Links 5/15/18

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Dear patient readers,

Links are a bit light at official launch time. Start now and refresh your browsers at 8:00 AM for a full ration.

Top 100 Economics Blogs of 2018 Intelligent Economist. NC is on the list again!

The Jaguar Is Made for the Age of Humans Atlantic (J-LS)

Plastic Bag Found at the Bottom of World’s Deepest Ocean Trench National Geographic

California is turning farms into carbon-sucking factories Grist

The future of urban transport (the bike) Wired (PlutoniumKun)

‘We don’t take cash’: is this the future of money? Financial Times (Li)

NYT: More than 2 dozen people killed by carbon monoxide after leaving on their keyless cars WSFB

Cod and ‘Immune Broth’: California Tests Food as Medicine New York Times

Exercise is good for you – unless it’s part of your job Guardian (PllutoniumKun)

How Lakewinds Food Co-op is carving out a niche in the competitive suburban grocery scene MinnPost (Chuck L)

What to do if you find yourself choking—and no one’s around (J-LS). The problem is people probably need to know how to do the Heimlich maneuver in the first place. One of my pet peeves is that everyone should be taught this plus CPR in high school, and for older people, their first day at a job.

North Korea

John Bolton Once Sabotaged A Deal With North Korea – He Will Try To Repeat That Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Peace talks ignite land buying frenzy along South Korea’s fortified border Reuters (furzy)

Recent Chinese Tech IPOs Have Been Tanking Bloomberg


Australia Bans Cash For All Purchases Over $10,000 Starting July Of 2019 Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Prosecutors Seek Complete Ban On Media Reporting Of Cardinal George Pell Trial New Matilda (Chuck L)

Woolworths joins Coles in storing baby formula next to cigarettes and in locked storeroom cages in a bid to stop Chinese raiders from clearing shelves and selling overseas for profit Daily Mail (Kevin W). Woolworth and Coles are the two big grocery chains.

East Coast rail franchise ‘to be scrapped’ by transport secretary Guardian (JTM)

Bolivian President Evo Morales Warns of Plan ‘to Invade Venezuela’ by US, OAS teleSUR (furzy)

Mexico’s education reforms flounder as more spent on PR than teachers Guardian (JTM)


Tension in Gaza as Palestinians prepare to bury 58 dead BBC

U.S. Media Whitewashes Gaza Massacre Consortium News

Doctors Without Borders Condemns the ‘Bloodbath’ in Gaza as a Result of Israel’s ‘Disproportionate Use of Violence’ Alternet

Fifteen Thoughts About Israel Caitlin Johnstone (Chuck L)

From Politico’s daily e-mailed newsletter:

EU TRIES TO SAVE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be in Brussels today to meet with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and European foreign ministers. Expect meetings in the afternoon and evening.

US opens embassy in Jerusalem: Which countries attended? Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

IMO there will be no peace for Israel … Republished 14 May, 2018 Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Fitzgerald Collision Hearing Brings Ship’s Radar Problems into Focus (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook Faulted by Judge for ‘Troubling Theme’ in Privacy Case Bloomberg. Important. Potentially very big damages, and from US courts for a change.

Encrypted Email Has a Major, Divisive Flaw Wired

A former Googler leading the charge against AI weapons says her time at Google taught her that even ‘nice’ people can make bad moral decisions Business Insider (David L). We clearly don’t have the same definition of nice. Or put it another way (and thanks to the state of web search I can’t find the title), a book a few years back on the personal lives of the staff at Buchenwald (or was it Dachau?) found they were “nice” people too.

Tariff Tantrum

A World Apart: Charting the Gulf Between Chinese and U.S. Tariffs Wall Street Journal

Trump Transition

Lawmakers stunned by Trump push to help Chinese company The Hill. This outrage du jour has momentarily displaced Russia!Russia! and Stormy Daniels. Rest assured, we will be back to our regular programming shortly.

