Links 4/20/18

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Otter Poop Helps Scientists Track Pollution at a Superfund Site Scientific American

High-Speed Pig Slaughter Will Be Disastrous for Everyone Involved Guardian (furzy). Ugh.

UK temperatures top 29C in hottest April day since 1949 BBC

Heatwave Kills One-Third of the Great Barrier Reef Alternet

There’s still time for us to save the Great Barrier Reef Popsci (David L). Maybe…

Grassland plants show surprising appetite for carbon dioxide Nature (David L)

Tim Cook on merging macOS and iOS: “I don’t think that’s what users want” ars technica. So why have you been moving in that direction for years?!?!

FDA Wants Medical Devices to Have Mandatory Built-In Update Mechanisms Bleeping Computer

India

ATM Crisis Proves Demonetisation Couldn’t Change India’s Preference for Cash The Wire (J-LS)

Counterview: The existence of the East Kolkata Wetlands tells us a city can be imagined differently Scroll (J-LS)

Building a stable european deposit insurance scheme Bruegel

Women take fall in Nobel scandal for man’s alleged misdeeds Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

Brexit

Brexit divorce bill will surpass £39bn, warns Whitehall watchdog Guardian (Kevin W). Not sure why this is news. That figure is in line with earlier estimates.

Brexit bill defeated by light breeze Daily Mash

From Politico’s daily European e-mail:

A quick thought: Theresa May has given the most disastrous party conference speech of all time. Has she now delivered the most disastrous world summit? This was supposed to be the moment Britain showed its new global face in a post-Brexit world … Instead the prime minister has spent the week apologizing for having Commonwealth-born Brits barred from their own country and their own health service.

New Cold War

Syraqistan

What Are “Assad Apologists”? Are They Like Those “Saddam Apologists” Of 2002? Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

European MPs warn US over scrapping Iran nuclear deal DW

Exclusive Emails Show How The White Helmets Tried To Recruit Roger Waters With Saudi Money Grayzone Project (integer). Note this source is new to us, so all we can conclude is “sounds legit.”

Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy Counterpunch

Imperial Collapse Watch

War Profiteers Vs. The People of the United States – Opening Statement David DeGraw. A bit heavy on visuals for my taste, but complies important information.

The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again! Patrick Lang, Unz Review (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Palantir Knows Everything About You Bloomberg (Bill B)

Mark Zuckerberg Quietly Moves 1.5 Billion Users’ Rights Out of Europe’s Reach Vanity Fair (David L)

Facebook To Offer Users Opt-Outs That Comply With New European Privacy Rules NPR (David L)

Tariff Tantrum

German car producers could fall victim to US sanctions against Russian aluminum RT (Kevin W)

US considers emergency curbs on Chinese tech investment Financial Times (David L)

Trump Transition

Rosenstein Tells Trump He’s Not a Target in Mueller, Cohen Probes Bloomberg

Ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to Join Donald Trump’s Personal Legal Team Wall Street Journal

Rudy Giuliani Isn’t the Big Trump Legal Story Atlantic

Inspector general referred findings on McCabe to U.S. attorney for consideration of criminal charges Washington Post

Pompeo Nears Confirmation but Faces Historic Rebuke From Committee New York Times (Kevin W)

‘Sick Joke’: House Agriculture Committee Advances Farm Bill Attacking Environment, Endangered Species EcoWatch (Glenn F)

Cynthia Nixon Isn’t Just Running To Make A Point YouTube (pq)

Rick Scott Super PAC Donations Challenge Federal Anti-Corruption Rule David Sirota, Adam Perez, Capital & Main

Southwest Near Disaster

How Veteran Fighter Pilot Tammie Jo Shults Saved Crippled Southwest Flight 1380 Daily Beast (Wat)

Southwest Airlines mechanics union warned of too much outsourcing of maintenance work New York Daily News (allan)

Southwest Airlines protested airworthiness directive designed to prevent engine failures ars technica

‘We Need to Change the Rules for When Police Can Shoot’ FAIR (UserFriendly)

What If Tesla’s Time Is Running Out? Bloomberg (Kevin W)

Deutsche Bank Inadvertently Made a $35 Billion Payment in a Single Transaction Bloomberg (Kevin W)

This Economist Wants to Change the Meaning of Money OZY (UserFriendly)

IMF Policy Analysis in its “World Economic Outlook” Not Helpful for Reducing Downside Risks to the Global Economy Center for Economic and Policy Research. I should have written this up, but I also knew Sensible People would take this on.

Guillotine Watch

Russian billionaire’s superyacht given to former wife in divorce case Financial Times

Class Warfare

Survey Shows 27 Percent Pay Gap for Top Women Equity Partners American Lawyer

Arizona teachers to walk out in first-ever statewide strike The Hill

McKinsey’s latest AI research predicts it could create trillions worth of value … someday Recode

NEA Tries to Boot Refugee Student From National Poetry Competition New York Magazine (Craig C). Watch the video of him speaking.

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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220 comments

  1. fresno dan

    ‘We Need to Change the Rules for When Police Can Shoot’ FAIR (UserFriendly)

    And one of the things that the court said is that because there wasn’t a case exactly like this one, the officer, even if this conduct was a violation of the Constitution, wouldn’t have a reason to know. That is a very troubling holding here, because the Court didn’t even let the case go forward, because it held that a reasonable officer could not even have known, would not have had fair warning, that the Constitution might prohibit an officer from shooting in this situation.
    =======================================================
    Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Ignorance of the constitution for cops is a Supreme court approved excuse.
    The article points out any number of illogical points, but it is obvious at this point that the courts are the greatest threat to the constitution and freedom in general, as well as the biggest cheerleaders for inequality.

    Reply
  2. Jim Haygood

    Tesla’s obituary — read it in advance:

    Given that Tesla lost $20,000 per Model S and X sold for roughly $100,000 each last year, it will be impossible for Tesla to make a profit on a $35,000 to $50,000 car. Profit margins are far higher on bigger, more expensive cars. Therefore, the faster Tesla makes Model 3’s, the more money they will lose.

    Our calculations show that Tesla needs to raise at least $5 billion of equity, if not closer to $8 billion, to stay solvent in the next 14 months. We do not believe that this will be possible. The company owes suppliers roughly $3 billion of unsecured payments, which could be “called” at any time, similar to a run on a bank.

    If Tesla’s suppliers simply asked for their past invoices to be paid and to be paid in cash at the time of their next parts delivery — a likely outcome the worse Tesla’s balance sheet gets — it is clear that Tesla would need to file for protection from creditors.

    https://www.sovereignman.com/trends/the-many-ways-tesla-could-go-bankrupt-from-a-fund-thats-massively-short-the-stock-23345/

    Shame about the $864 billion in customer deposits. These folks are unwitting unsecured lenders to a Caa+ junk-rated borrower which has never made a dime and never met its production projections for the Model 3. Tesla’s banks will rudely shove mere customers to the back of the line in the coming liquidation.

    As the author notes, “[Tesla] have had 85 letters and investigations back and forth with the SEC, a very unusual pattern. Their three top finance executives (CFO, Chief Accounting Officer, and Director of Finance) have left the company over the last 18 months leaving huge amounts of awarded, unvested shares on the table — a highly suspicious pattern.”

    Musk’s claim that Tesla won’t need any financing this year is pure stock manipulation. That’s a criminal violation of securities laws. Lock him up.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      April 20, 2018 at 7:35 am

      Its like the financing of the undertaking is of great advantage, but no one is to know what the financing is….
      Hmmmm, seems like deja vu all over again……
      AND what they will lose on unit sales they will make up for in volume

      Reply
    2. Eudora Welty

      A well-meaning acquaintance put down the deposit for the newest Tesla. It was done with enthusiasm, good faith, & to help with climate change. What a horrendous outcome.

