Links 3/24/18

Moose find a friend in fire: burned areas host highest numbers Quetico Superior Foundation (Chuck L)

Bach and the Erotics of Spring Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Harry Reid on What the Government Knows About UFOs New York Magazine. Lambert: “So I guess the question is who brokers the deal between us and the aliens.”

UN: Earth undergoing ‘mass extinction event’ DW

In court, oil companies accept climate science but rewrite its history ars technica (Chuck L)

Researchers find a new material for quantum computing TechCrunch (David L)

Navigating And/Or Avoiding The Inpatient Mental Health System Slate Star Codex. UserFriendly: “Helpful for anyone that has to deal with involuntary commitment.​” Not just that. Look at this part:

I want to be really clear on this: in your head, there might be a huge difference between voluntary and involuntary hospitalization. In your doctor’s head, and in the legal system, these are two very slightly different sets of paperwork with tiny differences between them.

It works like this, with slight variation from state to state: involuntary patients are usually in the hospital for a few days while the doctors evaluate them. If at the end of those few days the doctors decide the patient is safe, they’ll discharge them. If, at the end of those few days, the doctors decide the patient is dangerous, the doctors will file for a hearing before a judge, which will take about a week. The patient will stay in the hospital for that week. 99% of the time the judge will side with the doctors, and the patient will stay until the doctors decide they are safe, usually another week or two.

Voluntary patients are technically allowed to leave whenever, but they have to do this by filing a form saying they want to. Once they file that form, their doctors may keep them in the hospital for a few more days while they decide whether they want to accept the form or challenge it. If they want to challenge it, they will file for a hearing before a judge, which will take about a week. The patient will stay in the hospital for that week. 99% of the time the judge will side with the doctors, and the patient will stay until the doctors decide they are safe, usually another week or two.

You may notice that in both cases, the doctors can keep the patient for a few days, plus however long it takes to have a hearing, plus however long the judge gives them after a hearing. So what’s the difference between voluntary and involuntary hospitalization? Pride, I guess, plus a small percent of cases where the doctors just shrug and say “whatever” when the voluntary patient tries to leave.


US destroyer buzzes Chinese island in South China Sea Asia Times

North Korea

Koreas agree to talks ahead of leaders’ summit DW

Spain Catalonia: Five separatist leaders detained BBC


Cambridge Analytica misled MPs over work for Leave.EU, says ex-director Guardian

Labour fury as it emerges Jeremy Corbyn once defended ‘anti-Semitic’ public mural showing a group of ‘hook-nosed’ men around a Monopoly board Daily Mail. Look at the mural for yourself. This is pretty desperate.

Exonerating the Empire in Venezuela FAIR (UserFriendly)

Aggressive Police Tactics Escalate Against TransMountain Pipeline Protests in Canada Real News Network

New Cold War

“This terrible Russian youth” The Saker (Chuck L)

Calling for Arms Talks with Russia, is the U.S. Raising a White Flag? Consortium News


Sarkozy vows to clear name in Libya probe Middle East Online

‘Some of the Greatest Crimes Against Humanity in Our Time Were Committed in Sinai’ Haaretz

Imperial Collapse Watch

Then They Came for the Globalists Counterpunch (UserFriendly). Important.

How Russia and China Could Come Unhinged Wall Street Journal. Kevin W: “Reminds me of that old 1940’s classic ‘I Can Dream Can’t I.'”

Trade Tantrum

Wilbur Ross to China: Import More U.S. Gas to Cut Trade Gap Bloomberg (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

New Trump Transgender Military Policy Bars Those With Gender Dysphoria

Trump rattles White House with Bolton shake-up The Hill

When Republicans Rejected John Bolton New York Times (Darius)

Let’s call Bolton what he is, a War Criminal with Terrorist Ties, not just “Hawkish” Juan Cole (Randy K)

John Bolton – The Man With A Hammer Is Looking For Nails Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Democrats attack Trump’s choice John Bolton as ‘reckless partisan’ Guardian

The Memo: Lawyer’s exit signals harder line by Trump The Hill

Hackers are holding the city of Atlanta’s computer systems for ransom, causing massive outages — and anyone who has conducted business with the city is at risk Business Insider (David L)

Novato condo complex owners trapped in legal battle Marinij Neoliberals trying to separate condo owners from property. Bill C:

Marin County, CA city Novato
2nd article concerns another CIDology Inc project where the General Contracor is suing the company claiming extortion/kickbacks. Meanwhile all sales & refinance activity for the owners is in limbo.


Parkland students interview Bernie Sanders: ‘Your generation has the power to change America’ Guardian (UserFriendly)

School district in Pennsylvania to arm students and teachers with rocks Guardian. Looks like they got the idea from Braveheart….where even in a movie, to make this stunt credible, both sides agree to stand still and let the other guy aim.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Protests in California after police kill black man carrying only his phone Guardian

Facebook Fracas

Facebook, Russia and Us: We the Stupid? Ghion Journal

How Cambridge Analytica broke into the U.S. political market through Mercer-allied conservative groups Washington Post. Kevin W: “Note the number of times John Bolton’s name appears in this article.

British authorities raid Cambridge Analytica offices in London DW. Oooh, this is gonna be FUN!

The poison in politics runs deeper than dodgy data Guardian (Kevin W)

Uber’s Killer Car

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Were Struggling Before Arizona Crash New York Times

Mr. Market Has a Sad

US stocks suffer worst week in more than two years Financial Times

Can the Fed Engineer the Best Economy Since the 1960s? Chairman Powell Is Going to Try New York Times. Doug S: “A pure an example as possible of an alternate universe. Neil Irwin (author) in a Pangloss who clearly lives in a best of all possible worlds — the one populated only by the 1%, the corporations and the politically powerful.”

Freight Costs and Volumes Surge, Inflation Fears Heat Up Wolf Street (EM)

Exclusive: Trump official quietly drops payday loan case, mulls others – sources Reuters (EM)

Guillotine Watch

The Manhattan Luxury-Home Market Is Screaming: I’m Overpriced! Bloomberg

Class Warfare

The Radical Proposal That Moderate Democrats Should Be Running On New York Magazine (Chuck L). Mirabile dictu, advocates a job guarantee. The elites must be waking up to the fact that their behavior has had a Versailles circa 1788 look.

Guaranteed Jobs through a Public Service Employment Program Levy Economics Institute (UserFriendly)

Which Radical Liberal Policy Proposal Is Worse? Forbes. UserFriendly: “ROFL”

Greyhound bus passengers record mutiny after driver allegedly falls asleep CBS. Good for the writer. Focuses on the right issue after describing the row: “The incident raises serious questions about whether a nationwide shortage of bus drivers is pushing current ones to drive without proper rest.

I can’t attend this screening but readers in the NYC metro area might be interested. Details:

I wanted to bring to your attention a new documentary by New York based filmmaker Giorgio Angelini. Owned, A Tale of Two Americas, will have its world premiere at the Full Frame Film Festival on Friday, April 6th at 10:30am at Fletcher. The documentary will also be part of the San Francisco Doc Festival in early June and we are in the process of looking for distribution.

Owned is very sociopolitically relevant for our times combining the bubble bursting with red lining and how the American Dream isn’t accessible for so many. Ultimately what the film was originally positing was that without a substantial change in our housing policy, we would continue to see a lot of negative externalities associated to it. And during production the uprisings in cities like baltimore to the election of Donald Trump took place. Both of these experiences the film argues are reactions to a country suffering from anachronistic housing policy that only serves a very slim percentage of people today.

Link to official website:

The Twilight of Authority Ecosophia (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus video related to the discussion above from one of my favorite films, Michael Clayton. Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) and Michael Clayton (George Clooney) are attorneys in the same high-powered law firm. Arthur is the star litigator who has been defending a Monsanto-like company against suits over a toxic weedkiller. Arthur is bi-polar, went off his meds, has decided his client is guilty and has started working actively against it. Immediate backstory is Arthur took his clothes off in a deposition in Wisconsin, Michael the firm fixer came to deal with the situation, and Arthur managed to escape Michael’s custody and get back home to New York.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Altandmain

    I think that the Clinton Liberals do not understand that they have lost legitimacy.

    Often people speak of Trump as being not legitimate because he lost the popular vote like George W. Bush. The issue is that I do not believe that Clinton Liberals understand the importance of where their legitimacy comes from.

    The core source legitimacy for the Liberal movement has always come from standing up for the common citizen against the plutocracy. With the rise of neoliberalism, the Liberal movement has been co-opted and represents the upper middle class and the very wealthy.

    Gone is the discussion of the New Deal and anything that might help the common citizen. Note this dismissive attitude that many Clinton supporters had towards the economic grievances of the Bernie Sanders base. That is because Clinton supporters are not personally affected. It is not the upper 10 percent that has to deal with the worst of the recession, student debt, underemployment, gig economy jobs, and having no healthcare. The other issue is that Sanders would, had he been allowed to do what be campaigned on, narrowed the gap between the middle class and upper middle class. Leftists wanted Bernie because Obama sold out to Wall Street and nobody was under any illusion about Clinton, who would have sold out too.

    The same could be said of the economic despair base that was decisive for Trump in 2016. It is not wealthy liberals in the big coastal areas that are seeing their jobs get outsourced. Liberals seem to have a contemptous attitude that robots or outsourcing will replace the former middle class. They also seem to be willfully ignorant than increasing the supply of labor will reduce the bargaining power of workers, a predictable result of the open borders policy they advocate. Well first of all, the evidence for robots taking over is on shaky grounds, but the real issue is that Liberals believe what they want to believe. Why Germany can have manufacturing and unions, while Americans cannot is something that they cannot answer.

    They never considered the possibility that when they undermined the economic struggles of the former middle class and working class, they were undermining their own legitimacy. A poignant example of this is how Clinton Liberals called Bernie Sanders supporters “Bernie Bros” and working class whites “deplorable”. It was a shock for them on election day in 2016.

    Apparently, even though Liberals consider themselves more intelligent than us, they do not want to recognize that calling people names doesn’t motivate people to vote for you. The issue here is that they see their credentials, like Ivy League or working for Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, etc, as a source of moral superiority in a way not dissimilar to how Conservatives see the rich as superior. Thomas Frank in Listen Liberal covers this in detail. After this time, I am forced to concede that the right wing “out of touch Liberal” criticisms may have been valid after all.

    Another alarming consideration is the nature of the reactions of Clinton Liberals to the rise of Bernie Sanders. Several years ago, Yves wrote an editorial about the possibility of a Elizabeth Warren run.

    Four years later, the left appears to have achieved this objective with a Sanders run. Whatever else, Sanders just blew the mask on the upper middle class liberal elites and their rich backers. He did so in exposing the true face of the Democratic Establishment. The similarities with McCarthyism are very striking, if not disturbing. The ongoing Russia hacked the elections debacle is not helping either. It is a modern day Red Scare. The issue is that Liberals do not tolerate dissent from their ideology. Nor do they tolerate a champion who would attempt to pass another New Deal and take on the plutocracy.

    What is left of the Liberal movement without another New Deal and the fact that they are supposed to stand up against the rich? Identity politics with Wall Street? Liberals have no legitimacy any more, even though they don’t realize it. That is why we are in this current crisis. The other of course is that the rich are really greedy and have used identity politics in a manner quite similar to how they manipulated the Tea Party. Worst of all, the Clinton Liberals are incapable of admitting their errors, having learned nothing from the 2016 elections, and will repeat them.

        1. Which is worse - bankers or terrorists

          Super analysis by AltandMain. The kissing price I think involves looking at the Democratic Party’s funding. Trump’s campaign, as much as I detest it, was not constrained by the funding limitations that control the Democratic Party’s message. The Dems might well understand the above predicament but due to funding constraints, can do little about it under the current set of funding constraints they have.

    1. sir blunthead

      This is the most poignant analysis of our current political situation I’ve read. The mainstream Democratic abandonment of the non-wealthy is obvious and tragic. The Democratic party’s failure to reform itself and go back to it’s roots will result in a new party forming.

      1. Jean

        Yes sir,

        But you forget the Democrats have Kamala Harris, who with her noteworthy personal and celebrated accomplishments of being born female, half African American and East Indian, is ready to go forth and represent the interests of various “communities” and maybe, just maybe, harvest the votes of those disenfranchised American workers who will flock to her as an alternative to Trumpism.

        She’s such a good bet to represent Wall Street and the neocons that even Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, donated to her last campaign.

        1. Synoia

          Kamela Harris was aggressive in investigating the Actors behind the crash in 2008, and caused many 000’s of them to be prosecuted and imprisoned.

          She was totally effective in every way in the State Government of California.

          Where being elected a Senator is the only measure of “totally effective”.

    2. DWD

      This seems about right.

      The only thing I would add is that people – particularly Clinton People – do not ever ask the two-year-olds’ question sufficiently. The simple “Why question.”

      When you look around and see what Yves calls the “Crapification” of everything, you have to ask yourself, “Why?”

      If you keep on asking the question until the nonsense has been discarded, you will always end up at the same place: because it suits the needs of the ultra wealthy.

      Until the Clinton People understand that there is a class war and that the people have lost and are huddling in shelter now, disorganized and at each others throats, we cannot even begin to mount an offense.

