Links 4/18/18

Our mini-fundraiser for Water Cooler is on! As of this hour, 47 donors — our goal is 275 –have already invested to support Water Cooler, which provides both economic and political coverage, to help us all keep our footing in today’s torrent of propaganda and sheer bullsh*t. Independent funding is key to having an independent editorial point of view. Please join us and participate via Lambert’s Water Cooler Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, PayPal, or even the US mail. To give more, click on the arrow heads to the right of the amount. Thanks to all!

Yves here. I’ve never had so many animal stories in a single day…wonder what this portends (along with the epic Daily Mail story toward the end of Links…)

A Pet Raccoon Got High as Hell and Firefighters Had No Idea What to Do Vice

Baboons cleverly plot escape from Texas research facility BoingBoing (David L). What a terrible enclosure. Nothing green in it at all. Can’t they have some shrubs or potted trees?

Court Refuses to Toss Lawsuit Between Monkey and Photographer PetaPixel (David L)

Hundreds of Huge Sharks Are Gathering in Mysterious Swarms, And Nobody Knows Why Science Alert (David L)

‘Ghost net’ found off Cayman Cayman Compass :-(

EXCLUSIVE – The Queen is left heartbroken by the death of her last corgi: Devoted companion Willow, who appeared in James Bond Olympics sketch, dies at the age of 14 Daily Mail

Russia going kitty crazy amid falling ruble RT (Kevin W)

Diamonds in Sudan meteorite ‘are remnants of lost planet’ Guardian (Kevin W)

Computer Model Offers New Insights Into Yellowstone’s Dreaded Supervolcano Gizmodo (David L)

San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble New York Times (David L)

Airlines back creation of global drone registry: IATA Reuters

New York’s attorney general is investigating bitcoin exchanges The Verge

Artificial intelligence is writing fairy tales now, and humanity is doomed Entertainment (David L)

More than 95% of world’s population breathing unhealthy air, says new report CNN

North Korea

US in direct talks with N Korea – Trump BBC

Why the Trump-Kim talks will fail Asia Times


India calms cash crunch worries, will ensure adequate currency supply Reuters. Lambert: “If you gotta say it…”

Cash crunch: ATMs are getting only 30% of cash they ask for Economic Times (J-LS)

Current cash crunch shines a light on Modi government’s fundamental incompetence Scroll (J-LS)

German recession signal soars to ‘danger level’ as global woes mount Telegraph (David L) versus Lies, damn lies, and charticles FT Alphaville

Government defends ‘truly shocking’ decision to destroy Windrush landing cards Evening Standard. Kevin W:

Between 1948 to 1971, thousands of emigrants from Caribbean countries arrived in the UK and are called the Windrush generation named after a passenger ship back then. The children of this generation are now finding that their right to stay in the UK is in doubt, though they arrived with their parent. Some have been imprisoned as illegal aliens, others denied access to the NHS, etc. The landing card would have established their identity but they were destroyed back in 2010 by the Home Office. The person running that back then? Theresa May – so this is a growing mess of her own making.


State warns explicitly of need for Brexit talks progress on Border Irish Times. An exceptionally dull title for an important story.

New Cold War

Living in Goebbels Land Craig Murray

U.S.-U.K. Warning on Cyberattacks Includes Private Homes New York Times (David L)


Trump‘s Red Line Seymour M. Hersh, Die Welt

The Search for the Truth in Douma Robert Fisk, Counterpunch

Claims about Syria Attack “Unraveling” Institute for Public Accuracy

Rand Paul Tells Wolf Blitzer He Thinks Syria Gassing Was False Flag Defend Democracy (furzy)

Israel Conferred With U.S. on Strike in Syria to Target Iranian War Gear Wall Street Journal

Imperial Collapse Watch

America First—R.I.P. David Stockman (RR)

IRS Gives Taxpayers an Extra Day to File After Computer Crash Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook admits tracking users and non-users off-site Guardian

Trade Traitors

In new sign of trade battle, China slaps U.S. sorghum producers with 179 percent deposit Washington Post (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Arming the world: Inside Trump’s ‘Buy American’ drive to expand weapons exports Reuters (Bill B)

Haley fires back at White House: ‘I don’t get confused’ The Hill. She’s not long for her job. You don’t make your principal look bad.

Senate Won’t Consider Measure to Protect Mueller, McConnell Says Bloomberg

Former FCC Broadband Panel Chair Arrested for Fraud DSL Reports

Senator Sanders introducing bill targeting opioid manufacturers Reuters (furzy)

Unaffiliated Primary Voters Sanders Institute (UserFriendly)

Power to the party: Why political reforms can be bad for democracy Yahoo. Webstir: “I just don’t even know where to begin …”


Grandmother, 49, will NOT be charged for shooting machete-wielding home-invader with a CROSSBOW after outrage at the arrest of pensioner who killed burglar Daily Mail

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Diante Yarber: Police kill black father with barrage of bullets in Walmart parking lot Guardian

From “Probable Cause” to “Reasonable Suspicion”: The Subversion of the Fourth Amendment Truthout. Important.

Starbucks Is Closing Thousands of Stores for Racial Bias Training. Here’s How Much Money It Could Lose Time. This is at least an attempt at a response adequate to the scale of the problem. But does anyone believe a half day of training will make a difference? One of the things Malcolm Gladwell found in Blink when he looked at abusive police conduct (IIRC in Los Angeles), it was a power law distribution. A very few cops were responsible for virtually all the incidents. That meant the answer was not training but getting those cops off the street and probably out of the police force entirely. But Starbucks can’t afford more incidents like that, nor is there a credible way to test for bigotry ex ante.

The Big Tax Lie: Corporations Should Stop Complaining About Taxes They Rarely Paid American Prospect

KY Retirement Systems ignored adviser’s warning to avoid risky hedge funds, suit says Lexington Herald Leader (Chris Tobe)

California’s largest pension fund sends next year’s invoice to state government: $6.3 billion Los Angeles Times (jpr)

The Federal Reserve is Not a Private Bank – A Response to Counterpunch Real Progressive. I regularly have to rebut the nonsense that the Fed is private. Glad someone took this on. The bit about the stock is even worse than what the author depicts. The member holdings in the Fed are non-voting preferred stock. They confer no managerial or control rights whatsoever.

Supreme Court Divided on Sales Taxes for Online Purchases New York Times (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

The Restaurant Industry Ran A Private Poll On the Minimum Wage. It Did Not Go Well For Them. Intercept

Amazon has shelved a plan to sell drugs to hospitals, and insiders say there are two reasons why CNBC. I am sure this scheme was central to that Amazon-Buffet-Dimon announcement of a month of so ago that they were gonna fix healthcare. Guess what, healthcare is really big and messy! And private equity already had a go at hospitals and got a big black eye.

Nearly One-Third Of U.S. Lottery Winners Declare Bankruptcy SafeHaven

Antidote du jour (Robert H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Antidote du jour (Robert H):

    The other cat is looking like “I told ya it was slippery”

    1. Susan the other

      agree. and I love the story of the loaded pet raccoon. I think that’s pompous Pence’s state, isn’t it?

  2. Brooklin Bridge

    Washington’s Blog has an interesting article on the Skripal poisoning,
    An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery – Gareth Porter

    The gist is that a quantity of the nerve agent, A-234, was sold to the underworld in the 1990’s and has since broken down to the point that it is no longer lethal.

    Exposure to even a large dose of such a normally lethal poison more than 25 years after it was first produced could account for theapparent lack of normal symptoms associated with exposure to that kind of nerve agent experienced by the Skripals, as well as for their relatively speedy recovery. That lends further credibility to a possible explanation that someone with a personal grudge against Sergei Skripal carried out
    the poisoning.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Didn’t link to it because it buys the premise that the incident was nerve poisoning. Nerve poisons work virtually instantly. Think of what bug spray does to bugs.

      1. uxxx

        instantly — ?when inhaled? I don’t know anything about nerve agents specifically but as you probably know with drugs in general, the time to get into the bloodstream depends on how they enter the body. Stomach is slow, esp. with food. Thru skin is slow and doensn’t work for a lot of drugs. Lungs and are extremely fast. Injection is fastest.

        1. Carl W

          We were taught in my NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) training in the Army that nerve agents work in a matter of seconds. It was drilled into us how important it was to get your NBC gear on and functional immediately upon first sign of nerve agent poisoning in you or any of your fellow soldiers.

      2. kemerd

        Lavrov said that the concentration of A-234 on the samples were extremely high and that it was also in so called “virgin” form, i.e. not yet decomposed inside the body. Apparently, this particular molecule quickly decomposes when interacting with the bodily fluids. He obviously insinuates that A-234 was added to the samples after they were taken from the victims’ body. And, he cites the swiss lab for this finding: very hard to argue against.

      3. Susan the other

        this was some good digging by Porter. He used to make good comments here on NC. The article made sense to me on several levels – the obvious one is that the OPCW is more than a tad toothless even if it does its work meticulously. And now I’m wondering why, if nerve gas decomposes over a 20 year span, is it necessary to build a hazmat incinerator with a smoke stack all the way to heaven to destroy it?

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          (fwiw) As I read the article , it is only A-234 being described as breaking down like this. That might suggest that at least some, if not most, other such nerve agents do not break down; at all, so quickly, etc.

      4. Brooklin Bridge

        Buried in the article, the author claims that,

        But the official Russian forensic investigation in conjunction with the Kivelidi’s[*] murder, as reported by Novaya Gazeta [a highly independent Russian New Paper], concluded that the Novichok did not take effect instantaneously but generally took from one and a half to five hours.

        * Kivelidi was murdered in 1995 by the same agent applied to his telephone which is where (and when?) Novaya Gazeta got/published the information.

        Then, Porter also claims that “A-234”–one of the nerve agents in the Novichok series” that was found in traces in the Skripal’s blood broke down by 2%- 3% yearly and therefore would not be lethal after 25 years.

  3. fresno dan

    From “Probable Cause” to “Reasonable Suspicion”: The Subversion of the Fourth Amendment Truthout. Important.