      Reply
          1. diptherio

            A friend with a Prius has over 100,000 miles without having to do more than routine maintenance. But a Prius isn’t as cool as a Tesla…

            Reply
              1. heresy101

                We’re on our 4th Prius:
                1. The first one (Gen 1) was rear-ended and totaled.
                2. The 2nd one (Gen 1) died at about 235K. Original battery.
                3. Third one (Gen 2) went to son at 140K. Original battery.
                4. Fourth one (Gen 3) is approaching 100K. It is plug-in and no battery issues.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the Hippie

                  i’ve long threatened that my next vehicle will be a buckboard and a mule.
                  I’d settle for a donkey.
                  mom just got a new suburban thing for my paraplegic (viet nam) stepdad.
                  We call it “The spaceship”.
                  I usually drive, and most of what dings at me,I see as multiple points of failure.
                  I couldn’t change the oil on the damned thing if I wanted to.
                  and it’s only a semi-smart car….I’ve managed to turn most of the sensors and bells and whistles and frelling steering wheel warmers(!?) off.
                  its a world away from my beat up 04 dodge pickup(manual transmission and windows).
                  Wall-E was prescient.

                  Reply
        1. Jean

          Yup, we drive a 4 cylinder Japanese car and a simple fuel injected Volvo.

          Both have been flawless and use little gas, can be repaired by anyone and uses less energy over their lifespan than a Tesla when you consider all the mining and chemicals needed for batteries etc.

          Have a nice collection of notes left on the windshield offering to buy our cars.

          Bonus, no touch screens.

          Reply
        2. Lord Koos

          People are clueless about the amount of resources it takes to manufacture a car — anyone who says they care about the environment should be buying second-hand. That likely holds true for many manufactured items.

          Reply
          1. zer0

            Anyone who has a car, period, is one of the 8% of people in the world that own a car (only 16.4% of people drive a car)

            I think everyone should keep in mind that the world cannot support even 25% of the total population owning a car. Electric cars are a complete and utter gimmick & CO2 will steadily rise as oil/natural gas byproducts account for a staggering 80% of all manufactured materials which include:
            fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, rubbers, lubricants, waxes, asphalt, etc.

            So its pointless to even talk about curbing CO2 emmisions to any sane level that would not affect the Earth. Everything is all for the show. The Paris Climate Accord is more of a celebrity event, where the morally deficient get up on stage to talk about their supposed moral superiority and great plans to do absolutely nothing. Because the people that own the world (which are the same that go to the climate accords) want growth to infinity and beyond.

            The empathy towards nature will never flourish again, in my opinion, as we have delved so far from it that ‘nature’ in the minds of most are pretty pictures of green fields in faraway places. It’s interesting to see documentaries like Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams where man clearly once viewed himself as part of nature, not on top of it as we do now. And if history has told us anything, it is that man’s desire for tech and trinkets have very clearly outpaced man’s love of nature.

            So while I find it nice to see a burgeoning movement to fix our clearly fast approaching environmental disaster, it is far too little and far too slow. Our hope is clearly to out-engineer, but being married to an environmental engineer, the size and scope is so staggering that unless it becomes the main task of the majority of governments around the world, the hope is slim to nothing.

            Reply
    3. Pavel

      Tesla can’t make a profit on the $35K Model 3 and it is not even available right now — they are only selling the $55K version for now. The profit margins will be even smaller now that Musk wants 24/7 manufacturing — i.e. adding more expense to each car! (Note that the 24/7 is only to meet the promised 5000/week rate.)

      So how many of those initial Tesla fans who thought they were getting a $35K car (perhaps with a $7500 tax rebate) are going to want their deposit back when that car is never delivered?

      For those interested, take a look at Tesla on Reddit.

      Reply
      1. zer0

        $35-50k car models with extremely expensive repairs does not make for a good taxi car. You want cars that are so ubiquitous that any repair shop can fix it up and find spares in no time.

        Tesla is the exact opposite of that.

        Reply
    4. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      Jim Haygood.

      Besides a thank you for your excellent contributions – is that figure of $ 864 billion correct ? I am not doubting you, it just seems to be an extraordinary large figure.

      Reply
      1. BobW

        I did a quick search, and a year ago the number was $700 million, so it’s likely a typo – replace the “b” with an “m.” Also, it seems a lot of reservations are being canceled.

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe Jim is not a fan of Venezuela taking zero’s off people’s accounts.

        Adding zeroes, on the other hand, is the opposite of that. Perhaps, unconsciously (or consciously), he is trying to right that wrong.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            The real money is in MRAP’s and the like.

            We’re talking $500k a copy, and then they get ‘donated’ to police dept’s, ha!

            Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            “Our self-driving suicidal, but not religiously fanatical, cars are very good at ramming into enemy barriers…with proper programming”

            Reply
          3. The Rev Kev

            Excellent idea. Musk is making something that is late and has all sorts of mechanical issues and cannot get his production line right. Sounds just like a Pentagon contract.

            Reply
    5. John k

      Market cap 50b.
      12b debt.
      Surprised they can’t raise 5-10b thru dilution. Price down 20% lately, maybe in anticipation.
      Don’t have don’t want one, don’t drive much and charging difficult where I live, no garage. But I hope they make it, he’s moving the needle more than anybody else.

      Reply
      1. zer0

        I dont. Honestly, we have enough car companies, and I dont think Tesla has pushed the envelope nearly as much as people believe. Making (sports) cars for the rich never really seemed to me like a part of any ‘green’ tech movement, more of a publicity stunt. Battery tech is still laughably horrible, as they still have not been able to engineer a solution that is practical. Charging for 4 hours is not practical. Replacing a battery for $25k after 120,000 miles is not practical.

        Why do you think Merc/Daimler or other big name car manufacturers havent jumped onto the fully electric bandwagon yet? Its because the infrastructure and battery tech isnt anywhere close to supporting the volumes they would need to make it a viable venture.

        Only in America, where a facade of hype/green/fashionable is apparently worth $billions would you see an electric car company worth $50B when it sells ~120k/year.

        Reply
  3. Darius

    PBS Newshour said last night that Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) announced she’s voting for Pompeo, assuring his confirmation. I was wondering which Democrat would take one for the team this time in the game where publicly they oppose the outrage of the day while ensuring that it has just enough Democrat votes to pass. Rotating heroes and villains.

    Reply
    1. johnnygl

      I’m hoping the ‘wave’ election that’s coming washes out some of these filthy ‘blue dog’ dem types. Very tired of their performances.

      I suspect the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountain regions are more receptive to Sanders-style populism than is currently believed.

      Reply
      1. JohnnySacks

        I continually try that (perfectly) valid argument over at DailyKos (a blue dog apologist water carrying echo chamber) and get flamed every single time, regardless of whether or not the diary is critical of a bill that’s being voted on. Tester on the bank deregulation bill, every time the guy stabs his party in the back, rest assured, he’ll put out a press statement blah blah blah support veterans benefits blah blah blah national parks. They all have their leftward credibility little black dresses, good for any occasion.

        To cover for the blue dog electoral trash they like to keep score with in the big game, the left needs at least a 15% majority cushion to get anything meaningful done.

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          I’m going to take a wild guess that the commentators flaming you at DKos are NOT from N. Dakota.

          Let’s see how those voters weigh in on the issue in a few months time….

          Reply
      2. Darius

        She’s probably going to lose anyway. Why not stand for something? In fact, go full Bernie and she might just turn it around.

        Reply
    2. Sid Finster

      Keep in mind that Heidi is a deeply unpopular Senator facing re-election in a state where Trump is still and inexplicably viewed as a near-godlike being, and where Democrats and liberals are lawfully hunted with the help of specially trained dogs.

      So she is a logical choice for this task.

      Reply
  4. Jesper

    The “Building a stable european deposit insurance scheme ” is yet another example of Economists bending over backwards to find some sort of justification for the existence of banks that are too big.
    If a country can’t afford to support a deposit insurance scheme of a particular bank then that bank is too big and should be broken up or moved out to whatever (if such exists) country willing to take over some tiny bit of (mostly avoided) tax-revenue in exchange for a very risky and huge possible liability when it fails.

    Reply
  5. Jim Haygood

    Corporate trolling — it’s a hot new concept for disruption:

    Yet another fake coupon claiming to be from Starbucks has surfaced. This time it claims that Starbucks is offering a free beverage to everyone because of the hoaxes circulating earlier about free coffee for African Americans.

    The fake special claims that it does not want to let Russian trolls divide the country further, so Starbucks is offering a free beverage to everyone. Starbucks has confirmed with Heavy that this latest coupon is also a hoax.

    https://heavy.com/social/2018/04/starbucks-coupon-free-beverage-coffee-russian-trolls-hoax/

    #StarbucksChallenge

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DbFWzlgWsAYu_Sv.jpg

    Reply
  6. zagonostra

    Ref: Arizona teacher strike: If you go to today’s NYT online edition front page you’ll hear a resounding silence on this story, as well as other labor unrest; instead you’ll get a continuous drip, drip, drip, of Comey, Stormy, Syria, Cohen. etc…NYT is stuck in geosynchronous orbit around the planet Trumplinia.

