Links 3/13/18

Dear patient readers,

I hate making regular apologies. I’ve got a couple of original reporting thingies in the hopper which I hope will pan out, and they chew into regular posing time. And someone told me there was an important confession by an insider on trade policy…but I reviewed the hard to read transcript and couldn’t find it, so that was a bust in terms of a posting today. Plus a fashionista friend insists that because Mercury is about to go retrograde (is that the right term of art?), it makes it hard to get stuff done. So those of you who buy that stuff can blame the difficulties Lambert and I have been having this week on the stars.

Why Cats Knock Everything Over, According to Science Inverse (David L)

Humans thrived in South Africa through the Toba super-volcanic eruption about 74,000 years ago PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Footage of mysterious object above ocean stuns military personnel New York Post (David L)

Comcast ‘Blocks’ an Encrypted Email Service: Yet Another Reminder Why Net Neutrality Matters Slashdot

‘Citizen scientists’ track radiation seven years after Fukushima PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Study tackles neuroscience claims to have disproved ‘free will’ MedicalXpress (Robert M)

North Korea

Trump knew of Kim’s invitation long before it was received Asia Times

Wilkerson: Trump Won’t Make Peace with North Korea Real News Network


Britain is SERIOUSLY prepared: Brexit negotiators close in on transition deal Express. Kevin W: “No, seriously. Stop laughing. That is what the head line reads.”

New Cold War

Russian spy: Deadline for Moscow over spy poison attack BBC

Theresa May’s “45 Minutes” Moment Moon of Alabama

British spy drama echoes through Washington The Hill

Putin claims credit for healthier Russia as vodka intake falls Financial Times

WATCH: Putin’s FULL Interview with Megyn Kelly on NBC OffGuardian (Thom P)

Dem senator: Why is Trump silent on Putin blaming Jews for election interference? The Hill


Debate: Syria, Ghouta, and the Left and Part 2 Real News Network (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Tim Berners-Lee: we must regulate tech firms to prevent ‘weaponised’ web Guardian (Chris M)

Questions for TSA after reports of laptop and phone searches on domestic flights Guardian

Feds Bust CEO Allegedly Selling Custom BlackBerry Phones to Sinaloa Drug Cartel Vice (Bill B)

Tariff Tantrum

Trump Tariffs Not Such a Big Deal for U.S. Growth, Poll Shows Bloomberg

Trump Tariffs May Threaten U.S. Auto Jobs, European Executives Warn Wall Street Journal

Trump Transition

Trump Orders Broadcom to Cease Attempt to Buy Qualcomm Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Order Stops ALL Foreign Takeovers of Large US Tech Companies Wolf Street (EM)

A Player In The Trump-Russia Scandal Led A Double Life As An American Spy BuzzFeed. Lambert: “Can’t tell the players without a scorecard”

Larry Kudlow Emerges as Trump Favorite to Replace Cohn, Sources Say Bloomberg. Kill me now.

Republicans on House Panel Find No Collusion Between Russia and Trump Campaign Wall Street Journal. Subhead: “Panel found ‘bad judgment’ and some ‘inappropriate meetings’ between members of the Trump campaign and Russians; report not yet shared with Democrats on committee.”

Commentariat Central: Trumps and Tramps Edition Sardonicky (UserFriendly)

Pence: Abortion will end in U.S. ‘in our time’ MSN (UserFriendly)

Insurers Game Medicare System to Boost Federal Bonus Payments Wall Street Journal. From yesterday, still important.

Why Can’t the DCCC and the Resistance Get Along? Politico

Numbers Suggest Democrats Are Not Currently Set to Take Back the House of Representatives Counterpunch. If you have been following Lambert’s various tea leaf readers, this is very much a minority view.

Hillary Clinton: I won in ‘dynamic’ places, Trump won ‘backwards’ Business Insider. UserFriendly: “​Has this women ever put anyone but herself first? She might as well just admit she wasn’t gonna do shit for anyone that didn’t vote for her.​”

More explosions rock Austin Chicago Tribune (Bob H)

We Made A Documentary Exposing The ‘Israel Lobby.’ Why Hasn’t It Run? The Forward (UserFriendly)

Schwarzenegger planning to sue oil companies for ‘knowingly killing people all over the world’ The Hill


Study shows NRA is wrong about Aussie gun laws Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

Bank Financing: The Disappearance of Interbank Lending Money & Banking (Adrien). Important.

Kenneth Rogoff concerned by the dark side of the technology revolution Australian Financial Review

Guillotine Watch

Class Warfare

How a corporate cult captures and destroys our best graduates George Monbiot Guardian. This is not an exaggeration. Goldman was extremely cultish and since I was there, more and more companies have adopted many of its practices (cults are a great business model)

West Virginia Teachers Win Raise — but Nation’s Rural Teachers Are Still Underpaid The Conversation

Lyft says it passed $1 billion in revenue last year — and is growing faster than Uber Recode

Uber’s self-driving trucks are teaming up with Uber Freight to make hauls in Arizona Fast Company

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. visitor

        The last British king, certainly, but in much more recent times, kings elsewhere — and we are not talking about small fry — were still leading their troops into battle. For instance, Menelik II in 1896 at Adwa; or Haile Selassie I in 1936 at Maychew.

        Isn’t Elon Musk an African?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Reputedly, King Jigme Singya Wangchuck of Bhutan personally led the assault on Assamese Rebels who had taken refuge in Bhutan highlands in 2003, in Operation All Clear. His son was allegedly wounded.

          I was told by Bhutanese (no doubt the very popular former Kings legend has led to exaggerations), that he was told by the Indians to either clear the Assamese, or the Indians would invade and do it. He said he could not in conscience order his men to do something he wouldn’t do, so personally led the operation. He later abdicated, set Bhutan on the way to be a Parliamentary democracy, and retired to a small hut with his three wives.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Now you’ve lodged the idea of Stormy Daniels and Ivana Trump sharing a small hut into my head…. I’ve no idea if that will lead to good or bad dreams…

          1. Oregoncharles

            3 wives in a small hut? Doesn’t sound like a peaceful existence.

            Of course, that might be a king’s idea of “small.”

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              Like that urban myth that the Chinese character for “trouble” is 2 women under one roof?

              … Speaking of which, a Chinese pastor once told a tale about an itinerant missionary who put out a sign with the characters “Eternal Life”. To his surprise, the tent was full that night. At the end, a village elder awkwardly approached him and asked “where is the free water buffalo you promised?” He went outside and found some wit had erased one of the penstrokes. [/gongshot]

            2. Procopius

              Chinese sages (I don’t think Confucius, but contemporaries) decided that the ideal number of wives was three. I remember that the argument was one would be lonely and/or bored, two would be argumentative, and I forget why three would be more likely to live in harmony. It doesn’t seem plausible to me, but it was the ideal for the ruling class for a couple of millennia and seems to have worked no worse than our monogamy.

      2. Katsue

        Very Eurocentric. Menelik II led the Ethiopian army that defeated the Italians at Adowa in 1896, and his descendant Haile Selassie also led troops (to defeat) against the Italians when Mussolini sought a rematch in 1936.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some drug company heads won’t take their own opioid products, period.

      And I imagine any packaged food giant CEO likely dines on fresh delicacies nightly, and never anything packaged.

      “The whole wheat bread was baked just now, sir. And the wasabi? Fresh ground stuff. Not powdered.”

      1. Summer

        And tech folks that won’t let their own kids go near social media or preferring human teachers and more organic ways of learning for their kids.

    2. Altandmain

      Quick load humans the other billionaires onto Mars and make sure that they cannot come back while we rebuild the world.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t know how many others like me are out there, but every time someone talks dreamily about Mars, I forget about all the problems here on Earth.

        I don’t know if it’s by design, but if they do that on purpose in order to help me cope with the world, with struggling through life, I want to thank them.

  1. Michael Hudson

    Dear Yves,
    This my wreck my NC reputation among some readers, but 50 years ago I actually taught astrology, and did many horoscopes. Mercury going retrograde really DOES affect many people — including me (Mercury right on my mid-heaven). So all you can do is realize that there will be communications glitches. If you send me your horoscope I can give you more information. It matters what house your Mercury is in, and for that you need to know the TIME of birth.
    Anyway, many of you readers may have annoyances in various areas for the next two weeks.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Many of you may have annoyances in various areas for the next two weeks…” From astrology to economics, a seamless transition? Like reading the generic guidance in the weekly or monthly horoscopes published in the Enquirer and Redbook and Woman’s Day — “Be careful of what seem like opportunities. Deception is in the air!”

