Links 4/30/18

Dear patient readers,

I will be in NYC for one evening, Saturday June 2. Yves wants to do a meetup, but it turns out the usual haunts (or at least the ones she’s gotten to so far, Ten Bells has not responded) are booked, and they indicated that Saturday nights book up way in advance.

Any reader ideas re place in Manhattan that could accommodate 40-50 people where we don’t have to rent a room? We might consider a deposit, but not a large one (the one at Ten Bells is pretty modest).


* * *

Wooden Shigir idol found to be over twice as old as Egyptian pyramids (CL).

T-Mobile and Sprint agree all-stock merger FT. Now we’ll see what the regulators say.

Half of TSB online banking customers still locked out of accounts Telegraph. Wait, I thought they’d called in IBM?

TSB: How it all went so wrong for the bank BBC

Crackdown plan on Scottish limited partnerships BBC (Richard Smith). Richard Smith: “Fame at last!”

Staff shortages ‘threaten’ crackdown on shell firms The Herald (Richard Smith). Richard Smith: “Truncated quote makes it sound like I’m praising my own tenacity…I meant the UK and international reporting!’

The World Bank should be defunded Bill Mitchell (UserFriendly).

Are European Companies Ready for Life Without Draghi? Wolf Street (EM).

Financial regulators turn their sights on banks’ use of cloud FT

It’s a Tech War, and It Costs a Fortune Bloomberg (JT McPhee).

How US home loan agencies became rental powerhouses FT


Germans don’t really worry about Brexit and want EU to be uncompromising Handelblatt

Support grows for cross-party plans to prevent ‘no deal’ Brexit Guardian

Amber Rudd resigns hours after Guardian publishes deportation targets letter Guardian. Windrush.

Weaponising Paperwork LRB. More Windrush.

‘It’s a hacker’s paradise out there’ BBC. Seems like PR for a new British security firm, but worth reading for that reason alone.

North Korea

The Inter-Korean Summit Ask a Korean!

History is being made on the Korean peninsula: But what kind? And who will make it? Salon

North Korea will invite US experts to witness nuclear site shutdown in May, and scrap its unique timezone Reuters

John Bolton: U.S. Using ‘Libya Model’ for North Korea Negotiations Daily Beast (KW).


Why Did the U.S. and Its Allies Bomb Libya? Corruption Case Against Sarkozy Sheds New Light on Ousting of Gaddafi The Intercept

Afghan farmers stick to growing opium in the face of less lucrative options Reuters

Blasted Limbs, Broken Dreams WaPo

And the beat rolls on … Sic Semper Tyrannis


China’s Economic Numbers Have a Credibility Problem Bloomberg. Still germane

‘Forget the Facebook leak’: China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale South China Morning Post

Durian sparks fear of gas leak in Melbourne library The Star

Trump Transition

Michael Hayden: The End of Intelligence NYT(HM). HM: “An NYT op-ed by Michael Hayden, soliloquying from the Bridge of the Starship Baloney. What is worse than the author and the piece are the comments. The Reader’s Pick section is usually where I go for decent pushback from the readership. This time the comments section was flooded by nothing but Trump Derangement Syndrome gushers.”

Federal ‘turf war’ complicates cybersecurity efforts The Hill. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition….

How a Pentagon Contract Sparked a Cloud War Defense One (KW).

Democrats in Disarray

Bernie Sanders “would have won” and Bernie bros are a myth, says campaign manager in new book Vice. Jeff Weaver.

How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns Counterpunch

Booker, Sanders want to promise every American a job. Some Democrats are skeptical. WaPo

The Church Left is Proving My Point Benjamin Studebaker

Our Famously Free Press

The Truths Michelle Wolf Spoke that Launched a Thousand Howls The Ghion Journal (UserFriendly).

For the sake of journalism, stop the White House correspondents’ dinner Margaret Sullivan, WaPo

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why the F-35 Isn’t Good Enough for Japan The Diplomat

Pentagon Classifies Study of F-35 Jet’s Challenges in Pacific Bloomberg

Germany, France Agree to Build New Fighter Jet Together WSJ. “The Pentagon’s newest combat aircraft, the radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp., has been a hot seller in Europe. The U.K., Norway, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark are among the countries that have committed to buying the plane. Finland and Belgium are among others considering purchases of the plane that cost around $100 million each.”

Guillotine Watch

How to Live in San Francisco Without Spending Any Money WSJ. “‘The entire S.F. economy is V.C. subsidized,’ said Mr. Yu, who last year co-founded a blockchain technology startup called Stream. ‘It’s a historical world of excess.'”

How a Packet of Anonymous Surveys From Women Employees Blew Up the Executive Ranks at Nike Willamette Week (KW).

Class Warfare

Labor 2030: The Collision of Demographics, Automation and Inequality Bain & Company (AF).

Georgia Bus Drivers Joined the School Uprising and Paid a Price The Intercept

Electronics-recycling innovator is going to prison for trying to extend computers’ lives Los Angeles Times

Commons, Community, Economy, Environment Philosopher

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. YY

    On the Sarkozy Libya item in the Intercept, would suggest to any readers to continue to and read the comments to get a fuller take on the issue. This seems to be the case with many items in the Intercept, the readers appear more informed than the writers.

    1. David

      The article is a competent enough summary of what’s been coming out in the French media since Sarkozy had an unpleasant couple of days with the police, but doesn’t add anything of importance. The story itself is a bit more balanced than the headline suggests. The comments (where they are actually about Sarkozy and not Clinton etc.) make some good additional points but probably fall too easily into conspiracy theorising. The truth is (probably) simpler, but not necessarily more edifying.
      Gaddafi had been a major pain in the western neck for decades, but after 2001 his secular politics and capable secret service made him a prize asset for the West, and after 2004 this was officialised under the pretext of giving up WMD. As a number of books have set out, Sarkozy and his clique recognised a business opportunity when they saw one, and before and during his time as President a lot of effort went into contracts for French industry, including for a squadron of Rafales, coincidentally constructed by one of Sarkozy’s major financial backers. That was fine until 2011, when it suddenly looked as though the regime might fall. Conscious of having reacted far too late on Tunisia (which cost the then-Foreign Minister her job) the French decided to get in early in Libya. Since Gaddafi was bound to fall anyway, they reasoned, why not give him a push, and take the credit (and the money) from whatever government followed him. Many of the other issues mentioned (the threat to the CFA Franc, for example) were real enough, but by themselves would not have justified trying to overthrow a government which was then opening its wallet to French companies, and collaborating with French intelligence.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I don’t think you need necessarily delve into conspiracy theories to see why the French in particular were so keen to get rid of Ghaddafi. Sarkozy’s ego was enough. That said, the speed with which he went from being bete noir to reliable western business partner to disposable is is striking. But given the region I’m pretty sure there was more than one shady deal going down which sealed his fate and it probably involved gold, oil or military kickbacks (or all three).

        But if ever there was a time that Europe needed a firm smack from a paternalistic US president (as happened over the Suez Crisis) this was it. Instead there was vacillating Obama and a Washington full of neocon schemers.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I think that it should be mentioned that Gaddafi was about to set up a pan-African currency backed up by 143 tons of gold (and an equal amount of silver) which would have threatened the French franc in that part of the world. There is an article at which mentions that this story was confirmed in Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails.
        The place wasn’t ready to fall – it was shoved. The UK alone was shipping over Jihadists in the UK that were more or less under house arrest to Libya to take part in the fighting. God knows how many special forces from all the western countries and advisors were there on the ground helping out. It would be a study to work out how many people Gaddafi killed during his rule and how many have died since he was brutally murdered.

        1. visitor

          God knows how many special forces from all the western countries and advisors were there on the ground helping out.

          Qatar sent some infantry troops to fight alongside Libyan rebels (in violation of UN resolution 1973). Qatari officials even boasted about it after the fall of Gaddafi.

        2. apberusdisvet

          The gold story is important. At the time Central Bank vaults of gold bullion were echo chambers, and the gold was needed to continue the gold lease and hypothecation scam. Not so different than the reported midnight raid during the Ukraine coup when its gold disappeared into the night on a CIA contracted airline.

