Links 3/28/18

What living on Earth would be like without the moon Business Insider (Kevin W)

The dirty secret: rubber ducks are so filthy they can kill The Times

In Calabria le «vacche sacre» della ‘ndrangheta catturate (dopo 40 anni) Corriere della Sera. Italy has sacred cows too!

Europe-Asia trade war looms over palm oil Asia Times. J-LS: “Pity this move would come much too late to save Malaysian and Indonesia rainforest– much of which has already been replaced by palm oil plantations.”

Shell oil just unveiled a plan to move the world away from fossil fuels OilPrice (David L)

Extreme Rainfall Events in India Related to Human-made Emissions The Wire (J-LS)

Apple’s new iPad is a total misfire that shows how out of touch the company is with schools and kids Business Insider (Kevin W)

US Congress passes FOSTA law attacking internet freedom WSWS


New Human ‘Organ’ Was Hiding in Plain Sight National Geographic. From JTM:

I’ve got some health issues that Mechanical Medicine has no help for, not even a meaningful diagnosis, and no real treatments that are anything other than “ it might help, it’s the standard of care, it’s what we do” things that seem to be little more than risk-heavy “wallet biopsies.” A relative is a physical therapist who has learned the practice of craniosacral therapy, which deeply implicates these structures and apparent functions to help address a variety of ill-defined and “untreatable” problems. I’ll attest that whether or not it’s just a placebo or psychogenic effect, her “laying on of hands” just one time made a very noticeable abatement of a couple of those problems, including unpleasant peripheral neuropathy.

There are more thing in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy…

North Korea

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met Xi in Beijing, Xinhua confirms Nikkei

Kim Jong Un Is Willing to Hold Summit With U.S., China Says Bloomberg. So much for China having no influence…

China says North Korea’s Kim pledges denuclearisation during friendly visit Reuters. Huge if true.

Mass immigration “a risky experiment” without parallel MacroBusiness

Europe Cracks Down On Diesel Vehicles OilPrice


Theresa May risks being replaced and splitting Tory party if she ignores Eurosceptics’ demands, says Jacob-Rees Mogg Independent. So the Ultras finally woke up to the capitulation last week…

Theresa May hints at extension to EU customs transition deal The Times

Britain could have to wait for years to implement new trade deals with other countries The Sun. Duh.

Brussels to propose €50bn raid on ECB profits Financial Times. To pay for EU budget shortfalls….along with a plastics tax!

New Cold War

Nato expels seven staff from Russian mission over Skripal poisoning Guardian

How Will Trump Punish Russia Next? Politico

Russia: Protests against officials erupt in wake of Kemerovo fire WSWS


Don’t Blow Up The Iran Deal. Trump’s Strategy Is Working. Bloomberg

Trade Tantrum

Liu’s move as US rearranges pieces on trade spat chessboard Asia Times

Trump is winning the trade war — for now Politico

Trump Transition

Census 2020: US adds controversial citizenship question BBC. Much fulminating, including litigation threats, by Democrats. Hard to see that this goes anywhere, given that this question was on the census in the past. But the opponents don’t need to win, just to get the matter tied up in court so that the question can’t be added to the census.

John Bolton’s History of Tirades and Dirty Tricks American Conservative


Kansas considers making schools liable for not arming staff Washington Post (Kevin W)

Puerto Rico teenagers take post-Maria water safety into their own hands Grist

Facebook Fracas

Data row: Facebook’s Zuckerberg will not appear before MPs BBC

UK political shock as Zuckerberg spurns parliament Agence France Presse (furzy)

Nearly a third of tech workers are ready to #DeleteFacebook BetaNews The problem is this is yet another Internet poll, so the results aren’t reliable.

Why the Facebook data leak is like passive smoking: the bad habits of others can hurt you Scroll (J-LS)

Fake news 2.0: personalized, optimized, and even harder to stop MIT Technology Review (furzy)

Mark Zuckerberg agrees to testify before Congress over data scandal Guardian

Uber’s Killer Car

Uber’s use of fewer safety sensors prompts questions after Arizona crash Reuters (Kevin W)

Uber Will Let California Autonomous-Vehicle License Expire Bloomberg

Waymo announces major expansion in self-driving cars Independent

Berlin: Autonome Kleinbusse nehmen Betrieb auf Macwelt (jb)

Faangs shares suffer their worst one-day loss Financial Times

The Lesson From Stock Corrections Past? 200 Days of Pain Bloomberg

Low risk as a predictor of financial crises VoxEU. Confirming Minsky.

Walmart Pulls Cosmopolitan Magazine From Checkouts Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Mom Praised For Making ‘Entitled’ Son Shop At Goodwill As Punishment CBS

Teachers’ rebellion spreads on four continents WSWS

Roseanne Conner Has Become a Trump Supporter. Just Like Her Creator. New York Times (J-LS)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “House Finch on a Prickly Pear cactus.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. pretzelattack

    holy shit, school liability for not arming staff? meanwhile newsweek has an article discussing the lack of air support for us forces in europe in the event of a war with russia. the zeitgeist seems to be getting crazier all the time.

    1. Lemmt Caution

      What concerns me is the air support readiness for my local high school. What good is arming teachers if they can’t call in air strikes when faced with superior firepower?

      1. Robert McGregor

        @Lemmt Caution, Good One !!! I’m reminded of one of the iconic scenes of calling in of an air strike from “Apocalypse Now” when the the fighter jets tell the Colonel to get his men back. I can see it now. A teacher pulls his gun after being threatened by his students. The students retreat from the classroom, and take up positions outside the classroom windows. The teacher is effectively barricaded in his classroom. The only solution, Call in an Air Strike! The principle comes over the PA system, and says, “Everyone get 200 feet away from “Building D” due to the incoming Air Strike.” In 30 seconds, the jets buzz the school, drop their load, and torch the quad.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Drones…gotta have drones stationed at every school.

        One single mosquito-sized drone, armed with paralyzing agents, can disable the bad guy fairly cheaply.

        Let us not let our Luddite-ness blind us to technological solutions to this urgent problem.

      3. pretzelattack

        what bothers me is the way violence is being increasingly normalized. of course we need to explore the negative consequences of a war with russia! of course we need to consider arming teachers and admins!

        1. John k

          The biggest negative consequence is that after ww111, who will be the enemy that justifies the military budget?

          (Besides the cockroaches.)

  2. Roland Chrisjohn

    Concerning their plan to phase out oil: now if Shell will only bring Ken Saro-Wiwa back to life…

    1. RUKidding

      You took the words right out of my keyboard.

      I have never forgotten Ken Saro-Wiwa.

      I have never forgiven Shell.

      I know all BigOil is corrupt and horrible, but just on principle, I never ever buy Shell gas.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “China says North Korea’s Kim pledged commitment to denuclearisation”

    I ran a few scenarios through my head and the only one that works is where North Korea agrees to give up its nukes on the proviso that China brings North Korea under its nuclear umbrella and stations several units as trip wire units in places like the border and the capital. This would mean that any attack on North Korea would be an attack on China itself. Naturally the Pentagon would blow a gasket and state that this was totally out of the question – as if they had final say.
    North Korea has no reason to trust the US or the west as not only did they do the dirty on Libya after it disarmed but when Bush came in, he canceled all agreements with North Korea, even though they had publicly blow up their research facilities as part of a previous deal. The world, with Trump, has seen that any agreements made with the US are up for grabs every four years so trust no longer comes into the equation. Of course, with my scenario, China could always mess with the US by having tank maneuvers on the North-South Korean border the same time the South Koreans & Americans have their annual maneuvers there. Just sayin’.

