to this reaction. Boycott Tim Horton’s-their coffee tastes burnt half the time anyway.

      Reply
    2. edmondo

      Should be very motivational for the workers there too!

      I guess I should avoid Tim Horton’s if I want to lower the possibility of getting a spit sandwich for lunch.

      Reply
      1. CanCyn

        I guess I’m a contrary Canuck, I have never been a fan of that coffee. Hard to describe the taste, I call it caffeine for people who don’t really like the taste of coffee. Back in the early days of the franchise, the donuts were made on site and they were good. Now crapified beyone belief… totally fake, frozen partially baked ‘things’ arrive on big trucks and and are ‘finished’ onsite. Yuck!

        Someone who can do math (unlike the Joyces) has figured out that some employees will actually take home less pay because of the changes: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/tim-horton-s-tims-timmies-doubledouble-minimum-wage-ontario-kathleen-wynne-labour-1.4470215

        Reply
        1. marieann

          I just wish I went to Timmy’s so I could boycott it. The do serve a half decent cup of tea when you tell them how to make it.

          Greedy money grubbing (family blog), I don’t know if being rich turns you into one!
          They will regret this move…. and then do the Trudeau apology

          Reply
  10. Jim Haygood

    Noblesse oblige, comrades:

    Richard Ravitch took his case to editorial boards and legislative leaders [in 1979]. But there was a problem. No one wanted new taxes.

    So Ravitch cold-called David Rockefeller, the longtime head of Chase Manhattan Bank. “I said, ‘Mr. Rockefeller, this is an audacious request, but would you get up at 5 in the morning and let me show you the subway system?’ ” he told me one afternoon in his office at Waterside. “And he said yes.”

    Ravitch then suggested that Rockefeller bring along the chairman of MetLife and the president of AT&T. All three went and saw the dirty, graffiti-scarred system firsthand. As Ravitch tells the story, that was all it took: Rockefeller called the majority leader of the State Senate and told him to “give Ravitch what he needs.

    The tax package passed, and Ravitch ultimately raised $7.7 billion — more than $17 billion in today’s dollars — much of which was spent replacing cars, refurbishing stations and increasing maintenance.

    [Excerpted from ‘The Case for the Subway’ linked above.] Probably it was the first time the patrician Rockefeller had ever ventured into the ‘electric sewers,’ as they were styled at the time.

    Reply
    1. neo-realist

      An Eastern Establishment moneybag (and pragmatist) such as Rockefeller understood that a well functioning subway system in NYC was good for his bottom line.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Exactly. This is something Libertarians don’t seem to grasp. I’m trying to force myself to read Nozick and haven’t, yet, so maybe I’m wrong, but I gather most of them (because they’re not uniform) say, “Things must be paid for by those who use them.” Or is that Conservatives? Or both? But the point is, “public goods” are good for more than just the immediate users. Public schools, libraries, swimming pools, roads, subways, the list goes on and on. All employers benefit from good public transportation that allows low-paid employees to come to their factories. All the Masters of the Universe benefit from the public goods that make for prosperous economies that can then make them rich(er).

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      Not a huge fan of billionaires in general, but you might be surprised at how often the Rockefellers took off the white gloves. I used to sit next to one of David R’s generation at church growing up and he came across as very humble. Usually wore an old tweed jacket with the leather elbow pads and I never would have suspected he was one of the richest men in the country had others not told me who he was. He did a lot of good things for the town he chose as a 2nd home.

      The old man may have been a complete pr**k from what I’ve read, but as you mentioned, the scions really did have a sense of noblesse oblige.

      Our present day tycoons would do well to emulate that behavior if they want to keep the pitchforks at bay, but they seem more interested in bragging about the orgies they attend.

      Reply
  11. Jim Haygood

    Ku Klux Jeff Sessions to California: Up against the wall, dope fiends!

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. Sessions will instead let federal prosecutors where pot is legal decide how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law, the people said.

    It comes days after pot shops opened in California, launching what is expected to become the world’s largest market for legal recreational marijuana. Threats of a federal crackdown have united liberals who object to the human costs of a war on pot with conservatives who see it as a states’ rights issue.

    https://apnews.com/19f6bfec15a74733b40eaf0ff9162bfa

    We’ve already seen how federal prosecutors work in the notorious 2003 conviction of Ed Rosenthal, who was licensed under state law to grow medical cannabis in Oakland. The “judge” refused to let Rosenthal offer this defense, so he sat silently as prosecutors falsely painted him as an ordinary drug dealer.