        3. oh

          It’s utter nonsense to think that Sarkozy would kill the golden goose. Saint Obama was ordered by his neo-con handlers to give the go ahead for the lapdogs to get rid of Gaddaffi after he decided to set up a pan-African currency to use for oil trades.

      3. Third Time Lucky

        Since Gaddafi was bound to fall anyway, they reasoned, speculated,…

        I’l add another reason. Just as Syria’s problems have provided Turkey with cheap oil smuggled by it’s terrorist/liberation fighter partners, the disorder in Libya means no SGS or other organ being paid to watch the off-shore oil wellheads being pumped dry to the benefit of Total. Total should be having record profits since it isn’t setting aside (for future repayment) anywhere near the value of the oil it ships. Anyone know where all that money went, certainly not to the French State or other shareholders of Total.

        BTW, Libya oil is about the crude sweet enough to run in Total’s main refinery. Nothing quite as old style robber baron capitalist as overthrowing the board of a monopolistic supplier by dirty tricks.

        1. Third Time Lucky

          …about the only crude sweet …

          Further to Rev Kev’s comment, I’ll add Gaddafi’s forces were winning against the rebellion until France, USA, UK stepped in with bombing and direct military action, so one could argue the French were not speculating as they knew the fix was in, so my earlier comment could stand amending on this point too.

        2. David

          If it wasn’t obvious, I meant that they reasoned incorrectly. Overcompensated for Tunisia, in fact. They appear to have assumed that he would disappear as rapidly as Ben Ali, and once it became clear that he wouldn’t they had to get involved militarily to a far greater extent than had been anticipated.

      4. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        What does “Gaddafi had been a major pain in the western neck for decades” mean?

        People trying to survive in the third world may say French and other neo-imperialists, the Sarkos and Macrons of this world, have been a major pain in the neck for decades, if not longer.

        1. David

          I wouldn’t disagree, but Gaddafi was unique in having a personal (if somewhat odd) ideology, grandiose ambitions, and lots of money to implement them. From memory, Gaddafi paid the OAU (later AU) subscriptions of about half of Africa, which meant that he had a very large, if often discreet, influence on the continent. His ideas (even when they were nuts like the Pan African Army) were thus always listened to with respect, and, from the West’s perspective, got in the way of its own competing initiatives like the African Standby Force. He thus had money and influence which made it impossible to ignore him, and he wasn’t playing the western game. Add to that blowing up aircraft, supporting the IRA and similar groups, and you have someone who, until 2001, the West would have been keen to see the back of. Of course, once it seemed that he was tottering, it became attractive to try to help him fall, and to enjoy the same economic benefits from one of these classic “pro-western moderate” governments which is always supposed to arise in such circumstances, but seldom if ever does.

          1. third time lucky


            Only adding stable local government is only desired when it’s labour being exploited(aka China/Vietnam). When natural resources are being exploited(aka Syria/West Africa/South America), weak, chaotic government is desired. The otherspeak is just polite PR/guilt relief for Western consumer consumption.

          2. Olga

            Not sure any of that is objectionable, unless of course, you’re a western “democratic” leader (not sure about blowing up the airline, given what we know, it could have been a false flag attack). He may have had grandiose plans – but at least they were for the benefit of Africans. His real crime – way back – was blowing up the seven-sister monopoly on oil extraction in the ME. The west never forgave that… and he made the mistake of trusting some westerners (like T. Blair).

            1. David

              Well, someone put a bomb on UTA 772 and the Libyans copped to it. In a sense though it doesn’t matter: what matters is what western states believed. Meanwhile I’m not sure that Gaddafi ever did much for Africa, and his passing (as opposed to the manner of it) was generally welcomed there.

              1. pretzelattack

                do we really know what the u.s. believed? they professed to believe in saddam wmd’s too, while busily propping up that con job at every opportunity. the uk professed to believe that propaganda.

              2. Massinissa

                He did do at least one thing: He was Nelson Mandela’s largest financial backer, as far back as when Mandela was still a terrorist and such.. Lots of data on it all, and him and Mandela were close forever after that. You can find videos of them being super close all over Youtube.

                Though I dont know if that counts as “did much for Africa” or “did much for South Africa”.

  2. Donald

    Comments at the NYT are nearly always dominated by Trump Derangement if the story or piece involves him in any way. And you only have to say you oppose Trump and his attack on our heretofore unsullied ideals to be embraced. There are exceptions to this rule about the comments. I type some of them. But in my experience TBS is the rule.

  3. UserFriendly

    I liked Michelle Wolf’s set. She did go in a bit hard on Sarah Huckabee Sanders though.

    1. Kevin

      Correspondence dinner: An event where the media and powerbrokers that got us into this mess all meet?

      I fail to see how this would be of any interest to me.

      Perhaps if the roof collapsed…

      (no offense intended to you UserFriendly)

      1. polecat

        How is this ‘event’ .. any different from say, the Oscars, or the Emmys, or the Golden Globes ?? .. to mine eyes, it reeks of the same kind of egotistical preening and mock concern that is part and parcel to virtually ALL of these “bubble-high” society shindigs !

        I Thank HeyZeus that we threw out our TVguidance long ago …

        1. Charlie

          Agreed. These events keep reminding me how illuminating the Hunger Games city scenes really are.

        1. Kevin

          I get that. I guess my preference would have been for a more literal interpretation of “trashing”.
          I can’t really see any humor at all in what goes on there….and what have become.

      2. freedeomny

        “Correspondence dinner: An event where the media and powerbrokers that got us into this mess all meet?”

        That is the great truth that Michelle W said at the very end of her set….that all those journalists who are screaming and clutching their pearls re Trump – actually love him because he has brought them immense profits. She basically said that the media helped create Trump. I didn’t watch it on TV as I don’t have cable – so had to watch it ATF to see what everyone was up in arms about. Too bad she didn’t mention Obama.

      1. UserFriendly

        It was a shade too much about her looks, and it went on just a bit too long given she was like 5 feet away. It’s like ‘I get she lies, move on.’ The other half of it is that as far as ‘press Sec for Trump’ goes she seems to be doing what she can to not blatantly lie constantly, unlike spicer. She Tends to phrase things like ‘The President Believes …” rather than putting herself as the authority.

        1. UserFriendly

          And since some people don’t seam to get what I mean by it being a touch too much about her looks, there was a line:

          “We are graced with Sarah’s presence tonight,” Wolf said. “Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited. I’m not really sure what we’re going to get, you know? A press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. It’s shirts and skins, and this time don’t be such a little bitch, Jim Acosta.”

          Which is a thinly veiled dyke joke. I guarantee every gay person heard it that way.

          1. Matt

            Which is a thinly veiled dyke joke. I guarantee every gay person heard it that way.

            I definitely didn’t

          2. m

            Have you seen Sarah during some of those press briefings. She is off the hook sometimes. Sure Sarah looks like the stereotypical dyke coach, but I think she was making fun of the way she goes off on people.

          3. freedeomny

            My sis is gay and didn’t get that. I thought she tried to compliment SHS looks – she made a remark about SHS able to burn faxes to create the perfect “smokey” eye. I personally don’t wear makeup (but I used to) and I can tell you that the perfect smokey eye is actually a compliment a woman might give another woman – because I have heard it :)

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Actually, that’s “facts”, not “faxes”. ” able to burn facts” etc.

        2. ArcadiaMommy

          So repeating someone else’s lies means you are not a liar? Hmm…

          I didn’t take this as a comment on her looks, more as a good turn of phrase. I think that the people who are outraged are making this about her looks, i.e, they think she is ugly and feel sorry for her. The fact is that she wears a lot of eye shadow/liner/false eyelashes.

          Maybe if she didn’t perpetuate the ugliness of this administration she wouldn’t have been in the hot seat.

          I played softball through high school – I am not a lesbian tho.