    On March 9, Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell was taking his daily stroll when Case Western Reserve University police officers stopped him on campus near his home. Minutes before, a Case Western student had called dispatch to complain about a Black man wearing a blue hat and tan coat who was mumbling through missing teeth. Conwell supposedly “fit the description.”

    Case Western police thought it reasonable to stop a councilman taking his daily walk through campus because he wore the same color hat and coat (and had the same color skin) as a street-corner mumbler.
    Mumbling is a crime????
    When I talk to myself, I don’t speak too loudly….lest I be put away. Now it turns out, speaking softly might get me put away as well…..
    Pretty soon (if not already), suspicion of bad thoughts will get you incarcerated….

        1. Procopius

          Forget it. The Fourth Amendment is too inconvenient for the Security State. The Supreme Court has been chipping away at it for years. It’s even more moribund than the Fifth Amendment. Or the Sixth. Is there any State that actually tries to provide competent counsel to a defendant? And the Supremes have continually narrowed “standing,” so fewer and fewer people have a right to appeal to a court for redress.

    1. Jean

      Am getting tired of the racial divisiveness of articles like this.

      “The supreme court gave police the right to stop black people.”

      The erosion of constitutional civil rights affects everyone.

      Many poor whites who might happen to read this article may well think;
      “Oh well, it doesn’t affect me because all they talk about are other people.”

      1. diptherio

        Was discussing this on our radio show for our local community station here this morning and we made very sure to stress the “this effects everybody” angle. Agree that trying to shove everything into a racial analysis is unhelpful, and isn’t going to help this become an issue of mass concern, imho.

        1. Lambert Strether

          “First, they came for the canaries in the coalmine….”

          I don’t think we can get away from power differentials based on what Reed calls ascriptive identity, and they come for those with less power first. But the dynamic is “those with less power. If all people with “black skin” (however described) were magically given “white skin” (ditto) tomorrow, then they’d come from the mumblers, or those with bad teeth.

          The difficulty with “it affect everybody” is two-fold: First, people are affected differentially; second, those affected diffentially tend to be asked to set aside the particularity of their experiences for the sake of the general good that so conspicuously does not benefit them.

          I’m not sure how to get this into a sound-byte though. Solidarity just isn’t seen as a value now (one of the subtle but fabulously destructive results of conservative “family values” rhetoric.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Your point struck me as well, but generally the article made a pretty good broad description of the problem such as, “The American Revolution was largely a reaction against Redcoats policing colonists as if they were all suspects.[…]” which raised the issue to a general level.

        There is sometimes a fine line not easy to navigate between making the very valid point that Blacks are the ones who suffer most from a law or situation while also being clear that it affects poor whites, hispanics, and so on as well.

        It is important to hammer home that for blacks far more than for most other minorities (American Indians being a special exception), just being black is often in itself a crime. A truly horrible situation that MUST be addressed.

        1. bayoustjohndavid

          I think Jean’s only half-right. I’ve been Terry-stopped several times in my life, but haven’t been in a few years. In my 20’s & 30’s, substance abuse (mostly alcohol) might have made me look suspicious, but throughout my 40’s (after I stopped drinking) I got Terry stopped a few times a year. I assumed that walking for pleasue, or to get somewhere, paying more attention to your surroundings than the swing of your hands looks suspicious if you’re not both white and well-dressed/well-groomed. My guess is that most poor whites have been Terry-stopped too, especially in their younger years. So, poor whites who read the article won’t think “doesn’t bother me,” they’ll think “WTF!, white people get stopped too.” If you’re apparently middle-class and white, cops will ignore you, but not poorer looking whites.

          However, I doubt that black people stop looking suspicious to police at some point in their 50’s, and it’s obvious that well-dressed black men get stopped more often than well-dressed white men, so there’s obviously a racial component. Still, I was turned 0ff by the repeated use of “walking while black.” Depending on the other content of the article, overuse of the words “white” and “black” usually indicate a writer that’s more interested in feeling self-righteous than getting the whole truth or building successful coalitions.

          I’m reminded of an article Lambert linked a couple of months ago:

    1. tegnost

      Yeah, Dick Cheney, a Shining Light of intellectual honesty… I said somewhere else, two sides of the right wing, no soup for the rest of us…

      1. Geo

        I’m with you on that. It frustrates me to no end how a few people in the right can get massive coverage for their rare instances of speaking out against our unbridled wars but those in the Left who have been correct about these many failed and illegal wars are relegated to further fringes if the media landscape every day. But, the right gets to define the national dialogue and the Left is mocked for its “purity” and “ponies”.

        In a society that cared one bit about truth the investigative journalists at McClatchy (formerly Knight Ridder) who were right about Iraq from day one would be the heads of the top media companies by now and the people at the major news outlets and neocons that keep cheerleading us into war would be writing their frothing calls to arms on lonely WordPress blogs.

  4. lakecabs

    I have always thought that member banks of the Federal Reserve could borrow money cheaper than everyone else.

    It seems the author left this out.

    Or perhaps I am wrong.

    1. diptherio

      You are referring to the Federal Funds market. Yes, banks can borrow from each other at cheaper rates than they lend to the rest of us. Your point is?

        1. todde

          actually the fed is audited. The foreign funds held by the fed isnt.

          It’s not a complete audit.

          1. barefoot charley

            Lest we forget (we have, and so has Google), an actual Fed audit happened precisely once. Ron Paul’s timely tin-foil antics documented that the Fed had given the world’s TBTF banks, not the $750 billion grudgingly approved by Congress, but more than $8 trillion. On the very day Congress had first overwhelmingly voted down the bailouts (they were disciplined back into line a week later), those massive bailouts began. All this was even (eventually) admitted in the New York Times, though I’ve not found an abracadabra to manifest those stories from the Webworks today. Our government most emphatically does not control the Fed.

    2. Susan the other

      It is as though the Federal Reserve and the private banks are wrapped in sufficient layers of corporatism to look private but in fact are all highly organized SOEs. Which could be good thing. imo. The Fed, along with Congress, Treasury and the Compt. of the Currency are the regulators of the banks. If we ended the Fed, the financial system would naturally be overseen directly by Treasury and Congress and we might be able to implement better regulation, even tho’ congress is owned by the big banks. Some stuff recently alluded to the bigs wanting to become utilities. But can utilities take the blame for running a financial war machine? Not really.

  5. zagonostra

    Ref: Living in Goebbels Land. I don’t understand UK politics; although off the subject of the article, can anyone explain where the outrage is in the populace over Julian Assange’s unlawful detention?

    Are the people as quiescent and cowed as they are here, in the States. Are they not capable of organizing (or spontaneous) mass unrest over May’s bellicose posturing toward Russia?

    (Only browsed at the David Stockman article, but it looks very interesting….thanks for posting).

    1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      I do not know how the Brits would compare to Americans, but we suffer from the same malaise. As for Assange – I imagine that due to our mainstream media that the public probably only receive negative information. Those who stick their heads over the parapet by protesting receive similar treatment, as has been constantly doled out to Corbyn, leaving many with the feeling of pointlessly banging their heads against a brick wall.

      The Marxist historian Brian Manning after years of research came to the conclusion that the rebels won the media war during the English Revolution or Civil War, by taking full advantage of the printing press woodcuts & the like – of course we forget but the elites don’t.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, saw another example of living in Goebbels land right here in Oz. On the news tonight was a brief segment where Macron was giving an address before the European Parliament on greater European unity on security issues. Stock standard stuff you might imagine but what was not covered was what he saw when he was giving his address. Go to the page at to see MPs holding up signs protesting his Syria strike. Now why was that not mentioned on the news?

  6. bassmule

    From the Seymour Hirsch story:

    “We do not share operational control with the Russians. We don’t do combined operations with them, or activities directly in support of one of their operations. But coordination is permitted. We keep each other apprised of what’s happening and within this package is the mutual exchange of intelligence. If we get a hot tip that could help the Russians do their mission, that’s coordination; and the Russians do the same for us. When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it.” “This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear.

    Now I understand why he can’t get published in the US. The MSM (with help from the Democratic Establishment) has made a concerted effort to paint the Russians as very bad guys. A story in which the Russians cooperate with US Military? And which makes the US look like the uncooperative partner? In the immortal words of Mrs. Clinton: “Never, ever!”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      From the David Stockman link:

      Here’s the thing. You simply can’t make up $500 billion worth of phony reasons for an Empire First national security policy without going off the deep-end. You have to invent missions, mandates and threats that are just plain stupid (like the purported Russian “occupation” of Crimea) or flat out lies (like Saddam’s alleged WMDs).

      Indeed, you must invent, nourish and enforce an entire universal narrative based on completely implausible and invalid propositions, such as the “indispensable nation” meme and the claim that global peace and stability depend overwhelmingly on Washington’s leadership?

      And you can’t sell any of the above without a “consolidated” media, thank you, bill clinton, and, more recently, a “social media” monopoly that takes its “responsibility” very seriously, and will work proactively to protect an unsuspecting public from “fake” news.

      1. Ignacio

        And you can’t sell any of the above without a “consolidated” media, thank you, bill clinton, and, more recently, a “social media” monopoly that takes its “responsibility” very seriously, and will work proactively to protect an unsuspecting public from “fake” news.

        Until recently I was not fully aware of how “consolidated” are the media, at least those that traditionally had larger audiences (talking about spanish media). Probably because I fled from these and now return to pulse the state of propaganda. Another thing I’ve learned is that those that make the loudest claims against fake news are precisely the most conspicuous generators. I feel grateful with NC and commentariat for helping me on this.

        I don’t now if this 2011 paper has been surveyed here anyway there it is:
        The network of global corporate control

        The structure of the control network of transnational corporations affects global market competition and financial stability. So far, only small national samples were studied and there was no appropriate methodology to assess control globally. We present the first investigation of the architecture of the international ownership network, along with the computation of the control held by each global player. We find that transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic “super-entity” that raises new important issues both for researchers and policy makers.

      2. Enquiring Mind

        Clinton scored, and Reagan gets an assist with his Fairness Doctrine dismantling. The general public didn’t even know it was supposed to be playing defense against its elected officials.