    1. voteforno6

      Oh, I’m sure that China would throw in a few concessions on trade, to make extending their nuclear umbrella a little more palatable to Trump. If you want to talk about blowing gaskets, what do you think the reaction would be from the #Resistance if Trump blundered his way into the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula? I’m guessing that this would happen to Rachel Maddow on her show:

    2. Alex

      Why would Kim want to make himself a China vassal in this way? I could imagine that only if there existed a credible threat from US. Otherwise NK would continue its fantastically successful (for the elite) policy of maneouvering between the superpowers keeping the nukes as a deterrent. It has been doing since 50-60s when it played on Soviet-Chinese tensions

      1. a different chris

        Only because he’s not 100% sure his nukes are workable… and now he (maybe) has them he’s a bit staggered at the maintainece costs. But otherwise, yes I totally agree with you. There is no reason for any country to give up nukes at this point, unless the US gives them up first. If one has them then the Pareto Optimum* for everybody else is to have them, too.

        *I’m am no doubt misusing that term but it makes me sound smart

        1. Procopius

          I’m thinking this is awfully premature. If it’s true that the Chinese government has said that Kim agreed to denuclearization, then there are almost certainly some unstated conditions there that the MSM is not telling us about. I think given the American history of bad faith Kim would be insane to agree to it unless China has promised to offer ironclad guarantees that if the U.S. attacks North Korea, China will consider it an attack on their soil.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      One idea that occurred to me is that Kim Jong Un has gotten an agreement he can quitetly retire somewhere in the US. Otherwise, giving up his nukes is like going to Washington with a noose around his neck and offering the standing end to Trump.

      1. John k

        How dumb would he have to be to trust any deal with us?
        Even if the us has any post dictator lifestyle he would like?
        I’d keep the nukes, thanks.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > The world, with Trump, has seen that any agreements made with the US

      As with so much, this happened long before Trump (for example, NATO expansion). The US hasn’t been seen as a reliable interlocutor* for some time, and it will be interesting to see what happens when it’s no longer possible for us to rely on naked force.

      The one thing the US is reliable about is killing heads of state on PNAC’s axis of evil list — Saddam, Qaddafi — so Kim, given that North Korea is also on that list, would seem to have good reason to be cautious in his dealings with us.

      I agree that putting North Korea under the Chinese nuclear umbrella is a way forward (though I’m not sure how the Kim dynasty would feel about openly becoming a Chinese client state. I’m not sure whether you proposed that North Korea denuclearize or not). It’s also occurred to me, and I’m speculating wildly with no foundation at all, that a South Korean/North Korean “condominium” of some sort might be possible that would not include denuclearization. After all, that would solve the strategic problem the Korean peninsula has always had: Invasion by China or invasion by Japan.

      * There’s a fancy Russian word for this, but I can’t bring it to mind (naturally, I thought I could Google for it, but no…).

      1. steelyman

        The Saker often refers to it in English as “not agreement capable”. You can find the specific para about halfway down the linked article:
        Russia Expels American Diplomats And Intelligence Operatives | The Vineyard of the Saker

        Here’s the full text of that para:
        In three sentences, Tillerson stated that the US government is “недоговороспособное” or is “not-agreement-capable,” that the whims of the US law makers override all the international laws, as it would for any rogue state. All attempts to reason with the current US government are futile.

  4. Squasha

    for various reasons I’ve deemed sound, ranging from the Luddite to Murphy’s law to a kind of cynical faith in the inevitability of entropy’s return, my reaction to the coming robot army, in this case specifically autonomous cars, has been wholly skeptical. However, thanks to you I am delighted to learn I will be able to hop on a driverless minibus next Monday after chemotherapy for stage 4 recurrent ovarian cancer. I was lucky enough to have been diagnosed within walking distance of Charité’s main campus here in Berlin, known worldwide as a top treatment and research center for specifically my kind of disease. I’m more than a little bemused and even dizzy from all this seesawing between your garden variety crank’s kneejerk rejection of technology, and something like Piglet’s wonderment of Pooh’s repurposing of an umbrella into a life-raft. I worry for the future of humanity, but I feel so profoundly lucky to be alive. Perhaps I’ll let you all know how the ride went next week. Best Wishes!

    1. Kristiina

      May the treatment be benevolent to you and effective on the cancer. And the dizziness of riding driverless as a luddite: seems life just loves to baffle us. Sort of like life is tickling us in the exact spot that makes you laugh.

        1. Procopius

          Wasn’t that a Jay Leno joke? “My father always said laughter is the best medicine. That’s why several of us died from tuberculosis.”

    2. Squasha

      Thanks very much for the kind wishes! It occurred to me just after I’d posted & gone out in the snow to do errands that I’d forgot to mention another aspect, namely the tragic neoliberal context within which these shuttles will be shuttling. Nurses, Technicians and other members of the Charité workforce likely considered inessential in that they interface with patients rather than the academic and therefore more prestigious side of the institution have been regularly striking, not for higher wages, as I suppose those horses have long since left the barn, but rather for the management to hire more staff. There are countless ways these shortfalls effect patient care, Der Spiegel did a good expose on the subject recently the nurses who have been my lifeline are visibly taxed to the breaking point…

      so while my upcoming Disneyland ride from the chemo suite to the taxi stand will make my life palpably better, I can’t help but wonder how many more nurses they could have hired with the 25 million it cost.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > wonder how many more nurses they could have hired with the 25 million it cost

        Probably the MBAs running the place ran a customer satisfaction survey, and found that Disneyland rides gave them a bump. The kiddies will love ’em!

        Best of luck on your chemo!

    3. Lambert Strether

      > on a driverless minibus

      Somewhere (too lazy to find the link) I commented on the difference between what robot cars are actually able to deliver (slow-paced travel on a fixed route, like golf cart shuttles in a retirement community) and real, “Level 5” autonomy, which we have not seen delivered and is unlikely to be (absent altering inputs in the form of major liability or regulatory changes, where robot cars are never at fault for anything).

      So regardless of marketing, your minibus isn’t a robot car as the hype would have it. Think of it as a train with software rails.

  5. YY

    Uber etc
    Absence of the person driver will eventuate in interesting problems. When all the prototype testing is done and numbers of autonomous vehicles increase what to do with the following?
    1) Statistical differences regarding safety, among the probably hand full of manufacturers, will result in clear differences in safety performance not attributable to the variable of the individual human driver (who will just be passenger payload). Would public policy, which presumably should favor overall safety, override protecting proprietary engineering?
    2) As imperfect a licensing structure is for human drivers, should there not be a driving test for autonomous vehicles that is objective and not based upon the manufacturers’ say so?
    3) Are we to expect the State authorities to continue to allow individual vehicles to be operated, even though the authority does not have the ability to test and evaluate the operational integrity of the vehicles?
    4) Crash repair (they may not crash but can be hit by human driven vehicles). How and who will fix them and how would you know that they’ve been fixed?
    5) These vehicles will become old and obsolete much quicker than human operated vehicles.
    The items that will become old and obsolete will not be parts that can be flashed new (as in soft and firmware). No matter how much the brain power could be updated the mechanical aspects will not change.
    6) What we think of as driver’s choice of stopping opportunistically for say road-side flowers or tomato sales or just because a parking spot is available will become impossible. No great loss but does suggest that rail travel is superior to autonomous vehicles once flexibility is lost.