          1. UserFriendly

            All I’m saying is that put in the impossible situation of decoding Trump to the press IMO she tends to avoid bald faced lies. When she has to say something she doesn’t think is true she almost always phrases it as coming from the president. I don’t know what else we would expect from a press sec for Trump. Out of all the evil in the DC swamp she seams to me to be less culpable than most and I thought her skewering was disproportionate to her offence. That’s all. I don’t think she needed kid gloves or anything, but IMO she gets points for showing up and I think it went a bit too far. The overreaction defending her on twitter right now is too much in the other direction though.

            1. Aumua

              I’m actually a big fan of her scowl. She’s honed it to perfection. It seems very befitting for a Trump press secretary. The same goes for Wolf’s roast. It was lewd and over the top, just like Trump. So it all fits. I don’t know what the problem is.

          2. Lynne

            How is it a lie to say, “The President’s position is [insert whatever the lie is]” or “The President believes [insert whatever the lie is]”? You aren’t making the lie yourself, nor are you claiming you believe it. That’s what a spokesperson does. You may not like the administration, but it’s a bit much to say that justifies ridiculing how a woman chooses to dress or look, particularly when you’re standing at mics wearing even more makeup than your target.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Spicer was a dimwit who couldn’t keep up, but he was more of a believer. than Sanders. The press loves her because she does the whole petting of the actors playing journalists in private much like the other press secretaries in recent years.

          1. wilroncanada

            Given the scandals within both the media and the political sphere, perhaps we should be renaming it “The Co-respondents Dinner.

      2. Lynne

        Really? She deserves to have some nitwit pretend not to understand her name, in an obvious wink-wink “we’re not backwards like those morons in flyover country”, use her to make crass unfunny dyke jokes, or make some unfunny crack about eye makeup while wearing some that looks like it was applied with a trowel? Sorry, but I didn’t think Michelle Wolf was funny. What I don’t get is how somebody who clearly doesn’t understand microphones or get that monotones are tiresome even got the gig.

        1. Aumua

          Well like she said in her bit, they should have done their research better before letting her do the roast. I thought she said a lot of very funny things, and some very true things too.

  4. Ed

    Not a word about the migrants’ leap-a-thon in San Diego, or the Israeli bombing of Iranian positions in Syria?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Take a look at the top of the page. “Fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power” it says. It cannot possibly cover everything that goes on each and every day. There is Google News for that but there is no commentary there. Easiest way to fix any omissions is to submit links and stories yourself. Take a look at for the section marked ‘Links and Antidotes’.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From the JPost:

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to give a speech disclosing “dramatic news about Iran” at 8 pm on Monday, Israeli media reported Monday afternoon.

      Media reports indicate Netanyahu will address the Iran nuclear deal and not the overnight strike in Syria. A large portion of his speech will be in English.

      Prolly means a busy day for Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, explaining why the bombing is “all legal.”

      1. polecat

        … complete with loony-tunes cartoon ‘charts’, no doubt …

        Is Bibi’s middle name ACME ??

        1. Waking Up

          From the article at the Intercept:

          Then there is Israeli public opinion, in which the shift to the authoritarian and racist right has been remarkable in recent decades. According to polling by Pew, nearly half (48 percent) of Israeli Jews now support expelling Arabs from Israel, while the vast majority of them (79 percent) believe that they are entitled to deserve “preferential treatment” over non-Jewish minorities in Israel.

          Do people of the Jewish faith around the world realize this belief by Israeli Jews will eventually come back to haunt them?

    3. j84ustin

      I was thinking about the migrant caravan today, and how the news surrounding it has been absent here. But it’s also true that finance is the main focus on this site. NC is maybe my main source, but not my only source of news.

  5. Jesper

    A quote from the Labour 2030 report:

    Waves of automation have reshaped the economy throughout history. Agricultural automation freed farmers to migrate to factories, and industrial automation allowed factory workers to move into the service sector

    Farm-workers were freed to migrate
    Factory-workers were allowed to move
    I suppose that in the next (current) reshaping then the service-workers will be given the chance for something…….. No suffering involved, no need for government to do anything to regulate – just let the market-forces do its thing. And don’t worry, we most certainly do not need to do anything collectively……

    1. Ted

      And let’s add that these sound bites are just uninformed about the history of capitalism. Well before agricultural “automation”(aka petroleum as a source labor energy) people who had been dispossesed of land they had farmed for generations were sent streaming into European cities and the new colonies largely through land speculation and enclosures. Factory workers in the American rustbelt and deindustrialized zones throughout the west were not displaced by automation, but by capitalists moving sites of production, en masse, to cheaper locations like Mexico and ultimately China. Automation is a canard, a shiney bauble to misinform and distract the masses from the ways large scale movements of capital truly and radically transform human lifeways always for the worst. “Ignore the man behind the curtain, look up here at the AI that threatens your livelihood! Bad, evil robots!”

      1. wilroncanada

        Don’t forget that the first wave of the movement of sites of production by capitalists was north to south, WITHIN the United States, from the old regulated rust belt to the new low-wage, deregulated rust belt. Plenty of help there from politicians of both neo parties.

    2. Jean

      Per the Bain report:
      0.4% growth in employment through the 2020s. How does that jibe with millions of ‘immigrants’ arriving in the U.S.?

      “Down you damn wages! Down I say!”

  6. Wukchumni

    Went to extract the 3 1/2 foot rattlesnake yesterday from it’s metal trap and when I got there, only about 8 inches of it was left.

    It probably tasted like coq au wire, for the wild turkey that had it for dinner the night before…

    1. polecat

      Neodinosaurs are like that .. as they’d pluck yo eyes for jujubes, given the chance, as they would a rattle.

    2. ambrit

      Actually, when I tried it out in Tejas once, it was purported to taste like ‘coq au venom.’ A Western variant of fugu, no doubt.

  7. visitor

    China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale

    The article made me shudder — not just because of what is already deployed, but also because of the potential for a “total supervision” of people with future extensions of the technology, coupled with the variety of other surveillance gear already available.

    It seems as if every dystopian technique imagined in the science-fiction literature from the past 100 years is being eagerly implemented. The sheer problems we will face with climate change, pollution and the exhaustion of natural resources will probably make it impossible for our societies to sustain such “mind-bending” technologies at scale — but this is a really weak reassurance indeed.

    1. ewmayer

      Indeed, you can be sure that government efforts to ‘weaponize’ this kind of technology by turning it into a tool of lie detection and forced re-education are proceeding apace. The wearable caps are reminiscent of the ones in John Christopher’s 1967 Tripods Trilogy (note that the fourth novel, the prequel When The Tripods Came, was written 20 years later), one of my early-teen-self’s favorite SciFi opuses.

    1. ambrit

      Not trying to ‘milk’ the witticism, but, are you suggesting that they were ‘cowed’ into compliance? I guess, for the base security details, anything else would be an example of ‘udder’ incompetence. Anyway, this is good for training, since the environs of the base will be perfect test areas for navigating over ungulating terrain.
      Luckily for the Navy, there aren’t any castles nearby manned by French knights.
      See: “Launch the cow.”:

      1. Wukchumni

        In F-35 vernacular, when doing an exceptionally low pass over a CAFO, it’s termed ‘skimmed milk’ and tests have proven that assorted bessies are good for an extra ounce of output per day out of fright perhaps, proving the jet fighter’s worth.

        1. ambrit

          As long as none of those aircraft get creamed. Otherwise, it’ll be back before the ‘Wheys and Means Committee’ next year for more moo-lah.

        1. ambrit

          Phyllis grew up on the last working dairy in Metairie Louisiana, the westernmost suburb of Orleans Parish. Her Grandad sold the dairy in the early 1950s to an industrial park developer, (they had them even back then,) and set his kids up to do better than he had. Another branch of the family still runs a working milk herd in the next furthest exurban region from New Orleans, Ponchatoula, Louisiana.
          One of the lessons I picked up from listening to Phyls’ Dad and his brothers and sisters talk about life back then was that you never know when disaster will strike. All of them displayed what I’ve seen described as the Great Depression Fugue.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          I used to call the highway north of Coalinga “Causchwitz”, although it was more like a N#zi cage for starving Russian POWs. You smelled it long before you saw it. No shelter or shade, just acres of blackened waste ground with thousands of cattle. The only relief from the heat was sprinklers showering the poor beasts with scarce California water. Meat is murder.