      1. RickM

        My Clintonista friends also refuse to see the truth that is right before their eyes. I think this is largely because very few of them have ever had to work for a living. Which is not to say they don’t work hard at their “careers,” which generally correspond to jobs that got the earlier Richard Florida so stupidly excited. Rather, it is that they have never had to take a contingent minimum wage job to eat and pay the rent. Ever. And they won’t understand until the other “they” come for their children, and grandchildren. By which time, it will be way too late. I’ve stopped counting the number of time I have recommended Strangers in Their Own Land as a good source to help them to step out of The Bubble. So far as I know, not one as bothered to read the book. It might, after all, cause them to rethink, and that cannot happen!

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Wish I knew better what to do about the “…at each others throats…” problem because it’s real and stops anything good from happening.

        I’ve mentioned that our town recently banned non-owner occupied short term rentals which are better termed as illegal hotels. Basically people were buying up multiple properties and then renting them out to tourists to the point where some had a whole row of what used to be homes that they were running as one disconnected hotel. The price of real estate has again skyrocketed and modest single family homes have been priced so high that people who work for a living can no longer afford them. Neighborhoods are being depopulated of full time residents. It was a very contentious battle with many of the most vocal anti-Airbnb people coming form the pro-Clinton demographic and on the other side a number of people claiming that Airbnb was a godsend and this was the only way they could get ahead, etc, etc. Some were the usual real estate shysters who were clearly blowing smoke but there were others who had purchased one house because they didn’t trust Wall Street but felt they had to invest in something in order to send kids to college, be able to retire etc. These latter people clearly had a justified distrust in some aspects of capitalism, but not of the system itself, certain they’d find the right investment that would make their dreams come true eventually. It reminds me of bitcoin “investors”, many of whom have written of their justifiable distrust of government and central banks but are sure that this time it can’t possibly be a scam.

        The language of the new regulations was not prohibitive, but rather enumerated what would now be allowed on residential property – people who are actually permanent residents of the community living in their own homes could legally rent out a room under certain guidelines. And since the problem came to a head in the first place due to lax enforcement of existing code by previous city staff , the city put in some fairly standard boilerplate language to the effect of ‘whatever is not specifically permitted in this ordinance is prohibited’, meaning that they weren’t going to list every single possible non-residential use of one’s land, so assume that whatever wasn’t a residential use isn’t allowed. All of the surrounding towns had such language in their codes for years and it hadn’t caused any problems, but ours for some reason had not.

        That of course led to an ill informed property rights guy to take out papers to attempt to overturn the new regulations and the illegal hotel people were only too happy to help him gather signatures around town to do so, making false claims about not being allowed to have a clothesline without checking with the city, or not being allowed to park a motorcycle in front of your house.

        Most of the people on both sides of the issue are not rich. Some clearly think they might be if only they could continue their current practice, but most are nurses, military veterans,club owners, etc – a pretty good cross section of the demographic that’s finding it increasingly difficult to get by. It’s hard not to sympathize with people on both sides of the issue.

        It’s like the story of the Wal-Mart wedding the other day. We’re led to believe it’s a happy story but the question we should be asking is why we should be reduced to having a wedding in a Wal-Mart in the first place. Same here – why are we being reduced to the point where the only way someone can afford a home is to agree to rent out part of it to strangers on a regular basis? Why must our view of everything be filtered through Mammon’s prism?

        Meanwhile while all the residents are either trying to make a buck renting out residential real estate illegally to tourists or fighting to stop it, the big money sits back and waits. Housing prices are going up sharply, in part due to the Airbnb phenomenon, but it isn’t going to last forever. At some point the market will be saturated for these types of rooms and at that point what you can command as rent will drop fast. It’s just another bubble waiting to burst. But the platform companies don’t need to worry – they get their cut regardless without the hassle of actually owning and maintaining property.

        My feeling is that regulating this industry will wind up saving a lot of people from themselves – capital is not here to help you and while Airbnb may have started out with good intentions, that ceased to be the case a while ago. They are a multibillion dollar behemoth and when they need to decide to do what’s best for their investors or for those who bought expensive real estate to rent out on their platform, guess who’s going to win? But people don’t like to be told they don’t understand an issue, or don’t have all the facts and we all know the old saw about the difficulty in understanding something when it’s not in your financial interest to do so.

        But how do you tell the guy who wants to send his kid to college that capitalism is the problem? They’re likely to just punch you, but even if they agree wholeheartedly, that doesn’t alleviate the need to pay the bills tomorrow while fixing capitalism might take a little while.

        So we fight and bicker and squabble over a dollar and the squillionaires sit back and enjoy the show. I don’t mean any of the above to come across as condescending to anybody, but I’m sure it would to many people anyway. And then we’d bicker some more.

    3. Expat

      The American political system typically rewards entrenched power, but this time it failed and we got what we deserved. As much as I dislike Trump, I am bizarrely happier with him in office rather than Clinton. Trump is horrific and for that reason might change American politics for the better. There could be a popular backlash against racism, hate, greed, and corruption as well as a renunciation of established politicians on the right and the left.

      Americans need to do some soul-searching, not their forte. Things like: Do we want a military empire any more? Do health and education matter? Is money all that counts? Do we accept nepotism and royalty in our ruling classes? Are ignorance and belief equivalent to science and learning? Is hatred acceptable? Does the future of our children and planet matter?

      Clinton Liberals, Tumpeteers, Sanders Commies, Classic Conservatives, Liberal Republicans, Wall Street Democrats…and so on. Pointless, vague labels that only serve to divide, conquer and manipulate. And how can you criticize name-calling when it’s what you filled your post with?

      1. RabidGandhi

        I agree with you in substance, but allow me to offer a counterpoint to your tactics. In reading your post, this is how I surmised how the Democrat loyalists would answer your questions:

        Do we want a military empire any more? No, we reject the Republicans’ empire, we just want the right to protect people against “evil dictators” (except the ones we like, eg Saudis, Kagame, Temer…)

        Do health and education matter? Yes that’s why we support Obamacare and charter schools!

        Is money all that counts? No, we should have a national conversation on proposing innovative solutions to inequality (led by our generous donors and squillionaires)

        Do we accept nepotism and royalty in our ruling classes? No, that’s why the Bushes and Trump are bad! Clinton and Cuomo on the other hand are intrepid fighters for the people!

        Are ignorance and belief equivalent to science and learning? I know! Aren’t the deplorables just rancid?

        Is hatred acceptable? Love trumps hate! (unless you’re Madeleine Albright)

        Does the future of our children and planet matter? Yes, that’s why we’re proposing public private partnerships to help our children and our planet, and working with the Gates and Clinton Foundations to eradicate poverty and global warming!

        These predictable vague answers are the reasons why I think the questions being asked need to be much more specific: Should healthcare and education (K to Uni) be free and universal? Should the US immediately stop bombing other countries? Should everyone in the country be guaranteed a job with a living wage? etc.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          That was a very accurate list of Establishment Democrat responses. A little on the honest side however (I.e. most of them would carefully avoid praising the obviously vicious Cuomo, and would make sweet talk about Gillibrand instead).

        2. Carolinian

          ++++ for your snark.

          Just to add that the reaction to Trump as president shows why these questions aren’t going to be asked. The establishment wants to make sure Trump is seen as the crazy guy who accidentally got elected and who therefore has nothing to do with business as usual.

        3. Expat

          I disagree. The US has asked the question, “Should healthcare be free and universal?” and replied “No! That is communism and we would rather die!”
          Right-wing politician don’t dare ask the more general questions because they know what the answers will be. Americans DO care about healthcare and healthcare costs. Americans would be happy to be less ignorant. Americans would like to stop invading and slaughtering the world’s poorest countries. As for the other questions, I fear that Americans don’t think science and learning are important but that the Bible is all we need (I know that contradicts the question about ignorance but that is human behavior). Americans don’t like dynasties and inherited privilege so they could easily be convinced to forbid political dynasties.

          I understand your responses were sarcastic, but my questions were, for once, genuine.

      2. Synapsid


        A couple of days ago I tried to reply to your request for a source of information about costs in the shale-oil industry, and both vanished.

        Go to the site PeakOilBarrel and in the right column click on the oil-related thread. Mike (OilySuff is his blog) and Shallow Sand will give you the information you want.

        1. Expat

          Thanks for that. I must admit I have not checked in over there for a while. I am ostensibly an oil professional but often find myself being lazy and not staying on top of things like I should

      3. Altandmain

        RabidGandhi has already addressed the answers to your questions, so I will not repeat his arguments.

        As far as this question: “And how can you criticize name-calling when it’s what you filled your post with?”

        I do not expect them to vote for a candidate I agreed with on policy. Clinton voters were entitled in that they expected that Hillary Clinton would be a shoo in, ostensibly due to her loss in 2008 to Obama and her gender. They felt entitled to the votes of Sanders supporters and working class whites. This happened even as they treated them with contempt (ex: “Bernie Bro” and “deplorable”). To them, these were signs that supporters of other politicians were racist or sexist, rather than signs that they understood that Clinton would represent a continuation of an economic system that waged class warfare against them. Despite this, the Clinton base clearly expected the Sanders base and working class voters who went for Obama to support Clinton, despite her dismissing their concerns.

        I believe that it is the job of any candidate to earn the vote of the people.

        I expect too that any Bernie or similar candidate would be opposed by the Clinton base. Why? They are protecting their class interests. We are working or middle class. They are rich or upper middle class. The economic policies that have been undertaken in the past 40-50 years benefit them at our expense. That is the real fight.

    4. Steve H.

      Liberal. Globalist. Atlanticist. Conservative.

      I had a conversation with a fellow across the pond, and it became clear that ‘neoliberal’ had an alternate historical perspective depending on where you live. Lambert has been noting the oblique angles of adjectives.

      The problem is easiest to see when the suffix -ism is attached. Greer has been doing the best most recent job I’ve seen of ripping apart the inter-identity tribalism inherent in the abstractions. Adler used the phrase ‘beffudlement’ as the result of abstracting from abstractions.

      Which is why ‘concrete material benefit’ is so important as a pindown. When you deal with the case in question, you avoid translation issues.

    5. Jack Lifton

      Very well said. I think that Trump has made a mistake in tactics. He is allowing the Democrat gerontocracy the rope with which he thinks they will hang themselves such as with funding Planned Parenthood and continued feckless/reckless immigration policy to get a mammoth defense budget through. I believe he thinks he is doing an FDR in the late 1930s, preparing an America caught up in vicious internal politics for the dangers he perceives in the real external world. He may be right about the external dangers, but Washington is more and more Byzantium in its last days.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’d say the “threat” of “external dangers” is peanuts compared to the diseases already affecting the Empire. Most of those “external dangers,” to the extent they actually exist in reality versus the hype from the “danger profiteers,” can be traced back to the greed-and-dominance-driven “policies” and behaviors of the Rulers, going way back.

        The real threats (to human survival, let alone “national pre-eminence,” are all the global externalities that are by all accounts growing far faster than we mopes can register, while our “elites” get ever more engrossed by the processes that convert Real Economy wealth into all those tokens of excess and offshore hidden accounts, and of course into the corrupting bribes and “interests” that use the necessary forms of legitimization (‘governments”) to make it all nice and legal, see?”.

        So we mopes continue, “as we must,” to make the best we can for ourselves (as in maximizing our stuff and consumption or, for so many, struggling just to meet the basic needs of food, shelter and water. Even our “threat perceivers in chief” have seen the future as extended from the present, and know it does not work for anything like the mass of humans eating the heart out of the biosphere. The “threat perceivers,” of course, in best human self-actualization fashion, have to spin the threats into reasons why they should rule the future and control all the responses to the dangers they both herald and work so hard to create and foster (“Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL)” gets re-cast as “Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF),” much more palatable, no?) Here’s one version, from the “Defense Science Board,” of the blueprinting, that nicely characterizes human destruction of our habitat, the horrors that likely will eventuate, and how the Vast Military Thing can “take charge” and manage the Battlespace Endangerment Profile:

        Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security It’s a longer read, but for the cynical eye there’s great stuff on every page.

        My guess is that avarice and self-interest and being too smart for our own good is going to be the death of most of us. All watchable now in fiction form on your very own 64-inch-“class” flat screen TV, with surround sound to boot… But then I am just an old curmudgeon, and a priest in the High Church of Futilitarianism…

        Maybe “trade” is inevitable between humans, but it’s the disease that is catalyzing the “mass extinction” that one part of the UN is so concerned about. The world’s political economy is full of all too human consumptive greed and hypocrisy, but a lot of what ails us is the result of blowback from Imperial and colonial pursuits over centuries. Couple that with the wholesale and retail manufacturing of “desires” (and “consent”) and rentable and profit-taking encouragement of “Go-West-ianism” (use up what you occupy, then move on to the next lootable space except we’re running out of them)

        1. whine country

          I’m waiting for Putin to publicly declare that he has not the least concern about adversely impacting our government because we are already doing such a fantastic job of destroying ourselves. We have met the enemy and he is us – there’s nothing external about it.

    6. makedoanmend

      I believe that trying to make any distinction between Clinton and Trump is missing the point entirely. They may ostensibly be different political products, but they are products of the same neoliberal economic system. Expectations about either Clinton or Trump will result in outcomes of a few degrees of divergence in one particular vector. Liberals and conservatives who serve the same ideology do not produce inherently different outcomes.