      I’m sure that if one’s hour of birth is known, the advice can be rendered more specific. I had a couple of ‘scopes cast many, many years ago, by different practitioners, nominally from the same exact data set — with vastly differing prognostications and insights. Probably just a glitch, or inaccurate recording of my exact moment of ejection into the cold, cruel world… West Bend delivery room analog wall clocks being notoriously accurate, and all, and the caregivers being impartial data collectors and recorders…

      Must mean something. After all, wasn’t the Great Empire directed in part by Nancy Reagan’s astrologer? Not to mention the vast number of past Great Rulers who swore by (and then occasionally at, followed by impalement for non-successful entrail readings) the links to Universal Wisdom from the Cycles of the Planets? Now we got economists and Big Data and Think Tanks to guide us down the path… Oh, and coders… Butterfly wings all a-flutter…

      1. Alejandro

        It may be a minor point, and ultimately irrelevant, but I don’t seem to recall the professors moniker in upper case ‘M’ and ‘H’, but in lower case ‘m’ and ‘h’. Seems so out of character that I would really appreciate confirmation, before digesting this comment.

        1. Sue Madden

          I don`t , can`t believe it!! I`m speechless, truly……. is there anything left???? I too hope desperately that the poster isn`t our esteemed Prof. I really thought I had no illusions left, but just found that I have!

          1. Michael Hudson

            OK, I’ve got to defend myself. Astrology is just as scientific as economics. Both disciplines rely on self-contained assumptions, whose criteria is whether they are internally consistent.
            As a Bronze Age historian, I have only one source of grain prices in Babylonia: the “Astronomical Diaries” correlating grain prices with the level of the rivers, and planetary movements or omens. The omen texts also are the only alternative to standardized “official” histories, where they actually describe things that “go wrong” and require an andurarum Clean Slate or some similar policy.
            In 17th and 18th-century England, each political party had its own astrologer, warnings about omens. And in Rome, opponents of pro-debtor legislation would find some astrological phenomenon to suspend the senate and postpone a vote.
            So of course I had to learn about this. When I worked for Continental Oil Company I had a natal chart of the company’s founding up on my wall. I was asked whether they should merge with Bagdadh copper, and gave them good reasons for approval. Then I pointed to the chart and pointed out a trine with taurus/copper. They almost disbelieved my economic arguments.
            So how could I resist doing charts. And I did indeed find that one constant was mercury going retrograde. I couldn’t find things, or there was an interruption in communication, etc. You guys should try it :)-

      2. HotFlash

        After all, wasn’t the Great Empire directed in part by Nancy Reagan’s astrologer?

        I was *so* relieved when this came out. I had worried that the Old Coot was actually running the government himself.

        1. Oregoncharles

          My father, who did have some small connections, claimed that Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, was really in charge. Casey had mob connections, and died very suddenly in office.

          My father, a lifelong (to that point) Republican, did not approve of Reagan. We all assumed someone else was really in charge.

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        Astrology is most useful as a way of analyzing personality and how that might influence one’s life. A birth chart done by a truly skilled astrologer, which one is not likely to find selling them for ten bucks on the internet, can be quite enlightening.

        I get a brief daily analysis of planetary positions from one of the cut-rate sites, but I never read my “personal horoscope” other than out of curiosity, for all the reasons Michael listed. And no, it’s not where the planets are in the zodiac that matters, it’s that those of us who believe everything is connected understand those positions are symbolic of energies. So, I will anticipate hiccups in communications and hopefully be ready to deal with them while Mercury does its little backward shuffle. :-)

        Oh, and those daily horoscopes in the paper everyone uses to “debunk” astrology? Any astrologer would agree—they’re useless.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      It’s OK, Michael. Being associated with astrology hasn’t hurt Isaac Neewton’s reputation all that much.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Alchemists wound up being very skilled chemists, and Newton’s alchemical interests made him extremely useful when he became head of England’s mint and went after counterfeiters.

          1. George Phillies

            Read The Hunting of the Green Lyone. The alchemical mystic lion was green.

            Newton knew he had solved mechanics, the theory of planetary and earthly motion,, and decided he could solve chemistry, too. His study of the period literature was extremely profound. His alchemical preparations, for example his Star of Regulus, appear to have been the best ever made. He happened to be barking up the wrong tree, as sometimes happens with a research program. But his objective was to solve the nature of chemicals, and he made a valiant attempt to do so. He then went on to solve theology, but decided it would be impolitic… reveal he had become a Unitarian (not related to Unitarian-Universalist).

          2. Wukchumni

            The only metal that approximated gold’s specific gravity @ the time of Newton was platinum, and occasionally in much later times, counterfeits were made of gold coins out of the metal, and gold-plated in an effort to pass them, but no other metal came close to gold’s density, and thus gold counterfeits made out of other metals were dead easy to discern, you didn’t need to know anything about chemistry.

            “And finally, we come to what are among the most curious counterfeits of Isabel’s reign: the gold coins of Isabel II composed of platinum covered with a thin layer of gold. During this period platinum was far less valuable than gold. Despite efforts to refine and make it more workable in the preceding century, the upheaval of the Napoleonic Wars and limited uses for the metal left Spain with a surplus of platinum in the 1820s.

            Up to that point many refiners discarded it as a waste product, often times at government direction. In the 1700s the Spanish government had recognized the potential for mixing platinum with gold to imitate gold items. In fact, a few counterfeit gold coins of Spain did appear in the 1700s and early 1800s. As its density is slightly greater than gold, coins made of platinum and covered with a thin layer of gold could be made to nearly match proper weight for coins of the type with minimal difference in thickness or diameter. When this idea was paired with high-quality designs and production methods, a most devious counterfeit was born.”


      1. LifelongLib

        Until late in the 17th century astrology and astronomy were pretty much the same thing. The motivation for solving the problem of planetary motion was largely to enable the casting of better horoscopes. Astronomers don’t like to be reminded of that. A historian once quipped that scientists are like the kid who went away to college who’s ashamed when his parents come to visit.

    3. DJG

      Michael Hudson, Yves Smith, and Lambert Strether: And what’s worse, Carl Jung used natal horoscopes as a kind of diagnostic, which is why I had my natal horoscope run. It is enlightening. But I have Mercury in a very convenient place–my birth sign. So for me periods of Mercury in retrograde are fine: Mercury (Hermes) protects writers (the god invented the alphabet and numbers), the common folk (Hermes as patron of artisans and craft), and even seducers (Hermes as the god of seduction).

      And Astrology King says that this is a good time for all of you to make some friends, because this period of retrograde involves the planet Venus:

      Lots of fun till April 15, when things return to “normal.”

        1. blennylips

          and who can forget former Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. Citron who revealed in the OC bankruptcy proceedings that he had relied on an astrologer for interest rate predictions.

          “Matt said, ‘Bob had a mail order astrologist that gave him interest rate predictions and a psychic he consulted.’ ” Walsh told grand jurors.

          The disclosure made her think that the county was “in a lot deeper problem than anyone could possibly imagine,” Walsh testified.

    4. Skip Intro

      It seems like a completely natural transition, astrology to economics… I see indications that it is relatively common.

      1. mundanomaniac

        Astrology comprises anything happening in time. Jung called time the current of events, hence Astrological language must be able and is able to depict every possible moment in any time on the horizon of a certain place, called ascendant on one of Earth’s hemispheres. This is possible as astrologers are using Sun’s clocks, ticking since the beginning ‘without end.’, and Earth’s was one of them, virtally first, really since some 4,5 billion years …

    5. Lunker Walleye

      This MercuryRx is posing a puzzle for me. Having received a breast cancer diagnosis yesterday, surgery is likely to take place during the retrograde. Past instructors have advised against signing contracts or having surgery as well as being aware that communications and electronic devices may have glitches.

      1. Annotherone

        Me too, coincidentally, for me it was a week ago. :(
        I’ve studied astrology for many years (not the newspaper Sun sign stuff!) I’ve never found Mercury Retrograde to be of any great significance, but it does give astrologers an extra something to write about, a couple of times a year! I’ve just taken a look at Astrology King’s brief snip on the Google page and there’s this : “increases the potential for…… nervous anxiety….. (among the usual stuff they churn out for Merc Retro). Well , nervous anxiety is right for me, but it would be exactly the same in whatever direction the Winged Messenger were travelling. I also have transiting Pluto conjunct natal Mercury to add to the fun. Best wishes to you for whatever comes next.

