Links 1/7/18

January Thaw in Sight after Two-Week Wintry Onslaught and “Bomb Cyclone” Weather Underground

Severe flu brings medicine shortages, packed ERs and a rising death toll in California LA Times

Why Raspberry Pi isn’t vulnerable to Spectre or Meltdown Raspberry Pi (E. Mayer). E. Mayer:

Now if Pi were just 10x faster, it might actually be a viable alternative in the PC and laptop space. :( I actually do own and use a Pi3-like ARM-based Linux micro-PC for code-development, but it’s an Odroid C2, a Korean make. It’s based on the A53 version of the ARMv8 architecture, and even with optimized vector assembly code, is slow in absolute terms. I’ve also (via a contact at ARM) run high-performance code on the later A57, it’s about 3x faster than the A53 and is competitive with the Core2 on my 2010 Macbook, i.e. is getting close to viability in terms of that market, but AFAICT remains a niche product. I’ve heard rumors that Apple might switch part of its product line to ARM in the not-too-distant future, but that’s all they are at this point, rumors.

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal challenge this year is to fix Facebook Recode. In other words, to be the CEO of his company?

The Battle for Best Semi-Autonomous System: Tesla Autopilot Vs. GM SuperCruise, Head-to-Head The Drive. “SuperCruise’s operational domain is wisely limited by GPS to what they call ‘limited-access’ roads, otherwise known as divided highways, which use on- and off-ramps instead of intersections.” If your algorithm doesn’t work, control the parameters…

PwC’s failure to spot Colonial fraud spells trouble for auditors FT

The government versus the central bank: monetary policy as the only game in town Credit Writedowns

Good enough for government work? Macroeconomics since the crisis Paul Krugman, Oxford Review of Economic Policy (UserFriendly). “For now, let me instead just focus on how different the economics-profession response to the post-2008 crisis has been from the responses to depression and stagflation. For this time there hasn’t been a big new idea, let alone one that has taken the profession by storm.” Funny, that!

North Korea

Donald Trump says he would ‘absolutely’ talk to North Korea’s Kim on phone Times of India

Pyongyang agrees to talks with South Korea FT

How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea NYT

Syraqistan

Analysis: What Lies Ahead for Syria in 2018 Syria Deeply

Saudi princes arrested for holding anti-austerity protest BBC. I’m playing the world’s smallest violin….

Macron tells Erdogan: No chance of Turkey joining EU BBC

Russia: US exploiting Iran protest to sink nuclear deal Al Jazeera

What’s behind the protests in Iran and what can you do? Owen Tudor, TUC

Brexit

Labour’s Brexit hokey-cokey wins votes, so far FT

Brexit: Philip Hammond refuses to rule out UK staying in ‘a customs union’ after leaving EU Independent

Merkel to meet with Social Democrats as preliminary ‘grand coalition’ talks begin Deutsche Welle

China

China’s hi-tech missile ambitions are marching ahead at warp speed South China Morning Post

Bringing Hip-Hop to Small-Town China Sixth Tone

Trump Transition

At Camp David, Trump Outlines Vision On North Korea, Welfare, Immigration For 2018 NPR. Trump presser.

* * *

Voters Are Starting to See Trump As a Garden-Variety Conservative New York Magazine

How Trump abandoned populism The Week

* * *

The psychiatrist who briefed Congress on Trump’s mental state: this is “an emergency” Vox. Lambert here: I’m not a fan of armchair diagnosis, whether for Terry Schiavo, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, and I’m not particularly trusting of the press. And I can’t help wondering how organic this (latest) campaign is. It appears that we’re looking at the Democrat strategy for 2018 and 2020 — a gaslighting strategy — which Trump feeds, no question — that does not require the Democrat Party (especially its consultant and donor classes) to change either personnel or advocate universal concrete material benefits, especially for the working class — and please forgive me if I’m not filled with enthusiasm, or fired with the prospect of success. They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing, as Talleyrand said of the Bourbons.

* * *

First phase of Trump border wall gets $18 billion price tag, in new request to lawmakers WaPo

The Overton Window and Trump’s Judges Common Dreams

Trump Administration To Fight Order To Give Documents To Democratic Voter Fraud Commissioner HuffPo (CL). Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

State Governments Are Already Gaming the Republican Tax Overhaul Bloomberg

The SEC is investigating the Kushner family’s company over its use of a controversial visa program Business Insider

Net Neutrality

The leading lobbying group for Amazon, Facebook, Google and other tech giants is joining the legal battle to restore net neutrality ReCode. As intervenors, but then in the last (successful) fight to preserve net neutrality, they filed friend-of-the court briefs.

“Vote out” congresspeople who won’t back net neutrality, advocates say Ars Technica. (Scroll down for a list of Senators who do not support Merkely’s resolution to reinstate net neutrality under the the Congressional Review Act.)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Base Bill for 702 Reauthorization: Serial Admissions Oversight Committees Haven’t Been Doing Their Jobs emptywheel

Sports Desk

Perfect Season Parade 2.0 held in Cleveland to mark Browns’ 0-16 season ESPN

The 420

Here’s Why Trump Can’t Beat Pot Buzzfeed

Sessions Unleashes the Hounds on Pro-Pot States The American Conservative

Democrats in Disarray

The US Democratic Party After The Election Of Donald Trump James Galbraith, Social Europe. Very good.

Move Over, Corporate Democrats. A New Wave of Left Populists Is on the Rise. In These Times

The Resistance Inc: Scott Dworkin and the Anti-Trump Gravy Train Washington Babylon and Exclusive: Resistance Grift – How Scott Dworkin Turned the Resistance into a Personal Payday Progressives Army

She Quit Working For Trump. Now She’s Running For Congress To Fight Him. HuffPo. Stoller: “Might want to mention that a key part of her job under Obama was working on the investor-state dispute settlement provision of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Krasner dismisses 31 from Philly DA’s Office in dramatic first-week shakeup The Inquirer. Excellent!

Guillotine Watch

In “triumph of ignorance,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop touts $135 coffee enema Ars Technica

Class Warfare

Modern capitalism has opened a major new front for strike action – logistics The Conversation

Seventy-seven nation industrial reserve army New Socialist. On the Paradise Papers.

Americans Haven’t Been This Poor and Indebted in Decades New York Magazine

My Month in an Organic Frozen Food Factory Medium

More Ohio Amazon workers relying on food aid Policy Matters Ohio

Problems with Bridge Card leave some Michigan residents in the cold Detroit Free Press

The secret lives of students who mine cryptocurrency in their dorm rooms Quartz. Them that’s got shall get….

RIP Marc Raskin, Who Connected the Dots Between Inequality and War Foreign Policy in Focus (Re Silc).

Sexual Harassment Inc: How the #MeToo movement is sparking a wave of start-ups WaPo. Of course.

AI-Fooling Glasses Could Be Good Enough to Trick Facial Recognition at Airports Motherboard (Re Silc). “Adversarial objects, for your face” (q.v. NC here).

Life Time fitness tunes out all-news TV outlets from its big screens Star-Tribune. Well done.

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus antidote:

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.

159 comments

  1. fresno dan

    Americans Haven’t Been This Poor and Indebted in Decades New York Magazine

    So, this is what a “good” economy now looks like in the United States: shrinking household wealth; soaring middle-class debt; wage growth that can’t keep pace with the rising costs of housing, health care, and higher education; job growth concentrated in part-time positions; widespread retirement insecurity; and more wealth-less households than America has seen for 56 years.
    ====================================
    Yup.
    What would get Trump out of office is some serious reporting on labor participation rates and how benefits have been strip mined for the benefit of the wealthy…..but Wolff’s book about cheeseburgers, crazy, and the gorilla channel are just ratings gold.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      …as if “getting Trump out of office” (with Pence next in line, or even at the next thing we call an “election”) is either necessary or sufficient. If one wants to produce a revision of all that is predatory and destructive and deadly to us ordinary mopes.

      Ah the “power” of Resistance, of #we too, PutinPutinPutin, all that eyewash jazz. Against runaway war-ization of the political economy, the triumph of FIRE over ‘simple lives” and a real economy, the bought-and-sold “institutions of government” from lawmakerspass-text-along-from-the-lobbyist-authors-ers to “judges”ensconced for “life in good behavior,” to captured or perverted mostly autonomous “agencies,” to police forces at all levels, to ‘the Supreme Executive,” to the “public’s” addiction to carbon as well as opioids, to the inevitable corruption of the imperial impulses and what Lambert linked as an insight, that “corporations” are the extant single-purpose “artificial intelligences,” a massively blinding insight.

      Focusing on getting Trump out of office? Looks like the Borg may succeed in that for “us”, if it can’t bring him sufficiently to heel, which training however seems to be well advanced. And since all these “progressive” energies are supposedly out there and stirring, and since most of us need a leader to follow, who is in line to become the next placeholder in the Oval Office, bringing “platforms” and “policies” of general beneficence? From which position, behind the Lincoln Desk, the Borg, with its clout and wiles, will ensure that there will never be any universal concrete material benefits for we who inhabit mope-dom, we who exists only to be fleeced and flensed https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flensing and looted and worked to death to serve the insatiable appetites of the lucky humans born with the genes and advantages that lead to real power over the rest of us, the appetites of those whose catch-phrase has to be “Apres nous le deluge”?

      Where’s the butterfly who will beat its wings in just the right way to do away with human gluttony and guile?

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        All I remember from “Moby-Dick” is how whalers peeled whales like enormous apples, tumbling them slowly next to the ship as a continuous strip of blubber was loaded aboard. Flensing, nice.

