Links 5/11/18

Posted on by

As Winter Warms, Bears Can’t Sleep. And They’re Getting Into Trouble. New York Times (furzy)

Dumb tourists keep throwing 200-million-year-old dinosaur fossils into a Utah reservoir BGR (Kevin W)

Man Allegedly Used Change Of Address Form To Move UPS Headquarters To His Apartment NPR (Kevin W)

Pentagon revised Obama-era report to remove risks from climate change – The Washington Post (furzy)

MIT and newly formed company launch novel approach to fusion power MIT News (UserFriendly)

Teens Cyberbully Themselves As A New Type Of Self-Harm NPR (UserFriendly)

Hospitals in US sound alarm on impending chemotherapy shortages Financial Times

David Goodall, Australia’s oldest scientist, ends his own life aged 104 Guardian. Kevin W: “His last words were: ‘This is taking an awfully long time!’”

Japan has found a ‘semi-infinite’ deposit of rare earth minerals, enough to supply the world for centuries to come Financial Post

As Walmart Swallows Flipkart, the Dream of an Indian Alibaba is Dead The Wire (J-LS)

Why selling their vote is a rational choice for a large segment of voters in India Scroll (J-LS)

Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda on drug pricing could backfire around the world Politico (furzy)

As US Dollar & Interest Rates Rise, All Heck Breaks Loose in Emerging Market Currencies Wolf Richter (EM). This is a bigger deal than Wolf lets on. The Turkish lira has also plunged. Krugman and other Serious Economists have been sounding alarms. The US may wind up backing off on Fed rate increases because it might break too many emerging economies.


US-China Secret Trade Negotiations Are Not Going So Well Real News

Canada sued over years of alleged experimentation on indigenous people Guardian. Ugh.


Deadlocked Theresa May postpones key Brexit votes Financial Times. Wowsers. She’s going for brinkmanship with Commons to the softer Brexit faction: “Take my hard Brexit deal or crash out.” That of course assumes she surmounts her wee Irish border problem…

Brexit is a national crisis. We need a compromise solution Guardian (vlade)

Scende in campo la generazione Erasmus. Una conversazione con Andrea Venzon, presidente di Volt L’Espresso. Google Translate: The Erasmus generation takes the field. A conversation with Andrea Venzon, president of Volt. And this is a Brexit story…


Libyan rendition: how UK’s role in kidnap of families came to light Guardian (Kevin W)

Book Review: Washington’s Long War on Syria, by Stephen Gowans Zero Anthropology

Europe punches back after Trump’s Iran decision Politico. Yes, but the US can and will whack European businesses…but they think they can pressure the US via the WTO.

Israel has no real desire to go to war against Iran, but Trump might lead the US into battle Independent (J-LS)

The Banal Hypocrisy Of Western Coverage of Israel Ian Welsh (Randy K)

Angry Iran likely to launch hacks against U.S. business, experts say McClatchy (furzy). Have a look at the sources….

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t. New York Times. Lambert flagged this yesterday, but be sure not to miss it.

Chinese Tech Giant on Brink of Collapse in New U.S. Cold War New York Times. Bill B:

Don’t ask yourself “is this device secure?” But rather, ‘which intelligence
services have access?” State-sponsored subversion didn’t end with Snowden.

Judge says CIA emails to journalists don’t have to be released to public McClatchy

Trump Transition

Trump’s latest shot at the press corps: ‘Take away credentials?’ CNN (furzy)

To understand Trump-team leaks, look at the leakers’ motives Christian Science Monitor

Bolton pushing to eliminate White House cyber job Politico (furzy)

CNN poll: Democrats’ 2018 advantage is nearly gone CNN (Marshall Auerback). Wave that wave goodbye.

‘Vote for the homo, not the Cuomo: memorable political slogans Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

A Young Black Man Was Choked By Police at a Waffle House After Prom — A Cell Phone Video Captured What Happened Time

Tesla battery reignited days after fiery crash in Mountain View Mercury News (Kevin W)

Kill Me Now

Win a trip to meet Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton! Clinton Foundation. Lambert: “Shut up, Chelsea. You’re never going to be a Senator.”

Elon Musk wants to launch the same rocket to orbit twice in a single day Quartz (J-LS). Per above, he needs to figure out how to run a car factory first.

When banks abandoned American Samoa, the islands found a solution nobody had used in a century Washington Post

Shameful Mess at CalPERS Need to be Exposed! Tony Butka, LA CityWatch. He’s behind on the messes, but this is still a good recap as of the day before yesterday.

The gender disparity is particularly striking given that some men and women define what constitutes “sex” differently, as in some women have stronger form definitions. Recall the prototypical Mormon girls, who consider anything other than vaginal intercourse (including anal sex) not to be sex.

Class Warfare

Clear the Runway: The Fight Over ‘Uber for Planes’ Is Coming to Congress – Hit & Run Reason (UserFriendly)

Minn. children’s mental health facilities forced to adapt or cut back to stay open Minnesota Public Radio News

As Amazon pursues a second headquarters, it battles hometown Seattle over tax to stem homelessness Washington Post (Kevin W)

Legislature Slashes Pension Benefits for Government Workers David Sirota, Westword

New evidence shows that our anti-poverty programs, especially Social Security, work well Mike Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

‘Our Students Deserve Better’: Teacher Strike Hits Colorado Shadowproof

How 12 experts would end inequality if they ran America Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Wall Street, Silicon Valley have institutionalized house flipping Curbed

Walsh moves to rein in rentals through services like Airbnb Boston Globe (furzy)

Breaking Point: The Cost of Charter Schools for Public School District In the Public Interest (Glenn F)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Jellyfish at the Long Beach, California, Aquarium of the Pacific.”

And a bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Jim Haygood

    Hate to cite a nest of neocon vipers like the WSJ editorial page. But if these assertions by Kimberley Strassel are true (committee chairs Nunes and Gowdy received a classified briefing at DOJ yesterday, so they may know), they are of sensational import:

    Thanks to the WaPo’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe.

    We might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign. This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting.

    Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date.

    When precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

    I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.

    Mark Felt? No wait, he was Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal. Which in turn was small beer compared to the FBI spying on a presidential campaign, if that’s what actually happened.

    Who do you reckon would have ordered such a thing? O, O, O …

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From that:

        1) FBI should have warned Trump that his campaign was infiltrated w/suspected RU CI problems
        2) FBI should have done nothing else about them

        A. What is RU CI?

        B. Trump’s campaign, according the Strassel, was infiltrated by the FBI, not RU CI

        (“We might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign. This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting.”)

        C. What is #2 referring to?

        1. Lambert Strether

          RU CI = Russian Counterintelligence.

          I tried to disentangle that thread, but I can’t. Strassel is crazypants, agreed. Republicans are in full “any stick to beat a dog mode,” and will say anything, all true.

          But that doesn’t really affect Strassel’s point. From the 30,000-foot view, is it plausible that the intelligence community would infiltrate the Trump campaign? Of course it is. Strassel says she has a source, an extraordinary claim. So, produce the source, and their extraordinary evidence.

      2. Bittercup

        Emptywheel’s perspective is interesting insofar as it shows the thought process of her trying to reconcile her previous civil liberties positions with her current political orthodoxy. It, however, provides very little insight into the actual issue. Here, for example, she makes up a strawman and courageously battles with it instead of engaging with the content of Strassel’s article.

        1. anonymous

          Didn’t Emptywheel go full Russia-gate, or am I mistaking her for some other brainwashee?

          I think it was she, and people were saying it seriously damaged her credibility, overall.

