Links 3/9/18

Dear patient readers,

I suddenly have a Michigan nexus of interest.

1. I am trying to verify the title structure and get some further information about the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University practices (usual credentials and job duties for “adjunct professors”) in the pre-2006 time frame.

2. I’d like to confirm some information about an alum of what is now called “Ross Business,” the University of Michigan business school (weirdly, in the small world category, Steve Ross was once a client of mine 30 years ago…). It’s a very easy query and anyone who can access the alumni database could clear things up.

If you can help or might have a connection who can help, please ping me at with “Adjunct Professor” or “Ross Business” as appropriate in the subject line. Thanks!

Social status influences infection risk and and disease-induced mortality British Ecological Society. In spotted hyenas.

Meta-analysis and the science of research synthesis Nature

LEGO Will Start Selling Sustainable, Plant-Based Blocks This Year Global Citizen

European Clocks Slowed by Lag in Continent’s Power Grid Voice of America

The dark side of daylight saving time The Conversation

How iPads Changed a Police Force’s Response to Mental Illness The Crime Report (Dan K)

Oregon Couple’s Final Days Captured In Intimate Aid-In-Dying Video Kaiser Health News

North Korea

Trump accepts ‘milestone’ meeting with Kim BBC

Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un could signal major thaw in nuclear standoff Politico

World Bank blasts EU’s deepening economic divides, urging bloc to take populist movements seriously Telegraph. Help me. After the World Bank played a huge role in promoting financialization, which is a big driver of inequality.

Macron seizes moment to take on French unions Financial Times. Someone send him the World Bank memo


Brexit Bulletin: Pushing Evolution Bloomberg. Curious to get reader reactions, but I don’t see this as terribly significant. The drop dead date on formulating an exit agreement is October. The “future relationship” part was alway just a political statement. It will take years to negotiate a trade deal. The intent may simply be that the EU wants as much as possible not to look like the heavy when possible, not that it cares about UK PR, which it cannot control, but for the sake of its image with smaller EU members. Barnier and EU leaders have already done tons of things, some subtle, some very up front, to try to get the Government among other things to negotiate rather than continue posturing on issues where the EU has said “no”.

Rights and equality challenges of Brexit Irish Times. “The undefined negotiated by the unprepared to get the unspecified for the uninformed.”

New Cold War

US Army Docs: Plan to ‘Dethrone’ Putin for Oil Pipelines May Provoke WW3 MintPress (Wat)

‘Progressive’ Journalists Jump the Shark on Russiagate Consortium News (YY)

In 1983, American Provocations — and Soviet Fear — Drove the World Closer to Nuclear War War is Boring (PlutoniumKun)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Now we know why defense attorneys quit the USS Cole case. They found a microphone. Miami Herald. Wowsers.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Tell Me More About How Google Isn’t Part Of The Government And Can Therefore Censor Whoever It Wants? Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

This Peter Thiel-backed Senate Candidate Has It in for Google Bloomberg

Trump Transition

Trump’s Alien Voter Claim Goes To Court Greg Palast

Saudi Arabia Using Law Firm Tied to Trump to Lobby U.S. for Nuclear Deal Young Turks (Dan K)

Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump, and the Role of Arbitration in Ensuring Silence Credit Slips

Trump and Africa: Rex Tillerson tours the continent France24

Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson Reuters

Health Care

‘Our Healthcare Crisis Won’t Be Solved Until We Get Private Insurance Out’ FAIR (UserFriendly)

Trump Administration Stops Idaho’s Bid to Skirt Obamacare Rules Bloomberg

DOD ran into some tangles with new medical records system. VA hopes it can do better News-Tribune

Kill Me Now

Obamas in talks with Netflix about TV series Financial Times. Another reason to leave the US ASAP…

The Clinton Bamboozle: a “Third Way” to Irrelevance Ghion Journal (UserFriendly)

Public Ignorance or Elitist Jargon? Reconsidering Americans’ Overestimates of Government Waste and Foreign Aid Sage Journals

Meet The Campaign Connecting Affluent Techies With Progressive Candidates Around The Country The Verge (Dan K)

Fake News

Fake news spreads faster than true news on Twitter—thanks to people, not bots Science News (Dan K)

Pearsons, Who Pledged $100 Million to UChicago, Want Their Money Back Chicago Maroon

Hedge fund Alden siphoned 100s of millions from newspapers in scheme to gamble on other investments, suit says News Matters

Cigna Move To Buy Express Scripts Is Latest Acquisition In Rapidly Evolving Health Industry KHN

Elizabeth Warren Refuses to Let Democrats Off the Hook for Their Latest Cave to Wall Street Alternet (furzy)

Why Isn’t Wall Street Freaking Out About Trump? Politico

Most Millennials Have $0 for Retirement and We’re All Fucked Vice

Class Warfare

The Devolution of the Good Society to the Bad Society Ian Welsh. I understand his point about kindness intellectually, but I am actually deeply suspicious of gestures like that and tend to brush them off. So I am not only guilty of not engaging in that sort of behavior (save giving $ to the homeless pretty regularly, but that is so inadequate relative to the scale of the problem), I discourage it. I suppose I am more of a Stoic: if people did their duty, things would work better plus we’d have way less interpersonal friction. Behavior might not rise to the level of kindness, but it would be easier for most people to be civil, even pleasant.

West Virginia teachers’ triumph offers fresh hope for US workers’ rights Guardian

Professor Declares Black Students ‘Rarely’ Graduate In The Top Half Of Law School Class Above the Law (Dan K). Cringe-making.

Why McDonald’s is flipping its arches for a day CNN. Help me. Why don’t they offer daycare instead.

What Airbnb Did to New York City City Lab

10 Years After: The Financial Crisis and the New York Federal Reserve District (PDF) The Center for Popular Democracy

Congress Is 80% Male and 81% White. Here’s How to Change That. Ellle. “[Project 100], so christened because it aims to ensure that 100 progressive women are serving in Congress by 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, is the result of months of research by co-founders Danielle Gram, previously the head of the Tony Blair Foundation….”

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Female Allen’s Hummingbird displaying the coy look she flashes at the boys”:

And a bonus video from Dave E. If you turn up the sound, you can hear the purring:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Darius

      The “cool” ruling class? It probably will be crap, like 90 percent of the stuff on Netflix. I spend more time browsing the offerings than actually watching.

      1. HopeLB

        It would be great if they based it on that Peter O’Toole cult classic, The Ruling Class, but instead of the family turning the God of Love bad, this version has the neolib/neocon Dems doing it!

        1. Mark P.

          Great movie, as I remember it.

          I suspect if I were to see it now, though, I might find that the suck fairy has been at it a little.

          Also, at Lindsay Anderson’s IF, which is of about the same vintage.

      1. paul

        Hope (irrantional thinking) and change (directionless funds).
        To channel rod serling:

        Imagine a world,
        A world where liquidity and assets only exist in the highests atmospheres,
        A world where the masses are denied both inspiration and aspiration.
        Welcome to the world your life.

        Rod only took your imagination for half an hour, the ruling class want it all,
        in writing.

        1. notberlin

          I’m like, “Yawn, what’s for breakfast?” Kite-Surfing with Branson (a brilliant punk band name, perhaps), a $60 million dollar book deal (, Obama and David “Let’s grow a beard like a Brooklyn hype-ster” Letterman’s interview (not in any way a criticism of the genuinely bearded among us), and countless, countless other travesties of so-called news’ journalism or even critical interviews (= the definition of pure and mere fetishism, perhaps), and…. The Netflix thing, where’s the story or the surprise? It was a given from day one. Maybe Putin is producing it, Merkel is doing the work to make every sure every neoliberal trust fund kid gets along, and Macron is busy trying to get the rabble to work in the series for less pay.

          But where’s the impulse to watch it? At all. Even a little bit? There are tons of better B movies out there, pure and simple.

    2. Pavel

      Jimmy Dore did a scathing piece on Obama and how his “library” plans in Chicago are disrupting the South Side. Obama in a speech said “a couple of people are worried about rising rents” or something like that in his typical disingenuous way. After the library (which is much more than that of course) plans were announced the real estate prices went up more than in any other part of the US (according to Dore). It is a great rant against the “neoliberal bullshitter Obama” (Dore doesn’t mince his words) and well worth 25 mins of your time:

      Obama Screws South Side Chicago Residents Over Library

      200 faculty members of the Univ of Chicago signed a petition protesting the library plans, FWIW.

      My own rant: what I cannot stand are the politicians who during their campaigns are all about helping the poor and working class and saving the environment etc etc etc and then when they finish their terms they either bugger off and play golf and/or cash in and make hundreds of millions. Obama seems to want to do both.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        As near as I can tell, he stumbled across a pocket mirror some years back and hasn’t been worth diddlysquat since.

      2. j84ustin

        He also showed up recently to tell residents that they don’t need a Community Benefits Agreement, and to just trust him. Fortunately, there are a lot of residents in the neighborhoods in and around the site (on public parklands, BTW) who aren’t falling for it.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          Do former Presidents have to report their post-presidency tax returns for a certain period? I feel like many of these Presidents are offering their donors a buy now pay later plan.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Jimmy has built them as a retiree. He did start arming a group of Islamic militants in Afghanistan in 1977, so lets just say, Jimmy still has a backlog of houses to build.

          1. pretzelattack

            i think the us has been arming people in the middle east a lot longer than that, that was just generic for every president i can remember, (especially given the soviets invading afghanistan), from supporting saddam originally to overthrowing mossadegh. he brokered a peace process in the middle east that lasted as long as any, and an attempt to shift away from arming death squads in el salvador, and not fighting panama taking over the canal, and a lot of actions i don’t remember of the kind i don’t remember another president taking. didn’t start any wars, tried to start addressing global warming. least warlike president in my lifetime; built a lot of houses, too, and didn’t cash in on the presidency like other democrats (and republicans).

      3. JohnnyGL

        The quote from the Politico article is what you really need to see/read. Obama doesn’t want a Community Beneifits Agreement because, basically, “it’s complicated and I don’t feel like dealing with you people”. Politico writer seemed to think that was a perfectly acceptable answer, which is galling.

        Oligarchs really don’t like anything that might slow down their land-grabbing and scheming to funnel money to themselves and their associates.

        1. Waking Up

          Jimmy Dore hit it correctly with this quote:

          “You can’t get rich in politics unless you are a crook”…Harry S. Truman

    3. Adam Eran

      Maybe of benefit…One can comment on Netflix, and rate the shows. You don’t have to watch, either…

  1. Darius

    I would rather see single use items, like the plastic bag in my corn flakes box, made of biodegradable plastic than durable items like LEGO blocks.

    1. Scott

      I agree, but LEGO’s bigger environmental problem is it’s business model. When it makes all the specialty sets that won’t be reused after the initial construction, there is no way that it is sustainable or environmentally friendly. They make all the sets so that people, including my friends, will go out and buy new LEGO sets for Star Wars or Wonder Woman. By creating new sets, they are encouraging increased consumer consumption, which is the root cause of many if not most environmental problems.