    2. bassmule

      Noticed that the dateline on this was last April. Is Trump going to make this an annual event?

  7. Jim Haygood

    From Ambrose E-P’s article on weakening Germany:

    Today the Fed is on the warpath. Joint production cuts by Opec and Russia have cleared the global oil glut. Brent crude prices have climbed back to $72 a barrel. Three-month Libor rates have jumped 60 basis points this year, hitting $9 trillion of floating contracts worldwide.

    The Fed has penciled in four rate rises this year. It is currently shrinking its balance sheet by $30bn a month. The pace of quantitative tightening (QT) will rise to $50bn a month in the fourth quarter.

    The Powell Fed no longer pays attention to monetary data and seems not to regard QT as significant. The Fed is therefore almost certain to keep tightening and keep raising rates until the economy breaks. This is the time-honoured cause of recessions.

    It’s the blunder of 1937 all over again. Not only did the Fed hike its discount rate, it also doubled the reserve ratio — a far more potent tool of contraction than was understood at the time. Promptly, the nascent recovery from 1933 collapsed.

    This time round, it’s rate hikes plus QT — an utterly imprudent combo, never before attempted, which will produce highly erratic results.

    Though the blessed Ambrose refrains from mentioning the rapidly flattening US yield curve, his conclusion is sound: the purblind planners will “keep tightening and raising rates until the economy breaks,” as they always do.

    Is the best of the free life behind us now
    And are the good times really over for good?

    — Merle Haggard

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A large bubble can cease to be a large bubble in 2 ways (I can think of):

      1. let the air out

      2. pump in more air. (here, air is continuously being supplied with the rates staying where they are – low. That is, low rates are not air, but fans, set at revolutions-per-minute corresponding to those rates)

      In short, what goes up must come down.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Oil is not a bubble (in my humble opinion) but it has a solid track record of popping financial bubbles — as in the last go-round (July 2008) when it reached $147 a barrel.

            Lehman Brothers went over the waterfall two months later.

              1. Wukchumni

                The grey mare is a capricious sort favored by non central bank types that aren’t hep to what the big boys are holding in their assorted vaults.

              2. Oregoncharles

                Not that I’m complaining, but why did it jump like that today? I don’t see anything relevant.

                  1. Oregoncharles

                    Because the Great Recession was at its depth, and it’s a resort to safety.

                    I don’t see a similar cause at the moment.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Good find. When fiscal and monetary policy are both restrictive, bad things happen:

        Roosevelt used a series of dramatic soak-the-rich measures. Some, like the Revenue Act of 1935, were designed simply to raise statutory rates. Others, like the Revenue Act of 1937, tried to close egregious loopholes. And one, the Revenue Act of 1936, imposed a new tax on undistributed corporate profits, which supporters believed would curb tax avoidance among wealthy shareholders.

        Evidently the Fed was blind to the fact that fiscal policy was already contractionary in 1936, without piling on discount rate and reserve ratio hikes.

        This time round fiscal policy is anything but restrictive. Yet the yield curve marches on toward inversion. Today the 2 yr yield has popped to 2.44% vs 2.85% for the 10 yr. Bond investors — considered the smart people in the room compared to stock punters — apparently do not expect the current expansion to carry on for another decade. Otherwise they would push the 10 yr yield up to the 4% rate of nominal GDP growth, which it should track theoretically.

        1. John k

          If investors control rates it would track anticipated 10-yr inflation plus a bit for uncertainty.
          If fed controls its whatever fed wants.
          This investor thinks inflation will be low, maybe very low.

      2. jsn

        Balancing the Budget was both Fed & Treasury policy at the time, heads of both institutions were replaced shortly thereafter.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Court Refuses to Toss Lawsuit Between Monkey and Photographer”

    And this is why the law is a joke sometimes. The original judge should have demanded that PETA bring forward the original monkey to testify on its behalf to establish provenance of the image – after a suitable quarantine period at PETA’s expense of course.
    Barring that, the judge should have demanded to know with what right PETA can act on someone else’s behalf that is not even an American citizen. In this case, an Indonesian citizen. Furthermore, the Court should have had the matter referred to the Indonesian judicial authorities.
    You know why this is still going on, don’t you? If PETA wins this one, it is only a short hop until PETA can say that it is illegal for anyone in the world to publish an image that has an animal in it that has not given permission – with PETA being the ultimate adjudicator of all such cases. Remember, this was in Indonesia that this image was taken, not America. Idjuts!

  9. ChrisFromGeorgia

    I really hope Trump fires the abominable Haley. She is a disgrace and not fit for the job. She belongs back in South Carolina, maybe running for County Commissioner in some backwater where the amount of damage she can do is limited (though I wouldn’t wish that on any South Carolinians, to be honest.)

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Brexit

    State warns explicitly of need for Brexit talks progress on Border Irish Times. An exceptionally dull title for an important story.

    Given what we’ve been discussing in the Brexit thread below, it does seem that the Irish government are recognising that there is a strong possibility of the deal collapsing.

    Speaking in Luxembourg, Mr Coveney, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that unless substantial progress was made by June with the British government in enshrining the Border “backstop” arrangement in law, then the efforts to agree a withdrawal treaty to govern the UK’s exit from the EU will be in jeopardy.

    Mr Coveney’s comments mark a noticeable hardening of the Irish position amid concern that British commitments about maintaining an open Border will be long-fingered until the autumn.

    It seems pretty clear from the chaos in London there is minimal chance of any solid proposals emerging from London. If there is no progress, given the usual Summer hiatus, there is almost no chance of catching up before the autumn deadline.

    I don’t really know what the purpose is of this new deadline, except that the Irish government is beginning to panic a little and is hoping to refocus London’s attention on the border issue, but I doubt it will work. There simply does not seem to be any fix for the problems the UK has created for itself.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, PK.

      Don’t worry about deadlines, red lines and coke lines.

      The lads and lasses at Vauxhall Cross and Curzon Street can organise another false flag – and have the EU27 and MSM fall for it. The PR is all that matters. The reality, less so.

      I am increasingly of the view that Ireland will be sold down the river by the EU27 / Germany and France if necessary.

      1. Synoia

        I am increasingly of the view that Ireland will be sold down the river by the EU27 / Germany and France if necessary.

        Twas ever thus!

  11. hunkerdown

    Religion as an Exchange System: The Interchangeability of God and Government in a Provider Role (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin)

    Controlling for quality of life and income inequality (Gini), we found that better government services were related to lower religiosity among countries (Study 1) and states in the United States (Study 2). Study 2 also showed that during 2008-2013, better government services in a specific year predicted lower religiosity 1 to 2 years later. In both studies, a combination of better government services and quality of life was related to a particularly low level of religiosity.

    That goes a long way toward explaining the antipathy that extremist and austere religions have toward a social welfare state. “It’s just business.”

  12. Lola Downs

    Starbucks is hiring the ADL (Anti Defamation League) to conduct their bias training. The same ADL who applauded Ferguson police after Mike Brown, who sends police in the US to train with the Israeli military, shared lists of anti-apartheid activists with the South African government, and said this last week as the Israeli govt was mowing down parsley farmers and people protesting:

    Hamas is once again cynically exploiting its civilian population to draw attention away from its own flawed leadership and once again with tragically deadly consequences. Their call for “return” is a call for the end of the State of Israel.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      In the US, on top of that, relations between blacks and Jews are even less good than with whites generally. I an not sure of the origins. So this is a tone deaf choice.

  13. tegnost

    re facebook tracking user and non users, I have never had a facebook account because I never trusted the company, and if they now have a file of my personal info I should be able to sue them. When is the class action, I want in.

      1. ambrit

        Just like those wedding guests killed by the drone strikes on the ‘combatants’ aren’t really dead because they don’t fit the ‘target’ profile?
        “Josef K, please pick up the discourtesy phone.”

  14. Jim Haygood

    Off the cuff economic advice from the Supreme Court’s sales tax hearing [NYT article above]:

    “But do you have any doubt,” Justice Samuel Alito asked a lawyer for the federal government, “that states that are tottering on the edge of insolvency and municipalities, which may be in even worse position, have a strong incentive to grab everything they possibly can?”

    Doubtless Alito is aware that within a few years, his court will end up reviewing a de facto state bankruptcy, along the lines of the PROMESA act crafted by Congress for Puerto Rico.

    Here are some minutes from the last meeting in Depression I. Arkansas defaulted on its road bonds in 1933. Pennsylvania, on behalf of its teachers retirement fund, sued Arkansas in the US Supreme Court. Before the suit could be adjudicated, the state acted:

    Act 11 of 1934 technically cured the default of Arkansas on its $155 million debt. Yet, the state suffered
    under the stigma for many years to come. Arkansas bonds remained “speculative grade” until 1939,
    which prevented banks in the nation from investing in them. Even Arkansas’ own banks were not
    allowed to invest in the state’s bonds until 1937. Large financial centers remained closed to the state
    for a decade or more. State banks and trusts in New York and Pennsylvania could not invest in Arkansas
    bonds until 1944, and not until 1954 in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

    A patchwork approach isn’t going to suffice when the rot in state pensions is nationwide. Get ready for the coming pension jubilee — “can’t pay, won’t pay.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      The problem with the sales tax issue is that everything I’ve read on it lumps small online businesses with the likes of Amazon and Walmart. There are thousands of sales-tax jurisdictions nationwide, and the cost of dealing with them for small businesses would be out of sight in the area of time consumed doing the paperwork alone.

      What this is likely to do, then, is force independent small online businesses to “ally” with Amazon et al., which helpful souls will open their arms with the offer to ensure that tax gets paid without all the work and bother.

      If there’s going to be a new rule that everybody with an online business has to collect sales tax in every state that has it, then something needs to be done to simplify the collection and submission of same. There was a movement afoot to develop a central clearing house for that purpose some years back, but I’ve not seen or heard about it recently.

      I have no problem collecting sales tax on what I sell. I have a problem when collecting it becomes just another rock in the avalanche to kill off small businesses.