          1. Procopius

            I don’t follow her closely, but she’s THE go to for analysis of whether or not the intel community are obeying the law. A year or so ago she had an article where she summarized the situation with accusations of Russian hacking. If I understood her correctly, she said she did not have any evidence, but she believed in the accusations. It damaged my belief in her objectivity, but she’s still one of the most knowledgeable people available to us.

    1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

      Spying on Trump?

      My reading of history shows me that foreign trade is a major cause of wars (see 17th century England versus the Dutch for example).

      If your function is to monitor threats to the nation, any contacts between loose-canon business people and Johnny Foreigner are potential threats to the nation (non-loose canon business people are part of the war effort). You monitor Johnny foreigner and if loose-canon gets caught in the subsequent mincer, so be it*.


      *For an interesting example, check out the Matrix-Churchill scandal in the UK.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The internet posse has gotten on the case, and they have identified one Stefan Halper, “a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6,” as the likely “informant.”

      Halper appears to have, quite randomly from his perch in London, initiated contacts with George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, both of whom have figured prominently in this affair, particularly in generating and sustaining the “investigation.”

      They report, you decide. It’s really very interesting and worth your time. I think the first link is the better one.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From his Wikipedia page:

        Halper began his US government career in 1971 in the United States Domestic Policy Council, part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, serving until 1973.[2] He then served in the Office of Management and Budget until 1974, when he moved to the Office of the White House Chief of Staff where he had responsibility for a range of domestic and international issues.[2]

        In 1977 Halper became Special Counsel to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Legislative Assistant to Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-Del.).[2] In 1979 he became National Policy Director for George H. W. Bush’s Presidential campaign and then in 1980 he became Director of Policy Coordination for the Reagan- Bush Presidential campaign.[2] In connection with this position Halper’s name came up in the 1983/4 investigations into the Debategate affair.[3]

        After Reagan entered the White House, Halper became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.[2] Upon leaving the Department in 1984, he remained a Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice until 2001.[2]

        Connected to Bush, who was once the director of the CIA.

        And already this:

        Professor Halper is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, and the Travellers Club in London. He is a recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, the Justice Department’s Director’s Award and the Defense Department’s Superior Honor Award. He has been exposed as a CIA and M-16 spy behind the FBI Russiagate investigations of the Trump Campaign and is an informant to the Mueller Special Prosecutor investigation.

      2. manymusings

        The view (from 30,000 ft) behind Strassel’s piece is that a consortium among the IC community set about monitoring the Trump campaign (and likely other/all campaigns before that) before actually (legitimately) opening a counterintelligence investigation or obtaining requisite authorizations/warrants. Then in the last half of 2016 (possibly earlier), the consortium went about getting cover — creating episodes that could be represented/manipulated in filings as sufficient cause to then open an investigation and obtain warrants “legitimately,” thus creating legal authority for the activity they’d already been undertaking. (To get why this would work requires a deep-dive on FISA and carefully tracing what Justice reported to congress, and when). The so-called Steele Dossier, commissioned and constructed by the Clinton campaign, allegedly played a part in the subterfuge.

        This account of events is routinely dismissed as “crazy pants.” However, name-calling and conspiracy accusations over just what exactly transpired between 2016 and now seem counterproductive. Because whomever you listen to, the explanation is some variety of conspiracy. So we’re all wearing tinfoil hats now.

        There are documented analyses and close-reads at ConservativeTreeHouse, which deconstruct the FISA abuse (including an actual report by the FISC addressing abuse from 2015-16) and parse below-radar news announcements that don’t jibe with the Trump-Russia conspiracy mania.

        Emptywheel has long struck me as conspicuously narrowed — meaning the particular expertise is to deep dive on a narrow thread (which is constructive and helpful) — but also with guard rails up to other compelling and disarming facts (e.g., documented FISA abuse, including by “contractors”), and IMO with an overly credulous bent toward explanations that inherently distrust Trump, and which unjustifiably dismiss or discount competing facts and don’t necessarily make a lot of sense, when bias is stripped.

        For example: Sessions appointed a US attorney in July 2017 to parallel the DOJ Inspector General investigation. Why open a second flank? Perhaps to stave off the political pitchforks (e.g. Freedom Caucus), except it didn’t. For one, Sessions didn’t reveal the appointment until it was dragged out of him 7 or 8 months later — and even then, it didn’t quiet the “witch hunt” politics demanding a second special prosecutor. So why open a second flank alongside an IG investigation of *prior agency misconduct*? Because if the IG uncovers criminal misconduct, it isn’t empowered to to empanel a grand jury or issue indictments — but a U.S. attorney is. And if Justice is operating the way it’s supposed to, we’d know nothing about it, until the indictments are not just issued but unsealed.

        I’m not trying to advocate or persuade. Full disclosure I find the FISA abuse evidence important and compelling, and want it run to ground one way or another. And I *am* advocating to the extent that it seems a good slice of the population refuses to take a look at certain evidence/analysis because it preemptively dismisses the sources, based on prior experience. Understandable, but in my opinion, a mistake on this one.

        Sorry if repeating what’s already known here at NC (haven’t been as active as usual!)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Happy to encounter a ConservativeTreeHouse fellow traveler. I’ve only recently been introduced to the blog, but I’ve found it to be a powerful antidote to the relentless gaslighting going on these days in what passes for the american news media and “progressive” blogosphere.

      3. kareninca

        Wow, Katniss, thank you for posting the Conservative Treehouse article re Halper!!!!! That was fascinating, not to mention convincing. So Halper’s job is to “dirty up” the Useful Idiots. Seems to have been easy to do. If you look at his bio his father in law – Ray Cline – was a spook, too (Ray Steiner Cline (June 4, 1918 – March 16, 1996) was an official at the United States Central Intelligence Agency best known for being the chief CIA analyst during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such nice people.

        1. Procopius

          Most of the time the analysts are good. They will shade their product to protect their rice bowl, but unlike Bloody Gina and the paramilitary types (also known as “operations” or “knuckle-draggers”) they don’t engage in brutalizing or killing people. The analysts have been pretty marginalized since 9/11, while the knuckledraggers have pretty much taken control.

  2. Wukchumni

    As Winter Warms, Bears Can’t Sleep. And They’re Getting Into Trouble. New York Times

    “Warmer temperatures do not always mean more food for the bears. In recent years of severe drought, like in 2014 and 2015, their food supplies collapsed. That sent bears in search of humans’ food. In those years, Ms. Reich said, the bear complaints started early and kept on coming.”

    We had a black bear invasion in the fall of 2015, along with Lake Tahoe and Mammoth, the difference between the 3 locales being that we had their natural source of food in the guise of acorns, whereas Tahoe & Mammoth had none, and as a result, the bears there got a taste for human food and many stayed around. The several hundred bears that were here for about a month, went back into the higher climes.

    To give you an idea of how problematic it is in Mammoth, there are signs all over town imploring you to be careful with anything that has a food smell that is of interest to the bruins, including locking dumpsters, etc. The condo we stay @, has 4 stickers on the trash bin in regards to bears, to give you an idea. I hear the situation is similar in Tahoe.

    When a bear emerges from hibernation they’ve obviously been backed up for awhile, and the first emission from their rear echelon has the look of a can of soup, i’ve seen it 4 or 5 times.