        Reply
        1. clinical wasteman

          Also, the “Heidelberg Tun”: the head of the sperm whale, which must be emptied of valuable “sperm” (not in the procreative sense) before being left behind. Tashtego (Native American) and Dagoo (African-American), two of the three truly heroic harpooners, i.e. the most highly skilled workers and best-paid non-officers on the Pequod, are extracting this commodity with a bucket when Tashtego falls deep into the “Tun”, from which he is rescued by third harpooner Queequeg (the only modern Polynesian character in Western literature before Polynesian lit. began to be published 100yrs later?), who risks his own life to save him.
          It’s too much even to try to paraphrase here, but I love the reading of Moby Dick introduced by CLR James in ‘Mariners, Renegades & Castaways’ and developed by Loren Goldner in ‘Herman Melville’, in which the collective powers/productive creativity of the “Anacharsis Clootz deputation” that is the Pequod crew is the real point of the story: Ahab’s obsession and the junior officers’ melancholy obedience is a grim counterpoint, just powerful enough to wreck everyone and everything in the end.
          Melville was a bestselling author for as long as he produced exotic “South Seas” novels, but as soon as he put American and “immigrant” (incl. “South Seas”) workers together and described their combined capabilities, he was reclassified as “obscure” and resigned himself to living from income as a minor customs official.
          Only quarrel with James & Goldner: they rightly identify Ishmael the character (i.e. on his first whaling trip) as a slumming fool unwittingly complicit with Ahab, but they don’t seem to notice that Ishmael the narrator is another voice altogether, understanding things better after many more years.

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Any chance mopes will be declared an endangered species?

        “Due to excess flensing, they became extinct.”

        Reply
        1. VP Pence

          Restrictions on birth control and abortion will ensure that the mopes won’t go extinct. It is a self-perpetuating system keeping the economy strong.

          Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea

    I am not a fan of the New York Times as they write to a narrative and then fit the facts to that narrative as a west coast writer discovered after getting a job at the New York Times. They leave out a lot of context in their stories and here are three-

    “They also misjudged Mr. Kim, 33, who took control of the dynastic regime in late 2011 and made the weapons program more of a priority than his father or grandfather did.” Absolutely true. But then again, Kim had something that his father and grandfather did not have and that was the example of not one but two countries that gave up their nuclear programs and were then betrayed and destroyed – Iraq & Libya. Lesson learned!

    “The latest missiles appeared to have been based on old Soviet designs. In interviews, intelligence officials said ‘freelancers’ from the former Soviet Union — ‘a handful’ by the estimate of one official — are almost certainly working with North Korea. The Russian government, they added, does not appear to be providing support.” Now here the NYT is just fudging the data so I will help them. It was the Ukraine that they got their designs from, the Ukraine. The Russians share a border with North Korea so are not crazy enough to give them such technology. The Ukraine is over 7,00 kilometers away so they would not care and the whole place is a black hole of corruption for dodgy deals anyway.

    “Mr. Kim. He was eliminating his rivals, sometimes ordering public executions with antiaircraft guns that shredded their bodies.” Far be it from me to defend someone like Kim but this story may or may not be true. Does anybody remember the story before the invasion of Iraq how Saddam Hussein was supposed to have a giant shredding machine (like a paper shredder) which he would feed his enemies into at will? What story is true was how during the Indian Mutiny the British would tie mutineers across the barrel of a cannon and then blow them across the fields as a lesson. But that was then and this is now so like the Scotsman said: “I ha ma doots!”

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Thanks… This practice of reporting basically accurate facts, but completely leaving out even a semblance of historical context, has worked for NYT well (and many other publications, to be fair). One ought to consider it a type of particularly refined propaganda… Like all those emotionally laden reports about the suffering of Syrians (back before one gave up on NPR), without once mentioning who and what caused the destructive war (and on Yemen, MSM has moved one step further, ignoring the war altogether). Maybe if Soviets had mastered this task, they’d still have their country…

      Reply
  3. DorothyT

    About armchair diagnosis of President Trump’s mental health (David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker):

    “In the meantime, there is little doubt about who Donald Trump is, the harm he has done already, and the greater harm he threatens. He is unfit to hold any public office, much less the highest in the land. This is not merely an orthodoxy of the opposition; his panicked courtiers have been leaking word of it from his first weeks in office. The President of the United States has become a leading security threat to the United States.”

    Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced it is holding a briefing entitled “Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation” on January 16, 2018. IMHO, I don’t see this as a political strategy by the opposition party. The president’s irresponsible and dangerous language directed to North Korea cannot be dismissed lightly.

    Reply
    1. timbers

      IMHO, I don’t see this as a political strategy by the opposition party. The president’s irresponsible and dangerous language directed to North Korea cannot be dismissed lightly.

      On the other hand, Obama appeared to act normal and sane in public while he assassinated innocent America children, bombed 35 woman and children just before he gave a speech to collect his Noble Peace prize, created the “biggest refugee crisis since WW2” according to the U.N. with his relentless bombing of schools, students, teachers, hospitals, patients, doctors, apartment complexes, water treatment plants, power stations, bridges, roads, infrastructure in Syria, Libya, and installed a neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine that wants to kill the Russian race.

      BTW, I’ve read Obama refused to talk to North Korea and began the naval actions each each year at rice harvesting season which forced NK to divert labor from the harvest to the military…until it occurred to NK if it had a nuclear deterrent, the needed labor in the rich fields could remain in the rice fields. So there is reason to put some blame on Obama for what’s going on now and Trump simply inherited Obama’s so called “sane” policy of refusing to talk to NK, and given Trump has said he would talk to NK, that is an example of greater sanity than for example Obama.

      But no one questions his sanity or Hillary’s who was all in and more with these policies and think nothing in public of nuclear war with Russia.

      Reply
      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Please. They just questioned his nationality, parentage, religion, etc. And her sanity was regularly questioned in the more feverish alt-right/Infowars venues. How Obama or Clinton were treated is not the point. Nor is Trump’s obvious unfitness for office. We all already knew he was unfit. Even most of those who voted for him knew it.

        The point is: the media darlings who are pumping this idea right now are frivolous. And their pieces are worthless.

        The recent, concerted coverage of Trump’s wit-deficit is designed to soothe the minds and hearts of a failed elite. And to absolve them of all responsibility for this mess. It’s now clear – even to the most insular insiders – that their “Russians have hijacked our country!” gambit failed to injure the right. They failed to get their former allies among us – the ‘little people’ – to ignore their essential guilt in this matter. Now they have a new hobby horse to ride, hell bent for leather, and they’re whipping it in a frenzy. In the hope that they’ll continue to grab eyeballs and clicks from their….. increasingly disaffected customer base.

        Reply
        1. timbers

          IMO the actions of Hillary and Obama while in office, provides a much more convincing record of being unfit or “insane” than anything Trump has done – yet – in office.

          And if the alt-right called Hillary and/or Obama or GWB for that matter “insane” for supporting the Iraq war and other wars, more power to them for doing so.

          BTW yes the articles are frivolous…maybe. But they could be IMO intentional, as in intending to divert discussion on policy, like wars and bombing so many nations, etc.

          Reply
    2. cocomaan

      The president’s irresponsible and dangerous language directed to North Korea cannot be dismissed lightly.

      THE 37-YEAR-OLD PRESIDENT of the board of police commissioners in New York, Theodore Roosevelt, revealed his cowboy belligerence, writing: “Let the fight come if it must. I don’t care whether our seacoast cities are bombarded or not. We would take Canada. If there is a muss, I shall try to have a hand in it myself!…It seems to me that if England were wise, she would fight now. We couldn’t get at Canada until May, and meanwhile, she would play havoc with our coast cities and shipping. Personally, I rather hope that the fight will come soon. The clamor of the peace faction has convinced me that this country needs a war.”

      I’ve been reading a biography of Teddy Roosevelt for the past few weeks. He was called belligerence and the greatest threat to security and world peace in the history of the presidency.

      Belligerence, to me, is best when it’s clear as crystal. Not, as timbers says, when it’s done under a mien of civilized, level-headed behavior. Obama was letting Afghan heroin into the USA his entire term, including after reading the Case Deaton report. The guy was a snake. In many ways, I’d rather run across a bull than a snake. At least I know that the bull is coming.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        Trumps belligerence can be viewed as an effective crawl back, at least so far, from imperial overreach: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/01/trump-offloads-foreign-policy-problems-lets-eu-grow-a-spine.html

        Viewed in this light, it appears to be exactly what he campaigned on that the blob has made every effort to prevent.

        Trump is a despicable, self serving oligarch, but the foreign dangers lain at his feet now were engineered by his predecessors under the sympathetic cloak of MSM disinformation.

        Reply
      2. Craig H.

        Very few snakes mean any harm to human beings. Mostly they eat mice and rats and such. When pit vipers go after you it is almost always in self defense.

        Reply
        1. JBird

          Also by surprise. Rattlers and their human victims often surprise each other because the snakes do have camouflaged and often lie motionless under and around rocks, sticks, wood; even when you are looking really hard you might miss them, and when they are cold they are sluggish and easily surprised. Just a fabulous combination for everyone.

          However, I do not think the current, and recent previous, American regimes look very hard for danger to avoid. Our country is running around like a drunken lout overturning logs and rocks wanting to get bit. Yeah, well, often the snake bite has no, or very little venom, and sometimes it has a full load. You never know. Heck, the rattler might not either. We still always act as if it will be the former and not the latter. The stupid, it just burns to see.

          Reply
    3. djrichard

      The President of the United States has become a leading security threat to the United States.