    The Left, if there is such a thing in this country, can’t seem to sustain the drum beat of Medicare-for-all; until it can sustain that drum beat and raise it to a deafening sound that can not be ignored, one days news story will simply bleed into another days story in an endless drip, drip, drip of a slow walk over the edge…

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      It’s those dastardly Russians! They’re behind this strike.

      After all, our teachers are wearing red tee shirts and saying subversive things like “Red for Ed!”

      For the record, Slim supports the Arizona teachers.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Did ‘Comrade’ Jim give you, at the meet up, those ‘Special’ bunny slippers Fresno sent? Boris and Natasha need to know. Reception is terrible out there, according to fellow ‘espionage entrepreneurs’ in the Southwest.

        Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Just goes to show how irrelevant the corporate media is. It’s all over FB. We need an honest platform to build the drumbeat. Apparently Shaun King is working on one?

      Reply
    3. Sid Finster

      “…sustain that drumbeat “?

      Wait, did the MSM ever start to beat that drum?

      All I recall from the MSM was derision “they just want free stuf!” “we can’t afford that!” “this is a Russian disinformation campaign!” etc. when they bothered to mention anything other than “Comey/Stormy/Trump/Russia” at all.

      Reply
    1. johnnygl

      What’s extra infuriating is that Mehdi Hassan is an excellent journalist who absolutely positively should and DOES know better.

      I feel like we should single out people like this for our strongest criticism. If you’re a hack…then you’re a hack. But if you do real journalism and STILL choose to push the narrative of CIA and Saudis, then you should face some serious criticism.

      So, F- you Mr. Hassan!!! We need you to do the right thing here and you’ve FAILED!!!

      Reply
    2. HotFlash

      If you get the “It’s time to regularize our relationship” msg from medium, there’s always Caitlyn direct.

      I am pretty sure that Medium pays her something, so if bypassing them, pls pay the lady something. IIRC, music downloads are 99 cents — not an undoable sum.

      Reply
        1. pdehaan

          Thanks for this link! It’s important that people doing such a great job and operating in relative obscurity, get more visibility.

          Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      It’s funny that. I have just realized that some of the best and most truthful articles coming out of the Syrian war have been from women. Caitlyn Johnstone here as well as Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley. You would think that it would be more difficult for them to report in Muslim countries but then again Syria is a secular nation.
      On the good news front, by the way, more and more of the Jihadist pockets are collapsing and are being evacuated to Idlib. Looks like the ISIS pocket south of Damascus is next after being hammered by aerial attack. Time for another chemical attack followed by more Tomahawk missiles.

      Reply
      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Time for another chemical attack followed by more Tomahawk missiles.

        I thought chemical attacks and missiles were exclusively reserved, currently, for when a Trump tweet about removing our troops escapes his cheeks.

        Reply
  7. Carolinian

    Re Caitlin and “Assad apologists”–One could point out that those making the accusation are typically Israel apologists and Pentagon apologists. In fact the MSM in general seems to spend much of its time these days in apologia mode while attacking those not favored by the current propaganda line. Looked at objectively R2P is simply a tactic for rationalizing the monstrous and wrecking other countries. No objectivity apologists need apply.

    Reply
  8. Jim Haygood

    Entertaining excerpt from the Comey memos:

    I had dinner with President Trump at the Green Room in the White House last night at 6:30 pm. The conversation, which was pleasant at all times, was chaotic, with topics touched, left, then returned to later, making it very difficult to recount in a linear fashion.

    Normally I can recall the pieces of a conversation and the order of discussion with high confidence. Here, given the nature of it, there is a distinct possibility that, while I have the substance right, the order was slightly different. It really was conversation-as-jigsaw-puzzle in a way, with pieces picked up, then discarded, then return to.

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4442900-Ex-FBI-Director-James-Comey-s-memos.html

    Welcome to the world of a very stable genius, James. This is how a gifted mind works. /sarc

    Trouble is, all seven of these memos are “marked classified,” as Queen Hillary used to say, with those markings now struck through upon release to Congress.

    But while they were still classified, Comey leaked them through a law professor at Columbia, Daniel Richman. In other words, Comey committed the same federal felony which he exonerated Hillary for — mishandling classified information. Lock him up.

    Trump shakes his orange-maned head:

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump

    So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!

    6:34 AM – Apr 20, 2018

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      Nunes, Gowdy and Goodlatte publish their review of Comey’s diary. Excerpts:

      Comey’s memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated.

      The memos also made clear the ‘cloud’ President Trump wanted lifted was not the Russian interference in the 2016 election cloud, rather it was the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier.

      The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. In his eyes, the real crime was his own firing.

      Rather than making a criminal case for obstruction or interference with an ongoing investigation, these memos would be Defense Exhibit A should such a charge be made.

      https://intelligence.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=879

      Comey’s diary — probably not Hollywood script material. :-(

      Reply
    2. allan

      Also from the leaked memos:

      The President then wrapped up our conversation by returning to the issue of finding
      leakers. I said something about the value of putting a head on a spike as a message.
      He replied by saying it might involve putting leakers in jail. “They spend a couple
      days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk.” I laughed as I walked to
      the door Reince Priebus had opened.

      Making prison r*pe jokes. How classy.
      And given the legal jeopardy his Mideast peace envoy son-in-law is in,
      including at the state level, maybe something he would like to reconsider.
      Rikers is not an island in the Caribbean.

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        Trump’s former attorney Jay Goldberg sees Michael Cohen “as someone not suited to stand up to the rigors of jail life,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

        “You think he’s of weak character?” Burnett responded.

        “I do,” Goldberg added. “Prison has a racial overtone … and someone like Michael doesn’t see himself walking down Broadway while people are clamoring, ‘You’re going to be my wife.‘”

        http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/384063-goldberg-predicts-cohen-will-cooperate-with-prosecutors-because-hes

        What does it say about this country, when prison rape is a near-universal joke that provokes winks and snickers? “Defining deviancy downward,” as ol’ Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to assert.

        Reply
        1. allan

          I noticed that NPR used the same quote this morning, but left out the “make a new friend”.
          Thereby tweaking the meaning of what Comey and Trump were sharing a laugh over.
          Because Viewers like you need to be protected from the truth about our leaders.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is that correct that as president, Trump has the authority to classify anything top secret?

          “You prosecutors are not authorized to see them.”

          Reply
        3. todde

          Lol.

          I doubt he’s heading to maximum security prison.

          Most of the rapes happen there.

          He will do time tat is relatively pleasant.

          Reply
        4. zer0

          They said the same thing of the DuPont heir that raped his 2 year old daughter.

          This is much less surprising.

          Reply
    3. begob

      It really was conversation-as-jigsaw-puzzle in a way, with pieces picked up, then discarded, then return to.

      Trump’s Table Talk will be published on post-it notes. Yuge post-it notes.

      Reply
        1. Skateman

          This is an interesting point. However, the memo you link to is what the DOJ sent to Congress, not necessarily one of the memos shared by Comey to his journo friend. 4 of the 7 memos Comey had were classified. It has been noted that Comey shared 4 memos with his journo friend – thus, the implication that at least one memo Comey leaked was classified. However, this seems to be a misinterpretation of what transpired. Comey said he leaked a single, non-confidential memo to his friend. This memo seems to have consisted of four pages…hence the confusion (https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/why-were-republicans-so-desperate-to-release-the-embarrassing-comey-memos-heres-one-explanation.html).

          But sure, sure, lock him up, right? If I had to bet I would gamble that Comey knows the law a little better than you.

          Reply
          1. Katniss Everdeen

            If I recall, the issue initially was that these “memos” were written by comey in his capacity as fbi director memorializing execution of his duties as such on an fbi computer. The assertion was that this made them fbi “work product” and “classified” by virtue of that circumstance.

            comey claimed that they were a “diary” of his “personal” recollections and belonged exclusively to him to do with as he wished.

            I have never heard whether that original controversy was resolved. The discussion quickly devolved, as it usually does lately when partisans are choosing up sides, into whether certain material was “classified” and when, and who knew or should’ve known.