    1. Mel

      Black bears moved into Tahoe neighborhoods decades ago. The stories are endless. A slightly more than routine example is watching a naked neighbor chase a full grown bear in the middle of the night down the street armed with nothing more than a giant cucumber ( or two).
      Quite often black bear populations become “radically enlarged” because of humans. The two primary reasons are extra food sources and human neighborhoods provide protection for mothers and cubs, and young males, against mature boars.
      Awareness in regards to eliminating food sources has helped tremendously but it has also been suggested over the years by various biologists that if a community is serious about bear control, cubs need to be terminated in front of mothers to eliminate that sense of security.
      Our community systematically culled black bears every three to five years for a long time and despite the obvious disadvantages for those bears shot, it was actually a system that worked quite well.

      1. Wukchumni

        Statistically, 2 out of 3 cubs born in the wild don’t make it past the first year or two, that’s what the wildlife biologist @ Sequoia NP told me. No need to shoot them, unless you’ve got a real problem bruin.

        I had no idea you had such a boar problem in Tahoe…

  3. pretzelattack

    hey, if i won that trip to meet bill, hillary and chelsea clinton! could i invite monica lewinsky along?

    1. johnnygl

      Don’t forget paula jones, juanita coble, and the rest of them.

      It was a kind of filthy political masterstroke when trump pulled that stunt in the 2nd debate. HRC expected him to just roll over and die and he escalated, instead.

      Let’s be honest, the ‘access hollywood’ tape release was timed to perfection and was supposed to put the whole thing to bed.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I may be doing myself a disservice her but I should point out that Hillary Clinton is right now doing a speaking tour of Australia. When you think about it, Trump could do a Snowden on her and cancel her passport leaving her forever outside American borders like a Flying Dutchwomen going around the world but without ever being able to return back. You’d still stuck be with Bill and Chelsea but hey, one out of three isn’t bad.

      Love tonight’s bonus antidote. German Shepherds are the best dogs evah!

      1. Jim Haygood

        Don’t miss the Daily Mail’s photo feature on the huge, 55-inch square Hermes scarf that fully draped Hillary on her Oz/NZ swing.

        Her critics say the scarf is to conceal the angular protrusions of a back brace. But Occam’s razor says that it’s just HRC’s bizarre fashion sense at work.

        Accessorizing with oversized scarves is a time-tested way of softening the spartan look of a Chairman Kim suit or a seamless gold lamé starship trooper uniform.

        More cowbell purple!

          1. Linda

            I wondered during the campaign if the unattractive tops she wore that covered her upper body and down past her abdomen, and looked like drapery or sofa material, were bullet-proof garments specially made for her. Same can be said for the thick blue coat pictured at your link.

            1. sd

              She’s wearing a bulletproof vest under her coat. Is that really necessary for an interview?

            2. Katniss Everdeen

              As a post-menopausal woman myself, I wondered how clothing like that pictured didn’t cause spontaneous combustion.

              If that bump on her back is an ultra-quiet, battery operated, body-cooling fan, I’d like a link to the website.

              1. newcatty

                Lol…new opportunities just ooze from the Clintons. My guess would be that its a device that allows her cold blooded body (hidden in its outer shell) to function as it it is aging.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Lenny’s with her — check out his purple tobaggan hat.

            Those are impossible to find now, Hillary’s loyal fans having bought them all, along with every extant copy of her screed book. ;-)

            1. The Rev Kev

              I think that it may be more a case of she is with him. Google the search term Lenny Kravitz Clinton and you will see what I mean.

          1. ewmayer

            “Hillsa, she-wolf of the #Resistance.” (Interesting factoid re. the actual ‘Ilsa’ series of movies – they used the (by-then-a-few-years-post-series) barracks from Hogan’s Heroes for those. Picture a determined-to-be-be-stern Sgt. Shultz rousting a pair of copulating porno actors with his trademark “Raus! Raus!”. Or maybe “Rein! Raus!…” would be more apropos. :)

        1. chicagogal

          At a casual glance thru the photos, it looks like she’s standing a bit awkwardly than her normal stance, like she’s fragile and has to be careful how to stand and move without doing further injury to herself. Think that definitely lends itself to the back brace rumor.

    3. sd

      The event is only two weeks away, May 24, which is a Thursday. Who the family blog holds a ‘gala’ on a Thursday? Which makes me wonder if no one has bought tickets, so the Clintons are left with trucking in attendees. Congratulations, you’re a winner!

  4. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

    Re: May’s Brexit brinksmanship:

    To a certain extent all political power is a matter of keeping all those plates spinning and when things are going well, bad wobbles can be corrected at a pinch.

    Usually British political plate spinning does not involve such an eminent concrete deadline – something that must be an enormous psychological distraction for an old-fashioned Wstminster politician. The big question is: will May’s plate spinning career actually reach the self-imposed Brexit brink?

    Fascinating to watch (among other emotions).


    1. a different chris

      >Usually British political plate spinning does not involve such an eminent concrete deadline

      OMG. You just threw a bright light on the whole mess. I think May et al are capital-I “Idiots”, but not actually lower case idiots. That is, they aren’t really stupid. But if you have one mode of thinking (plate spinning in this case) and you’ve continually polished your brain in doing things that way your whole, very successful life, it is probably simply impossible for you to handle a “concrete deadline”. It’s like asking a brilliant but extremely short-sighted gymnast to hit a three-pointer under duress. Not gonna happen.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Marina Hyde expresses it very nicely today:

        A friend of mine at university once pressed snooze on his alarm clock for eight and a half hours. Can you imagine? Every 10 minutes – a sort of torturous, self-punishing deferment that ends up being the worst of both worlds. This remains Britain’s Brexit strategy.

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          Marina Hyde: yes very nicely.

          I’m distilling out of all this that it is the path to power that corrupts – not in the sense of nepotism, cronyism, political or financial, but in the human spirit*. Self awareness is replaced by arwarenes of legitimacy and prestige which are seen to require actions that bolster things that are the product other peoples’ minds (no matter how focused or adddled those minds are); this is what becomes the be all and end all.

          May is mainly fighting the battle that Cameron lost – to keep the Tory party together. Cameron’s tactic of the Brexit referendum was never going to keep them together.

          Whoever is on watch will take incredible heat when/if the Tories implode – much as Truman did when he ‘lost’ China to communism.


          *This is not a permanent state. Even Nixon admitted his paranoia once out of office,

          1. Lambert Strether

            > May is mainly fighting the battle that Cameron lost – to keep the Tory party together

            Historically, have the Tories ever split? And today, where do the two parties go and what are the terms of the divorce? Children, property, etc…..

            1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

              Have the Tories split previously?

              The corn laws (1846, removal of tariffs) were the cause of one split. But it was seemingly just a matter of MPs defecting to the other main party – the Liberals.

              I had to resort to Wikipedia for specifics although I knew of that crisis mainly due to programmes on TV broadcast by the BBC on behalf of the Open University back in the day.

              Defection seems to be the main option for disgruntled Tories, but not to Labour. Winston Churchill defected in 1904 but joined again to become the finance minister (1924) and later became wartime leader – much to the disdain of many Tories.

              As to how it would pan out after a Brexit split – I suggest you contact Rupert Murdoch as he* seemingly engineered Tories’s split in the same manner as he* did the GOP. Unlike the politicians he dangles, he might have a plan.


              *among other megalos (fr.).

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Duterte removes ‘enemy’ judge.

    MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippine Supreme Court voted on Friday to remove its top judge, whom President Rodrigo Duterte called an “enemy” for voting against controversial government proposals, citing violations in the way she was appointed

    This story doesn’t seem to have had the high profile it should have had in world news. My Philippines friends say that this is a de facto coup by Duterte. He has removed the last obstacle to absolute presidential power by neutralising the Supreme Court. Its sad – for all its faults, the Philippines has had an unstable, but vibrant democracy for years. By chopping away one by one at constitutional protections Duterte will likely ensure permanent power by stealth. He will play China and the US off against each other to make sure there is no outside interference.