    My car is going on its 28th year since purchased new. It is on its third radiator, countless changes of tires and battery, and recently has had its center console plastic replaced because old plastic was crumbling between my fingers. No power steering, no airbags, but when things do not work with it I know immediately thorough feel, hearing and smell. Not safe but fun, a NA MX5.

    1. shinola


      “5) These vehicles will become old and obsolete much quicker…”
      That’s a feature, not a bug.

      Rarely mentioned in discussions of autonomous vehicles is increased trackability & loss of privacy. You will be tracked & watched.

    2. HotFlash

      Wondering, too, will these cars be accessible to the blind, physically disabled or just plain old and creaky? Will someone give us a hand in when our ankles are creaky? Will they be able to deliver a baby? Will you get help with your luggage or parcels?

    3. Lambert Strether

      These are all good points (especially #6. It’s hard to see how a human could tell a robot car “stop at that vegetable stand.” No more sweet corn in July!)

      > These vehicles will become old and obsolete much quicker than human operated vehicles.

      Or they can be affirmatively made obsolute, rather like when Windows seizes control of your computer and just automagically spends an hour or so updating it (or not). Or when Apple decides to degrade battery performance to force you to buy a new phone. Why, the possibilities are limitless!

  6. Expat2uruguay

    The Bloomberg article on Cosmopolitan being removed from the checkout lines at Walmart seemed rather dry and lacking details. I did some Googling and found this article with a little more info.

      1. JTMcPhee

        If one searches youtube for “people of Walmart,” one finds that Cosmopolitan might have been removed just because there were not enough sales to justify shelf space for the Helen Gurley Brown “mouseburger girls can have it all” magazine —

        Because you can get a real eyeful of real flesh on display, for free, just wandering the aisles and “checkout spaces” of the Retail Maze:

        A banner on the front page of that NY TImes article invites me to get 50% off on a subscription to the Times, with this pitch: “Help us hold power to account. 50% off for one year. Ends soon.” Uh-huh. So many ways to parse that bit, right?

  7. DorothyT

    Re: New Human ‘Organ’ Was Hiding in Plain Sight National Geographic

    Yves, I’m empathetic with your mention of suffering peripheral neuropathy. For now I’ll just mention this: there are drugs that are associated with neurological problems. When I was prescribed metronidazole (first oral, then gel) for rosacea by the head of the dermatology division of a major NYC teaching hospital, I skipped my usual step of researching the potential side effects.

    I soon developed peripheral neuropathy. It began to worsen immediately. By the time I looked into what was ‘new’ in my life and found that it can be a side effect, I was on the road to the PN worsening. It was the only drug I was taking. At first it’s annoying then it becomes much more than that. The pain and discomfort also affects one’s ability to sleep more than a short time. Always research the complete side effects before deciding to take a drug. If the claim is that it can cause neurological or neuropathic side effects, be very careful. This continues to disrupt my life and has proved incurable for me.

    1. perpetualWAR

      This is going to sound crazy, but I obtained relief from rosacea thru the use of Selsun Blue used topically. Apparently, some claim rosacea is caused by microscopic arachnids. I’m not sure if this is true, but the Selsun Blue worked for me.

    2. tegnost

      I could be wrong but I think the one suffering from neuropathy and gaining non-pill relief is JTM…

    3. flora

      re Nat. Geo. article: Immediately thought of traditional Chinese medicine’s meridian system, regarded as folklore or placebo by Western science.

      Ancient statements about what is called chi and the health benefits something like tai chi or qigong might have a physical basis that is acceptable as real to Western science in this new finding. (or not)

      Very interesting read. Thanks for the link.

      1. Plenue

        ‘acceptable as real’.

        It’s called being something actually being real, and having evidence of its existence. The onus is on ‘ancient Chinese medicine’ (or whatever flavor of woo you prefer) to provide evidence of its claims. Not to just leach off the latest discoveries and cheer “see, we were right all along!”. No, this doesn’t make all your mumbo jumbo about meridians and chi any less gibberish.

        1. flora

          huh? I was commenting on an apparent similarity that might now be found between two systems of approach to body-wide networks, not making a claim. Note the words “might” and “(or not)”.

          adding: for some time Western medicine has noted anecdotal evidence of the health benefits of tai chi and quigong that can’t be explained by their aerobic or anaerobic exercise properties (because they aren’t aerobic or muscle building per se). Mayo Clinic now recommends them for health benefits. Maybe it’s just keeping moving that does the trick.

          1. gepay

            All I really know is what happened to me or my perceptions from my observations.. All the rest is something i read or something somebody said. Acupuncture worked for me. 3 out of 4 times. (the time it didn’t work I think it was the acupuncturists fault – you have your basic human bell curve of competence) The last time I had gall stone problem. The liver enzymes and the sonogram agreed. The allopathic doctor said to go to a surgeon to have it removed. Instead I changed my diet (amazing how easy it is to change one’s diet in one’s head and how hard in real life). got this herb from south America (chanca piedra), and went to see acupuncturist. I had acute pain from the stones and worse diffuse pain that seemed to becoming from my liver. After a month of my treatment my pain was gone and my liver enzymes normal. The problem was really with my liver. The gall bladder is just a bladder that squirts on command but the liver makes the bile.- There was a problem with the bile that was letting it create stones in the gall bladder. Fixing the liver fixed the bile A gall stone passed (can you say painfully). I can’t say what of the three things did what but tend to believe the acupuncture fixed the liver. It’s been 4 years with no problems.
            Your body is an electrochemical organism. There are 2000+ years of clinical results compiled by acupuncturists. the acupuncture points are real and reproducible on everybody. The balance of Yin (structure) and Yang (energy-chi) is health.

            1. Wukchumni

              A friend had sciatica and in rather constant pain was he, and traditional western medicine wasn’t doing anything to lessen it, so after a few years of suffering, he turned to acupuncture, and within months was feeling better, and more or less back to normal after about 18 months of treatments.

              Made a believer out of me.

        2. Procopius

          Well, I’m trying to get back to doing Tai Chi in a daily basis. I don’t remember why I stopped, but I do recall several years ago seeing an article claiming that a study had found that people who learned Tai Chi Chuan had much fewer falling problems than their peers who did not. I can attest to this, and one reason I want to get back to it regularly is that I found my legs becoming weaker, especially my hamstrings. Another exercise I favor, and one more directly connected to the theory of meridians, is a Chi Kong exercise called Shibashi. Shir ba is Mandarin for 18, and there are 18 forms or postures you perform. Takes about ten minutes, and is excellent for range of motion, especially in my case the shoulders. I am very doubtful about the meridians, but there was something there, and it’s simply been dismissed by many Western practitioners.

  8. jsn

    “Lessons From Stock Corrections Past”, in the context of the Fed having just taken over Dodd Frank, Volker Rule enforcement, reads like an invitation to the veal pen.

    It will take some time for the big banks to find adequate stuffees for all their dreck, so we need to keep the good times going. With the Fed’s help, that will be a lot easier.