      1. JohnnyGL

        The marketing of movie and character based sets isn’t the direction I’d have liked LEGO to go in, but I get why they did it.

        In any case, my kids get pretty good mileage out of LEGOs. They build, and rebuild, and mix with other sets of toys. The vacuum eats a bunch of smaller parts, but there’s enough left behind to be useful.

        I’d say that LEGOs last much longer and keep kids’ attention longer than, say, a lot of battery-operated stuff, by comparison. None of those are built to last. Plus they make too much noise and annoy parents. A lot of times, the simplest stuff is the best because you can do more than 1 thing with it.

      2. polecat

        I gave up Legos by the age of ten !
        What’s up with all these supposed “adults” …. with their legos, action-hero figurines, and … coloring books ?!?


        1. Craig H.

          My guess is they are scratching the itch that Medicis had when they hired Renaissance masters to decorate their palaces and villas. If we had real artists proliferating consumption might be classier. I have something close to this in my own living room:

          Mars statue.

          You might describe that as a doll but I don’t.

          The human anatomy coloring book is a fine resource. I use mine to attach the proper latin nouns to all my little aches and pains.

          1. JBird

            We have real artists. That just cannot make a living at it today. Even professionals in large city orchestras have a hard time although they are the very best. Only the best and the luckiest, most connected succeed. Everyone else, regardless in what genre, or field, is just screwed.

            In the Renaissance, heck through to the 19th century, it was the thing to do to support artists. Granted, it often was as propagandists, but it allowed artists to make a living. Today, I guess only architects are so supported.

            One of the major benefits of the Works Projects Administration was giving all the talented, but poor and,or unconnected artists, photographers, writers, even researchers, the ability to be what they wanted to be good at for a living. We have plenty of talented people, and plenty of people who want to learn to be talented but they are blocked, perhaps deliberately so, from developing and using that talent.

            1. MichaelSF

              Some years back the SF Chronicle had an article on itinerant symphony musicians. They roamed up and down CA/NV playing with different small symphony orchestras, and it sounded like mostly they lived in their cars (multiple people to a car) like other members of the precariat. I guess they must be living their dream.

            2. tegnost

              I think enhancing the national endowment for the arts pairs well with a jobs guarantee… that and making it easier to get disability, for instance some people are disabled by BPD which has no outer physical symptoms but cripples the workplace. We could have a so much better world, but it might not produce the first trillionaire………..

              1. tegnost

                adding, you wouldn’t want the creative class to be polluted by artists, would you?…Really?…/s

              2. tegnost

                I’ll go one step too far and point out that some people should be kept away, if it costs some money that is fine with me.

        2. SOMK

          FYI reason LEGO pivoted towards more bespoke Star Wars/Harry Potter/Batman etc. stuff was (I’m assuming) due to their patent running out a few years ago and the need for a new UVP.

      3. ArcadiaMommy

        In general I hate legos, and the lego sets drive me insane because you are correct, they never get reused. They also take up a lot of space once they are completed and for some reason they never get disassembled.

        I have banned them in my house, but dads and grandparents don’t listen.

        1. Lee

          Having too many times trod upon them in the dark while barefoot, all I have to say is, delendam esse Legos.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The motivation to spend that extra money for packaging is that they hope to keep the processed food products smelling or tasting fresh longer.

        The way to counter that is for people to have the time and money to shop and prepare fresh foods.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          And if wishes were horses, beggars could ride.

          Could we please stop with overly simplistic “answers” to very complicated problems? Yes, it would be lovely if everybody could just shop every day for fresh stuff and spend hours cooking from scratch, but constantly repeating that as the solution to waste and/or poor nutrition and/or all the other problems anyone not making $100K net a year has to deal with is not helping.

          And yes, I’m aware that amount isn’t a lot for some people, but given it’s more twice what a whole lot of people make, let’s consider it a reasonable cutoff point.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s not so much simplistic (nor a solution per se, but looking at what we have today) as that the desire for fewer processed foods ties in with many of the issues we talk about here.

            People having to work hours to make ends meet (and the related wealth inequality).

            Processed versus fresh.

            Consumers expend time and energy to fix, say, hacked accounts.

            Time needed to educate oneself just to avoid poison in one’s environment.

            And it shouldn’t be that one needs to net over $100k to expect to be free of these above problems.

  2. allan

    Rising cross-asset correlation shows more fuel for sell-off [Reuters]

    At a time when volatility in financial markets is creeping up on rising bond yields and fears of U.S trade protectionism, one modern leading indicator of trouble ahead suggests stock market losses could intensify going forward.

    Cross asset correlations – the degree to which the price of a financial instrument is affected by a change in the price of another asset class – last week hit a near two-year peak, according to a Reuters analysis of weekly price returns on eight major instruments.

    That still leaves the measure short of highs seen around a handful of major market collapses in the past decade: the initial peak of the Eurozone debt crisis in 2011, 2013’s Federal Reserve driven “taper-tantrum” and the 2008 crash.

    But since a record Feb 6. fall in the Dow Jones Industrials Index, it is heading for a 2015 peak which coincided with another slide – China’s stock market crash and devaluation of the yuan, and the resulting brief selloff in stocks and emerging market assets. [with handy chart]…

    The good news is that the U.S. regulatory watchdogs are fully engaged and Congress is carefully crafting
    a responsible update of Dodd-Fr …, oh never mind.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > That still leaves the measure short of highs seen around a handful of major market collapses

      It would be nice if that chart went back as far as, say, 2007.

    1. apberusdisvet

      Excellent Saker article. It should be read in conjunction with Dmitri Orlov’s on nuclear weapons (ClubOrlov; “Better nukes…..”) in which Orlov makes a great case that all of America’s vaunted weapons systems (principally aircraft carriers, destroyers, ABM systems) are now obsolete due to Putin’s exposition of new Russian weapons technology.

      1. Max4241

        Yup. Good link. The super-fuze is indeed a game changer. It allowed the United States to double -or perhaps even triple- its first strike capacity overnight.

        However, the US deployment of anti-ballistic missiles, in close proximity to Russian counter-strike weapons, is the ultimate game changer.

        So if the Soviets were unnerved in 1983, think about how modern Russians feel now. These weapon systems have been deployed inside their former borders.

        Note: No disrespect to Dimitry Orlov, but Russia’s supposed new “game changers” are counter-strike weapons. By definition, counter-strike weapons can not be game changers. The new technology is simply an attempt, and a desperate one it seems, to reinforce a failing status quo.

        And why do I keep reading figures like 10 to 100 million US casualties suffered in a thermonuclear exchange? What are people thinking? One Russian boomer-class submarine can render the North American continent permanently uninhabitable.

  3. WheresOurTeddy

    Looks like you filed “Most Millennials Have $0 for Retirement and We’re All Fucked” under Fake News instead of Class Warfare

    Because that is most assuredly not fake news

    1. diptherio

      Only the blockquoted (i.e. indented) item is in the Fake News category. The rest are just assorted links.

    2. J Sterling

      It’s not indented, so it’s outside the Fake News section.

      On the article itself, I don’t know how to interpret how bad it’s getting, unless I know how many Gen Xers were in the same position a generation ago, and how many Boomers, and so on. All the article supplies is a snapshot; for all I can tell, this may always have been the proportion of young people with nothing saved for retirement yet, and the proportion that did have something may always have had only the adjusted equivalent of $20k.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Well, keep in mind that Obama allowed 18 million unlawful foreclosures. In my case, I won’t be able to recoup the damage done to my finances ever. I’m middle-aged, used-to-be middle income. And I was wiped out, as many others in my generation were during the financial crisis. Just wondering if Obama thought that through? Perhaps he did, since he’s galavanting around with the billionaires he helped.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I believe Obama thought it through. I also believe that Obama instinctively supported those parts he didn’t even need the time to think through at all.

          At all events, he diddit on purpose. His goal was to become one of those billionaires he is galivanting around with.

        2. Mark P.

          Perhaps he did, since he’s galavanting around with the billionaires he helped.

          Of course, Obama did. That was the deal.

          That’s why he had more money from Wall Street during his campaign than any presidential campaigner in history preceding him.

          It’s also why he installed as Attorney General Eric Holder who — far from merely being some suitable affirmative action hire for the position — was actually one of the primary legal architects and masterminds of mortgage bond securitization while at Covington-Burley during the 1990s and early 2000s. It really is one of the primary instances of putting the fox in charge of running the hen house in history.

          I think of it as the Holder administration, in fact. not the Obama administration.

  4. David

    On Brexit, have a look at Richard North’s column today. His reaction is exactly the same as mine was yesterday; both that Tusk’s announcement about dealing with Ireland before anything else is a “bombshell,” and that the subsequent silence of the UK media and political class is unbelievable. As North says, the negotiations have now effectively stopped, as far as Brussels is concerned. Not only that, but the EU has effectively said, at head of state level (Tusk carefully said he had spoken to pretty much everybody) that a hard border between the Irelands, inevitable if the UK crashes out, risks restarting the conflict and it will be the UK’s fault.
    Other than the Independent and the BBC, this has passed largely unnoticed. The Grauniad still doesn’t seem to have mentioned it – last night, all its lead stories were about abortion in one form or another; perhaps some unconscious parallelism was at work there.

    1. makedoanmend

      Distinctament touche re:..”perhaps some unconscious parallelism was at work there.”

      I had read in the Irish Times recently that both Varadkar and Coveney were more than a little perplexed that the UK govt. had, shall we say, gainsaid the backstop position of the North remaining in the customs union with regards to processing goods that would move between the EU and UK if no other concrete proposals for border checks could be found. The issue was put on the long finger in December to some extent but was never going to go away. No country or customs union will allow porous trade borders. I can only surmise that the EU has finally realised that the border issue, which was always going to be the most difficult issue, must be addressed. Might as well do it now rather than wasting anymore time. I also think the doubling down of May by cherry picking issues on so-called “mutual” recognition went down like a ton of bricks in the rest of Europe.

      On the other hand, given the relative silence on many things Brexit in the UK these days, it seems that many are expecting either a cliff dive or are willing to bet on a 1 second to midnight deal being done.

      Tusk’s announcement might focus some minds?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Tusk’s announcement might focus some minds?

        It hasn’t so far – I think David was quite right yesterday to see it as a crucial intervention, but it seems that the media and markets have been very slow to understand whats happening.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks, I’ve just had a quick read through Norths article. He seems spot on as always.

      Even in Ireland Tusk’s speech only got a fairly limited amount of attention. Its implications seem to have passed by nearly everyone, but I think North (and you) are right – it is tantamount to entering the endgame of negotiations, and an explicit rejection of everything the London government have said. They must know of course that the UK has no answer on the Irish border question except for complete capitulation on the Irish Sea border idea, and that’s highly unlikely.

      I’m also curious to see that the ‘markets’ haven’t reacted at all, presumably they either don’t interpret it this way, or they are as oblivious to whats happening as the media. If I was a trader, I’d be shorting sterling like crazy, but then again, its probably just as well I’m not….