    1. johnnygl

      Interesting find.

      Reminds me of the assassination of the Brazilian supreme court jutice not too long ago in a mysterious plane crash which helped solidify the coup there.

      These things never get enough attention.

      Duterte had better be careful. There were a lot of leaders during the cold war that tried to flirt with both sides. Often, it didn’t end well for the leaders involved or their countries.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, smart autocrats take power small chunks at a time, old style coup d’etats are too crude.

        Dutarte is as crude as Trump in his external dealings, but is far smarter and more subtle in his backroom manoeuvrings. His only mis-step was to embrace China a little too openly when he first came to power, he quickly stepped back from that. He’s actually very popular in the ‘pines – regular folks like his action man persona and his war against drugs, and the more educated levels quite admire many of his reforms – he has cut through a lot of the BS to enact some quite progressive anti-corruption legislation. But there can be little doubt now about his ambitions for absolute power.

        But I’m absolutely sure that there are certain addresses in Washington who are looking very closely at whats going on in their western Pacific colony and wondering what they can do about it.

  6. Craig H.

    > Vote for the homo, not the Cuomo: memorable political slogans

    You will have to go a long ways to top the Edwin Edwards’ slogan when he was campaigning for governor against David Duke in Louisiana: Vote for the Crook; not sure if he personally signed off on that but there were tens thousands bumper stickers.

    My history teacher’s favorite one was the guy who was running against Grover Cleveland in 18XX and his flyer had a caption:

    Ma Ma Where’s my Pa?
    Gone to the White House Ha Ha Ha!

    Here is a picture of the Edwards bumper sticker.

    (Cleveland had a bastard infant and baby mama on the side which was a terrible scandal back then.)

      1. ambrit

        And, to clarify that a bit for we poor exiles across the heaving Main, the word ‘n—–s’ as used in England included people of India Indian ancestry. It’s been a long time since I was in England. Is the word still used in that manner over there? Americans use the word specifically to refer to people of African descent. Just another case of, as Shaw purportedly put it: “…two countries divided by a common language.”

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve never heard the word applied in England to east Indians (I actually lived for several years in the 1990’s quite close to Smethwick, it used to be an Irish/Afro Caribbean area, now mostly Pakistani’s with some Sikhs). I thought ‘wogs’ was the preferred insult for brown people, but I’m sure that sort of person didn’t discriminate clearly when insulting terms were used. Isn’t the ‘n’ word usually prefixed with ‘sand’ when applied to brown people in the US?

          1. ambrit

            Talk about your melting pots!
            Smethwick as an Irish/Afro Caribbean town! Somehow, that ‘feels’ quite like the Olde South here in America. The Erse and Scots were a big portion of the white immigration into the South back in the days. I have spoken with people with carrot red hair and chocolate brown skin in both Louisiana and Mississippi. A nice combination, I will add.
            I must be basing my delusion on what I heard from my Mom and Dad, who both grew up in London during the thirties and forties.
            Strangely enough, the ‘sand n—–s’ insult was only heard by me coming from ex American servicemen in direct reference to the natives of the places the servicemen were ‘pacifying’ so as to protect “our freedoms.” “They” being several fellows who had done ‘their bit’ over in the Middle East in one or another of our endless neo-colonial wars. My experience at the time was that this was a conscious attempt at psychological conditioning of the populace through language manipulation. Thankfully it went the way of the dreaded “Freedom Fries.”

      1. ambrit

        Oh boy! Louisiana politics at its’ bestest!
        I have met David Duke, and knew a man who purchased a pardon of a criminal conviction from “Fast Eddie” Edwards.
        Other places are just as corrupt I think. Our specialty here Down South is corruption carried out with panache.
        Edwards and Duke are about par for the course here.
        Update: I just got to thinking about how, with the Trump phenomenon, the rest of America is beginning to catch up, or down, with the American Deep South.
        As the locals are wont to say: “Louisiana (or Mississippi, etc.) the northernmost banana republic!”

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Vote for the Crook

      The slogan was actually more subtle: ” “Vote For the Crook. It’s Important.”

      As above, there was also “Vote for the Lizard, not the Wizard” (his opponent being David Duke, a nasty piece of work).

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Europe punches back after Trump’s Iran decision Politico. Yes, but the US can and will whack European businesses…but they think they can pressure the US via the WTO.

    Europe is in a huge bind here. Lots of very powerful businesses have invested a lot of money in the hopes of major Iranian contracts. They will all be lobbying Merkel, May and Macron vigorously. But as Airbus has shown, the biggest companies may see it as too much of a risk and will back down unilaterally.

    My guess is that Europe will try to fudge things, by ensuring the highest profile multinationals back out of contracts, while encouraging smaller companies without US links to take up the slack. But if the US goes in hard on any individual companies, European countries will have a very big decision to make. Historically they’d always back down in the face of US demands, but times are changing very rapidly, and I suspect many EU leaders know this. If Europe decides to call Trumps bluff, then this may be the formal start of the new post-New World Order.

    1. Jim Haygood

      US ambassador gives Germany its marching orders:

      Richard Grenell

      As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.

      2:42 PM – May 8, 2018

      The damned cheek. If it were my country being sassed this way by its arrogant occupiers, I’d declare Grenell persona non grata and give him 72 hours to vacate … followed by a similar declaration for the 57,000 US troops and spooks clustered around Ramstein and its satellite bases.

      1. John k

        US was losing clout popularity before trump… lots of French Italian want better Russian relations. Iran withdrawal very unpopular in Europe, along with me wars.
        I expect pushback against the exceptional country.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “How 12 experts would end inequality if they ran America”

    Well they could take a page out of Saudi Arabia’s book and round up the 400 richest Americans mentioned and put them up at a Trump Hotel. Put Gina Haspel in charge of them and show them the deep state that they have collectively helped create and maybe hang a few upside down until they cough up the hard stuff. Could you imagine it? Bezos, Zuckerberg, Thiel, Gates, Buffett, Page – all of them sleeping rough without so much as a personal assistant? Maybe then they will learn that laws are there for a reason and are not to be ‘disrupted’ lightly.

    1. Carla

      Sure would like to read the WaPo and Boston Globe articles, but due to paywalls, they’re unavailable to me. I tried searching on just Valerie Wilson’s piece on social security but no luck there, either.

      1. Etherpuppet

        WaPo, Boston Globe, NYT and others using similar “X free articles a month…” can be worked around. To date those schemes only count visits by the same browser against the limit per month. If someone were to install multiple internet browsers (say, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) on the same computer, one can get 3x or 4x the article views by using a different browser to view the site when your article maximum has been reached.

        Mostly, I honor the limits they set, but this is a handy trick to know if you are in a crunch and don’t subscribe to those sites.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When I was in school, I was taught that before I went to a lecture, I should have done some preparatory work to know a little about the subject, in order to get the best out of it and not waste the professor’s time.

      So, before I read that article, I try to think about the subject under discussion – How to end inequality if you could run America.

      I think the first question is, do you have to have dictatorial power to implement any of their ideas on how to end inequality?

      I mean, no one person runs America today. You need congress and the support of opinion-makers (or lobbyists).

      So, that would be my question heading into the article.

      (Sorry, I haven’t read it yet. But this explains my question).