      Indeed, didn’t we use this same rational to regime change Saddam?

      Democracy is regime change by other means. But honestly, letting democracy do its job is almost irresponsible nowadays.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Wait, wait wait. Are you saying then that all the ballyhoo over Trump the past year is a regime change operation?

        Reply
        1. djrichard

          The way it looks so far, Trump has a perfect partner in the parties aligned against him. As Joker said to Batman, “I don’t wanna kill you. What would I do without you?”. Joker is just having too much fun. And in this sorry spectacle, both sides have adopted the mantle of Joker.

          So to answer your question, I guess I’d have to concede that instead of the ballyhoo being ammunition for regime change by other means, it’s really the other way around. The feints at regime change are really just ballyhoo, to keep the audience engaged.

          And just to throw this out there, my opinion is that I think it’s easier to get Trump (and any ensuing Trumpian party) to up their game compared to getting the opposing regime to up their game. But perhaps to get Trump to up his game we do need to rehabilitate the other side to some degree, to make them more of a pseudo-realistic threat. As FDR would say, “make me do the right thing” or in words to that effect.

          But to do more than rehabilitating them to be more than a stalking horse? Forget about it. Even if they somehow win in 2020, they’d still be functioning as a stalking horse. If we want more than a stalking horse, we’re going to have to put that stalking horse out of its misery. This is the real regime change everyone is avoiding talking about (by focusing on Trump). And for that to happen, we’re going to need the creation of another regime that is ruthless enough to take out the stalking horse.

          Reply
    4. JamesG

      Remnick changed The New Yorker into The Nation with (seldom funny) cartoons.

      He is Trump-Obsessed and insists the readers should participate in his psychosis.

      I will not be renewing.

      Reply
  4. Carla

    Thanks for “More Ohio Amazon workers relying on food aid.” For my money, Jeff Bezos is a much greater threat to the U.S. and the world than Donald Trump.

    I wonder how many other NC readers boycott Amazon. Since I never fell for Whole Foods, their acquisition by Amazon resulted in no sacrifice for me. Although I’m not a big consumer and try to patronize local, independent retailers when I can, my occasional online shopping now involves an extra step: before buying, I have to investigate the online retailer to make sure it hasn’t been hoovered up by Bezos since last I looked. A small inconvenience that I consider well worth it if it helps me to avoid patronizing the devil.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      If you want to stand your ground as a consumer-that being the pinnacle of one’s existence, I guess tilting @ warehouse mills is the way to go about it.

      Seeing as 90% of the manufactured junk you end up buying was made in China, it seems as if one destroys the obvious bridge of buying, but crosses over anyway on a smaller span.

      I’d prefer to make my mark as a citizen.

      Reply
      1. marym

        Nearly 100@ of my purchases for about the last 7 years (clothing, accessories, furniture, other home furnishings, and some appliances) have been made in the US. Try to keep book orders to Powell’s. Where I haven’t found what I wanted I occasionally buy something from a country that at least has universal healthcare. Some made in USA items are available from local shops, the rest directly from the vendor on-line or by phone. Most are in a moderate price range and most are far more durable than much of stuff from China.

        Reply
        1. Whoa Molly!

          Powells for books is a good ldea. Thanks.

          (Powells is also a great place to spend a couple hours reading, browsing, and having a good coffee when in Portland.)

          Reply
            1. lyman alpha blob

              I’ve been hearing about Alibris for years but normally my book buying goes something like this: read about interesting book online, add it to an Amazon wishlist so I don’t forget about it, and then go buy it from my local bookstore later. This has the benefit of supporting my local bookstore and screwing with Amazon at the same time.

              Your suggestion made me check out the website though and I looked up some of the books I have on my Amazon list and found the prices at Alibris are often cheaper. They even have a book available that my local store wasn’t able to order for me yesterday.

              Thanks again for the suggestion – bookmarked and ordering from them soon!

              Reply
              1. jsn

                Book Court, where I ordered books for 30 years, succumbed to the underlying value of their real estate and sold to some developer.

                Alibris has solved that disaster for me!

                Reply
            2. Enquiring Mind

              Consider an app such as Libby. That works with your library card to find online items. My son showed it to me and I’m checking it out now ;)

              Reply
          1. ambrit

            Second the thrift shop suggestion. We’ve done the majority of our clothes shopping at such places for years. It’s all a matter of priorities. When the tawdry glamour of fashion wears thin, the basics of design and taste reassert themselves.

            Reply
      2. ambrit

        Oh my. I don’t know. See the other link today about the supply chain being a weak spot ripe for unions to use strikes to regain some power. Those warehouses are a prime example, (Amazon pun anyone,) of a leverage point.
        Simply put, as has happened in previous times when elites were abusing the commons, a resort to pitchforks, torches and guillotines will do wonders. (When the people lose hope of having any say over their lives through the existing system….)

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          In the struggle towards the end of capitalism versus communism, one system was (G.U.M.) what another shall become (Amazon) in our Bizarro World existence. We really were a circus house mirror image of one another, odd fellows.

          Reply
        2. JTMcPhee

          And of course, as bravely linked here not so long ago, the CIA in its OSS incarnation has published a helpful manual on how to conduct, er, “resistance” in the “trade” and “manufacturing” spaces… https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2012-featured-story-archive/CleanedUOSSSimpleSabotage_sm.pdf And there are some updates suggested in comments here: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/06/1944_cia_sabota.html

          Not that most of us mopes, even the ones who sport camo gear and concealed and open carry, have the wisdom to see through to effective outcomes of various actions, and/or the courage and/or organization and/or desperation to do any of that stuff…

          Reply
        3. Carolinian

          Or see the story in yesterday’s links about how Bezos is turning the US Postal Service into yet another one of his sweat shops. As it happens postal workers do have a union, but they see themselves under threat–as are all unions these days–and their union leadership is uninterested in the problems of the lower paid new hires.

          While I’ve often defended Walmart around here I think Bezos is just bad enough that he may revive the union movement. He is the very essence of techie social disconnection.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I worked for the USPS as a Rural Sub for a couple of years in the Long Ago. Many there said that the rot set in back in Nixons’ day when the package delivery was split off and privatized. Those parcels were a prime, (there’s that pun again,) profit centre for the service. Then, the mandate for full funding for the pension fund helped drain operating capital out of the rump service. No one else was ordered to do that. Then the Union agreed to ‘Temporary’ status workers, at lower pay and no benefits. That was when the Postal Workers Union lost the fight. Either a union stands up for all the workers, or they cease to be a real public union.
            So, really, the sad decline of the old mainline unions will be the stimulus for the new wave of union activities. Do remember that the old unions had to literally fight for what they later squandered away. The new unions had better be ready for blood in the streets.
            Frederick Douglass had it right when he wrote; “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
            The whole speech: http://www.blackpast.org/1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress

            Reply
        4. clinical wasteman

          complete agreement, Ambrit, that global logistics is vulnerable to its own labor force this way, which matters because it has become too big an important to be hurt badly by consumer preference (no disrespect intended to boycotters: it’s also important not to feel hopelessly personally soiled if there’s to be any hope at all).
          There’s a quietly growing body of first-hand reporting from workers in the logistics sector and mostly non-academic research on how capital’s dependence on it works. The following are links I’ve posted before – at intervals of 6 months/a year at least I hope – and all from an uncompromising ‘international workers autonomy’ perspective, but all are updated regularly and should, I hope, be informative even when read from other political starting points.
          https://angryworkersworld.wordpress.com/
          http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/liverpools-docks-dust-and-dirt
          http://wildcat-www.de/en/eindex.htm
          (Wildcat has a much bigger archive for readers of German, & other translations into Italian, Spanish etc. Link here is for Eng.-language sub-site; logistics-related content recurs throughout along with other stuff, so may be worth scrolling.)
          [disclaimers: residual editorial involvement in Metamute – more so at time of Brian A.’s article than now; contrtribution to some of the Wildcat translations]

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            You understand that the thought is not original to me, but it does deserve much more widespread distribution. If only the workers understood their own power potential.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Those people who make a point of buying from ABA ( Anyone But Amazon) should not be dismayed that their hundred million or even billion dollars per year withheld from Amazon will make any immediate difference to Amazon itself. Perhaps they should even give up on the goal of trying to directly affect Amazon itself.

            Perhaps, rather, they should see themselves and the ABA bussinesses they buy from as the present day equivalents of the Irish Monks of the pre-Medieval Dark Ages . . . keeping Civilization’s Knowledge alive through times of Viking Raid and nascently Feudalizing warlord disorder.

            The people who buy from ABA bussinesses and the ABA bussinesses those people buy things from are like tiny Irish Monk Monasteries, keeping Civilization alive through the coming Amazon Dark Age.

            Reply
      3. lyman alpha blob

        You may want to think people like Bezos only have power over you as a consumer, but that really isn’t the case. Not when they own one of the major news outlets in the United States, not when they have control over politicians to the extent they refuse to enforce laws on the books that adversely affect what Bezos wants, not when they have politicians bending over backwards to be the next city opened up for exploitation by Bezos.

        In a hyper-capitalist society where everything is commodified, how you spend you money is a political act and people shouldn’t be pooh-poohed for trying to take an important stand. It is possible to simultaneously not shop at Amazon and also push your local politicians to implement policies beneficial to local small business owners for example.

        Beware of geeks bearing gifts – the couple bucks you save on a purchase really isn’t worth the destruction of our communities.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I marvel over the Car Go Cult bemoaning Amazons trucks bearing gifts. I wonder how they make a go of it, just got a 40 pound roll of poultry wire* in that it was $40 cheaper than the price i’d pay by driving for an hour to hopefully procure it in a brick and mortar?