Ahead of Vote on Gina Haspel, Senate Pulls Access to Damning Classified Memo The Intercept

Trump blasts White House leakers as ‘traitors’ The Hill

You Should Pay Attention to the Messy Pennsylvania Primaries Vice

Legal sports betting set to explode after court ruling. But get ready for a battle over the dollars Los Angeles Times

Tesla’s top engineer takes break; Elon Musk begins reorganization Autoblog (EM)

Tesla Model S Driver Says Autopilot Was On Before Crash Into Firetruck: Police Jalopnik. Kevin W: “That’s two red firetrucks now.”

Time to wipe out the absurd credit default swap market John Dizard, Financial Times (Li)

Investors Are Wary as Companies Ramp Up Capital Spending Wall Street Journal

Guillotine Watch

‘A pool in the basement is a clear marker of wealth’: how the super-rich are digging down Guardian (Paul R)

Class Warfare

DeVos’ Education Department winds down probes into fraud by for-profit colleges Daily Kos

Dr. Gabor Maté on Donald Trump, Traumaphobia, and Compassion: An Interview The Fix (Adrien)

Chipotle wrongfully accused a manager of stealing $626. She just won millions in court. Washington Post (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. A belated Mothers’ Day entry. MGL:

Love this scene, at a distance

A mother moose and her twin newborn offspring rest next to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson along the Glenn Highway in May 2017. (Bob Hallinen / ADN) Anchorage Daily News

And a bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jim Haygood

    Yesterday, with the peso trading around 23 to the dollar, Argentina’s central bank made a what was intended to be a bold, pre-emptive move: offering five billion US dollars — ten percent of its entire forex reserve — at a price of 25 pesos each. At this above-market price (from a peso buyer’s perspective), only half a million were sold.

    But the move backfired spectacularly. Perceiving (correctly) no official support between 23 and 25, traders took but a few hours to drive the peso straight down to the floor of 25, bringing its trailing 12-month loss to a jaw-dropping 38 percent, the worst on the planet ex Venezuela.

    Argentina’s underlying problem is not financial but cultural. Never has the country jettisoned the toxic legacy of Juan Perón: inflationism; syndicalism; mercantilism; heavy-handed regulation; and debt addiction. Instead it has developed a dysfunctional step-by-step viveza criolla:

    1. Borrow from abroad in foreign currency.
    2. Using an overvalued peso, launch an importing spree.
    3. Continue partying until forex reserves evaporate and foreign investors are all expropriated.
    4. Declare default, devalue, and spend a few years as an outlaw state until creditors accept a cramdown settlement of 30 cents on the dollar.
    5. Repeat process ad infinitum.

    Incredibly, the IMF — which hit Step 4 as major creditor in 2001 — is doing it again. Headed by the corrupt Chris Lagarde, it’s negotiating to give Argentina a $30 billion standby credit line, when Argentina’s already deep into Step 3 and can be expected to default again in the next few years.

    Losers helping losers … on that note, today’s auction of $30 billion USD worth of short-term central bank notes called LEBACs to roll over existing ones should be entertaining, to say the least.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Gotta love those “traders,” discovering price and arbitrage opportunities left, right and center… and the smart folks who are in on the joke can lay it off to a cultural problem of “Peronism.” Nothing to do with all the fun and games the Grand Players in the wonderful world of liquidity have been fomenting and profiting from, each player filling its predatory and parasitic niche in the ecology of looting… How many of us secretly admire and even envy Shkreli, and those smart kids who perceived the opportunity to pull off the Big Short, or how about Soros and his ‘successful trading’? And we all love our Uncle Warren Buffett, don’t we?

      1. Jim Haygood

        The traders are predominantly locals in the Microcentro who have seen this movie before.

        Since the Argentine peso is valueless outside its borders, there is essentially no international trading in it.

        1. Wukchumni

          My one link to Argentina economically is vis a vine, and Malbecs never seem to cost more than $5-10 a bottle for the pride of Mendoza.