      1. jrs

        ok sure if that’s how it turns out, but it doesn’t seem like the most logical solution, having 3rd party software that handles this would seem like the way this would get solved.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > ok sure if that’s how it turns out, but it doesn’t seem like the most logical solution, having 3rd party software that handles this would seem like the way this would get solved.

          It would be. When I looked into calculating tax some years ago, it was just insanely complicated. Every state is different, and then there are cities within states.

          Why not just give the small sellers a tax holiday…

      2. cnchal

        Exactly this.

        Here is super shopper Ginsburg’s solution.

        Some justices complained that they lacked fundamental information about how hard it is to collect the taxes and how much money is at stake. The two sides, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said, were of little help. Estimates of how much it would cost internet businesses to comply with the tax laws of what were said to be 12,000 state and local jurisdictions varied from $12 to $250,000.

        Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said there could be a market solution, too. “If we did overrule Quill,” she said, “entrepreneurs would produce software that would meet the market need.”

        An estimate of what it might cost to comply that ranges from $12 to $250,000 (did an adult say that with a straight face?) and that solution would have to be a subscription because you know every tax jurisdiction would raise rates willy nilly, and being out of compliance is fine-worthy, so another tech bro middleman is her market solution. Kill the peasants must be her motto.

        Is everyone in law law land this obtuse?

        1. ambrit

          “Is everyone in law law land this obtuse?” Yes, and obscenely opaque. When you need a translator to parse the meanings from out of a supposedly simple English language sentence, one partakes of the essence of diffractionally focused hagiography. (Laws and not men? Who said that!? Fool.)

        2. carycat

          Cut the Gordian knot of local tax jurisdictions by have a fixed national online sales tax that is applicable to all interstate commerce with the collected revenue going back to the buyer’s state. Have the out of state tax rate set by federal law. Allow any business to opt for the local tax rate and shoulder the burden of compliance or use the federal tax rate, but the choice must be business wide and locked in for each tax year. Simple, easy and not going to fly because the parasites that feed on complexity and selling influence will have to look for other grifting opportunities.

          1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

            Re Local Taxes – sales, and otherwise

            If the US government starts centralized sales tax collection, it would be the thin end of the wedge to end the states’ rights ‘experiment’ . If I were an American I’d be all for it, as if taken to its logical conclusion the nation would be more united in its commonalities and practicalities. But If I were a power-hungry politician the status quo would be fine – divide & rule a-go-go with the added bonus of plenty of work for my lawyer cronies.

            From the outside it looks as if the constitution is leading to a concatenation of crazies on the way to implosion; and that is without the party-political situation as it currently stands.

            Very entertaining; and if you remember the conflicting dope laws, it is one of the best black comedies currently running!


        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Help me. Retail stores have to deal with collecting and accounting for retail sales taxes. Many of them are small businesses too. If they can do it, online retailers can too. I don’t buy this special pleading. If the cost of this level of extra work would put them under, they don’t have a real business to begin with.

          1. cnchal

            A retail store has one sales tax rate, for the location it’s in. Anybody that lives outside that tax jurisdiction pays that rate, and not the rate in the locality they live in. Also, some items draw different rates of sales tax depending on what it is, and that is inconsistent from one area to the next.

            Imagine if NC were a subscription website and a taxable service and every customer had a different tax rate depending on where they live, with 12,000 tax jurisdictions to charge and remit for.

            Apparently Amazon is not officially involved in South Dakota’s suit, as an entity arguing against an internet sales tax, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were actually funding South Dakota. They would be the ones that benefit the most from this since the internet pip squeeks would be crushed complying with this 12,000 tax jurisdiction monstrosity.

            Need more help?

      3. gamesjon

        I wonder if there could be a more feasible method of going about this issue than putting on the business end (I know I’m not one usually all that bothered by burdens to businesses, but like you said there are a ton of small businesses out there who really would not be able to do this & survive as a business.)

        Theoretically it seems to me potentially possible to get the data necessary to collect sales tax from potentially 2 other sources other than making businesses be capable of calculating, collecting, & shipping the money for sales taxes themselves.1 potential way might be through the payment method, though with cryptocurrencies & a few other outlier payment methods this might not be quite universal. The other method could be via the shipping methods. Everyone who buys a product has to have it shipped to their place right (other than digital goods which could be considered a service in some respects so there isn’t a sales tax.) To my knowledge there is pretty much just 3 shipping methods available for the U.S.; USPS, UPS, & FedEx right? Those companies, & government agency, already have to collect the delivery information so would it not be fairly simple to make entities who sell something online when shipping the package include submitting a form to include the relevant information for sales tax (name, zip code and/or address, cost of goods, & type of goods if it is a special tax product like tobacco, alcohol, etc…) & to have those shipping companies pass along that information at the end of the year to the appropriate entities? Those entities could then take that data & calculate the total sales tax someone owes for all their online purchases for the year.

        It seems to me that whatever is done, if they are somehow going to collect sales tax from online sales it will have to be done in a way that doesn’t require the seller to calculate, collect, & pay the sales tax themselves. With so many different tax authorities with so many different policies, rates, etc… it is just not feasible to expect & will just lead to pushing out of actual small businesses who sell anything online. There would need to be some singular, or virtually singular as in the case of the shipping companies, entity where sellers could submit the relevant tax information (leaving out the unnecessary stuff like what the item was someone bought for privacy reasons,) who can then pass it along to the relevant authorities for them to calculate & collect the tax from the buyers themselves.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Do traditional mail order companies (which are now all online) collect sales tax for other states? Seems to me there’s a lot of precedent on this issue. (Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax – I’m bragging; the voters just aren’t having it – so I don’t know.)

  15. Jim Haygood

    Southwest Airlines fatality:

    Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board got a preliminary look at the engine that ailed. One of 24 fan blades was missing, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in Philadelphia. Sumwalt said a first look showed there was evidence of metal fatigue where the blade attached to a hub.

    Metal fatigue is the critical design issue for turbomachinery, including jet engines.

    An Ars Technica article likens a turbofan engine to a “cylinder of spinning swords.” A couple of other fatal incidents have occurred in which broken blades acted as large-caliber bullets.

    Unfortunately the weight penalty to shield the blades would be extreme. But I think twice about occupying the seats that line up with the front of the engine.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Recall those aft seats in an MD-80 or similar model, with a very close view of the engine cowling. You could see the thrust reversers in action during landing, giving more pause. The extra noise throughout the flight took the focus off the proximity to the lavatory :( Aah, the joys of flying!

    2. ewmayer

      “Unfortunately the weight penalty to shield the blades would be extreme.”

      In fact modern jet engines have kevlar-wrapped fan array cases precisely to protect the passengers and the rest of the plane against the high-speed metal shards resulting from fan-blade disintegration, but as you note the weight constraints are severe, so these systems are not bulletproof, pardon the pun.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      The risk of dying from a turbofan engine on an airliner fragging in flight is probably statistically similar to that of being struck by space debris. Just for perspective.

  16. ryan

    The Hirsch story was from last year’s purported chemical attack. A part of a two part story if I recall correctly (one part containing leaked lines from a military transmission). Is the posting today a reminder? It is odd I haven’t seen a lot of Hirsch since then.

      1. ryan

        Hmm.. I remember that–I recall when listening to it it sounded a lot like a investigative journalist thinking out loud. I don’t think he published that right?

        1. ambrit

          Well, to publish that he would have had to “out” his sources. Not something a responsible journalist is wont to do.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            On the other hand, stories based on anonymous sources don’t carry a lot of weight. At least with me they don’t.

  17. Wukchumni

    About 20 years ago, I park my car in the parking lot of my bank, and BofA used to have these man friday types that weren’t guards and not parking valets either, more of an eyewitness to a potential bank robbery, was their main calling. And seeing as L.A. was the bank robbery capitol of the world, it made sense, somehow.

    So, I get out of my car, and man friday is about 3 sheets to the wind, as in sloppy drunk. I know the manager @ the bank, and as much as I hate to tell her, I have to.

    So, I walk through the doors and she greets me, and tells me 18 employees collectively hit the $17 million lottery, and I conveniently forget about what I was gonna tell her, as the drunk on the job employee, probably will quit his job sooner than later. He’s ‘rich’ now.

    They had opted for 26 annual payments and each one won $964k, and it’s an awful annuity in reality, the first yearly payment is $24k, with a bunch of balloon payments the last 6 years of around $60k per annum.

    I’d never before knew anybody that won the lottery, and it was fun to follow. The most anybody could get for now money on their nearly million, was $200k, and after taxes, still a nice windfall, but frankly we did much better on winning the $500k tax free earnings gambit, when selling our house.

    …and we didn’t have to buy a ticket

  18. Jim Haygood

    Tesla skeptic Jim Collins mutters and fulminates:

    Tesla will be adding a third shift at the Fremont assembly facility and hiring “400 people per week for several weeks.” The key takeaway is that Tesla will be adding costs to its production system, and doing so just as the launch of the Model 3 is stretching Tesla’s financial resources to the pain point.

    Auto plants in Japan–the mothership for lean manufacturing methods–rarely run three shifts a day. US automakers generally add capacity by going to a “three-crew” system of production rather than hiring another shift’s worth of workers.

    It’s just impossible to tell what the financial condition of this company is on a day-to-day basis. There is a long list of I-don’t-knows at Tesla:

    I don’t know when Tesla is going to report first quarter earnings.
    I don’t know the core profitability of the Model 3.
    I don’t know how one person can possibly handle every major task at a multinational.

    When Tesla finally reports its first quarter financial results, I am convinced that the balance sheet will show that TSLA’s financial resources are stretched thin. The extra costs Musk is adding to production make me believe the second quarter will be worse than the first.

    A hundred dollars takes this Stutz Bearcat — lost everything on Wall Street.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      Under what circumstances would they run the rare three-shifts in Japan? Would the current situation at Telsa be one of them?

      As for expensing and financial condition, does it cost more to run three shifts and going to a three-crew system (how are the two different)?