      I would also quibble with the thought that the “left” in the USA produced Sanders as a candidate. From a distance, it appears Sanders produced Sanders as a candidate and that some on the left, middle and probably on the right supported him.

      1. Carla

        “I would also quibble with the thought that the “left” in the USA produced Sanders as a candidate. From a distance, it appears Sanders produced Sanders as a candidate and that some on the left, middle and probably on the right supported him.”

        I completely concur.

      2. Altandmain

        Yes, Sanders ran on his own volition.

        However the campaign would not have been a success without the backing of the left. He was extremely popular with independent voters and there was even a large contingent of Republicans that supported Sanders.

        There were plenty of others. Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, but it was Bernie who got the critical mass. More importantly he may have inspired a generation of future left wing politicians.

        As far as GOP vs Democratic Establishment, they largely agree in economic issues and foreign policy. The only disagreements are mostly in social issues, which serve as a deliberately orchestrated distraction for the far more serious economic issues.

        Namely the fact that both parties are responsible for the damage and are in bed with the rich.

        1. makedoanmend

          Thanks for the reply Altandmain,

          I take your point that the left in the USA was of assistance to Sanders.

          If my understanding is correct, a master stroke of the DSA is that they refrained from expending their energy and probably meagre resources on creating an official party. They circumvent many problems and instead reap more benefit by focusing on endorsing candidates and promoting material benefit programs imo.

          damned good comment in the first instance, by the way

        2. Skip Intro

          Don’t forget that Sanders began his campaign as a symbolic gesture: A campaign that didn’t take corporate cash. No one, Bernie included, had any idea the campaign would ‘go viral’, and build a movement that challenged the Democrat grift. That terrified them, naturally, and now the Democrats have explicitly recognized their long implicit raison d’etre : suppression of the working class via identity politics, neoliberal policy, and red baiting.

    7. james wordsworth

      In any other country, Clinton Liberal is an oxymoron. For example, someone like a Bernie Sanders would be considered pretty middle of the road in Canada. A Clinton Liberal would be a conservative.

      In the USA the system has been redesigned by big money (corporations) to be “bread and circuses”. Keep people lusting after the latest trinket, bought on debt, all due to their own personal effort and free will. Lousy education, endless fear, endless consumerism, it goes on and on.

      Unless there is a rethink/overthrow of corporate power you will never have enough true progressives to build a movement that can take power. There is too much fragmentation (by design) to allow the masses to come together.

      Simple example. Was talking to a guy out west about single payer health care and how it would be great for innovation, entrepreneur, workers, even companies. He agreed, but then pointed to an overweight guy nearby and said, “But I don’t want to pay for his health care”. That is the mindset that needs to change … and it won’t happen until people have to band together (the next depression) and have lost faith in the rugged individual meme.

      1. Mel

        “Bernie Sanders would be considered pretty middle of the road in Canada”

        Hard to say. With a model of the Trudobamacron in charge, the road is quite a ways over there. Even the socialist party apologizes for having to limit programs in order to balance the budget. If that’s an election ploy, it isn’t working.

        1. JEHR

          Mel, I live here and I would like to have an example of what you are saying about limiting programs to balance the budget. We really need to give factual evidence when making such claims. For one, we don’t have a “socialist” party: they are Liberal, Conservative and NDP parties. What is “Trudobamacron?” In these days, we need accuracy, examples and truth. Please try hard to provide as much as you can.

          1. jonhoops

            Trudobamacron, fairly easy to parse that one . A good looking young candidate who presses all the right identitarian buttons. The candidate is well spoken and seems like a genuine nice guy while serving up the usual neoliberal economic and foreign policy prescriptions. Also not gauche like Trump.

            In the last election the ostensible socialist party, the NDP, ran on an balanced budget message buying into the neoliberal economic frame. Trudeau ran on a deficits are ok when we need them Keynesian platform to the left of the NDP.

            1. JEHR

              That balanced budget ideology reappears again and again in federal politics and shows the ignorance of its exponents; however, the provinces have to balance their budgets within their taxation system as much as possible. That may be where the confusion comes from.

      2. perpetualWAR

        During Occupy, I designed a sign that read:

        No Jobs
        No Homes
        No Fear

        That got many thinking.

        Another one that got many comments:

        Homeland Security, Defend MY Home!

        1. Geo

          “Homeland Security” has always felt Orwellian to me. From the early days of the color coded threat levels it seemed it’s purpose was to enhance the fear levels at home.

          Of course, I’m a tinfoil hatted believer that when an organization’s business model is driven by insecurity and turmoil, they will work to make sure the environment stays that way to continue their own revenue stream. Which is why I still dream of the day we can make Kucinich’s idea of a Dept. Of Peace a reality.

      3. a different chris

        >but then pointed to an overweight guy nearby and said, “But I don’t want to pay for his health care”.

        Would be interesting (but probably rude) to enquire about his family history – I can see a future where that “fat guy” is laboring away in his cube, his efforts via whatever deduction (Ideally taxes!) helping pay for the thin guy’s cancer treatments. Because the one thing that the best of the doctors get correct is:

        You. Never. Know.

        1. Bridget

          While it’s true that You. Never. Know., the risks can be crudely gauged. You. Can. Be. Pretty. Sure that Overweight Guy is going to screw up the risk pool more than Thin Guy unless Thin Guy is a Smoker. And since both obesity and smoking are almost entirely self inflicted health risks, it is not in the least irrational not to want to be forced to subsidize such self destructive behavior. Ditto with idiots who jump out of airplanes.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > And since both obesity and smoking are almost entirely self inflicted health risks,

            Only if you leave out all systemic factors (e.g., marketing with cigarettes, and our horrid diet in the second.)

        2. Steve

          In our society increasingly the “fat guy over there” is right in the mirror, everywhere.
          Thus in addition to explaining the facts about the benefits of a single payer system compared to what we are all already paying for to the for profit health industrial complex, connecting it to the overall crapification of the quality of mass rugged individual life via for profit gun, food, drug, alcohol, tobacco and chemical industries , and the desired macro un/under employment of neoliberal late stage financial capitalism is what has to explained in lay terms.

      4. Fraibert

        I am all in favor of single payer healthcare, but the guy you were talking to does have a point–a good single payer system will create moral hazard. Some people will make worse health choices than they otherwise would because they have a better backstop.

        To be certain, the overall cost of this moral hazard is not going to exceed the societal benefit of coverage.

        Still, I find the objection that was raised is a good illustration of one important reason why I feel the “center” as a whole is not holding. I do not think We the People trust our fellow citizens to comply with the rules, but rather are constantly suspicious that someone is going to cheat or exploit the system. In short, there’s a lack of belief in general good faith.

        Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but that’s what struck me.

        1. marym

          All other developed countries have some form of universal healthcare, lower costs, and better health outcomes. Is there any evidence that this “moral hazard” of which you speak has increased in these countries? Or that individual poor choices, if there are such, aren’t off-set for the population as a whole by decreased costs overall due to prevention, early intervention, and public health education initiatives made possible by the universal system?

          1. Fraibert

            I’m not sure you understood my point.

            The point isn’t the moral hazard itself. The point is that the moral hazard is only an issue for people because we have reached a point where too many are not willing to believe in the good faith of their fellow citizens.

            People being people, there are always going to be cheaters, but that wouldn’t be a big objection in the first place if we felt that overall people were going to play by the rules.

            1. Fraibert

              To expand.

              I suppose all of this is just to say there are several dimensions to convincing people about single payer. In practical terms, it’d be good policy to have healthy citizens, etc., and it seems like the person James Wordsworth was speaking with felt the force of this argument. There is also a moral argument that people need healthcare to realize their full potential, that it’s the morally correct thing to do, etc.

              But, there’s what I’ll call a “legitimacy” issue that seems to be a serious obstacle for some people’s support. Healthcare, even in single payer or otherwise universal coverage countries, is resource constrained. As a result, people need to have faith that others will behave appropriately in respect of those limitations so that the system can work as well as possible for those who need it most.

              You could argue this last point is unreasonable in light of the practical and moral arguments for single payer or some other form of universal health coverage. It also smacks of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

              Nonetheless, the fact that it is an issue at all reflects, to me, a breakdown of key societal trust.

              1. Pat

                I answered you with a certain amount of snark, but if this is what worried you perhaps a better response to the person who didn’t like the idea of “paying” for the fat guy was to point out that they already were. To explain how insurance pools work, and attempt to make it clear that there were going to be fat people in his current pool, and ones with heart disease and … And that not only was he paying for the pooled cost of their care but the profits of the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies who have jacked up the cost of insulin, and for the private hospitals who say that just staying in one costs upwards of five figures a day. That this abuse of the healthcare consumer doesn’t happen in countries with single payer. Which is where people are healthier, get better and more effective care AND pay far less for it. IOW paying for the fat guy would probably save him money.

        2. Pat

          Do you think that our current system means people are making good health choices because they have no “backstop”?

          Or do you just think that more people will start trying to snowboard in half pipes because their broken limbs will be treated?

          I realize that isn’t the moral hazard you are talking about, but I have to wonder if you aren’t overestimating the numbers of people living so-called healthy lifestyles just because they can’t afford healthcare.

          1. Fraibert

            Please see my further comments above for an expansion on the main point, which isn’t the issue of the amount of moral hazard that might exist from universal healthcare.

            My larger point is that I am concerned that the extent to which the moral hazard issue (or framing) creates resistance to universal healthcare coverage. I suspect it reflects a society that lacks basic social trust.

            (Side note: It may be that there isn’t significant moral hazard in healthcare, though I understand the effect has been quantified in certain insurance areas, such as auto insurance–you’d presume people don’t want to get in car accidents, but people apparently do take more driving risks when insured.)

        3. witters

          Yes, I hadn’t thought of that! The terrible moral hazard of universal health-care and education. Surely it starts with the family – a veritable maelstrom of moral hazards! You cry, you get fed, and so on, and on. These kids don’t “play by the rules!” It must be stopped! They must be stopped! In the name of virtue!

          1. Fraibert

            The point of my discussion is not the extent of any moral hazard from a universal healthcare system.

            If a person can find all the practical arguments for single payer to be convincing and then point out an overweight person and say ‘only I don’t want to cover them’ (as reported by James Wordsworth above), there has to be a reason for it. What I am suggesting is that the issue was driven by a sense (whether fair or not) that others “won’t do their part” to stay healthy.

            Insofar as that’s an actual reason for resistance to single payer, that’s a serious issue because it reflects a huge lack of social trust and solidarity.

        4. Altandmain

          Here in Canada, we have smokers and our obesity issues too.

          We tax the tobacco and junk food, while not taxing regular food. In the EU, many nations have a special tax specifically for soft drinks. Mexico does as well.

          You do however have an important point – the issue is trust in your fellow citizens to not abuse the system, to live a healthy lifestyle, and to support each other in need. That level of trust is absent in America.

        5. Procppius

          Oh, yeah. “Better backstop.” Because if it’s not too expensive people will just use excessive medical care because they get so much pleasure from it. Seriously, I have a cousin, a very smart woman with a PhD in economics who believes this. She believes it’s imperative for people to have “skin in the game.” It does not seem to occur to her that people have hearts and livers and pancreases and bones and skin in the game already. People do not go to the doctor because it’s so much fun. People are not going to have abortions just because there’s a special on at the nearest hospital. True, people may go to the doctor because this cold has persisted for a week, and this is not an emergency to the onlooker, but it might mean that it’s not just a common cold. I have never looked into how these “studies” decide which medical treatments are “overused,” but I’ll bet I would not agree with their criteria.

      5. Lambert Strether

        > Then pointed to an overweight guy nearby and said, “But I don’t want to pay for his health care”.

        “There but for the grace of God go I” covers that one. Or should.

    8. Sid_finster

      Did not Yves Smith teach us that for Team D, all problems can be fixed with better PR?

    9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The core source legitimacy for the Liberal movement has always come from standing up for the common citizen against the plutocracy.

      From the internet, the definition of plutocracy:

      n. Government by the wealthy.
      n. A wealthy class that controls a government.
      n. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.

      If we are to stand up against plutocracy, do we not have to stand up against ‘their government’ (by peaceful means of course), or do we just stand up against the rich (who control the government, including the military, police, the legislative branch, the judicial branch, under any working plutocracy)?

      From the History of Liberalism, Wikipedia:

      Liberalism, the belief in freedom and human rights, is historically associated with such thinkers as John Locke and Montesquieu. It is a political movement which spans the better part of the last four centuries, though the use of the word “liberalism” to refer to a specific political doctrine did not occur until the 19th century. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England laid the foundations for the development of the modern liberal state by constitutionally limiting the power of the monarch, affirming parliamentary supremacy, passing the Bill of Rights and establishing the principle of “consent of the governed”.

      In 1688, the form of government was monarchy. Thus, they spoke of limiting the power of the monarch. Plutocracy can come and has come in various forms of government. And if the objective was to resist plutocracy, those in 1688 would speak of limiting the power of the government, any government that could be plutocratic potentially.

      On Sanders:

      He did so in exposing the true face of the Democratic Establishment.

      Did he?

      The exposure would include exposing their inter-connectedness to the MIC and the they-can-get-six-ways-from-Sunday intelligence underworld.

