Links 2/16/18

Sperm whale makes a rare appearance off Vancouver Island Chek News (CL).

Wait—the Ozone Layer Is Still Declining? Scientific American

Climate Change Costs Insurance Companies Billions, And Price is Rising TRNN

A Chinese Casino Has Conquered a Piece of America Bloomberg (Richard Smith). Astounding story. Or once would have been, but now kinda “meh.”

Worries over interest rates spread to junk bond funds FT

An Uber executive is now the newest shot-caller at Andreessen Horowitz Recode. “Head of Growth” at Uber. Hmm.

119,000 Passports and Photo IDs of FedEx Customers Found on Unsecured Amazon Server GizModo (CL).

Update: Influenza Activity — United States, October 1, 2017–February 3, 2018 CDC. Dense, but see “Discussion.”

BACE1 deletion in the adult mouse reverses preformed amyloid deposition and improves cognitive functions Journal of Experimental Medicine. Shorter: Mouse study gives hope for Alzheimers in humans (UserFriendly).

Strip, Swap, Restructure Credit Slips. On Venezuela.


Front Bench: Theresa May heads to Berlin to try and bypass Michel Barnier, but will it work? Telegraph

Brexit: EU ‘removes transition punishment clause’ BBC

Brexit: Theresa May ‘asks’ Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for help on avoiding hard Irish border Independent

Could direct rule solve Northern Ireland’s political crisis? The Spectator

How the UK and devolved governments can agree on the EU Withdrawal Bill Institute for Government

May’s new immigration proposal sums up everything wrong with her approach to Brexit UK in a Changing Europe

France’s telecom regulator thinks net neutrality should also apply to devices TechCrunch

North Korea

No ‘bloody nose’ plan for North Korea: U.S. official, senators Reuters

All Eyes on North Korea Foreign Policy

North Korea Wins the Propaganda Gold US News


Critics of India’s ID card project say they have been harassed, put under surveillance Reutes

Not allowed to cheat? So why should I turn up? Sydney Morning Herald (KW).

Trump Transition

“Who Needs a Controversy Over the Inauguration?”: Reince Priebus Opens Up About His Six Months of Magical Thinking Vanity Fair

Senate rejects centrist immigration bill after Trump veto threat The Hill

What We Talk About When We Talk About Immigration The Nation

Trump’s Tax Success Is at the Expense of His Trade Agenda Brad Setser, Council on Foreign Relations

New Cold War

U.S. Condemns Russia for Cyberattack, Showing Split in Stance on Putin NYT

White House Says Iraq Has WMD Russia Created Cyberattack Moon of Alabama. What I can’t figure out is why we don’t have our war already, whether in North Korea, the Middle East, or Ukraine, since our elites clearly want one so desperately (I don’t mean pissant wars like Afghanistan; I mean a real war, with tanks ‘n’ stuff, and embedded “reporters”).

German military: combat ready? FT

Why the public may never learn what Robert Mueller discovers Mic


WaPo Op-Ed Columnist Megan McArdle Wants Kids to ‘Gang Rush Shooters’ Law and Crime. There is also, I kid you not, a DHS “Active Shooter Card.” I’m trying to think of a work of a dystopian fiction that includes versimilitude like that card, and I can’t come up with one. Oh, and this bit: “Contact your [1]building management or [2]human resources department for more information and [3]training on active shooter response in your workplace.” I’ve helpfully numbered the opportunities for increased staffing and funding. Not that I’m bitter or cynical.

Can mental health policy solve the problem of mass shootings? The Incidental Economist

Democrats in Disarray

U.S. Democrats push $1 billion bill for election security Reuters (E. Mayer). E. Mayer: “Virtue-signalers gotta virtue-signal, and grifters gotta grift. And I love the fait-accompli narrative that pretends the Russian 2016 election hacking/influencing allegations are proven: ‘The measure followed warnings on Tuesday from U.S. intelligence officials that midterm races in November are likely to see renewed meddling from Russia and possibly other foreign adversaries.'” And naturally no mention of hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. To be fair to all the stakeholders, you can’t create a self-licking ice cream cone with a solution that actually works.

The Dreadful Return of Romney The American Conservative

Health Care

Blue Cross Of Idaho Takes The Plunge To Sell Non-ACA-Compliant Plans Health Affairs. “The first major difference is that Blue Cross would take health status into consideration before calculating a consumer’s final premium.” So, the first chance they get, the insurance companies re-introduce pre-existing conditions. I’m shocked.

Our Famously Free Press

The War for Social Media: The Center is Trying to Diminish Diversity and Control Speech Benjamin Studebaker (UserFriendly).

CIA Defends Selective Disclosure to Reporters Federation of American Scientists

Leaked Chat Transcripts: New York Times Employees Are Pissed About Bari Weiss HuffPo (PDF from managment). Interesting institutionally; the abolished Public Editor position seems to have functioned as a safety valve/internal referee more than we knew.

Guillotine Watch

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand Guardian

Where the most expensive homes sold in the Washington area in 2017 WaPo (Kokuanani).

Oxfam and the dark side of the aid industry FT

Class Warfare

For Olympic Glory, Athletes Need Talent and a Billionaire Backer Bloomberg

Mutualism: Reimagining the Role of Shareholders in Modern Corporate Governance Kara Stein, The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

Major new iOS bug can crash iPhones and disable access to apps and iMessages The Verge (iOS) and Picking Apart the Crashing iOS String In Pursuit of Laziness. And a new attack vector: Uber (DK).

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dogs: Purdue’s Microbots Are the Real Nightmare Vice (DL).

Photography and the Philosophy of Time: On Gustave Le Gray’s Great Wave, Sète NoSite (PM). Dense but interesting long-form piece on photography and financial speculation (!), with a close reading of Le Gray’s print. “Exposure” common to both worlds, eh? Walter Benjamin would approve.

Antidote du jour (via):

Since this is, one hears, the Year of the Dog, I’ll try to level up my dog game.

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.


    1. Sid Finster

      After Trump survived pu$$ygate, I somehow don’t think that anyone who isn’t already looking for an excuse to pillory Trump will care.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Like water off a duck’s back….

        The outrage machine over Trump’s behavior has exhausted itself and ended up inoculating him against future scandals, especially personal ones.

        I could see maybe a flagrant pay-for-play corruption scandal breaking through the haze, but it’s going to be tough.

      2. armchair

        You’re right, Christian Conservatives are a lost cause. They have no idea how hollow their thundering moral proclamations sound, when their standard bearer is caught over and over again with his pants down around his ankles. Maybe if Christian Conservatives weren’t trying so hard to subjugate women, it would be easier to laugh off President Mulligan’s sex-life.

        1. Arthur Dent

          I have been baffled by the hatred against hijabs and Sharia law. I am unable to come up with major distinctions with nuns’ outfits and evangelical teachings regarding the place of women.

        2. JohnnyGL

          They’re not wrong to blow it off. He’s giving them what they want on policy, more or less.

          If Trump gave us Medicare for All, $15/hr min wage, ended the wars, municipal broadband, etc….I’d vote to put his @$$ on Mt. Rushmore and I wouldn’t care if he got a revolving door installed in the Lincoln bedroom and had a line of hookers winding out the door on a weekly basis. He can do a Wilt Chamberlain impression for all I care and go for 10K.

          Policy, policy, policy…’s all that ever matters…the rest is just for show.

        3. Bill

          Subjugating women is one of the most powerful tools in their arsenal. Look at all the women who supported Roy Moore, and those who said it is normal in evangelical circles to “groom” wives from an early age–i.e. underage. Women are limited to a circumscribed role, and that does not include the right to refuse a man anything. It is part of their values, and they are not going to be ashamed of treating women like objects put on Earth to please men.