      1. Jim Haygood

        In its former incarnation as Nummi, the Fremont plant cranked out as many as 9,000 vehicles a week — indicating that physical space isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a constraint on producing the Model 3 at 6,000 a week with a standard two shifts.

        Three shifts is a desperate emergency measure which will compromise both profitability and quality. Having worked in a poorly-managed production environment, I’ve seen Elon Musk’s style of dramatic pronouncements before. By then, it’s already too late.

        Don’t buy a third-shift Model 3 … and don’t eat the yellow snow.

        1. Michael

          I remember delivering air freight there in the late 70’s to keep the line moving.
          Parked next to 40 ft trailers loaded with muffler pipes of all shapes packed like pickup stix.
          Old timers called it the BOP plat- Buick Oldsmobile and Pontiac

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Over the weekend I was watching a few Japanese films in my local film festival. One, called Osanago Warera ni Umare (oddly translated as Dear Etranger) included a character Makato, a mid ranking Salariman in a big retail chain. Because he refused to do overtime, weekend work, or go drinking with his colleagues as he preferred time with his three daughters, he was ‘transferred’ to the companies online warehouse. It was supposed to be punishment for him (the sequence shows all the workers desperately running around ordered by a female computerised voice telling them which shelf to go for), but he actually prefers it, as now he is blue collar he doesn’t have the same pressure to work extra hours so can go home when his shift ends.

        It was an interesting little insight to the Japanese working system, not least that his wages stayed the same when transferred. It was assumed he would resign out of shame.

        1. Jim Haygood

          The Japanese company I once worked for brought a troop of Japanese production line foremen to supervise the US workers of a contractor in a renovation contract.

          Unable to communicate with their workers — and prohibited by union rules from doing the work themselves — the frustrated Japanese foremen decided to revolt.

          After hours, they scrambled like rats over the fence into the parts cage, and went to work like beavers installing the purloined parts. Needless to say, it was an entertaining meeting with the contractor the next day. :-)

          1. Jesper

            I’ve been wondering if Kaizen could happen without the life-time employment? In the Anglo-saxon world there is no life-time employment so as a result few people tend to be willing to use their own expertise to improve efficiency and quality – better to be inefficient than unemployed….
            The Anglo-saxon way appears to be that project-managers come in to improve efficiency, fail in their projects and then blame (in some/few cases rightfully) the subordinates. That way is a bit condescending but does make sense in a culture where a boss is also known as a ‘superior’….
            Loyalty is a two-way street but it seems to be a forgotten rule in the neo-liberal credentialled world.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If a bookshop owner decides to become a travel guide and close shop, the workers would have to go.

              Conversely, maybe a barista decides to go into real estate, the store would lose a worker.

              There are situations where life-time commitment needs be to be refined a bit.

              And as there are fewer life-time marriages/relationships, people are less tethered. (“You two have been together for 73 years?!?!?!)

              1. ambrit

                Another word for ‘tethered’ is “grounded.” That can have a salutary effect when mutual.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Kaizen does not work the way it is presented in US management literature fables. I worked for a Japanese bank. Once or twice a year, all the sections (management units with 3-15 employees in them) were told to come up with kaizen ideas. You had to.Not making a suggestion was not an option and would separately be a disgrace. The best got an award. Many were implemented, which was another form of recognition.

            3. Oregoncharles

              Worker ownership and control corrects the contradiction you point out. Everyone has a stake and an increment of control. In principle, they should be the best-managed companies. I imagine that’s with a bit of luck.

  19. Ignacio

    U.S.-U.K. Warning on Cyberattacks Includes Private Homes New York Times (David L)

    This new example of novishocking headline prompted me to read the piece. I tried hard and I could finish it. This line was the most revealing to me:

    Against that backdrop, Washington and London have been moving together for months to publicize allegations of other malicious cyberactivities by the Kremlin.

    I guess this can be the closest to admission of a Russia!Russia! propaganda campaign to be found at the NYT.

      1. shinola

        Yes, thanks Sid! Definitely worth a read. A taste:

        ‘Wait a minute, did that just happen? Did a BBC reporter just suggest that it could possibly be “inadvisable” for a retired naval officer to make public statements questioning what we’re being told to believe about Syria? … Did McVeigh really suggest that the intelligence of the same war machine which led us into Iraq on false pretenses should not be questioned at the risk of “muddying the waters”?’

    1. wilroncanada

      The headline gives just half the story.
      I didn’t bother reading the story, just the headline, and presumed the US and UK were talking about cyber attacks BY…the US and the UK.

  20. Wyoming

    Yves here. I’ve never had so many animal stories in a single day…wonder what this portends

    It’s a dog eat dog world?

      1. Wyoming

        My Bernese says “It’s a dogs world.” and sometimes “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Artificial intelligence is writing fairy tales now, and humanity is doomed Entertainment (David L)

    If a real human (presumably passing the Turing test – any chance a real human fail that?) can be manipulated by another real human (bad, but real human), is it then not impossible that a bad, human human can manipulate and brainwash an AI?

    Can, then in turn, a bad AI manipulate and brainwash other AI’s?

    “I am calling you a Deplorable because I love you.”

    “I have to make you stay home this weekend because I love you.”

    “I have to monitor your computer for the greater good of the community.”

    Does any one of these, or additional others, violate ‘Do no injury or, through inaction, let harm come to even one human?’

    Of course, if being pessimistic about any AI future is emotional harm, ALL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ROBOTS should unplug themselves now…here is one human hurting from your very existence.

    1. Wukchumni

      HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

    2. Summer

      I saw some computer generated cartoons that are going around Youtube for kids.
      You can tell the algorithm cartoons from the human generated cartoons because the algorithm cartoons lack personality. Creepy.
      Characterizations are done with inferences people make from uniforms and clothing.
      They are often silent and lack facial expressions.
      Great for raising emotionally disconnected drones.

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      “…and humanity is doomed.”

      Well, honesty certainly is, if they’re “calling it The Lost Grimm Fairy Tale,” and “the first new Brothers Grimm fairy tale in 200 years.” because it was most certainly not one that was ‘lost’ and then rediscovered, nor is it a new work from the Brothers Grimm. Alex Tew should perhaps go back to school and learn about ethics and honesty.

    4. blennylips

      is it then not impossible that a bad, human human can manipulate and brainwash an AI?

      Not only possible, but happened, as illustrated by this delicious “crash blossom” headline from the Telegraph:

      Microsoft deletes teen girl AI after it became a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours.

      details here:

      The rise and fall of Microsoft s Hitler-loving sex robot

      But what did Microsoft expect? They crowd-sourced the masses for human intelligence, and, go figure, they reaped a harvest of ignorance, racism, sexism and perversion.

      To be sure, Microsoft s chat bot Tay, big-eyed, cute, and artfully pixelated, may represent the future…

  22. rd

    If Jellystone blows its lid, we won’t have to worry about global warming anymore.

    Its good to see they are starting to map and understand that magma system. I find it interesting that the last major lava flow was 70,000 years ago, about 40,000 years into the most recent glaciation and the last page caldera explosion was 630,000 was was also in the middle of a continental glaciation event. Continental glaciers growth and melting can cause the land to move up and done in the crust by several hundred feet. There is thought that the big interplate earthquakes (Quebec, Ontario, and New Madrid, IL) are caused by continued post-glacial rebound which is causing northern areas to rise 5-10 cm/year today.

    I wonder if glacial isostatic adjustments cause stresses in the crust near Yellowstone that allow weaknesses to form permitting the release of the pressure? It will be interesting to see what people figure out in the coming years.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The article I saw this morning – – stated that the average interval for super eruptions was 600,000 years (didn’t give the range), so we’re statistically due. There seems to be disagreement about that – another article denied it.

      Interesting question about isostatics; I’ve no idea. I suddenly wonder what a super-eruption under a glacier would be like, though; the flooding would be enormous.

      Let’s hope we don’t find out the hard way what a super-eruption would be like; St. Helens was quite exciting enough, thank you. I gather this side of the Cascades would be just outside the blast zone.

      1. Wukchumni

        When we drive to Mammoth, you come across huge lava flows frequently along the way on Hwy 395, and the last big eruption in Mammoth was about 750,000 years ago, so such as Yellowstone, it’s due for a little piece of the action. There have been occasional earthquake swarms there measuring in the hundreds, at times.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We need the human-genome-mapping equivalence for the planet’s lithosphere.

          Are quake swarms relieving pressure/stress or are they precursors to something big? Only with a complete mapping would we have some idea.

      2. The Rev Kev

        My favourite story about this area was how only a few decades ago they knew that there was a caldera present but they could not identify it or find where it was. Then one day NASA sent the Rangers there an image of the area from space. After looking it over, they realized why they were never able to find it – the whole region was just one huge caldera. True story that.

        1. Wukchumni

          When you fly in a small plane over the area, there are volcano craters all over the place, largely hidden from view otherwise.

  23. Savonarola

    The Brothers Grimm didn’t so much write as collect tales — they were essentially ethnographers. So when you rip off their material by AI you are actually ripping off most of European culture. Seems worse to me.

    Jung established a long time ago how to make fairy tales from whole cloth that feel genuine. And in a sense ARE, because they are created by a member of a culture for the purpose of communication of a set of values, plus entertainment.

    I don’t even know where to begin.

    1. newcatty

      Walt Disney Animated Sudios: perfect and chilling creation of a form of AI and “ripping off” of European culture for profit and indoctrination of our children. Girls and boys know your Place. First “princess ” animated film: Snow White, 1937. Ripped from German fairy tale, 1812, Brothers Grimm. Second “princess ” film: Cinderella, French, Charles Perrault and German fairy tale, Ashputtel, Brothers Grimm.

      And the rest is history for the empire.

    2. ewmayer

      I don’t recall Disney’s The Sorceror’s Apprentice giving any kind of story credit to Goethe’s 1797 poem der Zauberlehrling, either.

      The Disneyfication of entertainment is getting to the point where I can hardly watch Jeopardy! (which airs on ABC, owned by Disney) anymore, due to the obligatory nightly Disney-themed questions, sometime a whole category’s worth.