    1. Jim Haygood

      This morning the old-school Dow Jones Transportation Average (formerly the DJ Railroad Average) is trading below its Feb 9th low of 10,137. If it closes this low, grizzled old market vets from the Hoover era say it will produce a Dow Theory sell signal.

      The Dow Jones Industrial Average already busted its Feb 8th low of 23,860 yesterday on a closing basis and is down a little more this morning.

      Bubble III’s fate may hang in the balance if Wall Street’s self-driving algos get spooked and stampede, trampling public pensions and small punters alike in their panicked exodus.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Jeff B, it seems, has powerful enemies:

            The tech behemoth Trump wants to go after is Amazon, according to five sources who’ve discussed it with him. “He’s obsessed with Amazon,” a source said. “Obsessed.”

            A source who’s spoken to POTUS: “He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.”

            Trump’s wealthy friends tell him Amazon is destroying their businesses. His real estate buddies tell him — and he agrees — that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers.

            Trump tells people Amazon has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and cushy treatment from the U.S. Postal Service.

            Trump also pays close attention to the Amazon founder’s ownership of the Washington Post, which the president views as Bezos’ political weapon.


            Of all these points, the “Russia Russia Russia” WaPo is probably the one that irks Trump the most.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I suspect some, not all, politicians might support Medicare For All for selfish reasons.

              Do we take their support or reject it?

              “Let one hundred internet retailer-flowers bloom” is the slogan.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Aren’t algos programmed to avoid crashing into billionaires?

        “Who turned the sensors off?”

  9. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela sheds most of its newly-minted millionaires overnight:

    CARACAS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Maduro said last Thursday that three zeroes would be lopped off Venezuela’s ailing currency in a revamp of the bolivar to try to combat the world’s highest inflation.

    The new currency, to take effect from June 4, essentially divides existing bolivars by 1,000, so a note of that value would be replaced by a new coin worth one bolivar.

    “Here you have it: three zeroes less … the defence of the bolivar which we will now call the sovereign bolivar,” Maduro said during an event shown live on state TV, flanked by aides and bankers.

    Venezuela’s government similarly redenominated its currency by knocking off three zeroes a decade ago, baptizing the new currency the strong or “fuerte” bolivar, but Venezuelans quickly joked it was the dead or “muerto” bolivar.

    Logically the bolivar fuerte should have been followed by the bolivar inerte (as in motionless, lifeless).

    But the bolivar soberano likely will be have to rechristened the bolivar jodido — the “screwed bolivar.”

    Letting Venezuelans play with sovereign currencies is as imprudent as letting kids play with grenade launchers — they’ll blow themselves up every time. :-(

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Letting Venezuelans play with sovereign currencies is as imprudent as letting kids play with grenade launchers — they’ll blow themselves up every time.

      Maybe they just need a few expert economists from the University of Chicago to guide them through this process, eh?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Economist Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins U. has been trying for years to coach the Venezuelans into some semblance of currency stability. But they won’t listen. :-(

        Venezuela, where I was President Rafael Caldera’s economic advisor 1995-96, is the first Special Topic because it is, well, special.” — Steve H

        1. JTMcPhee

          Economist Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins U. and the Cato Institute? This Steve Hanke? And is this an example of the advice he has been trying to give to the Venezuelans, on how to stabilize their currency and stop impacting negatively on the private sector?

          Another view, with context, on why bad stuff is happening (from the standpoint of ordinary people) in the nation of Venezuela:

          Why Is Venezuela in Crisis?

          “Much of it is due to government blundering. But opposition protests, often violent, and destabilization from Washington have wreaked havoc as well,” says Professor of Latin American Studies Gabriel Hetland.

          1. JohnnyGL

            It’s worth pointing out that the sanctions have tightened further since that Venezuelanalysis article was written. US banks aren’t even allowed to process Venezuela’s international bond payments anymore. Venezuela didn’t TRY to default, but it has basically been forced to default by US Treasury Dept sanctions.

            1. Jim Haygood

              As an August 25, 2017 news article about the US debt ban notes,

              Lending to Venezuela, an expensive risk given the country’s negative credit rating, had already dried up, with major banks wary of hurting their reputations by financing an increasingly isolated regime.


              Venezuela defaulted after running out of foreign exchange. The now-counterproductive US ban on trading Venezuelan debt didn’t help, but default was inevitable. A Bloomberg article noted on July 24, 2017,

              In the past three years, at least seven airlines have suspended routes to Caracas or reduced the number of daily flights in part because they are trying to collect money from the Venezuelan government, which must authorize the repatriation of earnings from ticket sales under Venezuela’s currency controls.

              Airlines have about $3.8 billion held hostage in the country, according to the International Air Transport Association trade group.


              The handwriting was already on the wall. It read rota [busted].

              1. JTMcPhee

                And how did things get to the point that “rota” got writ, then?

                The rulers in VZ may have been stumbling, but hitting the country in the back of the head and making sure it fell down the stairs took the efforts of many neoliberal players and “interest holders.”

                And don’t bonds come with little printed notices that they are “investments” that bear “risk of loss of principal” as well as potential upsides? No “guarantee of payment,” except maybe like was done with US bank “loans” to Little Countries Down There in the 70s and 80s, where “the taxpayer” or a Big Fiat Currency Issuer like Uncle Sam “guaranteed” such bonds, as maybe an instrument of foreign or imperial policy? You makes your play in the “market,” and lives and dies by the outcome. Except where you own the casino, or can put a greasy thumb on the roulette wheel…

                And I seem to recall that debt holders and their machinations (not to mention the often intertwined friendly ministrations of several “government agencies”) have had a lot to do with various shocks and collapses of multiple political economies around our Blue Marble Spinning In Space…

                But no, it’s all just about “socialists” not wisely managing their economies and currencies and current accounts, I guess…

                1. John k

                  Nothing wrong with socialism.
                  A special 4x for insiders that lets them move 4x out of the country (loot) is guaranteed to bankrupt a country even with the world’s largest oil resource.
                  Do it faster if you sack your best 4x (oil) workers while refusing to pay the foreign companies helping develop your only source of 4x(oil).
                  There is no reason why socialism is failing in Venezuela beyond corruption and incompetence- note that other social countries are doing much better in S.A. and Europe, and without all that oil wealth.

      2. Doug Hillman

        Oh yes, they are assuredly already under the guidance of the very same advisors who made Chile’s economy scream and assisted in the “suicide” of Allende on 9/11, 1973. The champion of democracy, NED, is undoubtedly as active now in Caracas as it was during the aborted coup and attempted assassination of Chavez in 2002, aided once again of course by agents of the Criminally-Insane Asylum (CIA).

        1. JTMcPhee

          My sense is that NED and CIA and the other spooks and jackals do all this stuff “just because they can,” since I guess I am too narrow-minded to perceive any net gain for the “national interest” (sic) or even “American interests” in so many of the “operations” and stratagems and plays the Gamers make. Maybe it’s like that other index of the spiritual nature of spookdom, captured in a recent appointment at that CIA place and leading to the conclusion that indeed, “the purpose of torture is torture.” So “the purpose of regime change is regime change. We do it because we can.”