  1. Jim Haygood

    “I have two questions for Mitt,” Rob Anderson continued. “First of all, why? And how do you expect to represent Utah when you don’t live here?” — The American Conservative article

    New York deja vu:

    “I have two questions for Hillary,” Jim ranted. “First of all, why? And how do you expect to represent New York when you don’t live here?”

    When she won, the Empire State had to change its slogan to the Doormat State. Just kidding … but it was true in our household. :-)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mitt: “Many presidents lived in one state, and tried to represent the other 49 states (or donors of all 50 states).”

      In fact, sadly, many people are used to that.

      “My landlord lives in another country.”

      That’s one example.

    2. edmondo

      Meh. Mittens doesn’t really bother me. If elected he’s only be the 20 or 25th most noxious person in the senate. Look on the bright side: Based on his history at Bain, maybe he’ll do a LBO of the upper chamber, load them up with debt and they’ll have to lay off three-quarters of the other senators.

      Besides, he’s 71. He only has another 7 or 8 terms left in him before he dies (or buys another house somewhere and decides he wants to be governor of that state instead).

  2. Kevin

    Megan McArdle: Where arrogance meets intellectual imbecility.

    Rush a gunman with a semi-auto…?
    There’s a reason WW2 German machine gun nests were not rushed en masse…

    1. Pat

      My first thought was : “you first”.

      Just as it is very easy for our political and media elite to promote military misadventures where their kids will never be cannon fodder, now they can volunteer other people’s children to force the gunman to use all their ammunition.

    2. The Rev Kev

      This is not the first time that I have heard media people suggest rushing a gunman in a school as it happened not a long after another school shooting. So I have a proposal. Gather those who think that it is a good idea like Megan McArdle and take them to a set of rooms. Give each of these people a plastic face mask to protect their eyes and teeth with. Then tell them to take down a nearby shooter. That shooter will have a paintball gun and he will proceed to use it on either semi-auto or automatic to hunt these people down. Those paint ball pellets only have a muzzle velocity of 300 feet per second which will sting a bit (I know) but not, like, kill them. The paint splashes will show everybody the results if that had been a real rifle. Televise the whole damn thing so that they cannot make up some cock and bull story how they actually ‘won’ it too. Then take them to a firing range and show them what a real rifle can do in terms of damage.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps someone watched the “Charge of the Light Brigade” and fell asleep towards the end.

          1. kgw

            Artillery and muskets. . .Shooting into a wide column approaching at a fast walk. Sheer doom. Too bad Lee ignored the folks who wanted to go round the ridge and come up the union rear.

    4. Sid Finster

      Or rather, sometimes German machine gun nests were rushed, and with predictable results.

      While the average frustrated active school shooter doesn’t have a fully automatic belt-fed weapon, the average frustrated schoolkid doesn’t have the individual, much less collective, situational awareness to make a move like that.

      McCardle’s plan like a real armchair general move, the equivalent of “why not just shoot the gun out of his hand like in the old cowboy TV shows?” Or, as Mr. Michael Tyson put it “Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face.”

    5. JCC

      She is not too bright, but speaking as someone who goes through serious regular training for these situations, the article criticizing her is also a little ignorant.

      As the article states, the DHS (and other professional organizations with real familiarity with these situations) states:

      As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
      • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
      • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter

      In other words, in plain English, if you’re dead anyway, “do not go gently…”

      Unfortunately McArdle just isn’t smart enough to figure out what this simple step actually means, but neither is Colin Kalmbacher, the author of the above-mentioned article.

      1. Pat

        So she just ignores that the choice is between dying easily or attempting to mitigate the damage the shooter can do by overwhelming him with victims quickly.

        Or is it more important that she ignore that the shooter shouldn’t have the means to take out dozens of people in a matter of seconds because an industry was allowed to illegally lobby and propagandize a situation that warped a constitution right far beyond what it was ever meant to be. And that the only way of dealing with the dangers this warped situation has created is allowing our populace to be fodder for shooters on a regular basis, and all defense is well “you are going to die anyway so do not die quietly…”

        Personally I don’t want any more advocacy for more guns and training to counteract this problem. Instead it is time for those ‘teaching’ to do. IOW, it is long past time for the backers of the NRA and their well paid mouth pieces like McArdle to rush the shooters themselves.

        1. JCC

          I am not advocating for more guns. In fact I believe there are many solutions to this problem that our politicians and the NRA refuse to address.

          My point, and what caught my attention, was the comparison of soldiers attacking machine gun nests to mass shootings of unprepared civilians by the insane.

          Kalmbacher and McArdle have both done a serious (criminal in my opinion) disservice to these horrible situations.

          Until the situation is rectified, slamming the DHS as being brain-dead for giving good advice for a horrible situation is as bad as those who believe that McArdle’s advice has any value whatsoever.

          Until the gun situation is rectified, and not taking Step Three out of context, the advice is this:

          1) Run

          if you can’t do this,

          2) Hide

          if that doesn’t work,

          3) Fight

          For a soldier in the battlefield, reverse the above… or face either prison or a firing squad.

          My comment is in the context of the article only, not meant to be in the context of the controversy over the Second Amendment, and until the situation is rectified on a National level, the DHS advice is good advice. Hopefully the time will come when this advice will be a footnote in history.

          1. Pat

            I’m sorry if you misunderstood me. I didn’t care what the DHS advice was. They are constrained in a manner that McArdle is not. They really are not in a position to go:

            FIRST – you should not have such free access to guns and ammunition that X person who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place has access to an automatic weapon that can fire off dozens of bullets a minute and the ammunition to do it. BUT…

            McArdle not only is not constrained in this manner she is not only advocating for not doing something to solve one of the base issues in this matter, but to provide more dead bodies for every shooter.

            The DHS advice is not the problem, the use of it to propagandize bad ideas is. AND that is all McArdle.

          2. Observer

            Understand your point, but it’s academic. Unless the Active Shooter Card is torso-sized and made of kevlar, then it, like McArdle’s suggestion, is just weak (shooter card) and ironic (McArdle) advice for likely future victims, while the root of the problem remains unaddressed.

        2. Annieb

          Indeed. And where did the kid get the weapon? The news is reporting all other kinds of info. Why haven’t they reported the origin of the weapon?

          1. Wyoming

            They did report it.

            Legally purchased about 1 year ago. He stored it in a gun safe in the home of the people he was living with.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Is she “not too bright”? To me she sounds like she is just doing what high-profile, controversial op-ed new hires do: spout obviously venal bs in a way that brings in clicks and eyeballs.

        Bret Stephens did the same thing right out the gate at the New York Times with his initial climate change column. The key trick is to be ‘edgy’ enough to enrage the left edge of the readership without getting summarily fired. I.e. you can’t be a young no-name and pal around with internet neo-Nazis. You have to have name recognition and age on your side.

        McArdle would never publish a thought, view or ‘opinion’ unless it promoted her brand. She makes bank off these kinds of offenses.

    6. Kokuanani

      And how old were the kids at Sandy Hook? Five and seven year olds are supposed to “rush and disable” a shooter?

      As noted above, “you first, Megan.”

      1. jawbone

        Also, the women at the school who heard unusual noises and went into the hall saw what was happening and immeidate shouted to warn other teachers that there was a shooter. Two of the women were killed and one wounded twice and managed to stay still until Adam Lanza moved on to find others to shoot.