          Now, how do you go about absorbing the $40-50 delivery cost also, if you’re the ‘Zon master?

          * yet another victim of political correctness gone amok, we used to call it chicken wire.

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            I have no idea where you live, but I live in a suburban area that is not surrounded by poultry farms, and yet chicken wire is quite easy to come by at the local hardware store. Kept the woodchucks out of my garden this past summer and had the best carrot harvest in years, no Amazon required.

            I do understand that some people live a good distance away from retail outlets. I grew up in such an area. So you plan ahead and make one big trip when you need things. Or ask someone else to pick something up for you when they go. Or you order it from a catalog. I know the 90s seem like ancient history but I do vaguely remember some of it and It’s not like we were all starving and wallowing in our own filth before Amazon came along.

            Amazon has created the Convenience Cult where people click a button and stuff magically appears on the porch but have they really improved people’s lives all that much? I’d argue they have not. For-profit monopolies aren’t really good for anyone except the monopolist.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              It costs me about $30 to drive to and fro to the nearest monopoly of OSH, Home Depot or Lowe’s. There are no mom & pop hardware stores anymore around these parts, as the troika along with Harbor Freight, has destroyed whatever competition there was previously.

              The gasoline i’d use, also comes from a monopoly, you rarely see Fred’s gas, or Ethel’s ethyl station.

              And for the record, I never starved or wallowed.

              Reply
      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Every battlefield is relevant to its own outcome. Much of our daily life is lived on the political-economic battlespace of purchase and consumption.

        Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat. Every dollar withheld from Amazon slows down its accretion of Supreme Ultimate Power by one more dollar. And since Amazon hopes to become the Private Profit One world Communist Party of the future, its power is worth attriting and delaying.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      Bezoa would say “That’s OK, Carla — Amazaborg does not need your piffle of trade. Billions are bound to us, and the many smart people I employ, to institute my disruptive innovations, are now trained up, assimilated, acculturated, stripped of any moral and ethical reservations about the mission I have set them on, and in fealty to my brand (and fear of losing their positions) are applying all their skills, talents, insights and strengths to furthering the triumph of my Functionally Autonomous and Sovereign Empire. I’ve instituted a single-function artificial intelligence, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/01/ai-has-already-taken-over-its-called-the-corporation/ , that can sneer at your reluctances. An AI that will convert the planet to junk and stuff, and forge the ever-growing masses of supply chains that I hang around the necks of people like you, until you can’t stand, and will drown in the rising waters… And I and my posse will be on to similarly convert other planets, Lord willing, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/dec/05/tech-billionaires-space-exploration-musk-bezos-branson, and with any luck I and they will be IMMORTAL!!!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! https://strategictechinvestor.com/longevity/billionaires-buying-immortality/

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        AI designed by geniuses presumably will be genius-level AI…or more (because they will be able to do life-long learning).

        And AI designed by mentally unstable people will likely be mental case AI.

        That’s the biggest worry for me today – Will we humans be swamped by crazy robots?

        Reply
    3. Eclair

      Re: Jeff Bezos being a greater threat than Donald Trump. Handbooks on how to conduct a revolution, or at least how to take over a city or country, always emphasize that the first step must be to take control of the communications center; the radio, tv station, newspaper. Then, commander the supply lines; cut them or divert them. Next, control the food supply. Washington Post, Amazon, Whole Foods. Nice.

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘commandeer the supply lines’

        Real world example:

        CARACAS (Reuters) – Mobs of Venezuelans gathered outside some Caracas supermarkets on Saturday after President Nicolas Maduro’s government forced shops to slash prices, the latest unrest in the country’s food shortage crisis.

        Authorities on Friday ordered supermarkets to cut prices to levels they were a month ago, a drastic reduction given Venezuela’s hyperinflation.

        At one supermarket in a high-end district of Caracas, hundreds of people including babies, pensioners and children with disabilities gathered in chaotic scenes.

        We’re hungry! We want food!” they screamed.

        https://tinyurl.com/yd2qlh8g

        As ol’ Henry Hazlitt wrote in the mid-20th century (Economics in One Lesson), price controls produce shortages. It’s an iron law that politicians can’t repeal.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Comrade Jim;
          Price controls produce shortages, and so do monopolies, which are a privitized form of price control.
          Pick your poison.
          ambrit, the downwardly mobile.

          Reply
          1. georgieboy

            “Price controls produce shortages, and so do monopolies, which are a privitized form of price control.” ??

            Sorry, but the equivalence — in supply and in politics — is hard to see. Do monopolies maximize income by reducing supply when they can set price without worry about competition? Do governments set price controls when they do not see themselves in conflict with business?

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Something of a chicken or egg situation with this.
              If a monopoly were to set the price of a product high enough, through the monopoly power it wielded, supply might not go down, but demand certainly would, it being bound by available resources in the purchasing population. If classical supply and demand economics were to function properly, then decreased demand would be followed by decreased production to meet the lower demand. Some lag time would be involved, but the process should function thus. Rather than being a ‘natural’ shift in demand, such a process would be a form of manufactured scarcity. Eventually, supply will go down as existing stocks are used up and not fully replaced. Then, if measured against the pre monopolistic demand for the product, supply will have been reduced. Remember that no product exists in an insular bubble universe. Competition for resources, the publics’ financial resources especially, will add external constraints on any particular products’ demand.
              Income can be measured through social utility, and or financial return. Social utility can be described and measured through the time honoured business concept of ‘good will.’ Astute managers will try to maximize both. The balance between the two being a reflection of the values and skills of management.
              And here is the crux of the matter: values.

              Reply
          2. Jim Haygood

            What Henry Hazlitt had in mind was politically popular below-market price controls, rather than above-market prices imposed by monopolies.

            With prices rising abut 50% per month in Venezuela, rolling back prices to a month ago means cutting them to roughly two-thirds of their current level.

            This should be sufficient to push about 95% of Venezuelan businesses (the few which remain without having been nationalized) into the red.

            Instead of killing the landlords as Chairman Mao advocated, Chairman Maduro is killing the small shopkeepers. Doubtless somewhere among them is Venezuela’s Maggie Thatcher, daughter of a modest Grantham shopkeeper.

            Life’s a pendulum, it’ll all come back around
            It’s a pendulum, it all comes back, it all comes back

            — Katy Perry

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Ah, so, if I have it right, then government would impose below market price controls for purposes of social control. In that case, some form of compensation to the businesses being adversely impacted thereby would be in order, if smaller businesses were valued by the ruling elites. Otherwise, as your Chairman (Emperor) Mao reference suggests, the elimination of small stakeholders is one of the purposes of the exercise. That, in turn, would suggest either a One Party State or a Fascism was in charge.
              Hence, to badly misquote the Emperor Mao: “Power comes from the barrel of an oil.”
              Also, the example of the rationing of gasoline for automobiles during WW2 comes to mind. If I remember correctly, there was plenty of oil for gasoline production throughout that war. The real shortage was in rubber for tyres. How to conserve rubber? Simple! Restrict private automobile travel, through the fuel supply. Less travel means less wear, and less public consumption of rubber, leaving much of the available rubber for military related uses. Dick Nixon was in the ‘Office of Price Administration’ for a while, where he dealt with this exact subject.
              I’m, as usual, reminded of the dictum: There is no such thing as a free market.

              Reply
                1. ambrit

                  Yep. I seems that our basic ‘freedom’ nowadays is the “Freedom to Suffer.” I don’t remember Franklin Roosevelt including that in his “Freedoms” agenda.

                  Reply
    4. SKM

      +++++++++ I`m always amazed how many people write articles where they suggest you buy this or that book – from Amazon!! Yes, even people concerned (often activists!!)about the environment/social justice etc – talk about cognitive dissonance…..

      While we`re at it what about drinking coca cola or eating in Macdonalds…….????? etc etc etc etc I know some things are hard to avoid, but some, like these, just jump out at you – and, you can live easily (not to say better!) without these monsters

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        SKM
        Interesting–I don’t do any of those three things: buy from Amazon, eat at Macdonalds, drink coca cola. As you say, some things are easy to avoid.

        Reply
  5. Marco

    A tiny sliver of hope?
    Trump offloading Foreign Policy At MoA

    From the article:
    “Armstrong, a former Canadian defense official and Russia specialist, thinks that Trump is taking his extreme positions only to press others to take over and let Trump and the U.S. leave the issue aside. If the EU takes up the Iran issue or Cuba, if Russia engages in the Middle East “peace process” and if South Korea handles the North Korea problem, Trump will be fine with it. There is nothing to win in those issues for his core agenda.”

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      Patrick Lawrence has weighed in on events in Korea:

      New hope on the Korean peninsula, believe it or not

      Trump is way too undisciplined and chaotic to actually be doing any of this deliberately, in my opinion. However, the sheer magnitude of his incompetence could accidentally force American foreign policy into a less terrible direction. If the Trump years result in a smashing apart of the foreign policy establishment in the U.S., he might just merit the Nobel Peace Prize.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Far as I can see, there is no such unitary thing as what people reify as “American foreign policy.” There are operations and initiatives and “opportunities,” fostered and forwarded under the rubric of “national interests” and “national security” (those things that everyone claims to know what they are, but no one will ever stand up and define, so the rest of us can futilely “vote” on them). Fostered and forwarded by “pseudogovernment organizations (PGOs?)” like the central bank and NSA and CIA and the War Department, and connected corporate “interests” that at best (sic) are “multinational” and better described as “post-national” and “supranational.” As described in the earlier post here about how corporations have done a tumorogenesis thing and become “functional sovereignties,” https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/01/territorial-functional-sovereignty-case-amazon.html , a term that borrows the outmoded traditional-history-based term “sovereignty” to describe one of those “new realities” that we mopes have been told that the real “neos,” -con and -liberal, create as they break things and convert the pieces to more wealth and power for themselves. And which processes we mopes can study, judiciously as we will, and be at a complete loss as to what to do to stop the juggernaut:

        “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/846190-we-re-an-empire-now-and-when-we-act-we-create (offered in case any of us have not encountered the quote before.)