    3. Yves Smith

      Vlade though this merited further discussion, and I might toss this out for Monday as a reader input item based on what more if anything we see in the news over the weekend. Even though the European press tends to underplay Brexit, I can ask a couple of readers to see if there was any discussion there (one reads the German media as a matter of course; our Outis reads French and Italian, so I can have him check the major papers; my former ability to read French at a pretty high level back in college has atrophied utterly due to lack of use).

      Maybe you folks disagree, but I beg to differ with the oft-used “losing patience” framing. The EU took advantage of language in Article 50 to determine the shape of the table. The UK seemed to utterly not get that they’d done that. They never argued they should have a say in that. Instead they quibbled months later about some particular timing and sequencing issues (like at least getting some discussion of “the future relationship” moved up, which the EU agreed to along with a few others) as opposed to the EU driving that train.

      So having accepted that Article 50 allows the EU27 to pretty much dictate the order of battle, the UK was supposed to resolve the Ireland issue in December. They instead came up with the Joint Agreement fudge. I’m going to have to track down the final version of the European Council statement in December (not hard, the only reason for not doing it now is I must get some sleep) but I recall the EU setting forth what was going to happen by the March round, and one of the items was for the UK to provide its legally tidied up (that means close to treaty-ready) codification of the Joint Agreement. That was tantamount to requiring the UK to resolve the contradictions by then.

      So this isn’t the EU playing any sort of hardball. In fact, Barnier had cut May slack, more than she deserved, with her Joint Agreement non-solution. The EU said then that you can kick the can down the road till March, no longer. So I see this as a mere sticking to a pre-existing condition.

      1. makedoanmend

        Below are two links. The First is the press release by the EU Commission regarding the December negotiation outcomes. The second is a compendium of EU publications (including slide presentations on various sections of the negotiations) in regards to negotiations.

        From the first link, summarising December 2017 negotiation results, a few snippets:

        “With regard to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom acknowledges the unique situation on the island of Ireland and has made significant commitments to avoid a hard border.”

        “Negotiations should be completed by autumn 2018 to allow good time for the Withdrawal Agreement to be concluded by the Council after obtaining consent of the European Parliament, and to be approved by the United Kingdom in accordance with its own procedures before 29 March 2019.”

        The Timetable for March 2018 meeting:

        Programme: EU-UK Article 50 negotiations
        Brussels, 5-7 March 2018
        Monday, 5 March 2018
         Meeting at technical level
        o Transition
        o Other separation issues
        o Governance
        Tuesday, 6 March 2018
         Meeting at technical level
        o Transition
        o Other separation issues
        o Technical clarification to the Joint Report on the financial settlement
        Wednesday, 7 March 2018
         Meeting at technical and Coordinators’ level
        o Transition
        o Other separation issues
        o Technical clarification to the Joint Report on the financial settlement and citizens’ rights
        o Ireland / Northern Ireland
        Additional meetings at Coordinators’ level may be scheduled.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, you are missing the key document, which was the statement of the European Council after the December session. That set forth the drill for the next round in more specific detail. I only got 3 hours sleep last night so I am not hunting it down right now.

          1. makedoanmend

            Sorry, hadn’t really intended to cite that particular document. I should have made my comment without the indent under yours. In order to be brief, I was being lazy – or vice versa.

            The only detailed doc I am of which I am aware is the 16 page summary of progress issued by the EU Commission on 8/12/2018.

            That document can be found under my second citation address or more specifically for download here:



      2. Frenchguy

        The coverage in French newspaper of Tusk’s speech was:

        _In Le Figaro (rightwing leaning): one fourth of a page in the Eco supplement of Thursday. Quotes (my own translation): “A simple free-trade agreement like the one with Canada, South Korea or Singapore… In formulating Wednesday for the first time the offer of the 27 for post-Brexit, Donald Tusk has neatly demolished Theresa May’s ambition to keep from the EU all that benefits the British, while getting rid of the rest.” “Weeks after weeeks Michel Barnier has warned May […] This time, it’s the member states themselves that are underlining it”. “It can go another way only if Theresa May goes back on her red lines.”

        _In Le Monde (center-left): One full page but in the Eco supplement too of Friday (which, confusingly, is out Thursday afternoon). Quotes: “The European Council’s president has presented negotiation guidelines without any concession to London” “The EU27 must still adopt [the negotiation guidelines] in the coming days but that shouldn’t be difficult. They were already consulted and, till then, they have succeeded in speaking to London with one voice” “Only concession: the European Council propose no tariffs or quotas on goods exchanges between the EU and the UK. But this is not a sacrifice for the EU27 which export more goods (in value) to the UK than they import” “It’s true than in the practical application of some texts (the stability pact…), the Europeans were very flexible. But the EU’s credibility is at stakes in this negotiation. They must prove there are disadvantages in leaving the club. Otherwise, why stay ?”

        _In Les Echos (business paper): half a page on Thursday (more like a fourth since there is a big picture of Tusk). Quotes: “Tusk answers point by point to May on Brexit” “the EU, and notably its german export machine, has every interest in keeping a flourishing trade with the UK, but doesn’t intend to open wide its doors to British finance” “The UK has precisely the opposite interests” [article ends with generous quotation of Hammond’s reaction]

        All in all, very factual reporting but without much thought about where this is going and the potential risks. It doesn’t sell basically. (I also checked the main regional paper of the North region, nothing on Brexit this week)

    4. vlade

      My take on this is EU saying to the UK “put up or shut up”. No more handwaving, if you don’t give us hard legal docs, we assume you just do chit chat. If you want to quit, no deal, fine. If you want something else, and don’t like what we suggested – get a legal doc in front of us, NOW.

      I guess the only way they could say this more forecefully would be if they at the same time said “oh, and that October timeline? no-one works July, August, September, so it’s really June you have to get something by”.

      1. David

        I think that’s been the case for a while now, actually. The difference is that this time the message is at the highest political level, and it’s got the rider “sort out Northern Ireland first”. I wouldn’t say the EU have “lost patience”, rather that they have decided there’s no more point in trying to negotiate with this government and have made a calculated decision to stick the knife in. See also my comments below.
        Incidentally, the Tusk speech has been given a certain amount of coverage here in France, but generally in the business/economy sections, with little emphasis on Ireland (it wasn’t mentioned by Le Monde for example, in its quite lengthy piece).

        1. Mark P.

          rather that they have decided there’s no more point in trying to negotiate with this government and have made a calculated decision to stick the knife in.

          One would like to think so. Well, not one — I would like to think so. Aneurin Bevan’s words remain true as they when he uttered them —

          Still, I have to wonder. Who specifically at the EU has the decision-making and strategy-formulating powers to ‘decide’ as you suggest ‘they’ have decided? Inertial bureaucratic behavior and status quo preservation are far too strong at the EU, as well as in the UK.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think thats a very good question and why I’m reluctant to say things like ‘the EU wants this…’ In matters like this I think the EU professionals (i.e. bureaucrats) are very careful to maintain as much of a consensus as possible, and work hard to identify the key players in any particular issue (its not always the same individuals or groups of course). Its a lot more complicated that the assumption often made in the UK that Merkel calls the shots. I’ve been surprised at just how tight the consensus has been which I think shows just what a good job they’ve done of ensuring the UK could never get any leverage by using the usual divide and conquer strategy.

            I know from my feelers that there have been very intensive meetings involving national governments to ensure that everyone is on board with the Commissions approach – this includes the smaller peripheral countries. I think the nature of the EU is such that once a political consensus has been reached, nobody will want to be seen as part of the awkward squad and the work then gets passed down to the professional bureaucrats to deal with. The big problem for the UK is that its general ineptness has meant that there is nobody in Europe with the inclination to be awkward, even if they have reservations about what is happening.

            The result is that the process is now firmly in the hands of Tusk, Junker and Bernier – its clear from their statements that they know that Merkel, Macron, etc. are backing them. This means that there will be no pressure for them to pull back from the brink. I’m pretty sure they are ready to accept a no-deal Brexit (they’d prefer a deal, but they don’t feel they have to).

        2. vlade

          Before the UK govt has always a way to give the message “all’s well”, by just doing more handwaving. I agree on the sticking the knife in, but that is what I mean by losing the patience. Before EU still somehow hoped the UK would wake up and smell the coffee (and the complexity of the task). Now EU doesn’t care anymore – even if it means nuking (figuratively speaking) the UK government.

          TBH, I fully expect the UK govt and press to clap their hands over their ears, close their eyes, and go “lalalalal”. What I would like to know is what Mr. Market does. As it’s one thing to ignore EU documents (until 12 months from now) – that can be very easily papared over.

          It’s another to have a sterling crisis on your hands, and businesses putting in effect emergency plans to relocate. The hit to prices and unemployment this would generate would take more than Daily Mail or Torygraph talking to hide.

  5. Jim Haygood

    The WSJ picks up my “Herbert Hoover Trump” metaphor:

    Is this when an administration that has pursued surprisingly sensible economic policies veers into the Herbert Hoover ditch? Hoover was the last Republican president who embraced tariffs as sound economic policy.

    Ronald Reagan agreed to targeted restraints on imports of cars and some other goods. But when Congress considered more dangerous trade restrictions, the Gipper issued a warning.

    “Some of us remember the 1930s, when the most destructive trade bill in history, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, helped plunge the nation and the world into a decade of depression and despair,” he said in a weekly radio address in 1985. “If the ghost of Smoot-Hawley rears its ugly head in Congress, if Congress crafts a depression-making bill, I’ll fight it.”

    Reagan understood this because he had lived through the depression and absorbed the lessons of its causes. Hoover had doubts about Smoot-Hawley as it moved through Congress in 1930, and 1,028 economists signed a letter urging him to veto it.

    But the businessman-politician understood little about economics, and tariffs at the time were what the economist Joseph Schumpeter called the “household remedy” of the Republican party.

    Looks like the R party’s gonna run us into the ditch again with their hoary old household remedy, though the other arm of the War Party is too inept to capitalize on their error. Might as well smoke some more dope …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This Herbert Hoover story is not preceded by an FDR, not even an FDR-wannabe, though.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Nope. Presumably an FDR-wannabe is the sequel to the orange charlatan’s flake-o-nomics.

        BofAML’s Michael Hartnett is sounding downright nihilistic: “as QE ends, protectionism begins; War on Inequality to be fought via Protectionism, Keynesianism, Redistribution; monetary & fiscal policy now spent, leaving markets to discount Protectionism & global tariffs.”

        Sounds bleak …

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Ha. Meant to write, ‘this Herbert Hoover story is preceded by…’

          The ‘not’ sneaked in there without my conscious permission (I must have been distracted by something).

          And because it is preceded, instead of followed, maybe it will turn out differently.