        From Wikipedia (

        Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were meeting with other faculty members when they heard, but did not recognize, gunshots. Hochsprung, Sherlach, and lead teacher Natalie Hammond went into the hall to determine the source of the sounds and encountered Lanza. A faculty member who was at the meeting said that the three women called out “Shooter! Stay put!” which alerted their colleagues to the danger and saved their lives.[38] An aide heard gunshots. A teacher hiding in the math lab heard school janitor Rick Thorne yell, “Put the gun down!” (Thorne survived.)[39] Lanza killed both Hochsprung and Sherlach.[40] Hammond was hit first in the leg, and then sustained another gunshot wound. She lay still in the hallway and then, not hearing any more noise, crawled back to the conference room and pressed her body against the door to keep it closed.[41] She was later treated at Danbury Hospital.

    7. MRLost

      New gym exercise! Practice rushing and stomping on some other student. Sort of like dodge-ball that we used to play before that was banned because kids got, you know, hurt. How to best use your sharpened pencil (go for the base of the skull, or eyes.) A new competitive sport-like activity with prizes and stuff for the most savage and aggressive student, not entirely different from football but without the ball or pads or helmets or any of that other sissy stuff. And while the coach is at it, she can teach girls how to defend themselves from physical attack: knees, groin, throat, eyes in ascending order.

    8. Arthur Dent

      It took until WW II to learn that lesson. In WW I, the British, French, and German generals used the McArdle Method to great effect in losing millions of lives to advance a couple of hundred yards.

    9. David Mills

      The nickname of the MG42 was the “Buzzsaw” because of the sound it made due to a ridiculously high cyclic rate if fire.

      1. JBird

        The original versions were twelve hundred or seventeen hundred depending on model rounds per minute. So 20 and 28 rounds a second…

  3. Thye Rev Kev

    German military: combat ready?

    Uhhh, no. They have been having trouble for years now so here are a few data points. During a NATO exercise German troops were forced to use broomsticks instead of machine guns due to equipment shortages. All its submarines are currently non-operational which is the first time ever. A German defense official stated recently that the Navy is running out of deployment-capable ships for all the missions assigned to it. It has had to outsource helicopter training to a private company as its own helicopters are in need of repair. A Bundeswehr mission in Mali had half its vehicles knocked out by the climate which may be because their vehicles were design for use in Europe. German reconnaissance jets couldn’t fly at night because the cockpit lights are too bright. In 2015 only 66 of the air force’s 93 fighters were operational but only 29 of them were combat ready. Due to lack of spare parts and high maintenance costs Germany has only 9 out of 44 tanks combat-ready in one brigade and last December they had only 95 out of 244 Leopard 2 main battle tanks ready altogether.
    RT had a story on the German Army ( recently but I am going to take my own guess. In my many visits to Germany back in the 80s you often saw the Bundeswehr about and all men had to serve in it – either that or work in a hospital or the like. Now it is a volunteer army but the trouble is that, like the US military, the politicians keep on finding new missions and new commitments for an army that was actually built to defend Germany itself. Trump is demanding that Germany spend more money on the German military by which he means buying American weapons systems along with the servicing contracts such weapons involve. Trouble is that that does nothing for the rest of the force that is being run down and any new US weapons systems would drain more resources from the rest of the German military. Time for the German military to take a “pausa” and increase some spending but only on the core basics first.

    1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

      Am I the only one who has seen the CNBC item on NRA, Trump and Russia:..?



      1. derechos
        Might as well give the link to save others the trouble of searching. And it’s a fine article.

        “But when it comes to funding, the NRA may have finally gone too far: the FBI recently launched an investigation to determine whether a Russian central banker, and Putin ally, illegally funneled money through the organization to help the Trump campaign….Although much of the reporting on Russia has focused on whether there was “collusion” with the Trump campaign — a genuine concern — the investigation is also revealing another disquieting reality: that American democracy has a money laundering problem.”
        “The NRA is among the largest “dark money” organizations, reporting the greatest amount of campaign spending without revealing the source of the funds — over $35 million in the 2016 election cycle alone.”

    2. visitor

      A German defense official stated recently that the Navy is running out of deployment-capable ships for all the missions assigned to it.

      The German navy has also just rejected the delivery of the new frigates built to replace its aging warships — after they flunked their sea trials because of under-performing engines, the control (radars, sonars, etc) and arms systems not working together, and the whole ship consistently listing to starboard… Failed ship architecture, failed power design, failed systems integration.

    3. Ignim Brites

      The deterioration of the German military is undoubtedly one reason why Putin wants to keep the US in NATO and so baits their foreign intelligence and foreign policy elites.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Bloomborg plays catch-up with NC’s Feb 14th post by Wolf Richter [‘Big Reset Looms for Credit Market’]:

    Corporate bond investors finally joined a selloff that has shaken stocks to Treasuries as investors spooked by U.S. interest-rate risk headed for the exits.

    Investors pulled $14.1 billion from debt funds according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report. High-yield bonds lost $10.9 billion alone, the second highest outflow on record. As benchmark Treasury yields traded at a four-year high, it shook the foundations of a key support for risk assets — low rates.

    “Investors don’t sell their cash bonds in a big way until they are forced to, which happens when the outflows start picking up more sustainably,” Morgan Stanley wrote in a recent note to clients.

    What frayed-collar journos never tell you is that big outflows from stocks and bond funds typically have a contrarian implication: when the public is spooked and selling (egged on by the MSM) usually you can back up the truck and pile in mountains of the cast-off asset class with a Bobcat and a forklift.

    My junk vs Treasuries switching model still unambiguously prefers junk. If you take financial advice from the MSM (which simply amplifies the popular mood; thus the contrarian value of headlines and magazine covers) you will lose everything.

    Last Friday a dead-tree edition of the NYT in the supermarket featured a bold-headlined lead story about the volmageddon selloff. “Duh, that means it’s over,” I remarked to a companion. Thanks, MSM!

    1. monday1929

      Do you think JNK (junk etf), at some point in the future, could see a huge gap down event like xiv?
      The etf promises (and has, for now) liquidity that does not exist in the underlying.

  5. Wukchumni

    “Priebus soon became a target of Trump’s ritual belittling as the president took to referring to him as “Reincey.” At one point, he summoned Priebus—to swat a fly. Priebus seemed to have been willing to endure almost any indignity to stay in Trump’s favor.”
    Oh, to have been that fly on the wall, listening in.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The commander-in-chief answers Reince while chasing a fly
      Saying Death to all those who would whimper and cry
      And dropping a barbell he points to the sky
      Saying The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken

      — Bob Dylan, Tombstone Blues

  6. Kevin


    Dr. Nassar was forced to endure hours of excruciating testimony from his victims.

    Likewise, Congress should have to sit and endure similar testimony from the shooting victims family and those scarred survivors – live on television for all to see.

    Shame them into action.

    1. Croatoan

      What action?

      What we have is another mentally ill person, stigmatized by peers and teachers, alienated from society by being kicked out of school, untreated, without care or follow up.

      He was seen only as a threat because people only heard his words. What happened was not evil, it was a biological response. He was asking to be cared for in a language that takes compassion and patience to understand. No one was listening.

      Both Republicans and Democrats still do not want to care for the mentally ill, instead, they want to make them “illegal people” and not let buy guns instead of seeing the mental illness shared by the people who think we need guns. They want to marginalize them, further. Stigmatize them again.

      Banning guns solves the problem of people getting killed but the mental illness is free to flourish. Don’t you see that the gun and the violence was the only language this man had left? No one was listening to him. So he screamed.

