Links 4/10/18

Patient readers, Yves apologizes for her lack of original posts, but she’s finishing up an important series, shortly to be released. Also, the news flow is both overwhelming and overwhelmingly polluted just now, and financial stories have sunk beneath the waves. –lambert

JP Morgan fears Fed ‘policy mistake’ as US yield curve inverts Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Wells Fargo reportedly facing huge fine for mortgage lending and auto insurance problems LA Times. Wake me when executives no longer have impunity from criminal prosecution.

Chap. 11 Bankruptcies Spike 63% from Year Ago Wolf Street (EM).

Class-action lawsuit against student loan giant brings hope to borrowers in bankruptcy MarketWatch

Online gaming could be stalled by net neutrality repeal, ESA tells court Ars Technica

Documents Detail What Shell Knew About Climate Change Decades Ago Climate Liability News

New Cold War

Yulia Skripal discharged from hospital Sky News. “For nearly a month both were in a critical condition, but they have recently made a remarkable recovery.” Indeed!

The Slowly Building Anger in the UK at the Government’s Handling of the Skripal Case The Blogmire (David Johnson). The story doesn’t match the headline, but gives quite a bill of particulars on inconsistencies in the official narrative.

Soviet scientist backs UK over Skripal poisoning FT. The story is a bit more nuanced than the headline.


Trump to decide on Syria response ‘very quickly’ FT

US guided-missile destroyer sets on move to Syrian coast — WSJ Tass

US says Israel carried out deadly strike on Syria air base i24

In Syria, Trump Faces the Limits of Bluster Editorial Board, NYT. Last sentence: “The question is what comes next.”

Syria – Any U.S. Strike Will Lead to Escalation Moon of Alabama. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

Ghouta is Arabic for “Reichstag Fire” by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis

John Bolton wakes from terrifying nightmare of world at peace Duffel Blog

Iran Struggles With Potentially Explosive Environmental Crisis Lobe Log

ACE Submarine Cable Cut Impacts Ten Countries

The African Anthropocene Aeon. Where your cobalt comes from…


Asia’s Hottest Stock Is a Bet on China’s Military Expansion Bloomberg

Will Shale Become The Next Victim Of The China-US Trade War?

Thailand’s Kra Canal: China’s Way Around the Malacca Strait The Diplomat

Borneo oil spill costs Indonesia’s poor The Interpreter

How Cambridge Analytica’s parent company helped ‘man of action’ Rodrigo Duterte win the 2016 Philippines election South China Morning Post. Just spitballing here, but maybe the issue isn’t CA, the firm, but the whole line of business?

Facebook Fracas

“Testimony of Mark Zuckerberg Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook” (PDF) HEARING BEFORE THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Oddly, or not, nothing about concentration or monopoly.

Mark Zuckerberg’s duel with Congress this week is more about reputation than regulation Recode

Why Zuckerberg’s 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn’t Fixed Facebook Wired

Cambridge Analytica Fallout Spreads to State Legislatures Governing

Trump Transition

Donald Trump trade threats lack credibility Larry Summers, FT

* * *

Cohen raid strikes deep into Trump’s inner circle Politico. “They took everything.”

What about attorney-client privilege? How the FBI can obtain a warrant for Cohen’s office USA Today

‘A bomb on Trump’s front porch’: FBI’s Cohen raids hit home for the president WaPo

Secret Handshakes Slate

Our Famously Free Press

Data Lords: The Real Story of Big Data, Facebook and the Future of News Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo. Worth a read, amazingly enough. Another way of saying “Lord” is “Robber Baron,” of course.

Consumer watchdog group’s ads attack Sinclair on its own stations Baltimore Business Journal

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And ‘Media Influencers’ Forbes. True.

Urban Bungle: Atlanta Cyber Attack Puts Other Cities on Notice Scientific American

Health Care

An ambitious California bill would put the state in charge of controlling prices in the commercial healthcare market Los Angeles Times. Looks like this is the approach the California Democrat establishment favors instead of single payer. We’ll see how it works out.

NDAs and Confidential Settlements Shake State Capitols and City Halls Governing

Imperial Collapse Watch

When Military Leaders Have Reckless Disregard for the Truth The American Conservative

Why America’s Two Top Fighter Jets Can’t Talk to Each Other Bloomberg

Guillotine Watch

A Real Estate Dynasty Passes the Torch NYT. Read all the way to the end. The comments are interesting….

Class Warfare

Editorial: As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved Denver Post

List of Oklahoma schools that have canceled classes as teacher walkout heads into second week KFOR. Interestingly, including some charter schools.

UMaine to name new president Tuesday, gets $5 million to keep them around Bangor Daily News. So now we’re keeping the bloated and parasitical adminsitrative layer on life support with private subsidies. Swell.

Could artificial intelligence get depressed and have hallucinations? Science. Only if it goes on social media…

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

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. William Beyer

    Sic Semper, Moon of Alabama, and last night, Dances with Bears all suffered DOS attacks for reporting on Syria. This does not bode well.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Besides Sic Semper, another TypePad blog, Credit Slips, was also having problems at the same time. So I’d regard the DOS theory as at best unproven in this instance.

    2. Quentin

      Moon of Alabama was down last night for maintenance repair according to b., the site’s owner. A DOS attack?

    3. hobo

      The Unz Review suffered an attack which apparently coincided with its posting of an Alison Weir article titled:

      How Israel and Its Partisans Work to Censor the Internet

      According to Ron Unz:
      “Yes, our website was hit by an exceptionally large wave of bots from a very wide variety of different IP addresses, and it began soon after we released this particular article. Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not.”

    4. Arizona Slim

      I don’t know if this qualifies as a DOS attack, but I had one [family blog] of a time with this site this morning. I was reading the income inequality post with my Droid phone, and kept being interrupted by talking YouTube popups. They were proclaiming me the winner of a new phone! Wow!

      I turned my phone off and turned it back on again. Went through a few cycles of this before my popup blocker finally kicked in.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Come to think of it, I encountered the same telephonic misbehavior over the weekend. And it only seemed to affect my enjoyment of Naked Capitalism.

  2. RenoDino

    ‘A bomb on Trump’s front porch’: FBI’s Cohen raids hit home for the president WaPo

    Senator Schumer warned Trump the FBI would get him in the end because nothing has changed in 2,000 years.

    “The Praetorians’ may have been tasked with protecting the Roman Emperor, but they were also the single greatest threat to his life. The unit was a major player in the webs of deceit that characterized imperial Rome, and they were willing to slaughter and install new emperors when tempted by promises of money or power. Disgruntled Praetorians famously engineered the assassination of Caligula and the selection of Claudius as his successor in A.D. 41. Among others, the Guard or their prefect also played a part in the murder of Commodus in 192, Caracalla in 217, Elagabalus in 222 and Pupienus and Balbinus in 238. In some cases, the Praetorians were partially responsible for both installing and murdering a would-be emperor. Galba ascended the throne in A.D. 68 after winning the support of the Guard, only to be killed at their hands the following year after he neglected to properly reward them. Likewise, Emperor Pertinax was confirmed by the Praetorians in 193 and then slain just three months later when he tried to force them to accept new disciplinary measures.”

    1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      He should perhaps also reflect on the fact that prior to that, the Roman Republic collapsed in large part due to a corrupt self serving elite led largely by Cicero who also had his designated ” Deplorables “.

      1. Sam Adams

        Fun fact: the American Republic lasted as long as the period calculated from assassination of Commodus to the fall of Rome.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps with inside help. From Wikipedia, Sack of Rome (410):

          On August 24, 410, the Visigoths entered Rome through its Salarian Gate, according to some opened by treachery, according to others by want of food, and pillaged the city for three days.[77][78]

          Treachery or hunger, the gate opened from within.