        1. ambrit

          Thanks. I know this is supposed to be an economics blog…..
          Consider me as being a form of conversational negative interest rate policy. But with better outcomes.

  8. DJG

    Article about the Shigir image is fascinating: I can’t determine from reading it how long the image was in the peat bog.

    If Greek culture is any indication (and it is a source mainly because records go farther back than Russian records do), wooden images were preserved and venerated for great lengths of time. From the Wikipedia entry about xoanon (plural xoana), Greek wooden sacred images:

    ‘In Athens, in the Erechtheum, an ancient olivewood[8] effigy of Athena (the Palladion) was preserved. The Athenians believed it had fallen to earth from the heavens, as a gift to Athens; it was still to be seen in the 2nd century CE.[9] On the island of Icaria a rustic piece of wood was venerated for the spirit of Artemis it contained or represented (Burkert). Ovid in Metamorphoses (10.693ff) describes how in the cave of Cybele numerous wooden images are to be seen.”

    Most likely, the choice of wood has significance. Athen brought the olive to Athens. (The Shigir image is of larch, but I don’t know the cultural significance of larch, an evergreen, although evergreens are considered symbols of overcoming death.)

    Many of the statues in Greece were attributed to Daedalus, when means Crete. The mainland Greeks considered Cretan civilization to be a great antiquity–so who knows how old these xoana would have been?

    1. allan

      For interested readers, the Shigir idol page helpfully provides:

      Related Stories

      Rejection from ‘American Idol’ provides insights into perseverance January 19, 2016

      New research based on observations at American Idol auditions and in-depth interviews with 43 contestants reveals how contestants come to accept rejection after being cut from the competition. …

      Perhaps needs to fine tune the algo running the site.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There is certainly plenty of evidence of big wooden images in neolithic Europe – its likely that monuments like Stonehenge were an exception, not the rule – most were made of wood. But now all we tend to find are the pits where the wood sat. Plenty of smaller wood idols have been found in Ireland in bogs, although most Irish bogs only date back about 5,000 years, but its easy to guess that there were many different types and uses. But because stone survives we may have a distorted view of what the ancients did (hence ‘lithic’).

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I prefer to look at stone remains rather than wood.

        I wish a mainstream archaeologist would attempt to explain who created this, when, and how. Especially given where it is located:

        Great site, full of wild, way-over-the-top speculations, and thousands of pics of truly unexplainable things

    3. Oregoncharles

      I suspect the “idol” of being a totem pole – a clan symbol, rather than a deity. The similarity is likely not coincidental: there is cultural continuity right across the Arctic. Native Americans came from Siberia, and were still coming right into historic times. 11,000 years ago isn’t very long after the first evidence of humans in the New World. Yupiks, for instance, lived on both sides of the Bering Strait.

      1. ambrit

        That dating for early humans in the Americas is being pushed back.
        The Pacific coast:
        The Atlantic coast:
        I do agree with the ‘totem pole’ hypothesis. The entire piece is big, and in the right shape. There are Tikis in Polynesia, and efigies of the ‘departed’ in many places. Modern day tombstones can be viewed as totems for the spirits of the ancestors to dwell in and overlook the lives of the present day members of the ‘family.’ Funerary practices are strange and wonderful.

  9. Wukchumni

    Since the 1940s, the Hawaiian island of Kauai has endured two tsunamis and two hurricanes, but locals say they have never experienced anything like the thunderstorm that drenched the island this month.

    “The rain gauge in Hanalei broke at 28 inches within 24 hours,” said state Rep. Nadine Nakamura of the North Shore community. “In a neighboring valley, their rain gauge showed 44 inches within 24 hours. It’s off the charts.”

    Actually, it was even worse. This week the National Weather Service said nearly 50 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.

    We had a perfekt storm about a decade ago in mid October. It dumped 7+ inches overnight and was rain from 8k on down. The next morning the river sounded like full on mid spring runoff, that loud. When I got to the water, there was 5 feet of white foam (we call it meringue) on top of the surface, never seen anything quite like it. The only casualties was whatever people had by the river, coolers, chairs, kayaks, etc., which all got flushed down to the reservoir, an interesting sight to see, an ad hoc naval parade of stuff.

    If it had been say 9+ inches worth, there would have been major flooding damage all over town.

    1. tooearly

      yeah those volumes of rain are truly unimaginable to most. More rain in 24 hours than much of the world gets in a year/
      While I was not on Kauai , Oahu’s rain that day was itself pretty impressive. Cats and Dogs doesnt even begin to describe it.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Why the F-35 Isn’t Good Enough for Japan”

    The Japan Air Self-Defense Force is supposed to be getting a total of 42 F-35s which means that they will be the mainstay of Japan’s aerial defenses for the next coupla decades. The faults of this plane are by now almost legendary with it being slow, under-armed, technologically obsolete, etc. and you wonder what the feelings of the Japanese pilots are if they ever had to take these planes into battle.
    During the Battle of Britain ace-pilot Adolf Galland was impressed with the superiority of the Spitfires that his Bf-109 squadron was fighting against. When he and other commanders were being criticized by Goering for their inability to stop the bombers from being shot down and Goering asked what they needed to do the job, Galland was famously supposed to have replied: “Give me a Squadron of Spitfires”.
    What then would the Japanese pilots reply if asked what they needed to defend the Japanese islands? Russian Sukhoi Su-57s or Chinese Chengdu J-20s?

    1. vlade

      Except that BoB had fewer Spitfires deployed than Hurricanes (the proportion was about 3:2 in Hurricanes favour).

      1. The Rev Kev

        True enough that. I am not taking anything away from the Hawker Hurricane – it was a fine fighter – but it came down to aircraft performance and tailoring your attack force accordingly. If I recall right, the Spitfires with their better performance went after the German fighters while the Hawker Hurricanes went after the bombers. It was a brutal environment in that battle as the Germans learned when they sent their famed Ju87 Stukas into battle there – and lost whole Gruppen to the British fighters forcing them to withdraw them completely

        1. Brian

          ‘state of the art’ for aircraft changed every year or two during the 30’s and 40’s. The Me109 was king before the war, but lost its edge as the Brits implemented the newer designs by 1940. Same with the Zero. Very fast, very maneuverable, but no armor, the Corsair took away all the edge being a few years newer design. The Stuka was very old by wartime and only useful if there were no fighters (of any kind or age) in the battle. In the late stages in Germany, the P51 even shot down their jets, which seems anomalous as the technology was older.
          it is a lesson that no one seems to have remembered today. A figher in production for 15 years is likely obsolete if it can’t perform as planned, yet.

          1. Wukchumni

            I met Günther Rall about 25 years ago while eating breakfast in Santa Monica, and his 275 victories in the air mostly in Me 109’s made him the 3rd most successful ace of all time.

            It was an interesting 6 degrees of separation for me, in that he’d been given the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves personally, by you know who.

          2. skippy

            Just to pipe in the sexy air frames did no do most of the work in WWII, tho they were great propaganda tools ala Bernays. Sorta like the deal with Russia doing the dirty work and others [sexy] laying claim to the out come.

            Planes like the P-47

            “Luftwaffe ace Heinz Bäer said that the P-47 “could absorb an astounding amount of lead [from shooting at it] and had to be handled very carefully”.[23] Although the North American P-51 Mustang replaced the P-47 in the long-range escort role in Europe, the Thunderbolt still ended the war with 3,752 air-to-air kills claimed in over 746,000 sorties of all types, at the cost of 3,499 P-47s to all causes in combat.[24] By the end of the war, the 56th FG was the only 8th Air Force unit still flying the P-47, by preference, instead of the P-51. The unit claimed 677.5 air victories and 311 ground kills, at the cost of 128 aircraft.[25] Lieutenant Colonel Francis S. Gabreski scored 28 victories,[26] Captain Robert S. Johnson scored 27 (with one unconfirmed probable kill leading to some giving his tally as 28),[27] and 56th FG Commanding Officer Colonel Hubert Zemke scored 17.75 kills.[Note 5] Despite being the sole remaining P-47 group in the 8th Air Force, the 56th FG remained its top-scoring group in aerial victories throughout the war.