          Picked up a case of Clos d’Argentine 2013 with a 93 point rating for $6.99 a bottle @ the Grocery Outlet last month…

        2. Alejandro

          An un[der] informed dismissive of “Peronism”, with heavy blinders on transnational banksterism in the context of imperialism. Have you noticed that big-player-insiders seemingly never ‘lose’? Have you noticed the recent amplifying of “mis-management” as the default pretext of interlopers, predators and interventionists?

          1. Jim Haygood

            Peronism’s unique achievement of turning a formerly developed economy into a Third World developing economy speaks for itself.

          2. RabidGandhi

            By blaming “Peronism” (whatever the samhill that is) Comrade Haygood shows that he hasn’t a factual leg to stand on.

            Peronist policymakers run the gamut from the free market libertarian Celestino Rodrigo to the union-busting, public sector-shrinking Carlos Menem, to the Keynesian Néstor Kirchner, to the self-styled Communist Montoneros. In the words of the General himself, “Everybody’s a Peronist”.

            Since “Peronism” (as it were) is neither an economic system, nor a political ideology, nor a set of policies, blaming it for anything is the last resort of those who have no factual basis to support their arguments.

        3. JTMcPhee

          “Trader” is the category, no? The behavior is universal among the category members, I understand. It’s “just the way things are done,” no? And external activities have had more than a little to do with the current state of affairs, and limited prospects for anything better.

    2. Wukchumni

      Let’s say you were an Argentinean and turned your pesos into all that glitters @ the turn of the century

      2000 = 300 pesos for one troy ounce

      2018 = 33,000 pesos for one troy ounce

      Not a bad return on your money, eh?

    3. John Wright

      The IMF is not so much a loser helping the loser Argentina, but is helping traders and the well-connected extract additional value from the depreciating peso currency and peso denominated securities they have in stock.

      Rather than “losers helping losers”, It is more of an international government sponsored entity, staffed by well-paid professional “winners” improving the lives of other financial professionals with Argentine peso exposure.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Speaking of peso exposure, today it blew right through yesterday’s dramatically announced line in the sand at 25 to reach 25.53, according to La Nacion.

        Central bank governor Sturzenegger’s bazooka morphed overnight into a squirt gun, pointed back at himself.

        Hopefully the IMF will demand this clown’s resignation as one of the planks of conditionality.

    4. Chauncey Gardiner

      Jim, as someone who is not a participant in financial markets — at least not directly, knowingly and willingly — I still appreciate your comments on markets and the behavior of participants in so far as they help me to understand broader context and policy prescriptions consistent with being a US voter.

      In this instance, however, I am having some difficulty reconciling Argentina’s low reported public sector and household debt numbers with the idea that Argentines have both a cultural addiction to debt and repeatedly engage in a methodical process of defrauding their creditors.

      I think there’s something else in play here besides a foreign denominated debt spiral, $USD appreciation and rising $USD interest rates, but can’t quite put my finger on it. There is this?…

    5. Jean

      And take those reserves and build privatized toll freeways with spectacular profits to investors and builders all over Buenos Aires cutting up the city.

  2. Bugs Bunny

    Link for:

    Encrypted Email Has a Major, Divisive Flaw

    Has extra text at the beginning.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Looks like that link was, ahem, encrypted. Will the NC Link Decrypter pick up the white courtesy phone?

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Woolworths joins Coles in storing baby formula next to cigarettes and in locked storeroom cages in a bid to stop Chinese raiders from clearing shelves and selling overseas for profit Daily Mail (Kevin W)

    This is a complete myth. I became an accidental expert on this topic when a Chinese friend asked me to proof her MSc thesis on informal supply chains for baby formula to China (and I’ve boxed and sent off many a tub to Chinese friends myself). While plenty of Chinese send formula by mail, this is mostly because they trust these informal links as a means of avoiding the dangers of ‘fake’ products even in reputable shops in China. But it does not mean any significant net increase in demand for baby formula in western countries (its mostly just off-setting ‘formal’ sales), nor does it result in real shortages as its not an unpredictable source of demand.