            This crazy stuff from your link about four “memos” or one memo with four “pages” strikes me as a new low in obfuscation and deflection. Can the director of the fbi have a conversation with the president in his or her capacity as the director of the fbi and then leak details as “personal” knowledge for political purposes or not?

            Reply
          2. Alex morfesis

            Saint Comey or more a modern Incitatus ? The royalization of law enforcement ? Though shan’t challenge the sheriff of Nottingham…?

            Before you begin that beatification process you might want to check on the comey comedy and his historical narrative… His grandpa not noticing all those bootleggers in Yonkers during prohibition… The fake title to make his grandpop police chief when he wasn’t qualified… That fake story about someone breaking into his home in jersey as a child…

            when a person in a certain public position has easily investigated cracks in his story and does not ever get called out for it by anyone…

            Incitatus indeed…

            Reply
          3. barefoot charley

            There’s a huge difference between the law and lawyers, which difference is what lawyers are paid for. Comey has shown himself to be, if nothing else, a lawyer. Turning statutes upside-down is all in a day’s work.

            Didn’t know his genealogy, thanks!

            Reply
          4. Jim Haygood

            It is indeed interesting — not just to you and me, but also to the Justice Department inspector general:

            WASHINGTON—At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.

            Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the FBI, bureau officials upgraded it to “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.

            The Justice Department inspector general is now conducting an investigation into classification issues related to the Comey memos. Mr. Comey has said he considered the memos personal rather than government documents. He has told Congress that he wrote them and authorized their release to the media “as a private citizen.”

            https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-watchdog-probes-comey-memos-over-classified-information-1524243505

            Tick-tock, Citizen Comey.

            Reply
            1. Skateman

              The wsj article appears to make the “4 memos” assertion, which is likely a mistake. Just like every single one of Republicans’ various “investigations”, absolutely nothing will come of this because Comey didn’t release info that was classified at the time. At some point – and this is despite Republicans holding all the reins of power – an inquiring mind should ask him/herself why all these investigations never bear fruit?

              Now, “Can the director of the fbi have a conversation with the president in his or her capacity as the director of the fbi and then leak details as “personal” knowledge for political purposes or not?”

              –> Comey was not director of the FBI when he leaked details of his personal conversations with Trump. But regardless, executive privilege doesn’t apply here:

              https://www.lawfareblog.com/sharing-memos-comey-did-nothing-wrong-former-official-and-everything-right-whistleblower

              Reply
              1. Katniss Everdeen

                Lawfareblog. Cofounded by benjamin wittes. comey’s bff and staunchest defender. It’s a bromance.

                Reply
                1. integer

                  Also, Lawfare blog is funded by the Brookings Institution, which happens to be where Benjamin’s wife Tamara works. Notably, Tamara Wittes spoke at the 2018 AIPAC conference.

                  Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Linearity = 2 dimensional.

      That’s a long way away from 11 dimensions.

      Surely, after all those Obama years, Comey could do more than just 2 dimensions.

      By the way, dinner conversations like that are very good opportunities for furthering one’s training (in general).

      Reply
    5. Sid Finster

      Yes, in practical terms, this is precisely the way America is supposed to work.

      There is always a pretext to punish those whom the establishment wants punished, while those whom the establishment wants to let go are left untouched.

      Meanwhile, this represents one hell of a money making opportunity for those who stay on the right side of the establishment.

      Reply
    1. Brian

      Of all the people that the war machine thought they could convert to their conspiracy, they pick Roger Waters. This shows how stupid they must be because it is hard to imagine anyone believing Roger would fall their way.
      Kudos to Roger for signing this out to the world. Standing in Frank Zappa’s shoes is a hell of a contribution to humanity, thank you.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Man, did you hear those kids applauding and cheering his speech? That was a good feeling that. Those kids are no fools – unlike so many of their elders. They must know about that internet thingy and have done their own research.

      Reply
      1. pdehaan

        Hearing a voice in my head that says that if he would have praised the white helmets and been upset about the Douma kids, demanding intervention, they would probably have clapped just as hard.
        Remember U2 during a super-bowl, with Bono Vox draping himself in a US flag, this the year that the Iraq war had started? Kids just kept coming to their concerts in equally large numbers.

        Now, Waters is obviously no Bono Vox and doesn’t sell out, and his fans will know his stance on propaganda, Israel, etc., and possibly even gravitate towards that, but a bunch of clapping kids on a concert to me is not a sign that the-times-they-are-a-changing. Very good to see though that there are still some musicians out there willing to speak out.

        Reply
  9. anonymous

    I was able to watch the afternoon panels of this University of Chicago “2018 Antitrust and Competition Conference – Digital Platforms and Concentration” yesterday and am looking forward to more today. (I believe I became aware of the conference because of Naked Capitalism.) Today’s topics include whether government can resist corporate influence, the Amazon phenomenon, and a comparison of US and EU antitrust, data and privacy policy.
    Schedule here: https://research.chicagobooth.edu/stigler/events/single-events/antitrust-competition-conference-digital-platforms-concentration
    Live stream here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWnfWwdtMyurB4Ro1L5QYSw/live
    Thanks to whomever originally posted the link.

    Reply
    1. allan

      I also watched part of the second panel yesterday. Highly recommended.
      It was infuriating listening to the two B-school professors (one from MIT and one from Chicago)
      at the far right (in both senses), and watching their body language when the others spoke,
      especially Julia Angwin of ProPublica, who was the only woman at the panel.
      At the very end, when Angwin was answering a question from the audience,
      they were not listening to her but having an extended jokey whispered conversation
      about their badges or something.

      Since I had not heard of either of them, after it was over I looked one of them up,
      and here was the first hit:

      These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers [ProPublica]

      … Some of the professors earn more than top partners at major law firms. Dennis Carlton, a self-effacing economist at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and one of Compass Lexecon’s experts on the AT&T-Time Warner merger, charges at least $1,350 an hour. In his career, he has made about $100 million, including equity stakes and non-compete payments, ProPublica estimates. Carlton has written reports or testified in favor of dozens of mergers, including those between AT&T-SBC Communications and Comcast-Time Warner, and three airline deals: United-Continental, Southwest-Airtran, and American-US Airways. …

      $100 million. But the problem with universities these days is students suppressing free speech.

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        The recent squib about Harvard was that it’s “a hedge fund with a university attached.” Chicago and NYU (and how many others?) are private Real Estate Investment Trusts mauling their ever-widening perimeters with funds extracted from parents and other innocents, single-mindedly driving up densities and real-estate values in their spillover fiefs. Can they be contained? Fuggedaboutit.

        Reply
  10. nechaev

    If you are willing to spend 5 to ten minutes to get up to speed on the state of things in Nigeria , then this review article by Adewale Maja-Pearce in the current issue of LRB is highly recommended:

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n08/adewale-maja-pearce/where-to-begin

    “….Whatever becomes of Boko Haram, a greater threat to stability in the country as a whole, not just the north, has begun to emerge: a group known to Nigerians as ‘Fulani herdsmen’. …These herdsmen and their families were once confined to the areas around the northern Sahel. Creeping desertification has driven them further south. Numbering about 18 million, they are now to be found in 21 of the 36 states, and as far south as the Niger Delta. …”

    Reply
    1. Bill Smith

      I was in the Sahara – to the north of Nigeria – last week and where I was the desert is moving westward about 2 miles a year.

      Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      nechaev— so many windows into the future, so few people dare to look through them. For good and obvious reasons.

      Nigeria is just one pane…

      But be of good cheer: the US Imperial Military is on the case. TL;DR maybe, but it’s all gamed out in one DoD document, “Report of th eDefense Science Board on Trends and Implications of Climate Change For National and International Security,” http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA552760

      The Imperial Military and its adjuncts and good old Supranational ex-US Industries have laid out (slightly dated) the scientific case for and status of “climate change,” and then spelled out how the military can set up a global command and control structure (with TONS of “business opportunities”) to “respond to” the disruptions of the sort digested (up!) in your linked article.

      I wonder what the analogous sorting will be on the North American continent — sort-of-Catholic Mexicans, Messianic Fundamentalist Xtians in several parts of the former US, what will urbanites do when faced with Real Men with Gunz, who knows how Canadians will subdivide when the New Volkerwanderungen really get into gear…

      I like the little note in your linked paper that the “Fulani pastoral tribalists” have swapped their traditional weapons, bow and arrow, for the ubiquitous “true weapon of mass destruction,” the AK-47.