        1. Lunker Walleye

          Thank you Anne and best wishes to you. We were scheduled to leave tomorrow for a three week trip to S. America, consequently I have had to tell many people the trip is off and the reason for it. South America is a new goal. Time to polish off ye ole’ meditation skills!

          1. Annotherone

            Oh shucks!! Dang but that is a double blow! You’ll appreciate the trip all the more, somewhere down the road though, I feel certain. I haven’t told anyone I know personally, except the husband, yet.
            Yep, I see lots of deep breathing exercises in my future!

            1. Lunker Walleye

              Anno, it has been a humbling experience to have to tell the story and remarkably people are very kind, from agents who are willing to refund already paid for rooms to the ferry and airline representatives. I still have several others who need to know. This town is just small enough and news travels at the speed of light. I will be thinking of you!

        2. mundanomaniac

          How near we are, ” it would be exactly the same in whatever direction the Winged Messenger were travelling”

          I have another Pluto to tell: since Mesahala and Abu Ma’shar the Iran/Arabian Astrologers watched the “Kings-conjunctions” of Jupiter and Saturn in the ‘four Elements’. Of the last Kc in earth-element (of 1802) the Pluto is in conjunction with my natal Sun. But it took me 39 years, in the fourth of seven year ruled by Scorpio.
          Since my very first ideas as astrol. newcomer, to me Scorpio was from the beginning = Astrology = soul-wisdom of ancestors.

          Best wishes to all of you readers of these heraetical stuff.

          1. Annotherone

            Thanks – and best wishes to you also – and if you can manage to get a word in Pluto’s ear – tell him to … (in ladylike language) .move along as quickly as possible!

          1. Lunker Walleye

            Thank you Oregoncharles. I think we are now at 1 in 8 women but it seems like that may be overly optimistic!

      2. crittermom

        So sorry to hear about your diagnosis.
        I was diagnosed a year ago with stage III breast cancer (1 in 8 women is now diagnosed with breast cancer. Get your mammograms, ladies).
        I suspect it may be weeks before your surgery? (unless they’ve told you otherwise). Many tests to go through first, most likely.

        Keep a positive attitude. Your mind is your best medicine.
        Don’t let any doubts enter your thinking or worry about Mercury in retrograde. Stay positive, knowing you will be fine.

        I have now completed chemo & radiation & getting a break before I have more reconstructive surgery. It has been a long journey I was forced to take alone, but I’m doing great.
        My Drs & nurses all tell me I’m an inspiration to others.

        What I’ve found, however, is that my positive attitude comes back tenfold to help me.
        Help others you meet along your journey to be strong, & it will help you more than you could ever know.

        Mercury in retrograde? Ehh. Don’t give that another thought. Stay positive.
        All my best to you.

        1. Annotherone

          Thank you, from me, for your kind words.
          “Your mind is your best medicine” – I shall remember that – I do agree. Attitude is everything.
          Good wishes to you for your upcoming surgeries, and your future good health.

        2. Lunker Walleye

          Crittermom, You have inspired me, too! All the best to you in your recovery and thank you for your words of wisdom and experience.

          1. audrey jr

            Lunker Walleye, best of luck to you and I am sorry to hear of your diagnoses.
            Crittermom, been thinkin’ about you and am so glad to hear you are doing nicely.
            I second Crittermom’s advice on the mammogram front.
            Here’s to hoping our commentariat has more than “access” to good healthcare.
            Glad to see Yves up and about, too.
            Thanks for your hard work, all of you folks, over at NC.
            A day without NC is like a day without sunshine.

      3. bystander

        I am so sorry about your health and your cancellation of the trip.

        Apparently Mercury retro isn’t a problem if you get what is considered to be a favorable period in it (horary astrologers do that sort of thing). On a good time within Merc retro, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.” And the upcoming Mercury retrograde has an unusually high level of “favorable” periods during the business day, so the odds favor the surgery going fine.

        Hope that helps.

    6. Ed

      I actually looked this up online, despite not believing in astrology, and while Mercury is in retrograde several times this year, for most of March no planet is in retrograde, until Saturn goes into retrograde on March 25th. So this whole particular application of astrology collapses.

      1. Jim Haygood

        A half dozen sites all show Mercury going retrograde from March 22 to April 14.

        If the NC site blinks offline, you’ll know why. ;-)

      2. mundanomaniac

        Sorry but Saturn does the trick on April 18th.
        He also keeps running forward but slower than we, like a fast train catching a slower one seemingly roling backwards.

        These ‘retrograds’ are ‘eye-stories’ on earth, waiting for projections.

    7. Brian L.

      Doesn’t bother me a bit. There is something to natal astrology and synastry. It’s an art, and doesn’t work as a science. The basics for anyone interested: The “planets” are like verbs, the signs are adjectives/adverbs, and the houses are areas of life. The angular relationships (aspects) between “planets” and points like ascendant and midheaven show where individuals can have difficulty or an easy time (the difficult stuff shows where we grow as individuals). The thing about astrology is that it is complicated, just like life. Individuals express energies in different ways so it’s very much getting info from the subject and studying the natal chart (and transits) to hopefully give them strategies that will help them. I personally have used it in the past to help figure out some things about myself. Some people will feel a retrograde Mercury more because at the time, Mercury is also aspecting something in their natal chart.

    8. mundanomaniac

      To be exact, Mercury starts moving seemingly ‘retrograd’ on Friday 3. 23., while he truely continues to move foreward now through the section between Sun and us.
      Hence from Mercuries point of view Sun is ‘moving ‘ like always, it’s solely Earth’s perspective, which is 2- dimensional like a mirror or the horizon, letting us viewing ‘retrograds’ or backward-moving planets.

      This error of perception creats errors of Apperception. No wonder, Mercury ‘is’ quicksilver like error but lord of two of our part -personalities in our unconscious projection.

      Astrology has to deal consciously with our oldest unconscous projection as beings of the Sun on Earth.

      In my life of 76 with 37astrological ones till today, I must confess, in my experience the ‘retrograd Mercury’ , whom many non-astrologers use to point at, did never appeare. So I might own an hearetical bias on it.

      My take on Mercury like this current week:

    9. Solar Hero

      When I worked in radio, all the Board Operators knew when Mercury was retrograde. They knew they had to be more attentive as MercRetro especially fouls up electronics and broadcasting.

  2. integer

    Russians released anti-Clinton video game weeks before election CNN

    The game consisted of three levels, starting with this one: “Help Hillary delete as many classified emails as possible before she is caught.” Players controlled a Hillary Clinton character who sits on a missile and eliminates emails, all while avoiding FBI agents.

    The next level asked: “How much money can Hillary get from the Arab states?” At the top of the screen, nations’ flags drop money. At the bottom, the Clinton character holds a basket to collect the cash as it falls.

    The final level challenged users to “Help Hillary throw the Constitution as far as possible,” and it included caricatures of then-President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

    Heh. CNN claims the game is somehow linked to the Internet Research Agency. It was played 19 000 times in total.

    1. Sid Finster

      1. Boy I so am glad that no American ever made a TV show or article criticizing Russian leadership, implicitly or explicitly.

      2. Where can I download this game?

    2. ambrit

      Most gamers I have contacts with do it as an escape from dull lives. This Hillary themed political oriented game is too close to reality to push many of the ‘gamer’ buttons. No wonder it didn’t get too much play. Too close to the real thing.

  3. Loneprotester

    I’m not a huge fan of dystopian Sci-Fi but the first thing that popped into my head watching the Angry Hillary clip (and yes, she is STILL angry) was Dennis Sutherland in the Hunger Games. She doesn’t give a crap that half of the country got shafted by the “Third Way” Globalist cabal she and Bill started in the White House, nurtured in exile, and needed desperately to retransplant back in its original nutrient-rich soil. Not incidentally, she was addressing an elite South Asian crowd for whom this attitude is second nature, who have fit seamlessly into the fold, and have profited handsomely from it. The irony is that as US citizens these same Indian leaders are moving to the right and forming a strong wing of the Republican Party.

    1. Eureka Springs

      How many ways and for how long will she call 70 plus percent of the electorate who did not vote for her ‘deplorable’?

      1. ambrit

        She’ll keep doing it until either she passes on into the Void or wins. That’s how obsessional she has shown herself to be.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Someone please tell her it’s not the end of the world she can’t t win all the time.