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Disagree – there absolutely is a US foreign policy – a set of principles, goals, and ambitions – that can be summed in a few words: achieve and maintain hegemony of US power at all cost.
          Wars or just creating chaos – anything to maintain control. If this was not apparent before – the last 16 yrs have made it abundantly clear. While the main beneficiaries have always been US economic interests (remember Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket?) , in the past, some benefits trickled down to the plain folk. More recently, this is no longer the case. Could this lead to a change… who knows.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The first step towards changing thought about foreign policy might be to start changing the language used to name it.

            For example, stop calling it “American foreign policy”. Start calling it ” DC FedRegime foreign policy”.

            Reply
      2. Dirk77

        The rest of the world going their own way, and the self-serving US foreign policy elites and their military surveillance complex friends forced to spend their remaining days watching D-Day newsreels in their McLean basements? If Trump backwardly succeeds in this way, he deserves far more than that disgraced medal.

        Reply
  6. Meher Baba Fan

    Appreciate the article about Hip Hop in China.
    I was just about to reply with ‘ Lets be clear.’ but cringed when I realised I’ve been reading too many pronouncements about Brexit!
    Okay, so hip hop is not rap. There was nothing to indicate the young man was involved with hip hop. He was however somewhat identified with gangster rap..
    Hip Hop is dancing aka b-boying or the perjorative ‘breakdancing’. MCing. And graffiti writing. They constitute the fundamental essence of hip hop which is of course a culture, an attitude, a community, a way of being. Hip Hop artists hate gangster rap. Its considered a vulgar corruption and appropriation and a deliberate and successful attempt to squash a positive optimistic force / movement. Its irritating to see rappers referred to as hip hop. Public Enemy is hip hop. NWA is rap, as J Z, Kanye West blah blah. Public Enemy talk a lot about this subject, in interviews. For a focus, very personal, on the b-boy dance expression, as it exists internationally – the exceptional doco Planet B Boy is recomended for everyone. It is breathtaking . Artists at work.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is that western cultural hegemony on display here?

      With this other link above:

      China’s hi-tech missile ambitions are marching ahead at warp speed South China Morning Post

      Do we look forward to, or worry over, the coming of, say, the game of Cuju (see Wikipedia) – and thank Goddess it’t not foot binding – to small town America?

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    We have Great Blue Herons here, and when in flight they do resemble pterodactyls, come to think of it. We were down at our river swimming hole a few years ago, quietly seated, when a goliath of one swooped down on a boulder 10 feet away, scanning the water for sustenance and we watched it for 10 seconds, until it realized we were there and then a whoosh-whooosh-whoooooosh-whoooooosh of it’s it’s wings and away it went.

    Reply
  8. Samuel Conner

    Thanks for the “heads up” on Gina Ortiz Jones’ neoliberal work agenda in the BO administration. I noticed the HuffPo item yesterday but did not know whether to be heartened by or wary of it.

    Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    Origin of Meter-Size Granite Basins in the Southern Sierra Nevada, California

    Meter-size granite basins are found in a 180-km belt
    extending south from the South Fork of the Kings River to
    Lake Isabella on the west slope of the southern Sierra Nevada,
    California. Their origin has long been debated. A total of
    1,033 basins have been inventoried at 221 sites. The basins
    occur on bedrock granitic outcrops at a median elevation of
    1,950 m. Median basin diameter among 30 of the basin sites
    varies from 89 to 170 cm, median depth is 12 to 63 cm. Eighty
    percent of the basin sites also contain smaller bedrock mortars
    (~1-2 liters in capacity) of the type used by Native Americans
    (American Indians) to grind acorns. Features that suggest a
    manmade origin for the basins are: restricted size, shape, and
    elevation range; common association with Indian middens
    and grinding mortars; a south- and west-facing aspect; presence
    of differing shapes in distinct localities; and location in
    a food-rich belt with pleasant summer weather. Volcanic ash
    (erupted A.D. 1240±60) in the bottom of several of the basins
    indicates that they were used shortly before ~760 years ago
    but not thereafter. Experiments suggest that campfires built on
    the granite will weaken the bedrock and expedite excavation
    of the basins. The primary use of the basins was apparently
    in preparing food, including acorns and pine nuts. The basins
    are among the largest and most permanent artifacts remaining
    from the California Indian civilization.

    https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5210/sir2008-5210.pdf

    Reply
  10. edmondo

    Krasner dismisses 31 from Philly DA’s Office in dramatic first-week shakeup The Inquirer. Excellent!

    It may come as a surprise to Lambert but there really are some bad guys out there… including the one who killed my cousin on the streets of Philly. The guy who was prosecuting this case was let go and no one seems to know where this case is going next, including the DA’s office.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      I think it shows significant lack of judgment to dismiss a homicide prosecutor on the eve of trial for a murder. It takes a lot of preparation to conduct trials of that type, and the court is not going to grant a continuance due to the DA’s voluntary dismissal of a trial attorney, as in the case of at least one attorney discussed in that article.

      While I can understand the desire to “clean house,” I am unimpressed by this decision because the people are also entitled to put on their best case in a serious criminal matter.

      Nor am I clear that the dismissals are “excellent” news. From what’s in the article, I have no means of assessing whether the dismissals represent a reshaping of the office in a different direction or are, as there are intimations in the article, just petty revenge.

      Reply
      1. georgieboy

        The good people in Philadelphia can look to Cook County (Chicago), IL, to see Krasner’s natural experiment in social justice unfold, before their own results are in. The Chicago experiment began late 2015, after Obama’s buddy Rahm Emmanuel could no longer hide the video evidence of the McDonald shooting by police (Emmanuel had an election coming up).

        Score so far in Chicago: murder up, shootings up, robbery and theft up, arrests and prosecutions down, numbers released on non-cash bond and electronic-monitoring up.

        Once the murder stats became an embarrassment for Obama’s mini-me, the understaffed police were disproportionately allocated to the neighborhoods with the most shooting. Shootings and murders city-wide down slightly 2017-over-2016, but robbery, theft, and car-jackings now rising notably in other neighborhoods.

        Might have something to do with putting serial recidivists back on the street, over and over again, who knows? The Cook County prosecutor, Ms. Kim Foxx, is now dropping charges after arrests, and taking pride in emptying the jails. Mr. Krasner in Philadelphia seems to be a kindred soul. You may want to watch Chicago for a foretaste of what’s coming in Philly.

        Edmondo, sorry for your loss, and now this kick in the teeth from the DA who claims to know better.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      Of course, most “prosecutors” are experts at plea-bargaining to avoid the career-limiting possibility of losing at trial, and the reality that the machinery of “justice” would grind to a halt if even half of all the cases that make it past police-and-prosecutorial “discretion” were to go to trial. We mopes want “justice,” but that is not what “the law” dispensed or provides— ask all the mopes in private prisons and public jails for little drug offenses and inability to pay fines for trumped-up or petty tickets. Sorry that whatever happened in Philly may forestall retribution in your family’s case. Obama and Hillary and the Bush League and banksters who kill wholesale, not street-retail, will never face prosecution, let alone retribution or restitution. And in Afghanistan, when the Troops murder one or many, your government just obscured the evidence and pays some blood money and hopes the culture of vengeance and pride over there won’t produce deadly blowback. Much like what happens in murder-by-cop in “America.”

      Reply
    1. flora

      Another note to Paul Krugman – he of ‘comparative advantage’ fame:

      “If international division of labour is effected by competition and consequent elimination of the less efficient, then much will depend upon the rate at which the change proceeds as well as upon the dimensions of the units involved…. if whole countrysides, countries or continents compete, the elimination of the less efficient may involve the ruin and destruction of whole communities. Then the system, far from being a blessing, becomes a deadly danger and must be checked at all costs….While a slowly increasing division of labour effected by the market mechanism would be purely beneficial, a fast rate of change might work out as a machinery of sheer destruction.”
      -Karl Polanyi

      If the economists after the 2008 financial crisis have not come up with a new big idea perhaps that’s because the same old economists who supported the models that lead to the 2008 debacle are still in place, and are uninterested in finding any flaws their models. They aren’t interested in any models that would displace their own models.

      Reply
    2. cnchal

      That’s a great paper and explains the difference between the “equilibrium” and “flow of funds” models used, and why all the “equilibrium” model economists claim no one saw it coming while the “flow of funds” economists were clanging alarm bells for years, and were roundly ignored.

      Thanks for the memories. And the discussion about the “physiocrats versus Say” is priceless.

      As a sideshow, it got me thinking about “productivity”, and how it’s measured. What for example does it mean when economists are paid enormous sums of money to get stuff wrong, day after day? Careers are built on falsehoods, because they have a polished turd to sell.

      From pg 22

      In conclusion of this section, one question that may be raised is why there is this dichotomy of
      equilibrium models dominating official forecasting and policy, and flow-of-funds models in use
      only in non-official analyses. Arnold (2009) asks accountants “[w]hy did neoclassical economic
      thought become unquestioned doctrine in so much of our economic discourse?”. And why indeed,
      do accountants have so little to add in the fields of macro financial stability assessment and growth
      forecasting, despite the demonstrated potential? Tentatively, two elements of an answer may be
      suggested: theory and institutionalization.