      Reply
  11. fresno dan

    Palantir Knows Everything About You Bloomberg (Bill B)

    As Thiel’s wealth has grown, he’s gotten more strident. In a 2009 essay for the Cato Institute, he railed against taxes, ­government, women, poor people, and society’s acquiescence to the inevitability of death. (Thiel doesn’t accept death as inexorable.) He wrote that he’d reached some radical conclusions: “Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” The 1920s was the last time one could feel “genuinely optimistic” about American democracy, he said; since then, “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.”

    ================================================
    Ah, the 1920’s…the good old days…..
    I suspect all the other squillionaires think the same but have the good sense to keep their opinions to themselves.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Excuse me! Excuse me! Sorry to be rude about it but people like Peter Thiel should sometimes learn to STFU about things they know nothing of. Women got the vote back in 1920 in the US and the 1920s reflects this change which strengthened society by making available the talents and abilities of 50% of the population. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to work in an industry that had dedicated itself to putting people out of work by the hundreds of thousands and then to complain of poor people.
      On a recommendation from a commentator here I have started reading “Venice” by Jan Morris and I can see parallels with how Venice was run as a dictatorial commercial state and how our tech billionaires would like to run America, much less the world. I sometimes think that anyone in tech industries should be forced to study history & humanities so that they could stop being so provincial and ignorant in their attitudes.
      Just for fun, I thought that I would remind people what the 1920s could be like but be warned – you might just see your great grandma there if you watch it-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=684n8FO68LU

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Not so much. The Germans had an old slogan saying “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” (children, kitchen, church) which summed up of what was expected of most women though there were always exceptions. They were put to use during WW1 in factories and the like but when it was over, they went back to their homes. I suspect them getting the vote in the US in 1920 was actually pay-off for them supporting the war from hints that I have read.

          Reply
    2. zer0

      Im sure if Peter does ever find the immortality he is looking for, a piece of lead will show him the fragility of the human body.

      He should be afraid to say these things in this climate, especially as the working class American sinks into the oblivion of low wages, high debt, etc.

      Reply
  12. Loneprotester

    I watched the video of the African refugee from Maine reciting poetry. While he is very good he is also at least 25 years old. Disqualify him for that, and at the same time please explain why he is allowed to go to high school with 16 and 17 year olds.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      You know, usually its safe to assume that people in high school… ARE HIGH SCHOOL AGE. Even if they look older.

      Do you really think a 25 year old can enter high school, refugee or no?

      Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When a multinational corporation divorces its home country (who is its host and partner), the country should get at least half of that corporation’s assets.

      Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Tristan Reisfar works part-time for a company, High Desert Pure, that produces vapor cartridges and said he fields phone calls from desperate growers offering to sell their marijuana for as little as $100 per lb. When Oregon launched its recreational marijuana program, it was common for growers to count on bringing in $2,400 per lb.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/20/oregon-too-much-weed-oversupply-what-happened-420

    “Great Leap Smokeward”

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Legalizing drugs sure sends the criminal element looking for something else to do, doesn’t it? Now we have legal growers, and they are as screwed as our other small(ish) farmers.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t believe we can dump the excess supply on China.

      After those Opium Wars, the last thing everyone wants to see is Marijuana Wars.

      “Instead of silver, we will buy your tea with opiu…make that marijuana. This time, it’s not for a lack of money, but we need to keep workers working here.”

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The telltale sign that the 420 biz is ailing, is that the west coast used to supply the more draconian states eastward, and judging from the values bandied about in the article, it’s not a release valve anymore.

        I knew a grower years ago that told me his product was worth $3k a pound here, and $6k in Texas. The prospect of being a temporary permanent resident of the Lone Star State, the reasoning for the valuation.

        Reply
        1. zer0

          No its not lol.

          As with any industry, as competition grows so do the list of losers. Weed is strange since there are so many Federal regulations, the market hasnt had its fair share of IPO/Investment that would usually coincide with market expansion.

          And until weed, which is highly preferred to cigarettes by the younger generations, is on every corner store, the market has room to grow.

          And please tell me: what other market has room left to grow in NA?

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            Are you forgetting the military industrialists? Pure growth potential and the curve bends pretty sharply upward.

            Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        p.s.

        We had so much silver in the 19th century that an amazing amount of silver dollars were struck in an effort to get rid of the excess. As late as the early 1960’s, you could go to the US Treasury and buy 1,000 count bags of brand new silver dollars from the 1870’s-80’s-90’s-00’s for face value.

        This all came about on account of “The Bland-Allison Act” in 1878.

        “The Bland–Allison Act, also referred to as the Grand Bland Plan of 1878, was an act of United States Congress requiring the U.S. Treasury to buy a certain amount of silver and put it into circulation as silver dollars. Though the bill was vetoed by President Rutherford B. Hayes, the Congress overrode Hayes’ veto on February 28, 1878 to enact the law.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bland%E2%80%93Allison_Act

        At around the same time, “Trade Dollars” were struck exclusively for use in the far east. These silver dollars contained about 10% more silver in content than the silver dollars struck for use here, and as an added bonus had no actual face value in the USA.

        In the 1930’s, you could buy Trade Dollars for as little as 50 cents from coin dealers, funny that.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_dollar_(United_States_coin)

        Reply
        1. ewmayer

          A man, a grand bland plan, a canal, um – got silver?

          For some reason the (implied) mention of the famous Morgan Dollar prompts me to limerick:

          A man from the great house of Morgan,
          Had metal balls beneath his male organ.
          They were made of Argentum,
          One could not scratch nor dent ’em.
          Or so says the writer Paul Horgan.
          (Who is a notorious teller of tall tales.)

          Reply
        1. ewmayer

          I think it’s actually pronounced “Tristan Rastafar”, mon.

          Couple interesting factoids for those unacquainted with the origins of Rastafarianism, regarding both the religion and the term:

          Rastafarian |ˌrastəˈfe(ə)rēən; -ˈfärēən|
          adjective
          of or relating to a religious movement of Jamaican origin holding that blacks are the chosen people, that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was the Messiah, and that black people will eventually return to their Africa.

          Haile Selassie |ˈhīlē səˈlasē|
          (1892–1975), emperor of Ethiopia 1930–74; born Tafari Makonnen. In exile in Britain during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia 1936–41, he was restored to the throne by the Allies and ruled until he was deposed by a military coup.

          And in answer to “whence the ‘Ras’?”:

          Rastafari |ˌrastəˈfe(ə)rē; -ˈfärē|
          noun [usu. as adj. ]
          the Rastafarian movement.
          ORIGIN from Ras Tafari, the name by which Haile Selassie was known (1916–30).

          Reply
    3. freedeomny

      That was an interesting article. I didn’t know that the chemical components of marijuana break down over time and loses it’s ability to get people “high” – instead making them sleepy. Maybe they can sell as a natural alternative to ambien…:)

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        Non-euphoric CBD (cannabidiol), which can be extracted from hemp as well as flowers, is better for sleeping.

        A friend took a CBD gummy bear (bought at a convenience store in a non-recreational state) at 10 am and by 10:30 am was curled up on a recliner snoozing peacefully. ;-)

        Reply
      2. divadab

        “the chemical components of marijuana break down over time and loses its ability to get people “high” – instead making them sleepy. ”

        Not based on my experience – if properly cured and stored at 30% or less humidity, 40 deg F the weed will maintain potency for a long time. It does lose some color and “nose” over time but I’ve consumed weed stored as such for over 5 years and it is still potent. It will last indefinitely if the resin is extracted into hashish. In the old days in the Kush this was done by beating the flowering tops onto silk screening stretched over a box, and then compressing the pollen that falls through the screen into cakes of hashish. This is a bit wasteful and requires a large crop!

        Nowadays hashish is made using water and ice extraction and sieving through 5 – 50 micron filters, or by using a solvent extraction. Alcohol extraction makes a nice tincture that can be added to drinks; butane extraction makes the purest product with the highest thc content (honey oil or “bho”) but if not done properly by a reputable operator can leave unacceptable butane residue.

        Anyway, my advice is to grow yer own corn!