          Anyone wanting a nice mix of insights into how it’s done, and by whom, and how totally FUBAR the whole Great Game process is might do well to read a book by a CIA paramilitary who helped with a Big One: “First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan,” a nice brag piece on the “kinetic” parts of how the Empire does its thing —

          My takeaway is that yes, weapons and air strikes and big shrink-wrapped blocks of used $100 bills nudged things in a direction that some set of our rulers wanted (“defeating the Taliban,” the world hegemon’s longest-running, non-achieved “policy goal”?). But it sure seemed like those sneaky petes were out-gamed many ways by the older Afghan culture, better steeped in shifting alliances, treachery and self-interest than even the best and brightest in Langley…

          1. a different chris

            There’s a lot of “mess up the country in the right way and we can retire there and live like princes” that goes on in the spook industry. I have the right from the mouth of a former spook. He didn’t put it that way, but did describe enclaves of former military/CIA/whatever people in places you wouldn’t think to go yourself.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Russia: Protests against officials erupt in wake of Kemerovo fire”

    Saw this covered on the TV news here in Oz. Apparently it is all Putin’s fault because of his corrupt government. A pretty young girl protestor said so. Yeah, they were holding anti-Putin protests while Russia mourned the deaths of so many people. Doesn’t matter that he rarely turns up for public disasters but went straight to Siberia here.
    Now lets reverse this. Imagine that direct after Hurricane Harvey with over 70 dead Americans it was found that Russia, or any other country for that matter, was pushing out stories that all those dead Americans were Trump’s fault because he was so corrupt. Imagine that anti-Trump groups were holding protests to capitalize on this while they were still collecting the dead.
    Nothing like turning a country’s national tragedy into an opportunity to make a dig at a government.
    “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

    1. Alex

      Not everything you see on tv is wrong. People in Russia are not idiots and are not blaming authorities (mostly local ones btw, the local government is headed by a guy in his 80s who has survived >20 yrs as the head of region by reliably producing 90% votes for Putin in all elections) for a natural disaster that could not be predicted. The connection between between the corruption and the tragedy is evident for everyone who has seen permanently locked emergency exits and knows something about how the fire safety checks work

      Also, lots of people in the government and media used the tragedy to make a dig at opposition so they should also be reminded about some basic decency

        1. Alex

          Probably, also if it’s open you either need to put someone to guard it or install an alarm system that goes off when a door is opened. So more cost effective to pay to a fire inspector periodically :( this is not to say that it’s always the case, but hardly an exception either

        2. The Rev Kev

          It’s depressing to see the number of fires that kills people by the score and it is found that the exit doors were locked. It is a long list but includes the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire and much more modern ones like the 1985 Bradford City stadium fire. You see it in night-cubs, hotels, factories, etc. but it is always because of petty reasons that the doors are locked or even padlocked. I think that the only way to help put a stop to this practice is to press murder charges on anyone responsible for locking doors that ends up killing people. Not just the guy that throws the lock but also the person who gave the order.

          1. Duck1

            looks like there is a video of somebody planting the inflammatory device, saw on Moon of Alabama, sorry no link in my boat right now

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Kansas considers making schools liable for not arming staff Washington Post (Kevin W)

    Maybe there is a precedent.

    Perhaps the sheriff in old Dodge City was liable for not arming people entering the city.

    “Thank Wyatt. I need a gun going to the saloon.”

    1. Procopius

      There’s an unasked question here, who is going to pay for the additional liability insurance the school districts are going to have to pay if they do arm the teachers? I never see that asked, but a little thought would show that (a) it would be very imprudent for the schools to assume there will be no accidents where they are liable for considerable damages and (b) that the state is certainly not going to indemnify them for such liability. I don’t think such insurance will be cheap.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a good question. What sort of coverage would that involve? Who buys that today? Do night clubs buy that? Do officie building owners with armed private security buy that particular coverage?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What living on Earth would be like without the moon Business Insider (Kevin W)

    For a Zen person, no moon = no enlightenment.

    From Wikipedia, Zen:

    Zen teachings can be likened to “the finger pointing at the moon”.[24] Zen teachings point to the moon, awakening, “a realization of the unimpeded interpenetration of the dharmadhatu”.[25] But the Zen-tradition also warns against taking its teachings, the pointing finger, to be this insight itself.[26][web 5][web 6][27]

    “But don’t dwell on the pointing finger.”

  13. DJG

    Observations on the “new” organ, which sure sounds a lot like meridians in the Chinese system, an adjunct to the lymphatic system in the Western system, and a part of the hands-on theory of cranio-sacral work. My massage therapist specializes in cranio-sacral work and my chiropractor does a mixed practice (not just the traditional skeletal adjustments): Both of them already recognize a watery system with channels through the body. They are more likely to call the fluid “lymph,” and they are also much concerned with inflammation, which this system or new organ seems to be able to control.

    So I’m not yet clear on how “out there” this discovery is (or how “out there” my health-care providers are): But you may want to consider cranio-sacral if you have chronic pain, aching muscles, or just problems with relaxing. Unlike Swedish massage, though, it isn’t always relaxing therapy, as the massage therapist pushes on pressure points and tries for releases.

    And people who practice yoga will recognize this is the many yoga positions that require some gentle twisting of the torso, especially, to get the drainage system moving…

    We are watery creatures, indeed.

    1. Whoa Molly!

      RE: Human organ hiding in plain sight.

      This may (partially) explain the healing triggered by practicing yoga daily for several months or years.

      The most powerful healing seems to happen under three conditions:
      – practiced daily, for 40 minutes or longer.
      – practiced slowly, with awareness.
      – postures held in stillness between 10 and 30 seconds at maximum stretch.

      I’m a long time yoga guy, and I’ve seen these practices change people’s bodies and minds.

      The power of these daily gentle stretches makes no sense to me. Why should something so mild have such power? Why should it trigger such healing?

      All I know for sure is that they work.

  14. DJG

    The mother who forced her “elitist” son to shop at Goodwill: I’m hoping that this doesn’t start a trend of sending one’s miscreant kids to resale shops and second-hand stores as punishment. Where will I buy most of my clothes? {I’m the master of the fifteen-dollar tweed jacket and the thirty-dollar poplin raincoat with tags from now-long-gone men’s stores.}

    1. Arizona Slim

      Next thing you know, she’ll be making the kid hop on his bicycle so he can go shopping at yard sales. To which I say: Come to Tucson! I’d be happy to ride along with you.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Kim Jong Un Is Willing to Hold Summit With U.S., China Says Bloomberg. So much for China having no influence…

    Of all the possible scenarios of participants in a meeting

    1. US, China, N. Korea & S. Korea
    2. U.S. N. Korea and S. Korea
    3. U.S. Korea and N. Korea
    4. U.S, China and N. Korea

    We get U.S. and N. Korea.

    I wonder why.

    It appears (at first glance) that China trusts N. Korea, but America doesn’t.

    Why not just S. Korea and N. Korea? Or US and China?

  16. temporal

    re: Fake News 2.0

    Funny that with NoScript turned on, the MIT website initially whines that my browser is viewing content “incognito” and that the site wants other sites to use Javascript and a cookie database to snoop on me more effectively, perhaps to better target their news. One might assume this means that the story about fake news is, perhaps, a small part of the scheme to improve the personalization of said news.

    There are major sites that end up being viewed with Safari because I can’t expose and refresh enough times to get viewable pages. The race to eliminate privacy didn’t start with Google or Facebook and wouldn’t end if they were stopped. Which, of course contrary to current bluster, will never happen.