      2. BillS

        Cicero, in the end, was defeated by the gangs affiliated with Fulvia Flacca Bambula, continuing the conflict initiated by her first husband, Clodius Pulcher. Through her third husband, Mark Antony, Cicero was proscribed by the Second Triumvirate and killed by soldiers while trying to escape into exile. Cassius Dio reports the pleasure of Fulvia piercing the tongue of Cicero’s severed head with her hairpin.

        Politics in the late Roman Republic was essentially open gang warfare. Is this what we have to look forward to over the next 10-20 years?

        1. RUKidding

          It seems to me that we are already at the stage of open gang warfare here.

          I was fortunate enough to visit Central Asia – the 5 ‘Stans. I had several conversations with citizens from different countries discussing how quickly & seemingly abruptly the USSR fell/collapsed. Most said that they could never imagine it until it happened.

          I feel like we are on that precipice. Beware! In many of those “new” nations, they are led by Dictators for life, most of whom have scooped up the goodies and money for themselves and their family/tribal members. A-hem…

        2. Wukchumni

          George W. Bush was our Commodus-as both had fathers who had been considered ok emperors, and this is what Dio Cassius wrote about him:

          “His accession marked the descent from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust”

          1. BillS

            Obama seemed much more reminiscent of a Marcus Aurelius than GWB. Fighting barbarians on the frontier, his stoicism, economic troubles at home and attempts at usurpation and ultimate failure to stop the rot at the heart of the empire. That would make the present orange porcine emperor our Commodus. GWB was one of our *cough* *cough* Good Emperors.

          1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

            Anthony launched an invasion of Parthia ( Iran ) from Egypt, after various misadventures including the Parthian capture of 10,000 German legionairres, he returned with his tail between his legs on a long Winter march similar to Napoleon’s from Russia in which many thousands died, but he did live to tell the tale unlike Crassus.

    2. Loneprotester

      Ah, you struck exactly the right note and saved me hours of research into the matter, so many thanks! :-)

    3. Sid_finster

      But don’t worry! Surely this time our very own Praetorian Guard ever always only have the best interests of The Republic at heart, right, citizens?

    4. Jim Haygood

      Cohen could get 30 years for lying on a mortgage application, say news reports.

      Millions lied on mortgage apps during Bubble II, claiming income they didn’t have. Let’s assume — since Cohen was living in a posh NYC hotel — that he stated his income accurately. What, then, did he lie about? Presumably, the “use of funds” blank: “home improvement” instead of “paying off Stormy Daniels.”

      Since the bank had a security interest in Cohen’s property based on its existing appraisal, lying about the use of funds in no way compromised or defrauded the bank. A 30-year prison term for a deliberate paperwork error? Sure, in Gulag USA, where you can get five years for shoplifting a bagel.

      Then there’s Cohen’s alleged second offense of making an illegal campaign contribution. Trump’s “ask Michael” response is of course absurd. What really happened, most likely, is that Cohen advanced funds for the Stormy Daniels NDA with the understanding that Trump would repay him. It was a personal loan, not a campaign contribution. But under the “indict a ham sandwich” principle of federal prosecution, such will be alleged because that’s a convenient statutory path to a bracing prison sentence.

      Looks like the military-intelligence cabal has declared all-out war on Trump, first rudely U-turning him on Syria, then raiding his personal attorney’s office over grave paperwork offenses — the severed horse’s head in his bed, as it were. This is all going to end in tears, with lots of broken crockery, broken careers, and a broken rule of law.

      1. RUKidding

        With the Syria “thing,” it certainly does appear as if the MIC/BigSpy has gone all “deep state” on Trump.

        I have to keep turning off the so-called “nooz” aka propaganda on the radio bc it’s is clearly patent b.s nonsense.

        Moon of Alabama and similar have some interesting things to say, but even there, the jury is out as to who is actually yanking which chains.

        Not good, in any case, but Trump appears to be under quite the attack.

        1. Jim Haygood

          If you believe that an all-insiders DOJ “taint team” isn’t going to whisper details of atty-client privileged documents to Mueller, well, then I’ve got an FIU pedestrian bridge to sell you. Welcome to Nigeria.

      2. John k

        You mean the rule of law, of which we are all equal before, wasn’t broken before trump won the election? Not that many bankers in jail, no matter how many billions collected in fines.
        The difference is we are now seeing how deep state has the power to continue wars even if the population, and commander in chief, want to stop.
        Or maybe it’s not a new thing. Deep, Mic, and msm have been on the same page for decades, but the controls were all broken on 9/11.
        Big o, beloved by the media, got away with foiling Syria escalation. Trump, hated by media, cannot.

      3. Wyoming

        If you borrow money for a stated purpose and then use it for something else that I believe that is also fraud. So either way it is pretty certain that the law was broken.

        Whether the bank has the ability to recover its money is not relevant regarding whether a crime was committed.

        If Cohen was paying for silence regarding something which could legitimately impact the election then he broke the law. If Trump knew about this payment and had an understanding to repay Cohen then Trump broke the law. But the law was clearly broken it looks like.

        If we are going to be a nation of laws then we have to apply those laws and being rich, famous or President does not exempt you. I don’t see here where you are in favor of a system of laws as you seem to be saying anyone should be able to do what they want as long as you think the offenses are minor or for some good political purpose.

        I do agree that this is going to end in tears, broken careers and lots of other fall out. But to state that it results in a broken rule of law would only occur if the authorities ignored the likely offenses as you seem to want them too.

        1. djrichard

          Well I for one have my popcorn out to see how due justice is served.

          Oh wait, I’m not interested in that at all. I’m simply interested in seeing if Cohen will roll on Trump.

        2. G Moore

          I think a better appraisal is — if you are well connected, and play with and by the rules of the huckster classes – you don’t worry about such things.

          If you are Mr. Smith and his flyover deplorables – you will be bankrupt, jailed or railroaded out of town – to set an example for others who are considering a career in politics without the necessary Control File.

          The FBI, CIA, NSA and DOJ are and have been sewers of corruption – but this is a new level of hysteria – which fools NO ONE, yet redeems those who have been complaining since Hearst called for the assassination of McKinley – with impunity – on the front page of his newspaper.

          Hucksters left and right have destroyed our Republic. And if the left allows the destruction of Trump by morphing into Moldova or Albania, to justify that end, I expect blood in the streets.

          1. Wyoming

            I agree with all of your post except the last para.

            My point above is that everyone likes to talk about the rule of law but in reality most (like the post I was responding to) exempt those they support or who follow their religion/ideology.

            The Left has no power in this either way. The liberal Democrats might have a bit but in my opinion they have no meaningful power either. At least until the possibilities after the Nov election.

            The destruction of Trump, should it occur, will be a self-inflicted wound. There is nothing which we know now nor is among the possible known-unknowns which would be fatal to Trump. Unknown-unknowns who knows. Trump has so incompetently managed this situation and his personal inability to maintain some meaningful level of self control is about 90% responsible for the position he finds himself in. IN that respect we might all wish that he fails completely and disappears as the danger such an incompetent person in his position puts us in is terrifying.

            I too expect blood in the streets regardless of the outcome of the situation we are discussing. This country is broken in a way that I don’t see a way out of. I expect it will take some time but I doubt there is much chance of avoiding a fair amount of bloodshed.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Trump is rich, famous and president.

              Bringing him down, though, does not conclusively show that they will apply justice to all those who are rich, famous or powerful who deserve looking into.

              The particulars of this case actually show that it’s about entrenched establishment, connections as insiders, the power of the Swamp (including the intelligence community, the MIC, the FBI), etc.

              We’ll see if they will go after the uranium deal, the Foundation, DNC rigging, Amazon/Facebook/Google/etc concentration of wealth and power, etc.

        3. todde

          that is only true if the loan agreement places restrictions on the use of proceeds.

          usually when it’s secured with an asset or guaranteed by a government.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            He could have applied for a few student loans.
            I understand you can use the money for a lot of things….to purchase, say, Bitcoin, so you can pay another human being with that.