            With increases in fuel capacity as the type was refined, the range of escort missions over Europe steadily increased until the P-47 was able to accompany bombers in raids all the way into Germany. On the way back from the raids, pilots shot up ground targets of opportunity, and also used belly shackles to carry bombs on short-range missions, which led to the realization that the P-47 could perform a dual-function on escort missions as a fighter-bomber. Even with its complicated turbosupercharger system, its sturdy airframe and tough radial engine could absorb a lot of damage and still return home.

            The P-47 gradually became the USAAF’s best fighter-bomber, normally carrying 500 lb (227 kg) bombs, M8 4.5 in (115 mm) or 5 in (127 mm) High velocity aircraft rockets (HVARs, also known as “Holy Moses”). From D-Day until VE day, Thunderbolt pilots claimed to have destroyed 86,000 railroad cars, 9,000 locomotives, 6,000 armored fighting vehicles, and 68,000 trucks.[29]” – wiki

            Did the rounds talking to old WWII flyers back in my youth, seems the whole thing does not square well with procured narratives. Sorta like the meth thingy.

          1. marku52

            I was intrigued to learn how it was that the P51 Mustang finally had the range to escort the B17s all the way to Berlin. No previous fighter could, even tho it shared an engine with the shorter range Spitfire.

            The answer, as I understand it, lay in the new NACA developed “laminar flow wing”. It was a new chord shape that bulged out farther in the thinner part of the chord. What this did was delay separation of the airflow from the wing surface that caused high speed drag.

            What’s really cool is if you see a Mustang in a museum and can see the wing end-on, this unusual shape is very visible.

            1. Wukchumni

              The original Mustang was an Allison engined nothing much of an airplane named Apache, but when matched with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, wow.

          2. ahab

            Fascinating stuff.
            Thanks for the links.
            Another problem with the Merlin engines was their tendency to stall in negative G maneuvers.
            It was Beatrice Shilling who came up with a marvelously simple and elegant solution – the so-called “RAE restrictor” – a flat washer with a hole in the center. She traveled around the UK, installing her wondrous device while planes were between sorties.

          3. Kurt Sperry

            The increased octane rating would probably have given no advantage without modifying the engines to increase the compression ratio to suit. This might have been as simple as milling material off the heads and shortening the pushrods a bit, or could have been rather more complicated.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      It will be an interesting test of Japans determination to do things their way to see what they buy. Even if they worked well, F-35’s have little strategic use to Japan – they need aircraft with much longer range and an ability to use long range strike weapons. Mind you, they might want some VTOL versions for their destroyer that looks amazingly like an aircraft carrier.

      In reality though, any clash between China and Japan will likely be naval, not involving aircraft, the distances between them are just too great.

      1. Altandmain

        There are huge penalties for designing a VTOL aircraft.

        It needs a large fuselage, which means heavy drag and poor dogfighting performance.

        Plus they are not safe. The British Harrier, in American service gained the name Widowmaker among US Marine pilots. VTOL simply won’t work for air superiority and long range work.

        1. Grebo

          The Harrier is very fondly remembered in the UK. Wikipedia has a list of crashes which is shockingly long but one thing that sticks out (in the 1970s at least) is that few if any British pilots died when their Harrier failed, all but one American pilots were killed. I wonder if the difference was due to the ejector seats.

    3. David

      Odd that the article doesn’t mention the Mitsubishi F-2, of which just under one hundred were built and are in service now. This is an aircraft that the Japanese wanted to develop by themselves, but they were bullied by the US into essentially producing an updated version of the F-16. Maybe better luck with an indigenous fighter this time, though I don’t know to what extent even now the description once given to me by someone in a light blue uniform in Tokyo of the JASDF as “a flying club not an air force” remains true.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think many countries with an industry have learned the lesson from the Swedes. To cut the price of their excellent Gripen fighter (far cheaper than most alternatives and very effective) they designed it around a US engine, the F404. But this means the US has an effective veto on exports, so guess why the Swedes have had such a hard time selling them. The French have long known that you have to be able to make the aircraft as near enough 100% at home – but that hugely increases the development costs. So the Japanese will have a big decision on that to make.

        1. visitor

          Aircraft engines require advanced know-how to design and manufacture, so few countries master the entire technology. I am not sure the Swedes are still capable to compete in that area; the Japanese F-2 used a GE engine (though manufactured in Japan).

          Even the Chinese still rely upon Russian engines for their most advanced airplanes. Their recent projects have at their core the development of 100% domestic high-performance engines for military airplanes — and last I read about it, they were having serious difficulties to fulfill requirements.

          Thus, for recent generation aircrafts, are there any real players besides the USA, the UK, Russia and France, and possibly China?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Aircraft engines are the key technology that most struggle with, even the Chinese. The Japanese are developing an indigenous engine for their F-2, but I don’t know of there are any indications how far they’ve gone with it. The South Koreans manufacture the F404 under license for their T-50, and no doubt would be able to make a knock-off of it if they needed. The Taiwanese also make aero engines under joint ventures with Honeywell. Its possible that with their experience of making spares for their old F-5’s and F-14’s the Iranians are capable of making a reasonable knock-off engine.

            So for a modern top of the range fighter, yes, I think only the US, UK, France and Russia for certainly can do the engines and full range of other technology (although the UK seems to have given up on full aircraft sadly). The Chinese will eventually work it out. I’m sure the Japanese could if they put their mind to it, and the Germans too (but my guess is that the French will do the engines for the new Franco-German fighter project). But quite a few other countries would also be able to do knock-off designs if they found themselves faced with sanctions.

            1. David

              I recall the Koreans being almost obsessively interested in technology transfer in the defence area (as elsewhere) with ambitions to become a major defence exporter. It would be interesting to know if they managed to get any engine-related technology, and if so whether they were able to do anything with it. I rather suspect not.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Hanwha make a licensed copy of the F404 (the engine used in the F-18 and the Saab Gripen). Of course, that could mean anything from Ikea style screwing together bits made in the US, to making the entire engines from scrap. I’m no expert, but I understand the toughest part of making a jet engine is the metallurgy of the compressors and fan blades – this is where the Chinese haven’t mastered the technology.

                Its noticeable that the South Koreans are much more focused on having an industrial policy for their own military needs than the Japanese, they make a lot of their own weapons, which I can only assume is an indication that they see this as a backstop in case the US is no longer their friend, and that they foresee a lot of potential sales in other Asian countries. I guess its also a pragmatic response to having bigger, historically unfriendly neighbours on your doorstep.

                1. marku52

                  It was a fan blade failure that killed a passenger on that SW Airlines flight. The forces are incredible.

                  IIRC, those blades are mono-crystalline. Tough to manufacture.

                2. cnchal

                  . . . screwing together bits made in the US, to making the entire engines from scrap. . .

                  I’ll take my humor from allmost any Freudian slip

                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    ooops, I didn’t notice that, I meant ‘scratch’ of course, I’ll blame autocorrect.

          2. Altandmain

            The American corporations have given the Japanese a large chunk of the necessary technology already in their quest to maximize short term profits.


            See IHI for an example:


            Combined with the outsourcing of wing making in civil aviation, this gives the Japanese the 2 most difficult technologies, the turbine blades and the wings. They would still have to undergo a tremendous amount of R&D, but it is possible.

        2. Alex V

          Just for nerdy detail, the engine is actually built by Volvo Aero in Sweden, but you are technically also correct – it’s a licensed version of the GE F404. Don’t know the details of how it’s export controlled though.

    4. oh

      This article seems to full of half truths and misspellings and plug for Japan to manufacture an aircraft. When I read that:
      While Japan expected receive to and showed strong interest in acquiring the U.S. F-22 Raptor, an elite fifth generation air superiority fighter and the successor to the F-4 and F-15, in the mid 2000s Tokyo was prevented from acquiring the fighter due to a blanket congressional export ban. The decision not to sell Japan a modern replacement to the F-15 continues to seriously hinder Japan’s security to this day, and the country has all but completely lost its Cold War era air superiority advantage in light of the fast growing capabilities of neighboring China – with Beijing’s fleet today vastly surpassing that of Tokyo both quantitatively and qualitatively.
      I wondered what all our airbases are doing in Japan. Are they there for the air shows?