      As noted, equilibrium models in use in policy making reflect neoclassical economics, the
      approach to economic analysis that is dominant in academic economics departments. This includes
      the behavioural assumptions of individual optimizing behaviour and a passive role (adapting to the
      ‘fundamentals’) for the financial sector and for the flow of funds. Flow-of-fund or accounting
      models reflect assumptions about the role of the financial sector and about individuals’ behaviour
      which are heterodox relative to this academic orthodoxy. Given the strong intertwinement of
      economics teaching, research and policy making, it is only natural that heterodox models have not
      gained a foothold in official forecasting and policymaking. Institutionalization of forecasting
      models in policy follows the institutionalization of equilibrium theory in academia. In order to probe this hypothesis, below the institutionalization of the leading US forecasting model WUMM
      within US academia and policy making is studied

      On its link to orthodox economic theory, the WUMM model book explains that the
      “properties of all key equations are explicitly derived from neoclassical theory, imparting to the
      model both monetarist and supply-side characteristics in the long run. This emphasis on theory
      endows the model with an internally consistent structure that renders WUMM well suited not only
      for short-run forecasting but also for long-term policy analysis.”

      On the institutionalization, WUMM owner Macroeconomic Advisers, while an independent
      commercial firm, is closely intertwined with official policy and forecasts and with US academia. It started in 1982 as Laurence H. Meyer & Associates. The model used by Macroeconomic Advisers was developed by Meyer and collaborators at Washington University and licensed to clients from 1983. The model won wide acclaim in government circles and there is a revolving door between the US Federal Reserve and its three Directors, each of whom have held or now hold top positions in US monetary policy advice.

      The Macroeconomic Advisers approach also reflects the official US viewpoint on financial
      stability as its founder Laurence Meyer participated in negotiations toward a new international
      capital accord and represented the Federal Reserve Board in the international Financial Stability
      Forum. Significantly, Meyer was also chairman of the US Committee on Supervisory and
      Regulatory Affairs and oversaw the Board’s regulatory implementation of Gramm-Leach-Bliley
      Act. This act in 1999 replaced the more cautious 1933 Glass Steagall Act and allowed banks to
      trade in mortgages and derivative products. Meyer so maintains close ties with US monetary policy
      making6. He is also a highly respected academic macro economist. He holds a professorship in
      economics at the University of Washington and published hundreds of articles in leading economics
      journals.

      A tentative conclusion from this case study might be that equilibrium models and official
      forecasters are bound by ties of theoretical kinship and institutional embeddedness – ties that include academia and policy makers at the highest levels. The sociology of science and policy making suggest that it would be difficult to insert in this constellation an approach that is scientifically heterodox and politically critical of the monetary policy establishment – two distinguishing features of all analysts listed in Table 1. On the other hand, as noted the OECD appears to be moving in the direction of including balance sheet elements in its model.

      The author Dirk J Bezemer is too kind. Flat out greed, corruption and willful blindness explains most of it.

      It reminds me of drivers that never scan oncoming traffic, because they aren’t supposed to be in your lane, and are surprised when they are involved in a head on crash. I hate being forced to ride along.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        The “equilibrium” assumption is necessary to shear off the “political” from the classical formulation of “political economy”: it’s what put the neo in neoliberal.

        Reply
    3. Plenue

      Operative K really is a worm. If there are no new ideas post-2008 it’s only because they already existed before the crisis, some of them even predicting it. And we know he knows this, because he periodically steals from them, especially from MMT.

      Reply
  11. allan

    Trashed: Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection [ProPublica]

    … In the universe of New York’s garbage industry, Action is considered a company that takes the high road. A union shop, it offers starting pay of about $16 per hour for helpers and $23 for drivers, far more than many other companies. And unlike some other companies, Action provides high-visibility gear and conducts safety meetings. But since 2008, the company’s trucks have killed five pedestrians or cyclists.

    In New York City overall, private sanitation trucks killed seven people in 2017. By contrast, city municipal sanitation trucks haven’t caused a fatality since 2014.

    Pedestrians aren’t the only casualties, and Action isn’t the only company involved in fatalities. Waste and recycling work is the fifth most fatal job in America — far more deadly than serving as a police officer or a firefighter. Loggers have the highest fatality rate, followed by fishing workers, aircraft pilots and roofers. From the collection out on garbage trucks, to the processing at transfer stations and recycling centers, to the dumping at landfills, the waste industry averages about one worker fatality a week. Nationally, in 2016, 82 percent of waste-worker deaths occurred in the private sector. …

    Powerful AFL-CIO-affiliated unions like the Laborers and the Teamsters were edged out of private garbage operators. They were replaced by “independent unions” that cut sweetheart deals with employers, locking employees into jobs with low wages and poor benefits. …

    Long and infuriating. Binding arbitration “agreements” make a cameo appearance.

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      Thanks for this. Garbage has always been of interest to me – that’s why I like reading about politics on here, HAH! Currently have the book “Garbology” in my pile to work through.

      Reply
  12. burlesque

    My opinions, thoughts and experiences, for what they are worth (with all due respect, inspired by @Carla January 7, 2018 at 8:22 am):
    There are probably a few readers who boycott Amazon, just like there are probably a few that boycott Wal-Mart and still boycott Exxon.
    Ah, poor Whole Foods Market, the company many people love to hate. Back in the 60s and 70s supermarkets NEVER carried anything organic. The word organic, related to food, was popularized first by the Rodale’s and then by Whole Foods. (and It didn’t hurt that Rachel Carson wrote her book on pesticides either). I still have to give Whole Foods their due for popularizing the concept of organic and bringing it into the mainstream. I fell for them because they allowed me to get better food closer to home. When a person is busy raising a family and/or working at a regular 40 hours a week job, it is difficult and time consuming to find local shops or farmers markets or farms that sell what I consider to be “good” food. I still don’t hate Whole Foods even if they are Amazon. Maybe later, but not yet.
    I am privileged to have the luxury of time and other resources to investigate to find local sellers of things I need to buy. It is unfortunate, sad and frustrating that there are so many people who cannot, for whatever reason, learn what it is to eat healthy food. Just a change in diet to really good “whole” food could make a big difference.
    Someone (I think it’s James Howard Kunstler) uses the term “recreational shopping” which brings home to me why consumerism is a tough nut to crack. Some people may have no other entertainment except the show that they see when they go shopping, whether to a brick and mortar store or to an online venue.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Yes and yes… folks have forgotten how bad food in US supermarkets was through the late 70s. Coming from other worlds, it was hard to find good-tasting and healthy food in the US (maybe east coast exempted, I would not know). WFM did a lot to change that – and Austinites were lucky to be there at the time. But I do remember, how in the mid-80s, suddenly the cars in the WFM’s one shop in Austin changed – many more BMWs and Mercedes started to park there. Back then, it was not necessarily about strictly organic – but more about healthy and fresh. And this then became a lifestyle – one appropriated by yuppies – with corresponding prices. Maybe every good idea eventually gets co-opted by money…

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I have not studied the history of Whole Foods and what came before. I have the vague impression that Whole Foods grew by studying which cities and towns already had successful legacy-hippie co-ops selling organic food and then invading those pre-made ( but not by Whole Foods) markets.

      Is there a documented case of Whole Foods ever having entered a market without so much as one legacy-hippie co-op? Is there a documented case of Whole Foods ever having attempted to create a local market in organic food from a base of zero knowledge and zero concern on the part of the local citizenry?

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        alfalfas market in boulder predated whole foods by a generation. Whole foods is and has always been a way to separate the wealthy from their money. Mt vernon washington coop, ocean beach california peoples coop, those are real grocery stores, and no they are few and far between.

        Reply
  13. Ted

    RE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2018/01/05/sexual-harassment-inc-how-the-metoo-movement-is-sparking-a-wave-of-startups/

    As if these conultancies hadn’t already been well established since First Wave #Metoo in the 1980s and 1990s … as any number of “trainings”we’ve endured over the years will attest (back then we just called it “sexual harassment training”). The interesting twist here is that it will now be all “AI” and algo-driven.

    I am reminded of course of Bernays and the birth of public relations. No campaign as well funded and media saturated as #metoo is organic .. EVER. (to believe otherwise is to live in a land of fairy tales). This was a campaign to make a market for the consultancy class (out of one that already exists, interesting enough), who will now hawk their all so new and techtastic wares to large institutions and Democrat campaigns. Interesting that the lead consultant profiled in the story is a former employee of Obama Admin, though this is buried to burnish her “techie” cred.

    Reply
    1. nihil obstet

      Corey Robin has a very good comment on this. He’s putting his posts on Facebook now, and I don’t know how to link to a specific post there, so with some feelings of guilt, I’ll copy the whole thing:

      Corey Robin
      21 hrs ·

      A former official in the Obama administration sees a wave of sexual harassment complaints and thinks: this is an opportunity for a high-tech startup. And she’s not the only one! You couldn’t have scripted a more perfect story.

      If you’re a Marxist, this is just plain old-fashioned capitalism at work, always looking for and finding new surfaces, new differentials, from which, on which, with which, to create value.