        4. witters

          Wyoming, Justice, as John Rawls reminded us, is crucially a matter of fairness, and it isn’t fair that some who offend are targeted and others who offend, are not. And it is especially unfair when the explanation for this is a matter of (relative) power. Selective justice isn’t merely incomplete justice, it undermines the very idea of justice itself. It pollutes the wells.

        5. Lambert Strether Post author

          The rule of law, selectively applied, isn’t the rule of law. It’s “any stick to beat a dog.” And that’s what we have here. And have had for some time. If and when historians look back, I think they’ll see Bush v. Gore as when the rule of law was bent. And they will see Obama’s failure to prosecute any banksters after the crash as when it was broken. So now we have a free-for-all.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The rule of law was bent or the mask slipped? Personally I think that the Supreme Court should have told Bush that he could get bent. Instead, Gore buckled.

      4. Procopius

        Cohen could get 30 years for lying on a mortgage application, say news reports.

        There’s altogether too much speculation in the “news” about matters that won’t be resolved for a year or more. We really don’t know what the investigation of Cohen is about, because it’s not related to Mueller’s investigation of Trump. There is speculation that it arose from a report by Mueller to Rosenstein about a matter that came to Mueller’s attention which he felt fell outside his permissible activities. The media are desperate for something to fill the time slots. Nobody knows nothin’.

      5. wilroncanada

        MY Haygood Man
        The question arises: did D Trump pay his lawyer back the sum of the “loan?” It would be normal behaviour, from background I have read in the past, that D Trump is not beyond “failing” to pay even his own super special personal lawyers. Presumably there is something on a set of books somewhere, in the accounts of said super special personal lawyer, or in super special D Trump’s campaign contributions accounts, an amount equivalent to the amount paid to a certain super busty special “actress.” That may be what super special counsel is looking for.
        By the way, I really appreciate your contributions to this blog, even if sometimes I don’t understand them.

        1. Yves Smith

          1. People at Trump’s level (and particularly a guy who plays as fast and loose as Trump does) aren’t usually in the habit of keeping tidy accounts of favors owed. It’s more likely that he’d expect people who owed him something to nag him, and the payback might not be equal or even financial.

          2. While if as Cohen claims this was a gift to Trump, even if it does run afoul of campaign finance laws, people in the US violate them all the time. They pay a fine if and when caught and life goes on.

    1. Edward E

      Think that’s an Abert’s squirrel making a jump. Flying squirrels are not even as long as your hand around here.
      I’m building one of these squirrel launchers, size scaled up to hog launcher. Who knows, the way Fouke Monster keeps inundating the swamp I might get a chance to launch him too.–gg

      1. bob

        I got stuck watching squirrel chucker videos one day. It’s a very broad genre. The number of videos, and the different designs are amazing.

        I still find it funny. Yes, this is a thing.

        1. wilroncanada

          Scurrilous vulgaris applies to a lot of politicians and executives here in the great Dominion to your north.

    2. crittermom

      I LOVE today’s photo of the squirrel! Wish I’d taken it.

      I also believe it to be an Abert’s squirrel, as does Edward E. You can tell by the tufted ears.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The hole near the rear legs appears to be conical (in cross section containing the hole axis).

      That is also typical of neolithic and early jade works found in China. Usually, a piece is drilled from both sides, and in that case, the cross section would be hyperbolic

      That’s one way to date or appraise a piece.

      The eye shown is also more typical of grinding with a hollow metal tube and hard abrasives. It’s hard to do that with a hollow stone tube (how do you fashion one, that size?). The really early ones I have seen are with the areas around the eye cut, so the eye bulges out (and one can imagine how that was done, working with stone tools).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s possible.

          It’s just the size of that eye and the craftsmanship…I can’t imagine it was done with a hollow bone, grinding that with abrasive materials, like quartz (whatever greater in hardness than amber), to make that eye.

          And it was likely when I look up above and see that it’s 3,000 years old. It would have been more challenging to say it was metal had it been 10,000 years old.

          1. HotFlash

            Well, as for me, who am an artisan of 17th C stuff, I would make a little drill-thingy out of stone (amber is *soft*) make it inverted v-shaped. For instnce, if you had a nice conical drill, as seems to be used to make the hole with, and say the point broke, you could salvage it by making a V where the point was, and that, used as a drill, would make you a very nice eye for your bear.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            It could be a bird bone. If from a songbird or a shorebird, a small to very small bird bone. And using near-clay-fine grit, a small bone could easily make a small ringed hole.

            I read somewhere ( can’t remember where) about a neolithic archeological site with many lengths of deer bone and moose bone, much grit transported from somewhere else to that site, and many axe-head remains and/or starters with bone-shaped holes worn into the stone. It almost seemed like a stone-age stone-axe-head factory from what I remember reading.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From Google Images search of Hongshan jade:

        Notice the eyes are mostly done in relief.

        There is one bird on that page – its eye wasn’t done in relief, but outlined with two curves (cuts), not drilled with a hollow tube. And a few pig-dragons (or C dragons – shaped like a C) with eyes not done in relief.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          To add: Hongshan culture ended around 3,000 BC, before the bronze age in Asia.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It never ceases to amaze me the expertise that some of the commentators display on NC and in so many varied fields.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Hmmm – a few of those images are definitely not family blog material. One wonders how they were used.

          Anyway, I do love jade. Thanks.

          Once, on a summer internship at the Field Museum in Chicago, I and the other interns had access to a large collection of Chinese snuff bottles. We realized you could tell the material by feel: jade was cold, amber quite warm, glass in between. The back rooms were a fascinating world, but the greatest thrill was stepping over the “employees only” sign.

    4. Craig H.

      Quite a tail on that squirrel. Fun dictionary fact: squirrel comes from Greek shadow tail.

      Funs squirrel fact: they grok simple harmonic motion. I learned this one day on a hiking trail. I’m strolling down the hill enjoying the weather and about thirty feet ahead of me a squirrel jumps from a branch on a tree on one side of the trail to a branch on a different tree on the other side of the trail. About 18 or 20 feet up off the ground. Exciting landing but definitely not a 6.0 if you were one of the judges from the Russian delegation. He only had ahold by one of his paws, claws.

      The branch bent down once under the hanging squirrel mass. Bounced up. Bent down. Bounced up. Bent down.

      Next bounce at the precise point in the motion that the squirrel’s upward velocity was at the maximum, after it had gotten the timing down, it pulled all its body weight up with the one foreleg and grabbed secure footing with all paws, claws.

      The American judge gave it a 6.0.

    5. Procopius

      3,000 years? That brings it to historical times, not neolithic. Is this a typo? Did they mean 30,000 years?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Boom times for pimps:

      “Girls are going back to the streets and they are going to die in the streets, and nobody cares,” said Calida, a mother of two, who said she used to do street work and fears she will have to start again to make ends meet. “Everybody is terrified.”

      “I really, really, really don’t want to have to do this,” she said, explaining that on sites like Craigslist and Backpage workers could negotiate terms in advance, request that clients provide references, run cross-checks on clients’ email addresses, and communicate with other sex workers about dangerous or violent people to avoid.

      This bill is creating an actual market for pimps,” Calida said, adding: “People don’t know if they are going to be able to pay rent … how they are going to afford food.”

      Open season on sex workers in our new pimp nation — that’s job creation, Republican style. Thanks Senator Portman!

      1. JBird

        Yeah, when ever there’s a crackdown on the Evil of the Moment, be drugs, guns, whistleblowers, mortgage fraud, or now prostitution, it is always the small, the hungry, the poor, or the weak on whom the hammer of justice pulps; that, and our rights, gets ever more insubstantial for ours and the children’s (ever the children’s) “safety.”

        The rich, the powerful, the connected, and the sycophantic not so much. They are often rewarded for those crackdowns.