      Guns are used by people who do not have a voice in society. That is why they are used by revolutionaries, by the poor, and that is why many Trump supporters want to have guns. Neo-liberals want to just take the guns away and let Mr. Market figure out what to do about the mentally ill. Hillary calling Trump supporters “deplorables” is the perfect example that she does not listen. Trump, he does not even pretend he is listening. Guns are symbolic, and we need to listen to what that symbol is telling us.

      Mental illness is a society that does not listen and care for the sick and suffering, it is a society that values the self over the community.

      So I say do not focus on taking away the guns, focus on making it so that everyone in society does not feel so threatened and unheard that they need a gun. That starts by listening and ends in transforming society.

        1. Telly

          This is just ignorant. I’ve been stigmatised for my entire adult life for having a mental illness. No one will listen to you. The people who are supposed to help like the shrinks and other mental health professionals just want to drug you into a unfeeling zombie and the supposed progressives want the same. Race has nothing to do with it. If i didn’t have the support of my family and friends i could easily see myself getting angry enough to do something stupid.

          1. Croatoan

            Amen. I have a mental illness as well. I face stigma even from my family.

            It’s a hard thing to explain to people who do not go through it.

            1. Bill

              This is a complex thing to talk about, and very individual. While it is very wrong for families and communities to punish a person with these difficulties, I can tell you that a member of my family, terrified of being homeless, threatened my life if I did not sign my house over to him, and refused to take medication to stop his other drug use and psychotic episodes. I was providing a place for him to live and living with his ups and downs, but he was not doing his part to live in a way that did not frighten everyone around him. His illness seemed to be an entity in itself and bent on destruction of everything around him. He said the voices told him to do things, and I pointed out that he did not have to do those things, just because the voices told him to (this did make him think for a minute). I became frightened of him, and could not continue to have him in my home because he threatened the safety of our elderly parents and myself. It’s a two-way street.

              1. Croatoan

                If society provided him housing would he have had an issue? Why do we not as a culture provide housing for these people? That alone, reducing stress, is the best medication.

                I understand the individual issue, but the stem from larger social ills.

                1. Bill

                  My father wanted to keep him at home, and moved out with my mother to an apartment so that my brother could live with them. He beat my 78-year-old father bloody soon after that, because he said he hated my father’s voice. Then he was committed with my father’s consent. My point is that he needed structure of a mental facility, which some here I think are calling stigmatizing. I had tried to get him to stay in a good facility before this happened. His illness was not rational–reducing stress was a matter of opinion with him. You are right though–appropriate housing is desperately needed, but he had to accept help that was ultimately going to interfere with his psychotic behavior. He thought it was working for him, so he did not want to change.

                  1. bob

                    “His illness was not rational”

                    “he had to accept help that was ultimately going to interfere with his psychotic behavior.”

                    I’m not saying this is easy, but this paradox is usually at the heart of many of these situations.

                    How do you rationally argue with someone who you admit isn’t rational?

          2. bob

            One of the things I am seeing start to coalesce around the Florida mess is a black list of ‘mentally ill’ people.

            That should help things./s


            Here’s King Andy, who can’t say anything about his ‘alleged’ corruption (at the end), but can say a lot about his lists, listicles, and his long career of failing upward that has lead him to the head of NYS and national politics.



      1. jrs

        I don’t know, this seems confused. It seems to me that making a point about shooters like this being “mentally ill” stigmatizes those with an actual “mental illness” diagnosis, who I have heard are actually less violent than the general populace. And how do we even know that the shooter was indeed mentally ill? Because they shot people? If we are going to use self-referencing definitions like that let’s not pretend that the “mentally ill” diagnosis BY ITSELF isn’t stigmatizing.

        And it’s one thing to say this society creates a lot of pain, but the guy seems to have been a deranged human being as well torturing animals etc.. I mean really truly there seems to have been more wrong with him than just being a social outcast in a dead end social role even if a better society wouldn’t create such roles at all, and I agree that a decent society wouldn’t.

        1. Croatoan

          So far it seems he was mentally ill, he was hearing voices. But I am not saying he did it because he was mentally ill, I am saying he did it because he was suffering.

          The fact is nothing was done to help him. Maybe not stigmatizing us, or calling us “wackadoodles” as someone did in a comment below, would be a good start.

      2. Annieb

        I agree with much of what you wrote. “No one was listening so he screamed.” But another factor is being overlooked, or buried in the articles about the kid. He lost both of his adopted parents recently. This event coupled with all the rest, the school bullying, the depression, etc etc, obviously could have caused this rage. Also, look at the pictures of his face. I see a kid with a blank expression. Not angry, not confused, not broken. Blank. And he went to get a soda and to McD’s after the shooting. What the heck is that? It truly baffles me.

        1. Croatoan

          The blankness after a psychotic episode is common. And it is common among schizophrenics in general. I have a mood disorder, it does not baffle me.

          For someone with a mood disorder, stress is trigger. So reading about what else was going on in his life gives me even more compassion for him.

      3. Darius

        Mentally ill people in other countries don’t commit massacres because they don’t have ready access to military firepower. Late stage empire. USA! USA!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If we consider greedy people as mentally not well, they do have access, down in Mexico.

          And wherever Dr. Strangelove is today, that country also have mentally ill people having access to fire power, committing massacres most probably.

          I feel if a problem involves several causes, and if we only provide a partial solution, the result might be worse.

          In fact, we have to be suspicious of being distracted with only one cause, with our attention being diverted from others.

      4. Phil in KC

        Whoa! That’s very well stated, and I’d guess true in many (but not all), possibly most cases. The wealthy and influential can own guns, too. But that’s a great insight about the symbolic values of guns to the voiceless and dispossessed. I’ve observed this phenomena myself, but this clarifies things. Democrats: listen up!

    2. Gary

      Would it be possible to start a giant class action law suit against the NRA, gun manufactures and congress criters that have taken money from the gun industry? I think a large number of citizens would join in. Why hasn’t think been considered?

        1. jawbone

          Heh. I’d forgotten Congress enacted special protections for the gun industry.

          It’s so vital to our national feeling…uh…of being terrorized?

      1. kgw

        Camus’ “The Rebel,” deals quite well with the early stages of the social pact’s dissolution.

        “The spirit of rebellion can only exist in a society where a theoretical equality conceals great factual inequalities. The problem of rebellion, therefore, has no meaning except within our own Western society.”
        ― Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think it can be generalized to include any dissonance, or disturbance in the chi-energy field.

  7. fresno dan

    Amid the ritual offering of thoughts and prayers for the latest victims of gun violence, here’s something members of Congress can do that will not limit the distribution of guns nor infringe on perceived freedoms contained within the Second Amendment.

    They can, and should without delay, lift the 20-year-old ban on federal research on gun violence.
    House Speaker Paul Ryan relied on the dearth of research again on Thursday in cautioning against a rush to action. “This is not the time to jump to some conclusion, not knowing the full facts,” he said. “We have a system to prevent people who aren’t supposed to get guns from getting guns. And if there are gaps there, then we need to look at those gaps.”
    Why do Americans shoot their fellow Americans……because they can?

    BTW….was there some legislation recently passed revoking the ban on whackadoodles getting guns…just askin’

    1. Kevin

      Hello Fresno – see previous post to today’s links: A Reading on Collective Angst.

      Consider all the countries in the world as beehives, peacefully hanging from trees.

      America’s hive, however, is shaken violently on a regular basis (i.e income disparity, absurd education costs, etc.) causing an agitated hive that produces overstressed bees – that aggression WILL manifest itself somehow.

    2. John Zelnicker

      @fresno dan
      February 16, 2018 at 8:37 am
      Yes, there was recent legislation that revoked the requirement that Social Security report to the background check system (NICS) those who receive Social Security Disability benefits for mental health issues. This was done through the Congressional Review Act that prohibits any similar regulation from being imposed without new legislation.