    Six of the jurors denounced their own verdict the next day, owing to the federal prosecutor’s withholding of highly pertinent information from them. Misleading jurors with partial, slanted facts makes convictions a slam-dunk in the “win at any cost” federal conviction mill.

    “I was not allowed to tell my story,” said Rosenthal. “If the jury had been allowed to hear the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I would have been acquitted.”

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This news is not much recreational.

      For many Californians, it may be too painful…what do they do (or take or inhale)?

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        An antidote to the pain:

        “The medical issue was not introduced into the court proceedings, it was never an issue for us,” said jury foreman Charles Sackett. “We weren’t allowed to discuss it amongst ourselves, ever.”

        Sackett says he’s now intrigued by the idea of jury nullification, which he says none of the jurors was aware of. Jury nullification is a legal principal which allows the jury to find a defendant innocent if the law itself is unjust or unjust in a particular application.

        Would jurors have taken the option of jury nullification in Rosenthal’s case? “It would be speculation on my part, but it’s very possible; dare I say, probable,” says Sackett. “I think jury nullification is going to be part of the answer regarding states’ rights in future cases.”

        https://www.alternet.org/story/15093/jurors_denounce_their_own_verdict

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think a lesson here is this: Don’t give up, even when going without pain relief.

          “It is painful. But keep fighting.”

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          ““The medical issue was not introduced into the court proceedings, it was never an issue for us,” said jury foreman Charles Sackett. “We weren’t allowed to discuss it amongst ourselves, ever.””

          The second part is alarmingly wrong. There are no restraints on what the jury can discuss among themselves. Judges may say there are, but that is unconstitutional.

          One riposte for the legalizing states (5 of them!) (repeating this because it should be spread around) is to promote jury nullification. At this point, legalization is so heavily publicized that it will be impossible to impanel juries who haven’t heard of it. The Federal law would become unenforceable.

          Reply
        3. Oregoncharles

          Jury nullification flows from the defendant’s right to a jury trial. If the judge can dictate to a the jury, it isn’t a jury trial.

          Federal courts are extremely hostile to the idea, so it’s necessary to be quiet about it. However, if they can’t find jurors who haven’t heard of it, they’re stuck.

          Reply
    2. Fraibert

      I think this is the other side of the strange jury system we have.

      Juries are the finders of fact and also are required to apply a legal standard to the facts as they find them. For example, in a car accident case, the jury would be required to determine what happened and also conclude who, if anyone, was negligent based on its determination of the facts.

      But, there’s also a lot of work that goes into shaping what the jury hears. Significant components of an event can be hidden from the jury’s ears for varying reasons (e.g., lack of relevance, too prejudicial compared to its relevance, etc.).

      In the end, the jury can get a picture that is very different from the truth, and is still required to render a verdict based on this strange half-truth. Not always clear this is a good system.

      As to the particular case, I suspect the determination was, as a matter of law, that it was not relevant evidence that California licensed Mr. Rosenthal to grow medical cannabis. It would be considered not relevant, because the fact that it was medical marijuana does not have any effect on whether Mr. Rosenthal was guilty under federal law, which generally prohibits growing cannabis for distribution for any reason.

      The specific motive could play a role in sentencing, but sentencing is mostly for the judge to decide, with the proviso that any fact used to increase the sentence beyond the formal statutory maximum must be found by a jury. (In cases of a mitigating factor, the judge doesn’t need the jury to find the facts, but a mitigated sentence is still subject to reversal or modification on appeal.)

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Consequently, if we want them to nullify a bad law, the jury members have to be primed beforehand with their own knowledge that:

        1)it’s legal in Oregon (or enter state);
        2) no one can dictate their vote in the jury; they’re free to judge the law.

        In fact, when you think about it, why else would we have juries? They aren’t experts; they’re ordinary citizens who act as a counterpoise to the professionals and the government. I believe that’s why they were originally introduced.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Are you ok with inserting a slim card made of oil into a reader made with oil into a computer constructed using oil, and then grabbing a one-armed bandit, the grip and the hose also constructed of oil, and inserting it into where the sun doesn’t shine?

          …and what becomes of the full service jobs?

          Reply
        2. Fraibert`

          However, potential jury members who indicate that they are not able to apply the law as explained by the judge will likely be dismissed. If a potential juror comes to court with the intent to nullify law in certain types of cases and does not answer relevant jury selection questions honestly in that regard, that’s perjury. The current system wants juries to be finders of fact and appliers of legal standards to the facts, and use their experience and common sense in these areas to attentively test the government’s assertions and proofs in a criminal case.