        Reply
        1. Lord Koos

          There have been house fires all over Seattle from people trying to make their own hash with butane…

          http://www.poppot.org/2017/01/24/butane-hash-oil-fires-grow-legalization/

          I see the push is now on to legalize cannabis at the federal level, Chuck Shumer was talking about it today, and and Senator McConnell has also been on the record as being for federal legalization. It won’t be long before the big boys will be in the business. Monsanto will be copyrighting pot varieties. I suppose there will still be some small market for “artisanal” organic weed products but most growers will likely soon be out of business.

          Reply
        2. zer0

          The next gen extraction is supercritical CO2. Two Spanish professor (of course, lol) already figured out that a 10/90 ratio of ethanol to CO2 in supercritical state can extract some 99.8% pure THC.

          And yes, proper curing is incredibly important, but moreso is lack of O2 and UV. UV degradation and oxidation cause the THC to transform into other chemicals that in turn cause a more sluggish affect on the human body.

          Also smoking marijuana and opposed to vaping or dabbing, releases quite a bit of ammonia. Inhaling ammonia has a pretty nasty affect on the human body which is still poorly understood. UCLA proposed that the ammonia may cause some people who smoke a lot to have episodes of vomiting, which can induce symptoms of CVS. They also proposed that the ammonia could be the factor that causes the extreme smokers to have smaller amygdalas than those that dont smoke, though anything regarding the human brain is only conjecture.

          There is lots of interesting research on marijuana happening currently, as the Federal regulations have gotten more lax. Im sure the future will hold a suprising number of drugs both over and under the counter that are derived from cannabinoids and that have varying effects.

          Reply
    4. Alex morfesis

      Well…since the Republican party is always so desperate to prop up the Chinese Communist red army so we can have an enemy…oops sorry…for humanitarian purposes (don’t worry Dr k…your secrets safe with me)…& now since the guy who purportedly personally put the bullet in the back of my uncles head outside of Havana just stepped down…why not export the stuff to Cuba on consignment… And the fake and shake revolutionaries can keep their peoples mellow…and tourists would swarm to pinar del Rio…OK…the heathens will probably grow their own soon enough once it works…but it might help the deficit numbers for the 2020 run…so there is that..?

      Reply
  14. fresno dan

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/us/green-card-marriage-interview-test.html

    How did you meet?
    In a massage parlor…..
    How soon after you met did you start dating?
    Hmmmm….depends on the definition of “date”

    When did you meet each other’s families?
    never
    How did you decide on getting married? **
    we had a long discussion and than I did what she told me to do….
    Where did you buy the ring?
    Uh, don’t tell her, but I told her I got it from Tiffany’s, but I actually got it out of a Crackerjack box.

    What was the wedding like and who attended?
    it was a zoo….we got married at the zoo and most attendees were mammals.

    What did you do afterward?
    duh….

    Where did you eat?
    at the Y

    ** I am actually not married….although this is truer than I should admit…..

    Reply
    1. Edward E

      ‘La Nada’ just be patient little rabbits, ‘green up’ will eventually arrive.
      Speaking of vegetarian, so glad Superstar decided to go Paleo diet. I was eating so much green stuff I was having to tie kerosene rags around my ankles to keep the cut worms from chewing my drawers off…

      Reply
  15. Jim Haygood

    London-based hedge fund honcho Bill Blain spews blasphemy about our beloved Bubble III:

    Amazon has become the proverbial shoe in the retail high street machine. The rise of Amazon conveniently explains the death of the high street and shopping mall, triggers a devaluation of these sectors and expectations that the Amazon monopoly can only expand forever.

    We are beginning to see cracks across the Tech model. Facebook is just one. The implied IP [Intellectual Property] potential of Big Data collectors was assumed to provide annuity-like earnings and rising revenue into perpetuity … right up to the moment when it became clear the question of ownership of personal data had never been tested.

    Now a regulatory threat hangs over the whole sector. Valuations based on free Big Data no longer apply. Reprice accordingly?

    How about the fact iPhones seem not to obey Boyles law? Although the iPhone “improves” every year, prices are still going up and up and up. Boyles law states “capacity/speed doubles and prices halve” every few years. Hmm … the utility of the iPhone has hardly changed since it became the dominant smart phone. The memory is about the same, but prices keep rising! Despite the marginally better camera, and slightly shinier shiny white thing, the sum of human happiness has hardly risen as result … and now everyone has one.

    The iPhone effect is incredible – a massive boost to the manufacturing countries in terms of parts, while in Ireland (where it’s all booked, but hardly taxed) iPhone payments account for a massive portion of GDP!

    https://tinyurl.com/y9rcv3nq

    Sounds sustainable … NOT!

    Blain likely means Moore’s Law, not Boyle’s Law (unless it’s an obscure jab at vaporware).

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      It’s probably a “poke in the i” aimed at the internet and its’ users.
      Then again, the basic point is sound. It’s all “vape and mirrors” anyway.

      Reply
    2. Synoia

      Boyles law is about gases. I believe you mean Moore’s Law.

      Moore’s law: Chip density/speed doubles every 18 months. It is a hardware law. Unfortunately there is a software component, and software gains are nowhere as rapid as hardware.

      Hardware moves on from it’s errors. Software lives with it’s mistakes for eve, and they are called legacy code. Another phrase for legacy code is “Operating System.”

      The Apple and Samsung phones are not “tech” as much as they are “fashion.”

      The ever thinner and more expensive phone, with inadequate battery life, which is bought and then stuffed into a bulky case.

      Is that a tool or a fashion object?

      The closest example is set by Channel, Hermes and other LVMH spawn.

      Reply
      1. False Solace

        Moore’s law has slowed significantly since its heyday. Transistor density now doubles about every 3 years. Clock speed no longer increases the way it did when I was in school — Intel no longer makes a big point of advertising Ghz as it once did. Instead they pack more processing cores onto the same chip. This has forced programmers to learn concurrency techniques that manage multiple simultaneous tasks. The human brain isn’t as good at figuring out those sorts of things and let me tell you, debugging can be a PITA.

        From a coder’s perspective the biggest increases have been in data storage. Cheap, abundant storage is how we ended up with all these massive databases that track everything everyone does.

        Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      Comedy? This is deadly serious, Sid:

      “The DNC filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

      “The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.”

      https://politicalwire.com/2018/04/20/dnc-files-lawsuit-alleging-collusion-to-disrupt-2016-election/

      Not just the Clinton Legal Defense Fund anymore, fighting a lonely battle. The party, united, will never be defeated!

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am trying to come up with a Roman parallel or precedent.

        Perhaps this is like the accusation or charge associated with the Sack of Rome of 410. From Wikiepedia:

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

        Treachery or not?

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        What if the Russians say: “Challenge accepted!” and then say something like “Now about this discovery process that you have on your law books.”
        If your DNC thinks that this is a good idea to build momentum for themselves leading into your 2018 midterms they are nuts. This has the potential to blow up in their faces with spectacular results.
        Can you imagine? They call in, say, Loretta Lynch and say “Now tell us about that runway meeting you had with Bill Clinton – just before you dropped everything you had against his wife”. Does the DNC really want to go there?

        Reply
        1. flora

          tsk. the point , imo, is to give the MSM lots to talk about that is meaningless and also prevents any stray reporters from touching on the teachers strikes and dem estab abdication on that, or MSM reporting on other real news stories where-in dem estab missing-in-action would be noticed. As in, the dem estab isn’t for the things they say they are for. Sort of a use-up-all-the-bandwidth so nothing real gets reported. imo.

          Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      She just couldn’t seem to react to the fact that so many voters didn’t like her. And her campaign staff couldn’t either.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The bigoted voters, especially male ones, who failed to put her on the throne seem to have gotten off scot-free here.

        They were in on the conspiracy as well, presumably (until proven otherwise).

        Reply
  16. Craig H.

    I found this polling news on the middle east poop show:

    Only a quarter of Britons backed the UK’s decision to launch air strikes in Syria to punish the country’s regime for allegedly using chemical weapons, a new poll has revealed.

    The exclusive survey for The Independent shows more people opposed than supported the action, which saw US, British and French forces fire more than 100 missiles at three Syrian government facilities.

    (Link here.)

    One of the side benefits of the Be Powers working to divide the citizens is that the people on the conservative side who hate the killing and the people on the liberal side who despise the slaughter don’t seem to exchange views very much. Is there anybody running for congress who is bold enough to ask all the voters who want to end this disgrace to vote for some peace?