    1. Plenue

      The ‘fake news’ meme makes me want to bash my face against a wall.We’re awash in fake news,and I’m not talking about Fox or Breitbart (though they obviously are also purveyors of falsehoods). I was watching some BBC drama recently, and it involved a plotline involving Syrian refugees (who turned out weren’t; they were Iraqis pretending to be Syrian). The story repeatedly casually talked about ‘Aleppo’ being destroyed. Never happened; it was only part of Eastern Aleppo that was ever taken by jihadi rebels, and they ultimately agreed, at gun point, to evacuate to Idlib province, as part of a government plan to avoid having to literally flatten the place.

      Our ‘reputable’ media is lying constantly, on issues both foreign and domestic. We’re at the point where I simply don’t pay any attention to WaPo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, etc etc etc. I can no longer rely on any of them to even present basic facts correctly. How much of this is due to active malevolence, and how much due to the staff being genuine but utterly clueless and inept, I can’t say.

      Incidentally, YouTube is now linking to Wikipedia on videos from state broadcasters. It took me about ten seconds to notice how RT is described as ‘sponsored in whole or in part by the Russian government’, but outlets like the CBC or BBC are ‘publicly funded’. What a freaking joke.

      1. flora

        Taibbi has a good take on this.

        In the press, no one could really make sense of the supposed justification for the invasion. That it was compelling, no one could deny. Hell, just look at the fonts. We all used the biggest ones we had! The New York Times said it all with its dramatic banner:


        GOON BOMBS CITY ON HORSESHIT PRETEXT would have been more accurate, but editors were giving everyone the benefit of the doubt back then, and getting on board, for patriotic reasons. The Gray Lady, who was playing such a key role in what was going on, was certainly getting in the spirit, giving in to the adrenaline rush of Bush’s evil gambit.

        1. Procopius

          I think (and I haven’t done any real research to support this) that the state of the “news” agencies has always been thus. The idea that intrepid reporters risk their lives to bring us “TRUTH” is taken from movies like Girl Friday and Front Page, not from real life. Government (think the Creel Commission), public relation and advertising firms, and the newspapers themselves have promoted the myth to increase sales. It wasn’t even new when William Randolph Hearst sent Richard Harding Davis to Cuba to invent stories of atrocities. If you’re able to go back to the newspapers of Colonial America you’ll find they were as partisan and truthless as the NYT and WaPo are today. The only duty of newspapers is to make money for their owners, and you forget this at your own peril.

  17. Jim Haygood

    CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel admits US intervention in Syria is FUBAR:

    Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee this month, CENTCOM commander General Joseph L. Votel acknowledged that the principal ambition of U.S. policy in Syria—the removal of President Bashar al Assad—has failed.

    An hour into Votel’s testimony, Graham got to the point:

    Graham: “Who is winning in Syria?”

    Votel: “ …It would seem that the regime is ascendant.”

    Graham: “Do you see any likelihood that the [opposition] forces…can topple Assad in the next year?”

    Votel: “That’s not my assessment.”

    Graham: “Is it too strong a statement to say that with Russia’s and Iran’s help Assad has won the civil war?”

    Votel: “I do not think that is too strong of a statement. They have provided him the wherewithal to be ascendant.”

    Graham: “Is it still our policy that Assad must go?”

    Votel: “I don’t know that that’s our particular policy at this particular point.”

    Graham: “Thank you for your clarity and honesty; and it is not your mission in Syria to deal with the Iranian, Assad, Russia problem.”

    Votel: “That’s correct senator.”

    What was the Congressional response to this astonishing exchange? Why, to add another $80 billion in Pentagon funding last week, to expand its value-subtraction adventures abroad.

    This is how empires die — slowly at first, then all at once.

    1. Jef

      “…slowly at first, then all at once.”

      In this case the “all at once” gets really messy and could mean the end of life on earth but hey its fun to watch and talk about.

    2. RMO

      “Graham: “Is it still our policy that Assad must go?”

      Votel: “I don’t know that that’s our particular policy at this particular point.”

      So… a senate committee is asking a general what U.S. foreign policy is? I’ve felt the tail has been wagging the dog for a long time in the U.S. with regards to civil control of the military but it’s still surprising to read that.

      1. bones

        “I’ve felt the tail has been wagging the dog for a long time in the U.S. with regards to civil control of the military but it’s still surprising to read that.”

        I feel the same way as you, but if it means that Graham is out of the loop, then it’s a consolation.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “How Will Trump Punish Russia Next?”

    The whole tone of this article seemed kinda off to me somehow. It was like watching some kid play with matches in a gas station. Couldn’t leave it alone so did a bit of digging. This article appeared in Politico magazine which, as of 2018, the largely crowd-sourced analysis engines AllSides rated as “Left Lean” in terms of bias. However, I also noted that this magazine is based in Arlington County, Virginia which sounds familiar somehow. Oh yeah, that is where all those federal agencies are located (, isn’t it. About thirty of them.
    Then took a look at the authoress of this piece. Turns out that she is a security wonk that had her start in Baghdad – during the occupation I would say. Her bio mentions that she had “various positions for the administration of Barack Obama where she worked on the National Security Council as the Director for Iraq, as the Director for International Economics, and as the Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor. In 2013, she went to work for Goldman Sachs focusing on public-private sector partnerships.” Also is a National Security Analyst at CNN.
    I’m sorry but at only age 35, this resume and the tone of the article does not give me confidence in listening to her, especially when she has the ears of Presidents. I guess I like my advice from grizzled old vets who have seen it all before and don’t have too many axes to grind. It’s not an age thing or a woman thing. It just seems that this person was always on the fast track and touching all the “right” bases. Must be my spidey sense tingling again.

      1. Mike Mc

        ^x1000. NC does a better job of curating all forms of media from mainstream MSM to the furthest fringes than literally any other web site. Came for the econ education and enlightenment, stayed for the common sense.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Point taken. If this had been some yobo journalist writing this, well, you wouldn’t expect much better going by today’s standards and it wouldn’t have annoyed me much. But to have a fast-track policy wonk come up and casually mention getting into a shooting war with the Russians and not expect hard consequences got my goat. So yeah, MSM stories are very revealing sometimes.

  19. integer

    Theresa May’s Foreign Policy Voltaire Network

    Two months after [May’s] speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, on 22 January 2018, Her Majesty’s Chief of Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, gave a very important speech which was entirely dedicated to the coming war with Russia, based on Donnelly’s theory [5]. Drawing the lessons from the Syrian experience, he described an enemy who possesses new, extremely powerful weaponry. (This was two months before President Putin revealed his new nuclear arsenal [6]). Sir Nick Carter confirmed the necessity of having many more ground troops, of developing the British arsenal, and of preparing for a war in which the images broadcast by the medias would be more important than victory on the ground.

    The day after this shock conference at the Royal United Services Institute (the Defence think tank), the National Security Council announced the creation of a military unit to combat « Russian propaganda » [7].

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Strength in numbers.

    Mark Zuckerberg agrees to testify before Congress over data scandal Guardian

    Uber Will Let California Autonomous-Vehicle License Expire Bloomberg

    Perhaps a merger of the two is the way to go forward….Call it Fuber.