          It’s OK to lose and move on.

          1. ambrit

            I agree with you MLTPB, but then, we’re not “Super Achievers” are we? (Snark assumed.)
            The hardest thing I have ever had to do is to subsume my ego. I succeed from time to time, or at least fool myself into believing so. For me it’s very hard. I’m thinking that it is impossible for people like our disesteemed ex-First Lady who wants to be First Citizen in so many ways to do so.
            I’m convinced that America is entering a ‘Time of Troubles.’ (But then, cynical old farts would say that, wouldn’t they.)
            Stay centered.

      2. Jim Haygood

        “So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward,” Clinton said. “And his whole campaign, Make America Great Again, was looking backwards.”

        Arkansans sussed out the truth in 1980 when they booted the Clintons from the governor’s mansion, partly out of resentment of Hillary Rodham [her preferred appellation at the time] for making it clear that she felt she was slumming it in Little Rock Arky-Darky, compared to the bright lights of suburban Chicago from whence she had come.

        All this and more will be detailed in my forthcoming monumental historical trilogy, The Decline and Fall of Clintonism.

        1. Conrad

          I await with bated breath the extensive chapters on the various schisms between the believers about what the definition of ‘is’ is.

    2. Lee too

      A slight digression perhaps: I watched Mrs. Desmond’s clip and followed the link about her popular vote. It’s frustrating to me that so little is said about the fact that 4 million of her 3 million popular vote margin came from one state. In other words, she “lost” the rest of the country. Then I went looking for web posts that have addressed this point. Of course I found some examples, but then I found this striking “fact check” from a site called

      “In any case, it is true that the margin of votes by which Hillary Clinton won the state of California was significantly greater than the margin by which she won the national popular vote. But even if Clinton’s 4.3 million vote victory over Trump in California provided her overall winning edge, it wouldn’t be an issue if she hadn’t also amassed enough votes [in] all the other states to make that outcome possible.”

      Even though the post was a year and a half old and a dead thread I felt compelled to comment:

      “So, if Clinton hadn’t lost the rest of the country by less than 2 million, her 4 million margin in California wouldn’t have been enough?”

      Ok, my own syntax is a little convoluted, but this logic is priceless. Dementia reigns!

      1. Summer

        And California may not even be able to kick DiFi to the curb.

        Isn’t Cali suddenly moving up their primary date? What’s the status of that? It would be easy to see that as one more sign of Hillary 2020.

  4. Harry

    Can someone help me understand why the Russians commit unspeakable crimes which will inevitably lead to further sanctions and political isolation and then leave a trail of bread crumbs right to Moscow? Either they really like sanctions or …….

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps a cue to bring up this morning’s top story. From ZH

      Furthermore, it is worth noting that the Tillerson’s announcement comes just hours after the now former Secretary of State said that Russia is “clearly” behind the Skripal poisoning which “will trigger a response”, something he said when he already knew he was on the way out, prompting some to ask if this was an outburst meant to provoke Trump: after all Tillerson had nothing to lose at this point.

      The optimists among us can speculate that the removal of Tillerson–reputedly captured by the State Dept cabal–means Trump may now switch to a less Russia confrontational FP. On the other hand it may also mean Iran is now even more in the crosshairs. As always with Trump it’s hard to know what’s going on. A year in he’s still mystery meat.

      1. Loneprotester

        Tillerson was entirely too conventional and slow on his feet for Trump. There is no Trump doctrine and never will be. God bless his crazy little head, it seems to be working.

            1. Carolinian

              There was a rumor a few months ago–pushed no doubt by Haley supporters–that Nikki would replace Tillerson who has never gotten along very well with Trump. There’s just not much of a bench in Trumpland it seems.

      2. RenoDino

        Pompeo was first in his class at Westpoint. His replacement at the CIA was in charge of torture.
        Conclusion: we are going to war, either in the Middle East or Korea of both assuming our adversaries don’t surrender to all of our demands.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Exactly, RD. From the JPost in Israel, which is far from a disinterested spectator:

          Trump said that he had been mulling Tillerson’s ouster for some time. “When you look at the Iran deal – I think it’s terrible,” he said. “I guess [Tillerson] thought it was okay. I wanted to either break it, or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process.”

          Trump wants an agreement with the E3 [Britain, France & Germany] that end Iran’s ballistic missile testing; give unrestricted access for UN nuclear inspectors to Iran’s military sites; and place permanent caps on Iran’s enrichment of fissile material.

          Israeli officials tell the JPost that they believe Trump is serious in his threat to withdraw from the deal. The US-E3 talks dominated Trump’s conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House last week.

          Telling: AIPAC holds its annual anti-Iran hatefest; Netanyahu shows up and whispers in Trump’s ear; Tillerson is fired and replaced by rabidly anti-Iran Pompeo.

          All mere coincidence, of course. :-)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I hope Trump at least meets with the head guy from Iran.

            Maybe he sends Jared to talk with that guy’s son in law.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I doubt the ‘Russians’ are any more monolithic than ‘Americans’. If the Puzzle Palace does something nasty behind the woodshed is that an action by ‘Americans’?

      Your phrase “further sanctions and political isolation” is troubling as it raises questions for me of by whom and by what right? How is it that the Russians are subjected to “further sanctions and political isolation” for actions which to me seem quixotic but hardly remarkable compared with the actions of other countries … most especially the U.S.? What righteous nation or people might cast that stone of “further sanctions and political isolation”?

      1. Byron "Hug" Niceman

        I would say deploying a chemical weapon on English soil is a worth a remark or two. On a similar note, respect to Sainbury’s for no longer selling polonium-210 at all their locations.

        1. John k

          Odd that the old standby, knife between the ribs, has gone out of favor…
          Replaced over here, of course, with noisy guns… course, we’ve got more guns than knives.

          1. Byron "Hug" Niceman

            If state security can’t get past a break-up, whatever happened to using a vehicle and a little ambiguity? Instead, they have to terrorize an entire community to make a statement. Which is the curious dimension. After all, fake elections are more time-consuming to pull off than letting people just vote, so why drag chemical weapons conventions and NATO to the Walpurgisnacht Ball? Unless you know Smash Lampjaw has got those black-rent blues and won’t pop-in to say hi.

          1. Byron "Hug" Niceman

            Death to traitors. Iron Felix. Georgy Markov. Letting people know just how hurt your feelings really are. If the EU boycotts, the Russians might have a shot at the cup?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              They still would have to do something about the football countries from South America to have a shot at the World Cup.

            2. integer

              Essentially what we are witnessing is a desperate attempt by the US and UK to preserve the “liberal world order” (which is, of course, a euphemism for “globalist hierarchy”).

              To paraphrase William Gibson: “The multi-polar world is already here — its acceptance is just not very evenly distributed.”

          2. JamesG

            He was not ex-KGB.

            He was ex-military intelligence.

            A few years back I was immersed in reading non-fiction books about cold war intelligence and read in two different books that all recruits to Soviet military intelligence had to watch a short film showing what had been done to one traitor. He was strapped down and fed–slowly–into a furnace, feet first. Presumably the film included a sound track.

            How did we learn about the film? From defectors or even from still-loyal Soviet military intelligence people who explained to western would-be recruiters why they were wasting their time.

            This latest killing may have been ordered by the heads of military intelligence (with or without Putin’s approval) as a message to current employees. After all, he was a traitor who seemed to have escaped any serious punishment.

            1. integer

              I never said Skripal was ex-KGB. If you insist on blaming Russia then fine, but the evidence points in a different direction.

  5. The Rev Kev

    Why Cats Knock Everything Over, According to Science

    Of course there is also the alternate explanation that sometimes cats can just be d****.

    On the matter of Yves and the state of Mercury, it may be simply that Yves is trying to cram the square of all work assignments that need too be done into the circle of time available.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A cat in the room is not that different than an elephant in the same room or a bull in a china shop.

      Why do we pick on cats?

      1. ambrit

        We pick on cats because they are much smaller than us, while bulls and elephants are bigger and potentially deadly. Pragmatism. Just like our present socio-economic system.

      2. Oregoncharles

        One of those TV pseudo science shows tried actually releasing a bull in a china shop. It was very careful, didn’t knock anything over.

        Not that I could find a link for this old story.

    2. Wukchumni

      In my experience as a cat fancier, very seldom do the furry beasties knock anything over, way coordinated are they. Strikes me as more of canine foible.