  11. JohnnyGL

    Trump gets this ‘resistance’ leader purring like a kitten with his ‘tough talk’.

    It’s very problematic for the Korean narrative to get re-written as anything other than a people power peace movement bringing a dovish president into power in S. Korea who has adroitly gotten the dialogue moving. Trump’s role was to allow president Moon to say, ‘ignore the crazy American blow hard over there…..let’s see if we can work this out’.

    Am I wrong with this read?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The narrative should incorporate Kim testing underground nuclear bombs and longer and longer range missiles into the story, whether the timings of those were anticipated or unexpected.

      And it should include how the crazy Trump went on to become the first US commander in chief to meet with the previously crazy (as portrayed in western media narratives), but now fairly sane ‘let’s see if we can work out’ leader of N. Korea.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I read the the “Ask a Korean — Inter-Korean Summit” link and one sentence there ” stood out to my reading. “The two Koreas would establish a liaison office in Kaesong, North Korea, and link together rails and roads.” I’m not entirely sure what that means in a practical sense given the various embargoes and trade policies. Does the link between the North and South Korean railroads increase the chance Russia could extend the Trans-Siberian R.R. to join with the North Korean railroad lines and bring raw materials out of Siberia to feed them into South Korean industries?

      I read your comment as suggesting Trump’s role, indeed the U.S. role, in moves toward closer relations between the Koreas presents something of a side-show. I don’t know how things are at present but I recall South Korea pushing hard to move the U.S. Army Command far outside of Seoul and the South Korean tolerance for the excesses of the U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Korea was approaching the level of tolerance and warmth the Okinawans felt for U.S. Army soldiers. I think we have stayed past our welcome and our influence in the region is on the wane.

  12. Nick H

    Re TSB: I’m positive this won’t be the last story we’ll see like this. I spent 5 years working in a small business lending unit at one of the big 4 banks, and spent the entire 5 years trying to migrate off a legacy system…they just couldn’t make it work. The BASIC/mainframe-based system that was developed in the late 80s/early 90s had been so heavily modified and tweaked for so long, there was no next-gen platform able to handle the complex information architecture required to run the business.

    This isn’t endemic to banking — There is a real issue in the corporate landscape right now with aging IT infrastructure and their ability lift it to the 21st century. You don’t just flip a switch and go from a mainframe that’s been in continuous development by in-house technical teams for 20 years to some cloud-based, third party piece of software that you don’t even have access to the source code on. Not to mention the massive lack of technical project management talent needed to adequately manage these monster systems migrations. If I was an academic I’d be writing a paper applying Hayek’s Knowledge Problem to the ‘too complex to manage’ nature of many enterprises’ inability to adequately manage their technical infrastructure.

  13. JohnnyGL

    I gotta confess, I always enjoy these Frank Lutz focus groups. I find them hilarious. Luntz has been looking overwhelmed and confused in the last couple of years. ABC, naturally, brings on a panel with a bunch of party insiders who moan about ‘healing’ and pine for ‘bi-partisanship’ but offer nothing.

    Personally, I can work with ‘angry’ people. I even like them a lot of times. At least it shows they care. It’s the uninterested or the despairing ones that bother me.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, I have a soft spot for Luntz. He is what he is, so I can discount him properly, not some sort of weirdly gelatinous shape-shifter. This:

      For 12 minutes, I sat with your producers off the set as they continued to yell at each other, having no idea that I’d even stepped away.

      That must be a extremely disconcerting experience for somebody who runs focus groups for a living.

  14. Edgar Grana

    Hello Everyone My daughter in law manages The Playwright Irish Pub in Manhattan near Macy’s a big second floor. Can easily hold 40 to 50 people great Irish pub. They will turn off screens if distracting. (212) 268-8868
    Dozens of TVs screening sports set the tone at this Irish pub/eatery near the Empire State Building.
    Address: 27 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

    1. nycTerrierist

      I went there not too long ago – friendly vibe.

      Would be super without the screens — nice they’re willing to
      turn them off! we were just 3 and didn’t think to ask…

    2. Yves Smith

      I am late, will call her today. In NYC, we have had good luck with Irish pubs…

      And I used to live on that block! And it’s not much more of a residential ‘hood than when I lived there.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Booker, Sanders want to promise every American a job. Some Democrats are skeptical. WaPo

    When progressives are in charge, those jobs will be progressive jobs.

    When conservatives move in, they will want conservative government work done by the same workers, like catching people wanted by the government for, say, growing marijuana or crossing the Rio Grande.

    We can’t be sure the jobs will always and exclusively be infrastructure or conservation jobs.

    1. John k

      You can focus on infra. Say block grants to states with high unemployment.
      Regarding the border… Clinton advocates open borders because it pushes down domestic wages. I don’t.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With every new administration, at each level of government, it’s possible they prioritize different jobs in the Job Guarantee programs.

        Will it be to hiring those eligible for JG to ‘beautify our streets,’ by relocating the homeless to ‘better shelters’ (next neighborhood, town or state)?

  16. Eclair

    Great essay on “The Commons, Community, Economy, Environment,” and a nice takedown of Garret Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons.” My candidate for today’s ‘must read.’

    Some random thoughts while reading this: we don’t ‘produce’ anything; we ‘transform.’ And, that process of transformation results in a end product, or more or less utility and goodness, as well as inevitable by-products, some benign, others, mostly evil.

    Minerals, forests, soil, water … all are transformed. Into automobiles, houses, food, clothing, fertilizer, microfiber fleece, ziplock baggies, LNG. By-products are released into the ‘commons,’ our air, our water, our soil. And, the worn-out products themselves either break-down harmlessly (potato peelings, bones, bodies) or hang around for decades (plastic microfibers, nuclear waste, carbon dioxide) and increasingly render our commons unlivable. I believe that we are the first (and, probably, the last) human society to transform natural products taken at ‘no cost’ from the commons, into unnatural, unbiodigradable, noxious waste, that we then release, at no penalty, back into the commons. We are drowning in our own garbage.

    I do rather question a few of the authors’ assumptions. For example: ” … it is rather difficult to see how a market could arise in a culture which did not have a strong sense of private property.”

    I believe that the North and South American Indigenous peoples had robust markets, in cultures that had very limited concepts of ‘private’ property, especially as regards the land. They had well-developed trade routes and roads, and carried artifacts from hundreds of miles away.

    They authors declare that the commons are basic to ‘free enterprise’ and ‘free market’ societies. I’m not sure any more just what the definition of ‘free enterprise’ and ‘free market’ is. Or should be. It’s like they realize that the concept of ‘the commons’ is workable. Indigenous peoples made it work for 10,000 years. More than that, it is necessary for the continued existence of humanity, because without us realizing that we each have a stake in the maintenance of our shared eco-system, we die. But, then Wells and Lynch, can’t take that final leap of faith and conclude that our belief that the land can be owned, that Nature can be monetized, is what is killing us all.

    Sorry to be so incoherent. Thanks, Lambert, for posting this.

    1. Wukchumni

      I believe that the North and South American Indigenous peoples had robust markets, in cultures that had very limited concepts of ‘private’ property, especially as regards the land. They had well-developed trade routes and roads, and carried artifacts from hundreds of miles away.
      The various tribes here all had something the other clans desired and vice versa. The toughest trade route and only possible from spring to late fall would have been a Trans-Sierra trail that brought precious obsidian from Indians on the east side of the Sierra who had no acorns-of which we had plenty, in exchange for pinion nuts which only grew there. Obsidian made for much better arrowheads than locally sourced chert, and would’ve been valued highly. The Indians around now dry Tulare Lake had tule reeds that made for perfect thatched roofing, that all other tribes needed. The most valuable item was their version of money, in the guise of shell bracelets, that came a long way from the coast.