  9. DJG

    Japanese find amazing deposits of rare earth metals. There is one little detail: They are at 6,000 meters below sea level, which is some 18,000 feet. Even the Japanese, who have always been good at solutions to engineering problems, are going to have some difficulty here. The article doesn’t make clear how they found the deposits. This may be a secret, or it may be some kind of drilling for cores. But bringing up a core isn’t the same as big blobs of usable ytterbium.

    Second problem: The deposits are off a tiny Japanese island well away from the mainland. So what happens to a tiny island that becomes a center for endless drilling?

    At least it isn’t the island that brought us Gojira!

    1. The Rev Kev

      You’re quite right about that depth and 6,000 meters is about 3.7 miles. The pressures at that depth are colossal and when I looked it up it resolves itself to be about 580 Atmospheric pressures. Put it this way. At that depth it is equal to a one tonne weight being placed on the end of your finger. It has been long know about the potential mineral wealth at that depth but getting any sort of technology to work at that depth is a helluva challenge on an industrial scale. Mining the moon may be more easy and it should be remembered that we have highly detailed maps of the moon but sweet fa for the oceans depths as the search for Flight MH-370 showed.

    2. fresno dan

      May 11, 2018 at 9:16 am

      At least it isn’t the island that brought us Gojira!

      Maybe that’s because Gojira like critters are left undisturbed……SO FAR

  10. divadab

    Re: celibacy among millennials: 14% of men and 8% of women in their prime child-producing ages? Roughly 11% of the population? That equates quite nicely to the celibate populations in societies that have institutionalized single-sex monasteries and nunneries, Christian or Buddhist.

    IN some buddhist societies the proportion of the celibate is more like 30%.

    It’s not shocking to anyone with a sense of historical perspective – but to a consumer culture brainwashee, however, trained from infancy to consume everything in massive amounts, institutionalized gluttony, perhaps it is. Why aren’t you consuming vast quantities of sexual activity? What’s wrong with you?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Perhaps they are consuming mass quantities of *it*. But they’re doing *it* without a partner?

      1. newcatty

        AZ Slim, have you been watching (or binging) on Frankie and Grace? They have some assistance on how women can do that…

    2. YankeeFrank

      I noticed the numbers started shooting up just as the “smartphone” was invented.

      1. Wukchumni

        Funny how the introduction of something causes a reaction…

        I can pinpoint when the USA started putting on a lot of weight, for instance.

        It happened when fast food places offered all-you-can-drink sodas, help yourself!

      2. Resistance

        With rising levels of antibiotic resistant STDs this is the smart move. Maybe them youngters aren’t that stupid after all?

        1. Wukchumni

          Imagine being a youngster presently, as you’re watching celebrities and politicians lives being ripped asunder, on account of too much sex?

          We’ve turned the sexual revolution inside out.

          1. newcatty

            Hmmm…I guess it would depend on how that quantity of “too much sex” includes sex without consent, exploitive sex of young people or sex without kindness. As John said, in another context:
            …revolution you can count me out

            Hope our youngsters can be more discerning about being themselves.

            Signed, A flower child, who was discerned

    3. visitor

      The usual measure used by demographers is the rate of “definitive celibacy”, i.e. the proportion of people aged 50 (and therefore, for women, who can no longer procreate) who never married.

      There are some interesting historical figures.

      For instance, that rate (in %) for people born in 1850, and therefore 50 years of age in 1900, is as follows:


      The NC link relates to the 22-35 years old, which is not directly comparable, but the figures given are not out of the extraordinary. The major difference with the past lies in the reversal of the celibacy rates between men and women — and that is probably the really interesting aspect, not the absolute rates in themselves.

      1. visitor

        By the way: in Scandinavia, those rates increased from the mid 18th century till into the 20th century, before decreasing (even sharply). In France, those rates increased from about 1700 till 1850 and then decreased. There were similar (although not quite parallel) evolutions in the age at first marriage.

        There are explanations: pre-1st industrial revolution progress in agriculture enabled a slow increase of the population — and hence increasing difficulties for new generations to found a family, as they needed (a) a farm and land, which were limited; or (b) a trade and workshop, which were limited as well; and (c) other traditional occupations more or less implied celibacy (as servants or soldiers for instance).

        In the 19th century, Napoleonic wars resulted in a dearth of eligible men in France, but once that effect was gone, a long peace and the 1st industrial revolution (with new possibilities for gainful employment) lowered the celibacy rates. Scandinavian countries completely missed the 1st industrial revolution and were thus left behind economically — leading to a substantial emigration (notably to the USA) of impoverished populations, presumably male in their majority (hence a massive celibacy rate for women).

        It would be interesting to see whether such a pattern occurs in such countries (Baltic states, Balkan states) that have seen a massive emigration since the great financial crisis. In any case, many articles have pointed out that, in the USA, there is evidence that young people are postponing or renouncing marriage because of the lack of sufficient economic prospects since 2008.

    4. Rojo

      Party of the difference between men and women may be explained by the fact that more of the women are sleeping with men over 35. Or am I missing something.

      One thing I’ve always wondered:

      Men always report more partners than women. Not a big difference, but a consistent one.

      One theory is that — as Yves pointed out — men and women have a different definition of ‘sex’.

      Another is that both genders are just lying — men rounding up and women rounding down.

      I have a third theory — that prostitutes are probably not included in these surveys. Their trade would boost the number for the gents while their average-increasing numbers for the ladies would be invisible.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You have a point, assuming prostitutes are readily available. However, especially when it comes to sex, self-reporting is, ahem, never reliable. As in, people lie about it, reliably. Using different definitions is just a way of lying.

        The assumption is that it’s easier for women to get laid than men (essentially because men are less fussy – “boys are easy”). I’m not sure that’s really true, but it would explain the lower numbers of celibate women.

        1. ambrit

          Hah! Mandatory internet connected fitbits will solve that methodological problem. No more ‘corrupt’ data.

  11. DJG

    Erasmus students save Europe, at least according to Espresso.

    Espresso has about the same political stance as Time Magazine. The Erasmus program is an exchange program for students of the upper echelon of European universities (in Italy, the likes of Turin, Turin Polytech, Pisa Poly, Padova, and Bologna–all very good but definitely the top tier). So the article reads in Italian like the usual posturing by the Mario Monti / Luigi Zingales class of Student Who Has Taken Too Many Economics Courses Unquestioningly.

    Further, the only concrete proposals are for further integration–which is going to be a tough sell even in Italy. We won’t mention the Hungarians or Romanians, out of sheer embarassment. Second, the other main proposal is less bureaucratic waste, like less travel between Brussels and Strasbourg, which is along the lines of the usual American political proposals of cutting waste. Which haven’t led to cutting waste or to less economic inequality.

    Meanwhile, there’s Salvini, who is a slightly less ill-mannered Trump and who is still trying to drag Berlù (mentor of Trump) back into the goverment.

    But there will be a big seminar in Paris next year with lots of proposals for more federalism at a time when the biggest European countries don’t want more federalism. And with the Hungarians? Really?

    This is why “liberals” (using the U.S. definition) are in a tight spot: Earnest proposals for reforms that aren’t reforms and discourse that doesn’t address lack of concrete material benefits just don’t past muster. If these Erasmus teams are serious, they’d better adopt the political program of the Scottish National Party–which is to the left of Labour. If not, well, Paris is lovely.

    1. DJG

      I wonder if the Italian students, let alone other Europeans, even study their own dissident economists anymore.

      Piero Sraffa:

      In Gramsci’s letters from prison, Sraffa, then in exile, is a haunting presence. I doubt that any mainstream U.S. economist these days would send money and support to political prisoners.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      This org, garagErasmus, is touted as the model. Let’s see who can identify the most neolib BS tells on the page linked above!