      I honestly believe that the elites will be just as happy if we kill each other off. They seem to be doing everything they can to make life as difficult as possible for the working class and everyone else not in the top 10% or so. The increasing “deaths from despair” is the logical result of these efforts.

      Besides, these mass shootings take up big chunks of the news cycle allowing those in power to carry out their agenda while we are distracted by the “bread and circuses”.

      1. Arthur Dent

        One of the reason these shootings make headlines is that they typically occur in suburban schools with many parents in the top 10%. It comes as a real shock because it is supposed to be the inner city where the bullets are flying.

        My wife teaches in an inner city school. There is some violence but a mass shooting is less likely than in a suburban school for two reasons:

        1. Many of the students are immigrants. They simply don’t participate in the bullying that is a hallmark for creating a mass shooter.
        2. The students don’t have the money to go to the local gun store and buy lots of weapons and military gear with lots of magazines and bullets.

        The kids are exposed to gunfire, but it is at home where drugs and gangs in their neighborhoods result in the gun violence.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          1. Many of the students are immigrants. They simply don’t participate in the bullying that is a hallmark for creating a mass shooter.


          Hopefully we hear more about this, both for and against.

          It would suggest it’s our culture that is the problem or a problem, not just the one most people point to immediately.

      2. jawbone

        I honestly believe that the elites will be just as happy if we kill each other off.

        Indeed. As memorialized in the phrase “Hurry up and die.”

    3. Croatoan


      Dear sir, I am one of those whackadoodles you speak of. And I agree with Trump. By making it illegal for me to buy a gun when I have no history of violence is making me illegal and it re-enforces the stigma of those of us with mood disorders and leads to people calling us whackadoodles.

      I do not like guns, but we have a society that has no voice and some of them use guns to express their voice. I do not blame the gun only, or the person only, I blame society collectively. People who want to control others have only compassion for themselves.

      And please, think about how you talk about people with mental health issues.

      1. fresno dan

        February 16, 2018 at 12:03 pm

        And I agree with Trump. By making it illegal for me to buy a gun when I have no history of violence is making me illegal and it re-enforces the stigma of those of us with mood disorders and leads to people calling us whackadoodles.”

        Croatoan: do you think you should be able to own a gun?
        (what history of violence did Cruz have?)
        You being stigmatized is not more important than me being alive. The only question is: who is more nuts, mentally ill people who believe they can own guns or a society that thinks mentally ill people can own guns…

        President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that neighbors and classmates should have reported 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz to authorities after he first exhibited disturbing behavior.

        But many had done that — over and over and over again.

        Cruz, accused of mowing down 17 people at his South Florida high school in one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings, had been barred from bringing a backpack to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because he was threatening other students and, after repeated disciplinary run-ins, was finally expelled last year.

        Neighbors say he harassed them and police were called to his house many times, the Sun-Sentinel reported. He had also been receiving mental health treatment, but stopped going to the clinic sometime last fall, according to The Washington Post.

        Yet despite the fact that he was well known to local police, school and mental health officials, he legally purchased the AR-15 that he used to gun down his former classmates. Cruz slipped through the gaps in a dysfunctional mental health system and a gun background check setup not designed to stop mentally ill people who haven’t been incarcerated or court-ordered into treatment.

        1. Croatoan

          I have no reason to own a gun because my compassion is greater than my fear of dying. I object to people want to turn me into an illegal person by a subjective medical diagnosis. I object to people taking away my rights based on cultural stories. You know, like what happened to blacks and gays.

          “You being stigmatized is not more important than me being alive.”

          You think I want to kill you? Have you been checked for an anxiety disorder or paranoid delusions? :) You know you could have a quick diagnosis and be on that list before you know it.

          You are assigning a risk to me based on a statistic is no existent, and much lower than people who use drugs and alcohol. Yes, people who use did are more likely to be violent.

          Why aren’t you proposing drug tests for gun owners?

          I am saying they should not let violent people buy guns. Saying that the mentally I’ll should not be allowed to buy guys stigmatizes because it equates violence with mental illness.

          But you agree with me, no one cared about him. Isn’t that the fundamental problem?

          We look at this one horrific act and we miss all the small ones done by neurotypical people everyday. That is no way to make policy.

          1. jrs

            I agree there doesn’t seem much evidence people diagnosed with “mental illness” owning guns is more dangerous than anyone else owning guns (the proliferation of guns issue is a separate issue than targeting those with “mental illness” diagnoses for special legal treatment). Still though if we can’t use words from psychology to describe the guy “sick”, “sadistic” etc. then we will have to use moralistic words and call him one bad dude. Not just for the shooting but because the guy enjoyed animal cruelty as well.

        2. Inode_buddha

          Legally, the mentally ill cannot own guns, already. Last time I purchased a firearm (a shotgun in 1990 fwiw) the very first question on the FFL paperwork was regarding mental stability. I’m willing to bet that more than a few people have lied on the FFL forms which carries a max penalty of 5 years or $250,000 last I checked.

          Florida has always been a bit of a “free access” nutcase tho, similar to Texas.

      2. Bill

        People who want to control others have only compassion for themselves.

        Are you in favor of the voiceless using guns to control others–i.e., deciding to kick them off the planet, just because “society collectively” failed them? Pardon me, but that sounds a little whacky to me. Making “society collectively” responsible obviates personal accountability–a common thing these days. That’s no excuse for taking another’s life.

        1. Croatoan

          No. I want a better society where people do not have the need to use guns.

          Cruz wanted to control people as well. Our whole culture is about control.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            System selects for psychopathy, on purpose.
            for all those years, 1. the profession of Psyche was abused by militarists and spooks, and moralists and essentially, eugenecists, and this necessarily lessened the legitimacy of the profession(lesson: stay out of bed with CIA, et alia)…and 2. at the same time, not only was Reagan(as Goob) undercutting the idea of Psyche(due to #1:Commie Mind Control”)), but the rising Theocratic Wing of Gop was against it tooth and nail in the South(“that’s what church is for”), so it has been consistantly defunded and derided(MHMR in Texas may as well not exist outside of big cities, and even there, it’s a travesty)
            so in the south as a whole and especially within the intercity no man’s land(“The Country”) There is little to no mental health(for lower midclass, poor), and if a therapist opened up shop where I live, I doubt they’d be there for long(no market/percived need & at least tacit hostility)
            a few teachers, here, were overheard telling each other after the shooting that “nobody wants to talk about mental illness, because the dems want to disarm us”(!!?). It’s as if they were casually painting the wall red, while yammering that they hate how the wall is always red.
            In my ongoing, randomly conducted, totally unscientific polling/eavesdropping out here, a lot of these folks would have no problem with the idea of Mental Health Services, better background checks and other “big gov” type things, but they fear the all powerful Democratic Machine(??!). When pressed, they might be ok with one of theirs actually doing some gun control scheme.(I was shocked by all this, as well)
            As with so many things on the feral American Right,they have to come to it on their own, or with (what they think is) one of their own leading them.((they’d be interested in a Const Amd. that codified the Right to Vote, for instance)
            But you can’t talk to them as a democrat(etc).
            I saw that Max Boot wants gun control,lol.
            and Ordinary Republicans are talking about mental health(!!).
            The Frameworks that we apply to Reality are broken.
            Wish we could better take advantage of the disarray.

  8. Jim Haygood

    As if we needed another frickin’ headache: Mitt!

    Mitt Romney

    I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah’s values to Washington.
    8:19 AM – Feb 16, 2018

    We learnt what “Utah’s values” were last Friday when all four members of its House delegation voted for the egregious borrow-and-spend two-year budget deal.