    The milk formula companies deliberately spread these stories in order to promote panic buying. They know that stories like this, along with regular empty shelves encourages customers to overbuy to build up their home stocks. Much of which ends up being thrown out as they over-purchase or it runs past its sell by date.

    1. Kevin

      “The milk formula companies deliberately spread these stories in order to promote panic buying.”

      Reminiscent of gun manufacturers claiming “Obama is gonna take yerr guns away!”

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        greatest gun salesman in history. greatest droner in history. greatest protector of wall st in history.

        with democrats like these, who needs republicans?

    2. bwilli123

      Unfortunately not a myth that these are being bought in bulk in my anecdotal experience in Adelaide, South Australia. Whether for resale or as a family favour.
      Four months ago I observed a woman of East Asian appearance unload 4 tins of Milk Formula into her car boot. Closer observation revealed another 6 or 8 or so cans already in situ.
      Enquiring at the store it appeared that she had bought the remainder elsewhere.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        They are not being bought in serious bulk simply because of post office limitations on the size of parcels that can be sent on (regular mail being the cheapest method of transport, as well as filling cases on flights home). This is not organised large scale smuggling, its localised arbitrage. Someone buying a dozen or so cans in a supermarket hardly represents an unprecedented rush.

        This market should not cause local shortages for the simple reason that it is not a net increase in overall demand for formula (it is displacing ‘official’ supply to China), and it is not seasonal or random. Its like claiming that Germany will run out of beer because of Scandinavians filling their car boots with pilsner at ferry ports and crossing points.

        What this does clearly demonstrate is that the baby formula market is an effective monopoly and they are using market power to keep prices up and prevent arbitrage. You can see this at work in any shop during a sale or promotion. You’ll find baby formula is always exempt from the promotion – this is entirely due to excess market power.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “…displacing ‘official supply to China.”

          Time-wise, I assume this:

          1. Years ago, people in China trusted and bought baby formula from Chinese domestic suppliers (using Chinese milk or maybe imported milk)

          2. Not trusting domestic baby formula supply, there emerged a new, official supply to China, from, say Australia.

          3. Localized arbitrage in foreign countries we see today.

          Going from 2 to 3 does not displace official supply to China.

          Going from 1 to 2 would increase total (domestic and foreign) demand in, for this example, Australia.

          It’s possible that when they went from 1 to 2, supply in Australia was increased to meet the then new Chinese baby formula demand. Or perhaps, the new baby formula demand was another form of earlier milk demand (see 1, possibly China was importing milk to make baby formula).

      2. The Rev Kev

        You’re right. There are plenty of Chinese students here in Australia earning money for themselves to support their studies by buying for people back home. Milk formula is the most well known example but that is only because it came out of the scandal of babies being poisoned by local Chinese brands all those years ago. The Chinese know we do not have that worry here. Personally, I say good on these “daigou” as they are only using their smarts here.

  4. Wukchumni

    Legal sports betting set to explode after court ruling. But get ready for a battle over the dollars Los Angeles Times
    In the run-up to the Revolution, gambling was rampant in France in the late 1780’s…

    But that said, they’ve been taking wagers in merry olde on UK sports for donkey’s years now.

    Will I be able to get a bet down on my 12 year old nephew’s soccer games?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Me? I want to place bets on the cars speeding through my neighborhood. Indy 500 candidates, every one of them.

      1. ambrit

        What we need to do is make a mock-up of one of those radar gun speed measuring mini-trailers, the ones that flash “Your Speed” as you whizz by on the highway around here, and place it at the beginning of the main ‘speed strips’ in local residential zones.
        Put a big sign on it. “Automated Speed Trap Unit.”
        the local coppers are wont to have their workers who get to drive police cars home, not all of which are ‘street’ cops, park said symbols of authority next to the street where they live in plain sight. The deterrence effect is literally visible in the behaviour of the drivers as they gain cognizance of the police vehicle. It’s like watching Pavlovian conditioning at work. Fascinating.