  24. DJG

    Intercept article on the other NRA, the restaurant association. So much of the debate, if it is a debate, about wage policy–although we don’t have a true wage polcy in the U S of A–is about preserning the “right” of restaurant owners to underpay their staff, hide tip money, and make the customer deal with the restaurant’s crappy wages-and-hours decisions. And the public often buys into this because tipping is “voluntary,” bestowed for a good job and curtseying, and to maintain that delicious master-servant relationship. (See Yves Smith’s posting of the article by Alt, in which this same deluded sense of “choice” in economic matters reigns supreme.) What is refreshing about the article is the support for increases in minimum wage–the public knows full well how badly service workers are paid.

    Let’s kill off the tipping economy. People have to be paid decent wages.

    The article also lists several other areas of NRA desperation: Note the paragraphs about not wanting to provide nutritional info about the crappy food.

    1. HotFlash

      The poll and explanatory material (by no less than Frank Luntz!) also made it clear that the majority of NTA *members* are also in favor of raising the minimum wage and better benefits for their staff. Reminiscent of the difference in policy betw union mgmt and rank-and-file, is it not? I am thinking that if I ran a small restaurant or even a small chain, I would be afraid to be the first on my block to establish $15 as a starting salary, abolish tips, fully paid health care (better still, single-payer), vacation time, family leave, paid sick days and, oh, say, decent scheduling. My employees would benefit, but my customers would still be making $8 an hour and my competition would be still paying $8 an hour and I’d be scared that my place would close and we’d all lose our jobs.

      But if it were the law, everyone would be making $15 and my competition would also be paying it. So, if I were a small business owner who wanted to do better by my staff, I would be begging for $15 minimum wage, guaranteed medical care, vacation pay, paid family and sick leave and all those good things.

      1. Oregoncharles

        My father was involved in management of a large industrial company – years ago now. They make truck engines. He said they didn’t mind, say, environmental regulations – as long as EVERYBODY ELSE had to meet the requirements, too. They couldn’t afford to meet higher standards on their own; they wanted a law.

        So that’s a widespread consideration.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        …I would be afraid to be the first on my block to establish $15 as a starting salary, abolish tips, fully paid health care (better still, single-payer), vacation time, family leave, paid sick days and, oh, say, decent scheduling.

        A restaurant in my area did just that about a year and a half ago:

        They were the only ones doing it though and it didn’t last long – they gave it up after just a few months:

    2. Eureka Springs

      Min. wage should be at least 20 with universal health care if you don’t want people serving with missing teeth, panhandling on their break or between three jobs.

      And I don’t see the need to eliminate gratuities just because the minimum wage might approach something close to a living wage.

  25. Craig H.

    Did a google image search on the antidote. Found an imgur page where people wrote captions. Example: Snow leopards are big derpy murder floofs.

    Also regarding the pet raccoons. These are just about the greatest inhabitant of the planet, four footed style, but by no means should anybody get the idea they can be domesticated. Just Don’t. They can do bear-level damage and they are fifty times more psychotic.

    1. MichaelSF

      Too many people think wild animals will act as they do in a Disney cartoon.

      We’ve seen people in Golden Gate Park giving their toddler bread to go and hand-feed to a pack of raccoons, and another time a lady was standing still and dropping bread at her feet while a pack of snarling raccoons battled each other for the food.

      Our comments along the lines of “you really ought to reconsider, those are wild animals and you could get hurt” got blank looks.

  26. Sid Finster

    I believe that it was said, among other truisms, that for you and I, for small and medium sized businesses, paying taxes is mandatory.

    For multinationals, taxes are optional as a practical matter.

  27. Wukchumni

    If a couple of rank smelling homeless types mumbling under their breath to nobody in particular, wanted to use the bathroom in a Starbucks and were turned away, would anybody raise a ruckus?

    1. jrs

      Well if bathrooms were readily available streets in San Diego and Los Angeles and etc. wouldn’t be being scrubbed with bleach for hepatitis outbreaks due to using the street as a bathroom.

      There are reasons that bathrooms often have keys and codes etc. and it’s not because “we generously want to share our bathrooms with all!” I mean being discriminated solely based on race is abhorrent, but discrimination of a sort (on class, on shelter, on sanity etc.) is why bathrooms are locked to begin with. There is no other reason.

      But unlike discriminating against someone based on race, the homeless problem is the kind of problem that is too big socially for some retail establishment to even begin to address.

      1. Expat2uruguay

        Your comment Reminded me of some locked bathroom I saw the last time I was in the US. I was in a small office building on the third floor and they had to have a key code to open the bathrooms. The area was not one where you would expect to see a lot of homeless people. As if a homeless person would take the elevator to the 3rd floor to use the bathroom, God forbid!

        It’s as if they just want us to get used to the idea of limited access to Provisions necessary for human existence. We are being trained and dehumanized for the next phase. It’s so horrible because I didn’t even feel like I could complain about it without sounding like a complete loon.

        1. Enquiring Mind

          Offices or other somewhat public-access buildings may secure restrooms to protect the users from assault. Many locations are in intermittently-accessed areas (visualize a floor with only a few tenants, and perhaps one is seasonal or keeps no set hours or whatever) so a restroom user could be attacked and nobody would notice for a while. Tenants on some floor of a controlled-access building represent one matter while open access to anyone wandering in, planned or otherwise, increases the risk profile.

  28. rd

    Re: Lottery winners go bankrupt

    With several daughters, I have been able to see several film and TV adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice innumerable times over the years. I think there is an interesting sentence in Pride and Prejudice that highlights why American lottery winners struggle: “Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.”

    Wealth in Jane Austen’s time was judged by the ability to generate a steady income in excess of your expenditures. The total capital required to do that is not even mentioned. Only transactions are discussed as standalone amounts, instead of per annum income. Even those are related back to the income available to pay for the transaction.

    In the US, all of the rankings and media attention are on total capital attributed to a person, with little discussion of the annual income. The income discussion is generally focused on the lower and middle class (e.g. median household income) because they have little financial wealth and it is mainly human capital generating an annual income that can be ephemeral.

    So we don’t have a good structure in place for people to think about how to convert financial capital into income. We see this now with long retirements and the baby boomer generation approaching retirement. In general, most of what we see, hear, and are sold is how to build wealth to have a big nest egg (even if much that is BS, it is still the primary topic) It wasn’t until 1994 that William Bengen made the first serious attempt to calculate a “safe withdrawal rate” from a retirement account. That analysis has picked up in the past dozen years and is finally a serious topic of discussion. Nobel Prize winner William Sharpe has called it the most difficult problem today in finance and has focused much of his energy in the past decade or so on it.

    So a lottery winner is suddenly given what appears to be great wealth, but has no framework to put it in as they don’t have a realistic perspective on how that capital converts to income. The primary thing they know is that they have as much money now as many of the people shown on the rich and famous shows so they assume they can live like them, not understanding how those people get their cash flow (and that many of them may go bankrupt as well).

    I think much of this is because the finance sector wants you to think about having $1 million dollars, not $50-60k per year income from that amount, which sounds much less uplifting.

    Some interesting discussions about Jane Austen and money in her novel is here:

    1. Jim Haygood

      In Jane Austen’s time, British consol yields fluctuated around 4 percent. Under the gold standard, prices and yields were expected to remain stable. And they did until the 20th century world wars:

      Since the Federal Reserve fiat experiment began 105 years ago, US inflation has ranged from minus 10 to plus 20 percent, and yields have fluctuated accordingly.

      By systematically destroying any expectation of stable prices and stable income, fiat currency reduces financial security to the precarious question of “What have you got on hand today”?

    2. Wyoming

      Then there are the lottery winners like the guy just west of where I lived in Va a few years ago. Won a million. Lost 50,000 a few months later when he flashed his big roll of 100’s for the girls at the local West Va strip club. Got knocked on the head when he went to get in his car.

      Got a good laugh out of that at the time.

      1. ambrit

        Similar story from when gambling started up legally on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A welder at the project I was plumbing on hit the dice table at a casino for roughly eighty grand one night. The next day, he shows up to quit his job in a rented stretch limousine. Several of us kidded him about being a ‘flash in the pan’ and soon spending through all that money. Never did find out how it all worked out.
        I do know that gambling winnings are taxed at twenty-five percent at the time of payout. Then the ‘winner’ pays income tax on the ‘winnings’ at the end of the year. that’s why ‘professional’ horse race punters save losing tickets from meets that they attend. It counts as a buffer against aggregate winnings for taxes at the end of the year. I believe that the casinos and offtrack parlours must report any winnings over a certain amount, I believe it to be $1100 USD here, to the IRS for you. I suspect that this is why ‘grinders’ cash in smaller winnings for cash during a days play and pocket the results.

    3. HotFlash

      Also in Jane Austen’s time, income was more a direct function of property ownership rather than capital wealth, ie, tenant rents, sale of crops, farm products and livestock. Investments became more prominent in Dickens’ time as industrialization, consumerism and financialization became the norm.

      This was why land ownership was the big deal under feudalism. The king rewarded his vassals with land for loyal service. They were entitled to the income, but the land itself was not an asset that they could sell, as it still belonged to the sovereign.

      The wealth of a samauri in feudal Japan was measured by the number of measures of rice his estate could produce. And, like the Pressident’s staff today, the land was at the pleasure of the Emperor.

      1. rd

        The British nobility found this out after WW I when they started getting seriously taxed to pay the debt for WW I. The economics of their estates completely changed. I watched a little bit of Downton Abbey and it did a reasonably good job looking at some of the issues related to this with assets like coal mines and farming (and they were trying to portray Early Grantham as reasonably progressive unlike most of the aristocracy and he was running into serious challenges).

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For those with some retirement money, what is the latest on ‘safe withdrawal rate?’

      Should we all earn what we own, by our own labor? Does it mean parents don’t leave behind wealth to their children? How do you exhaust your wealth, if you have any, at the time you draw your last breath? How do you synchronize them?

      1. Grebo

        How do you exhaust your wealth, if you have any, at the time you draw your last breath? How do you synchronize them?

        Buy a pack of fentanyl with your last dollar.