    Utah’s “mortgage the beehive” values would be best dramatized by dressing up in harlequin suit and tossing a pile of hundred-dollar bills into a fan to blow into a raging fire, as a claque of trained seals clap their flippers and go ork ork ork.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Good comment from “Uncle Billy” on the article:

      Romney is like Jason from the Friday 13th horror series. You simply cannot get rid of him. Romney has a nice family and lots of money. One would think that he would retire, enjoy life, and stop inflicting himself upon the public.

      Both parties are infested with zombies: Pelosi, Romney, Stenny Hoyer and others. Storm [sic] Thurmond and Robert Byrd were in the Senate for what seemed like centuries. It’s almost a horror movie.

      msnbs is referring to mittens as “the favorite.” I’d say carpetbagger, but, apparently, he’s not even bothering with the bag.

      1. Carolinian

        Strom, or Storm, did become a bit more of a friend to black people toward the end of his many years. After all his secret illegitimate daughter was black. Zombies can show personal growth?

        As I’ve related here before I sat on Strom’s lap at app age six during a family ride on the Capitol subway. Scarred for life.

  9. Wukchumni

    A friend that runs a sightseeing tour in the NP was over yesterday, and primarily gets out of state and overseas visitors, and was telling me that every last tourist from out of the country asks him about all the homeless they saw in SD/OC/LA/SF and were amazed by the extent of it.

    1. RUKidding

      I live in CA, and I’ve been immersed in the homeless situation here in various cities and towns, and I’m still amazed by the extent of it. The most aggravating thing, of course, is how almost NOTHING is being done to mitigate the situation in any way. Literally DECADES of the CA State, plus various local govts basically kicking the can down the road and “criminalizing” homelessness and mental illness.

      It’s disgusting.

      I have a good cynical laugh when friends of mine say that they simply cannot travel to places like India because of the poverty and homelessness there. I always say: what do you do when you walk out of your front door? Put on a blind fold?

      Sheesh. I’ve lived in India. It’s almost worse here bc we provide NO drinking fountains, no bathrooms, no sinks, no nothing. Lots of defacation in the streets which has led to Hepatitis epidemics this year.

      It’s official: the USA IS a Third World nation.

    2. Carolinian

      Homeless people like warm climates and California fits the bill (well, maybe not San Francisco). Key West, Florida was famously a homeless destination and here in the southland we’ve seen an upturn.

      1. Wukchumni

        In Santa Monica before the turn of the century, they’d feed the homeless in front of the Rand building which lured all comers from hither to yon & beyond, and it was one of the few places that you’d see people living like that in a city in SoCal.

        It’s a little different now…

      2. jrs

        Only there have been articles that most of the homeless around Los Angeles are actually locals. At some point can’t make the ever rising rents maybe.

    3. curlydan

      And I’m assuming the tourists didn’t even see Portland! I was shocked in my visit there 2 years ago.

      1. Eclair

        We visited Portland over the Holidays, two years ago. The Central Library at closing time was a dystopian scene of streams of homeless people shuffling out the door to ….. where? An overpass or alley? It was certainly too late in the evening to head to an official shelter.

        Now, in Seattle, homeless folk are everywhere. A few discrete tents in a sheltered corner by Green Lake; one man endlessly circles the lake pushing a shopping cart festooned with Target plastic bags. 115th Street, between Aurora and UW’s Northwest Hospital campus, is lined with cars and campers; the lucky ones that still have a vehicle and some place to park it. The inhabitants of the cemetery don’t hassle them.

        Blessed be the public libraries and the librarians; the reading rooms during this rainy season are filled with the homeless, using the computers, reading, not-sleeping, as this is frowned upon. They are quiet, resigned, beaten down by their situation.

        In the quiet-before-the-storm that we are discussing in Yves post this morning, commenters are wondering how long and how bad the ‘slide’ has to become before there is a rupture. I think of society as balancing at the ‘angle of repose,’ the steepest angle at which a slope, formed of a mass of loose material, is stable. At that angle, additional material will destabilize the ground and stuff starts rolling downhill. What additional homeless person, which new child gunned down at school, which revelation of a government official lining her pockets in total disdain for the public good, will be the grain of sand that starts the landslide. Which exorbitant 15,000 sq ft house or personal jet purchased or multi-million dollar birthday party for 1000 closest friends, which sick person denied compensation by his health insurance company, which forty-year old, burdened still by student loans, house mortgage and credit card debt, with job outsourced, will be the tiny pebble that sets off the roaring avalanche.

        That is what so many of us are waiting for, breathless in horrified anticipation.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hear, here.

          We’ve come so far so fast from being self-sufficient to turning into shelf-efficient…

          …and when they took out one more lump of coal from the hollowed out understory of Turtle Mountain, did the Frank Slide get going 115 years ago, there was no stopping 90 million tons of limestone for 100 seconds when shift happened

          My mom was born in Bellevue, Ab., down the road a piece from where the rockalanche occurred.
          The Frank Slide was a rockslide that buried part of the mining town of Frank, Northwest Territories, Canada at 4:10 am on April 29, 1903. Over 82 million tonnes (90 million tons) of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain within 100 seconds, obliterating the eastern edge of Frank, the Canadian Pacific Railway line and the coal mine. It was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and remains the deadliest, as between 70 and 90 of the town’s residents were killed, most of whom remain buried in the rubble. Multiple factors led to the slide: Turtle Mountain’s formation left it in a constant state of instability. Coal mining operations may have weakened the mountain’s internal structure, as did a wet winter and cold snap on the night of the disaster.

  10. dk

    This is a couple of weeks old, “still relevant” imo:

    Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse

    Extreme capitalism has blown apart American society so totally that people cannot even care for one another as much as they do in places like Pakistan and Nigeria. Social bonds, relationships themselves, have become unaffordable luxuries, more so than even in poor countries: this is yet another social pathology unique to American collapse.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Thanks. I didn’t see this story before. I’d agree that it’s still relevant and will be for the next decade or so. I gotta disagree with the author’s conclusion that this experience is unique. You don’t see a massive shift in public opinion from a pre-millennialism brand of Christianity towards Augustine’s City of God during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire without contending with the social pathology being unleashed.

      The modern secular example would be Mad Max absolutely crushing Tomorrowland at the box office.

      1. Wukchumni

        I see us going more Max Mad* than the other way around.

        We’ve become desensitized to violence to the point where mass murders committed upon innocents are an expected outcome, why would we look askance when push>meets<shove, and such events had become so un-newsworthy as to not even be mentioned anymore by the usual suspects, except in passing?

        * there's plenty of gas available in this version

        1. Andrew Watts

          Oh, I don’t disagree with any of that. I made a comment yesterday about that fact when I said that I thought that the only reason why we heard about the latest shooting was because the body count exceeded the previous record in recent memory.

          I just would’ve rather had a jetpack is all.

    2. fresno dan

      February 16, 2018 at 8:50 am

      When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I’ve never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has history.
      I agree with you 100% dk. (and not just because your initials match my real name ;)
      Probably have never more people been more connected…electronically in history. Yet never before have imho people been so truly disconnected to feel cut adrift from caring human contact.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When you first went to school as a kid, you were thrown together with a bunch of strangers and you made friends, without thinking much of compatibillty.

        Connecting online is about finding a few, out of many billions of people, that you select,, consciously or unconsciously. There are still serendipitous encounters, just not as many.

    3. Jef

      We are not supposed to look at it from a big picture perspective. We are supposed to take our pick from the hundreds of symptoms, make it our pet project, and ignore all the rest.