          I believe there is evidence that the founding era juries were at least sometimes also the judge of the law itself, but that hasn’t been the case for centuries, to my knowledge. Given that approach, jury nullification isn’t really consistent with the design and operation of the current system.

          In short, while it’s true that a jury nullification is constitutional and possible, it’s not something I would think an actual juror is likely considering while serving in a criminal case.

          Reply
    3. rd

      I have assumed that Sessions is doing this because his DOJ has successfully gone after the purveyors of opiates that have been actually killing people and eradicated the opiate crisis. As a result, he has investigators and prosecutors just sitting on the shelf waiting to take on the evil scurge of marijuana.

      Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    “He didn’t process information in any conventional sense,” Wolff wrote. “He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate. He trusted his own expertise — no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s. He was often confident, but he was just as often paralyzed, less a savant than a figure of sputtering and dangerous insecurities, whose instinctive response was to lash out and behave as if his gut, however confused, was in fact in some clear and forceful way telling him what to do. It was, said [former deputy chief of staff Katie] Walsh, ‘like trying to figure out what a child wants.’

    Trump’s propensity for fast food is apparently not solely due to taste: Wolff reported it’s also connected to his fear of being poisoned. The president in particular enjoys food from McDonald’s, Wolff wrote, because “nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The reign of error has been interesting to watch from afar, and it’s par for the 2 course meal of having a petulant Chauncey Gardener type terrified of being poisoned, so he eats poisonous fast food to ward off the possibility.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      In The Citizen Kane Book Pauline Kael told the story of a dinner party where Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn said he knew a movie would be good when he got a tingling in his butt. Whereupon Kane co-writer Herman Mankiewicz quipped, “imagine–the whole world wired to Harry Cohn’s ass!”

      So Trump’s gut instinct theory not a new thing. Perhaps it’s common among powerful egomaniacs.

      Reply
  13. Teodrose Fikre

    Our famously “free press” should be renamed to a fee press. They are taxing us with corporate misinformation and state propaganda to have us perpetually at each other’s neck and prevent us from realizing just how insidious our elected officials and their corporate owners have become.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      They are all about profits. They no longer hold any obligation toward fair and unbiased reporting.
      Similar to our political class – once money gains control, good luck getting that genie back in the bottle.

      Reply
    1. Lemmy Caution

      Creepy Joe is making all the right sounds to position himself as the Democrat’s reluctant hero candidate for 2020, but I wonder if he’ll turn out to be just a placeholder. So far he has been playing coy with the media about declaring his candidacy and it in turn has been giving him the kid glove treatment. What’ll be interesting is a sudden uptick in negative stories about Joe that might indicate an orchestrated effort to clear the field by a certain someone who may believe that the third time is the charm.

      Reply
      1. johnnygl

        People seem to forget that biden was going nowhere in 2008. He’s not a great campaigner. The beltway press loves him, but that is about it.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Biden has done a lot of policy in the past that can/will be used against him. Most prominent is his drafting of the language in the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 that makes student debt non-dischargeable in bankruptcy and, indeed, allows them to pursue you up to your death, to include garnisheeing your social security pension. He was also a very significant player in creating the Violent Crimes Act of 1996, Hillary may have made speeches about “superpredators,” but Biden was the guy who wrote the details into the law. I suppose the MSM are confident they can keep all that (and there’s a lot more) hidden, the way they did with Trump, but I don’t think that’s going to work this time. I may be wrong.

          Reply
  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    2017: A Banner Year for Corporate Mergers, Which Further Deepens Inequality Counterpunch

    An argument has been made that that is not a bug (concentration of wealth), but a feature of capitalism.

    Another feature, and not a bug is the concentration of power in communism and socialism.

    Mixtures of various -isms are perhaps our best hope…like a few European nations which are not proletarian dictatorships or socialist soviet republics.

    Reply
    1. JEHR

      MLTPB: I think the “hope” is called Democratic Socialism for the thing and Social Democrat for the person. The Europeans fought for those ideas after the War and they are being undermined by the Troika.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      See the (former) Archdruid’s treatise on political economy, https://www.ecosophia.net/introduction-political-economy/#comment-12971, including the second half, “Systems that Suck Less.;” or my quick, personal gloss on it near the bottom of this comments page. There’s a longer form in the comments to JMG’s second half.

      I agree that concentration of power is of the essence, and a fundamental problem with capitalism and, for that matter, markets, because the latter tend to work by elimination, reducing the number of players.