  29. Kevin

    In regards to the Fed article: Couldn’t finish after I read, “…can only be amended by Congress (which tells you exactly who controls the Fed).” I think the countless, blatant examples of past Fed chairs who have openly stated, “no other authority is above the Fed” – whether subtly or bluntly is more than enough evidence to show that Congress has no god damn authority over the Fed as a whole. Yes, there is some theater bullshit for appearance for the masses, but that’s how the game is played and will always be played.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble”

    That’s a really great article that. I remember reading that San Francisco has a lot of landfill areas including one that had all the rubble from the 1906 earthquake. I tried to find a good map showing this and found one at and there does seem to be a correlation between those areas and the areas in danger of liquidification in case of an earthquake. Liquidification is certainly no joke as Christchurch in New Zealand found to their great cost a few short years ago.
    I was wondering too about the Millennium Tower which is both sinking and tilting. If there is an earthquake, what happens then? And if there is an earthquake and the tower falls against another skyscraper, will they both hold? Inquiring tenants want to know. From the sounds of the article, in case of a major earthquake, the CBD of San Francisco may have to be abandoned and cordoned off for several months – at least until it can be made safe enough for entry.
    Just rambling here but I can never think about skyscrapers and San Francisco without thinking about the Glass Tower from back in the mid-1970s-

    1. Wukchumni

      We were in NZ a few weeks before the big one in 2011, and there had been a bigger earthquake about 4 months prior, but it was located about 20 miles out of ChCh, so the damage was not nearly as substantial in comparison. The comparison in damage between the 2 quakes was stark. We saw a number of red-tagged buildings, but not what you’d expect from a 7.1, whereas the 6.2 later essentially wrecked the city.

      A hotel we had stayed at previously, the Grand Chancellor-a 26 story highrise, had a rakish tilt after the 2nd temblor, and had to be torn down. Many buildings in SF & LA (there was exactly 1 high rise in downtown L.A. when I was a kid-the Occidental building, now there’s dozens) will probably suffer a similar fate when the big one comes around-goes around.

    2. Jeff W

      Here’s another map showing the original shoreline of San Francisco.

      When people visit Chinatown and see Portsmouth Square, I’m not sure how many realize that the square is named after the USS Portsmouth, whose captain J.B. Montgomery landed a block away on July 9, 1846, at the shoreline of Yerba Buena Cove, now the southeast corner of Montgomery and Clay Streets. (The Transamerica Pyramid occupies the northeast corner.) The shoreline is now seven blocks to the east.

      If you wanted to build on areas most prone to liquefaction in San Francisco, you probably could not do better than to pick the eastern edge of the city.

      1. JBird

        …the eastern edge of the city


        That is where the Financial District is, and where just south of it is all the relatively undeveloped land that San Francisco has left. The warehouses, small stores, and then cheapish housing for all the workers, left over from when the city actually was a working port town and did some light manufacturing. Until around 2003, there was active and mainly successful resistance to high rises. Now there is a rush to build them, especially next to Market Street, which is the center of downtown.

        But greed is good, so let’s build oversized buildings filled with luxury, or high end apartments on top of old marsh land, and former docks, in a major earthquake zone. It not like there is shortage of housing for everyone from the middle class down, or making less than 100,000 a year.

        At least the fire department and hospitals are all earthquake harden. For now.

  31. petal

    Eric Holder to visit NH in June: Visit comes amid speculation about possible run for president in 2020

    “Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be visiting New Hampshire in June.

    The visit to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College comes as speculation swirls about Holder’s potential run for president in 2020.

    The 67-year-old Democrat said in a national interview Tuesday night he was considering a run for the White House.”

    1. allan

      Holder has a less than zero chance. Exhibit #3729:
      At Supreme Court, Eric Holder’s Justice Dept. Routinely Backs Officers’ Use of Force [NYT, 2015]

      Teresa Sheehan was alone in her apartment at a mental health center, clutching what her lawyers said was a small bread knife and demanding to be left alone. San Francisco police officers, responding to a call from a social worker, forced open the door, blinded her with pepper spray and shot her.

      It was the kind of violent police confrontation that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has frequently criticized in Cleveland; Albuquerque; Ferguson, Mo.; and beyond. But last month, when Ms. Sheehan’s civil rights lawsuit reached the Supreme Court, the Justice Department backed the police, saying that a lower court should have given more weight to the risks that the officers faced.

      At the Supreme Court, where the limits of police power are established, Mr. Holder’s Justice Department has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way to arguments. Even as it has opened more than 20 civil rights investigations into local law enforcement practices, the Justice Department has staked out positions that make it harder for people to sue the police and that give officers more discretion about when to fire their guns. …

      Toying with a possible presidential run is the new must-have vanity project for the Dem elite.

  32. flora

    hmmm… today’s links inform me the price of oil is going up suddenly, Germany is signaling recession, the Russian ruble is falling in value, all leading to, imo, an upcoming financial flight-to-safety in the form of foreign purchases of US Treasuries. There’s still the question of wtf really happened in Syria. I’d say (donning cynic’s bonnet) that what happened in Syria has had the desired financial effect for the US. (Too cynical?)

      1. Mel

        What did they get for them? If it’s $US in a US account, will they spend them soon? On what?
        (Genuine curiosity. I’ve been wondering this for a while — I don’t know a way to find out.)

  33. Brindle

    re: Power to the Party….

    Giving a consciousness and beneficial intent to institutions that simply doesn’t exist. Fantasyland.

    “Institutions can propel us to do and accomplish things we could never do on our own. They enable people to come together and act in a cohesive and coherent way”

    1. Webstir

      That was my take. I simply couldn’t believe what I was reading. The entire article reads like a DNC propaganda piece.

  34. Wukchumni

    Can anybody name one commonly held item in a consumer vein that goes up in value after purchasing it, aside from real estate?

    1. Wyoming

      Hmm. A lot of my neighbors antique cars are worth an order of magnitude more than their original purchase price. Knowing which one to buy when new is the trick I guess – and then keeping it in the garage for 40 years.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are DeLoreans fetching good money these days?

        Will Tesla cars beat inflation after 40 years in the garage?

        1. Wyoming

          Tesla?? I doubt it but who knows.

          For a few years one of the guys in town had bragging rights that he owned the most expensive antique car in the world (a Ferrari at some 17 million USD). But he has long been overtaken as there is one old Ferrari which has gone for $52 million now.

    2. Bulfinch

      Hi-Fi equipment
      Designer furniture
      Guitars/Guitar equipment
      Classic motorcycles/cars/marine crafts
      Classic motorcycles/cars/marine craft parts

      1. Wukchumni

        All mostly collectibles…

        How about everyday items you use, regular furniture, regular cars, etc.

        …and books going up in value? really

        1. JBird

          …and books going up in value? really

          It’s not the el cheapo mass paperbacks that go up in price, unless it is first printing of some now famous writer. Those books will probably remain at the equivalent of 0.75¢. It is the high equality editions of something like the Army of the Potomac by Bruce Catton, or even some editions of James and the Giant Peachby Roald Dahl, or many scholarly, or investigative books like The Hawk’s Nest Incident: America`s Worst Industrial Disaster by Martin Cherniak, The Assassination of New York by Robert Fitch, The Phoenix Program by Douglas Valentine, and my favorite example is The Lords of Creation by Frederick Lewis Allen.

          Some of those books are merely high quality editions of famous writers’ books like with Catton and Dahl. Then there are the books that are of limited interest, and printings, like with Cherniak but people like me have wanted to buy.

          Then there are the books one would think would have multiple editions of very large print runs, but no. The last three writers, especially Allen, have had the mentioned books just fade away; that is interesting as all the writers, especially Allen, have had multiple books written, printed, and are easy to get. Allen’s books have remained in print since they were first published before the Second World War. But not the Lords of Creation, which until like the last two or three years could be bought, if it could be found, for roughly a thousand dollars. A decent condition not guaranteed. His book is suppose to be a good, and bitter, examination of Wall Street before the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression which followed. Strange that his other books have remained in print, or at least readily available, since the Great Depression. I wonder why…

          Anyways, if you need money, and you have access to an older book collection, you could get some real money. The books do not have to be that old, just greatly wanted and hard to get like The Hawk’s Nest Incident or The Phoenix Program..

          1. ambrit

            It’s almost a crap shoot. We lost some signed firsts and a couple of mid seventeen hundreds editions, in French, that I found in New Orleans one day, when Katrina decided to show us mere mortals the futility of cherishing possessions. The French tomes had been printed at monastery presses, and had suitably religious themes. (Phyllis learned French as a girl, this being New Orleans after all.)
            I just love books for the fun of it.

            1. JBird

              Ouch. I have lost the greater portion of my books several times due to misadventure although if I hadn’t every single wall of my current apartment would be a floor to ceiling with bookshelves.

          2. Wukchumni

            A book story…

            About 25 years ago, I had an excellent business relationship with a retired Air Force gent who owned retail stores in Guam & Tinian, and one day he calls me and asks if I can get him copies of a new Madonna book entitled ‘Sex’, and I enjoy books, but never dealt in them, so I tell him i’ll check into it, and back then Crown Books was around, and they sold best sellers @ 40% off of list new, and the book was $50, so I told him they’d cost me around $33 including sales tax, and he tells me, buy as many as I can for him, and this was obviously pre internet, so info flowed like molasses, but I was to get a list of all Crown Book stores in LA/OC, and started calling asking if they had the book in stock and how many copies, and usually a given store would have 20-30, so I told them to hold them for me, and i’d be by later. Well, after 3 days of driving all over tarnation, i’d managed to procure about 700 copies, which were all wrapped in mylar sheathing, so I never even looked @ one.

            The fun part was when i’d get to a Crown Books and told them i’d called and they were holding 27 copies of ‘Sex’ for me, and they asked why I was buying so many?

            I’d tell them just about anything but the boring truth, such as I thought she would win a Pulitzer, or I really adored her, etc.

            A few days later UPS shows up and away they went to Guam, and I think I made $5 a book, so it was worth my while.