      The Wukchumni tribe here didn’t own real estate as we know it with boundaries and all that, familial holdings were based on oak trees, the source of 2/3rds of their diet via acorns.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I guess I must be grumpy today. I was very disappointed by this supposed “must read” link. I found it a long wandering read I traveled searching for the “punch line” which ultimately lead to:

      “For, while it is often convenient to categorize commons in particular ways—as “free” or “communal”, “tangible” or “intangible”, “environmental”, “economic”, “political”, “social” or “cultural” commons—such labels do not refer to distinct and separate “things”, but to attributes, and attributes which are never absolute, but always a part of some continuum. ”

      Did we really need to wade through Chesterton, bad mouth Hardin’s Commons and wander through social and economic evolution theories while defining multiple categories of commons to arrive at this epiphany? [I’ll probably constrain my readings of Chesterton to Father Brown mysteries.] Having arrived at this point I didn’t feel any better armed or armored for going toe-to-toe arguing with Libertarians and Neoliberals. We might strike down with our sword of ‘Continuum of Commons’ — even the Market is a commons — and Neoliberals will step to one side asserting “Commons do not exist,” letting our mighty blow strike air.

      The “power of the 1%” has proven more than adequate at eviscerating a “politics of human community” using theories and ideas already proven false and destructive to the point of threatening the very existence of our kind while mindlessly killing off great swaths of animal and plant life.

      1. Eclair

        I agree, Jeremy, that the essay’s ‘conclusion’ was a bit underwhelming, but I did find enlightening the nuggets they scattered throughout. Certainly, their discussion of the communal commons as a successful mechanism for preservation and survival, rather than as a recipe for inevitable degradation and disaster, with illustrations as well as reference to Elinor Ostrom’s work in that field, was useful. And, I enjoy reading essays that stir up my thinking, that cause me to pause and reevaluate conceptions and models that I did not really know I held. And, that forced me into rereading Hardin’s original essay, which I had not done since the 70’s.

        But, then not all of us fish really want to spend valuable time examining the water we swim in.

  17. Otis B Driftwood

    From Weaver’s new book:

    “What was not sufficiently articulated by us was that in many ways Bernie was running for FDR’s fifth term,” he writes. “Bernie Sanders represented a rediscovery of the values of the Democratic Party’s modern roots and an articulation of the unfinished business of the New Deal. By contrast, the neoliberals are a recent aberration.”

    Yep, that was a big miss, but I doubt it would have made a difference in the outcome given the forces aligned against Sanders.

    Oh (and not that it matters), I’m still waiting for the editors at my local paper, that bastion of liberalism ‘The San Francisco Chronicle’, to allow that scary word neoliberal to see print, let alone get a full discussion about how it has ruined what used to be the Democratic Party.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “And the beat rolls on …”

    In other goods news, the two besieged government held towns of Fouaa and Kafraya in the middle of Jihadist Idlib are also being evacuated and agreement has been reached to transport up to 1200 people by bus to government-held territories. This will be in exchange for the evacuation of Jihadists in the pocket south of Damascus.
    Isreal has apparently attacked a Syrian-Iranian base north of the Homs pocket but this will not prevent the fall of that pocket as elite units are already headed to this area and the pocket itself is being hammered by aerial attacks. As to the upcoming attack on Idlib, I have already heard the propaganda starting. Some media is deploring the massacre that will happen in Idlib. It will be a massacre all right. A massacre of western-backed Jihadists.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It appears the Syrian government has been draining, or allowing to drain, jihadis from other places into the Idlib Sump. Perhaps the Syrian government’s last act will be to drain the Idlib Sump itself. Of course, then the western powers and the Global Axis of Jihad will rescue every jihadi they can save for future use elsewhere.

  19. Carole

    RE: Commons, Community, Economy, Environment Philosopher
    I wish to thank Lambert for posting this article. It has enhanced my understanding significantly.

  20. LESider

    Lambert and Yves, I would give the folks at “1 Pike” on the Lower East Side a call.

    It’s usually pretty quiet on Saturday nights because it’s a bit off the beaten path, though it’s right off the F. Coffee shop by day and beer + wine at night. Beer is $6 for a draft all night (limited but very good selection), and wine glasses are $8. They have a bar as well as a pretty large side room, with huge windows and a great view of East Broadway.

    Chinese-owned so lots of plants around as well…

    1. a different chris

      ugh… how about something like “the Chinese background of the owners lends itself to much attractive plantings”…

      Man when it ticks my sensitivity button…

    2. nycTerrierist

      If I may – since you’re in the area — I’m looking for a place for similar
      meet up purposes (wld rather not reserve a room) —

      Is there anything like ‘1 Pike’ (bar/food) you might recommend further north in the LES?
      we’ll be heading over from Norfolk at Rivington…on a Friday nite.

      moderation: Pls pardon this bit of cross talk?

  21. Jean

    “How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns”

    The overt corruption in the California primary flipped a lot of progressives into being disgusted with national politics.

    God help us in California. From the Herbalife touting Villaraigosa in L.A. (Antonio Ramón Villar Jr, ) to the Brylcream Bro Newsom, bedding his campaign manager’s wife, who doesn’t even bother to show up at debates as the Annointed One, we are faced with just more of the same old same old in the Governor’s race.

    I’m going to vote for the Republican John Cox in the primary, just to keep the Democrats honest without two Democrats on the top two ballot in the general election.

  22. Craig H.

    > Why Did the U.S. and Its Allies Bomb Libya? Corruption Case Against Sarkozy Sheds New Light on Ousting of Gaddafi

    1. The facts are spies doing covert operations and us little folk will never get the facts but I applaud the author for digging.

    2. The most interesting thing was the photograph of Sarkozy and Gaddafi at the Paris breakfast meeting. It sure looks like that is bacon on those plates. If I am hosting a diplomatic meeting with Gaddafi I am not serving bacon.

    Is there some kind of designer veggie bacon that mucky mucks serve at their breakfast meetings?

    1. ambrit

      Not sure about ‘elite’ usage but there are some very good turkey based bacons available. (Not basted.)

    1. John k

      Me, too.
      But if conservatives remain in power after Brexit they will cut spending in response to the shock, the reverse of what is needed, and driving Brit into the widely predicted recession.
      Critical for Corbyn to take power, and unless gov falls an election is (three?) years away.

  23. Olga

    The World Bank should be defunded Bill Mitchell (UserFriendly). A good post, but I am surprised at the author’s note that “[t]he World Bank has outlived its purpose. It is now a seriously dangerous international institution and progressive governments should set about defunding it.” As the rest of the article seems to demonstrate, it has not so much “outlived” its purpose, but rather fulfilled it quite well. It has been my understanding for some time now that the bank was set up exactly to do what it has been doing over the years – manipulate various countries into accepting the western model of capitalism (with an extra dose of exploitation reserved for the poorest countries). It has succeeded, although now its facade of a benign helping hand may be crumbling.

  24. YankeeFrank

    Electronics-recycling innovator is going to prison for trying to extend computers’ lives Los Angeles Times

    Neoliberal logic crushes freedom. Because Microsoft supposedly makes money providing “restore discs” (containing software they offer for free on the internet) for $25 each to computer repair shops, this guy should go to jail for 15 months and pay a $50k fine for offering them for free. So download and burn your own is fine. But offering discs with them already burned for free and off to prison you go.

    So any kind of profits (even imaginary ones) must be protected over a person’s freedom, saving our environment from e-waste, and saving people money. The nihilistic insanity of neoliberalism is without comparison in our entire history as a species.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Seems like those discs should be considered no different than going to a junkyard to buy a used auto part and the junkyard makes sure the part works (whether for its original use or not). Why would an original auto maker have any claim to old part whatsoever?

  25. Louis Fyne

    —Any reader ideas re place in Manhattan that could accommodate 40-50 people where we don’t have to rent a room?—

    NYU or Columbia student union.

  26. Charlie

    Re: WHCD WaPo story.

    “Journalists do not present false stories. When they get something wrong, they correct it.”

    This after them screaming Russia, fake Syrian chemical weapon attacks, the whole PropOrNot mess, etc going on two years now. Mr. Bezzlenose, we don’t believe you.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah that part made me throw up a little. If the WaPo thinks the correspondents dinner should be done away with, that’s a pretty good argument for keeping it, especially if they are going to keep letting people like Michelle Wolfe skewer these clowns.