  5. Jim Haygood

    DACA hearing today in Ninth Circuit appeals court:

    On Sept. 5, Trump unveiled a plan to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by March, an edict that was first blocked in January by a San Francisco federal judge. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reviewing that ruling at a hearing Tuesday in Pasadena, California.

    A three-judge panel will hear from from the Justice Department and attorneys representing six Dreamers, four states, two cities and a university. An immediate decision from the judges is unlikely.

    On the Dreamers side, lawyers will continue to claim that Trump’s proposed change in policy threatens imminent harm to about 700,000 DACA beneficiaries. They also will point to the government’s plans to instantly end DACA, instead of applying a notice and comment period.

    One-term Trump’s unconcealed contempt for Hispanics is going to cost the Republican party this fall, as well it should. :-)

  6. fresno dan

    There is nothing I would love more than a zillion more people riding bikes.
    But the biggest innovation would be either separate dedicated bike paths, or the style of bike lanes where the part of the street immediately adjacent to the sidewalk is the bike lane and the cars park on the traffic side, forming a barrier between the bike riders and cars.
    Also, being a geezer, I just see way too much of a “racing” attitude among most bicyclists. If there was a REAL dedication to PUBLIC biking, there would be the “utility” biking epitomized by Denmark

    Biking is far healthier (assuming safe bike lanes so bicyclists aren’t senselessly killed in traffic accidents), environmentally fantastic, and far, far less expensive.
    Fresno, flat with no extreme cold weather (summer would be fine too if someone making bike paths understood that trees provide SHADE) should be a town full of bicycling people.
    Yet I can only conclude that the lack of biking demonstrates that Americans would rather spend money and be unhealthful while harming the environment.

    1. SerenityNow

      When it comes down to it, roads and rights-of-way are really just long and slender pieces of property owned by the public—and we reserve the vast majority of this property for use by a certain type of transportation: private vehicles. If we could get people to see roads and ROWs as land/public property which is dedicated to moving people, rather than machines, we might see a larger percentage of this space given to bicyclists.

      I bike to commute but also for the speed and thrill. I think sadly you are right—for most Americans, cycling is a hobby, a sport, a tool for children, but rarely a legitimate and equal mode of transportation.

      1. Roger Smith

        It is more complex than that. You have to look at urban/suburban planning as well. What is the average distance most people live from their places of employment (elapsed time and physical space). I am going to bet it is around 30-40, but that is by automobile. We have decades of land and social development dedicated to the idea that people could quickly get to places further away because of cars, which has changed the way things are zoned. Middle America is largely predicated on the idea of a suburban life, where one doesn’t live a stones throw away from work. You can just replace cars with bicycles.

        What about families? Is a mother or father of two going to cart their kids in a caddy to a school and a separate day care? In a suit, or worse, a skirt? I feel people are forgetting the utility of automobiles in the face of environmental pressure. There are just a lot of implications and factors to consider that do not jive with simple bicycle travel. I can completely understand driver’s frustrations at bikers as well (I have them myself).

        1. It is not safe.
        2. Bikers feel they can ignore traffic signals and signs automobiles must abide by.
        3. Bikers feel the need to be in the road when there are perfectly good sidewalks in a given area

        Roads are optimized for efficient automobile traffic. Bike Riding on them inhibits that (along with other things automobile drivers do to themselves). I like Dan’s idea of bike lanes outside of parked car lanes, but we need a slow and dedicated revamping of basic infrastructure and general social structure in order to accommodate a movement like this.

        1. Anon

          Bikers feel they can ignore traffic signals and signs automobiles must abide by.