      Will Salvini and Di Maio close a deal? Di Maio already caved on a flat tax, maybe he’s caved on Silvio’s potential role too? And most obviously, who will be PM if Lega and M5S can avoid another technical government? There is no obvious answer.

      1. DJG

        Kurt Sperry: Indeed. Flat tax. Checazzo. Who came up with that one? And it has done so well for the Latvians, banking swamp of Europe.

        La Stampa says that the party program has to be voted on by the base at the MS5 Rousseau site. This should be entertaining. But then La Stampa is old-line moderate left and full of mischief.

        At least MS5 didn’t cave in about Berlù, who can now go on to make all of those commercials for men’s hair dye that he has avoided making.

        After the spontaneous combustion of the bus in Roma, my lira is on Virginia Raggi, ne. Seriously: I assume that president of the council will end up being Di Maio. And considering the others, such as Giorgia Fratello d’Italia Meloni, young Luigi actually functions.

  12. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    Guy Verhofstadt is all I really needed to know in reference to that new very shiny & supposedly progressive movement that he is so enamoured with. The man who is, or at least was, sitting on the board of GDF Suez when he apparently gave them a big hand profit wise by aggressively pushing for Greek water privatisation – something that went ahead despite Barnier’s earlier statements to the contrary.

    Not a lot of in depth content on how they are going to achieve their happy clappy fedaralised EU on the VoltEuropa website, which all sounds like Macron could have written it & despite their stated lack of funds, the production values are tip top.

    1. polecat

      “which all sounds like Macron could have —–

      Re. The person (which I’m assuming is Verhofstadt) in that screen shot, if one were to remove that mustache, he’d be a deadringer for the Macron himself !

  13. disc_writes

    About Volt, this is not the first Europe-wide movement that ostensibly wants to give a voice to the Erasmus generation. Newropeans and the Green parties work in much the same way, with similar goals.

    But seriously: a movement of privileged, entitled, urban, cosmopolitan 20 and 30-somethings who want to save the world and want more Europe. Why exactly should anyone care?

    1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      Yes, I sat thorough a similar type of video recently featuring European Greens, who were with some slight caveats praising Macron – at the same time as the spirit of 68 was attempting a comeback in Paris.

  14. allan

    Draper says Theranos founder charged with fraud is an ‘icon’ who did ‘a great job’ [Marketwatch]

    Tim Draper, a prominent venture capitalist, offered another staunch defense of Silicon Valley hotshot Elizabeth Holmes and her health-care startup, Theranos Inc., which were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with committing “massive fraud.”

    During a CNBC interview Thursday evening, Draper—a Stanford University alum and early Theranos backer—said the company “had a great shot and I backed [Holmes] and I feel great about backing her, and I thought it was extraordinarily—it was a great mission and she did a great job.” …

    Asked by CNBC to defend accusations that the company is worthless because Holmes made promises about Theranos technologies that weren’t accurate, Draper said: “Wait. Why is it worthless? It’s worthless because this writer was like a badger going after her, like a hyena going after her, and then it became a bigger and bigger thing,” he said. “I mean this was a startup and it was great vision and it was a great technology,” he said. …

    Or, as a great man once said,
    What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is!
    Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    1. giantsquid

      The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou has a book entitled Bad Blood coming out May 21st. It’s being hyped as a ” riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley”. A movie of the same name, starring Jennifer Lawrence and directed by Adam McKay (director of The Big Short) has also been announced.

    2. rd

      I was under the impression she was raising lots of money and selling services using technology that did not actually work and seemed to have little prospect of ever working. QA/QC protocols were also poor.

      Other than that, it seemed to be a very well run technical company.

      Those sound like excellent reasons to be a billionaire.

  15. cm

    On the Clinton contest, this form allows you to enter for free, since the form states:


    1. Mel

      If it were me, a really big donation would nullify your chance of winning. It would also guarantee you winning a special lottery that I would set up just for you.

  16. dcblogger

    In the recent primary Joe Manchin received more votes than all the votes cast in the Republican primary combined. The follows what happened in Virginia in 2017 when Northam received more votes in his primary than the Republicans combined in their primary. Whatever the polls say, actions on the ground suggest that the blue tsunami is well on its way.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I googled Joe Manchin, and the first items says ‘Manchin becomes the first Democrats to say he’ll vote for Gina Haspel’ from CNN.

      Is he who we’re talking about?

      1. Eureka Springs

        Yes, one and the same. I heard that on NightmarePR while driving this morning. The panelists (NPR person, politico and wapo) on NPR were soft selling torture like a sleeper side pillow on sale. Haskells experience/credentials reigned supreme to every single one of them. A solid ten minutes of round table discussion and the only semi-dissenting comment was – “some voters find human rights to be important.” I kid you not.

        And thanks dcb for reminding me of one of the top reasons why I’ll never ever vote D again. A party which has no litmus test on torture/rule of law is a clear and ever present danger to everything I hold dear. I guess we’ll have to call waterboarding – blue wave loving – from here on out.

        1. pretzelattack

          did they celebrate the diversity of appointing a female torturer, as opposed to a male torturer?
          and bring up misogyny as a factor in opposiing her? that blue tsunami is bringing in some toxic radioactive sludge.

          1. polecat

            She looks like a bad granny !
            … would hate to have to spend the night, if I were a grandchild … “Come on youngin !” .. “almost time for a little waterboard——- I meant your ‘bath’ ..” “and NO desert for you .. EVER ! .. now eat your grueling, you little terrorist !”

    2. edmondo

      There are 525000 registered Dems and less than 400000 registered Reps in West Virginia. That could explain the raw vote difference.

      In the 2016 primary for president, more total votes were cast for the Dems than the GOP. Didn’t see much of a blue wave in West Virginia that November.

      If you want to believe that Joe Manchin is a Democrat, by all means, get out your blue pompoms and assume the position.

    3. JohnnyGL

      Manchin’s an incumbent and it’s hard to get further to his right. Repubs are trying, of course.

      Paul Jean Swearingin beat each of the Repub candidates individually, but not combined.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      Largely ignored with regard to W. Va. is that a small-town unknown-to-most candidate with little support from the major progressive political organizations and who was entirely ignored by the media got 30% of that primary vote. And earned it the hard way.

      If the “blue wave” is turning into a “blue ripple,” thank the DNC and the DCCC, who are once again following their repeatedly failed policy and supporting Republican Lite candidates.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon revised Obama-era report to remove risks from climate change”

    Now if climate change deniers really believed what they spruik, they could force through a law that would forbid the Pentagon from moving any of its maritime bases or taking any anti-flooding measures whatsoever. Talk the talk and walk the walk they might say. The Pentagon may have other ideas.
    They have surveyed the situation and found that some of the installations under threat are ‘the Marine Corps’ boot camp at Parris Island in South Carolina, the nuclear submarine repair site in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine and a missile defense system against possible attacks from Asia based in the Marshall Islands’. That is just start.
    In fact, back in 2008 30 US installations reported being flooded by storm surges but recently that number has climbed to 200. I suppose that you could say that in the future US maritime bases will have deeper anchorages but a big chunk of their bases will be underwater or will be constantly damaged by sea flooding.
    On the bright side the US may not have to worry about those Chinese bases in SE Asia as sea level rises may take care of them. The Pentagon may have deleted the references to risks from climate change but you can bet that they are both planning and overhauling their maritime bases

    1. Arizona Slim

      Parris Island also has to be evacuated during hurricanes. And that’s quite the operation.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To me, it seems, underwater military bases (for, say, submarines) are even more menacing, harder to detect.