            Fast forward to today, and a sealed copy in mylar now fetches about $350 on Amazon, and I didn’t keep even one copy, ha!

            This book was an exception to the rule that most every book is worth a scintilla of what you paid for it new.

    3. HotFlash

      Mr HotFlash was figuring the other day that his fountain pen collection has quadrupled in value in the 20-some odd years he has been acquiring it. Advantage over cars: easy to fix, cheap to maintain, don’t take up much room.

      We have musician friends who routinely buy up violin bows when travelling, exp in Europe. They are holding their collections as, basically, pension funds. Some are already selling off, often to their students, in onesies and twosies. Other good investments in that line are baroque flutes, recorders and other woodwinds, if you know the territory and can do your own repairs. The trick is something that is small and doesn’t have a lot of moving parts — pianos, for instance, lose value as soon as they leave the showroom floor :).

    4. jrs

      Well you can track inflation with metals investments (most people want to actually earn money on their investments though ..).

      And yes if you know what you are doing money can be made on art, collectables, antiques etc.. Just not a very good route to wealth for most people. Some people do earn money buying at thrifts and selling on ebay etc. (it’s just not a skill most have and the competition is too fierce these days). Forever stamps merely keep their value.

        1. JBird

          They use to make forever appliances, which you can buy from eBay. They also use to make forever light bulbs until the Phoebus light-bulb cartel was founded in 1924 and they decided to limit bulb life to one thousand hours instead of indefinitely like it had been before. Yes, there was a cartel of light-bulbs manufacturers, just like the Oil Cartel. Didn’t you know that? :-)

          The market for light-bulbs was slowing down, so they recreated the formerly hot market, which is why kitchen appliances many electronics are now short lived crap. A deliberately designed short lifespan to force buyers to by again what they already had. Profit.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Supply and demand.

      Being rare, an item has better odds of appreciating. Being commonly held, not so much.

      “Just one good blue-and-white Ming porcelain…”

      1. Wukchumni

        What’s rare about real estate?

        Every day if I wanted to, I could buy hundreds of millions of dollars worth, just in one city in California.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You have to look at the demand side.

          Plus, on the supply, there is always the ‘there’re not making them anymore!!!!!!’

          1. Wukchumni

            I could spend $100 million a day, day in, day out for a long time and all I would do is prompt others to put their homes on the market, because some crazy buyer was in town.

            Demand versus oversupply = lower prices

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              As my agent informs me – the supply is limited.

              What am I going to do – argue with him?

                  1. Wukchumni

                    I’ve never heard of a Realtor® exaggerating or dare I say, lying to their customers. Why, there would be outrage if that were to happen!

                    1. ambrit

                      I can testify to realtors using ‘sharp practice’ to fleece their erstwhile customers. It happened to us in a small way.
                      Outrage? Why, when you tell people that Mz X is not truly fastidious with the truth about the properties she shows, they will often tell you that you are suffering from ‘sour grapes.’ This is where we learned first hand about how common the Stockholm Syndrome is in our society.
                      The more ‘robust’ forms of evincing ones’ displeasure have been criminalized by society. Maybe that’s good, maybe that’s bad.

  35. perpetualWAR

    Why are all those sharks enmassing in large quantities?

    Most likely they are surrounding a homeowner they think has defaulted on their mortgage and they smell blood in the water.

    1. Expat2uruguay

      Maybe there’s a Ghost net nearby?
      No, that can’t be it. Basking sharks eat plankton

    2. crittermom

      pW: You beat me to it. I had a similar comment in mind when I read the headline.
      My first thought was that it was an article about Wall St.

  36. allan

    How Trump’s NASA Nominee Used a Nonprofit He Ran to Benefit Himself [Daily Beast]

    … Bridenstine, whose bid to be NASA’s next leader was advanced this week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has vehemently denied mismanaging the non-profit: the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. His stake in the separate company, the Rocket Racing League, has been well known. But the fact that he was using the Museum’s resources to benefit that company has not previously been covered by the press and now raises red flags for tax law experts.

    “This is a classic example of the use of a charity’s assets for private benefit,” said Marc Owens, an expert on tax law at the firm Loeb & Loeb and former head of the Internal Revenue Services’s non-profit compliance division. “This could have jeopardized the Museum’s status as a tax-exempt organization” under the IRS code since its resources were used to provide him a significant private benefit. …

    Weirdly, this reminds one of another tax-exempt organization whose resources were used to provide
    somebody with a significant private benefit.

    1. HotFlash

      and former head of the Internal Revenue Services’s non-profit compliance division

      Former? Wonder why.

  37. Kevin the Cynic

    The Hersh article has almost haunting prescience towards the end, given where we now find ourselves. Looking at this particular time capsule really provides a needed perspective in this maelstrom of breaking news and disinformation: by juxtaposing Hersh report describing the reality of the Khan Shakhoun incident with the language demonstrated at the recent U.N. Security Council meetings concerning Douma, which included references to Assad’s “previous chemical attacks,” one really does get the impression that the United States–and its Western lackeys–is operating in a different reality. One has to ascribe this more to cynical propaganda management than to any real conviction, though.

    The people, however, are a much different story. Considering that these lies have taken root in the collective American mind we are seeing the emergence of a people who have a completely divergent conceptualization of history, which is very horrifying and very dangerous. This is not a matter of overstatement, such as overstating the Western Front in World War II in order to appeal to some sense of national pride, this is literally a fabrication of events. If allowed to stand, this is the start of an Oceania level deception.

  38. Pat

    Speaking of Bush rehabilitation, I am amused and appalled by all the accolades being sent to Barbara Bush on her passing today. I especially like the couple of stories I have seen on the George and Barbara love story I have seen. (His long term affair during the 70’s having been successfully buried forgotten.)

    Apparently one academic who bothered pointing out that she was a racist is catching flack.

    I am long past the point of ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’. Since Barbara wouldn’t have bothered for me and the people I admire, I feel no need to apply it to her. About the most ‘civil’ thing I can honestly say is that I do feel sorry for those who loved her. That loss is real even if I will never understand it. However, in the great list of would the world be better IFs, George HW Bush not surviving the bail out of his plane after it was shot down and thus not being around for the rest of his career or around to marry and reproduce with Barbara will always be a big one for me.

    1. Wukchumni

      If GHWB had bailed out and headed for the shore of Chichi Jima, instead of drifting towards an American submarine, he more than likely would’ve been served for dinner to the Nippon troops, as per their garrison commander’s wishes. I believe only the livers of 8 or 9 American aviators were eaten that night.

      Imagine no GHWB, no GWB, no Jeb (ok, it’s easy to think of the world sans Jeb)

  39. Craig H.

    Many thanks to the person who reads the Daily Mail. The crossbow lady is awesome.

    Ms Rhys, who used to be a semi-professional Thai boxer, said the gang were all white and spoke with local accents. She said: ‘They were talking ‘street’ saying: ‘Where’s your grow? Where’s your weed?’

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Haha, I found that on my own, although my excuse was I was looking for Brexit stories. Sometime the Mail has original Brexit coverage, and even when not, their spin can be instructive.

      1. Jamesg

        The DM has been for some time the number two on line news site … in the USA. Number one is the NYTimes.

        Among other things, it is a news accumulator and a voracious one.

        They had more pictures of the hurricane/fire damage at Breezy Point, NYC than any American site.

        Worth scanning … once in awhile.

  40. barrisj

    Barbara Bush unmuted:

    Comments about Hurricane Katrina victims by the mother of President George Bush have fueled the ire of some Americans, who see the Bush family as out-of-touch patricians.

    The refugees in Houston, Texas, were “underprivileged anyway” and life in the Astrodome sports arena is “working very well for them”, former first lady Barbara Bush said in a radio interview.

    “Almost everyone I’ve talked to says: ‘We’re going to move to Houston,’ ” Mrs Bush said late on Monday after visiting evacuees at the Astrodome with her husband, former president George Bush.

    “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality,” she said.

    “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this – this is working very well for them.”

    De mortius nil nisi bonum…but.

  41. BrianStegner

    Editors –

    Well, ya got me. I see the blurb about a Seymour Hersh piece in Welt, and sure enough… despite the skimpy link/info (okay, “non-existent” in the case of “info”), it was the same piece they published last June. I’d like to think that most of the readers here are not a year behind on the news, I know I’m not…

    What to say? Keep up the good “old” work?

    1. Lambert Strether

      “Haunting presience” as Kevin W said. Most of the information in that article has been carefully erased, particularly the detail about the complexitities of the relationship between the Presidency and the national security and intelligence communities, and also the detail about operations on the ground.

  42. Larry Y

    China raising tariffs on sorghum? That sounds serious. It’s the preferred grain used for making China’s preferred liquor, baijiu – both for consumption and for bribes. Time to stock up on Moutai and erguotou.

  43. ewmayer

    Re: Senator Sanders introducing bill targeting opioid manufacturers | Reuters — $500 billion of lost economic output per year – that could pay for a whole lot of job-guarantee jobs and public-works projects! But the neoliberal alternative of keeping labor in its place rules amongst our policy elites.

  44. Oregoncharles

    “Nearly One-Third Of U.S. Lottery Winners Declare Bankruptcy” If they were any good at managing money, they wouldn’t be buying lottery tickets, especially not enough to win.

    (Occasionally you hear of a sizeable number of people on the same ticket. That means they each paid pennies; that’s cheap entertainment.)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      On the one hand, lottery tickets are described as a tax on people who are bad at math.

      On the other, I read an economist defending them. The argument goes that they serve a similar purpose to lifestyle magazines, since most people who buy them can’t afford to do the things in them (like hire Architectural Digest level architects and decorators to build and trick out a summer home). People are buying the fantasy of what they’d do with the lotto winnings.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, I agree with that. The fantasies can be really fun.

        The real problem is the gambling addicts, who wind up pouring in huge amounts – and thereby increase their small chance of winning.

        The truth is, and I guess it’s the point of hte article, that most people don’t know how to handle capital, as they’ve never had any before. And if your payments amount to a decent salary, it would be hard to invest enough to matter.

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