      Can we really take on the plutocracy without these people’s consent? Do they take orders from the wealthy or do the wealthy take orders from them? Or do they cooperate with each other, to the extent necessary and possible, in order to prevail over us?

      In all three cases, he would have to expose them.

      It has been suggested the he strategically avoids doing that, in order to do something later. Exactly how and was there any successful precedent? I can recall at least one failure, possibly, decades ago, and we are actually looking at one current struggle with no victory in sight of putting them under some control.

      The other possibility, contrary to the suggestion above, is that he knows what he is allowed to expose.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Came upon a term new to me that might better describe our current form of government:

        Kakistocracy — a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.

        1. JBird

          Can we really take on the plutocracy without these people’s consent? Do they take orders from the wealthy or do the wealthy take orders from them? Or do they cooperate with each other, to the extent necessary and possible, in order to prevail over us?

          We do not have a choice, for if we act there is a chance, and if we do not, we are just screwed.

          It is a common pattern.

          Whatever the political form in large complex societies to devolve to oligarchy to kleptocracy to kakistocracy. Furthermore there is a tendency to go from group rule to strongman. From laws, rules, agreements, and customs to just brute power be it money, weapons, or just the the ability to murder.

          A functioning society, even an absolute monarchy, has some checks and balances, as well as processes to handle all the needs of the whole society from the lowest peasant to the emperor. However, there are always greedy jackasses who want always want more; they do everything they can to undermined the system to give them that more of whatever. Eventually they succeed usually at great, often fatal, cost to the system.

          We are nearing the tipping point from where those laws, rules, agreements, morality, ethics, or just customs do matter to just brute power be it money, weapons, or just the the ability to murder.

          General Western society, and the American society especially, has atomized. Religious organizations, social organizations, political parties, accepted social norms, agreed upon conventions have all been disrupted, usually for power’s sake. That is why the American ostensibly liberal Democratic Party and the ostensibly conservative Republican Party are not liberal or conservative, leftist or rightist; those social labels are used to placate actual leftist, moderates, and conservatives while the whole damn nation is looted, stripped of anything of value. Money, skills, equipment, art, hopes, dreams, and the future. While we all argue over the tens of thousands harmed, even killed every year by lead poisoning caused by guns, we are distracted from the tens of millions harmed, even killed every year from lead poisoning from the very ground, water, and air.

          Oh look! Squirrel!

          1. Procppius

            I don’t remember which philosophers, aside from Machiavelli, believed that it was a three-way cycle. Once you’ve reached monarchy the next stage is democracy again, and again followed by oligopoly and then monarchy. Rinse, repeat. Like samsara, it has no beginning and it is unknowable whether it has an end or not.

            1. JBird

              Aristotle perhaps? He believed that there were three broad categories of government. Dictator/Ruler or King, Oligarchy/Aristocracy, and Mob/Democratic with the former being the bad version and the latter the good. He really preferred an aristocracy. I think as a a balance between the single ruler whose faults can easily bring ruin and the democratic group rule that can become a frenzied bestial mob. An aristocracy can have the benefits of multiple views, abilities, and interests without the weaknesses of the first and last types. He also said that a government does tend to cycle between the types and forms.

    10. djrichard

      After this time, I am forced to concede that the right wing “out of touch Liberal” criticisms may have been valid after all.

      This was a shock to me too. Way back when, fighting the good fight for me meant flipping this issue, taking the perceived weakness (liberal as pejorative) and making it a strength (liberal as proud banner). I’ve learned a lot since then.

      Gone is the discussion of the New Deal and anything that might help the common citizen.

      That’s the tell. I like to post in the comments section of Yahoo news. It’s pure school-yard politics in the comments section there, which is fine, because school-yard politics seems to be how we’ve gotten to where we are. Anyways, when I see the comments section being dominated by the “liberals”, I’ll make a reference to FDR-based policies as being the solution. It’s amazing how much that gets thumbs downed. They must know I’m trolling them.

      1. Lord Koos

        Well said. I also went through a time of unease that my decades of labelling myself as a “liberal” were over. It was in Obama’s first term that I realized I could no longer call myself a Democrat or a liberal — by today’s standards I suppose I’m a “radical” leftist. The framing of issues in the USA has been moved so far to the right that “the middle” is meaningless.

    11. Eduardo

      Yes! Thanks.

      I am also amazed to see the Clinton Democrats scream War Monger! and War Criminal! at John Bolton. Accurate enough, to be sure. But, why hasn’t the cognitive dissonance caused their heads to explode already?

      That was an argument against Clinton’s nomination. Now War Monger is suddenly a bad thing? We live in surreal times.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        When considering the cognitive dissonance angle, I think there are two explanations:

        -the belief in the secret super liberal Hillary. Narratives abounded about the real “Hillary” including ones about how Bernie and HRC aren’t that different. The “Obama will have more freedom with a second term” fantasy is at play. Even if they recognize Hillary’s record, those were short term political sacrifices to usher in the Golden Age of the Queen! denied by Bernie Sanders.

        -Its probably a simple red team v blue team tribal situation. “Warmonger” is a bad word which is acceptable to say, so it makes sense to label the enemy as a “warmonger.” For many Bolton didn’t exist until the day Trump appointed him even if they were upset when Bolton was in the Shrub White House. Once 43 went away or was no longer the enemy, Bolton ceased to exist. Cognitive dissonance isn’t a problem because “warmonger” is simply a bad word to label the other side.

    12. Louis Fyne

      +100%. now shrink everything onto bumper sticker or an instagram meme.

      Or for the liberal intelligensia, find a black turtleneck, some powerpoint slides, a headset microphone and give a Ted talk. As seemingly a person’s idea is only worthy if it’s on a Ted talk.

    13. WheresOurTeddy

      Phenomenal post, and the last sentence is likely the truest thing I’ve ever read.

      Sanders/Turner 2020: Enough is Enough.

    14. Lambert Strether

      > I think that the Clinton Liberals do not understand that they have lost legitimacy.

      Yes. #TheResistance — at the DC-, Neera Tanden-, Thomas Frank 10%-level — can be seen as an extended howl of rage and despair. Liberal Democrats frame their rage as a reaction to the loss of an election, and cannot admit to themselves that it’s a loss of legitimacy and class power. Hence their doubling down on every existing policy and strategy; treating a 2018 wave election, should it be one, as a chance to run the 2006-2009 playbook all over again, instead of viewing it as an opportunity to look in the mirror and change.

    15. Swamp Yankee

      This is beautifully put, Altandmain. A number of Clinton Liberals I know seem to be really coming unhinged. Latent personality pathologies seem to come out in a big way as of late, particularly on social media. Not to get all Freudian here, but I think there is an enormous, though subconscious, psychic tension that they experience as they lose legitimacy, but cling ever more tightly to the very views and personality traits that are causing that loss in the first place. Since they are congenitally incapable of honest self-examination, the psychic tension has nowhere to go, nothing to do but build and build…. I see a lot eliminationist rhetoric from Clinton Liberals today that was far more typical of FOX News conservatives c. 2005 or ’06 than what passed for “liberals” in that now increasingly distant time.

      Things are in major flux. Climate-wise, as well, as we just emerge from enduring four nor’easters in 20 days here on the southern end of the Gulf of Maine.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Clinton Liberals may be losing legitimacy, but are they losing power? Given the crew of of torturers, spooks, and he-men military types we see as Dem candidates, the long knives that have been used on Bernie, their retained death grip on the media, lack of reform of super-delegates, and the fact they keep trotting out the likes of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to speak for them, I think they think they can weather this storm. Where else are they gonna go? They can grab policy position optics without actually presenting any better policies: “Bolton is a War Monger!” (meantime let’s vote the Pentagon $60B more than they even asked for). Health Care coverage for all! (while blocking single payer).

    16. John

      I’ll disagree. Bernie Sanders was a good cheerleader and his heart is in the right place, but I don’t think he has the skills to implement any of the goals he promoted. My impression of Sanders speaking was “You get a unicorn! And you get a sparkle pony! Life will be wonderful up in the clouds…” Bernie was a Senator from a small, rural state. We have multiple cities in my state with greater populations.

      I viewed Clinton as a civil engineer. She is boring compared to Sanders, but she is capable of getting policies enacted. Bernie would talk about how wonderful it would be to have a beautiful bridge crossing a chasm, Hillary would do the site survey, have the plans drawn up, identify the stakeholders, get a budget funded, hire the contractors, supervise the work and get the bridge built.

      1. pretzelattack

        she is capable of not understanding the electoral college after running two national campaigns, and a lifetime of experience in politics. what exactly has she accomplished? besides enabling the iraq war and such, and pushing for invading libya.

      2. Rob P

        >Bernie would talk about how wonderful it would be to have a beautiful bridge crossing a chasm, Hillary would do the site survey, have the plans drawn up, identify the stakeholders, get a budget funded, hire the contractors, supervise the work and get the bridge built.

        Where was this planning for the war she championed in Libya? Or anything else she did as Secretary of State. Not to mention her incompetent campaign. The trope that Hillary is a competent administrator (or even ‘the most qualified in history’) is absurd –she was one of the worst Secretary of State’s in American history. The only way she would be more ‘capable of getting policies enacted’ is by signing bad, bipartisan policies that Bernie would have vetoed.

      3. witters

        “Hillary would do the site survey, have the plans drawn up, identify the stakeholders, get a budget funded, hire the contractors, supervise the work and get the bridge built.” And then it would fall down…

      4. bob

        As someone familiar with civil enginnering, Hillary is the pol who shows up to pretend to dig a hole and can’t quite figure out how a shovel works.

        But, she’s excellent with the financiers…..

        Photo contest- Guess which ones are in jail now?

      5. JCC

        Clinton as a Civil Engineer? Get the job done?

        Maybe, but a “beautiful bridge”?

        I suppose that would depend on which of the two policies she decided to implement during the site survey and who she identified as the stakeholders in order to cross that chasm, i.e., the policy to satisfy Wall St. Finance stakeholders or the policy to satisfy the voting Public stakeholders.

      6. lyman alpha blob

        Hillary would do the site survey, have the plans drawn up, identify the stakeholders, get a budget funded, hire the contractors, supervise the work and get the bridge built.

        And then she’d blow it up

        And blame Putin.

        1. Lambert Strether

          A friendly amendment; I think there’s an ordering issue and a crucial omission:

          1) Hillary would identify the stakeholders

          2) Take her cut <-- the addition 3) Do the site survey 4) Have the plans drawn up 5) Get a budget funded 6) Hire the contractors 7) Supervise the work 8) Get the bridge built. Of course, there are opportunites for grifting at every other stage. But the stakesholders really are going to have to stump up before anything happens.

      7. Sid_finster

        So tell us about HRC’s amazing accomplishments, and how her goals are really she same as Bernie’s.

      8. Another John

        You are absolutely right! But Hillary’s bridge would also be built in the wrong place..cause unexpected human and environmental catastrophes…have numerous deaths among the underpaid and dangerously overworked workers and fail after five years due to shoddy construction.
        Libya comes to mind as an example of a bridge she didn’t build so well. We came, we saw, he died….hahahahahahaha.

      9. Lambert Strether

        > “You get a unicorn! And you get a sparkle pony! Life will be wonderful up in the clouds…”

        Take for example the unicorn of universal health care*. I mean, it’s not like any other major industrialized nation has it. Oh, wait….

        * Weasel words adopted deliberately.

    17. jackiebass

      Clinton isn’t a liberal. She is what used to be called a moderate republican. The attitude that I’m smarter than you isn’t unique to so called liberals. Republicans also share the trait.

  2. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Re Harry Reid and UFOs

    The universe is vast. Of course the universe has alien life. Of course there’s intelligent life; while I don’t know that intelligent life if a necessary outcome of evolution–arguably bacteria are the evolution champions–there’s nothing magic about the process of it developing here that suggests it would be unique.

    Beyond that, Earth’s only 4.6 billion years old, life maybe 3/4 of that, humans a teeny tiny fraction of that. The universe itself is 13.8 billion years old. What about life on a planet that formed 10 billion years ago?

    Also, we don’t understand the fundamental nature of matter or space/time yet. Are we sure interstellar travel is impossible on a life-relevant timescale? of course not.

    So, to me the question of: is there intelligent alien life? is not interesting, the answer is yes. It feels like an a, b, c, 1, 2, 3 topic.

    The question of: have aliens visited earth? is only vaguely interesting, like a rare cloud formation that’s really pretty but doesn’t portend weather catastrophe. So what if we’ve been visited? You need that as proof we’re not alone? Of course we’re not alone.

    What is the action we should consider taking? I can’t come up with any that make any sense. Should being visited terrify us or thrill us? Who knows, I’ve never met the visitors. Neil DeGrasse Tyson said it best: call me when you have a dinner invite.

    Should the government invest a bunch of money in trying to investigate? Why not. I’d trade a funding a war for funding space alien research. Of course, I have other, much higher priorities for federal spending than alien research.

    1. Expat

      There is a fundamental problem with either admitting that the probability that life exists elsewhere and investigating UFO’s. It opens the gate to questioning the basic tenets of religion: man is special and unique and Earth is special and unique. If life exists on other planets, why doesn’t the bible say so?