    One of the best sites reporting is antiwar.com. For example see this:

    The Truth Behind the Bombardment of Syria by Reese Erlich Posted on April 20, 2018

    To talk to my progressive pals Justin Raimondo is a punchable nazi which leaves me speechless.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      “To talk to my progressive pals Justin Raimundo is a punchable nazi which leaves me speechless.”
      You are very close to the truth, which is, the point of this is to make Raimundo ‘speechless.’
      Like the saying goes; if a journalist cries out against an injustice in the “Fake News” ‘Cone of Silence,’ does anybody hear?
      A feature, not a bug.

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “US considers emergency curbs on Chinese tech investment”

    Quote: ‘The Trump administration is considering declaring a national economic emergency to impose new restrictions on Chinese investment as part of a trade crackdown on Beijing, a senior US Treasury official confirmed.’

    So let me get this right. America had its heavy industries disassembled and shipped off to Asia because of profits. The US government changed the laws so that there were actually financial incentives to move businesses overseas. But as soon as the Chinese look sideways at Silicon Valley, then it is a national economic emergency? Gotta protect those tech billionaires.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Tech billionaires get more money when China buyers are allowed to be in on the demand side of buying and selling corporations.

      I think of heavy industries as in long term rehabilitation care. Deplorables in the Rust Belt and elsewhere will recall that, for the victims of tge legions, Rome was not built in one day. And it took a few centuries for them to rediscover, for example, their own cultures.

      On the other hand, the situation in tech appears to be in need of immediate attention…because things always move fast where smart people gather. Before you know it, China will have colonies on Mars before Musk

      Reply
  18. JohnnyGL

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-election-violence/we-are-watching-you-political-killings-shake-mexico-election-idUSKBN1HP0HV

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tOWF4NGsMg

    Mexican elections…

    82 candidates for office murdered!!! Perhaps candidates should move to Syria where it’s safer to run for office?!?!?!

    On a brighter note…AMLO now has a blow-out lead of around 20+ points. I hope he can win and really make a dent in the massive problems that country faces. Best of luck, he’s going to need it.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Was talking with my cadre of San Diego skier friends, and asked if they ever went down under anymore to Tijuana or Rosarito, etc.

      Nobody goes there anymore…

      Reply
      1. djrichard

        That’s too bad. Loved going to Rosarito for lobster and beer, in my case back in the 80s.

        BTW, for a good backdrop to the mess in Mexico, recommend the book A _Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the “Mexican Drug War”_

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          We too went to Rosarito all the time in the late 80’s early 90’s.

          Such a fun beach town, nothing like Tijuana with it’s donkeys painted to look like zebras, ha!

          Reply
      2. Lamont Cranston

        In Rosarita it was “Husongs Cantina”. On the way it was Puerto Nuevo (Newport) for the lobster.

        Reply
  19. ambrit

    That Medical Device software automatic update feature being pushed sounds suspicious. I don’t know enough, but, on general principles, an automatic updating protocol implies connection to the IoS, does it not? Hence, any ones’ machine can be turned off by vendors if payments are late or stopped. This is rent seeking in its purest form. The default threat mode could well be death. Before, the ‘death threat’ aspect of American medical systems was somewhat implied. Now it can become explicit.
    The acronym for the Cyber Med Safety group gives rise to hilarity. Now, a new ‘virtual reality’ game where players try to navigate the Medico Industrial Complex. In line with the controlling entities acronym, we’ll call the new game: The CYMS.

    Reply
    1. BrianC

      Hmm. I have done contract SW development for a major medical device manufacturer in the past. Specifically on code to be used for in field firmware update of the onboard Linux based wifi module.

      As a contractor I was specifically *not* allowed anywhere near the patient monitoring side of things. I could only work on the update SW because of the fact that the instrument had to be explicitly taken out of patient monitor mode by a manual process and then put into a special update/cal state. While in update/cal, monitor functions were complete disabled. Great care was taken to ensure that the monitor could never be placed accidently in an update/cal state while monitoring.

      My role, and what I was allowed to work on, and why I was allowed to work on it was captured as part of the archived set of development records for the project. All code I submitted had to be personally reviewed for fitness for purpose by a SW developer trained, in their process, before being accepted.

      There is *no* way any medical device manufacturer is going to ever allow any type of automatic update to occur on one of their devices…

      However, it is my understanding that the company is longer held in private ownership because of a Private Equity buyout… So who knows how things work now.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Thanx for the tutorial! I didn’t know that about update protocols. Having to shift the device only when not ‘in use’ sounds prudent. As you say at the end of your comment, who knows what’s coning down the pike? I hope the ‘update’ protocols don’t mirror the opacity of the billing methodologies.

        Reply
        1. Hepativore

          I wonder if this would also leave these devices open to be hacked or open to being infected with software viruses, not to mention vendors installing planned obsolescence features like Apple is doing with its older devices…

          Reply
      2. carycat

        Automatic updates is a form of preventive maintenance. An amusing but gruesome story that made the rounds on “net news” in the 80’s, usually under the subject “Always Mount a Scratch Monkey”, is a must read before any of today’s whippersnappers unleash this disruptive innovation on the world. Just search for that phrase.

        Reply
    2. audrey jr

      You’re right, ambrit. You actually know a lot. You know enough to be suspicious.
      That knowledge is, by itself, enough to convince me that you have an instinct for survival that is woefully lacking in this nation except for those who read and comment here at NC.
      On a side note, since I only use cash for everything I need to remember where and how to send a money order to Yves and to Lambert at the Water Cooler now that I am again gainfully employed.
      Two most indispensible blogs.
      Great reporting from Bloomberg on Thiel and the evil that is Palantir.
      On SWA: In the past three years I have been on 2 SW flights to North Carolina that had to make emergency landings due to engine failure.
      I have warned folks I know for 7 years that most, if not all, major airlines have outsourced their maintenance to South America. I do not fly anymore.

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      I’ve read that there is a large population of ‘cougars’ out in the Valley. Longevity inequalities strike again!

      Reply
      1. Edward E

        Now that seems kinda far fetched, like. But, probably not. Think I saw one at night over by Harrisonburg, VA and way long time ago by Chester, Awkinsaw. Mom watched one rolling and playing in the snow in Arkiefornia back in the sixties.

        Reply
  20. Roger Smith

    Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign [WaPo]

    Uh…. what? It is funny that I was literally asking myself why Perez seemed so out of the limelight just last week. He was prepping for this charade apparently.

    Reply
    1. Altandmain

      On CNBC as well.

      Apparently the Democratic Party is suing Russia, Trump’s campaign and WikiLeaks alleging they caused the Democratic Party to lose.

      https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/20/democratic-party-files-suit-alleging-russia-the-trump-campaign-and-wikileaks-conspired-to-disrupt-the-2016-election-report.html

      Either this is a crazy publicity stunt or they are trying to pander to their base. I’m sure that deep inside they know they made up this Russia hacking stuff.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Either they are insane or those of us who disagree are.

        “Remember, if you say you’re insane, you’re in fact not.”

        Reply
          1. Arizona Slim

            That’s a distinct possibility. If I don’t improve my pronunciation soon, I’m gonna be sued for defaming the language of Mother Russia!

            Reply
      2. Jim Haygood

        As 66Mustanggirl said on another forum …

        Aaannd NOWWWW…..for the Grand Finale……please turn your attention to the Center Ring as the entire Democratic Party douses itself in gasoline and strikes the match!! Those who are faint of heart may want to turn away!

        Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of America and the world for attending today’s performance. This now closes the 17-month long national three-ring Political Circus known as Russiagate. We appreciate your patronage.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Another laugh-out-loud. the family now thinks I’ve lost it completely, at last.
          Congratulate her for me.

          From her lips to the Goddess’s ears.

          Reply
      3. JohnnyGL

        That could be great fun if it gets to discovery phase….I suspect it won’t….they’ll get the headlines they want and quietly bury it in 6-12 months.

        Reply
      4. Alex morfesis

        Theez ist oonacceptibleh…how dare clintonez und der demokratischa parties not sue dmytry truski…this ist insoolt and in flowridduh ist slander par say…dmytry demands he bee inkluadod in lawsuit or he will sue to be sued…

        imagines they leaves me out…who do they think they are dealing with tovarisha ?