      So, if those Chinese bases were to submerge below water, it would not necessarily be on the bright side.

      1. ambrit

        My ‘tinfoil hatt’ persona says that genetically modifying your troops so as to be fully amphibious is the way to go. That or, as you will no doubt approve of, robot troops. Waterproof robots.
        On a slightly tangential aspect, has anyone else noticed the rather sudden deterioration of the Google Search platform into full bore advertising and shopping mode? This is the worst I have ever seen it, and that is saying a lot.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If anyone knows, I believe it would be you. Here, I am talking about the Aquatic Ape theory.

          Thus, it’s possible that we can reactive the dormant DNA to fill out our new divisions of Aquatic Troopers.

          1. newcatty

            We just watched The Shape of Water last night. Highly recommend as an actual academy film that is great. Not to say too much, but it’s in some ways a cautionary tale about what evil men could do with an amphibious discovery or revelation.

          2. ambrit

            Yes indeed MLTPB. We tried to have Phyls first birth using the Leboyer method. Part of the version of the Leboyer method we attempted included holding the baby in a bath of warm water right after the delivery. No dilation after six hours of heavy contractions and so a cesarean put paid to that dream. The ‘rumour’ that the woman will call her partner everything and anything bad or evil under the sun while suffering contractions is true. I speak from experience. The stresses must induce some sort of dissociative state in the womans’ mind. I remember being amazed at how inventively obscene Phyls’ language had become. I can’t blame her. After all, I’m the one who ’caused’ all the pain. (Yeah, you rite.)

    1. curlydan

      Maybe he’s just being a good magician. “Take you eyes off my [bleep]’ed up car factory and peer into my LA tunnel…and look at my rocket going into orbit twice a day. Be amazed…by me!”

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The thing about Musk’s tunnels is that he is very vague about what he’s proposing. Tunnelling is expensive, especially nowadays due to much more stringent safety requirements following a few tunnel fires in Europe. Unless I’m missing something I don’t see how he can build tunnels much cheaper than all the other technologies out there, available and proven (there are different options for different geologies).

      1. JTMcPhee

        How does one build a “tunnel-based transport system” that depends on vacuum in the tube for its supposed high speed performance, in a seismically active locale? Float the tunnel structure on giant springs, inside a still larger tunnel? The Japanese, with their apparent affection for an efficient transport infrastructure, have drilled a lot of tunnel-miles (e.g., through inconveniently located mountains but also through the sea bed) to run their trains or automobiles through. Not sure how many earthquake-initiated collapses there have been, but there is a rich history of tunnel accidents and failure there. But of course all that risk entails significant business opportunities for some:

  18. fresno dan

    One came in late 1942, when a German tank unit sat in reserve on grasslands outside the city. When tanks were desperately needed on the front lines, something happened that surprised everyone: Almost none of them worked.

    Out of 104 tanks in the unit, fewer than 20 were operable. Engineers quickly found the issue, which, if I didn’t read this in a reputable history book, would defy belief. Historian William Craig writes: “During the weeks of inactivity behind the front lines, field mice had nested inside the vehicles and eaten away insulation covering the electrical systems.”

    The Germans had the most sophisticated equipment in the world. Yet there they were, defeated by mice.

    You can imagine their disbelief. This almost certainly never crossed their minds. What kind of tank designer thinks about mouse protection? Nobody planned this, nobody expected it.

    They always show the troops, tanks, missiles, but never the phalanx of wizened WWII mouse veterans…
    But even today, in the server farms in the US, cells of mouse commandos wait…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe some critters will find solar panels deliciously nutritious.

      That ought to a key design consideration.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in Tucson, woodpeckers like to rap on hard objects. They’re especially fond of rain gutters, downspouts, and street light poles. Solar arrays have all sorts of hard surfaces that would be super-fun for the local woodpecker population.

    2. Wukchumni

      A couple years ago, I took my car to be serviced and it needed a new air filter amongst other items, and after starting to work on it, the mechanic brought out the old one, in which a mouse had made a home for itself.

      When you live surrounded by nature, nature gets into everything.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        had one in my glove box, once.
        I started closing the truck doors and windows when I found a 4 foot rat snake under my seat(while driving…on a dirt road, thankfully).
        reached my cardio target early that day.
        Of course, there’s still millet growing happily in the truck bed.

      2. ewmayer

        My dear long-departed tuxedo cat Boots used to jump onto the kitchen counter upon which I prepared his daily breakfast in order to oversee the proceedings. One day he hopped up as usual but instead of watching me, his gaze was instantly – and to me, bizarrely – riveted on the nearby toaster. He sidled over to it and suddenly, almost faster than the eye could follow, darted a paw into one of the slots, fished something out, and dashed out the nearby cat door to the patio and out of sight. After a couple of minutes he came back and presented me with the remnants of a half-eaten mouse. I lavished him with the praise he clearly expected, finished preparing a half-portion version of his usual, and then cleaned out the crumb trap of the toaster and heat-cycled it. The episode has gone down in local lore as “the famous toaster-mouse incident.”

        “Tanks for the memories”. :)

      3. Oregoncharles

        We had them in the heating system of a car (an old Subaru). That isn’t funny. The cleanup was hugely expensive.

  19. sd

    Listening to us…

    Skype call today, family friend has moved overseas and her container just arrived. Meanwhile, in the side bar of NC, an ad shows up for UPack. NC is on my iPad. The Skype call was on my phone with a family member.

    It’s creepy.

  20. pjay

    Re: Washington’s Long War on Syria.

    Gowan’s book (as well as his blog, ‘What’s Left’) is an extremely valuable antidote to the massive propaganda offensive on Syria being waged in the Western MSM and some supposedly “leftist” sources. The review is a good one as well.

    1. Olga

      Yes, but if one has no time for the book, here is a reminder of the US long march against Syria by R. Kennedy, Jr. –
      Just one sentence: “In July 1957, following a failed coup in Syria by the CIA, my uncle, Sen. John F. Kennedy, infuriated the Eisenhower White House, the leaders of both political parties and our European allies with a milestone speech endorsing the right of self-governance in the Arab world and an end to America’s imperialist meddling in Arab countries.”

  21. Jean

    “Alexa or Apple’s Siri are set to outnumber people by 2021, according to the research firm Ovum. And more than half of all American households will have at least one smart speaker…”

    Looks like a new division in society is developing.

    I’m definitely showing prejudice and bias toward people who are vapid enough to have these devices in their home. They are self-identifying clods similar to those a generation ago who turned the TV on when you walked into their house. Like the people who play smart phone videos in public places, or music on their iPhones behind you in the grocery line, or who floss their teeth in public, they are suspect.

    Dumbass ex-machina

  22. Katniss Everdeen

    SNL super stardom notwithstanding, I fear that when this sorry episode finally ends, the biggest loser will be Stephanie Clifford herself.

    From the beginning, this has been fishy. Daniels’s previous lawyer advised her to stick to her agreements. In contrast, Avenatti okayed her violating with impunity her non-disclosure agreement on “60 Minutes” despite a binding arbitration judgment against her. She acknowledged on Twitter that she is not paying for her lawyer. So who is? And did he indemnify her against all multimillion-dollar penalties?

    It took a long time and even a court battle to find out that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the Fusion GPS dossier, a fact that was disclosed only after the damage was done, as former British spy and the dossier’s compiler, Christopher Steele, had already created a vast echo chamber as though the material he was peddling had been verified in some way, which of course, it never was. Now Avenatti is being allowed to repeat this same process, mixing truths with half truths and evading accountability.