      It seems odd that an alien life form, capable of traveling interstellar distances, would pop in, zig-zag about for the benefit of a few people, kidnap and anally probe a farmer in Iowa, and then zip off home. It’s an awfully long way for a joy ride. If an alien life form is capable of doing all that, it seems unlikely that we could detect it or find evidence of its passing.

      As for sending signals into the Great Beyond, I lean towards the Dark Forest Theory. We are perhaps better off keeping our mouths shut and hiding lest we draw the attention of some 10 billion year old civilization which sees us as a dangerous virus.

        1. Mary Wehrhein

          Too late…Our broadcast waves have been hurtling through the inky darkness of space for decades. Even as we speak some Alpha-Seti planet is probably being bombarded by strange signals from mysterious organisms called Uncle Miltie and Howdy Doody.

      1. HotFlash

        lest we draw the attention of some 10 billion year old civilization which sees us as a dangerous virus

        Or a tasty lunch while passing through?

      2. Jeotsu

        I recommend the “The Killing Star” by Zebrowski and Pelligrino for a very darkly-logical examination how in a universe where you can’t go faster that light, but where you can accelerate a ship to a sizeable fraction of light speed, then your two options for civilizational/species survival are genocide or hiding.

      3. LifelongLib

        With a sufficiently advanced technology (we’re close to it ourselves) the atmospheric changes caused by life and more recently by civilization would be detectable at interstellar distances. So even if we maintain complete radio silence other civilizations will eventually know we’re here.

    2. Pelham

      I agree, the government should spend some money on this — as other governments already have.

      Beyond that, the “New York” article’s jokey tone is emblematic of the way this subject has been treated over the years. It’s not the worst case, but it’s part of the pattern. Taking five minutes to step back and consider the subject truly objectively — which certainly does not require assuming that these solid, physics-defying objects are necessarily from other worlds — would lead to some deeply grave and also quite exciting conclusions.

      I think part of the problem here is earthly science. As others have noted and documented, scientists in most cases are among the least curious people. They’re highly intelligent, of course, and well educated, but as such they are even more motivated than the rest of us to stick strictly with the theories they’re familiar with and highly skilled at deflecting valid evidence to the contrary. Thus the (apparent) existence objects that defy everything science understands and posits about physics is too easily waved away.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The only thing we can be certain of, when we encounter space aliens, or evidence of it, would be that they are more technically advanced and powerful than us, for we’d be visiting them instead.

      The only exception would be if we find them on a wreck (shipwreck or remnants of their former home), as our planet (and solar system) makes our way around the galaxy. In that case, it would be like we find them, instead their visiting us on purpose.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      Research wise, I’m not positive “looking for aliens” is necessary as studying exo-planets. The “Dyson sphere” hoopla from a couple of years ago wasn’t the result of looking for aliens (I mean intelligent life). We should be mindful of the potential for life and extinct life in our own solar system.

    5. Louis Fyne

      the galaxy is so vast that alien life probably is a certainty. but the odds of life forming into intelligent, ‘civilized.’ self-sustaining life are so small that I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire Milky Way galaxy literally only has a handful civilizations existing simultaneously at any given time.

      On Earth, only be the grace of an asteroid 65 million years ago did dinosaurs disappear. Nearly all life on Earth died 200 million years ago (permian extinction). The evidence suggests that at one point, due to some shock, there literally were only a few dozens surviving humans a few hundred thousand years ago. Human civilization exists because random mutations that turned grass into wheat and rice. etc, etc.,etc.

      Or either intelligent life is really, really lucky or there is a God or we’re all living in ‘the Matrix” (simulation hypothesis)

      1. JBird

        Yeah, we are lucky, very lucky. Or as you suggest, God or the Matrix. Human bottlenecks have happened several times. We have been down to ten thousand, or less, more than once. Exactly what caused each one is unknown with that possible exception of the Toba volcano’s super eruption.

    6. apberusdisvet

      Well obviously when the Russia meme dies a natural death, we will need an external force like aliens to keep the MIC humming and the politicians with offshore accounts. But will these aliens be good or bad; certainly for propaganda purposes; an existential dilemma, or mind f**k. Will they be like Michael Rennie, offering solutions and technology to the planet, or will they offer to “serve mankind” with a not-so-friendly cookbook?

  3. allan

    Shorter Neil Irwin: globalization cannot fail, only be failed [NYT]

    … In other words, globalization shouldn’t be viewed as a perpetual onslaught in which American workers are facing waves of more and more people willing to do the same job for lower wages — even though it may have seemed that way during the 1990s and early 2000s when trade was soaring faster than the global economy.

    Rather, everyone is both a competitor and a customer. With trade battles looming on the near horizon, the open question is whether the United States and Europe, having already borne the costs of competition with the developing world, will stick with open trade long enough to enjoy its benefits.

    Weirdly, having to “stick with open trade long enough to enjoy its benefits” was not a caveat advertised
    by Mr. Irwin and his ilk when they were touting trade agreements over the last several decades.

      1. JacobiteInTraining


        The true significance of that was lost on me as a tyke watching it in the theater. Only later when re-watching it on VHS did I really get the cutting acidity of the “…when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war…” part. :)

        Even as a tyke though, I grasped the significance of the earlier quote “…don’t piss down MY back and tell me its raining!…”

      2. djrichard

        “…when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war…”

        I believe the very next scene right after that shows him looking down looking to see if Clint Eastwood’s character has absorbed the full import of what he’s said only to find that Clint Eastwood’s character had gotten bored and fallen asleep. Great mash up of slapstick with deep messaging. And who knows, maybe Clint meant that as a way to say something about heros and ourselves too. Anyways, a good way to smuggle the message through and get it past the audience’s filters. Present day directors could learn a lot from what Clint was doing.

    1. MG

      It’s the long con only now even some at the US Chamber of Commerce realize that nationalism matters and the Chinese are looking to settle some centuries old grievances.

  4. pretzelattack

    i have a suspicion that what determines how long the voluntary mental patients are held depends on whether they have insurance.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Other factors come into play. New York Police pulled over a black woman who claimed that she was a banker, owned the BMW that she was driving and that Obama followed her on Twitter. So of course when she went to get her impounded car, she was arrested, taken to a mental facility, drugged and kept for eight days. Upon release she was given a $13,000 bill.
      Apparently, nobody thought to run her plates, ring up where she worked to confirm her identity or look at this Twitter thingy to see if it was all true about Obama (it was). She sued and got an undisclosed sum but man, seriously? So other factors come into play here-

      1. pretzelattack

        oh i don’t doubt there are other factors at play. wonder if they would have kept her, though, if she didn’t have insurance. i’ve read about other hospitals that use that as the main criterion, judging by their stats.

    2. Enquiring Mind

      i have a suspicion that what determines how long the voluntary mental patients are held depends on whether they have insurance.

      I await news stories about payment shock when retrieving that wayward family member from the little involuntary hold, or whatever. Clerk at exit register presents gigantic bill, mumbles about some items excluded, indicates meter is still running, offers payment plan.

      “Just sign this omnibus rider and you’ve helped meet the quota for the next round of asset-based financing. If you’d like to go long some derivatives to mitigate the present discomfort, sign that extra form.”

    3. Reify99

      No. When a voluntary psychiatric patient becomes an involuntary psychiatric patient the county picks up the tab.

      And if they become violent they are transferred to a state hospital.


      1. JBird

        There have been multiple examples in different states where the often illegal (as later determined by the courts) rectal examinations, x-rays, etc for the supposed drugs the victim has, in which the victim gets the bill from the hospital. In fact, the police have used as inducement to sign-off on lawsuit wavers after the medical rape, the police paying, or not, the costs of the various tests.

        Nice country we have here.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Greyhound bus passengers record mutiny after driver allegedly falls asleep”

    On this bus there was finally a confrontation between the passengers and the sleep-deprived driver over the dangerous ride. Anybody else wonder what would have happened if this had been a self-driving bus instead? Don’t tell me they are not coming.

    1. Altandmain

      Real blame likely belongs to the senior management of the company, Greyhound.

      It is likely that a combination of low wages and long hours brought the driver to exhaustion. A couple of years ago, I stopped on a trip and spoke with truckers who nowadays have strict rules on how long they are legally allowed to drive. From what I understand, lying on these logbooks is common.

      I wonder if what bus drivers face has any parallels:

      It seems like standards for the amount of rest are not strict enough. I suspect that pay is also too low, which is why there is a so called “driver shortage”.

  6. allan

    Joint Chiefs chair sees signs of progress in Afghan war [AP]

    In fits and starts, for nearly a decade, the U.S. has talked about and struggled to make progress on building an Afghan military that can take control of its own nation’s security and lay the groundwork for a stable government.

    This time, they think they have it right. …

    As Condi would say, Clear, hold and build.

    Clear the area of non-embedded journalists.
    Hold five o’clock follies press briefings.
    Build long term relationships with military contractors and Fox News for post-government employment.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And “Extend,” the corruption, and the related almost unbroken string of ever larger year-over-year opium/heroin growth and “trade”…

    2. marym

      for nearly a decade, the U.S. has talked about and struggled

      sounds better than “more than 16 years of death and destruction,” so there’s that.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “US destroyer buzzes Chinese island in South China Sea”

    I’m waiting for the day that the Chinese Navy starts to do a freedom of navigation operations around the islands of Guam.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not really. They both have foreign military bases on them. For the Chinese, those artificial islands are as good as carriers. Better even as it is harder to sink an island.

        1. JTMcPhee

          If the Chinese claim of sovereignty over those sand piles means anything (think “Canal Zone,” maybe, for our own Imperial hubris?), how can it be said that there are “foreign military bases” on at least the Chinese constructs? Oh, yeah, “foreign” to “us…”

  8. Carolinian

    Re Atlanta ransomware attack–a few weeks ago my county library system was hit by such an attack after an employee opened a bad email. The library refused to pay the $30,000 in bitcoin demanded and therefore patrons were unable to check out materials for a week and the after effects lingered for several weeks. Other libraries have been hit as well as hospitals with their highly confidential patient data. While all of this will soon no doubt be blamed on Putin some reports suggest that the source of the malware is none other than our own NSA after their cache of cyber weapons was stolen by hackers. And the story up in Links suggests still other parties to blame.

    FBI, Homeland Security, Cisco, and Microsoft are all involved with the investigation

    Windoze strikes again? Perhaps it’s time for large institutions–like my library–to switch to Linux.

    1. perpetualWAR

      I await the time the hackers take hold of JPMorgan’s website for a ransome. One can only hope.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Probably a very dangerous game, to mess with the global oligarchs’ data piles and “accounts.” Those guys likely have no problems with killing to protect their turf. And as well demonstrated in the news reported at NC, they are pretty much totally immune to prosecution and penalties. I’m reminded of what happened (fictionally of course) to the young students in that one segment of the “Slaughterbots” video…

        Most librarians and (maybe) most hospital administrators lack either the tools to track down the miscreants, or the killing instinct if they could. And often, Big Business (and the state security apparatus), when they identify people with the skills to pull off incursions and ransoms, will just hire the “talent” with a nice combined package (“We let you live if you now do the same stuff for US.”)

        Early version: I finished out my Army enlistment in 1969 at Ft. Hood, TX — then HQ of the 2nd Armored Division. The Brass decided to modernize the admin, supply and payroll functions, and hired a “computer expert” to put it together. Tech those days was IBM mainframes, tape drives and punch cards. Said “expert” coded up and hand carried the “data” regarding payouts from the MMT appropriations that funded operations, and arranged, along with the legitimate transfers, to have payments sent to his “Swiss Bank Accounts,” to the tune of $10s of millions (Real Money in those days). By selective erasure of tape data and destruction of the punch cards, he removed any trail of proof leading to him as the thief. He then offered an “O.J. hypothetical” to the investigators — “If I did it, here’s how” — and they paid him a second time, to remove the back doors and other scam bits, and a retainer to provide “computer security and defense” to that massively armed Armored Division… I recall that Western Electric experienced a similar scam, tons of expensive switch gear and other equipment sent by computer controls to loading docks where felons would load it up and drive off, all records of the “transactions” being destroyed. And the Bad Guy was put on the payroll, and paid well to show how he did it.

        How many of us wish we could reach out, electronically of course, and throttle the piss-ants who use the weaknesses of the cell system to “call” us at all hours from familiar-seeming numbers, with stuff like threats that they are the IRS and will be jailing us for non-payment of back taxes if we don’t give them our account information to be “brought current?”

      2. Lord Koos

        There have been some bank hacks. Probably any really effective ones, you will never hear about. Banks don’t like to publicize robberies.

    2. griffen

      Missed that in the local news. Might you be an upstate SC resident….I moved here April 2016. Local real estate seems in high demand.

    3. Daryl

      I’m rather shocked at the price quoted by the hackers. Only $51k for a large city? Clearly a bunch of script kiddies who lucked into some gaping wide security hole. Some real amateur hour family bloggery if you ask me.

    4. TsWkr

      The Colorado DOT was hit by a ransomware attack 4-5 weeks ago, infecting thousands of computers with a demand of a few bitcoin per computer. The solution was to rebuild the entire network/servers from scratch and re-image everything, and the agency is still in recovery mode.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wilbur Ross to China: Import More U.S. Gas to Cut Trade Gap Bloomberg (Kevin W)

    That would work, under the current ‘more-consumption and more-production (bigger GDP) is good’ paradigm.