    2. Edward E

      Maybe the tariffs are an obvious message to China to step up pressure on NK and it worked almost instantly? The art of the deal and all that. Might be things will get a little clearer soon, face saving optics and all…

    3. bronco

      “1,028 economists ” were against it

      LOL full speed ahead then , its not like economics is an actual science , just grifters grifting

    4. Oregoncharles

      The reaction to relatively small, very narrow (2 items) tariffs seems exaggerated to me. They could start a destructive cycle, I suppose, but even that seems disproportionate. I remember when 10% tariffs were the norm. That was the booming 50’s and 60’s.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Jobs Friday … the U-rate stayed the same at 4.1%. In fact it’s been stuck there for five months. Its 12-month moving average (12MA) starts with a 4.5% data point from 12 months ago, followed by seven steps down to 4.1%.

    Consequently, the ratio of the current rate of 4.1% divided by its 12MA is creeping higher. Here’s a chart of Jeffrey Gundlach’s indicator, showing this upward creep:

    If the U-rate stayed at 4.1% indefinitely, the ratio would reach 1.0 this summer. To push it higher to the 1.015 level which confirms an approaching recession would require an actual uptick in the U-rate to 4.2% or more in coming months.

    As the great Barack Obama was wont to say, “Yes we can!

    1. Jim Haygood

      At the end of Bubble I, the U-rate stuck at 3.9% for four months running (Sep to Dec 2000).

      Then the Jan 2001 rate (announced in early February) spiked to 4.2%. By March the economy was in recession.

      That’s the “shiv to the stomach” we’re lookin’ for down the road, as know-nothing economics bites our keister

  7. Kevin

    Kim Jung-un:
    One minute he and trump are trading barbs like three-year-olds, then it goes quiet, then North and South Korea are going to the Olympics, and now he wants to meet with Trump…??

    There are obvious dealings going on in the background and they are not with the U.S.

    Can anyone steer me in the direction of an explanation of how this came about?

    1. David

      Posturing. Trump says “they are only talking because we threatened them.” Kim says “they are only talking because we have nukes.”

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think its pretty clear that Moon, the new PM in South Korea, has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes. Whether this has been with, or without, the blessing of Washington, I’m not sure anyone knows. I think it was always on the cards that if there would be a solution to this, it is by appealing to Trumps ego, and someone, possibly the South Koreans or even the Japanese, have been working on this basis.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Oh, I think that I can take a guess. It is a matter of admiration and envy. Consider – Trump see Kim Jung-un as a tough-guy, just like him. Trump see that whatever Kim wants, Kim gets which he would like to copy. They both have nuclear weapons. They both have missile systems. North Korea is very much a homogeneous society that does not let foreigners in. North Korea always puts its interests first. And most important of all, North Korea has a great big beautiful wall running along the 38th parallel. Maybe Trump want to see if he can offer Kim a contract to build another one.

      1. David

        Actually, the wall (technically a huge fortified and mined area) is on the South of the border, and it’s Moon’s not Kim’s. But I’m sure that Moon has played a role in all this – Seoul has been saying for years that they can deal with the North if only the US will get out of the (family blog) way.

        1. Bill Smith

          Isn’t is split between the two? Both withdrew 2.5 km from the line of contact?

          Or do you mean the fortified area to that is supposed to slow down any NK invasion?

          Or the fortifications to protect the SK and US troops that in the 1960’s and 1970’s where attacked from time to time just south of the DMZ?

          Not ignoring the SK or US that crossed north by foot or flight.

    4. integer

      Imo this is just a product of how Trump operates. He overstates his position and engages in a battle of wills, which forces the opposing party to think about what they have to lose. He then works out what makes them tick (i.e. how far they are willing to escalate the conflict), which usually only becomes evident once someone is on their back foot, and then, if necessary, recalibrates his position. This strategy has the benefit of giving opponents that are willing to embrace MAD the impression that he is willing to moderate his position on their behalf when he ends up negotiating. In this case, his bellicosity also spurred South Korea to act as a moderator, which ultimately benefits his agenda. FWIW I am far from the first person to put this theory forward. While I don’t agree with a lot of his politics, personally I think people underestimate Trump.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sometimes, bluffing works and sometimes it doesn’t.

      Today we are seeing a first – announced meeting between a sitting US president and their leader. What else will come out of it? Nobody knows.

      Was it due to bluffing? We don’t know either, except Trump said from the start of his presidency that he would not announce what the US would do (implying, I guess, we always or often had tended to, in the past, telegraph our game plan), anywhere, including dealing with North Korea, I assume.

      The incorrect part here is that he will think to bluff more ending the world elsewhere.

      1. edmondo

        Can’t wait to see Rachel Maddow’s head explode when The Donald carries home the Noble Peace Prize in 2020.

    6. anon48

      The other comments are possibilities …and this is pure speculation… but consider

      1. If US the believes there is an urgency in dealing with N Korea and at some point that country will technically/ strategically cross a line beyond which it is no longer practical to force a resolution (not saying that line hasn’t already been crossed but assume that is what the US is thinking)

      2. If the South Korean president has taken the lead on big picture negotiation strategy because that’s the wish of the people of S Korea but it’s also a strategy with which the US disagrees because its seen as appeasement

      3. Then it could be perceived that the US would be letting itself be put in the subservient role, of being a fallback position, tool, or card that could be played by S Korea if it eventually concludes its strategy is a failure and feels threatened. At that point, the even less desirable options would be to either force a resolution (most likely even less practical by then) or do nothing (humiliation).

      So, if the above is a possible interpretation of where things are heading then it seems to be a smart move to use this moment to support current S Korean efforts and as part of the process and then assume that US firepower will no longer needed. So the US would be justified to negotiate a withdrawal from the Korean peninsula. It becomes the solution to the un-resolvable quandary mentioned earlier.

      The US might agree that the Korean people have a right to have the final say about how their country should deal with the North. BUT…that they also should be willing to assume all responsibility for the own protection if the strategy ultimately fails. Nor should the US have an obligation, either, to stay the course following a strategy with which it does not agree.

      To conclude, the above scenario potentially opens the door for the US to completely disengage from the Korean peninsula.

    7. JamesG

      During the Korean war the NorKor POWs created a serious uprising behind the barbed wire.

      I forget the precise details leading to the following development but a US Army general entered the compound to “negotiate” with the revolting POWs.

      He was promptly imprisoned by the POWs.

      I hope to God that Trump will not go to North Korea to “meet” Kim.

      That is one crazy country and they are capable of doing the craziest things such as seizing the President of the USA.



      What is truly unimaginable is NoKor suddenly becoming civilized and trustworthy.

      In a few decades? Maybe. Overnight? Highly doubtful.

      1. a different chris

        Do you think they will do it first or can the US beat them to it? Becoming civilized and trustworthy, I’m asking.

        1. ChristopherJ

          Thank you Chris, good question. I think one can’t get any lower and one is already there and heading lower. Just sayin’

          Maybe Donald is looking for some inspiration?

      2. Anon

        Why would they contemplate seizing Trump? When they see him creating so much chaos in Amerika?

        I’m sure (despite nuclear gloom) it’s mesmerizing theatre.

    8. Bulldog

      One could look at both the future timing (2 months) to indicate the background dealings and the fact that this message was practically hand delivered by SK in Washington DC, with them even doing the speaking.

      This timing is very quick by government standards because scheduling is always pretty tight for the foreseeable future. This could mean that the US has had preliminary talks already with NK, whether as themselves or by proxy with SK and probably already have this meeting set up.

      Or, if you want to go out on a limb, maybe there was already a meeting brokered by China when Trump was in Asia back in November, of course in secret, with Kim Jong Un. Trump is the considered the first foreign leader to dine in the Forbidden City since founding of PRoC, which could be an ideal place to meet.

      Possibly keeping things close to the chest considering how much Trump thinks of the press?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wonder if, while in the Forbidden City, Trump tired to reach behind the Throne to see if there was a molded gourd container with a cricket in it*.

        (The last scene from the Last Emperor).

        Also wonder what palace in the Forbidden City the dinner was served.

    9. CalypsoFacto

      President Moon of SK is a master diplomat and wants peace. Also he knows how to handle a narcissist like Trump publicly, lol. See twitter users timothys and christineahn (both respected Korea-focused journos) for more detailed takes. I like this one from Tim Shorrock

    10. Elizabeth Burton

      Kim has been saying all along he was willing to talk, but not if the US insisted on setting the agenda. Which, of course, the US persisted in doing. He said from the beginning dismantling his nuclear weapons program was not an option, yet that was the first thing the US demanded.

      Now some “foreign policy expert” is claiming this is all a ploy by Kim to screw Trump over.

      My cynical self says this is the opening salvo for myriad cries from MIC mouthpieces.

  8. Romancing The Loan

    Moon of Alabama discusses the (paywalled) Telegraph’s scoop that the poisoned Russian spy in Salisbury may have been a source for the Steele dossier.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Someone, next to the victim, seems to have incurred a huge additional expense in connection with the dossier.

      It looks to be your standard ‘double down’ move, presumably because the situation, whatever its desperation index is, calls for it.

    2. integer

      A case of tying up loose ends, by the sounds of it. No wonder Steele felt the need to go into hiding after his cover got blown. Incompetence and ruthlessness appear to be the defining characteristics of Western tradecraft.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit Bulletin: Pushing Evolution Bloomberg. Curious to get reader reactions, but I don’t see this as terribly significant. The drop dead date on formulating an exit agreement is October. The “future relationship” part was alway just a political statement. It will take years to negotiate a trade deal. The intent may simply be that the EU wants as much as possible not to look like the heavy when possible, not that it cares about UK PR, which it cannot control, but for the sake of its image with smaller EU members. Barnier and EU leaders have already done tons of things, some subtle, some very up front, to try to get the Government among other things to negotiate rather than continue posturing on issues where the EU has said “no”.

    Yes, I don’t see what’s especially new on this. The EU has always says that its ‘offer’ is based on taking the UK’s red lines seriously, so it would arise logically from this that if the UK dropped some of its red lines, the offer would change. I do think that the EU has been working hard to create at least the perception within the EU that its been negotiating in good faith and has done all it can. I’ve seen no evidence that any significant element within Europe, either a country or political movement has had any problem with the Commission or Barnier in their approach to negotiating. Last year, I think the Danes and Dutch were both unhappy with the EU taking a hard line, but both seem to have fallen in line now as its must be obvious to them that the UK is a lost cause. The Dutch appear to be already making active steps to deal with the fallout (I read somewhere last week that they are already expanding customs facilities). I thought the Spanish would also take a more conciliatory line as they have a lot to lose through Brexit, but they seem entirely distracted by the Catalonia issue.

    Essentially, the UK has managed to disenchant or repel every one of their former allies and friends in Europe, and amazingly the Tories don’t seem to even realise this yet.

    David linked yesterday to an article on referring to a fairly poorly reported speech by Donald Tusk in Dublin where he went to great lengths to emphasise the EU’s support for the Irish government and to disabuse Hammond of any idea that financial services could have any role to play in a deal. I think the purpose of this was to focus on unity within Europe and send out the message that the EU will always support its members, and this means siding with Ireland against the UK as a priority. If this precipitates a political or economic crisis in the UK, I think they can live with that (whether Ireland can live with that is another question).