      Reply
  15. joecostello

    The Anthropic piece by Thiel’s guy, despite its various tech/academic vulgarisms, is good. It’s an important point how many views with great established institutional power are no longer valid. He points out, not forcefully enough, that many accepted views of how things worked were never accurate.

    What is most problematic of this era’s politics, if it can be called that, is as it becomes increasingly clear how much doesn’t work as advertised, so called oppositions spend too much time attacking the myth instead of the actual structures of power, MMTers are a good example, yes money is created, always has been. The powers that be like to restrict money, that is power. That system works a certain way and in fact it has changed fairly radically in the last few decades, massive bank consolidation, QE, zero interest rates etc, The question, if you want democracy, is how would you have a more distributed money system, understanding the creation process is key to money power? Have a centralized money creation process where control is based on inflation, well no thanks, and really how much different is that from what we have now?

    Well as the boys from Ohio sang a few decades ago, Are we not men? We are devo.

    Reply
    1. JEHR

      What is needed is a real Central Bank that is overseen by a democratically elected official who is not a member of any party. When money IS the main problem in a democracy, then nothing will work to keep inequality at bay.

      Sometimes I have the feeling that now that there is little or no regulation of the money supply, the financiers feel they have carte blanche. How will their power be taken away? Maybe the way Iranian people are dealing with their problems.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I don’t think changing the structure of the Central Bank will work. QE happened to be a big benefit to the rich, but the policies that have been moving wealth (not just “money”) into a very few hands were more generalized. They were based on a conscious decision by young, ambitious politicians in the ’70s and ’80s that the New Deal was outdated and had to be discarded. They started under Carter with the decision to deregulate the airlines and trucking industries and to allow consolidation of newspaper, television, and radio in a few hands. We need to find some way to persuade the “political leaders” that the only way they will succeed is by adopting Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms and his “new bill of rights.” Not gonna be easy.

        Reply
  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    BREXIT BOOM: UK to TURBOCHARGE global trade links as HUNDREDS of key negotiators hired Express. See Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man Month: “Brooks’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”

    How much of this Brexit process is a software project and how much of it is like the Battle of Waterloo?

    In the latter case, the arrival of Prussian army provided the additional manpower to secure Napoleon’s defeat.

    In that case, your rally cry is ‘Give me more manpower or deny me my victory!”

    Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      Brooks’ key insight was that for software engineering, the act of bringing additional engineers into the project requires intense knowledge-sharing and communication between the existing team and the new members, and that this overhead quickly outpaces the benefits of the extra engineers. I don’t think Brexit is like this, and NC readers have long known that the UK’s Brexit team was woefully inadequate. I think this move reflects the slowly dawning awareness that the UK must actually do something to avert catastrophe. So they will have a full staff busily rearranging deckchairs when they reach the iceberg.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        Brexit IS like software engineering. Trade deals and multilateral negotiations require very particular expertise that you cannot hire off the street. Many of the retired or semi-retired candidates have already been hired by the EU, since the existing experts also are EU friendly and are not ideologically aligned with the Brexit program.

        And aside for the trade and technical deals, one of the critical projects that is behind is specifically a software system, an upgrade/redo of UK customs software. The upgrade, which was due to be done right before the Brexit date and looks certain not to get done on time, can’t handle the post-Brext transaction volume.

        The sort of people the UK has been hiring so far are consultants from places like accounting firms who are industry experts. They might as well hire me. That is how relevant the background of these “consultants” is to Brexit. All they know how to do is go to meetings and produce PowerPoint. And PowerPoint isn’t even the right end product. Trade and other deals are done in text, meaning sentences and paragraphs, not bullet points.

        Reply
        1. Skip Intro

          It is not so much about the expertise required or task difficulty, but the communication overhead between team members that means growing the team can actually result in greater delays. Prior to Brooks the assumption was that scaling the team up would scale the time of completion down, almost linearly. (hence measuring project effort in man-months). I just don’t see that perverse dynamic with Brexit.
          Your points are all good, and UK’s Brexit efforts will be doomed by poor understanding and lack of expertise, among many other things. If they could create and hire perfect experts, things might or might not become plausible, but I don’t think the need for those ideal experts to communicate with each other would be the limiting factor. I was making a pretty narrow point about Brooks’ observations.

          Reply
  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Not so exceptional, but universal human nature?

    In February Blair visited Kushner in the White House. On this trip the now freelance diplomat, perhaps seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House, mentioned a juicy rumour: the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself.