    4. jrs

      Yes but the ideal should not to be to care for people like they do in Pakistan or Nigeria (and Mexican immigrants often already do btw) but to care for people like they do in Nordic countries. It’s what a modern industrial well off country does when it’s doing it right. Going back to the mores of a pre-industrial country after post-industrial capitalism isn’t really an option.

      In the American Conservative article referencing this commentators pointed out that the stats on school gun shootings are overstated due to including non-violent incidents. The gun nuts so seem to be right on that one.

  11. The Rev Kev

    Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand

    Newsflash. New Zealand practicing to greet Peter Thiel and his friends when they flee the US after helping to crash it-

    Next, his reception committee introduces him to cultural artifacts like the Taiaha.

    1. Wukchumni

      Before NZ went full tilt boogie capitalism in the later 80’s, after having been a poster child for the cradle to grave socialist state, the Tall Poppy Syndrome would’ve made Peter’s principal rather unwieldy.

      I don’t know that it matters now…

  12. Jim Haygood

    Deutsche Bank has a go at explaining US dollar weakness in the face of high and rising US interest rates, which textbook theory says should strengthen the dollar’s attractiveness vs other currencies:

    The US twin deficit (the sum of the current account and fiscal balance) is set to deteriorate dramatically in coming years.

    When an economy is stimulated at full employment the only way to absorb domestic demand is higher imports. Under conservative assumptions the US twin deficit is set to deteriorate by well over 3% of GDP over the next two years.

    So the “unfair trade” president is going to be sabotaged by an import surge provoked by crackpot fiscal stim in the Republican budget deal he just signed.

    As the great George W Bush quipped upon introducing a Harvard professor: “He wrote a book. I read one.

    1. Summer

      I don’t think Trump or too many people in his admin will feel “sabotaged” as along as nothing hurts his or their business holdings.

      1. Edward E

        But give them credit where credit is due. They have managed to pump a lot of hush money into the economy. Created a lot of jobs for fact-checkers.

  13. ocop

    From the Chinese Casino story:

    Imperial Pacific also hired Shen Yan, a Chinese banker who’d held senior positions at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, as president. Yan had suffered an alarming career setback in 2011—he was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport for carrying a gun in his backpack—but he had connections, including to David Paterson, the blind former governor of New York, whom Yan had once helped navigate a menu at a Shanghai luncheon. In 2015, Yan persuaded Paterson to join an Imperial Pacific advisory board and make introductions to other political figures.

    Paterson delivered, demonstrating just how easy it is to get prominent American government figures to work for an opaque, year-old Chinese casino developer. He quickly got in touch with Ed Rendell, the ex-governor of Pennsylvania. “They wanted some Americans involved in case anything came up with the regulation or legalities,” Rendell told Bloomberg in a 2016 interview. “One of my assistants and I did some research on the internet.” He signed on for $5,000 a month and persuaded Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor, to take the same gig. Louis Freeh, the former FBI director, also became an adviser. Eugene Sullivan, a retired military judge, and James Woolsey, the former CIA director, joined Imperial Pacific’s board of directors.

    A familiar cast of characters, easily bought for $5k a month. It would be hilarious if it weren’t a tragic reflection on the health of our democracy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s very, er, interesting…you have people from the CIA, FBI and military in there.

      Do the Chinese have any concern about it being used by us to get something from them?

      Of course, if this works out well for them, it establishes a working formula for them (a formula probably known by a few other states already) and it can scale up quickly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’d be impressed with an American corporation that has on its board the ex-heads of Chinese Military Commission, Public Safety bureau and their intelligence agency.

        In that case, maybe Rep. Schiff would want to know if that company is in collusion with China.

        Similarly, the ownership of Imperial Pacific might have to clear with the Poliburo first. I’m just guessing.

    2. tooearly

      meanwhile, reports i am hearing from contacts through out the pacific suggest china is quietly and not so quietly buying good with with large sums of $. Tonga, Micronesia , W. Samoa

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Resigning from being an empire, voluntarily or otherwise, doesn’t do much (for the world) if that vacancy is filled by another candidate.

        And even without resorting to history (buying Louisiana or Alaska, or outright military conquests), it’s instinctual to go after smaller, easier pieces first.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: What We Talk About When We Talk About Immigration The Nation

    They [“well-meaning liberals”] point out, for instance, that a number of technology companies—including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Tesla—were founded by immigrants or their children.

    Considering the effects these “businesses” have had and are having on our society and our beloved, sacred “democracy,” that may not be the ringing endorsement it is intended to be.

    Didn’t I read here recently that, back when this surveillance technology was in its infancy, a group of students foresaw the conflicts with american “values” and tried to kill it?

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I reckon that if Capital has no borders, neither should I.
      I know a lot of immigrants.(Mexico mostly, but also points south.)
      Most are (somewhat miraculously, given the Kafka-esque system) legal, to one degree or another.
      Frankly, I’d rather have them as neighbors than just about anybody else I know.
      As for hypersurveillance…should coulda, etc,lol.
      how would we get it back into the tube?
      Sadly, we might need Hypersousveillance to counter it.
      which is unpleasant to think about.

  15. Croatoan

    The fact that BACE1 inhibitors can remove amyloid plaques again points to Alzheimer’s as being a diabetes of the brain. BACE1 is inhibited by another enzyme called RTN3. Diabetes has been show to loweer the binding of RTN3 to BACE1. The reason that happens is that oxidative stress damages the RTN3 enzyme, like it does with several others. If you are already have weak RTN3 or BACE1 genetics, this oxidative stress makes it more likely you will get Alzheimer’s.

    Alzheimer’s is caused by oxidative stress. It is relatively easy to reduce oxidative stress.

  16. Tracie Hall

    Beautiful dog image!!!
    Hurray for the year of the (Earth) dog!!! I was born in one of it’s years, so am counting on this being MY year! :-)

  17. schultzzz

    re: school shooters. I absolutely don’t want to be one of the ghouls who smugly says, “[whatever tragedy in question] conveniently proves America needs to do all the stuff I’ve been saying for years!”

    But, I’m noticing something missing from the list of usual culprits (video games, too many guns, mental health, divorce, not enough guns). . .

    Namely, has anyone been studying all the shooters’ parents (or families), looking for economic problems that they all have in common?

    Could Mom and Dad working 2 or 3 jobs, never being around, or Mom and Dad being constantly stressed from being a ‘precariat’ (or some other neoliberal malady of your choice). . . could any of that push a kid over the edge?

    Again, I’m not saying that’s so; I’m asking, has anyone heard that mentioned by social scientists studying school shootings? Or mentioned in interviews by people who knew the shooters?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We can extend it to look at the society in general.

      The lack of trust, for example. A typically cautious male worker is reluctant to work alone with a female co-worker.

      It seems the bond between people is very fragile.

      And if we believe in the butterfly effect, a small step like saying or thinking ‘The people of the other political party are all evil,’ can have far reaching effects.

      1. Expat

        A typically cautious male worker is cautious because there is a rather sad history of males dominating and abusing females in the workplace. There are certainly excesses being committed in the name of political correctness, but those who call it excessive are typically not the traditional victims. What is so onerous about being required to have open-door meetings with a female colleague?

        I think the bond between people, especially males and females, will be strengthened when women don’t feel threatened.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If all meetings are open-door meetings, that would be different than the case of only requiring it when it’s between a male and a female co-worker.

          That’s a society with people not trusting each other.

          Who is to blame or what is the cause of it, that’s a different question.

          Here, I am not saying men have not been so bad that women can’t trust them.

          I am only saying people don’t trust each other much.