    If the power elites within the EU had any aspiration to reverse or minimise Brexit by encouraging a BINO I think that is no longer the case. The entire focus now is on protecting the integrity of the Union and if this results in chaos in the UK, so be it. I think an economic ‘hit’ has already been built into their calculations. I suspect the relative good health of the economy now has emboldened the EU into thinking that the economic impacts of a hard Brexit can be safely accommodated.

    1. David

      I agree there’s not much new in the story.
      I agree also that protecting the Union is probably the first priority, but I think that Tusk’s speech yesterday can be seen as a nicely placed dagger in the back of May’s government, and an each-way bet on what happens next. It’s now clear that, as some of us suspected, there was a significant amount of political importance to the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Commission draft agreement of 27 February.
      Consider. With the present British government, everyone knows that, whatever else is agreed, there is no solution to the Irish problem (how many times has that been said since the seventeenth century….?). Since the negotiations will fail on this point anyway, better to have them fail now. This means using the time until Brexit creatively rather than committing yourself to endless negotiations which cannot lead anywhere.
      But by making any further progress conditional on the solution of a problem which has no solution under this government, the EU is upping the ante, and putting May’s government under immense pressure. Doing nothing for the next year and blaming lack of progress on Brussels will only take you so far. After the EU has a complete draft agreement on the table, and all the UK has to do is sign it. Conversely, by not signing it, they open themselves to accusations of encouraging a return to conflict in Ireland. Forcing the issue now could break May’s government, whilst leaving enough time for others to come and pick up the pieces. The EU is quite aware that, whatever their specific views , there are important sections of the British political establishment, across the parties, who at a minimum want these negotiations to be handled competently.
      There is thus the possibility of changing “no hope” to “some hope”, which is not to say that the end of this government will solve the problem, but rather that it is a necessary precondition for the problem to be addressed, let alone solved. All in all, the EU has nothing to lose and everything to gain from forcing the issue now.

    2. BillK

      I think all the Brexit negotiators realized early on that there was going to be a hard Brexit with no agreement. Since then everything has been political posturing, readying their respective populations into blaming the other party.
      Tusk doesn’t seem to admit that the NI border is also a problem for the EU to solve. If the UK doesn’t have border proposals, then the EU will be forced to implement a hard border on the Eire side to stop unregulated imports from the UK. The EU will of course say that they were forced to do that by UK non-cooperation, but that is not how it will look to the people on the ground.

      1. makedoanmend

        ” The EU will of course say that they were forced to do that by UK non-cooperation, but that is not how it will look to the people on the ground.”

        I think it might be worthwhile to revisit this sentence.

        The people on the ground are only too aware of who initiated this unholy mess without the slightest regard for the peace process or the economic impact on Ireland, and the people on the ground know which parties are failing miserably to address the border issue with anything approaching reasonable proposals.

        People on the border tend to be cynical. They have a lot be cynical about.

        1. BillK

          Yes, but it will be an EU hard border on the EU side of the border.
          Both parties will be blaming each other for not negotiating a ‘nice’ deal. That’s what all the posturing is about. It is a blame game.
          Nobody on the border wants a hard border. But NI fears being absorbed into a United Ireland under EU and Dublin rule. That is one of the ‘red lines’.

          1. David

            I think there may be more than two “parties” on the UK side by then, in several meanings of the word “party.” The party that’s monopolizing the news and the political scene in the UK at the moment might find itself moving quite quickly to avoid ill-disposed and irritated people with pitchforks.

          2. makedoanmend

            I completely understand and concur with your point regarding the position adopted by the UK.

            I’m just not so sure the optics or the final construction of a hard border will play out in the manner suggested. Such events tend to be complex and may play out in unexpected ways.

            The blame game like a customs border is a two way street.

            Will the UK allow goods to cross into its jurisdiction without any checks on its part? Will it rely on the goodwill of the Irish state and the EU if things turn so sour that a hard border becomes a de facto result of a hard Brexit?

            While I’m sure that Dublin and the Irish people much prefer to have cordial relations with the UK into the future, goodwill isn’t unlimited.

            1. begob

              Will the UK allow goods to cross into its jurisdiction without any checks on its part?

              Absent a FTA, it would be obliged to offer that freedom to every member of the WTO. In the words of Elvis Costello – “when England was the whore of the world”.

            2. BillK

              Oh yes! Doubtless it will get complicated. (Like it isn’t already?).
              I don’t think the UK sees any problem with importing goods from the EU. EU standards are pretty good and already acceptable to the UK. The problem is the EU won’t accept UK goods without inspection, so again, on the EU border side it will be up to the EU to enforce hard border controls.
              The UK problem will be with immigrant smuggling. So they will try to automate people checks as much as possible.

              1. makedoanmend

                Hopefully, it won’t come to this but…We shall see.

                If the UK lets in lorries without check, I humbly suggest that border entrepreneurs will smuggle much more than lorries full of immigrants through the UK’s non-border. All manner of price differential potentialities will present themselves for the budding entrepreneur.

                I believe the USA term is kerr-ching.

                I once asked a shop keeper if he would take Punt for a Sterling purchase. His reply: I’ll take Japanese Yen or Russian Rubles as long as they’re real.

                At the moment there is no complication. Said border is, for all intents and purposes, in the minds of some and completely absent to others.

                Over and out.

  10. fresno dan

    Now we know why defense attorneys quit the USS Cole case. They found a microphone. Miami Herald. Wowsers.

    At the time of their resignations, Kammen said he was only allowed to say that something had occurred, which he could not describe; that he sought discovery from the judge in order to investigate the episode as well as a hearing, and the requests were denied it. The judge’s denial is classified.

    “Our concerns were much greater than what they appear to admit was there,” he said. He added, however, that even the portion the prosecution now permits the public to know “demonstrates that either Colonel Spath was lied to by the government or in many of his statements he was lying to the public, the press and the victims in a way that was absolutely shameful and disgraceful — by casting it as fake news.”
    It adopts the judge’s language that the standoff was the result of a “strategy” by the Military Commissions Defense Organization, Baker’s Pentagon’s office of war court defense lawyers, to create a “triumphant stalemate” that “has proven destructive of the rule of law.”

    It succeeded, the prosecution brief says, in “so handcuffing and frustrating the military judge that he has indefinitely abated the proceedings below and is contemplating retirement from active military service because of his shaken faith in the law and what it means to be a lawyer.”
    Judges, and particularly military judges are just part of the legal industrial complex.

    “has proven destructive of the rule of law” AND “because of his shaken faith in the law and what it means to be a lawyer” – that is beyond Chutzpah!!! Its like infinite Chutzpah or quantum Chutzpah….. If I had ANY inkling that there is some atom of justice in the system, I might even posit that it is some kind of weird ploy by the prosecution lawyers to start an investigation into how many former prosecutions were tainted by prosecution misconduct. But in the Trump era, outrageous statements are dozens an hour and put forth without IRONY.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Judges, and particularly military judges are just part of the legal industrial complex.‘ — Fresno Dan

      Spath presided over a drumhead tribunal in an offshore Cuban military base, under extraconstitutional procedural rules made up out of whole cloth to offer folks back in the Homeland some “justice theater.”

      Now the poor man is shocked — shocked, I say — to learn to his horror that the rule of law may have been compromised.

      Sex workers for chastity, as it were.

      Note that the accused bomber of the USS Cole is a Saudi, as were fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers. Let’s sword dance! :-)

  11. roadrider

    Re; The dark side of daylight saving time

    Poorly argued.

    The Challenger disaster was caused by an institutional culture that seriously underestimated risks based on faulty methodology and allowing political and PR considerations to override engineering judgement. Its absurd to attribute all of this to not getting enough sleep. And anyway, it had nothing to do with DST as it happened in January.

    Three Mile Island also had a far more complex chain of failures than can be simply attributed to lack of sleep. And it occurred a full month before DST kicked in.

    I also don’t buy the conclusions the author derives from his studies. People can suffer from a lack of sleep any time during the year for a wide variety of reasons. DST is just one of them and I doubt the effect is as severe as keeping one “awake throughout the night” as he did in one of his studies

    Personally I think we should have either DST all year around (its hard to call something we use for little more than four months of the year “Standard Time”) or reverse what we’re doing now and use DST for the winter months when we really need to save daylight.

    1. Donald

      Keep DST year round. A lot of people like to come home from work and take walks or exercise outside in the daylight. That’s why some of us love it. I never see this factor mentioned except in a dismissive way. Nobody does studies on how people might get less exercise if they have an hour less daylight or about the pleasure it brings in the summer to be able to do this. And I bet having less daylight in the evening contributes to depression in the winter.

      I don’t doubt the health problems caused by the switch. But these articles are never balanced. The assumption seems to be that the benefits of DST for many of us are too trivial to matter. And of course these anti DST pieces are also couched in terms of economic productivity costs.

      (Yes, I know some people jog in the morning. I suspect such people have more self discipline than the average person.)

      1. roadrider

        Yeah, I agree with you, particularly about the exercise benefit. I typically do my bike riding after work although I must admit that in the hot weather I switch to mornings (yes, discipline is a real issue).

      2. hunkerdown

        Why not just set the *world* an hour earlier so that noon still has something to do with the big yellow light bulb in the big blue room?

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          I’m fortunate in that i don’t really pay that much attention to time(cripple/disabled). During the winter, I just wake up at 3am. during the summer, i just wake up at 4am.but it’s the same time, which is confusing.
          The latter, Summer, regime syncs better with the Wife and the Boys, and means I hafta tiptoe around less.
          as far as causing physical problems(in time-conscious individuals), I vote that yes, it does.
          even if it’s psychosomatic–due solely to their awareness that time has changed by an hour–my bunch yawns more after a change, and is noticeably more irritated and irritating.
          My body gives out by noon(or one in the summer(!!?)) regardless(if I move around at all), so it doesn’t matter much to me personally…but for their sake(and peace in the barnyard) I wish we could just pick one or the other and stick with it.

  12. Loneprotester

    On illegals voting in elections, here’s my thought. States have deliberately muddied the waters with IDs that require no proof of citizenship or even legal status. There needs to be some document that remains tied to citizenship status. The Birth Certificate or the Passport (which you need a BC to get) seem to fit the bill best. Naturalization papers are pretty straightforward, and involved the allocation of considerable expense themselves. If the problem truly is the cost involved in getting one of these documents, then this seems like a good place for Soros or some other leftist billionaire to spread the wealth a bit. If this is NOT the real problem, then the allegation is likely true.

    1. a different chris

      I’m having a really, really hard time caring about “illegals voting”. I think it is more productive to wonder about the crazy number of legals that don’t vote.

      Like I said, pay people $500 and give them the day off.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Give them $500 for voting…

        When politicians are paid (turning professional, in that sense), voters should be too (professional voters, one might say).

        I mentioned this years ago, and was honored to have another commenter quote it later.

        1. a different chris

          Sweet turn of phrase! Howcome the Dems can’t come up with anything that simple?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Is the idea that only american citizens should be allowed to vote really all that controversial? And why should official documentation proving citizenship in order to vote cost anything at all? A legitimate government has a duty to provide it, and should just shut up and do it.