  3. cripes

    Has anyone noticed the sleep-deprived, deer-in-the-headlights pallor Zuckerberg’s been sporting last few days?

    He reminds me of a delinquent heading to the principal’s office, or a defendant uncomfortably wearing an ill-fitting suit on his way to see the judge.

    However, this delinquent has very deep pockets, no conscience and a congress deeply sympathetic to the affluenza defense.

    Expect stern language, false contrition, investigations helmed by lick-spittle academics looking for a buck and a return to the status quo.

    Break out the bongs, bros!

    1. Clive

      Yes indeedey. A lot of that is down to pro-industry coverage historically. Flattering or, even worse, official photos from the company’s press office are run when a business is being boosted or lauded. It goes with the convenient and prevailing narrative.

      Then we have a fall from grace. So we get un-photoshopped shifty looking “tired” people in the images used.

      Next, and here we have Clive’s not-exactly-difficult-to-predict-prediction, we will have the rehabilitation phase of this “story”. So we’ll have “contrite” Zuckerberg in front of Congress. “Sad” Zuckerberg “learning lessons”. “Thoughtful” Zuckerberg re-evaluating the strategy. Finally “hopefully contemplating better times ahead for the future” Zuckerberg “getting back on track”.

      If you want to know how this will all pan out, get an advanced preview so to speak, just schlep down to your local supermarket and read the celebrity magazines — substitute “Zuckerberg” for, say, “Kim Kardashian” and you can save yourself the bother of having to try to keep up with “developments” over the next few months. If and when we see “Zuckerberg living on just 500 calories a day to get investor call body ready” please someone, kill me then.

      1. Carolinian

        Exactly right. There was a time when the American press treated Fleet Street and those supermarket tabs (often run by Brits) with snobby disdain. The MSM are all the Daily Mail now. The NYT and WaPo should go ahead and switch to the tab format and even have the nudie pics on page 3. Why continue to pretend that they are at all serious about the truth.

        1. Clive

          Yes, for the WaPo et al, adding a Sidebar of Shame would be a step up in their credibility. At least then we’d know what was simply made up or placed by PR feeders as opposed to having guess.

        1. ambrit

          Wait wait wait. A ‘penile proportional pleasantry’ suggests itself here.
          Even I would balk at the idea of a “Keeping It Up With The ‘Famous’ People” links department.
          Perhaps the MSMs will start printing, in lower case italic, below the papers’ masthead; Sponsored Content.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Funny thing – contrite, sad, thoughtful and hopeful Zuckerberg all still look like a deer caught in the headlights.

      3. ChrisPacific

        I used to think of it as the ‘VH1 Behind The Music’ sine wave. X started out as unknowns, but they had something special! (Interviews with people who knew all along they would be famous). A meteoric rise to success followed! (Details of X enjoying increased fame and acclaim). Everything was great for X – or was it? (Prurient details of drug-fuelled excess, declining fame, creative bankruptcy etc.) Things looked bad for X. Could they turn it around? (Anecdote about hitting rock bottom. Epiphany. Candid discussions about life changes/refocusing on what’s important etc. Interviews with parents. Scenes of X fixing their problems and enjoying modest and sustainable success).

        I always wondered whether there were musicians who led uneventfully successful careers, or who crashed and failed to bounce back. If there were you’d never have known from watching VH1.

      4. wilroncanada

        You’d almost think he could be a Christian Evangelist. “Ah Haave Sinnned!!” Then the forgiveness and the resurrection, and the money continues to flow.

    2. Peter VE

      “… I’m responsible for what happens here.” wrote Zuckerberg in his prepared statement.
      That reminds me of David Frye channeling Richard Nixon: “I accept the responsibility but not the blame. Let me explain the difference. Those who are to blame lose their jobs. “

    3. RUKidding

      To: cripes
      Well said! Pretty much how I see it. Enjoyed the delinquent heading to the princpal’s office analogy.

      Nothing much will happen is my take. Yet another Kabuki show rolled out to entertain the masses.

      The NPR station in the Bay Area is providing live coverage of Zuck’s appearance before Congress. Waste of time, imo.

    4. John k

      The platinum lining…
      Not hearing much of a Zuch run in 2020. And clearly would not be short of funding.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “John Bolton wakes from terrifying nightmare of world at peace”

    I thought that I would mention a YouTube clip here of John Bolton where he is trying to, I kid you not, convince the Russian people to adopt the 2nd Amendment i.e. the right to bear arms to its people and talks about how great it has been for America. You know that I am not lying to you.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Not sure how true it is today, but at least in 1972, there were more than a few GIs hoping for ‘more war.’ Because the “fog of war” produces “opportunities.” For corruption, and advancement, and hazardous duty pay, and training for “security” jobs after-action. And being able to kill and loot and rape largely without sanction, because “war.”

      In the fall of 1970 or 71, I ran into a guy I had gone to grade and high school with. He was nattily dressed and driving a brand new creamy white Jaguar XKE, with a very attractive blonde in the passenger seat. I knew he had been drafted, but not what he was assigned to in Vietnam. So I had to ask, since he hadn’t done his college time yet and I was curious how he had become so well off. So I asked him about his time in the Army. He said he had been assigned to the MPs, and his duty station in Vietnam was in the main PX (“post exchange,” a giant supermarket for The Troops and Officers and the “security” types), where black-market opportunities and various currency scams were rampant. So in best Chicagoland form, “he seen his opportunities and he took ‘em.” Well into six figures for him personally. Never saw any shooting.

      As to currency scams, it was very illegal for GIs or US civilians for that matter to have US greenbacks in their possession “in country.” The currency was US “Scrip,” what we called Monopoly money without a hint of the irony, and the South Vietnamese piaster. When I arrived in Vietnam, the official exchange rate for dollars to piasters was 169 piasters to the dollar. The black market rate for greenbacks was well over 600 to the dollar. So guys would have friends and family send them US $20 and $50 and $100 bills by various means, which they would then take down to the guys in the village who would exchange piasters for dollars at the black market rate of about 500 to the dollar. You then took the pile of piasters to the Bank of America, deposited it (with deduction for bank fees) in your account that your stateside contact had access to, and the cycle would repeat. Serious federal and UCMJ violation, of course, but few were caught and fewer prosecuted. One could, if daring and ambitious, “earn” millions that way. And the subject of US involvement in drug dealing has been well documented elsewhere.

      Then there was our supply sergeant. We troops could not keep captured trophy weapons, AK-47s, SKSs and Tokarev pistols and such, out of concern they would be used to “frag” the brass. So they were locked up in the supply area. Sarge would then take them downtown and sell them back to the Vietnamese. He was eventually found in a ditch with his throat cut, by who knows who. He also helped keep the supply chain moving — Marines and other GIs would park their Jeeps and Mules and such without locking them up, our guys would steal them and bring them back to the paint booth where they would be repainted, new numbers put on them, and dummy logs made up for them. We had probably three times as many vehicles as were authorized under the “Table of Organization and Equipment.” So when a Command Inspection was scheduled (these were supposed to be “surprise,” but hey, corruption, you know?) Sarge borrowed a big earthmover from the SeaBees, dug a big trench in a hillside facing away from the base, drove all the “excess inventory” into the hole (a semi-tractor, a couple of flat-bed trailers, a bunch of 3/4 ton and 2 1/2 ton trucks, jeeps and mules and trailers) and buried it. A couple of million dollars worth of stuff, “Charlie” didn’t even have to blow it up. I would bet that the Vietnamese came back later and dug it all up and put it back to work. Like the Jeep that took a mortar hit that gutted it, and Sarge put the carcass on the dump outside the wire, and a few days later the resurrected vehicle was being driven proudly around by Vietnamese in the little village adjacent to the base.