    “Our newest product – self-spying social media in a car.”

    1. cnchal

      “Our newest product – self-spying social media in a car.”


      Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, predicts that companies will have a powerful incentive to do so. “The most valuable thing coming from AV technology is trapped attention,” he says. “If I’m Amazon and I have your undivided attention for an hour, I will figure out a way to eliminate motion sickness and remove all the other obstacles to enjoying the ride so that I can sell you things.”

      I will eat dirt before I get trapped in an AV with Bezo’s cruel face imploring me to buy something, before he let’s me out.

      We have been warned. AVs are traps.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Hadn’t thought down that road that far. Of course, it’ll be all about the advertisments…yeah, cnchal, you’re soooo on it.
        No way I’ll ever ride in a “commercial cage”!

      2. JTMcPhee

        Lest we lose track of the bidding:

        Under the table Winston’s feet made convulsive movements. He had not stirred from his seat, but in his mind he was running, swiftly running, he was with the crowds outside, cheering himself deaf. He looked up again at the portrait of Big Brother. The colossus that bestrode the world! The rock against which the hordes of Asia dashed themselves in vain! He thought how ten minutes ago — yes, only ten minutes — there had still been equivocation in his heart as he wondered whether the news from the front would be of victory or defeat. Ah, it was more than a Eurasian army that had perished! Much had changed in him since that first day in the Ministry of Love, but the final, indispensable, healing change had never happened, until this moment.

        The voice from the telescreen was still pouring forth its tale of prisoners and booty and slaughter, but the shouting outside had died down a little. The waiters were turning back to their work. One of them approached with the gin bottle. Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention as his glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating everybody. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The longhoped-for bullet was entering his brain.

        He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

  21. Loneprotester

    On the Census Citizenship question, I agree with Yves that it cannot be “illegal” or unconstitutional since it has been used so many times before and is, in fact, vital data. I disagree that the legal challenges have the potential to hold up the census, since the courts move quickly when they must, and the timeline of the decennial census is written in stone.

    What does concern me, however (and what no one is discussing) is the potential for “Resistance” style blackmailing of the federal government by Blue State Democrats. They are capable of (and no doubt willing to) urge mass non-cooperation with the census by their supporters, far beyond the illegal immigrants who they claim are being illegally targeted. How will Trump deal with that, I wonder?

    1. todde

      sounds like a win for the Republicans.

      wouldn’t that make democrats unrepresented in Congress?

      1. apberusdisvet

        My gut feeling is that the Dems have been incrementally increasing voter fraud (yes the Repubs do it as well), especially in areas of heavy illegal alien populations (looking at you California). In the 2022 elections, it will be difficult for the Dem elites in California to explain why the number of votes counted in too many districts are double or triple the amount of registered voters. We saw this in PA and Ohio during the last election but it was crickets in the MSM.

        1. marym

          Links, please, not feelings.

          There was a claim in 2016 that in Detroit more votes were counted than the number of people that poll workers counted. That claim has been discredited, with the discrepancies attributed to human error by the poll workers. (Link, link)

          There have been numerous reports of locations having more registered voters than the voting age population. This is most likely the common result of people not deleting their registration when they move.

          It’s not fraud unless the people registered but no longer resident actually vote or someone votes in their name.

          Actual voter fraud has never been established despite years and years of studies, investigations, and court cases.

          2007-2016 summaries and links for studies, court findings, and government investigations: Link

          2007 summary of report with link to full PDF with findings for 2000-2007: Link

          2016 WaPo story with links to other 2016: Link

          What did [Brennan Center staff] find out? “Across 42 jurisdictions, election officials who oversaw the tabulation of 23.5 million votes in the 2016 general election referred only an estimated 30 incidents of suspected noncitizen voting for further investigation or prosecution,” according to the report. “In other words, improper noncitizen votes accounted for 0.0001 percent of the 2016 votes in those jurisdictions.” That’s 1/100th of 1 percent, for those keeping score at home.

          2016 study: Link

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            23.5 million x 0.01 x 0.01 = 2,350.

            How do those 30 incidents relate to 2,350 votes?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                From what is presented here, I gather

                1. There are 42 jurisdictions with 23.5 million votes
                2. only 2 jurisdictions reported incidents.
                3. How many incidents were in those 2 jurisdictions? 30 incidents?
                4. How many noncitizen votes? 2,350 votes? (0.01 x 0.01 x 23,5 million)
                5. Does it mean that on average, there were 78 noncitizen votes per incident? (2,350 over 30)
                6. On average, from #1, there are about 560,000 voters per jurisdiction (23.5 million over 42)

                Of those 2 jurisdictions, then, on average, there were 1,175 noncitizen votes out of the average 560,000 votes (from #6), and 15 incidents, in each of those 2 jurisdictions.

                With the closeness of recent elections, that could have been the difference maker (using the numbers from the comments here, and I apologize if I read the numbers incorrectly, in any of the 6 calculations above).

                1. marym

                  Am I missing something?

                  .0001% = .000001
                  23,500,000 x .000001 = 23.5 ≈ 30 votes across 2 jurisdictions

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I was reading the 1/100 of 1 percent.

                    But 0.0001 percent is actually 1/10,000 of 1 percent.

                    From above:

                    In other words, improper noncitizen votes accounted for 0.0001 percent of the 2016 votes in those jurisdictions.” That’s 1/100th of 1 percent, for those keeping score at home.

    2. j84ustin

      There’s a logical reason for leaving it off the Census: a potentially higher response rate. Including the question is antagonistic. Those who are undocumented are certainly less likely to complete the Census if it is added.

      1. apberusdisvet

        I find your statement illogical due to the fact that all census forms are anonymous, with no possible tracking.

        1. kareninca

          “I find your statement illogical due to the fact that all census forms are anonymous, with no possible tracking.”

          Anonymous – hahahahahahaha! No possible tracking – hahahahahahah!!!! Yeah, I really believe that. Sure.

  22. allan

    Robert Mercer’s Secret Adventure as a New Mexico Cop [Bloomberg]

    A “badge factory” giving rich people the right to conceal carry in all 50 states.

    … States vary widely in their approaches to regulating concealed weapons. But in 2004, Congress passed the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, declaring that police officers can carry concealed guns in any state with no need of a local license. The law applies to officers who are off-duty and out of their jurisdiction—and includes volunteer reservists.

    The law made a police badge an immeasurably valuable item in places such as Suffolk County, N.Y., where Mercer lives, and where concealed-carry permits are granted only rarely. Applicants must prove they face “extraordinary personal danger”; in 2016 the county rejected the request of a man who had helped the FBI take down an outlaw biker gang. Even if Mercer did get a local permit, it wouldn’t be valid if he traveled to New York City or to most other states. For people in Suffolk who want to carry, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act is a tantalizing way to cut through all of that—if they can find a police force that will grant them its tin. …

    Funny how Federalists are in favor of Federalism until they want to squash state and local laws they don’t like.

    1. Jim Haygood

      A retired cop I know was visiting New Orleans a few years ago. He got to chatting with a local officer, who asked him if he was packing. When he said no, the horrified officer actually offered a lend him a service weapon for the duration of his visit.