      This endless argument has all the hallmarks of both sides getting more and more desperate to gain control of an electorate that, increasingly, refuses to do as it’s told.

    3. marym

      The issues include not only money but personal health and mobility; internet access; transportation; and time. The burden falls most heavily on people who are older, sicker, or poorer; and people who work long hours at jobs without flexibility to take time off or conduct personal business at work.
      2007-2016 summaries and links for studies, court findings, and government investigations
      2007 summary of report with link to full PDF with findings for 2000-2007
      2016 Waco story with links to other 2016
      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

      I do believe, despite being pro-immigrant and pro-immigration on many issues, that only citizens should be allowed to vote. However, if allegations of voter fraud haven’t been shown to be true in 17 years of studies, investigations, and legal action, the allegations are likely false, imo.

      1. integer

        Chicago ID card would be valid voter identification Chicago Tribune

        Municipal ID cards that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is launching for undocumented immigrants and others will be a valid form of identification for people both registering to vote and voting in Chicago, according to a letter aldermen received Friday.

        Clerk Anna Valencia, who’s heading up the CityKey program, cited state election rules to explain why the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners will accept the card.

        “The Illinois Election Code requires the Board of Elections to accept current, valid photo identification cards and other local governmental documentation that includes an individual’s name and address, as proof of identity and residency,” Valencia’s letter reads in part. “The CityKey fits both of these requirements.”

        1. marym

          The card doesn’t prove citizenship just like anything else that’s required to register or vote doesn’t prove citizenship. And yet voter fraud remains infinitesimal.

            1. marym

              The Brennan studies cite their own research, as well as university studies, government investigations, and court cases. All of these in turn are documented with further references.

              It should take a lot more than a “Soros-is-behind-everything” claim to dispute 17 years of findings from multiple sources and perspectives.

              The agenda and funding information for MRC are available on Wikipedia, also with links to further information.

  13. Tomonthebeach

    Permanent DST? YES!

    So the biggest concern about permanent daylight saving time is that the twice-a-year shift in clocks might cause people to lose sleep and screw up at work? Sounds like the best evidence yet for PERMANENT DST so those shifts stop maiming and killing people for no good reason.

    [Note: Conflict of interest – I am a resident of the Sunshine State, and shifting clocks risks disrupting watching the sunrise on the beach :-)]

      1. Oregoncharles

        I grew up in Indiana, right on the east side of the line. DST, and time zones in general, was intensely controversial the whole time. Different parts of the state were on different times. And for quite a while after I moved to Oregon, the time in Indiana didn’t change, so sometimes the difference was 3 hours, sometimes 2. This led to some unpleasantly early calls from Indiana, where som e of my family still live.

        Now they’ve decided to just join Eastern time, complete with DST, so at least the difference is consistent. But personally, I’m staying neutral on the issue; the changes are a nuisance, but I set my own time.

    1. flora

      One big reason to go off DST from late October to early March is so kids won’t be walking to school in the dark or waiting for the schoolbus in the dark, especially in rural areas where kids walk out to the end of their driveways in ones or twos to wait for the schoolbus.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Where do kids walk to school? In my neighborhood, there is a looooong line of SUVs delivering the precious bundles. What happened to the bus? What happened to walking? I don’t see much of either.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We don’t even get up to change TV channels anymore.

          And in the near future, I believe I came across this news recently, there will be flying SUVs…finally.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        So, what if school hours were better coordinated with working hours? Right now, parents have to either have day care early in the morning and/or again after school. Might not work in an urban environment, but seems like it would where all the kids either walk to school or ride the bus. I know it would have helped me a lot had that kind of thing been in place.

    2. flora

      Or permanent Standard Time. Permanent DST would have school kids walking to school or waiting for the bus in the dark during the winter months.

      1. ambrit

        Wait flora. Your area allows parents to let their kids walk to school without making said parents undergo mandatory psychological evaluations and forceful ‘interventions’ by credentialed ‘family dynamics’ professionals? What sort of time warp did you stumble through? I want to find that “Door in the Wall” myself, for Phyl and me to jump through. We wont look back either.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Yes, I was surprised (though I shouldn’t have) when I learned that the lack of sleep was a big problem for our high school kids (and many adults as well).

      2. Arizona Slim

        Here in AZ, we have permanent Standard Time. And we somehow have managed to survive the experience.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I imagine an equatorial nation does not have this peculiar problem of ours.

        2. Angie Neer

          AZ’s relatively low latitude (especially if you’re in the southern part of the state) helps by reducing the seasonal variation in sunshine. Here near the northern border of the US, it’s amazing how short the days get in mid-winter. Still, I despise changing the clocks and would vote for permanent DST.

        3. ArcadiaMommy

          Kind of terrifying to think of the sun out until basically 9 pm in July. The sun going down does offer some relief, although it is still hot as hell.

    3. CanCyn

      As a person who hates the DST I would argue that you ‘light in the evening’ loving people are already getting what you want. It is light ’til past 6pm in my neck of the woods now but we have to go back to being in the pitch dark for an extra hour in the morning. When we switch back in the fall you lose your light at night, so what’s the difference?
      Some of the conclusions reached by that researcher could be considered leaps in logic or faulty reasoning but there is a ton of proof out there that there are more car crashes and other mishaps after either time change. Yes, people lose sleep for many reasons but only at the time changes is it so many people all at once, that’s the problem. Also note, he didn’t say that the DST caused problems the day of the Challenger launch, he said the DST caused mistakes during the planning.
      This year I’m taking a new tactic to avoid the awful jet-laggy feeling of Monday and Tuesday after the time change. I’ve been adding 10 or 15 minutes early incrementally to my alarm all week. Hoping the gradual adjustment will mean it won’t hit me so hard. I have a 45 minute commute, I need to be alert in the morning.
      Bottom line, we really just need to pick one and stick to it.
      There are actually arguments made about reducing the number of time zones too! See: Anyone who works for a company with offices in different time zones knows what a pain it is to deal with the different time zones.

      1. roadrider

        Also note, he didn’t say that the DST caused problems the day of the Challenger launch, he said the DST caused mistakes during the planning.

        I didn’t say he attributed the Challenger accident to DST. I said the causes were more complex.

        Here’s what the author said:

        Decades earlier, faulty decision-making resulted in the deaths of the seven-person crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger. … In each of these cases, poor or inadequate sleep was one of the factors that contributed to the failure.

        Note that “Decades earlier” refers to the time of the train crash he referred to in his first paragraph.

        So he’s saying that “-poor or inadequate sleep” contributed to the Challenger accident and TMI. But he provides no documentation of how large a contributing factor it was and we already know that both of these accidents had complex causes the most serious of which had little or nothing to do with adequate sleep. Lack of sleep clearly wasn’t the major factor that caused NASA engineers, over the course of many years to seriously underestimate the risk associated with shuttle launches or to fail to notice the association of O-ring erosion in the solid rocket boosters with low temperature. It wasn’t lack of sleep that made NASA managers coerce the engineers at Morton-Thiokol into approving the launch (although it may have been a factor, but probably a secondary one to fear of job loss in the engineers yielding their position) or that made the politicians pressure NASA to get the mission off the ground.

        Yes, he did not specifically claim that these accidents were caused by DST. But then why is he even including them in this article? He’s clearly trying to make an implicit association which I consider to be very misleading to those who aren’t familiar with the history or who don’t read carefully.

        I don’t care for the biennial clock changes. I would prefer DST year round. We had it back in the seventies during the oil embargoes and life just went on. Its the switching, not the actual aspects of DST that seem to cause problems.

        If you don’t like it being dark in the morning you’ll hate the more limited time zone idea (or even single time zone ala China), if you’re in the western part of the country.

    4. Brian L.

      I have always wished they would split the difference and just permanently add a half hour to standard time as a “compromise.” I despise DST, but I’m not a normal (9-5er, weekends off) who sees any “benefit” from it.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Pearsons, Who Pledged $100 Million to UChicago, Want Their Money Back Chicago Maroon

    Can a no-job-offer graduate ask for his/her tuition money back?

    That’d be one solution to the student debt problem.

    “100% satisfaction, or your money back.”

  15. grayslady

    A friend of mine in Holland died via euthanasia last November. Like the majority of people in Holland who select euthanasia, he had terminal cancer. The Dutch have been allowing euthanasia for 15 years now and have numerous safeguards for the procedure, including: two doctors must sign off on the procedure, two doctors must be present to administer the drugs, and social workers extensively interview those who wish to be present at the death to be certain they won’t faint, become hysterical, or otherwise prevent the passing from being peaceful. The Dutch wouldn’t dream of cruelly requiring a terminally ill individual to swallow a poisonous liquid on their own. In Holland, an IV is set up and the person is first put to sleep–which may take several minutes, depending on how strong the patient’s heart is. Once the doctors are certain the patient is fully asleep, the drug that stops the heart is administered through the IV. My friend’s wife said there was nothing traumatic about the procedure. The card she sent to his friends after the funeral emphasized the importance of an end to his pain.

    As his friend, I was grateful to be able to express my appreciation for his life and his friendship prior to his death. We don’t have that opportunity when loved ones die unexpectedly. I wish we had Holland’s approach to euthanasia, which I consider to be more civilized, since it isn’t overlaid with religious or legal issues. To them, euthanasia is a serious medical procedure, but it is still just a medical procedure, agreed to by patient and doctor.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      With our medical system euthanasia brings with it the concern that people are agreeing to it not because they are ready to die but to save their relatives the cost of their care.

      1. Ed Miller

        We have thought this through in our house even though that day is likely decades away. It’s not that we wouldn’t be ready to die but more like this is one way those who have no power to fix bad policy can give a big middle finger to the rentier class at the end.

        My POV is this: If I can no longer do anything or enjoy anything in life, am barely aware of the world around me and stuck in a nursing home what’s the point? I would rather be able to say “Hey, it’s been a good ride, but it’s time to go. No regrets.” I have that option in Oregon.

    1. integer

      From the article:

      When the dust clears after November 6, 2018, there will almost certainly be more former CIA agents in the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives than former Sanders activists. It is the military-intelligence operatives who constitute the spine of the Democratic Party, not the Sanders “Our Revolution” group. This is a devastating verdict on the claims of the Vermont senator, backed by various pseudo-left groups, that it is possible to reform the Democratic Party and push it to the left.

      Yep. Sad but true. I still wish Sanders had used his momentum to start building a new party once it became clear that the D party primary had been rigged.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        I still wish Sanders had used his momentum to start building a new party once it became clear that the D party primary had been rigged.

        What makes you think he isn’t?

        I find this constant complaining about Sanders’s not immediately running out and starting a new party tiresome, frankly. First of all, he never said he would do anything of the sort. He said over and over that anything like that had to come from the bottom up, because he knows it takes years if not decades to build a political party with enough clout to make a difference.