      “Terrifying nightmare of world peace:” indeed. Not going to happen. Too many people like Bolton, and too many others getting rich in small ways and large out of the Enterprise. And of course there are actually War Lovers, who get off on the combat, or love the warm strength of their Band of Brothers experiences, and the meaning it gives to their lives, and the opportunities to do what soldiers do,, so much so that even after they have limbs blown off or brain injuries they wil do darn near anything to get back to their brothers to support them in their kicking down doors and calling in air strikes and artillery and probing for IEDs with their boots and their Humvees, with no more mission than killing wogs and taking casualties that then require killing more wogs, so the corruption and violence and profit-taking can continue…

      1. RUKidding

        Thanks for your story of what went down way down yonder in Viet Nam.

        I worked for the US Army (fed worker, not enlisted) at AFRC in Garmisch Germany right after VN ended. I was a lowly restaurant worker at their recreation hotels and only worked there for about 9 months.

        But everyone (not me of course…) was doing some kind of black market scam with the PX there, and it was rife all over Germany at the time. These were cold war days with Germany still divided and the Wall in Berlin. It was one of our few peace times in my lifetime, but of course, the Military made the very most of the Cold War.

        Anyway, I personally witnessed a lot of scams going on, but all very low level stuff mainly along the lines of US workers or entisted personnel buying all kinds of stuff at the PX and then selling it “on the economy” (aka to Germans or others) at a higher price. I did know some who were doing bigger deals selling cars and motorcycles, which was clearly more dangerous than selling alcohol and cigarettes (those were popular items to boost).

        Because it was peacetime, there probably wasn’t quite the level of scam as what you depict during the Viet Nam war, but I had friends who served there and talked about the massive corruption. Many of my VN Vet friends came back so deeply cynical that they often refuse to bother vote at the federal level. They’ve assured me for decades now that it’s pointless… as in: everything’s pretty much locked in, and voting at the fed level is a mug’s game. Pretty much I have to agree.

      2. whine country

        Ah the good old days. I was wounded and dusted off to a field hospital and after emergency treatment assigned a bed to rest and recover. For five days, suffering also from exhaustion, I could barely remain awake long enough to eat one meal a day and relieve myself. I do remember one brief period when I struck up a conversation with another GI who was brought in to occupy the bunk next to mine. I can’t remember the nature of his wounds but I clearly recall him telling me details of his service in ‘Nam. He worked on the docks and according to him he worked for a GI run enterprise that would take containers of refrigerators and TVs along with whatever other saleable equipment was being shipped in country, load them on trucks and divert the goods to the black market. My neighbor went on to boast about all the money they were making and how his TOD was really going to do great things for his financial being in the long run. (Not to mention that he was living in a well equipped hooch with 8 to 5 working hours and a mama san to attend to his needs.) After a few conversations with him, I would drift off back into deep sleep each time until about a day or so later, I awoke to find that my neighbor had fled in the night. Not too long after, I was awakened by two armed MPs who wished to interrogate me as to what I knew about my neighbor and what knowledge I had about his whereabouts. (I had no idea) Today, I’m left to wonder why the MPs were after this poor guy – you know, animal spirits and the market being so critical to our collective well being. Never heard anything again about him but, upon reflection, I’m certain he was destined to eventually be recruited into the MIC.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Hmmm — was his first name “Milo,” by any chance?

          Though of course the reason the MPs would be looking for the actual fictional Milo would be to confirm some details of one of, or report on the status of one of, his many complex ‘transactions,” like when he cornered the world market in cotton, had to take delivery due to some financialized monetized globalized oversight, and then sought to launder the bolls and bales by dipping them in chocolate and making the troops eat them, “because it was their duty to the syndicate, in which they all had a share”… or when he arranged with the Germans to use the American squadron’s planes, flight crews, bombs and ammo to bomb and strafe their own (US) base for “cost plus 15 percent.” For none of which were there any consequences, to him at least, because everyone with any power was Milo’s friend…

          Thanks, I think, to Joseph Heller and “Catch-22,” for teaching me the sweetly bitter humor of cynicism, and the power of irony — of which there actually is dang little, when one thinks about it. The shameless and heartless rule the world, because unlike the mopery, they do have a consistent organizing principle, and concentrate their efforts on self-gain and self-pleasing.

          There’s what we think stuff (such as monads like “war”) is, and then there’s what it really is. The best observation from all the teachers I have ever had was from a political science prof: “Bear in mind always, that nothing is ever what you think it is.” I’ve been trying to see through to the real stuff ever since. Though whatever I discover, or think I have learned, is of course subject to that original caution, and any actual knowledge I gain is pretty much confined to my own little memory cortex. The Narrative rules, except on the rare occasions when it fails to obscure….

          Humans do what they do, and especially what they can get away with. Per Col. Pat Lang, USA (ret.) over at SST, that is the essence of history.

        2. Procopius

          Mention of “the docks” reminds me of the First Sergeant Major of the Army. About three months after he was appointed it was discovered he was getting a cut from a ring of Sergeants Major who ran the “clubs” in the Nam. Their scams and black market activities earned them millions. He was stripped of his position. I don’t remember if he was court martialed or not. I suppose I could look it up. I seem to recall that was about the time the CIA’s dummy airline, Air America, was revealed to be transporting opium from the Golden Triangle to Cam Ranh Bay for processing into heroin and sale to American troops. And of course later they “helped” the Contras in Nicaragua transport their heroin to Los Angeles and, I think, New Orleans.

      3. BrianStegner

        Yup, my buddy Mauser, a three-tour Marine vet, told me a lot of the exact same things. Poor Joey, he was up near or above the DMZ in one of those temporary “bases” that was a 500-pounder-created heli landing pad turned into a “base” working for a full colonel, and finally got transferred down to Saigon, taking “tonnage” reports over the phone, that “fat” life.. about three weeks before ’68 Tet. Brought a $20/day Saigon smack habit back stateside that was costing him $240/per over here… I put him up for a couple years ’69-71… and one dark night he just took a last walk onto pitch-dark Hiway 280… Gone, never forgotten…

  5. paul

    I hope yulia skripal had travel insurance.
    NHS England is taking health tourism rather seriously these days.

    Lawyers at Southwark Law Centre are fighting a similar case involving a man who arrived as a child more than 40 years ago from a Caribbean country who has also been told that he is not eligible for cancer treatment on the NHS. As a result of the Home Office decision to question his immigration status, he is living on local authority destitution support – having paid tax and national insurance for decades. After a legal challenge, he has received some treatment but he has been told he must pay for it.

    1. Harry

      Dont worry. From what i read this appears to on T May. I wonder who will pay for the relocation?

      Im also struck with the parallels to the Easter Story. They that were dead is saved, rejoice refoice! Of course Easter is much better documented with multiple sources and fewer holesin the story. But if we wait a couple of hundred years the miracle of the two saints who survived a nerve gas 8x stronger than vx will probably be considered scripture.

  6. WobblyTelomeres

    a new California measure would put the state in charge of setting prices for hospital stays, doctor’s visits and most other medical services covered by commercial insurers.

    Well, of course! There should be NO QUESTION about where to send the bribes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe, in Japan, the fee for each procedure and medication is set via negotiations between the government and physicians.

      Presumably, over there, physicians manufacture medication.

      From Wikipedia, Health care system in Japan:

      The negotiations determine the fee for every medical procedure and medication, and fees are identical across the country.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This is a more complete quote:

        Fees for all health care services are set every two years by negotiations between the health ministry and physicians. The negotiations determine the fee for every medical procedure and medication, and fees are identical across the country.

        Without adding pharmaceuticals, after physicians, it makes it look like Japanese doctors manufacture their own medicine.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And so, will it be that the state will set a price for each medication as well, like in Japan?

  7. allan

    A reminder that asset forfeiture is not always a bad thing:

    UAE denounces Somalia seizure of its plane, cash

    The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday denounced Somalia’s seizure of a civilian aircraft this week and its seizure of money on board, according to a statement on the state news agency WAM.