    For those who believe we need less consumption and also less production (Thank you, dear piggy, dear artichoke or dear chicken, for sacrificing your lfe, in order that we may live…a reminder we don’t ever want to over-produce), it shows why we disagree with those who believe more consumption and more production (or even less consumption but more or the same production) is good.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, selling more gas to China so we can run out of gas sooner could work . . . if we agree to just freeze in the dark.

      But we may not agree to freeze in the dark after we have sold the very last little bottle of gas to China. We may decide to go back to burning all our coal instead.

      How sad that Ross wants us to sell more of a primary raw material to China so as to balance our purchase of finished manufactured goods from China. I read a few months ago that Ross was ever so proud of getting China to buy more of our beef . . . another primary raw material. So we are to become China’s hinterland and China can be our Metropole. What a sad little vision Ross has accepted for America’s future.

      Someone should write a book about the recent history of America-China economic interaction. I will offer to give away a possible title for free. I suggest . . .
      The Mercantilizer and the Mercantilized.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Preferably we consume less, so we don’t run out so soon.

        Thinking more consumption and more production is good leads to resource depletion in the long term, even if in the short term, producing and exporting gas seems a good thing to do (to those who think that way).

        And so, this is less about Ross, but more about the status quo type of thinking.

        That type of seeing the world is sad. To focus on Ross is missing the forest.

  10. Alex

    Look at the mural for yourself. This is pretty desperate.

    So you’re saying the mural is all right? Oo

    1. djrichard

      Fair enough. So we need nominations for new ways to caricature bankers and oligarchs.

      I guess the artist could have had cartoon versions of Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein and the rest up there. But that doesn’t quite capture them as a class. And it’s the class that we’re after.

      I guess the artist could have had cartoon versions of the monopoly guy. Rick Uncle Pennybags is his name apparently. Who knew. Anyways, the picture in wikipedia makes him look WASPy. Maybe?

      Anyways, this is what CJ Hopkins is bringing up in his article in CounterPunch that was linked in today’s links: Then They Came for the Globalists. Basically, our enemy is the bankers, the oligarchs and the global capitalists. Let’s use the weapons at our disposal in going after them. At the same time, how much do we bend over backwards to make sure we’re not exposed to being labeled as anti-semitic? Do we bend ourselves so much that we lose sight of our enemy and not properly call them out?

      1. Ptolemy Philopater

        Curious, that when it comes to ethnic hostility, Judo-phobia bad, Russo-phobia good. It seems to me that characterizing people with big noses as Jewish is anti-semitic on its face. There are plenty of elderly white men of all ethnicity with big noses especially when alcohol is involved. Big noses indeed, how racist can you get. Apparently the ruling class cannot be depicted as old and decrepid even when they in general are. I recall Bill Gate’s nose is quite ample. Is he Jewish? I don’t know. Warren Buffet’s nose’s is quite ample. Is he Jewish? I don’t know.

        Apparently depicting the ruling class in a negative light is taboo and the anti-semite shiboleth is usurped to prevent it. It seems that Jews should be more outraged at the mural being classified as depicting Jews, grossly stereotyping Jewish ethnicity. But then all is fair in love and the war against genuine Progressives. I can’t wait till Senator Sanders is characterized as anti-semitic, you know the self hating Jew trope.

        1. Ptolemy Philopater

          PS: I would just like to point out that the hooked nose has traditionally been called a Roman nose. Just saying.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, I am. First, you really have to be looking to reach any conclusion about the noses of those men. They are old wrinkled white men in suits and their faces are not in profile.

      Second, the idea that old crone like men are Jewish is convenient projection of people looking for excuses to demonize people, in this case Corbyn, who happens to be a thorn in a lot of people’s side. Witches are often depicted as having large, hooked noses and pointy chins, and no one would think of saying those images of witches are presenting them as Jewish. Go look, for starters, at Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West in the film the Wizard of Oz, produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. She was given a hooked nose.

      Third, it appears not to have occurred to you that some WASPs have big noses…like Hamilton (see photos of her in other roles).

      To quote Sigmund Freud: “Sometimes a pen is just a pen.”

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        look like Europeans from the 19th/early 20th century Gilded Age to me.

        But as Upton Sinclair said about it being impossible to get someone to understand something…

        My French Canadian paternal grandfather had a nose to put all those guys to shame and he was as Protestant as the day is long…

      2. Alex

        I disagree about how evident it is. Maybe it’s more of a European thing, I think most of the people there would immediately understand who the artist wanted to depict. Note the mason pyramid above the board for those who didn’t get it the first time

        The US equivalent would be a mural with some kind of darky/blackface character. If you saw it would you give the painter the benefit of a doubt?

        1. Biph

          Is the mason pyramid meant to represent the free masons, not a Jewish organization but one which has a lot of conspiracy theories surrounding it or the U.S. dollar or perhaps both?
          Whatever the pyramid represents it isn’t antisemitic.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            While you’re at it you can research the role the Vatican and the Jesuits had in the assassination of Lincoln

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          You really are desperate. That pyramid isn’t a Jewish symbol, it’s a Freemason symbol. The same pyramid is on the US dollar.

      3. ahimsa

        Note, image at the Daily Mail link is cropped. Maybe you should take another look. Full size can be viewd in high-res here:

        At my first glance, it appeared a critique of capitalists and industrialists profiting off of the backs of labourers (mostly non-whites), but closer inspection reveals more details.

        The backgroud prominently featuring the eye of providence adds to the mix. While an ancient symbol with many evocations, I think the currently popular interpretations suggest US currency bills (the global reserve currency) and/or the free masons (a male, exclusive, influential clique). However, it is also widely used as a symbol for a conspiratorial cabal such as the illuminati or a new world order government by conspiracy theorists or the alt-right. In fact, on the left edge of the image a protester holds a sign stating, “The New World Order is the enemy of humanity”, so this meaning or interpretation is explicit.

        My reflexive response to the characters at the monopoly board was that they do look similiar to one another and are probably intended to represent a class or group of people, I thought old-school banker types. Upon closer inspection, they seem more eastern european in appearance than anglo-american, and it doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to see (some) them as Jewish caricatures.

        Note, I don’t imagine that Mr. Corbyn examined the image in great detail. If it was viewed on a phone or even at low resolution on computer screen it is much more innocuous.

        P.S. the original monopoly character is, moustachioed, wears a tophat, is seemingly balding, sometimes wears a monocle, and has a small/normal nose. While the characters in the mural are less cartoonish, all are moustachioed, none wear a top hat, 4 of 6 are bald, none are wearing a monocle, and 4 of 6 have clearly large/roman/hook noses.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Hi Alex.Thought that you might want to see the quality of journalism that is on display in the UK nowadays which helps put the veracity of this story from the Daily Mirror into context. The page is at and the big one of Corbyn was on the eve of the last election. Yeah, really low standards here so probably this Daily Mirror story is just grasping at straws lest the unthinkable happen – that Corbyn becomes Prime Minister.

      1. Alex

        Haha, thanks for the link! Just to set the record straight I haven’t said anything about Corbyn and to be honest didn’t read the whole article. My point was that the picture itself is *NOT* okay

    4. djrichard

      Not to distract from Yves response, but one last thought. Ultimately, what’s being waged is a battle for the moral high ground.
      – Some would argue that with the election of Trump that the biggest exposure to the common welfare is Nazism, white supremacy, racism, etc. And therefore any incursions in that vein should be called out and tamped out immediately.
      – Others argue that the real threat to the common welfare comes from above, from the 1% (or 0.1% if you will), and not from below.

      Ask yourself, what precipitated the election of Trump? How you answer that puts you into one of the two camps above. Good luck converting the other side. But that’s what elections are for.

      The thing is, we’ll get to revisit this over and over with future elections (and civil strife) until a new equilibrium is struck. So ask yourself the question again, how do you see a/the new peace being established?
      – when the deplorables and their racist tendencies are circumscribed? Entirely possible by the way. All we have to do is make them the “remainder” of society, as per Baudrillard, a non-entity. We’ve been on that path for awhile.
      – or when the deplorables and their racist tendencies are placated? Entirely possible too. Give them jobs, a UBI, whatever. Would this reward them for their racist tendencies and make that even more pronounced?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The guy on the right looks like general Hojo. who was Japanese.

        And the third guy from the right resembles Dr. Sun Yatsen, Chinese Hakka.

        I also see an English and maybe a Swiss, and perhaps a Jew.

        That leaves room for one American.

        In all, a nice mix of those terrible, terrible male bankers. Since that is what is in the real male-chauvinistic world, men should not complain about some secret conspiracy in play here to make female bankers look virtuous.

    5. Alex morfesis

      Hi Alex…from another Alex…in what amusing world do the children of Moses and aurum actually run the world of finance…

      do they punch above their weight ???

      Yup…but so do Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians… is probably my problem…

      Being ithakan and all that…

      if the person does not have a big nose…they are obviously not Greek…or spaniardo…or any number of other set of people with large pointy noses and not so long legs…

      Personally moi don’t get too thrilled by a fembot with a pug nose…

  11. Jim Haygood

    How is Craazymon Fund holding up in this week’s market turmoil, you’re probably asking yourself (or not). Answer: surprisingly well.

    Focusing just on the nearly three months of 2018 year to date, Craazymon’s emerging market stocks lost 0.5% versus a 2.9% loss in the S&P 500 index. On the bond side — even I was shocked at this — risky junk bonds lost 0.7% versus a 2.0% dip in the investment grade Bloomberg Agg.

    Craazymon’s wild card, the old yellow dog, is up 3.4% year to date as America’s erratic policy antics fail to inspire confidence in the dollar. Gold is the mirror of the dollar, you’ll recall. But gold also responds well to global disorder in general.

    Here’s a chart showing the two years since inception. Craazymon Fund is ahead of its 50/50 stock-bond benchmark with a cumulative gain of 30.43% versus an 18.85% return on its benchmark. Chart:

    1. crittermom

      I understand what you’re saying.

      For myself, I’m surprised how disturbing I find the Matthew McConaughey commercials for Cadillac.
      I feel like he’s shoving it in my face that he’s of the 1%. Smug attitude throughout.

      I don’t even know what his political affiliations are, nor do I care. Those commercials, right or wrong, have influenced my opinion of him as an actor.

      I suppose that’s in reaction to the elimination of the middle class I’ve now witnessed in my lifetime.

      1. whine country

        I think those are Lincoln commercial. Apparently McConaughey as so adversely injected himself into the commercial that the product he is attempting to sell has been lost.

        1. Annotherone

          I’ve wondered if MM got the job because of the film “The Lincoln Lawyer” in which he starred a few years ago. I’ve become an MM fan since “Interstellar” “True Detective”, “Mud”, “Dallas Buyers’ Club” etc. He can do no wrong in my eyes. ;).

          James Spader does voice over for Accura vehicles, but we don’t get to see him. Great voice – his face was too, once upon a time – these days, not so much.

      2. Carolinian

        Playing the smug guy is just McConaughey’s schtick. He’d probably be the same if he was driving a Yugo.

        Pauline Kael once wrote about her shock at seeing a magazine whiskey ad featuring Ernest Hemingway as the endorser. Orson Welles famously shilled Paul Masson wines. I’m not sure we should hold artists’ need (or greed) for extra income against them unless they are pushing a truly evil product.

        But I respect your feelings and have to say I find almost all sales pitches somewhat annoying. I usually mute the TV during commercials.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          Right, he can default to that persona/character very easily.

          A few things strike me about these ads. One is that it makes no sense to have an actor who was arrested for marijuana possession while playing the bongos in his own home (which I’m completely for!) try to sell me an old fogey car like a Lincoln. I know two people that own Lincolns. They are old as hell and have no idea who MM is. Also am curious what movie roles he had after these silly ads.

      3. polecat

        What would one expect from .. ACTORS !!
        It’s ALL about the meal ticket, even when it gets personal …

        … and they shouldn’t have the clout, with regard to the public voice, that they currently are allowed to have !

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Life offers us so many opportunities to learn.

      When I was in that situation once, I came to realize the more time we interacted with a human image, albeit via one-way interaction, the more it appeared, falsely, that that human was part of us, as someone we thought we knew.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Wowser. I hate to be churlish, but this is really wrong headed. You actually care what actors do in the rest of their lives? You are the one choosing to fall for celebrity culture and saying we ought to care too.

      Most actors in Hollywood backed Clinton save the highly visible exceptions like Susan Sarandon. So are you boycotting movies?

      Pretty much everyone in Hollywood backed Obama too, who was responsible for the policies that resulted in the loss of your home. Did you start boycotting movies back then?

      And how about Clint Eastwood, an official spokesman for the NRA? Are you similarly so bothered by him as to be unable to see the movies he directs and performs in?

      Billionaires are a much bigger problem than celebrities. People like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg and lesser billionaires who are deciding to remake society along their pet (usually libertarian) lines are a much bigger cause for upset. At best, you are getting hung up on symptoms rather than root causes.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Not liking an actor for their politics reminds me of Bill Hicks’ bit about Just Say No To Drugs in the 1980s:

        “You see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do. And if you don’t believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor. Go home tonight. Take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn them. ‘Cause you know what, the musicians that made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years were rrreal (family blogging) high on drugs. The Beatles were so (family blogging) high they let Ringo sing a few tunes.”