    This was, as Kushner might understand, the Sabbath goy theory of intelligence. On the Sabbath, observant Jews could not turn on the lights, nor ask someone else to turn on the lights. But if they expressed the view that it would be much easier to see with light, and if a non-Jew then happened to turn them on, that would be fine. So although the Obama administration would not have asked the British to spy on the Trump campaign, the Brits would have been led to understand how helpful it might be if they did.

    “I can not vote for the big corporate tax cut at this time, but it would be fine if you Republicans do it.”

    That’s understandably universal.

    Reply
  18. fresno dan

    The Supreme Court’s Quiet Assault on Civil Rights Dissent. On qualified immunity. “The Clinton and Obama appointees to the Court seem to be all in on undermining the most important civil-rights statute on the books.”
    from the article:
    The text of Section 1983 says nothing about qualified immunity. Where, then, does the doctrine come from? As one scholar, William Baude of the University of Chicago Law School, has explained, the simple answer is that the Supreme Court made it up.
    …..
    From the standpoint of progressives, this might be the most distressing part of the Section 1983 story: the fact that the Clinton and Obama appointees to the Court seem to be all in on undermining the most important civil-rights statute on the books.
    …..
    The disturbing failure of the Clinton and Obama appointees on issues like qualified immunity—a seemingly minor, technical issue with sweeping implications—is symptomatic of a problem that has plagued progressives for many years: a reluctance to recognize the importance of traditional civil-rights litigation.
    ……
    Presidents Clinton and Obama, both of whom taught constitutional law, ironically both exemplified this attitude of indifference toward civil-rights lawsuits. President Clinton, for example, signed two bills limiting the right to challenge constitutional violations in court. One, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), restricts the right of prisoners convicted in state court to use habeas corpus to challenge the constitutionality of their convictions in federal court.

    ===============================================================
    One of the things about the duopoly is how well crafted issues are to simply mis-characterize and obfuscate what dems/repubs really want and prevent any actual alternative. The Dems are called “liberal/progressive/left” by repubs, and the dems accept this characterization even though it is ridiculous – undoubtedly trying to paint themselves as the only “pro civil liberties” party. Some repubs can claim that they believe in “small/limited government” even though they fervently believe in an unrestrained police state.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      I’m not sure what you wanted Clinton and Obama appointees to do about qualified immunity? Section 1983 claims can be brought in both federal and state court, and all judges in these courts bound by the Supreme Court’s precedent with regards to the interpretation and application of that statute (as it’s a federal law). The relevant precedents include the qualified immunity doctrine.

      As a result, while there’s room to adjust the scope of a Supreme Court precedent in application, Clinton or Obama appointees to the courts have not in a position to abolish qualified immunity. Abolition would require either: (1) the Supreme Court being presented with a case that squarely presents the issue and a majority overruling the prior precedents; or (2) Congress passing a statute explicitly overruling it.

      I’m also not certain why you state that progressives have “a reluctance to recognize the importance of traditional civil-rights litigation.” To me, sometimes it feels like litigation (and administrative actions) are the only legal vehicles that progressives pursue My sense is that progressives do not pursue perhaps the most enduring vehicle–actual legislation. I acknowledge that legislative efforts may not always be successful, but legislation that is not proposed will never have any real impact on the public conversation.

      In any case, I also suspect there might be another reason why “professional” progressives don’t attack qualified immunity in any meaningful way. From what I can tell, these progressives seem very fond of technocratic expertise and take a broader view of government activism. But, the more government intervenes in society, the higher chance that a court could find some constitutional right violated and require payment of damages. Qualified immunity prevents this risk from arising.

      I also think that many parts of AEDPA are horrible, and that it’s much more complex than it should be. On the other hand, my understanding is that it was in part driven by an actual problem–some prisoners would file multiple or repeated habeas petitions that had no real basis, because they had large amounts of time to do so. Still, the cure shouldn’t be worse than the problem.

      Reply
      1. Fraibert

        I should also add that I do not think qualified immunity is appropriate, absent a statutory basis. However, that ship has sailed in legal terms.

        Similarly, I think that sovereign immunity generally shouldn’t exist as a matter of law, given the nature of the design of the US political system at the start. But again…doesn’t matter now.

        Reply
  19. Craig H.

    > A fantastical ship has set out to seek Malaysian Airlines flight 370

    Not sure I care for fantastical.

    Great looking boat though. Swire Seabed has a small fleet. You can download a bunch of the details in a brochure .pdf on this page. Things have come a long ways since Jacques Cousteau and the Calypso.