        The people who are suffering under the current regime don’t have time to play around with those more comfortably settled who can airily dismiss the Democrat Party as hopeless corrupt and talk about “voting Green” or whatever. We need action now, and now we have only two real options: Democrats or Republicans. The latter being a lost cause, our path to change is the Democrats, who are blocking us at every turn. We really don’t need people tossing the monkey wrench of “third party” into the mess right now.

        As for WSWS, take anything they say about Sanders with a grain of salt, because they detest him. I gather he’s not sufficiently leftist for their taste, and they take every opportunity to take a slap at him and anything he’s associated with. Their analysis of the MIC/IC background of candidates is worth reading for the information, but do keep in mind anything they print is riddled with their particular bias. It doesn’t eliminate them as an excellent source of information, but one does need to be able to filter out the sermons that all too often accompany it.

        1. integer

          Regardless of whether people need change now, it is extremely unlikely that the D party establishment will ever allow the left to take control of their party. I wish you well in your efforts to do so, however I think it is hopeless cause, which, fwiw, is a conclusion I reached long before I read this series of WSWS articles.

  16. allan

    Neoliberal think tank determined to strike in US:

    Admitting temporary workers into the US will speed up disaster recovery [The Hill]

    … The logical step to filling the emergency needs created by national disasters is by increasing the availability of labor through our existing temporary worker visa system. But the government needs to let in more foreign workers — specifically H2A and H2B visa holders — when there are natural disasters that require an influx of laborers. …

    … [The author] is the director of immigration and senior counsel with the Niskanen Center, a think tank and advocacy organization that promotes pragmatic immigration policies.

    Scroll to the bottom of this page to see the list of the Niskanen Center’s advisory board members.
    Hilariously, one of the board members is Brad DeLong, who a decade ago wrote a scathing review of
    Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

    1. integer

      Brad DeLong on Sanders supporters:

      “The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for Guevarista fantasies about what their policies are likely to do. The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for advocating Comintern-scale lying to voters about what our policies are like to do. And it will be important to do so then–because overpromising leads to bad policy decisions, and overpromising is bad long-run politics as well.”

      Never forget.

  17. rd

    Re: Most Millennials Have $0 for Retirement and We’re All Fucked

    I think there is too much tooth-gnashing over this topic at the present time. In general, I think the millennials are actually approaching this in a rational way given the fairly bad economic position they are in.

    1. I believe economists define paying down debt as “savings”. So college-educated millennials pretty much all have serious student debt that can only be eliminated by them paying it or dying. It can’t be eliminated in bankruptcy and if they still have it in retirement, their Social Security can be garnished to pay it. So paying down student loans should be the first priority of a savings plan for a millennial. This is “retirement savings” given how the current system is structured.

    2. Many of their job situations are quite precarious or crappy. so building up cash savings is a prudent move. The financial sector keeps moaning about how “conservative” millennials are with their savings. Until a millennial is sitting on over 6-months of income/spending in cash (a normal personal finance recommendation), then it is prudent for this to sit in a savings account. This would be $10k – $20k which would immediately put them in a fairly good savings position compared to many Americans. So if they have $20k in cash savings and $20k in a Target Date fund in an IRA/401k, then they will only have about 40% – 50% equities in their “portfolio” which is near-criminal according to the opining experts. But I think it is a perfectly rational position for them.

    3. That cash cushion can also be used to help pay for a car or buy a house, as well as covering security deposits etc. on rentals.

    4. There is a “tax savers credit” to help people save. It is quite generous up to $18,500 AGI (50% credit) but this credit only goes against actual taxes paid and is otherwise non-refundable. So you need to be making right around $18,500 to get any significant amount of credit. Since most financial institutions require $1,000 minimums to open an IRA, getting that tax credit is out of reach for many people (Bank CD IRA is an alternative). The tax credit value rapidly drops after $18,500, so it is mainly of use for kids living at home working a part-time job that pays $15k – $18.5k per year.

    5. The objective of many employers is to have as many workers be ineligible for any benefits, including retirement accounts. This is especially the case for young workers (e.g. millennials).

    BTW – we will be opening up a small Roth IRA for the last of my millennial kids over the next couple of weeks. We will be able to get about $146 in the tax savers credit for this. That should go a long way to providing retirement security for her. But after this, all of my kids will have at least a small Roth IRA to build on for the future.

    1. Dan

      I’m not even a milennial (early 40s), and I agree 1000% here. I’ve only been making decent money in the last 3-4 years, and I work in a consulting business that is cyclical with the construction industry. I absolutely have to keep 3-6 months of cash on hand just in case. We’re just about there, and I do feel a vague anxiety about missing all the stock ‘market’ ‘gains’ this year, but paying off debt and having a cushion in case of job loss/recession is the only reasonable approach here (especially since we live in a very high-rent area that makes saving a real challenge).

  18. Croatoan

    Yves, understanding what is meant by being “truly kind” as a Daoist is more complicated than appearances. Ian hints at this at the end of his post when he says “In the meantime, unless you’ve been deformed by the wrong ideology, you probably still understand kindness. I suggest living there. It’s also a rather nice place to live.”

    He is talking about living without ideology (doing nothing), he is not saying to “be kind”. The people yo notice being kind are people living with an ideology which is what turns you off to them. Daoist kindness does not look like ordinary kindness, and in fact it can look like different things to different people. Stephen Mitchel’s translation gets more to the point:

    The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
    thus he is truly powerful.
    The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
    thus he never has enough.

    The Master does nothing,
    yet he leaves nothing undone.
    The ordinary man is always doing things,
    yet many more are left to be done.

    The kind man does something,
    yet something remains undone.

    The just man does something,
    and leaves many things to be done.

    The moral man does something,
    and when no one responds
    he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.

    When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
    When goodness is lost, there is morality.
    When morality is lost, there is ritual.
    Ritual is the husk of true faith,
    the beginning of chaos.

    Therefore the Master concerns himself
    with the depths and not the surface,
    with the fruit and not the flower.
    He has no will of his own.
    He dwells in reality,
    and lets all illusions go

    1. diptherio

      I think Ian’s reply in his comments section gets at what Yves is talking about (emphasis added):

      Ian Welsh March 9, 2018
      Reciprocity does not work as well kindness. It is the low form of justice and nothing more. Fixing people and the world often requires giving them things they do not deserve.

      The simplest example of this is Norway’s recidivism rate is half that of America’s because they treat prisoners well in prison. Those prisoners do not deserve it, it is not reciprocal to what they did, but it makes them and the world a better place to treat them that way.

      Reciprocity is the lowest level of morality and ethics. It is still ethics, mind you, it’s not immoral or unethical.

      That said, as a friend once said “don’t feed snakes”. But wise kindness doesn’t (it changes them. where dumb kindness empowers them), and stupid reciprocity does.

      I think NVC (non-violent communication) is good at wise kindness on an inter-personal level, and is closely related to the more restorative justice approach of Norway justice system.

      1. Croatoan

        I cannot think of anything further from the Dao that Nonviolent communication. It is all violence disguised in soothing voices. It fully depends on reciprocity also.

        1. Mel

          Anything that I have called “weaponized dialog”, that’s intended to deliver a sure-fire inter-personal result, is far from the Dao.

        2. diptherio

          Can be, if the person using it has failed to grok the point, or is using the language in a cynical manner. Religion gets used for negative purposes all the time, but that doesn’t mean religious teachings are of no value.

          What part of NVC principles do you find violent? Much of what I hear in NVC sounds very close to what I read in (for instance) Hindu philosophy about the uselessness of thinking in terms of judgements of others. I’ve been attracted to NVC for that exact reason – it seems to me to be largely old wisdom dressed up in modern language.

          1. Croatoan

            It suppresses a certain kind of speech, what ever they call “violent speech”. Watch Rosenberg with those puppets and you will see the subtle manipulation. He always speaks as a “weasel” in a negative way and the giraffe is always the smart one. “If everyone just talked like me the whole world would be at peace!” It is a very soft violence that uses manipulation and education to get people to think there is something wrong with how they express themselves.

            Other have wrote about it:

            Also, Rosenberg claims that nonviolent communicating will always have win-win results. That is impossible.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is my impression of that chapter (38):

      When with someone less able, you show kindness.

      When with someone able, you expect them to do their duty.

      Be flexible to the situation. Take the…er, appropriate path. The, you do nothing, yet noting is undone. You won’t be kind when kindness is not called for, and you’re kind when it is called for.

      That’s ‘wuwei.’

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So, for example, this is what you do.

        1. With Republicans, because they are not as intelligent, being cavemen and all that, you show kindness.

        2. With Democrats, being highly educated, well-read (thousands of books in the family room alone) and not as low-information, you expect more. You expect them to do their duty.

  19. Carolinian

    Re Caitlin Johnstone and Google: While Google does seem to be going off the rails by jumping on the “fake news” bandwagon, the focus on Google may be distracting from the reality that in our current system practically every big US corporation is an extension of the government or at least not actively opposed to it. Our defense industries look to the government for their profits, major media have become government propaganda arms, extraction industries depend on the government for sweetheart deals and light regulation. The Mint Press story in today’s Links shows how our giant and unnecessary military is itself a strategic arm of global capitalism with little other purpose.

    Therefore it is the government we should be worried about more than Google which, after all, does still have competitors–not just other search engines but word of mouth, RSS feeds, sites like this one. In earlier times blogrolls were a big way for successful websites to bring attention to up and coming voices. The real censorship will be when government starts to actually block access to websites as is done in China (perhaps it’s time to start thinking about alternative versions of the internet itself). But most of all the spirit of censorship itself that must be opposed. These days much of that spirit seems to be coming from the D party. Reformers like Sanders need to come to the understanding that the MIC is the beating heart of authoritarianism in this country–the true threat. Google is following the lead of the politicians.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Corporations are created by the law, hence dependent on the government – until they turn and gain control of it, anyway. And to a very real extent, that’s true of all business: government creates currency and enforces contracts. So there is no such thing as “free trade.” There are only different rules.

  20. Merf56

    Theo and Harvey…. best antidote ever. I must have played it ten times. I swear my blood pressure dropped!! Off to pet our three cats and remember what is still good about the world?

    1. bassmule

      The boys will be happy to know they gave you calm. The video is from a couple years ago when they were kittens of roughly the same size. Theo, the gray one, has grown up to be about twice as big as his cross-eyed brother. He still grooms Harvey.

  21. DJG

    The UofChicago (™) Maroon and the multi-million dust-up over fiefdoms and institutes. I’ll admit to being an alum (from back in the Minoan era, when the college was smaller and we incised tablets with Linear B most of the day).

    This is what happens when all that the administration thinks of is the endowment, as a number of fellow alums have been commenting lately in private.

    Aside from the UofC’s own internal swamp, which is undoubtely swampy, why should the Pearsons have that much control over an institute at a university? Is it a vanity project? (Surely, I jest!) With its own faculty recruited to be somehow outside of the system of departments, it appears? Can the many medievalists at the UofC define “fiefdom” for me?

    Many of the elite universities are no longer much in the business of education: It is all about creating an international elite with shared “values.” At the UofC, the single largest undergraduate major is economics. Why undergrads should be allowed to major in something as flimsy as economics is beyond me.