        I probably disagree with Clint Eastwood on 98% of topics pertaining to Earth. I still love his movies and see no issue with that.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I love the Mad Max movies (starting with Road Warrior). And I think Mel Gibson is crazy pants, to say the least.

          Ditto The Ring of the Nibelung. And Wagner was a horrible human being.

          The great artist is not necessarily a good person.

      2. Expat

        Hi, I’m not really a [fill in a profession or calling here] but I play one on tv.
        Apparently, you can still get government jobs with that line.

    4. Summer

      All this talk of Hollywood …let’s look at what some of their narratives have shown us.
      I watched “An Affair To Remember” (Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr) and tears came to my eyes at the end.
      There was Kerr, paralyzed at the end. She was too boot-strappin’ proud to take financial help from either of her suitors, but managed to afford a nice apartment in Manhattan with a home nurse aide on a salary earned from teaching at some kind of school for disadvantaged youth.
      That says more about the society than the fantastical, mind numbing romance.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I like the movie “Michael Clayton” and I highly regard George Clooney as an actor. As for his support for Clinton … Noam Chomsky inclined toward Clinton when offered the choice between her and Trump. However I don’t understand the relationship between the “Go With God” segment of “Michael Clayton” and the discussion above, presumably the “Twilight of Authority” essay at Ecosophia.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Noam Chomsky did not and would not hold a high-priced campaign fundraiser for Clinton.

        Kinda not the same.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          First, Chomsky would not be able to hold a high priced fundraiser of any kind.

          Second, Clooney was conned. The fundraiser was for that supposed Clinton/state election effort where the money by law was supposed to go substantially to the state campaign but the Clinton campaign stole virtually all of it. So her name was on it but it supposedly was for the bigger Team Dem 2016 cause.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        See the long clip at the top of Links about involuntary commitment to a mental health facility v. when Arthur picks up and starts lecturing Michael about how far anyone would try going that route v. him in NY.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks! I have had much more personal experience than I like dealing with ailing relatives and the mental health services of various states including New York.

          In addition to the separation between the links, my interpretation of the scene in Michael Clayton added to my failure to make the association. By that point in the film I thought Michael Clayton was beginning to suspect that his services as fixer did not represent the limits of what his legal firm might do to quash Arthur. I focused on Michael Clayton’s desperation and Arthur’s stance on what was legal which demonstrated his acumen at law but also showed his refusal to hear the unspoken warning in Michael Clayton’s desperation. I became involved in the drama and completely lost the intended association.

          In lieu of some form of demonstrated or clearly stated intent to do bodily harm, obtaining mental health services bears remarkable likeness to the famous ‘catch-22’. After what I have seen of the mental health services available from my home state I am growing to the opinion that although we have made great progress beyond the torments of Bedlam, the “Snake Pit”, and helpful lobotomies, the present state of our knowledge of the human mind, its intricacies, its maladies and their treatment and the present condition of our mental health services — all too often provided through our prisons — are beyond appalling.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, and he was ALSO directed Good Night and Good Luck, which was about Edward R. Murrow fighting McCarthyism, got an Academy Award for his role in Syriana, in which he portrayed CIA whistleblower Robert Baer, and had a lead in Three Kings, which was a satire that showed that the Iraq War was a bi grifting operation.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Parkland students interview Bernie Sanders: ‘Your generation has the power to change America’ Guardian (UserFriendly)

    School district in Pennsylvania to arm students and teachers with rocks Guardian. Looks like they got the idea from Braveheart….where even in a movie, to make this stunt credible, both sides agree to stand still and let the other guy aim.


    Protests in California after police kill black man carrying only his phone Guardian

    The sad fact is that arming that California victim with rocks would not have helped.

    And having a database of which police officers have guns and their serial numbers wouldn’t have either.

    Those Parkland students have a chance to include police shootings/police gun violence (or police violence) as well…

    Maybe even imperial violence (not just in Yemen, but all over where we have military bases, and even places we don’t).

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Then they’ll have to walk back this policy when our betters decide that free rocks are an abomination like free water and free air.

      Perhaps a community-oriented martial arts for children, like Morris Dancing?

  13. crittermom

    I enjoyed the first link regarding “Moose find a friend in fire:”
    However, the caption below the photo appears to be wrong. I see no buck in the photo. That would be a male deer. Only moose, in which case a male is known as a bull.

    It’s a shame when what should be a trusted source of information gets such a simple fact wrong & no editor (do those still exist?) spots it. *heavy sigh*

    I still enjoyed the article, which I think could be subtitled, “Mother Nature takes care of her own–if left alone.”

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Corbyn and claims of anti-semitism

    Take a look at the supposedly anti-semitic mural in that piece and compare it to the artwork of the MofA link on Bolton. Pretty similar style of artwork.

    In the first picture I saw a bunch of rich white guys counting their money – one looks like god from an old Far Side cartoon and the rest look like variations of the guy on the Community Chest cards sans top hat. The background looks like it was taken from the back of a US $ bill. No reference in the mural that I could see to point out that we are supposed to believe these men are Jewish. Pretty desperate indeed.

    Seems like gaslighting to me where it’s the critics here who are a touch anti-semitic in assuming that all portrayals of greedy white guys must be of Jews. And perhaps even though the mural has been removed they can still see the writing on the wall regarding the future of the neoliberalsm they so adore and are looking for anything to delay the inevitable downfall.

  15. Edward E

    If I go into debt big time buying a new jellyfish automated truck, the world will go into recession and freight costs & volume will plummet. That’s what happened last time. So, think I’ll try to just stay a company truck dwiva until I retire.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “British authorities raid Cambridge Analytica offices in London ”

    I too thought that this was a breaking story. Wrong! Jimmy Dore did a 22-minute segment on this issue ( and shows that this story has been around in the US since 2014 and that Obama’s Team used this mob to extract the social graph for the US from Facebook using this mob. Facebook was surprised that they were able to do it but didn’t stop them but told them to keep doing it as they were on Obama’s side. In fact, a Facebook beginner named Carol Davidsen did a damn TED Talk on this subject so this news is actually old news if anybody had been interested. So no, it wasn’t just Team Trump doing this.
    This mob has also been moving into Australia as they offered their services back in 2016 ( but the Liberal party here (sorta like your Republicans) nixed it as being kinda illegal several ways to hell. The other party, the Labour party (kinda like your Democrats) waffled when asked if they used them.

    1. djrichard

      I’m reminded of Colbert’s roasting of GWB (and more so the press) at the WH correspondents dinner, “Over the last five years you people were so good, over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.”

      So we should be thankful for Trump. He animated the press to actually “find out”. Of course, it doesn’t reflect well on certain players (facebook, silicon valley in general). But when going after Moby Dick, collateral damage is hard to control.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        one of the finest moments in American media history. Truth to power that day.

        It’s a shame Stephen has gone down the Russiagate rabbit hole, but he *does* work for Sumner Redstone and they don’t give the few tv shows that pay millions of dollars a year to people who rock the boat.

    2. Edward E

      From Brian Krassenstein,
      “Rudy Giuliani’s law firm sent a confidential letter to Rebekah Mercer, Bannon & Cambridge’s Nix, warning them that the act of foreign citizens working on the data related to campaigns, was against US laws
      Whistleblower claims the warning was ignored!”

      Big Data becoming a scourge? Are we right in front of a huge scrutiny and revolt against Google, FB, Amazon maybe, essentially advertising companies? The largest market cap companies in the world!

      How about we start a band and name it Cambridge Analytica? I used to be pretty good with an electrica guitar. We could get a pet coyote named Zuckerberg to do the vocals. With a singing coyote we wouldn’t have to worry about all the lyrical legalities and stuff.

  17. drumlin woodchuckles

    So I looked at the “Corbyn mural”. Maybe the guy on the left had a slightly curved nose. The other guys either had straight noses or lumpy-mass noses. They all looked teddibly teddibly Bditish to me. Rawwww-thuhhh!

    1. JTMcPhee

      Sorry, the Narrative has made its collective mind up, based on the Dominant Divertissment, and no dissenting or discerning voices will be tolerated…

    2. Massinissa

      I mean, the guy on the left also had a scraggly, possibly Jewish looking beard. But most of the other guys just had moustaches or no facial hair at all. So at most its like, one stereotypical looking Jew, with a bunch of white men. Unless moustaches and having no facial hair are also some kind of Jewish stereotype?

  18. Carey

    Altandmain at 7:23 am, I think that was a wonderful comment; in fact, I think it should be ‘pinned’ somewhere. Thank you.

  19. Jim Haygood

    A local Trump hater has cleverly glued blackboard material to truck tailgate so that fresh messages can be chalked in weekly. The latest:

    Fox sports good, Fox ‘news’ bad.

  20. Eureka Springs

    Now that I’m over 50 I look in the mirror and don’t see myself. And I laugh at this person a lot.

    If some overly sensitive religious or rich person screams that’s not me in that mural, I’m going to laugh harder.

  21. John D.

    Good for Cynthia Nixon. I’m one of the many people who’ve slowly come to regard Hollywood as part of the enemy, but there are still some legitimately progressive thinkers there, and she appears to know what she’s talking about. If she actually manages to unseat that prick Cuomo, she’ll be doing us all a real favor.

    And you know, apart from anything else: With that “unqualified lesbian” crack, note how the neoliberals drop the identity politics crap in a heartbeat when they perceive a real threat.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      They’ll use identity politics as a weapon if they think it will work, but this is idiotic.

      Deriding someone as a lesbian in deep-blue NY? Good luck with that. Go Cynthia. Better a neophyte with a discernible conscience than another Cuomo admin.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The best sarcastic tweet I saw about Cynthia’s lack of experience went like this: “I’m afraid Nixon’s inexperience means we could have another Governor who puts Republicans in charge of the legislature and ignores the MTA for another 7 years. Cuomo for President!”

        As far as a a lack of “experience” goes, this is why political leaders can hire staff just for that purpose. Otherwise many political staffers are simply glorified interns.

    1. djrichard

      What I like most about this is that it puts the press in a moral quandary. Which kingpin do they want to carry water for when the kingpins are fighting?

      1. polecat

        Yes, which should one vouch for … the Krakken, or the Collossus ?

        … and while I’m referencing Greek mythology, we’re still waiting for Medusa to wipe away the fog off the mirror, like with a cloth .. or something … and finally see her reflection.
        But probably, in all likelyhood, not until she’s finally approaching the shore of the River Stix !

      2. Big River Bandido

        “Let him who would be king know that I shall be subject.”

        Not sure just where I read or heard that.

  22. Carey

    The Jim Jarmusch film ‘Dead Man’ seemed to say something important about
    our condition here in the USA when it came out, and it’s been in my mind
    lately, too. I need to dig that out and watch it again.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I remember watching that movie, and though I didn’t recall the name immediately, it seemed familiar.

      From Wikipedia:

      Dead Man is a 1995 American Western film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It stars Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop, Crispin Glover, John Hurt, Michael Wincott, Lance Henriksen, Gabriel Byrne, Mili Avital and Robert Mitchum (in his final film role). The film, dubbed a “Psychedelic Western” by its director,[4] includes twisted and surreal elements of the Western genre. The film is shot entirely in monochrome. Neil Young composed the guitar-dominated soundtrack with portions he improvised while watching the movie footage. It has been considered by many to be a premier postmodern Western. It has been compared to postmodern literature such as Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian.[5][6]

      Further down the same article:

      Critical responses were mixed to positive. Roger Ebert gave the film one-and-a-half stars (out of four stars maximum), noting “Jim Jarmusch is trying to get at something here, and I don’t have a clue what it is”.[12]

      Judging from the first paragraph of the Wikipedia (quoted above), where usually something about what the movie is about is often summarized, many, perhaps most, still feel the same as Ebert.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Ebert wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, so there’s that.

        Dead Man is Jarmusch’s best film and one of the most visceral westerns ever made. And as Carey suggests, it says an awful lot about the US of A

  23. Quentin

    The Haaretz interview of an emigrated Eritrean doctor on the plight of Eritrean refugees in the Sinai and Israel is, to put it mildly, emetic.

  24. Ignim Brites

    “Calling for Arms Talks with Russia, is the U.S. Raising a White Flag?” Got to wonder if Trump’s elevation of John Bolton is just a feint. Trump (to the deep state): You want a (nuclear) war with Russia? Well maybe we’ll give that to you. So we will see if the Resistance (which btw is an enormous insult to the French Resistance) refocuses on sex and drops the Russian collusion narrative, at least until Bolton is dropped, probably around mid Sept to give the tools time to lather up into a frenzy about Trump’s payoff to Putin. Which will allow Trump to position the Dems as the party in favor of (nuclear) war with Russia. Not a good thing. Sad.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have to remember that Trump seems to be constantly at odds with those around him…from Tillerson, McMaster, the guy before Kelly, Bannon, Sessions, his personal lawyers, etc.

      And while he may be bluffing here (again?), personally, for me, I believe there is such a thing as ‘too many bluffs,’or ‘too much bluffing.’

      1. polecat

        I liken Trump to Chaos … which might not be concidered such a bad scib on my stone tab.
        A yuuuuge shake-up is in order regardless ..