      1. rd

        What nobody seems to be picking up on in this article is that the PERA disaster is also a proof point against privatizing Social Security. The Colorado teacher retirees and the school boards did not pay into Social Security, so their PERA pension is in lieu of receiving Social Security benefits instead of in a addition to. This is common in a number of state and municipal plans and other special plans, like some railroad ones.

        So the Colorado PERA system was structured similarly to what the Social Security privatization reformers want to do and we are now seeing the consequences with the cuts moving forward.

        Retirement continues to be something you do not want to rely on a one-legged stool for. There has been gross mis-management and underfunding of of pension funds, Social Security and Medicare are constantly under threat, and you have to work very diligently not to enrich Wall Street instead of you in IRAS, 401ks, and 403bs.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          For someone like me, It’s Social Security, and IRA and/or SEP-IRA.

          For the latter, I assume index funds to cover bonds, the S&P500 and foreign markets would be fairly sound.

          My question is, does it or how does it enrich Wall Street, if you have low cost index funds?

          1. rd

            Most 403bs (teachers have those) offer variable annuities and mutual funds offered by insurance companies where 1% is often a low expense ratio. I have thoroughly invested my wife’s options in her 403b and the cheapest I could find was 0.13% Vanguard Target Date funds with 0.3% record keeping fees for total expenses over 0.4%. Most of the options available to her would have cost 1% ER or more. It would have been easy to have 2% – 3% expense ratios.

            401ks have better fiduciary standards, but many still have mutual funds with relatively high expense ratios. Our 401k only got down to typical expense ratios less than 0.3% in the past couple of years. Many others are not there yet. We now have a Vanguard Institutional TD option with a 0.10% ER compared to the Wells Fargo TD at 0.4% to 0.5% before.

            Unless you are at Vanguard or a handful of other places for your IRAs, many IRAs are in expense ratios of 1% or more. Front-end loads are common.

            Rollovers are the wild west. A 401k has fiduciary protection but that is lost the instant you roll it over. so you can go from a 401k with a 0.10% ER for a Vanguard Target Date fund into a rollover IRA with 1%+ expense ratios and front-end loads. The Department of Labor fiduciary rule was designed to prevent that, but it has been soundly defeated by the people “protecting” small investors and consumers.

            Mutual fund expense ratios have dropped over the past couple of decades bu the average mutual fund ratios in 2016 were 0.63% for equity funds and 0.51% for bond funds.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Maybe most NC readers have these “investments” [which I am told are now referred to as “exposure (to market risk)]”?

              Those who do have a “nest egg” investment can be sort of smug, though of course the scammers on Wall Street are constantly seeking ways to take your little stash (like via those fees and expenses). I hope the Blessed With Invested Wealth understand that only what, about 15% of the population, has such a second leg to the retirement stool they will be parking their aging posteriors on. It’s Social Security, a greeter’s jpb at Walmart or, like an aging neighbor, wiping down the cars and SUVs and large pickups of their sort of betters as they come out of the Full Service Car Wash… for $5.00 an hour plus tips…

              1. ambrit

                Tell your aging neighbour to contact Homeland Security. They are always on the lookout for “Surveillance Hardware Installers.” A job in a car wash sounds perfect for that job. After all, the sort of people who can afford to have other people wash their cars definitely have something to hide. It is Homeland Securities job to find those things out. It might be by the “installation,” but hey, it’s extra money!

                1. flora

                  Capitalism run amok vs democracy. Such a deal. (I’m so old I can remember a time when they weren’t in opposition; so old I can remember a time when capitalism and democracy were compliments to each other. )

                  1. JTMcPhee

                    I’m old enough and “woke” enough to remember that any apparent “complementary” relationship between “democracy” and the slightly ramped-down political-economy features known as “capitalism,” the version that ran through the 50s and 60s, while busily if obscurely building back toward the rentier looting of the Gilded Age with such blandishments as the “Powell Memorandum” driving the long game, was purely mythical and part of the sucker-sell…

                    1. flora

                      adding: there is a point where the “suckers” expect and demand redress for having been defrauded . The powell memo’s descendents gains run up against the majority of the polity demanding redress for criminal acts: grift, monopoly, buying influence, buying votes. No wonder the effort to suppress the general vote is so wide spread (and where is the Dem estab in pushing back against voter suppression?)

                  2. flora

                    adding: The best part of NC imo is its refusal to drink the Kool-Aid wrt financial “engineering” or the go-along-to-get-along with whatever is the current official and govt stance regarding monopolies, finance, illegal or criminal behaviors, and grift. How very old fashioned of NC; how antiquated of NC to take a stand for a non-BS approach to finance and business dealings. (No wonder I keep reading this site.)

                    note: the “latest and greatest” pitch in finance is no guarantee against well advertised, handsomely mounted bogus baloney. You know that of course, since you read NC.

                  3. ambrit

                    I too can remember when the ‘Synergy’ was ‘Holy Writ.’
                    Remember Civics class? Class elections? Student council? (I was on my High School Student Council one year. I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have been expelled.)
                    Add to all this Service Clubs. (I was in one of those as well.)
                    The best term I can think of to describe all of this is: Americanism. Which was a required class!
                    By the way, (no acronyms today) some of those classes had names like ‘Americanism versus Communism.’ The sleight of hand is right there, in the title.
                    Well, we know now that the ‘Holy Writ’ was always a conjob. Why should we expect any better today? Religions crumble and fall when the belief that empowers them fades. For Oligarcho-Capitalism, that belief is being squandered quickly.
                    Homeland Security is an example of treating the symptoms and not the causes of a malady. That process always ends badly.
                    Time for my evening drink.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Man Allegedly Used Change Of Address Form To Move UPS Headquarters To His Apartment NPR (Kevin W)

    That’s just amazing, if true.

    “The Russians moved Facebook/Amazon/CIA (you name the rest) to Kremlin.”

    1. Oregoncharles

      And it took the company THREE MONTHS (???) to notice that they weren’t getting any mail. The odd thing is that there were only $50,000 worth of checks in it.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the link to Wolf Richter’s article regarding the effects of the rising US dollar on many ‘Emerging Markets’. Paul Krugman’s and “other Serious Economists” opposition to the Powell Fed’s schedule for gradually unwinding the Fed’s Treasury bond and MBS purchases under Bernanke’s “Quantitative Easing” policy and related maintenance of negative real interest rates for nine years is unsurprising. Funny, I don’t recall them previously raising questions about the prospective maladjustments and adverse effects on Emerging Markets and others that would occur under this policy on exit. But I would note that their view is entirely consistent with perpetuating cheap funding of corporate stock buybacks, cash dividend payouts, and junk bond life support for the One Percent and Wall Street.

    Too bad the bill came due in the form of falling US productivity, growing numbers of zombie companies, etc.; although the increased need for funding following the Trump administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations may also be a contributing factor to rising US interest rates that key off Treasuries, and the related jump in the value of the US dollar.

    1. ef

      Here’s what I don’t get: the VIX is WAY down. Supposedly volatility – as far as it’s measured – is at a near new low. And Emerging Markets appear to be busted by Wolf’s charts. And no financial wizard can figure this out?
      Who or what do I short?

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Bolton pushing to eliminate White House cyber job”

    Sounds like a power play on Bolton’s part and also to remove a voice that might oppose his political fantasies. I note that Bolton wants that position eliminated but that Bolton’s deputy, Mira Ricardel, is “thinking about whether to simply pick up the [cyber] function on her own”. So the power that goes with that job all goes to Bolton’s little fiefdom.

Comments are closed.