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    China Blocked for MoneyGram Acquisition 247 Wall Street
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Isn’t MoneyGram’s main business remittances to other countries, and now we’re blocking a remittance…

    …anybody have a gramme of Soma handy?

    Reply
  21. Annotherone

    Thank you for the link to the article about a new search for MH370. The failure to find the ill-fated plane still bugs me. I read of a planned new effort by a Texas company some months ago, then saw no further news. I’d assumed the plan had fallen through, am so glad to see that I was wrong.

    Happy New Year to all at NC, by the way!

    Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    I’m pleased to announce the launch of wampumcoin, not just another shell game like other cryptocurrencies…

    “Wampum is a traditional shell bead of the Eastern Woodlands tribes of American Indians. It includes the white shell beads fashioned from the North Atlantic channeled whelk shell, and the white and purple beads made from the quahog or Western North Atlantic hard-shelled clam.

    Wampum was used by the northeastern Indian tribes as a form of gift exchange, and the colonists adopted it as currency in trading with them. Eventually, the colonists developed more efficient methods of producing wampum, which caused inflation and ultimately the obsolescence of it as currency.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wampum

    Reply
  23. John Bohn

    The Tim Horton’s memo has an all-too familiar ring to it. The line “The decisions of the following are the result of intense discussion with management and numerous small business owners in our area and other franchise owners” is a telling admission that employers everywhere collude to set wages in their local industry. I guess antitrust is as dead in Canada as in the US. At least when it comes to pay.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      Yeah..that was a surprise to see made that explicit, as it does seem to be a concession of an agreement to set wages or at least coordinate on them.

      Don’t know about Canada, but an agreement to fix wages is a per se violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act in the US–as it’s just another form of price fixing.

      Reply
      1. Marco

        Simply Wow! Heck of a way to stifle recruitment by labor organizers and a reason that a “fight-for-$15” movement can be problematic. Until you address the power imbalance between Labor and Capital throughout the ENTIRE economy I don’t see how workers will get a leg up. Also what is the profit margin for fast-food enterprises?

        Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    Del Bosque said he’ll hire anyone who shows up ready to work. But that rarely means someone born in the U.S.

    “Americans will say, ‘You can’t pay me enough to do this kind of work,’” Del Bosque said. “They won’t do it. They’ll look for something easier.”

    Most don’t last long, she said.

    “There is always one or two who show up every season,” Felix said. “They show up for three or four days and turn around and leave.”

    At Del Bosque Farms, about 300 workers pick during the cantaloupe season. Some of the U.S.-born laborers who show up could not get jobs in industries like fast food or retail because of criminal convictions. Others felt college was out of reach and they needed quick money.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-american-born-field-workers-20180104-story.html

    I read a few weeks ago that the average age of a field worker in the Central Valley is 45, which I found amazing as it’s hard physical work with lots of stooping down and carrying heavy awkward loads to and fro.

    Reply
  25. Charlie

    Re: Piep Piper email link

    “Around that time, an increasingly politically engaged Clinton started telling friends and political advisers that she expected something close to a classic battle about the economy against the Republican establishment’s choice.”

    But I thought America was already great? /sarc

    Reply
  26. Carolinian

    Re Trump as unintended president: it must have been particularly galling for Hillary Clinton that she was defeated by someone who didn’t even want to win. Perhaps she too will seek an injunction to suppress the book.

    Indeed the shame of it all may be why her minions invented the opposite story–Trump as Manchurian Candidate (elaborating on their Steele dossier). In the Dem version Trump wanted to be president so badly that he sold his soul to devil Putin.

    For the rest of us it’s “who are you going to believe, the press or your lying eyes?” Trump at 3 am on election night was clearly stunned by his victory.

    Reply
    1. sd

      It doesn’t really matter if Trump did or didn’t want to win. The Republican Party did and so did Mike Pence. And here we are.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Actually I imagine that there were more than a few establishment Republicans who would have preferred Hillary.

        And it matters insofar as it undercuts the improbable Russiagate. After all Pence hasn’t been accused of contacting Russia. Trump and his close associates have.

        Reply
    2. Altandmain

      I don’t know if I should be angrier that Trump won and has since in a completely predictable way betrayed his economic despair base or happier that Hillary Clinton was denied through her “Pied Piper” candidate the one thing that she has coveted for so many years.

      Books like Shattered make it clear that the Clinton campaign made up Russia interference as a distraction and a rationalizing mechanism. I think that like the right wing racists who did not want to accept the idea of a Black President, the Clinton base needed to delude themselves.