    I have a feeling, though, that the holy Becker-Friedman Institute for Training Dubious Economists will come through this scandal unscathed. Saint Gary, ora pro nobis. Saint Miltie, ora pro nobis and the Chileans.

    PS: Scroll down to the comments, where among the first few, there is a dispute as to the UofC’s rankings. Is it 5 or 6? 10 or 11? The Life of the Mind!

  22. edmondo

    Congress Is 80% Male and 81% White. Here’s How to Change That. Ellle. “[Project 100], so christened because it aims to ensure that 100 progressive women are serving in Congress by 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, is the result of months of research by co-founders Danielle Gram, previously the head of the Tony Blair Foundation

    Well, there’s DiFi and Claire McCaskill, that’s two. Only 98 to go!

  23. diptherio

    Lies have always spread faster than the truth. That’s why we have the saying, “a lie makes it around the world before the truth has finished putting its pants on.” The researchers looking for “where fake news comes from and how it spreads” are inevitably going to find that the answer to both questions is “human nature.”

  24. Jim Haygood

    Today the Nasdaq Composite index (~3,000 stocks) and the Nasdaq 100 (which most ETFs and derivatives are based on) exceeded their Jan 26th peaks, while the institutional-fave S&P 500 remains a hundred points short of its Jan 26th high-water mark.

    If one were to update the hundred-year-old Dow Theory — which held that the Industrials and Rails should confirm each other in a healthy bull market — today it would assert that the S&P 500 and the Naz should confirm each other. (Our Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse are included in both.)

    This morning the MSM’s scribblers and chatterers are abuzz about the bull market’s ninth birthday. Except that unless and until the S&P 500 exceeds its Jan 26th close, it’s merely a hypothesis that it’s still a bull market.

    The new interchangeability of forecast and fact shows how far we are into the true believer stage. That it could be over already is not considered possible. We need the money from capital gains, and we’re entitled to it.

  25. Tomonthebeach

    Trump’s alien voter claim

    To vote in Kansas, law requires presenting an original birth certificate or passport or naturalization papers (passport issuance being contingent on presenting one of those other two documents – fait accompli). This is disenfranchising anywhere between 1 and several million eligible Kansas voters alone? Really? Proof please.

    Voting is a right only for those who enjoy the privilege of citizenship. So far, over 35K Kansans were unable – or too bothered – to obtain proof of voting privilege. Are not voter registration activists conflating residency with citizenship? The US denies voting rights to mere residents (legal or otherwise) – ask any green card holder.

    Reality check. Given what one goes through to obtain naturalized citizenship (in the case of my foreign spouse about $20K in legal fees and reams of paper, interviews overseas and in the US so far), one would not normally “misplace” such a document (the entire population of Somali immigrants being an exception?). Some of us fought in wars to defend our privilege of citizenship. However, popping $50 and a letter in the mail to obtain a birth certificate is a hardship too ominous to assert one’ right to vote? That excuse is incredible.

    Of course, Kansas citizenship criteria do pose a hardship for the poor if they must pay for new documents. But surely a state could waive birth certificate fees due to poverty. Alas, none do. This raises a far more commonsensical question: Why does Congress refuse steadfastly to institute a national identity system. This is hardly an insidious requirement abridging people’s rights. On the contrary – it would ensure them. It is also far from precedent-setting, as all the EU countries, and many others, require and issue such documents.

    So, if voting rights activist are sincere, why are they not lobbying for a national identity system to permanently solve the citizenship status problem? [PS – this is an NRA issue, because such a system could track gun ownership. Maybe that is part of the hurdle on the Hill.]

    1. Bugs Bunny

      If I can ask, why did you need a lawyer to get your spouse naturalized? I did it with my ex about 10 years ago and there was an interview, some paperwork and it was done in about six months. It took much longer (2 years) in France for the opposite, with many more papers needed, but again no lawyers. But I’m a lawyer so I guess I could figure out which papers to file, etc. Still, not that hard.

      1. Arthur Dent

        I got naturalized about 10 years ago. It was a very simple process. I had come into the country as a spouse of a US citizen a couple of decades earlier with IR-1 status. Both processes were simple and each took about 6 months. For a professional, the filing fees were relatively nominal, but would be significant if you have a low income.

        Naturalized citizens have the most documentation and background checks of anybody in the country outside the military and jobs requiring security clearances. Its the native-born US citizens that seem to have the biggest difficulty producing proof of citizenship as getting a passport is not part of American culture in general unless people travel outside the US for business or vacation. i am always astonished at how many Americans have to apply for passports in a rush if they need to go abroad. I think this is a primary reason why so many states are struggling to implement RealID for driver’s licenses.

    2. rd

      We effectively have a national identity card – Social Security number and card.

      Theoretically, you need to show it when you get a job or apply for benefits etc. If you are claimed as a dependent on a tax return, you need to have an SSN, so they now get issued at birth.

      So if illegal voters is an issue (which I don’t believe it is), you provide an SSN that the electoral board types into a SS database and it tells them if you are a citizen or not and if you are of legal age.

      To my mind, the bigger issue is how to get people to turn out and vote.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Establish the option to vote No/ No confidence / start over on a hand counted paper ballot.

    3. JamesG

      Sometimes I think I live in a stupid country.

      Need to carry government-issued ID while walking on the street?

      Are you a Nazi?

      Trying to vote?

      Are you a Republican?

      Need to carry government-issued photo ID while sitting down (behind the wheel of a car)?

      No problem.

      Walking up to an airline counter?

      No problem.

      Registering at a hotel?

      No problem.

      1. JBird

        This is a bit of a rant. However, I think it is an important issue.

        I say Hell no to a national identity card. Why do we need one, and aside from a driver’s license, or maybe a gun permit, why should I have any form of identification that I have to show to anyone for any reason except say at a traffic stop?

        Before 9/11 it took me at most fifteen minutes from taxi to counter through the one metal detector and past the one unarmed guard to my seat. Yes, it was a very Red Eye, still. I also could go to almost any court house, or city and county building, and at most go through that singe metal detector and unarmed security guard. Since then everything has been forted-up ostensibly because of terrorism.

        Despite all the fear, all the “safety” measures we are no less, or more, likely to be hurt by the evil no good awful terrorists than before 9/11, but always, always there is a tightening of the rules, with every increasing security, for our safety. More surveillance, less privacy, more violence (by the state) on all Americans unless you are wealthy, endless wars, increasingly fewer actual rights or legal protections, more corruption in our businesses, government, and police always.

        Violence generally, murder specifically, even in gun deaths, have been flat or declining for decades. The only exception has been in mass shootings which strangely been increasing with the increasing impoverishment of Americans. Terrorism itself is non-existence. All the things that actually ruin, or end, lives like the endemic lead poisoning, the homelessness, the militarization of police and the criminalization of poverty, the lack of medical care kinda get ignored especially by the media, or the political class.

        Whatever the reasoning and justifications, however good, given for a national ID would become just one more way to monitor, control, and abuse us.

        1. rd

          The statistics indicate that 5 as many people are killed by police in the US than by foreign-born terrorists each year

          1. JBird

            I don’t know of any recent terrorist attacks in the United States although with all the wars big and small overseas plenty of locals have had a chance to kill Americans. I do know that the number of police homicides each year averages 1,100 with the number of people not even having ready access, such as a weapon in a glove compartment, at 200. It you count people with either nothing in their hand or with just a walking stick or golf club (they are counted as “weapons.”), the number of unarmed would be higher. This does not include the injured. So I would guesstimate 3,400 completely unarmed Americans have been killed by police in the 17 years since 3,000 died on 9/11.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      However, popping $50 and a letter in the mail to obtain a birth certificate is a hardship too ominous to assert one’ right to vote? That excuse is incredible.

      Not if you don’t have $50 to spare. Or for one reason or another your birth wasn’t officially registered, as is the case with many elderly people in rural communities. Or if the records of your birth were destroyed by some natural disaster, which has also happened more than once because of fire or flood prior to computers.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > hardship too ominous

      Since “hardships” have already occurred, they are typically not “ominous,” which means that “something bad or unpleasant is going to happen.” Perhaps you meant “onerous.”

      Good thing your own “privilege of voting” wasn’t secured with a literacy test, eh?

  26. Eureka Springs

    Obamas in talks with Netflix about TV series

    Creative vacuum over at Netflix HQ? Unless Obama replaces Kevin Spacey?

    If this is payback/grift of some sort, I would rather my subscription money be used to pay them to go away.

    1. Carolinian

      Unless Obama replaces Kevin Spacey

      Good one.

      However the final (thank gawd) season of House of Cards is apparently “in the can” so too late for Obama to come in for an audition. Arguably the show was really about the Clintons until it turned soft and mushy toward the protagonists in order to keep pumping out more seasons.

  27. lyman alpha blob

    RE: How iPads Changed a Police Force’s Response to Mental Illness

    Well it’s a start I suppose – better than the cops just gunning down the mentally ill.

    As someone who has witnessed a heavily armed SWAT time in my back yard trying to deal with a possibly suicidal resident in a neighboring apartment building, pointing spotlights and automatic weapons at the guy’s window for hours, I’d prefer that the cops weren’t the ones called to deal with mental health crises at all.

    I don’t call a librarian when I need the plumbing fixed, so why should the police be dealing with incidents like these?

    1. Yves Smith

      OMG, I’ve been out walking a lot less in the last year due to injuries, but I had the thought yesterday, even with my being out less, I was seeing fewer homeless people, which meant they were being chased away somehow. Thanks for letting me know.

  28. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    So that Oil Pipeline running through Afghanistan. I was deployed to the FOB outside Herat.

    Small World.

  29. Summer

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday that African countries should be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China, the continent’s biggest trading partner.

    Countries should only worry about sovereignty when they accept loans from China?
    Well, now…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would suggest that they insist their loans be in African currencies.

      “Always borrow in your own currency.”

  30. grayslady

    I can hardly wait to put out my hummingbird feeder this year. The first arrivals don’t show up until late April. Their arrival coincides with the blooming of crabapple trees. Last year I put up a feeder for the first time and was absolutely delighted to have four regulars throughout the summer. By the end of the summer they had me totally trained! They knew I would put out fresh food for them every other day, but, if there was still some solution left, they would wait in my ash tree until I came back outside with a freshly filled feeder before coming over to the deck to eat. We only have Ruby Throated here, and the occasional Rufous–no Allen’s. They are truly a joy.

      1. Merf56

        Also Hyssop. My hummers go wild for it. As do goldfinches later in season for the tiny black seeds.

  31. XXYY

    I understand his point about kindness intellectually, but I am actually deeply suspicious of gestures like that and tend to brush them off.

    There is kindness as chosen behavior (giving money to homeless, say), and there is kindness as an innate and unthinking way of being (kind actions invariably taken without conscious thought). The former may be a form of ritual, to use this piece’s excellent terminology: something done by rote or custom without a genuine underlying motivation. We should perhaps have a different word for thoughtful rituals.

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