        Reply
      5. lyman alpha blob

        Maybe I’m being naive but how the {family blog} can the Democrat party sue the Trump campaign for causing the Clinton campaign to lose?!?!?! Isn’t that, you know, kind of the whole point of an opposing campaign?

        What are they going to argue in court – that the divine right of queens cannot be opposed?

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just as the Comey memos became public, with consequent questions about whether the Mueller appointment was justified.

      It’s kind of like tag team wrestling.

      Reply
      1. Roger Smith

        It seems like this is the rebuttal, although I am not anywhere near sure how this helps there case. Then again I am not sure the DNC is sure either.

        Reply
  21. djrichard

    Re: Rudy Guiliani, some “theory on the game” over at conservative tree house. Linking via Mike Norman’s site, which is where I originally came across this:

    http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2018/04/trump-hires-rudy.html

    Enter Rudy Giuliani, a political and legal Subject Matter Expert – with direct knowledge of evidence held by NYPD and NY FBI field office of gross criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton. (Weiner Laptop etc) Buried by SDNY Clinton Allies. …

    Mueller will be looking to protect the interests of Obama, Clinton, Lynch, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, etc. and negotiating degrees of risk to the institutions each represents. …

    This is the political horsetrading phase. …

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Had he not been diagnosed with prostate cancer, Rudy would have been Hillary’s 2000 senatorial campaign opponent. Instead, she got lucky. Rick Lazio stood in for Rudy, and you-know-who cruised to victory.

      Reply
  22. Hepativore

    If you think that is bad, Balloon Juice has been a cesspool of Hillbots and Obama apologists since the start of the last presidential election in 2015. All it takes is a mere mention of “Sanders” and everybody will start flaming you as being a “racist, misogynist, berniebro”. You will get similar reactions by mentioning Glen Greenwald (You dudebro!) Snowden (Check your privilege!) or Keith Ellison when he was being considered over Tom Perez for DNC chair (Purity pony!)

    I used to read them on a regular basis when they used to fairly critique both parties, but now all they do is worship the neoliberal Democratic establishment while heaping scorn on “brogressives” and talk about how horrible Trump and the Republicans are. Granted, Trump and the Republican party are real nasty pieces of work, but the people at Balloon Juice excuse every problem in the Democratic party leadership no matter how shameful. This includes defending Joe Manchin and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    Reply
    1. djrichard

      If you want to have some fun, go to a site where the libs are still trying to win the battle for the moral high ground in the comments section and start a comment with “Bernie Bro here. And I think …”. You’d be surprised, it affords you a degree of neutrality and respect by the two sides. Not that you get a blank check, but it kind of sets you apart. I do this all the time on Yahoo News. It gives me great pleasure to do this when the libs commenting there start getting on their high horse.

      Reply
      1. Hepativore

        My comment was meant as a reply to someone further up when they were talking about the sorry state of the Daily Kos site, but I have never tried looking at political discussions on Yahoo News, as it seems to be also full of bored trolls looking to stir up some trouble.

        Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      We used to have a private jet mechanic among the commentariat. I first met him on The Housing Bubble Blog, and he impressed me as someone who really knew about the seamy side of aircraft maintenance.

      A few years ago, he wrote a guest post here. Darn if I can find it with the site search. Yves, Lambert, do you remember where it might be hiding in the NC archive?

      Reply
      1. djrichard

        use google and include site:nakedcapitalism.com as part of your search. I have more success finding old content that way.

        Reply
    2. Aumua

      I’m sure they’ve calculated the exact risk/reward ratio they can live with, and put just that much effort into maintaining the planes.

      Reply
      1. JBird

        Rather like the (in)famous Ford Pintos? The ones that had a tendency to burst into flames, have the doors jam, and cremate the passengers? Often after fairly low speeds, even fender benders due a bolt at the rear of the car that was aimed like a spear right at the rear gas tank. The fix was a few dollars per car but it was a popular car. They did an analysis on how much it would cost to recall all the old unfixed model cars as compared to the payments for burning people to death.

        Reply
  23. Sid Finster

    The Intercept article referenced in the Caity Johnstone piece can be best viewed as a tacit admission that the case for “We had to bomb Assad because Gas!” is not as strong as originally advertised.

    In fact, the wheels seem to have come off that bus.

    Reply
  24. grayslady

    Regarding the Grayzone Project article, Grayzone initially was affiliated with Alternet. I used to follow the articles because I’m an admirer of Max Blumenthal, a journalist I consider to be in the fearless mold of Bob Parry. It appears that sometime last year, Grayzone and Alternet parted company. I had stopped reading Alternet’s Grayzone some while back because it seemed that new articles were few and far between. As for Max Blumenthal, I trust his journalism. He has become something of a journalistic pariah because of his willingness to openly criticize Israel.

    Reply
  25. Susan the other

    Thanks for the blurb on Stephanie Kelton. Nice she is getting good press. Stephanie K. “wants to change the meaning of money.” Can’t happen too soon for me. Her mantra has always been a bedrock of logic – that under the rule of MMT inflation is not a worry unless demand is greater than supply, and her almost mindless critics say MMT will cause asset inflation (scarcity inflation? that thing the banksters live off?). The history of inflation is very peculiar – even FDR couldn’t get the captains of industry to fire up their factories in the 30s because there was so little demand and they had massive over-capacity already. Today we can satisfy any and all demands so it can never be greater than supply. Ever. Unless apocalypse. Actually all of human history is an exploitation of nature which was always very generous and kept demand alive. The environment was something for nothing and it caused no inflation. Fast forward to the here and now. We have a reversal going on in the environment because it is getting polluted and maxed out – but putting our energies to the enterprise of repairing and renewing it will be money in the bank because it will renew our most important asset. So that not even scarcity will be an excuse to control money. We humans get confused when it comes to numbers – we think they are the reality – we think money is the reality. No. Numbers and math work because we live in a measurable world. Math reflects the geometric beauty of the universe, etc. The universe does not reflect the awesome magic of math. And just so in economics – money (the math of it all) reflects the beauty of nature and our own creations. And blablablah.

    Reply
  26. moss

    Help pls from some of our UK contributors. I’m not in the UK
    Suddenly this week without warning most of the business content of the BBC website seems to have disappeared (or maybe just become inaccessible to me for whatever reason – paywall, country etc) with pages that for years I’ve regularly used for charts and prices now just 404 or default to a mickeymouse format page marketdata/ with a handful of the most major stockmarket and currency prices. Nothing deeper seems there any more.

    Anyone know what’s happening? Is it me? Suggested alternative data sources? I do use trading economics and bloomberg but there must be others …

    Reply
  27. Oregoncharles

    From War Profiteers Vs. The People of the United States – Opening Statement David DeGraw. A bit heavy on visuals for my taste, but complies important information.”:

    ““At the DFAS offices that handle accounting for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other defense agencies, fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure, Reuters has found.”

    Holy moley. The level of theft must be truly massive.

    And the site: yes, looks like good stuff if it’s valid. But the visuals are so heavy that it took several minutes to load at all. It’s been a while since I saw a progress percentage. I understand the appeal of production values, but a lot of people would have given up.

    Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        What I’ve heard over and over is that the Pentagon, like the IRS, is not auditable (Dave Barry had a load of fun with the latter, at least a decade ago).

        As the above quote would certainly imply: essentially all the numbers are fudged.

        Reply
        1. norm de plume

          The ‘who knows how much has been spent or swoggled or where it has gone’ meme may be true but also useful disinformation fo those doing the spending and swoggling. If it is generally accepted that no-one can be expected to follow the money into (let alone out of) that fetid swamp, real scrutiny is discouraged as futile.

          Reply
  28. ewmayer

    “Rosenstein Tells Trump He’s Not a Target in Mueller, Cohen Probes | Bloomberg”

    Two points:

    [1] It isn’t a crime for law enforcement officials to lie to suspects, so presumably if Trump in fact were a suspect, Rosenstein could lie to him just as cops do to the mopes every day.

    [2] The whole point of e.g. the Cohen document-hoovering was to get potential dirt and pressure Cohen to turn on Trump, i.e. Trump could become a suspect at any time if the pressuring leads to material the FBI finds suspicious.

    IOW, Rosenstein’s ‘assurance’ is meaningless.

    Reply

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