      Not really familiar with Wolfe but I see she is currently a Daily Show talent – didn’t realize that since I haven’t watched them much since they stopped being funny. I seem to remember a similar reaction to the dinner when Colbert raked them all over the coals a few years ago. Hopefully Wolfe won’t become a suck up like Colbert has in recent years – he’s really changed his routine since getting off of cable and making the big bucks.

    1. JBird

      An advertisement suggesting blood plasma donations to get money for school books!? Okay. That’s some dystopian stuff right there.

      I do wonder how much plasma I would have to donate for my next semester’s textbooks?

      Half joking here. :-)

      1. ambrit

        As Blue Oyster cult sing; “…and the joke’s on you!”
        Plasma around here is going for twentyfive bucks a bag. Some textbooks at the local college are over a hundred bucks a pop. Consider an ‘average’ studint with five courses a semester and one textbook per class, (an optimistic assumption, I’ll admit,) assume five textbooks at a hundred per and you average out twenty visits to the vampire cafe per semester. Hah! Anemia as a side issue of going to college.
        They only come out at night.

        1. JBird

          Twenty five dollars a bag? And I have spent over three hundred for a single class. Ouch.

  27. Oregoncharles

    “Durian sparks fear of gas leak in Melbourne library The Star”
    Don’t know about durian, but chopped onions in quantity emit exactly the smell used as an indicator in gas. I think they’re actually the source of the chemical. Durian probably emits the same one – aren’t they the one that smells pretty bad?

    And incidentally: is it NC’s doing that the writing box suddenly has much larger, bolder letters? If so, thanks. It’s a favor to aging eyes.

  28. JBird

    “‘The entire S.F. economy is V.C. subsidized,’ said Mr. Yu, who last year co-founded a blockchain technology startup called Stream. ‘It’s a historical world of excess.’”

    During the Dot.Com boom, everything was overpriced, overcrowded, and impossible to get to. Excess in everything. Going out to buy lunch took forever because of the long, long, long lines at any store, deli, or restaurant. And getting into or out of the city especially on Friday nights, Wednesday mornings, or the weekends often took hours.

    Then, if memory serves, not long after the ultra fancy multi hundred dollar cheeseburger (Flavored with real gold! And foie gras, caviar, and other stuff. Talk about excess.) started to appear on menus, I came to work one day and the crowds had gone poof! Something popped somewhere and it went from Candy Land fantasy to reality.

    What’s happening in the Bay Area now is starting to feel the same now as it did then.

  29. Kurt Sperry

    Doesn’t really tie in with any of the stories today, but EU’s president of the European Commission Juncker gave an interesting interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, this weekend. One of the Dutch members of a private forum I belong to was kind enough to translate this part dealing with Russia, Ukraine, the EU, and NATO-

    Two of the people we interviewed (Nina Khrushchev and Sergej Karaganov) were critical about NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. They say all the problems we have with Russia can be linked in some way to that process.

    Juncker: ‘We don’t know Russia. It is a continent of its own, with eleven time zones. They have a different view of history. That perception of what I’ll call ‘inner Russia’ is ignored by us. We know Moscow, but that is not Russia. If you travel through Russia, you jump from continent to continent. People look different, speak different, have world-views that are completely different from that in Moscow. Almost everyone I met there is unhappy about the failure of the Soviet Union. That has shocked them in a way that we cannot even begin to understand. My friend Vladimir Putin – I say friend because we’ve been friends for years, even if you’re not allowed to say that these days – was very unhappy about that one remark Obama made in 2014, when he said that Russia is merely a regional power. Russia is anything but! We must learn to speak with Russians as equals, eye to eye.

    I do make a distinction between the expansion of the European Union and of NATO. The expansion of the EU had to happen. I was there, as prime-minister of Luxembourg, which held the EU presidency in 1997 when that process began. We were sitting around the table with fifteen countries. We had the feeling that this was a moment in history that had to be embraced. It was not a romantic moment, but we did have the deep feeling: we are here, we’re at the helm, we have to do it now. Those new democracies had the right to knock on our doors. For decades we had said to them: some day that door will open for you. What would have happened if we had kept it shut? Those new countries would have fought, as they sometimes do. The national sovereignty they have now, within the EU, would have been discovered in a different way: against their neighbours. We would have had huge border disputes, like we have now, but in much less serious ways. That was all prevented because they had that EU perspective, because we said: come, let’s do things together.

    Even Russia was in favour of those countries becoming EU Member States. The first time I met Boris Yeltsin, he said: “those countries have the right to join the EU, but preferably not NATO.” And despite that we expanded NATO right up to Russia’s border. There is, by the way, a myth that has been formed about that time after the Cold War. The legend has it that chancellor Kohl and president Bush promised to Yeltsin and Gorbachev that NATO would never expand eastwards. That is not true. I asked Kohl and Bush about this many times; was that the deal? It never was. Even Gorbachev assured me that such a deal was never made.

    At the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, Bush and others tried to put Georgia and Ukraine on a path to membership. Some of us, like Germany, France, but also the Netherlands and Luxembourg, said no. It would have been a major mistake. Even now, I don’t think Ukraine will be a NATO member in the foreseeable future.’

    And of the European Union?

    Juncker: ‘Membership of the European Union is based on merit. If they meet the requirements, they must be admitted. They are very far away from this point, because of problems with corruption and organised crime. But what I wanted to say: we must restore the relations with Russia. Russia is an important player. There can be no security policy for Europe without Russia. I do not like the Cold War rhetoric, I grew up in that atmosphere. We were told danger was around the corner. In my youth that never made a big impression on me, but we each thought at the time that the other side was dangerous. To this day, many Russians think of NATO as the enemy, which it isn’t.

    In 1995 or 1996 I was at a meeting in the Elysée with Chirac, Yeltsin and Wim Kok, and Yeltsin said there: “Our missiles were aimed at your capital cities: Paris, Berlin, Brussel, Amsterdam, and last night I decided to remove them.” That was a significant moment for me. That the Russians said to those poor Europeans: the threat is over. And now it is coming back.’

    What can we do to improve relations with Russia?

    Juncker: ‘We must love them. Within the European Union we can sometimes be guilty of navel-gazing. We’re making little progress in getting a better understanding for each other. We never ask ourselves: how does the other side see this?’

  30. Elizabeth Burton

    I realize I’m new to things economics, but I have to wonder about the fact I never knew the gentleman who just got screwed over by Microsloth and the injustice system existed. I also can’t help comparing it to the decades of “conspiracy stories” that the oil and automotive industries conspired to suppress any number of inventions that vastly improved the mileage and gas consumption of motor vehicles. Which stories seem a lot less conspiratorial in light of the recent revelation they knew very well they were poisoning the planet decades ago.

    That said, how do we go about ensuring this story doesn’t disappear into the Great Maw of Media Indifference? And are there other people like him we should be tracking down and bring out into the sunlight?

    I think that article struck me in particular because of the recent media furor over China’s finally deciding to stop letting the US bury it in plastic. The irony of that happening just as the Great Tax Con, er, Reform went into effect, giving millions if not billions to corporations that could have invested same in creating US-based industries to take over the plastic stuff but didn’t even consider it, was not lost on me.

    So much for encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit, eh?

  31. ambrit

    Happy May Day Comrades!
    Let the Glorious Red Bunny Slippers strut their stuff!

  32. ehhh

    Not sure if anyone will see this, coming after, but its worth pointing out that the “The Left is not a Church” guy has some pretty horrendous views on …. quite a few things. Like voting, for instance, as in, it should be restricted to “smart” people. Seems like it might do to peruse his site a bit before posting his stuff.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please read our site Policies on ad hominem attacks. You’ve just made one and they are not on because they are a logically invalid form of argument. Your criticism is also a classic example of the cognitive bias called halo effect, of seeing people as all good or all bad.

      Pat Buchanan has occasionally said things that are sensible. The National Review has published some excellent legal analyses on the Mueller investigation. Etc.

      If you have some problems with the piece, that would be of interest to everyone. But saying we should run a piece due to what a writer has said on unrelated topics doesn’t fly here. We reject this type of thought policing.

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