    3. MichaelSF

      We know that the world is not flat because if it were the cats would have pushed everything off the edge by now.

    4. polecat

      Only when they’re pissed-off, and want to toy with us, do cats knock stuff over ….
      … at least that was how it worked in our house, when the Gato was younger and still of this world.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I had a cat a while back and sometimes, I did wonder if he simply just pissed when he was pissed off.

    5. Robert Hahl

      Trying not to be pedantic here but “…scientists have some ideas about why cats love to shove our stuff off tables” is the only evidence presented in the article. Is that supposed to make it “…According to Science?” So, if you happen to be a scientist, is everything you think and say: according to science?

    6. Oregoncharles

      They do it because they can, and mostly because it’s fun. Humans occasionally do similar things for similar reasons.

  6. Pat

    Both Pence and Hillary Clinton prove themselves to be delusional idiots.

    Now Pence is not quite as delusional as the title implies. He is talking about legal abortion. But he also talks about returning “the sanctity of life” to America. Anyone who thinks that legal abortion is the only, or even the biggest, affront to the sanctity of life in America has not been paying attention and shouldn’t be anywhere near a position of governance. And I mean that for religious bigots like Pence who seem to believe that life only refers to the period between egg and birth for those of white parentage who should have noticed what we are.doing to or allowing to be done to pregnant women in the name of freedom, free markets, second amendment rights and climate change denial.

    As for User Friendly’s rhetorical Clinton question, the answer is of course “no”. She also has learned nothing about how talks and interviews no longer remain in one locale, or how the votes are counted in
    America even after losing. Meaning she thinks nothing of insulting entire swaths of the country filled with voters she needs to be President. She just doesn’t care about those regions. Proves them right to have rejected her even if her opposition was an equally bad choice. Which is why User Friendly’s observation is wrong – she will also screw the people who voted for her in those regions and even in most of California and New York because there is nothing in it for her to represent them. I mean do they have jobs for Chelsea or speaking engagements/book deals etc for her and Bill? There is always retirement after those two terms to consider.

    1. Scott

      For a long time, I would see a comment like that from Clinton and think “how clueless is she?”. Then my thinking is “she totally lack empathy.” Now I’ve reached the point where my thought is “what a bigot.” Although today the term is often seen as a synonym for racist, I have a slightly larger definition of the word, which includes prejudice against people with a different background. This would include the view that Clinton and many of her supporters have displayed against people from geographies within the U.S. who voted against her. Her hatred of these people is palpable and bigotry is the appropriate term for it.

    2. DJG

      + + +

      Pence is part of what I have to refer to continually as the Continual Crisis of Monotheism.

      As is Clinton.

    3. tommy strange

      Good point Pat, and being in CA with a lot of left friends, they’re making it on FB right now. Cream off the top 30% of california, and you have a devastated middle and lower class due to dem (and repub) policies. She is so out of it, she obviously reads not even mainstream news…and the explosion of homeless in the blue cities, 40 to 50% increase in rents, and now of course….rising opiod deaths. She also has no clue that some of the most radical counters/groups in CA were against the dem leadership (occupy, BLM). Remember that campaign stop in LA where latinas were screaming at her? She obviously just had no clue….look at her face then. My god.

      1. John k

        She thinks the bottom half are losers, she doesn’t want anything to do with losers.
        She thinks rep suburbanites are winners, those are the votes and approval she craves.
        She clearly would prefer to be a rep, just like she used to be before she got with bill, but knows she can’t make the switch, so she campaigns for them while totally ignoring the deplorables and their problems that her ilk exarcerbated with their neolib policies.
        The so called blue dogs are all in the same trap, for one reason or another they are dems, but identify with reps, and there’s enough of them to help Hillary control the dem party.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wonder if Bush, now that he and the Democrats are all friends, will he back her to run as a Republican.

      2. Summer

        The housing situation means people move around, outside a stable district and lose any community power they had. That means a lot of provisional ballots will be filed and good luck getting those counted.

        As for this: “She also has no clue that some of the most radical counters/groups in CA were against the dem leadership (occupy, BLM). Remember that campaign stop in LA where latinas were screaming at her?”

        The urban voter base, as usually described in the media, is in the process of being upended by gentrification. Any diversity will be absorbed by lifestyles.

  7. Pat

    Wait. Blumenthal thinks the most explosive thing in that Putin statement was that some of his possible other bad Russian trolls “interfering”in the election were “Jewish”? Bwahahahahahaha. I guess he missed the very pointed accusation of dual passports helpfully arranged by the US. Using Ukranian Jews to indicate possible Israeli collusion was minor in comparison.

    Our elected Democrats rarely fail to show their inadequacy anymore.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The hypocrisy of Blumenthal is truly mind-numbing.

      How conveniently he forgets about Bibi Freakingyahoo’s unprecedented trip to address the US Congress not long ago. That type of thing is AOK though and couldn’t possibly influence US politics.

      What type of mind does it take to ignore direct in your face evidence seen by millions and millions of people of a foreign leader influencing the US government and then continue to stoke anti-Russian sentiment based on non-existent “evidence”?

  8. Max4241

    Tom Wilerson:

    “China is thinking about building far more nuclear weapons, far more capable nuclear weapons, far more diversified nuclear weapons, far more modern nuclear weapons, in order to ride out a first strike and have the ability to strike back.”

    It was one thing for the US to surround Russia with first strike weapon systems. I mean, who are the Russians? As President Obama put it, Russia is a “rump state.” Russia spends $60 billion per year on defense, or less than one-third what the US military machine was receiving in yearly Congressional “supplementals” to rumble with the bogeyman in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It is no contest. To the US, the Russians are a cornered badger with a shotgun to their head. They can dodge, snarl, and threaten danger, or in human geopolitical terms, they can announce they are developing special counter-strike wonder weapons …don’t mess with us.

    That’s about all the Russians can do.

    China is a different story. They too are surrounded by US first strike weapon systems. They too have the shotgun to their head. But they are not a cornered badger. In geopolitical terms, they are person staring calmly into the chambers of the barrels while building ballistic missile submarines at an exponential clip.

    Type 094s. Chinese baby-boomers, I call them. Much less firepower than US boomers. US SSBNs carry up to 200 nuclear warheads, the Type 094, at full capacity, only 36. Still, the Chinese are putting the little boats in the water seemingly two at time. They had one operational baby-boomer in 2010, two in 2014, 4 in 2017, and are projected to have 8 Type 094s prowling the seas in 2020.

    Say hello to the new arms race, courtesy of the shotgun wielder, and I suspect this one will be much grander -at least in scope- than the last one.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef




      Have we accounted for all the players?

      What about that mysterious, stunning object above ocean?

      A fourth player?

      1. Max4241

        “Have we accounted for all the players?”

        I believe so.

        “A fourth player?”

        Not that I can see. Measured by total throw-weight, there are only two players on this planet at this time, the United States and Russia.

        But as Col. Wilkerson pointed out, China will be in the mix in the very near future.

          1. Max4241

            If a forth player arrives from the far reaches, I believe it means they have either conquered time or they are not biological.

            Or both. Either way, I suspect they will have more throw-weight in their pinky finger, if they have one, than China, Russia and America combined.

            Note: Throw in India, Pakistan, France, Great Britain and Israel as well.

            Did I forget anyone? Oh yeah, Iran! …just kidding…

    2. ttaggg(n)

      an exponential clip

      No, no, no. You weaken your argument with this phrase. I think you mean something else.

      As to your exact argument, I am of the opinion that things such as these are game changers. Was presenting my case a few weeks ago to a defense contractor I have known for some time, ending with the statement, “Fill the Gulf Stream with these and Norfolk is obsolete.”

      1. Max4241

        “You weaken your argument with this phrase”


        However, going from one, to two, to four, to eight, over a ten year span, does not strike me as a linear progression. Also, consider that the total potential firepower aboard these highly mobile platforms, will increase from a potential total of 36, to 324 nuclear warheads, in the same short time frame.

        Put it this way, it is quite possible that by 2025, US Navy hunter-killers, above and below the water, will be tracking Chinese ballistic submarines carrying 1,000 or more warheads, all pointing, I suspect, at US targets,* that they were not hunting in 2009, because they did not exist.

        *Who else would they target? Are they any other countries threatening China with total destruction?

    3. Summer

      Like an article posted the other day said:
      More money spent, doesn’t mean money well spent.
      How much of it is really awe inspiring defense and how much of it is just inflated budgets with inflated costs?