    “Money allocated to support the Somali army and trainees was seized at gunpoint by Somali security personnel, who disrespected some members of the UAE forces,” it said.

    Some $9.6 million in cash was taken from the plane that had landed from the UAE at Mogadishu airport …

    Who among us has not traveled in a private jet into a failed state and area of terrorist activity
    with $9.6 million in cash?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Well we barely made the airport
      For the last plane out
      As we taxied down the runway
      I could hear the people shout

      They said, Don’t come back here yankee
      But if I ever do
      I’ll bring more money
      ‘Cause all she wants to do is dance

      — Don Henley, All She Wants To Do Is Dance

    2. ambrit

      Pikers. We landed big jets, (ours are bigger!,) at Baghdad with pallets of hundreds onboard. Not millions but billions. And no one had to seize it. We gave it away. (After our ‘agents’ took their fair percentage.) “Billions for “defense” and not one cent for tribute!” (As can be seen by our PR, somethings other than our jets are bigger too.) As George MacDonald Fraser once had a character say; “I should shoot you between your legs and blow your brains out.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        I remember that story. It was actually Iraq’s money that the US had seized before the war and was legally required to safeguard and return to the Iraqis afterwards. Came in on pallet loads and I think that I recall seeing images of some servicemen playing football with a plastic wrapped bundle of cash.
        The whole thing was a rush job and there was no accounting where all that money went to which again they were legally required to do. I remember thinking at the time that at least the CIA has a lot more money to finance their future black ops now with the whole thing not having to appear on any books.

        1. JTMcPhee

          You can read an account of other transactions involving bricks and bundles of shrink-wrapped, used, non-sequential $100 bills in the CIA-approved account of one CIA paramilitary guy and his buddies “getting back in the game” in Afghanistan in the early days of the (shhhh, can’t say it any more) Global War on Terror: “First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan,”

          Where our really sharp intelligence spearheads got involved in the tribal mire in Taliban Afghanistan after Brezinski’s triumph in getting the Russians kicked out in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” setting the stage for “terrorists” to control most of the country. And used those bricks of US cash to “encourage” tribal leaders in one direction or another, in support of some grand geopolitical strategy or another. Which has really played out to the advantage of “US Interests” in the area, whatever those might be… The CIA guys learning some stuff about the meaning of “tribes with flags” and the shifting loyalties and allegiances in that part of the world, and that all the people in Afghanistan will happily take your money (and Viagra, another CIA inducement so the emirs could screw those little boys they favor, and then try to get you to cut their competitors’ throats for them and go on about their own lives between Hellfire and 2000-pound bomb hits and 30-mm depleted-uranium shells stitching a very tight seam across the landscape…

          Trillions have disappeared. It was not just that diversion and vanishment of “Iraqi” money…

    3. Ford Prefect

      The joys of unrestrained libertarianism and Second Amendment rights. This is what true freedom looks like.

  8. Wukchumni

    Trump to decide on Syria response ‘very quickly’ FT
    “A wise man does not try to hurry history. Many wars have been avoided by patience and many have been precipitated by reckless haste.”~ Adlai Stevenson

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      A great quote. And as Greenwald pointed out on democracy now, the fools in the yellow press cheer leading for DJT to lead the rush to war are the same ones claiming that he is too reckless, impulsive and mentally unstable to be President.

      It is sickening beyond belief to see what we’ve become.

  9. Romancing The Loan

    The real estate billionaire appearing in the comments of the NYT article about him to spew arrogant condescension and open malice at the little people criticizing him really is something else. They have no idea how vulnerable they are, none at all.

    1. kurtismayfield

      They have won everything they wanted during the past 40 years. Why should they expect anything to change.

      Call me when the estate tax gets reinstated, and when capital gains go up.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Yes. Letting that bonehead hang himself in comments with his welter of sub-literate responses is no payback for being forced to ‘cover’ him and his daddy’s empire to begin with. It’s clever and cruel, and typical of how the upstairs servants at the Times handle these sort of unpleasantries, but the rich stay rich through it all.

        I’m not seeing any class vulnerability on display here.

    2. RUKidding

      But are they really vulnerable? I’m not so sure. The US populace is so complaint and lazy. I cannot see them getting offa their butts to do anything, including all the 2d Amend types. Why shouldn’t the mega wealthy be arrogant and condescending to us? We LET them plunder and pillage us. seriously.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        I don’t think a storming of the Bastille is imminent or even likely, but we’ve already proven we’ll elect literally anyone who promises major change. A Putin-type who “reins in our oligarchs” would be insanely popular almost no matter what else he or she did, and I find it unlikely that no one’s even going to try. This sort of wealth concentration gets societies in a very tippy condition regardless of how beaten down its populace (you can call it lazy if you like), and at that point Mr. Real Estate Dynasty is going to look like an easy and safe target to his fellow wolves.

  10. Wukchumni

    Why America’s Two Top Fighter Jets Can’t Talk to Each Other Bloomberg
    I remember reading a 1939 Life magazine article in regards to our tanks @ the time, and the way the driver knew to make a turn, was when one of the crew that was his eyes, was above him in the turret with his head out slightly, and his indication to make a turn, was either a slight poke on the driver’s left or right shoulder.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Right there, one can see the need for self-driving tanks.

      “Scan for lane dividers and obliterate them.”

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The Slowly Building Anger in the UK at the Government’s Handling of the Skripal Case”

    Excellent summary. It seems that everything about this case is going away. The tweets that Boris sent, directly indicting the Russians have been deleted. The remains of the two guinea pigs and the black, Persian cat have been incinerated so that nobody can ever do tests on them ever again. The Skripals themselves are disappearing off the radar map with talk about putting them in protective custody in a western country. The house that the Skripals lived in is due to be demolished. The pub that they went to as well as the restaurant they they ate in is also apparently going to be demolished. Wouldn’t be surprised if after a few months Google drops this story from its rankings. It’s almost like, kinda like, as if someone had something to hide.

    1. JTMcPhee

      …but of course the effluvium and miasma of this stinking t@rd of the Narrative will persist as Truth in the minds of the millions, enough millions to serve the purpose, long after the Ministry of Truth has moved on to new conquests over reality and decency… which of course is the whole point.

      Hardly even worth noting or repeating the statement attributed to Herman Goering there in Spandau Prison, about how the mopes can be brought to a frothing state of demand for WAR! WAR! WAR!…

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      It seems that everything about this case is going away.

      Except, of course, for the people who made it all up and tried to sell it as the “truth.”

    3. Roland Chrisjohn

      Can anyone provide an estimate of what “Skripal Theatre” has cost; I mean, things like (1) the salaries of all those people, parading around in space suits, (2) space-suit transportation and deployment, (3) front-door removal and transportation, (4) almost (?!) countless but certainly pointless chemical analyses (it costs me $100 to get my water tested once a year, here in Canada), since the govt. knew there was nothing to “find,” (5) the “relocation” of Julia, (6) and any other number of face-saving, façade-creating stage-products, minor players, and their logistics? I constantly see the governments here spending hundreds of thousand/millions on theatre (Canada’s “sesquicentennial” being the latest) while pleading penury for water treatment, woman’s shelters, suicide prevention, etc. I’d just like to ask someone with more experience with this, and a better grasp of the bucks involved, to let me know how much cash is simply being publically burned here (which I haven’t seen too many people complaining about yet). Thanks.

      1. begob

        Also the cost to Salisbury’s businesses. The centre was reported as having gone ghost town for a couple of weeks. I think I read the government offered £1m in support.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Other places, it’s chalked up under “collateral damage.” Toughsky sh!tsky, as Stalin Putin (or Cheney or Mad Albright or HRC or O’ImprettygoodatkillingpeopleBama and Nuland and now Bolton and May and Boris Jonson would no doubt say…

            Hey, that guy’s name is BORIS! Isn’t that ipso facto res ipsa loquitur qoud est demonstrandum res judicata PROOF that HE IS A RUSSIAN PLANT?????