      There are reasons for criticism of the Obama Presidency – perhaps the biggest issue being his complete betrayal to the left and there are reasons to critique Trump, again relating to the complete betrayal of the “despair” base, but neither Obama’s place of birth nor Putin intervening in the 2016 election are valid. They are just a coping mechanism for their respective bases.

      Reply
      1. Mark P.

        the Clinton campaign made up Russia interference as a distraction and a rationalizing mechanism.

        Yes, but it was more rational and less a ‘rationalizing mechanism’ than you think. The whole ‘Russkies are Coming’ PR campaign was already set to run.

        Former DefSec Hillary and her campaign had made promises to — and were in the pockets of — the likes of Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine that there’d be Cold War 2.0 and consequent defense spending against the Russians once she became president.

        When she blew it with her usual incompetence, she needed to deliver on her promises as best she could. Those are dangerous people to piss off.

        See forex —

        ‘Defense contractor employees give the most money to Hillary Clinton’
        https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/04/01/19496/defense-contractor-employees-give-most-money-hillary-clinton

        ‘Defense industry bucks tradition with donations to Clinton: Clinton is crushing Trump in campaign donations from employees working for defense giants like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.’

        https://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/defense-industry-hillary-clinton-227336

        Reply
      2. VietnamVet

        This is fascinating if the incompetence wasn’t so scary. Dow topping 25,000 today is spectacular. But, this is a direct result of rising inequality and the exploitation of the little people and the environment. Media framing of the event must be completely divorced from reality.

        Their anointed establishment Queen wasn’t selected. Blame was hung on the perfidious Vladimir Putin rather than addressing the spreading despair of Americans dying before their time; Obama voters voting for Trump.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          What’s the one financially newsworthy item the plebes see or hear every day?

          The DJIA… Jones-town kool aid drinkers

          It’s akin to a sports score, the way they portray it.

          Reply
  27. Jean

    From the Tony Blair warned Trump about Spying on him article;
    “the Sabbath goy theory of intelligence. On the Sabbath, observant Jews could not turn on the lights, nor ask someone else to turn on the lights.”

    Does that mean that observant Jews cannot call the police if their home is being invaded or a burglar breaks in to steal?

    Reply
    1. Jeff W

      No, they definitely could:

      Any of the laws of Shabbat are set aside in the case of a life-threatening emergency. Indeed, it is a mitzvah to violate the Shabbat to save a life, and is, in fact, not considered a violation of the Shabbat. This applies even if there is only the slightest doubt that a life is in jeopardy.

      [emphasis added]

      Given that any home invasion raises at least a slight doubt that life is in jeopardy—you don’t know if the invader is armed or not—probably observant Jews would call the police.

      P.S. I just asked someone who is a very observant Jew, one step below Hasidic, and she responded “Without a moment’s hesitation. And that’s the law [Jewish law], BTW.”

      Reply
  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From above: DHS weighs major change to H-1B foreign tech worker visa program McClatchy. See NC here. From December 30, still germane.

    The administration is specifically looking at whether it can reinterpret the “may grant” language of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act to stop making the extentions. The act currently allows the administration to extend the H-1B visas for thousands of immigrants, predominantly Indian immigrants, beyond the allowed two three-year terms if a green card is pending.

    Are H1-B visa holders immigrants?

    Are tourist visa holders immigrants?

    And how exactly does an H1-B visa, or a tourist visa, lead to green card application?

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      H-1B and tourist visa holders are not immigrants. These individuals were issued nonimmigrant visas.

      However, individuals present in the US on nonimmigrant visas may be able to make an application to become legal permanent residents. (“LPRs” as the legal lingo goes for “green card” holders–even though the card hasn’t been green for…decades.) This is called “Adjustment of Status” under Immigration and National Act section 245. Knowing how the rest of the immigration legal processes go, Adjustment probably takes quite a while (years, I bet) to be finalized, so it could be quite significant to H-1B visa holders if they cannot remain while seeking LPR status.

      It’s been a while since I studied immigration law, so I’m sorry I can’t get more into the details.

      Reply
        1. Fraibert

          Yeah, the article terminology isn’t good. I suppose if you define “immigrant” to mean “any person who comes to the United States and lives there for a period of time” then it’s accurate. But, a H-1B visa holder (and spouse and/or children admitted in connection with that visa) are required to leave the country at the end of the visa term, unless they have acquired another legal basis for remaining, so they aren’t “immigrants” in the usual sense of the word.