      1. Max4241

        It is all waste and nonsense, in my opinion. And the idea that a nuclear war can fought and won is an absurdity.

        The United States have forced China into the game. China’s response has been to create what is essentially an assembling line for the manufacture of ballistic missile submarines.

        These submarines are puny by American standards and they lack what military people like to call “punch.” This is true on one level but on another level it is thinking of the truly, clinically insane.

        The Type 094 carries 36 JL-2 nuclear warheads with blast yields out to 100 kilotons. It might not sound like much to an Air Force General who thinks in terms of megatons, but a 100 kiloton weapon impacting Hanford nuclear waste repository in Washington state would render the entire Pacific northwest uninhabitable for thousands of years.

        Think how much damage the other 35 warheads could do, to the continental United States and beyond. To the atmosphere, to only life we know of in the universe.

        I detest President Trump’s policies and I especially despise Donald Trump as a man, but if he sat down with Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin and said let’s straighten this thing out now, before it’s too late, I would vote for him in the next election.

  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    Just saw on Twitter that Tillerson has been fired. Will be replaced by Pompeo. Gina Haspel to become head of CIA.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Yeesh. Last summer, Tillerson called Trump a moron. And now, almost a year later, he’s finally getting fired?

      Trump, yer disappointin’ me.

    2. The Rev Kev

      To quote Star Wars: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!”. People are going gaga because she is the first female CIA director and isn’t it wonderful and empowering! I did not recognize Gina Haspel’s name at first. But I did recollect a female CIA spook that was on the rise.
      Ran a black site prison in Thailand and was really into torture – big time. Ordered that tapes of these torture sessions be destroyed to cover her tracks. When I checked, yeah, it was her ( Surprise! The character Maya in the film “Zero Dark Thirty” supervising the torture session may have been based on her. And now she is chief spook!
      Frankly I would rather see Carrie Mathison be put in charge of the CIA but this chair shuffling seems to be seeing the CIA having greater control of Trump’s administration. That and the scores of military and intelligence people being stood up as candidates for the Democrats in the coming elections. Talk about your deep state.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Years ago, one of my bicycling friends was a CIA retiree. She was a data analyst and didn’t have much more to say about her job.

        From what I recollect, getting a job at the CIA wasn’t easy. My friend was very proud of having made the cut. To the point where she made a career in Langley, VA and various foreign countries.

        OTOH, there were the political people. They were way above her pay grade, and, well, they were political. Like George HW Bush. He was one of her ultimate bosses. As CIA directors go, my friend said that he was one of the best ones she worked under.

      2. Andrew Watts

        I’d rather have Kandahar Barbie working as CIA Director. She wants to go shopping, cook exciting and exotic meals, and go the gym with Ken while presumably dodging mortar fire. A true American heroine considering the record of the organization she’s working for. I don’t understand the outrage though. How is this any different then any other CIA director that advocated for and supported the use of torture?

    3. allan

      ProPublica from last year:

      … At one point, Haspel spoke directly with Zubaydah, accusing him of faking symptoms of physical distress and psychological breakdown. In a scene described in a book written by one of the interrogators, the chief of base came to his cell and “congratulated him on the fine quality of his acting.” According to the book, the chief of base, who was identified only by title, said: “Good job! I like the way you’re drooling; it adds realism. I’m almost buying it. You wouldn’t think a grown man would do that.”

      Haspel was sent by the chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism section, Jose Rodriquez, the “handpicked warden of the first secret prison the CIA created to handle al-Qaida detainees,” according to a little-noticed recent article in Reader Supported News by John Kiriakou, a former CIA counterterrorism officer. In his memoir, “Hard Measures,” Rodriquez refers to a “female chief of base” in Thailand but does not name her.

      Kirakou provided more details about her central role. “It was Haspel who oversaw the staff,” at the Thai prison, including James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two psychologists who “designed the torture techniques and who actually carried out torture on the prisoners,” he wrote. …

      It’s a good thing that DiFi released the torture report when she had the chance … oh, wait …

    4. cocomaan

      Democrats should be very happy by having a spy chief in charge of the State Department. Finally can close the loop!

      And a woman as the head of the CIA! What times we live in!

      1. Jim Haygood

        Gina Haspel, she-wolf of the Stasi:

        Ms Haspel, who has extensive overseas experience, briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to US intelligence officials.

        [She] also helped carry out an order that the agency destroy its waterboarding videos. That order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges.

        You don’t get to become a made [wo]man of the CIA until you destroy some incriminating torture videos to prove you have no fear of Congress.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Haspel would be in jail if former president Barack Obama had not decided against prosecuting the CIA torture crimes.

        One is surprised only that her name is not redacted, as in “new CIA director Gina H, whose name may only be disclosed to the Intelligence committee Gang of Eight.”

        Since the D party is being taken over by ex-spooks, presumably no embarrassing questions will be posed by the ostensible opposition party at her cakewalk confirmation hearing.

        1. marym

          NYT – another summary of Pompeo/Haspel/Trump and torture, also including this gem:

          Democrats expressed concern about how she would approach the issue of torture, while Republicans were fulsome in their praise.

          So apparently the “ostensible opposition party” for whom prosecution for torture, black sites, and destruction of torture evidence were off the table during the Bush and Obama years will almost certainly, prior to voting to confirm, express concern about an “approach.”

    5. integer

      Julian Assange:

      With Pompeo taking over State from Tillerson, we now have:

      1) CIA taking over State
      2) CIA/NSC/etc influx making 25% of 2018 Democratic candidates in competitive areas
      3) CIA former heads, officers influx to NBC, MSNBC
      4) CIA fake news journalist Ken Dilanian sheltered at NBC
      5) CIA contractor Jeff Bezos ($600m in just one CIA contract) has already taken control of the Washington Post ($250m)

      1. HotFlash

        We are so family blogged. And we coulda had Bernie (from Nina Illingworth’s ‘Bernie woulda won’ memes, thanks to Lambert ystrdy). If/when you have some time, also check out this interview, also from Nina’s library, w Bernie and Sarah Silverman, which made me weep.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Didn’t know “influx” was a verb.

        Prolly coined by the Agency since it sounds so clinical, surgical and manageable.

        *influxes another beer for breakfast*

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How a corporate cult captures and destroys our best graduates George Monbiot Guardian.

    Finance, management consultancy, advertising, public relations, lobbying: these and other useless occupations consume thousands of the brightest students. To take such jobs at graduation, as many will in the next few weeks, is to amputate life close to its base.

    Does it ever occur to anyone that what is touted as consummate “brightness” by “elite” economic institutions of higher “learning” is more accurately interpreted as easily manipulated, deeply ingrained psychopathology?

    What does it take to be successful (i.e. “bright”) at an institution that contrives and then “teaches” the destructive, corrosive economic “theories” under which so much of the world’s population now suffers? (A corporation’s primary responsibility is enriching its shareholders, for example.)

    Rather than bemoaning the fact that these promising, young “idealists” are co-opted by free drinks and sports sponsorships, I’d suggest they are selected precisely for their lack of moral compass and rewarded with the “bright” label to validate the policies they enthusiastically and unquestioningly implement.

    Cults are, after all, keenly aware of, and constantly on the lookout for, the personality types most susceptible to inculcation.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Years ago, I read a book called Corporate Cults. Very good read, and, sorry to say, well ahead of its time.

      And, on a personal note, one of my late father’s favorite pejoratives was the word “corporate.” As in, “They’re moving at corporate speed.” Or the day he wrapped his arm around me and said to a friend, “We’re not corporate types.”

    2. Summer

      It’s only to a certain extent that the higher ups at the big corporations (especially older ones) are looking at “higher ed” for indoctrination.

      The true insiders look at what grammar school you went to.

  11. Arthur J

    That Berners Lee article is just a bunch of errant nonsense. The last thing the Internet needs is more government regulation. Typical liberal thinking, people aren’t using the Internet the way he wants, so obviously the government needs to take over and force the proper behavior. I guess next up will be you will have to get a government sanctioned license to connect to the Internet and will be assigned demerit points for engaging in disapproved activities like visiting Amass enough demerits and you’ll be disconnected.
    Should be interesting when the inevitable pirate wifi hotspots appear. At least in the US everybody will have a gun to shoot down those terrorist balloons with their illegal wifi access points.

  12. AEL

    if you are making regular apologies for failing to deliver because of the inevitable “lumpiness” of your work then have set expectations incorrectly. Better to set lower expectations (and then exceed them much of the time). Alternatively, simply explain the (relative) dry spell, but do not apologize. Simply state that a few stories failed to work out and that this is the nature of the work.