    4. RUKidding

      I confess to lazy ignorance. I’ve only skimmed the very surface of this incident and know just the basics.

      Is there any skinny out there on what REALLY happened? Why? Who did it?

      I’m probably being stupid just asking these questions – eh? But as time has gone on, it clearly appears that it’s some sort of false flag. Or am I deluded?

      Thanks. Not snark.

      1. begob

        The OPCW reports this week, maybe next. On another forum I saw someone accidentally refer to never agent.

  12. Kevin

    Corporate America spooked a bit….?

    via Political Calculations:
    March 2018 saw the second-largest ever number of dividend cuts be declared by U.S. firms and funds in a single month. The month’s 92 dividend cuts reported was just one shy of the record 93 cuts that were recorded during the Great Dividend Raid of 2012, when the very real threat of greatly higher taxes on dividends taking effect in 2013 prompted U.S. firms to drain money from the accounts they had set up to pay dividends in 2013 to instead pay out before the end of 2012 to avoid a major income tax hit.

  13. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    Military Truth:

    The cynic in me sees the non-existential wars as part of the legitimacy machine. How are the military to gain kudos if there is no action in which to gain medals and rapid battlefield promotion? Where would the US President’s bolstering generals get their legitimacy from if not from constant war? Aside from this, what better way to test man, machine and logistics systems in what amounts to live exercises?

    That this situation is immoral is obvious to any critical observer. Due to arrogance of power, and the usual evils of institutions with respect to outsiders, the military holds civilians in contempt – hence the almost child-like defensive language that the military reverts to.

    Suck it up!


  14. Rob P

    The Cohen raid is a clever move by Mueller. He’s planning for the #Russiagate endgame.

    He doesn’t have many good options right now. Finding evidence of Russia collusion would be great, but it doesn’t look likely at this point. Trying to get Trump on obstruction of justice for firing Comey is a stretch, and an attempt to impeach Trump over something like that would most likely backfire and help Trump. His best option is to somehow get fired by Trump, so #Russiagaters can say he was right about to finally uncover the collusion evidence before Trump got rid of him.

    Will Trump fall for Mueller’s provocation and fire him? We’ll see.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s just possible Trump thinks the investigation is working in his favor – because so far, it is. All they’ve found is minor peculation and some fibbing. Nothing exciting, despite the Dems; best efforts to inflate the picture. If it keeps up that way, Trump is way ahead. If the economy doesn’t collapse, he’ll likely be re-elected.

  15. The Rev Kev

    This story is developing quickly. The USS Donald Cook is already on the scene and the USS Porter is on the way, both ships packing Tomahawk missiles while Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet has been placed on high alert. The Russians have an aircraft watching out for missile launches out to sea while inland they have been jamming GPS receivers in US drones to stop information targeting.
    The UK and France may provide their forces to an attack to give any operation some sort of semblance to an international effort. Tony Blair, former British prime minister, has said that Theresa May should back US military action in Syria and that she did not require parliamentary consent. Then again he would say that, wouldn’t he.
    Meanwhile in Douma, a specialist team from the Russians have inspected the area and visited the hospital and come up with no chemical weapons attack. The Red Crescent investigated and also found the same. No word yet on when an international team of investigators will go there even though the Syrians and Russians have promised to safeguard them. Oddly enough, no members of the White Helmets were in the hospital which one would expect from handling people with chemical weapons on them.
    Trump may order an attack to look Presidential and also to distract people from his political troubles. That raid on his lawyer’s office may even have been a way to pressure him with whatever private agreements were on file there. I think though that the Russians are in no mood to sit back and to see their people targeted yet once again. I have no idea how this will play out. Even when the Israelis launched that missile attack, they did it out to sea over Lebanon’s coastline and were not game to actually fly over even Lebanon itself. Not after that F-16 was shot down.
    Why is this happening? I think that it is because the west lost in Syria. The Syrian have been fighting for years and are now winning. Jihadist stronghold after stronghold is being taken and the endgame is in sight. This whole bogus operation, I think, is the west trying one last time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Otherwise Syria, and by extension Russia, Iran and Hezbollah win.
    Perhaps I should leave it to the words of Tucker Carlson to provide a voice of reason-

    1. Carolinian

      And if one of those ships get sunk which could easily happen? The problem is that the US thinks it can go around bombing people with impunity and presidents, including Trump, think nobody in Congress—the only body given war making powers by the Constitution–will object. Meanwhile that other supposed check on executive power which is the press is gung ho for war.

      This country desperately needs another political party that will openly oppose US imperialism and the rule by an increasingly bonkers upper class. Calls for reforming the Dems are the weakest of tea at this point. By the time the Democrats get a clue we all may be cinders.

      1. RenoDino

        The NYT trains its thought cannons on the very same questions and concludes we don’t need to ask for permission or forgiveness. Some crimes just require a lynch mob response, after careful consideration of all the unnecessary legal mumbo-jumbo protocol, or course. Trump is their guy, they just can’t say it.

      2. polecat

        “By the time the Democrates get a clue, we all may be cinders.”

        Maybe that’s when the change begins …. One • Mutation • After • Another !

      3. OIFVet

        The US and its Euro poodles either do not understand that Russia’s “red line” in Syria is real, or think that they can somehow survive WW3. Shame if we have to come to an end over lies, egos, and desire to hold on to imagined “dominance” at all costs. Russia is not bluffing. I only hope the end will be quick.

      4. integer

        This country desperately needs another political party that will openly oppose US imperialism and the rule by an increasingly bonkers upper class. Calls for reforming the Dems are the weakest of tea at this point. By the time the Democrats get a clue we all may be cinders.

        Old habits die hard, and the years pass by. The D party is an energy sink.

    2. Edward E

      USS Harry Truman strike group is setting sail for the Med loaded with special golf balls afaik, I’m getting spammed so hard and losing signals. Go up to Hollister & Branson I can do something but not much here. So I rely on you folks and Corbett folks

      1. Jim Haygood

        Everybody knows:

        If Trump decides to authorize a military intervention in Syria … it would put to rest suspicions that Trump is being influenced by Putin, while also creating a major spectacle to draw eyeballs away from Mueller.

        Feels like a soft coup d’etat underway.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Stay tuned. Don’t change that channel.

          Coming up later this month – more tariffs perhaps (if Trump intends to compete with Muelller)

          And next month – meeting with Kim over a nice Bibimbap dinner (more ketchup on my beef!!!).

        2. integer

          Feels like a soft coup d’etat underway.

          The enforcers of the “liberal international order” (i.e. the globalist warmongers) appear to have decided to go “all in”. Assange is in solitary confinement (in the UK), the coverup of Skripalgate is underway (in the UK), and a false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria is being unquestioningly attributed to Assad (the occurrence of which is based solely on assertions from the White Helmets, a UK founded propaganda outfit). At the beginning of Skripalgate, I speculated that after the CIA became frustrated by Trump’s reluctance to join them in demonizing Putin, they decided to partner with MI6 and move the front line of their anti-Russian operation (code name Operation Beluga, apparently) to the UK, and I am now more convinced that this is the case than I was then. We’ll see what happens, however it appears by using this approach they have successfully managed to rally Trump to their cause, and by extension, the US military, the control over which is essential for their warmongering plans.

    3. Montanamaven

      I’m glad you posted the Tucker Carlson opinion piece from last night. He seems a lone voice on the mainstream news for healthy skepticism as to beating the drums of war. And he has his facts straight about the bogus story of the chemical attack last year in Syria. I actually cried a bit when I watched this last night because he is a lonely voice of reason. Kind of like Phil Donahue before the Iraq War. Will they dare to dump Tucker?