      If you’re a theorist of neoliberalism, this is how a stripped down welfare state or defunded social democracy handles questions of social justice: by outsourcing them to yet another industry of specialists. We get rid of pensions and reduce Social Security, and now rely on investment specialists to advise us what to do with 401k’s. We get rid of good public schools and higher ed, and pay an army of experts to walk us through the thickets of private education. Instead of state-provided health care for all, we have a patchwork of plans that requires specialists to explain to us which to choose. Instead of a robust, well funded, and aggressive EEOC and unions, we’ll now rely on start-ups to help us figure out sexual harassment.

      If you’re a leftist critic of diversity, this is how diversity becomes the language and practice of the professional managerial class.

      And if you’re a student of American literature, this is the oldest story of all, where everyone’s a conman, and everything, eventually, becomes a racket.

      Reply
      1. nycTerrierist

        Great comment.
        Dommage C.R. is posting on facebook — and no longer on his blog?
        (is that the case?)
        disappointing for non facecrack users like me

        C.R. if you see this please also post on your blog? much appreciated

        Reply
  14. Craig H.

    A parade for the Cleveland Browns?

    That isn’t the dumbest idea the NFL losers have come up with. The Raiders are hiring a television star to coach their team. And the Texans are trying to hire a friend of their incompetent coach to play GM.

    At least none of them are trying to convince their fans it’s the Russians fault yet. :)

    Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Devil’s advocate dept:

    We were in Siena a few times in Italy, and it was an up and comer in terms of being a big city with a population of 50,000 when the Black Plague came calling in 1348 and wiped out a good part of it’s population. The awesome architecture dates from before then mostly, and it has a stopped in time look, laid low by a virus.

    The flu coursing around the world now is a bad hombre, and seems to only need the thinnest of threads in terms of passing it on, and if a good number of people passed away as a consequence, there’d be a lot of empty houses, and resale value would plunge, in a classic too much supply-not enough demand scenario.

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      This is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic which began in Jan 1918 and supposedly killed 3 to 5 percent of the planet’s population.

      *sigh*

      How are we gonna keep anthropogenic global warming going, if there ain’t enough anthros around? :-(

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        In fact, the Black Death (bacterial, not viral) is credited with a period of global cooling, because it temporarily reduced agriculture and therefore plowing. It’s also credited, in a delayed effect, with the Renaissance, because there was suddenly twice as much to go around.

        However, the current flu is unlikely to have anywhere near such drastic effects.

        Reply
      2. witters

        “How are we gonna keep anthropogenic global warming going, if there ain’t enough anthros around? :-(”

        Was that a Trump Tweet?

        Reply
    2. Kurt Sperry

      About 100 years after the plagues, Siena gave birth to Monte dei Paschi di Siena, some would suggest kicking off the modern banking era. The picturesque little city on a hilltop in an uncharacteristically arid part of Tuscany is still a bastion of political conservatism in a left-leaning region. You can tell who are visiting the iconic piazza del Duomo for the first time by their audible gasps as they behold the amazing (and freshly restored) facade. The bank that may have started it all is, appropriately, today of dubious solvency.

      Reply
  16. Carolinian

    Re Raspberry Pi–I have the Pi 1, 2, and 3 boards–my brother keeps giving them to me–and the RPI 3 is definitely adequate as a web browsing and email computer. It has onboard wifi and bluetooth and can be hooked to a tv via hdmi. You can even operate it from an Android tablet or a laptop via remote desktop.

    That said, it’s probably not for the computer faint of heart. Hobbyists use these a lot for controlling hardware projects.

    Reply
    1. oliverks

      I have used the Compute Module of the Raspberry PI in some products. I would say the Linux is incredibly stable and robust. To the point where even during intensive development, we don’t ever see Linux go down (if only the same could be said for Mac and Windows). I wouldn’t say that is true of typical Linux boards either.

      One thing to note, is the A57 cores are unfortunately vulnerable to Spectra and Meltdown, while the A53 is not.

      Reply
  17. Greg

    ” It appears that we’re looking at the Democrat strategy for 2018 and 2020 — a gaslighting strategy — which Trump feeds, no question — that does not require the Democrat Party (especially its consultant and donor classes) to change either personnel or advocate universal concrete material benefits, especially for the working class — and please forgive me if I’m not filled with enthusiasm, or fired with the prospect of success.”

    Exactly right. So many of the Democrats I know, as well as the pundits, seem to think that just being “not Trump” is an effective political strategy.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      That’s because it works so well for many many Democratic voters unfortunately.

      Unless or until D voters demand more, I’m not expecting anything different.

      The ostracizing & extreme dissing of Sanders supporters – always labeled as deplorable “BernieBros” – suffices to keep most D voters in line. Wouldn’t want to deviate leftward and, you know, expect D pols actually DO something to benefit the peons, rather than their 1% Overlords.

      Being Not Trump is as good as it gets so STFU.

      Trump has been the greatest gift to the D party EVAH!

      Reply
      1. Jean

        “A New Wave of Left Populists Is on the Rise.”

        We, (Ex-Democrats), have our own Pretty Poison who is supposedly going to be part of “the resistance,” Kamala Harris, a woman who has done pretty much nothing of progressive substance in her life except to tout her diversity genes and mouth the correct pedigreed personal advancement platitudes, a U.S. senator along with Diane Feinstein, the ultimate good cop, bad cop routine writ large.

        Harris is the only “democrat” to get a donation from Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Nice service tip for not having prosecuted his bank during the mortgage outrages of ten years ago.

        Can’t wait for the Hillarious future attempt to paint her as an alternative to anything other than the status quo.

        Reply
  18. Synoia

    Now if Pi were just 10x faster, it might actually be a viable alternative in the PC and laptop space.

    That’s what I believed for a while, then I thought and experimented:

    1. Use it as an X-Terminal to a server in the cloud., if linux is your desktop
    2. Install remmina, and use a windows server in the cloud, if windows is your desktop.

    The bandwidth consumed by X or rdp appears order(s) of magnitude less than the traffic to a browser.

    Now we believe there is a business for cloud based desktops. Today we’d implement it with AMD processors on a physical server, with much encryption for both communication and file systems, probably with a VPN back end to the net.

    We would NOT use TOR. If over 50% of the exit nodes are controlled by an entity, TOR is not secure. If I were a running a TLA, I’d control over 50% of the TOR exit nodes. Then you secrets would be my secrets.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      > bandwidth consumed by X or rdp appears order(s) of magnitude less than the traffic to a browser
      I find this is highly improbable. Are you judging bandwidth consumption by latency, perhaps?
      Furthermore, there is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer. Much easier and softer target than, say, the Onion network.

      Reply
  19. Meher Baba Fan

    Gwenyth Paltrow has been on talk shows blatantly admitting she hasn’t a clue how certain of the Goop products work or why. No sympathy for her nor the company that chooses to keep her on yet relies on her celebrity- and sells enemas for 10 times their value.
    Now I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be. But I am offended by an article written by scientists supposedly -. aren’t they supposed to be open minded and curious bunch interested in exploration to improve humanity – that is basically a smear campaign with lots of sweeping broad strokes shutting everything down and no interest in actually looking at anything seriously. So heres a rebuttal- enemas do function as claimed, coffee enemas are beneficial ( as I noted only last week they were widely used in medical tents in WW1) and YES undergoing a detoxification process is a vital and life affirming practice for virtually everybody, if performed intelligently. It has saved countless lives and avoided needless interventions. They are simply saying ‘oh there’s no evidence’. No; in light of whats been known for a long time by very very many people , such claims are insufficient. they have to provide contrary . evidence. I’ll be sure to avoid that juvenile publication

    Reply
    1. Meher Baba Fan

      a high school student could understand, via the tools of biology and biochenistry, why the ancient science of detoxification [ practiced by so, so many cultures in one forn or aother ] is necessary and beneficial. Understanding the usefulness of the enema as a detox tool would easily accompany this.
      I am not suggesting the enema nor coffee enema is necessary for everyone. There are a vast number of ways to implement detoxification practices. The longer term gentler ones are better than the intense short term ones. Japanese people wil eat radish between meals for a period of time to treat gallbladder stagnation. Thats a utterly basic detox. Feeling crap when you wake up after a big night and having coffee to feel better – thats detoxification. A hot bath to treat a cold or muscle ache is detoxification. I could go on. The ignorance and arrogance displayed in that article leaves me fuming

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that I will stick to having my coffee the traditional way. Also, I don’t drive against one-way streets nor will I do the same with my own body.

        Reply
  20. s.n.

    a very moving & insightful review of Gary Fields’ Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror
    This Land Is Our Land
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/01/18/palestine-this-land-is-our-land/

    …In his conclusion, Fields tell us that he wrote Enclosure to show

    how the making of private space, the making of white space, and the making of Jewish space on territorial landscapes all spring from the same exclusionary impulses deriving from the enclosures and the appropriation of land in England. Such impulses have enabled groups of people across time and territory to proclaim: “This is my land and not yours.”

    In the West Bank, where I live, the effect of the creation of “white space” became more evident as time passed. In the first decades of the Israeli occupation settlements were established mostly in remote areas and did not have a significant impact on the daily lives of Palestinians. It is entirely different now. The separation wall divides many communities from their arable land; roads have been built that Palestinians are not allowed to use; nature reserves have been established from which Palestinians are excluded. Now when I try walking in most of the hills in the West Bank I am called a trespasser. The enclosure of the land has given rise to a system of discrimination over the use of natural resources of land and water that is akin to apartheid….”

    Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    Severe flu brings medicine shortages, packed ERs and a rising death toll in California LA Times
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Just got off the phone with my mother and she’s got my cold, but doing ok. She related something interesting, in that a friend of hers in an assisted living place in the Palm Desert near Palm Springs, along with all occupants there, are confined to quarters, and food is brought to them.