          Perhaps it’s the history of it. Actually it is. But I am just saying people don’t trust each other.

          1. rd

            You don’t need an open door. You just design the offices and conference rooms with windows so anybody walking by can see in. Very few guys are going to drop their trousers in that setting.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              There is history.

              And we can talk about solutions.

              I was just commenting on the lack of trust, as the original commenter mentioned about looking at other, less immediately visible causes…more loners, less family time, etc.

              1. rd

                The history is that women rarely had power in the work place. So the times they are a-changing. Transitions are not overnight.

                I just look at things like offices with windows as design solutions to help bridge until a new paradigm settles in.

                I work in engineering. There were NO women until around 1990. Interestingly, checking in with women colleagues over the past few months, they report that they have not been sexually harassed except on construction sites, even in the 90s. I was concerned that this may have been going on under the radar – apparently engineers are too boring (civil and ethical?) to do the Weinstein thing. However, they have dealt with a distinct glass ceiling issue with lower pay and opportunities.

  18. Lee

    White House Says Iraq Has WMD Russia Created Cyberattack Moon of Alabama. What I can’t figure out is why we don’t have our war already, whether in North Korea, the Middle East, or Ukraine, since our elites clearly want one so desperately (I don’t mean pissant wars like Afghanistan; I mean a real war, with tanks ‘n’ stuff, and embedded “reporters”).

    Surely, you kid. Hell, the U.S. can’t even win its pissant wars.

  19. fresno dan

    February 16, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I too would very much like to see a live fire demonstration of this by anyone who advocates it.

  20. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    Thank you for the fascinating ” Le Gren ” article, but would just like to add that the instantaneous or the present does not actually exist.

    Even at 166,000 miles a second the speed of light takes time to deliver that which you observe to your brain.

    An object a few feet away about one billionth of a second, the moon about 1.2 seconds, the sun around 8 minutes & our nearest neighbour galaxy Andromeda, about 2 million years.

    All observance is from the past, even if by the minutest fraction.

    1. Chris

      That’s the time it takes for the light to hit the retina. Now add in the time it takes for the rod or cone in the retina to fire off a signal, the time for that signal to propagate to the brain, and for the brain to interpret multiple (often ambiguous) signals as an integrated perception of a moving image, and you can probably add another second or two.

      The eye is not a camera (just as the brain is not a computer).

  21. allan

    Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize-winning economist, says Wells Fargo is ‘slimy’ [Marketwatch]

    The father of nudge theory says Wells Fargo is using “sludge” theory to avoid refunding customers’ money. …

    Wells Fargo forcing people to opt in to being paid money they’re owed is “thick sludge,” Thaler said on Twitter.

    On Twitter TWTR, -2.50% Thaler was referring to the bank’s method of reimbursing 110,000 customers who were improperly charged monthly fees. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the bank will offer to reimburse those customers by mailing them form letters and asking customers to opt in to a repayment.

    The plan quickly caught the eye of behavioral economists, who dubbed it an example of “sludge,” meaning the opposite of nudge theory, which is supposed to harness people’s decision-making instincts to help them make better choices for their well-being. …

    Although in all fairness, Thaler, Sunstein and company nudging people into high-fee 401(k)’s
    was not necessarily a “better choice for their well-being”.

  22. RWood

    Our waste is shambling closer…

    This from an essay by Walter Benjamin

    A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

  23. Bill

    Shiba inu? I love them, wonderful companions and very cheerful and playful. Also prefer the best, but don’t we all

  24. Jim Haygood

    Trade War Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross today recommended harsh, comprehensive tariffs and quotas on imported steel and aluminum, on “national security” grounds.

    This is a replay of the Republican party’s reflexive protectionism of the early 20th century. Smoot and Hawley’s [both Republicans] tariff act of 1930, signed by one-term Republican president Hoover, teed up the Great Depression. Such was the popular revulsion to the consequences that 20 years would elapse before another Republican was entrusted with the presidency.

    History rhymes. If Trade War Trump goes for Ross’s ruination, it will set up a hard smash in 2020 which could make Trump a one-termer as well as end the US’s dark reign as “the world’s only superpower,” as it collapses back into its nativist, know-nothing shell.

    Republicanism: come for the racism, stay for the crack-up.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. Stocks are over-valued.

      2. Tariffs are all bad, all the time? Or some details on why these are bad, and not just that this is a replay of Smoot and Hawley.

    2. Charlie

      Smoot and Halley came about three years after the Depression began. Trouble was brewing in paradise long before these tariffs.

      1. Phil in KC

        Smoot-Hawley signed into law June 1930, eight months after the October stock market plunges. Per Hoover at that time: “Prosperity is just around the corner.” Smoot-Hawley was perfectly timed if you were intent on tanking the economy.

  25. Brian L.

    RE: Climate Change Costs Insurance Companies Billions, And Price is Rising

    So what’s gonna happen when half the country is uninsurable? Is that when we’ll wake up and say “Oh crap.” Or will it be when the southern half of Florida is underwater? Seems like the insurance industry needs to be shouting very loudly about climate change. Their business model is based on assessing and pricing risk. Their biggest risk seems to be to the business model itself because the prices they will come up with, no one will be able to pay. It will turn out that a stable climate is priceless. Whooda thunk it?

    1. Ignim Brites

      We might conclude from this article that one way to reduce the monetary impact of climate change would be to abolish the Federal Reserve.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    For Olympic Glory, Athletes Need Talent and a Billionaire Backer Bloomberg

    Time to go back to the literalist interpretation of the Olympics, updated to include female athletes, of course. That is, it should not be about money.

    Whatever they wore to compete, that should also be restored.

  27. Oregoncharles

    “WaPo Op-Ed Columnist Megan McArdle Wants Kids to ‘Gang Rush Shooters’”

    This is asking a lot, but it’s what actually happened in the Thurston High shooting a number of years ago. It’s in Springfield, Oregon, not very far away. I believe it was the football players that rushed him. One of them took a bullet to the head and nearly died, but they subdued the kid and stopped the slaughter.

    1. kareninca

      “Kinkel fired a total of 50 rounds, hitting with 37 of those, and killing two . . . When Kinkel’s rifle ran out of ammunition and he began to reload, wounded student Jacob Ryker tackled him, assisted by several other students. Kinkel drew the Glock from his belt and fired one shot before he was disarmed, injuring Ryker again as well as another student. He yelled at the students, “Just kill me!” The students restrained Kinkel until the police arrived and arrested him.[6] A total of seven students were involved in subduing and disarming Kinkel.”

      “Ryker had a perforated lung, but he made a full recovery. He received the Boy Scouts of America Honor Medal with Crossed Palms for his heroism on the day of the attack.”


  28. Oregoncharles

    “Photography and the Philosophy of Time:
    On Gustave Le Gray’s Great Wave, Sète”
    As a former photographer with some familiarity with the history of the medium, I lost patience with the article very quickly, because it doesn’t acknowledge the technical aspect of the medium. Capturing stopped motion was very difficult early on simply because the sensitive materials were so slow. That odd expression you see in old portraits? That’s because the subject had to hold still for long seconds or even minutes. I have an old family photo that captures the fact: the old lady is in perfect detail, with an expression of grim determination (a lot of my ancestors were like that), and the child she’s holding is blurred beyond recognition. Small children don’t hold still.

    “The Great Wave” is a TECHNICAL tour-de-force; he was both very skilled and very lucky, because sensitivity was pretty unpredictable then. The way it was gotten under control was amusing: turned out to matter what the animal sources of the gelatin had been eating. Mustard made the film faster.

    Philosophy had very little to do with it.

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