    4. Ignacio

      Apparently chlorine was used in Iraq and attributed to Al Qaeda. Now in Siria it is attributed to the Sirian government. It is not an “efficient” chemical weapon, so it cannot be considered as a weapon of mass destruction. Given how fake news spread during this war (any war) it is reasonable to cast doubt on any claim made by any player in the conflict.

      If the OPCW is allowed to examine the facts and finds evidence for chlorine this does not demonstrate who used it and for what reason. My guess is there will be another attack from the US. Another provocation. Hopefully this doesn’t result in further scalation…

    5. Procopius

      That raid on his lawyer’s office may even have been a way to pressure him with whatever private agreements were on file there.

      No, that won’t fly. The only documents that the State Attorney can see are those that do not have a client involved. Any document that implicates Trump or any of Cohen’s other clients must be excluded from material given to the prosecution team, unless it is obviously part of a conspiracy to commit a crime. Department of Justice procedures require that all material taken in applying the search warrant must be reviewed by a completely separate team of attorneys to make sure attorney-client confidentiality is not breached. That makes this action very hazardous for the prosecution. If Cohen later can show that even one document used by the prosecution was protected under attorney-client confidentiality, he can probably get the whole case (whatever it may be) thrown out.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Miracle in Fremont:

    Our best estimate is that Tesla has manufactured 14,674 Model 3s so far, and is now building approximately 2,394 a week.

    The Bloomberg Model 3 tracker relies on data from official U.S. government resources, social media reports, and direct communication with Tesla owners.

    Elon’s moved into a mezzanine office on the factory floor, littered with pizza cartons and diet coke cans, and all’s well with the world. :-)

    1. John k

      I thought they would reach 2500/wk by June. If you’re right they’ll beat that. Far higher than Chevy volt etc.
      Reports say it drives very well but has reliability issues… German cars have had bouts of that. Buyers put up with that because they drive well… plus They’ll get better. This is new tech new model , after all.
      What is the long term demand after subsidy expires, I guess mid 2019? Prices will come down as tech matures. E cars much simpler than IC, will inherently be much more reliable.

      Most here think subsidy should be permanent, and or fossil subsidies like depletion allowance should end?

  17. perpetualWAR

    The article about the yield curve is behind a paywall.

    However, Jim Haygood has been commenting on the reversing yield curve. Even though I read a lot about finance on this blog, I don’t understand the significance of a yield curve. Can anyone point me to an article that would explain to me why the reversing of the yield curve is worrisome?

    1. begob

      Ed Harrison at creditwritedowns has a long-running watch on the prospect of inversion – I think he reckons sometime 2019.

    2. Jim Haygood

      This New York Fed article titled “The Yield Curve as a Predictor of U.S. Recessions” is from 1996:

      After its publication, the yield curve went on to invert in Aug 2000 (3-mo yield of 6.13% above the 10-yr yield of 5.73%) and remained inverted till Dec 2000, three months before the 2001 recession began.

      In July 2006 the yield curve did it again, as the 3-mo yield of 4.92% exceeded the 10-year yield of 4.74%. It stayed inverted until April 2007. A recession began in Dec 2007.

      A model that carries on working after its publication is impressive. Today the 3-mo yield of 1.74% is 106 basis points below the 10-yr yield of 2.80%. The 2-yr yield, which often gives an earlier signal of inversion, is 2.30% or 50 basis points below the 10-yr yield.

      Should the 10-yr yield hold steady, two more rate hikes could invert the 2 yr-10 yr yield curve. St Louis Fed president James Bullard has sounded the alarm, but Lord Japewell declared, “Damn the icebergs, hike again!

      1. perpetualWAR

        Thank you both.
        That is not good news.
        I need to get moved and working before the BOOM! hits.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Sinclair the broadcaster reminds me of Sinclair the oil company. Whose mascot was a dinosaur.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Short answer: the Sinclair thing is yet another deflection to make the equally corrupt MSM appear virtuous. Were Sinclair not a right-leaning corporation, you’d never have heard a peep of complaint.

  18. RenoDino

    This story is about an ETF that uses AI exclusively to invest the fund’s assets. The people who run the fund want to know the reasoning behind the fund’s investments. Basically, they are just guessing. There is a hands-off policy when it comes to what the computer does.

    The time is now upon us when much of human speculation and reporting will be about why a computer decided to do this or that. Finacial news reporting is leading the way as it reports about a market that is traded for, the most part by, computers.

    Soon, all of will accept decisions made for us every day by AI. For the most, we will accept our fate.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Blind faith:

      Tammer Kamel, CEO of Quandl, says, “I get it. In the early stages, you want to see if this thing is incorrectly programmed or has bugs—yeah, you have to watch out for that. But sooner or later, you have to take the reins off and trust in the technology.

      HA HA HA — mind the lane dividers!

  19. crittermom

    When I read stories about WF once again facing huge fines, or a class-action lawsuit against Navient regarding student loans, I must agree with Lambert: “Wake me when executives no longer have impunity from criminal prosecution.”

    I’m reminded of the class-action suit I was automatically involved in against Chase Bank.

    Wow. Biggest ‘fine’ evah regarding fcra abuses. $8.75M

    Uh, huh. My compensation from all that money amounted to exactly $8.90.
    The lawyers got a couple M, & the majority of the victims ‘settlement’ was paid out to cover the costs of Chase setting up a website, 800#, & all those mailings to tell us they screwed us. (Read the victims relief in red at bottom of link)
    Those costs were paid for by us victims while the attorneys made out well regardless.

    Basically, I see Chase as getting rewarded as I suspect they were able to write off all those costs (that came out of our ‘settlement’).

    IOW, we victims saw no relief financially other than a huge insult.
    But of course, the lawyers were well paid no matter how little we actual victims received.

    And, as usual, Chase admitted no wrongdoing.

    Yeah. Wake me…

    1. perpetualWAR

      I just received a check from a Wells Fargo settlement that was $1.00.
      Not only did I laugh, a sick laugh, but a laugh nonetheless…..but so did the teller who cashed the check. I asked for it all in big bills.

      1. crittermom

        I regret not making a copy of my check to frame before depositing it.

        I did call one of the attys who handled the class-action suit I was in–twice–to tell him what I thought of their ‘lawyering’. I made sure he understood I was not happy, despite the fact I knew he didn’t care when I got the response of “It was the best we could do”, to which I replied, “for whom?”.

        I love the fact you asked for yours in big bills.

    1. Procopius

      Oh, dear, I so enjoy despising that man, why does he have to go and actually state the truth for once?

  20. BrianStegner

    1st item under “Links” says: “Independent” but goes to a pay-walled Telegraph page. Not helpful

  21. johnonamous

    On the antidote du jour: so it looks like the the DOD has finally perfected the vertical take off and landing (VTOL) squirrel. A Harrier Squirrel? What could be the uses?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Better attacks on bird feeders. The VTOL Squirrel will be able to descend from above, thereby defeating the grease that those darn humans applied to the feeder pole.

  22. burlesque

    re: ACE Submarine Cable Cut Impacts Ten Countries

    I would never have the slightest interest in submarine cables (and their cuttings) except that I recently re-read Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. After the eBook ends there is a reprint of an article originally published in WIRED magazine in 1996 all about submarine cables “chronicling, among other mighty techno-feats, the laying of the longest wire on earth (i.e., some of the research that contributed to Cryptonomicon).”
    I recommend the article entitled Mother Earth Mother Board to all Neal Stephenson or submarine cable geeks.

  23. ChrisPacific

    The online gaming article is interesting in that the signatories are mostly the bigger gaming shops that might theoretically be expected to benefit from being able to muscle out smaller competitors. The fact that they are opposed anyway suggests that either their opposition is ideological or that they fear being squeezed out by even bigger fish sharing the same pipes, like the media companies for example. This may be a legitimate concern as gaming traffic has quite different characteristics from e.g. streaming – the volume is typically very low in comparison, but latency and reliability are critically important.

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