    That’s a pretty serious step…

    Reply
  22. Jim Haygood

    Bright prospects for Bubble III this year, tweets a Certified Market Technician named Ryan Detrick:

    S&P 500 up 2.6% after four days in 2018, best start since 2006.
    Since 1950, twelve other times a year started >2.5% after four days.
    Full year was higher 12 out of 12 times with an avg return of 18.6%.

    https://twitter.com/RyanDetrick

    Tacking 18.6% onto the S&P’s Dec 29th value of 2,673 projects 3,170 by the end of 2018. This sounds optimistic. Expect some turbulence at the 3,000 round number … if we even attain such exalted heights.

    At 3,170, Robert Shiller’s ten-year price earnings ratio would reach about 38.5 … versus its 150-year record high of 44.2 in the internet bubble, when we partied like 1999.

    Everybody else is just green
    Have you seen the chart?
    It’s a helluva start, it could be made into a monster
    If we all pull together as a team

    –Pink Floyd, Have a Cigar

    Reply
  23. Meher Baba Fan

    Sorry! Final comment. What do they think fasting is? AKA by the scientific definition autophagy ( look it up) I guess 5000years of anecdotal evidence could be wrong

    Reply
  24. Altandmain

    Re: Modern capitalism has opened a major new front for strike action – logistics

    This might be a very good position to strike. Modern Just-In-Time inventory systems leave very little margin for error. While this may lower costs, this also leaves the factories very vulnerable to a disruption. Any disruptions in supply in a particularly critical time (Ex: leading up to the holidays) might be very effective at extracting concessions.

    Oh and the Establishment continues its usual war on the left:

    http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.ca/2018/01/leave-it-to-dc-establishment-to-screw.html

    The Democrats see the left as their opponent more than the GOP or Trump.

    Reply
  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Battle for Best Semi-Autonomous System: Tesla Autopilot Vs. GM SuperCruise, Head-to-Head The Drive. “SuperCruise’s operational domain is wisely limited by GPS to what they call ‘limited-access’ roads, otherwise known as divided highways, which use on- and off-ramps instead of intersections.” If your algorithm doesn’t work, control the parameters…

    That happens a lot in academic work – ‘It’s outside the scope of this paper.’

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      Re; Autonomous system
      Imagine if you had a machine that ran on something like rails that spanned across the entire continent, with barriers and flashing lights at most intersections.
      It seems you could perfect your system in that scenario and then maybe deploy it into the willy nilly world of the highway network.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Strictly passenger rail running up and down the medians of all the Federal Interstate Superhighways.
        It could be called Federail or Amtrak 2.0 or something equally catchy.

        Reply
  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Donald Trump says he would ‘absolutely’ talk to North Korea’s Kim on phone Times of India

    In the film, the Black Rose, Tyrone Power played Walter of Gurney. He ‘talked’ to his grandfather, not directly, but through a servant. Everything got repeated once.

    Is that what that conversation will be like?

    Reply
  27. Susan the other

    Ed Harrison. Credit Writedowns. CBs and Governments work to offset each other’s economic policies. I dunno. I think the Fed and the Gov. are actually singing the same hymn all the time: “Strong Dollar Rock of Ages.” Ed is saying that they coordinate with each other thusly: When the Gov tightens up fiscally, the Fed drops the interest rate and buys up all the bonds – because the Fed must keep unemployment low and inflation around 2% – which seems to prevent economic devastation. But to me it all looks like coordination to keep capitalism on artificial life support. Back @ 2010 Ed made the comment that the Fed could buy “whatever it wanted” – that it could indeed buy up munis to help our destitute municipalities. But the Fed didn’t. Instead it soon made it a no-no for even banks to buy munis. That was hard to follow. It looks like monopoly when you stop to ask questions – the privateers are buying up debt and the Fed thinks that’s just fine – and the ill-formed logic behind this seems to be support for the dollar so that its value isn’t diluted by actual social spending — what a scam. Ed does understand this – above he says he can’t understand why Jack Lew et. al. get upset over the “deficit” – all they have to do is pay it.

    Reply
  28. Wukchumni

    Merry Christmas, in Russia:

    Jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to write
    Social Media ads with which to sway
    Jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to ride
    You two-trick-pony guise

    Dashing through the ‘net
    In a most devious way
    O’er the cloud we go
    Laughing all the way
    A classic Eastern European ring
    Making light of might
    What fun it is to laugh and sing
    A swaying song tonight

    Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    It’s a weasel! I can’t tell from the picture which kind. We’ve had ferrets, which are just large weasels (they’re European polecats – and yes, they can skunk). Very entertaining animals, like a very eccentric cat; quite charming, if you aren’t a mouse of rabbit. If you look up “weasel” (or the equivalent in other languages) on Youtube, you’ll find a variety of examples. The “desk weasel” is especially cute.

    We see Great Blue Herons regularly, since we live on a small river, but I’ve never seen a baby before! I hope it got put back. One of my memorable experiences was awakening a heron that was perched directly over my head, one night on a dock. The noise as it squawked and then those huge wings beat over my head was awe-inspiring. We all ducked. During the winter, even they don’t want to stand in the cold water, so they hunt in the fields. Bad time to be a mouse, especially since a lot of raptors also winter over in the valley.

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      We have the herons here in N. E. Texas, Tyler area, also.
      They patrol our pond and creek year round, it looks like an ostrich running around down there
      Truly magnificent bird

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        If you have a garden pool with expensive koi in it, you have to guard against herons. OTOH, you can just buy cheap feeder goldfish and consider it a bird feeder.

        Reply
    2. Synapsid

      Oregoncharles,

      It’s a marten. Martens and weasels and polecats and ferrets and fishers all belong to the same family: Mustelidae.

      Reply
  30. Meher Baba Fan

    Wukchumni
    with you in mind but any outdoor lover really I wrote a detailed comment about the Henessey hanmock, eaten by skynet. heard of it? quite extraordinary.
    all i will say is look at the ‘how to set up’ video for a sense of its brilliance. and 2. ‘ snakeskins’ are the only accessory to concern yourself with. some folks use it at home instead of a bed as it cured their back pain

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      A friend has a Hennesey and i’ve slept in it a number of times, and it feels like a sports car compared to my Crazy Creek that weighs a pound & a half more, which is akin in comparison to a Cadillac, a nice cushy sleep. I’m still using the original one a friend bought me for xmas around 2000.

      The Crazy Creek is utter simplicity, as it has long webbing that goes through the end of the hammock on both sides and you just go around a tree and use the D-ring to slide one end through. Takes a couple minutes.

      Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    “The US Democratic Party After The Election Of Donald Trump” It’s too bad Galbraith doesn’t have the guts to leave the reservation. I’ve asked him. To his credit, he did respond.

    Reply
  32. Daryl

    > Voters Are Starting to See Trump As a Garden-Variety Conservative New York Magazine

    Personally, I never thought his administration would result in anything else. It was pretty apparent to me that he had no policy on most issues (e.g. net neutrality) and thus was a blank slate for the Republican party to paint on.

    But, I have noticed the disappearance of people who claimed he was playing eleventy-dimensional chess by doing things like appointing Sessions to head the DOJ. Seems like a lot of people have realized it’s just more of the same.

    It is worth noting that he did block TPP, which is not the same as “doing nothing” on trade, since it seems like your garden variety Democrats and Republicans all wanted to continue it. It seems unlikely that the US will get countries to agree to the sort of one-sided deals that he wants, but they are trying.

    Reply
  33. Mark Alexander

    Re: Raspberry Pi and Spectre/Meltdown: Your correspondent says: “I’ve also (via a contact at ARM) run high-performance code on the later A57, it’s about 3x faster than the A53 and is competitive with the Core2 on my 2010 Macbook […]”.

    Unfortunately, the A57 is vulnerable to a couple of the exploits, according to this information
    at ARM
    .

    Reply
  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    Well . . . I read the article from Buzzfeed about ” Why Trump Can’t Beat Pot.”

    And then I went to the comments. And what is the very first comment? I’ll just copy-paste it in its entirety with no further comment of my own . . . just to let the readers here read it and think about its meaning. Okay? Here it is.

    “Malia Forney · Indiana University (Bloomington)
    In summary, WHITE PRIVILEGE is the reason why Donald Trump won’t stop these businesses. The majority of dispensaries are owned by white people and white people fight when the money and “rights” are effected. White people spent the last 30 years trying to make it legal so they can profit from it (while still locking up black people around the country for it). In the rest of the country, I’m still 4-8 times more likely to get arrested for weed than my white friend Becky and she smokes more than me. This is institutional racism manifested into everyday life. So, I could care less about these legal dispensaries because it’s not like brown and black people are profiting from it or even benefiting from it. Imma still smoke whether it’s legal or not, I don’t care about dispensaries fighting to stay active so that racism can continue to be perpetuated through them.
    Like · Reply · 9 · Aug 25, 2017 7:35am “

    Reply
  35. Basil Pesto

    That psychiatrist, Bandy Lee, has certainly become ubiquitous in the news since the Wolff book broke cover last week. She also edited that book about the Donald’s mental health, which you have no doubt seen flogged if you’ve read any paper where she’d had a byline in the past week. Methinks the president isn’t the only one with a narcissism issue. Hopefully she is donating her fees for her opportunistic columns and books, which possess limited scholarly value, to worthwhile mental health charities.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I would hazard the guess that she was donating her royalties and fees to the mental health charity closest to her heart: The Brandy Lee Self Esteem Support Fund.
      There was a very good reason why Freud suggested that nascent Psychiatrists have to go through “Analysis” themselves before being licensed to practice.

      Reply

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