      When concealed carry permits are arbitrarily denied in the constitution-free zones of NY and NJ, a LEO card becomes an “open sesame” to carrying anytime, anywhere. “Officer Jim” — I’m likin’ the ring of it. :-)

  23. Geo

    The “Resistence” is defending Amazon now because Trump said something bad about it…. My heart hurts and my brain can’t handle this anymore. What happened to these people? They are now adamant cheerleaders of the FBI, CIA, Amazon, Red Scare, and everything “The Left” has historically been wary of. How hard is it to both be against Trump while still acknowledging these other entities are corrupt and dangerous too? “The #resistence is giving the Tea Party a fierce competition for stupidest protest movement in modern times.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “When a true, new Hegemon appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the resistance movements in the world are in a confederacy with him.”

      And so, China is not quite there yet. Our Resistance is purely home grown and is not colluding with them.

      And we still support Taiwanese Resistance and Tibetan Resistance. So, they have a long way to go to catch up with us.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I thought that story was interesting. It’s obviously framed as a hit piece on Trump (he’s “obsessed,” wipes out billions of dollars of market cap overnight with inflammatory remarks etc.) but I found myself agreeing with almost everything he said, even through the negative filters.

      He seems to have an unconscious understanding of the limitations of neoliberalism, something he also displayed on the campaign trail. The exasperated sources say that it’s been “explained to him” numerous times that everyone concerned is making lots of money so of course it’s good for the country, and why can’t he understand that? Well, because he sees local shops closing, people unable to find jobs, an increase in societal discontentment, and so on, and recognizes that something doesn’t add up.

      Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to rise above the unconscious, and most of his conscious pronouncements and policy choices are the exact opposite. For example, he very clearly thought that ACA could be fixed by deregulating and letting the magic of the markets do its work, and is frustrated that it hasn’t worked out that way. It’s a fundamental contradiction, but he doesn’t seem to have any particular problem with contradiction or feel any obligation to hold positions that are logically consistent. To paraphrase the Simpsons, he thinks that big business is both the cause of all the nation’s problems and the solution to them.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re the “Facebook Fracas”, the Cambridge Analytica et al story reflects many of the issues of our time. It cuts across technology, social media, state-of-the-art human psychology and psychometrics, manipulation of the politics of nation-states, the inadequacy of campaign financing laws, corporate-sponsored loss of privacy, lack of information security, hacking and sales of personal data, wealth inequality and the quest for absolute power by plutocrats, the values and courage of individual whistleblowers, neoliberal globalization, erosion of representative democracy, duplicity and intimidation through legal and extra-legal means, and the continuing need for deep investigative reporting by traditional media, among other facets of our lives and society. I really hope Carole Cadwalladr of the Guardian and whistleblower Christopher Wylie write the book about this disturbing network and its broader implications together.

    1. Anonymous2

      It was interesting how the Wylie evidence yesterday was covered by the Guardian but otherwise, I think, largely ignored by the rest of the English newspapers. I read the FT and Times and neither mentioned it in their hard copy publications. If true, his evidence should probably lead to criminal prosecutions, if I have understood correctly. The subject is of course the trivial matter that the outcome of the Brexit referendum may have been illegally influenced so the other newspapers ignoring it completely is extraordinary – unless you have become totally inured to the way public life in the UK is now conducted.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mass immigration “a risky experiment” without parallel MacroBusiness

    Is it ‘You have done it before, and you’re hypocrites are not allowing us to do it,’ or ‘We’ve done it, but we know how risky it is?’

    For example, we dropped a couple of A-tombs. But you don’t want us to do it again, or are we hypocrites for not allowing others to do it?

    This question is relevant, because watching a documentary on the Mexican-American War, it talks about

    1. Mass American migration into what is now Texas, first invited, then, uninvited, led to the Texas Republic, annexation, then war

    2. The same with American settlers in California, then a brief Republic, before being forced to sell the territory and other southwestern (from our perspective, or northeaster from Mexico’s viewpoint) for something like $50 million dollars, in order to conclude a peace treaty.

    “We did it, so we know how dangerous it can be.”

    “You hypocrite. Everyone should be able to make drones/fatman’s.”

    1. HotFlash

      I’ll go with hypocrite. If they really thought nukes or drones are too dangerous for *anyone* to be holding, they’d disarm. They have not, don’t seem likely too, and in fact quite the opposite; QED.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        On disarmament, children are overdue for growing up in a nuclear-free planet. So that hypocrisy will continue for a while.

        For the Mexican American war, this was what Grant, who was in it, said:

        For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.

        But then, California, Texas, etc were still in the US when he made that statement, and are still today.

        Will anyone accept $50 million plus interest, payable (if not immediately) over a period of time, to return those states to Mexico?

        Apparently, Mexicans who decided to stay, under new ownership, had to prove they in fact owned what they claimed they owned. Many couldn’t. The consistent response would be, in the case of Mexico buying back, for all California property owners to prove, in Mexican courts, what they own.

  26. UserFriendly

    Re: census 2020. It doesn’t matter who wins. What matters is the press coverage that it might be on there. That will be enough to ensure an undercount of undocumented people.

    That should hurt TX and CA the most. Hopefully MN won’t loose a seat then, it’s right on the cusp.

  27. Lord Koos

    Craniosacral therapy is definitely not some kind of new age hoodoo. The Feldenkrais Method is also great, especially for any physical difficulties.

  28. Rates

    “While Blind’s survey results are certainly interesting, it remains to be seen whether there is a big drop-off in Facebook usage in reality.”

    Even Blind is not blind to virtue signalling.

    “My finger is poised upon the delete button and I am ready to press it …. unless Facebook gives me a reason (any reason) not to.”


    1. Arizona Slim

      Still hangin’ in there with the Lenten Facebook fast. I was tempted to log on yesterday, but I simply found other things to do.

      1. Rates

        My crystal ball sees your resolve failing sometime after Zuck gives his testimony to his overseers. Unless of course, you’ve always been one of those people who don’t use Facebook often ….. like moi. Zuck used to send me emails, but he’s given up.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Hate to admit it, but I used to log onto FB every day. And then I stopped logging in on weekends. That was my first big step away.

      1. Rates

        No, not yet, Zuck is going to send a barrage of emails asking you to come back. Takes time to go through all of that :)

      2. JamesG

        I had to open an FB account to comment on some site.

        Did that but never went back.

        (If I’m that smart why did I buy FB stock just before it’s recent big drop?)

      1. UserFriendly

        Roseanne makes a joke to Jackie (who was berated into not voting for Hillary and went with the Greens but feels like Trump is all her fault) ‘and I suppose you wanted health insurance for everyone because you can’t do math.’

  29. McWatt

    Yves: Can’t recommend too strongly the German “Laying of hands” treatment called Rolfing. Best thing that ever happened to me and my family.

  30. allan

    Ex-Kirkland Partner Robert Khuzami Banked $11M Partnership Share []

    The former head of the SEC’s enforcement division is now serving as deputy U.S. attorney
    in the Southern District of New York.

    Robert Khuzami, the former Kirkland & Ellis white-collar partner who’s now second-in-command at the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, reported earning $11.1 million in partnership income in about a year’s span, according to a financial disclosure released this week. … [paywalled]

    Maybe Khuzami and Eric “#Resistance” Holder can yuck it up about their adventures going in and out of the revolving door in the corner office that Covington & Burling kept for Holder while he was AG.

    As Roberts, Alito LLC would say, no quid pro quo, no problemo.

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