          Reply
          1. Fraibert

            Just to add, the Immigration and Nationality Act (sec. 101(a)(15)(H), codified at 8 U.S.C. sec. 1101(a)(15)(H)) indicates that the H-1B visa is for “an alien . . . who is coming temporarily to the United States . . . .”

            (Side note: It’s called a H-1B visa, because it’s outlined as a nonimmigrant status in Section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b). You’ll find the “F” visas for students at section 101(a)(15)(F), and so on.)

            Edits: Corrections and expansion.

            Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Pull name from…

      The key word is ‘name,’ as in ‘in-name-only,’ when it comes to the two parties.

      Reply
  29. Wukchumni

    1968 Producers: Sell 25,000% of a play, hope it flops

    2018 Producers: Sell 25,000% of a flop, hope it plays

    Reply
  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs The Register

    Finally, if you are of the opinion that us media types are being hysterical about this design blunder, check this out: CERT recommends throwing away your CPU and buying an non-vulnerable one to truly fix the issue

    Should the manufacturers in this case, like, say auto makers, issue recalls to fix the problems?

    Reply
    1. Chris

      For some reason, everyone’s treating this as if it’s a ‘problem’. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

      NSA access was ‘baked in’ from the start, at their request.

      Reply
      1. wilmot

        ‘To take advantage of Meltdown, hackers could rent space on a cloud service, just like any other business customer. Once they were on the service, the flaw would allow them to grab information like passwords from other customers.’

        This rings a bell… didn’t some state-sponsored hacking group sign a contract with Amazon cloud services, rather inexplicably bypassing what should have been the most secure in-house solutions…?

        Reply
    2. Fraibert

      I’m seriously pondering if that is the appropriate course of action in an ideal world.

      However, there are a lot of practical obstacles. Off the top of my head, some of these are:

      1. Even if compelled to do a recall, I doubt Intel has the manufacturing capacity to make sufficient numbers of corrected CPUs in any reasonable amount of time.

      2. Since the issue extends back a decade or more and there have been many different kinds of CPU sockets and chipsets in that time, Intel would have to manufacture replacements compatible with many different generations of hardware. The logistics of this alone would be extremely difficult.

      3. Many individuals and businesses are also highly dependent on computers and cannot afford a week or more of downtime, and I don’t expect they’d be able to get a loaner from the manufacturer, unlike in the case of cars. (I imagine in most cases if there was a recall you’d have to ship the machine to the manufacturer instead of getting on-site service.)

      I do think Intel should pay material compensation to CPU owners, though I’m not really expecting that to happen.

      Reply
  31. Mike

    RE: Will Sanders & Warren both Run

    Yes, and include not one but several or more establishment candidates with platforms ready to co-opt portions of Sanders to water him down and reduce his speaking time and effective wish to appeal to independents. Add the necessary scorching he will receive for his foreign policy contradictions by either the bank Democrats or the “real Left” (if one exists after 4 more years of this garbage), and he will be history, just like Jesse Jackson before him. That is, unless…

    Reply
  32. Oregoncharles

    “Anthropic Capitalism And The New Gimmick Economy ”
    Note that the first paragraph equates “market capitalism” and “capitalism.” That is false, although it’s the standard propaganda. Markets and capitalism aren’t even the same KIND of thing. Capitalism is a mode of ownership, which separates ownership from use, primarily of the means of production (a very useful term from Marx). Markets are a mode of EXCHANGE, feedback-regulated systems that enable use to regulate production (to the extent the market operates properly). Capitalism tells you WHO controls the economy, markets tell you HOW the economy is co-ordinated. However, they have requirements, which aren’t met at the moment (the units operating have to be relatively small, to prevent monopoly, and there has to be fairly equal access to information).

    So there are other combinations available. For instance, state capitalism, aka communism (the bureaucracy is not the workers, so ownership and control are separate from use). Or if the means of production are predominantly worker-owned, you could have market socialism – or syndicalism, for a more precise terms (“socialism” has been misused to the point of meaninglessness). This is the subject of John Michael Green’s (the Archdruid) recent series on political economy, on Ecosophia; http://www.ecosophia.net/introduction-political-economy

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Just finished “Anthropic Capitalism.” While I stand by my initial reaction, above, he gets credit for grasping that “there’s something happening here, and you don’t know what it is, DO you, Mr. Jones.”

      (“Anthropic capitalism” is still gibberish, but it’s clear enough what he’s talking about.)

      Reply

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