  13. Jim Haygood

    The United States and Singapore have long viewed each other as vital security partners. For the US, Singapore has been a key regional anchor and an active global contributor, as evidenced by its recent agreement to host littoral combat ships and P-8 Poseidon aircraft.

    Trump’s executive order shooting down Qualcomm’s acquisition by Broadcomm — a US company until Singapore’s Avago acquired it in 2015 and assumed the Broadcom name — will be seen as a harsh slap in the face by Singapore.

    “China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover,” warns Trump’s executive order. Uhhhh … what? Qualcomm was not being acquired so that it could disappear and “leave a void,” but rather to make it more competitive on a global scale … including in China, an important trading partner of Singapore.

    Illogically invoking the China bogeyman will raise suspicions in Singapore that it is being compared with China simply because since independence in 1965 Singapore has been governed by its ethnic Chinese majority.

    Just a theory of mine … but does Trump distrust all people who aren’t of white European origin?

    In any case, cutting off potential foreign buyouts means that our glorious tech bubble must maintain its blue-sky valuations under its own share-buyback power … or move lower to compensate.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yes. Trump is an old style bigot, who distrusts all the wily Orientals.

      I don’t having trouble with a President nixing yet another mega-corporate merger on the grounds that it endangers national security. If Trump weren’t so bigoted, and so mired in the world as it was c. 1978, I might like some of his moves. He often enrages just the right people. The problem is he’s all bully all the time, regardless of whether it’s good or not.

      He’s just the lord of one set of power-loving punks. Who are no better than the ‘creative coastal’ snots they shift off with every few years. Not to go all Pareto, but, we would live better if we were ruled by neither lions nor foxes. Both are predators, and inimical to everyone else around them.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover,” warns Trump’s executive order. Uhhhh … what? Qualcomm was not being acquired so that it could disappear and “leave a void,” but rather to make it more competitive on a global scale … including in China, an important trading partner of Singapore.


      1 Any void, not all of them. One void could be (since they are an important trading partner), Qualcomm will then cooperate (under new ownership), instead of competing, with that trading partner.

      In the case, the void would be the competition void. That void is filled by China, so that it’s not a void, but instead, It becomes cooperating space.

      2. Russians are mostly white Europeans. They will likely not be allowed to own it (Qualcomm) either, even under Trump.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover,” warns Trump’s executive order. Uhhhh … what? Qualcomm was not being acquired so that it could disappear and “leave a void,” but rather to make it more competitive on a global scale … including in China, an important trading partner of Singapore.

      1 Any void, not all of them. One void could be (since they are an important trading partner), Qualcomm will then cooperate (under new ownership), instead of competing, with that trading partner.

      In the case, the void would have been the competition void, before that void is filled by China, so that it’s no longer a void, but instead, It becomes cooperating space.

      2. Russians are mostly white Europeans. They will likely not be allowed to own it (Qualcomm) either, even under Trump.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Citizen scientists’ track radiation seven years after Fukushima

    I would say that at this point that there would be zero trust in the government by the Japanese over matters of radioactivity. Fukushima citizens were not able to purchase foreign Geiger counters because the Japanese government had banned them claiming that they were ‘inaccurate’ and may ’cause panic’. In addition, there as a suspicion that local ones had been tampered with during manufacture. In addition, 40,000 Geiger counters that were donated by the international community but went missing. So yeah, zero trust.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if there was such a thing as ‘trusting in these matters, but not trusting in these other matters.”

  15. Livius Drusus

    Re: Hillary Clinton: “I won in ‘dynamic’ places, Trump won ‘backwards,” well at least Clinton is being honest about what she thinks of so-called flyover country. I especially liked this bit:

    Clinton described what she believed to be the underlying message of Trump’s 2016 campaign: “You didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs,” Clinton said. “You don’t want, you know, see that Indian American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it,” she said.

    Yeah I am sure it had nothing to do with Hillary and Bill supporting NAFTA and the subsequent loss of five million manufacturing jobs since 2000. No, it was all down to envy of minorities and women. I wonder how Clinton explains the majority of white women voting for Trump because they hate women “you know, getting jobs.”

    If you live in the Rust Belt and many other areas of the country outside of the affluent coasts and some big cities it makes perfect sense to be nostalgic. Things really are worse now for the majority of people compared to 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Even if you take into account the gains made by non-whites and women over the last 40 or so years these gains have largely gone to the top 10% or maybe the top 20% of these groups. So decline is not just confined to white men but really applies to the majority of the working population.

    1. jawbone

      Whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it,” she (Hillary) said.

      What’s with the present tense? OMG, does she really think she an try to get nominated again??? Eeeek!!!

  16. Summer

    Re: DCCC,DNC, Progressives, Resistane, Hillary

    Face it. The Democratic Party is pushing unity for a 2020 Clinton re-run.
    One more round of lesser evilism is on the docket. What will be most entertaining will be the bait and switch coming from politicos and pundits who did so much “listening to” and “learned” so much from the discontents.

    1. Sid Finster

      “‘One more’ round”?!?

      Team D will be pushing “lesser evilism” until the day that the party is dead and in the ground.

      1. Summer

        It’s always sold as “this election” is the most important one so “we” have to _________(fill in blank).
        But you’re right on point.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I’m curious if they will require endorsing the winner (however that comes about, by any means) by the losers.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: We Made A Documentary Exposing The ‘Israel Lobby.’ Why Hasn’t It Run? The Forward (UserFriendly)

    Having made the documentary, I suspect you know why it hasn’t run.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Think things through before you do it.”

      We humans are not very good at that.

      I would like a few examples, or maybe just one, of someone who could have invented something big or nasty, and decided not to do it, because of things like that.

      The things that we didn’t do – how do we evaluate that? For example:

      1. You could have bought a gas guzzler, but you didn’t. The planet breathes a sigh of relief. You get praised, maybe, for your contribution to save the world.

      2. You could have run over the Republican, wearing a Trump hat (so it was obvious) with your electric car by not stopping at the stop sign, but you didn’t. You made a complete stop and let him pass. Did you just save a life?

      The things that we did – we can see them and judge them.

  18. Jean

    ” seven years after Fukushima”

    Contaminated food that cannot be sold in Japan is allowed to be sold in the U.S.
    Thanks to the nuclear power industry and its co-opted puppet “regulators” in our government we no longer buy any food from Japan or eat in Japanese restaurants unless the foodstuff is locally grown.

    We had to become “citizen regulators.”

    Our test? Walk into the restaurant kitchen and see if there are any containers of spices or seaweed with Japanese writing on them. God, how I miss my chicken udon and soba.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Edward Snowden

    Interesting: The new CIA Director Haspel, who “tortured some folks,” probably can’t travel to the EU to meet other spy chiefs without facing arrest due to an @ECCHRBerlin complaint to Germany’s federal prosecutor

    6:58 AM – 13 Mar 2018

    ECCHR’s legal intervention filed with the German Federal Public Prosecutor (Generalbundesanwalt – GBA) is aimed at securing an arrest warrant for CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel.

    Seems appropriate that rogue America is soon to have an intelligence-chief torturer who can’t travel to civilized nations for fear of arrest. Murica!

  20. Stormcrow


    Germany: CIA deputy Gina Haspel must face arrest on travelling to Europe
    June 2017

    ECCHR’s legal intervention filed with the German Federal Public Prosecutor (Generalbundesanwalt – GBA) is aimed at securing an arrest warrant for CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Haspel was appointed to the post by President Donald Trump in February 2017. The information submitted to the GBA by ECCHR on 6 June 2017 documents Haspel’s role in the torture of detainees in 2002 at a secret CIA prison in Thailand. In the dossier, ECCHR argues that Haspel oversaw the daily torture of detainees at the black site in 2002 and failed to do anything to stop it.

    “Those who commit, order or allow torture should be brought before a court – this is especially true for senior officials from powerful nations,” said ECCHR’s General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck. “The prosecutor must, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, open investigations, secure evidence and seek an arrest warrant. If the deputy director travels to Germany or Europe, she must be arrested.”

  21. integer

    We Made A Documentary Exposing The ‘Israel Lobby.’ Why Hasn’t It Run? Forward

    And yet, I have to admit that someone has been hard at work putting the kibosh on our film.