    2. John k

      That would be Machiavellian, which means smart. Trump smart is a contradiction of terms. Granted he is smart enough to lie to flyover, but this takes planning and execution, he shoots from hip. Continuously.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > Calling for Arms Talks with Russia, is the U.S. Raising a White Flag?

      So, of today’s axis of evil, we have Trump’s call for talks with North Korea (though not yet arranged), and Trump’s new signal for talks with Russia, but nothing about Iran. (But again, if the idea is “kill a chicken to scare the monkeys” by pulverizing Teheran, that also means breaking the Iran deal, and I don’t see how you can make “deals” with the other two by proving you don’t keep deals with the third. Though maybe everybody already knows we don’t keep deals, so there’s no net loss.) Then again, Iran holds Saudi Arabia by its oil fields, so perhaps North Korea is the chicken. But North Korea holds South Korea by Seoul, so North Korea isn’t the chicken. And Russia just isn’t a chicken.

      Maybe somebody smarter than I am about geopolitics can game this out, but I keep going back to my picture of the Pentagon being told to produce “a war, any war,” but when they do, all the scenarios (at least those with Russia, North Korea, or Iran) become so absurd so early in the war game that they get sent back to the drawing board to produce a better scenario. (“Move Two: Seoul is smoking rubble. On to Move Three!”)*

      Since they must have their war, as I’ve said, I suggest Africa…. I don’t know if we can achieve a six trillion dollar spend there, but we can do our best. Maybe if our voting systems were targeted by Nigerian 419 scammers….

      NOTE * There’s also the idea that we just want to break stuff and slaughter faraway brown people, period. I keep assuming there’s some sort of ideological or strategic justification/rationalization; I can’t think of a previous empire that didn’t. I think at the level of optics, there has to be (especially if the flyover states are war weary, as I believe they are).

      1. JohnnyGL

        Re: well, chickens….to stretch this analogy….after awhile, to the rest of the world, we just become “that crazy guy who’s always looking for a chicken to slaughter”.

        Chickens like Syria (who was scheduled for slaughter) sometimes find a protector like Russia. A small clan in the administration, including Kushner, perhaps thought they could schedule Qatar for execution….but that was never really going to work (ahem, there’s a base there) and in any case they ran to Turkey for extra insurance (beyond Iran, too).

        I think the chicken killing strategy has mostly run out of its persuasive power. Countries are rapidly picking sides, whether to bend-the-knee to US imperialism or find a sponsor among the great powers. Russia is really just a regional player, but we keep scaring countries in their direction, and so boosting their international reputation as protector/moderator/general deal maker. China’s getting a boost, too.

        I worry Venezuela’s going to end up being the chicken they settle on…or at least the first one…I worry it won’t be enough for them. Also, it seems resistant to US ‘covert ops’ thus far. I don’t think they can sell an overt war on Venezuela.

        Or is Trump’s angle to always be ready for war, to mollify the hawkish critics (they are legion!), but never quite get there? Maybe I’m too optimistic…

  25. flora

    Another major data leak hits India’s Aadhaar system.

    Known as Aadhaar, the government ID database is packed with identity and biometric information — like fingerprints and iris scans — on more than 1.1 billion registered Indian citizens, official figures show. Anyone in the database can use their data — or their thumbprint — to open a bank account, buy a cellular SIM card, enroll in utilities, and even receive state aid or financial assistance. Even companies, like Amazon and Uber, can tap into the Aadhaar database to identify their customers.

    Enrolling in the database isn’t mandatory, but Indian citizens who aren’t subscribed are unable to access even basic government services. Other countries are set to follow India’s lead.

    Even companies, like Amazon and Uber, can tap into the Aadhaar database to identify their customers.

    Why, it’s almost like the whole point of the program is for Amazon’s and Uber’s , et al, benefit. So, enroll or be denied govt benefits and services. And all your data will be insecure and open to leaks and hacks. Such a deal….

    1. flora

      adding: now that biometric data has been leaked it can be forged. So much for the inviolability of iris scans.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is no way some Indian officials took American money from those corporations.

      Why would they do that when they could print their own Indian money to give to themselves?

      The only possible explanation (but I stress that no Indian official is doing this) is that some currency is more equal than other currencies, so that even when officials in some countries can print as country’s money as they can, to give to themselves, they don’t do it (they don’t want it; they rather have other currency money).

      Basically, this is the question: Is it possible that corrupt officials, in a hypothetical country that can create money at will, prefer foreign money, even if they can get native money for free, via corruption? (Here, we are not talking about India. So, please note).

  26. Geo

    Thanks for sharing the info about the documentary Owned. I just emailed them info about the distributors for my last film (a narrative about a returning combat veteran and his struggles with homelessness and social isolation).

    Depends on how their Festival run goes but looks like a solid doc and my distributors are a truly rare breed in the industry: honest, effective, transparent, and persistent. They took my little film and helped it get an audience much larger than I ever expected. Hopefully Owned can do the same as it’s message is important.

  27. Brooklin Bridge

    I take issue with “Self Driving Cars.” Putting aside the somewhat awkward use of the word ‘self’ in describing vehicles without a human driver, driverless cars still DON’T navigate the roads by any sort of purely internally contained smart machine. Far from it. Each such vehicle represents but a small node in a huge network of high powered algo processing servers that take input from on board data as well as vast arrays of external sensors, gigantic cloud data networks, and so on. It takes more than a village to drive anyone or anything anywhere and huge amounts of energy above and beyond what the vehicle alone requires.

    Perhaps one could say, “Network driven cars” or some such, but there are reasons the developers of this model don;t want to emphasize that aspect; because even though this horrendous network can be claimed as an early development requirement, it’s real purpose is a pristine model of massive scale rent extraction and iron clad control over (among other things) what are permitted as even ‘thinkable’ alternatives.

    1. a different chris

      I hadn’t even thought of that. It’s “cable TV” to the next level. If Uber’s “assistance network” or whatever they want to call it (I know, they want you to not to call it anything) gets a hold of an exclusive area and you are on Waymo’s plan you will no doubt get charged up the butt to see Grandma.

      You should be able to charge them back for how often you take the wheel (btw, anybody ever try to get Comcast to give money back when their cable goes out for awhile? I’ve thought about it but life’s too short).

    2. cnchal

      . . . driverless cars still DON’T navigate the roads by any sort of purely internally contained smart machine. . .

      Are you sure about that? My understanding is that “autonomous” self driving cars take no driving commands from an external source. There is no big brother in the network controlling these things.

      Now, whether these “internally contained machines” are smart is another question. Computers can crash, right along with the car it’s contained in.

      1. Lambert Strether

        As more and more testing is done, the more appeals emanate from robot car projects for “external sources.” One, for highly granular maps, was floated in the FT. Another, for human emergency controllers to “take the wheel” in emergencies, using the car’s sensors, is a start-up. Since the algos really do not work for the general case (“Level 5 autonomy”), we will see more and more such appeals.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Point taken. I appreciate Lambert’s clarification. I was under the impression that external inputs (highly detailed maps, embedded rfid in roads and exits, as well as external processing power) was already a necessity and that the technology was not there yet (even if desired) to drive solo.

        That these vehicles in aggregate will be part of a rent extraction model seems a fairly safe assumption given other trends; exactly how they will get there or whether there will be a segment of the market that is indeed free of all rental ties is still nebulous, but if they can drive on their own (even as death machines) then my point about nomenclature is largely a quibble.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Though as it stands, Random-Accident-Generators might be more appropriate than Self-Driving Cars.

  28. Carolinian

    Re Bolton and The Hill

    The National Security Council is now bracing for a shake-up under Bolton’s leadership. There is hope among Trump’s allies that Bolton will put an end to the damaging leaks from the National Security Council and rid the council of Obama-era holdovers — or anyone viewed as insufficiently loyal to the president.

    Sources close to the council say spokesman Michael Anton and deputy national security adviser Nadia Schadlow could be among those on the way out.

    There have been stories suggesting the fly on the wall press coverage of Trump’s every private utterance trace back to the NSC. Firing McMaster may have been a way for Trump to get rid of his staff.

    Of course if Trump is working to clear out his “team of rivals” some of us can think of a perfect candidate for the next ejection. It would be like a beautiful dream: “After the commercial on CNN stay tuned for new national security analyst Nikki Haley…..”

    1. Edward E

      I’d put John Kelly on your, Who’s Going To Get Thumphammered Next Fantasy League. It’s something how there’s so much love in Washington DC right now.

  29. Jim Haygood

    Here’s a little chart of horrors for Wall Street’s self-driving algos to ‘think’ about Sunday night:

    All it will take is a 7-point drop in the S&P 500 to its Feb 8th low of 2,581 for a whole population of vigilant sell subroutines to conclude, “support broken, selling 1,000 lots of spoos.”

    This was called program selling in 1987, when the more the index dropped, the more they sold, in a self-reinforcing cascade.

    Normally when the economy is okay, market corrections don’t go beyond the 10 to 20 percent range. That’s still the most likely bet.

    But the crash of 1987, which was not associated with a recession, is a reminder that when extreme overvaluation collides with a tightening central bank (the Fed hiked in Sep 1987) and global disorder, strange things can happen.

    It’s a gonna be bumpy ride on Monday, so fasten them seat belts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This was called program selling in 1987, when the more the index dropped, the more they sold, in a self-reinforcing cascade.

      Isn’t that what humans do?

      “That’s why you need a broker. To steady the ship for you through those rough storms.”

      At least that’s what I have been told.

  30. Oregoncharles

    From the link on mental commitment: ” The patient will stay in the hospital for that week. ”

    What does that mean? What if the patient just walks out? The hospital uses violence? Something is missing here. Maybe it’s in the rest of the article. Do hospitals still have orderlies – the legendary “men in white coats”?

    And under what circumstances can patients sue for false arrest?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You’ve clearly never visited anyone who has been committed. I had a friend who married a woman who was later diagnosed as a Stage 4 alcoholic, meaning her expected 5 year survival was only 20%. She’d regularly try calling the cops on him when she was in one of her drunken rages and they’d haul her off to the drunk tank, which sometimes resulted in her being committed. And this was the cops’ idea, not her husband’s.

      They are held under lock and key. They can’t walk out. Access to phone is severely restricted too, although I didn’t pay enough mind as to what the rules are. So even trying to organize an attorney to get you out would be difficult.

      1. a different chris

        Oh yeah, and beyond what Yves said: they sure will use violence to keep you there. A family member worked at one of the toughest ones. They have a group of big guys trained to pin you at the touch of a med tech’s alert button. And many of the med-techs are kind of scary themselves.. The doctor will hit you with a shot of stuff that would render Einstein incapable of adding 2+2. It is serious.

        You Do Not Ever Want To Be In One Of Those Places. They are prisons, nothing less.

        And to double up on the other point: You walk thru those big doors. They close behind you. You say you need help. And that’s it… you don’t leave until a doctor thinks you can leave. This is not a regular hospital where you can refuse treatment. If you don’t get your kidney replaced, you die. If you are at a mental institution asking for help, then if set back into the street unsupervised we have to think somebody else may die.

  31. a different chris

    What is that women’s deal?

    >Oof. Parkland survivors wrote a gun reform manifesto for @guardian, and some parts are real bad

    But the only part she pulls out, as a commenter points out, is DOD. What, do you..snicker…want…snicker, chuckle, guffaw the freakin’ BATF to do it? They are just about at war with everybody who has a gun already. Maybe that’s more horrifying than funny, can’t tell the difference at this point.

    And the commenters are all are just “ooohh, we know so much more than those stupid kids.!!!” and don’t make a single comprehensible point. Losers.

    Note: Somebody said below that they didn’t want either to be president, but now are happier Trump won because it just brings everything to the surface. I still see it as rock/hard place, but am warming to that theory. Can you imagine what a mess Hilary would make out of this, making it all about Her and 10000 pages microtargeting nothing and sucking all the life out of everything these kids are trying to do?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      My favorite placard:
      “Our parents don’t know how to operate a democracy so we have to show them”

  32. Kurtismayfield

    I posted here about the proposed Department of Labor rule change about tips and restaurant workers. Well it seems that Congress snuck in something to the Omnibus bill:

    Restaurants will be able to pool tips

    The language in the spending bill also effectively does another big thing: It allows employers to pool tips and distribute them among staff, as long as the employer also pays the full minimum wage. Many owners have long sought to boost the pay of kitchen workers and bussers by forcing servers to share their tips.

    “We want to ensure that servers, bussers, dishwashers, cooks, and others who work as a team to provide great customer service in the industry have access to share in tips left by customers, as this legislation clearly allows,” said Amador.

    Here comes dishwashers, cooks, prep chefs making minimum wage plus tips. Good job Congress!

  33. Gauri

    The dw link about biodiversity is very disingenuous in showing the rise of population with other graphs. Hans rosling has already proved that population growth isn’t a problem and will be stabilising. the discourse around it is frustratingly still hasn’t caught up. This leads to idiotic questions and policies such as forced sterilisation. It also gives the developed countries to point unfairly at the developing ones and continue with their exploitation. For example why the hell doesn’t the developed world pioneer more sustainable methods of farming rather pushing the same old harmful methods into developing countries. Would have preferred if NC had pointed this out to its readers

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