    For since October, we’ve faced a series of unexplained delays in broadcasting our project, the likes of which I’ve never experienced. I was repeatedly told by everyone I asked to “wait,” and was assured our documentary would eventually see the light of day. Then, as now, I took my senior management at its word. To my own specially trained ears, “wait” did not constitute “stop.”

    This Anti-Semitic Term Was Casually Used At The White House 3 Times This Week Huffington Post

    There’s perhaps never a bad time to stretch or rethink one’s vocabulary.

    The term “globalist” has been used at the White House at least three times this week in reference to an outgoing Jewish Trump administration official, raising some eyebrows because the word is increasingly used in xenophobic and anti-Semitic contexts.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Huffpo: A glossary of extremist language published by The New York Times places “globalism” among terms like “alt-right,” “antifa” and “cuck.”

      Who knew? One is shocked that a popular women’s fashion and sexuality magazine continues to bear an openly anti-Semitic title:

  22. susan the other

    Bank Financing: The disappearance of Interbank Lending. Gosh… must be something to do with the total corruption and fraud of the dearly departed LIBOR system. The wild west of finance. Interesting that Germany’s private finance sector is down to 1/10 of their former private short term credit operations. That sounds terminal. The article implies that finance has been redesigned to prevent bank runs. Love that term “bank runs”. Central banks are now providing continuously sufficient liquidity to prevent the runs. And so… they plan to further deregulate banking… more on this later, no doubt.

  23. Altandmain

    In truth, deplorable is what Clinton and her upper middle class base seem to think about the struggling areas of America.

    Glenn Greenwald once correctly noted that racism and economic despair feed off each other. Well, much of America has been facing naked class from the plutocrats. Bad trade, economic, and other politics have destroyed their living standards. In some cases, like Appalachia, they were always poor.

    What is desperately needed is a second even grander New Deal, a massive redistribution of wealth, and a serious plan to try to tackle our high carbon society.

    That will never happen. Not with this group of oligarchs in control anyway.

    Oh and another sad story of the police in America letting someone die:

    An interesting take on the latest polls and the Democratic Party:

  24. John k

    Bank financing…
    So banks don’t need deposits to make loans…
    Yet banks fund 2/3 of their assets with deposits…
    Why? Deposits have costs… does this mean that crediting an account, or creating money out of thin air like the fed does, incurs substantial costs?

  25. XXYY

    This is worth reading, though Kelly’s (!) questions seem pretty pointless and off the cuff. One would think an interview like this would be worth preparing for, and could even be a journalistic classic at this juncture. No idea why NBC didn’t put in someone with more weight. Asking Putin about, e.g., the internet pictures of him riding a horse with no shirt is embarrassing.

    Note that Putin seems like Albert Einstein compared to Trump or any figure in the current US administration. He speaks in complete sentences. He can express nuance and show tact. He has a memory for recent history. He has relevant experience, plans, and follow-through. The contrast is quite remarkable.

    Vladimir Putin: Actually, we kept [developing these new weapons] for 15 years. I said, almost literally, that we would not develop a system of anti-missile defence the way you are doing. Firstly, because it is too expensive, and we do not have the resources. And secondly, we do not know yet how it would work: you do not know, and we certainly do not either. But, to preserve the strategic balance so that you would not be able to zero out our nuclear deterrence forces, we will develop strike systems that will be able to break your anti-missile systems. … This means that the US taxpayers’ money has been wasted.

    Two good points here:

    (1) ABM systems are highly destabilizing, since the presumption is that they will be used after a first strike to shoot down whatever meager retaliation remains. So they are assumed by analysts to be part of a first strike strategy. The other side must necessarily respond to ABM programs with an arms buildup (either new technologies or overwhelming numbers, or both). This dangerous dynamic is why the original 1972 ABM treaty was negotiated and signed. Bush/Cheney’s reckless abrogation of the treaty is now having a very predictable outcome and their administration deserves all the blame for this situation.

    (2) The US weapon procurement system is completely broken and an utter waste of taxpayer dollars, even in purely military terms. US weapons designers seem to be insistent on fighting the last war at maximum possible cost: Sitting duck aircraft carriers, the mediocre and stupendously expensive F-35 “fighter”, and now-useless ABM systems. Money wasted here could have used to solve many of the major problems inside the US (or at a minimum done something useful inside the military).

  26. JimTan

    Bank Financing: The Disappearance of Interbank Lending

    Federal Home Loan Bank ( FHLB ) loans are another form of funding which is also filling this hole left by declining interbank lending. Apparently banks have been drawing on FHLB Bank advances, to help satisfy the Liquidity Coverage Ratio ( LCR ) requirements they are now subject to as part of Basel III regulations. Banks can post less-liquid assets such as whole mortgage loans to FHLBs as collateral against advances ( loans ) and use the proceeds to buy high quality liquid assets which improves their LCR. The FHLB’s fund these advances by issuing U.S. government guaranteed short term debt which is popular with money market funds.

    Not sure if this is necessarily good or bad but there has been worry about a maturity mismatch as the FHLBs massive portfolio of long term mortgage assets is increasingly funded by short term money market liabilities. I first noticed this jump in activity when the Fidelity Government Cash Reserve, which is one of my brokers money market sweep funds that by law can only hold government securities, disclosed that FHLB debt accounts for over 50% of their $130 billion in assets. I’m guessing other money market funds that ditched commercial paper due to 2014 SEC regulations which set up ‘government money market funds’ have also been loading up FHLB debt which yields slightly higher than Treasuries with a similar government guarantee.

  27. Andrew Watts

    RE: Debate: Syria, Ghouta, and the Left

    It’s amusing that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) weren’t ever brought up as an alternative model. The city of Manbij is filled with a majority of conservative Arabs, yet they tolerate the SDF because it is the least of the bad options. They’ve already lived under the tyranny of the Assad government, rule of the Free Syrian Army warlords, and more recently the depraved barbarity of the Islamic State.

    What Khalek and Munif share in common is the one thing that eludes them both. They’re hopelessly searching for a moralistic option to support in an environment where there isn’t any good side or moral case to be made. Nor are either of them in the battle or above it.

    To be in a battle means to defend a cause against its peril, to protect a nation against its enemies, to strive for truth against error, to defend justice against injustice.

    To be above the battle means that we understand how imperfect the cause is we defend, that we contritely acknowledge the sins of our own nations, that we recognize the common humanity which binds us to even the most terrible foes, and that we know of our common need of grace and forgiveness. -Reinhold Niebuhr

    It was a lot less complex when the call to war was against the Nazis.

    1. Oregoncharles

      That might be why there are Arabs in the SDF. It still holds about half the country, by area. I expect them to make an arrangement with Assad, who holds most of the other half. It’s pretty much their only option. And it might get the Turks off their backs – both sides.

  28. Oregoncharles

    From “Why do Cats knock everything over” (not much science in it): ” if people have fragile valuables, use museum putty to secure them to surfaces so they can’t be knocked over,” she recommends.”

    Museum putty is also used to protect against earthquakes, so thank you. This is a real service to those of us in earthquake country.

    1. ewmayer

      I find cats are extremely good at not knocking over stuff when the geometry & physics are clear to a cat-level intelligence. More-complex scenarios are where the trouble lies – classic example is a cat which has learned it can safely climb curtains trying the same technique on a corner of a tablecloth, not realizing that without suitable anchoring, its weight will pull down the tablecloth and anything on the table.

      And of course there are the occasional “moods” in our mercurial feline friends where they *want* to get our attention to some protest action on their part. Or when a pair of cats get to roughhousing, in which case all consideration of the furnishings – except of the strategic-defensive-locale variety – goes by the wayside.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ve seen them carefully and very deliberately knock things off. I think it’s play – they like batting things around.

  29. Oregoncharles

    The antidote: beautiful but remarkably ungainly birds. I vividly remember seeing them diving on a family trip to Florida when I was a kid. They hit the water pretty much like a sack of laundry. It’s amazing that they have such a successful survival strategy. In any case, a vivid experience of nature.

    I also remember when the brown pelicans returned to the Oregon coast. Never saw them diving, though. My house for ten years gave quite a view; I also saw gray whales mating (I believe) in the surf. There were three of them.

  30. George Phillies

    Hillary Clinton: I won in ‘dynamic’ places, Trump won ‘backwards’

    She’s so brilliant that she believes in insulting voters about where they happen to live.

  31. witters

    Pence proclaims that abortion will end “in our times.” This might just be an inevitable consequence of it being the end of time for us.


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