          That’s because a cyclist produces (maximum) 1/2 horsepower and maintaining momentum is essential. And a cyclist is riding a ~30 lb. (not 3-ton) vehicle. The most vulnerable transport is the bicycle: it moves adjacent to said 3-ton vehicles (w/ inattentive drivers) and is viewed as an inconvenience by said drivers. Pedestrians get the luxury of a safety curb; at least until the next intersection (where state law requires supreme vigilance by drivers— no matter that you may become dead right.)

    2. Fiery Hunt

      Telegraph Ave in Oakland has been re-striped to the bike lane next to the curb, parked cars on the outside…it’s a nightmare! Cross street traffic can’t see around the parked cars without pulling out across the bike lane and the traffic lane crisscrosses the bike lanes at corners! It’s a mess…

      1. SerenityNow

        Why do we use street space for (usually free) car storage? Why not just dedicate to the movement of people and transport? Cars are a necessity because we continue to build and make policies that ensure that is the case–ubiquitous, cheap or free temporary car storage only makes it worse. We wouldn’t let someone store a tractor, junk crate, or helicopter on a busy street.

        1. Jean

          You like sales taxes from local merchants that employ people locally? Get rid of the street parking and you destroy the merchants and drive business to mega malls with vast parking lots…unless free buses are provided as in downtown Portland. Still the issue of carrying purchased items that are bulky or weigh a lot.

    3. tongorad

      But the biggest innovation would be either separate dedicated bike paths…

      Everything old is new again:
      Wikipedia – California Cycleway

      The California Cycleway, opened in 1900, was a nine-mile elevated tollway built specially for bicycle traffic through the Arroyo Seco, intended to connect the cities of Pasadena and Los Angeles, in California, United States


    4. neighbor7

      yes, bikes, but:

      as a lifelong walker I have found bikers to be another danger to look out for.

      1. pretzelattack

        yeah you have to keep your eye out, both on the street and on trails. at least bikers don’t text while biking.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        It works both ways – a cyclist was killed in a park near me last year when a walker blundered without looking onto a dedicated cycling path. Headphone wearers are a menace (both walkers and cyclists). I’ve had many pedestrians simply step right onto the road in front of me without looking.

    5. Whoa Molly!


      … in my rural Northern California area is too dangerous for my liking. Aggressive hostile drivers who really don’t like bikes, inattentive drivers who dont see bikes, and narrow roads with no clearance for bikes. All combine to make bicycles an unrealistic transportation option.

      PS: Before moving here I was an urban bike commuter.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The problem is the chicken and egg situation of critical mass. When you have lots of bikes on the road, drivers learn to look out for them. When there aren’t, the biker can become invisible. This isn’t just perception, plenty of studies indicate that the higher the number of cyclists on the road, the lower the accident rate per km travelled.

        So in the absence of active intervention by local traffic managers, then it takes a brave and hardy minority to stake their claim on road space. Its a dangerous business.

  7. fresno dan

    And a bonus antidote:

    ????borrow????? The cat was gonna take it back……when?
    and I can’t help but think we call it a tiger plush toy, but the cat calls it a “sex doll”

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      After the cat’s Fitbit #s indicated heart rate going up, and after hitting a certain recorded, ahem, ‘exercise profile’, its Amazon Echo (Feline version) was triggered to deliver a cold beer, an order of catnip, and couple opened tins of pate.

      Billed to its humans, of course.

  8. JTMcPhee

    At the intersection of Greed Drive and Corrpution Place, we find this:

    Price of now-completed pump stations at New Orleans outfall canals rises by $33.2 million [to &726 million]
    The PCCP contract cost also does not include the cost of removing hazardous materials from several of the canals during construction, which was paid for with state money.

    The 2013 contract award by the corps followed two years of delays caused by challenges to the agency’s initial bidding process. The corps originally awarded the contract to CBY Design Builders in April 2011, after that company bid $675 million. That award was successfully challenged by PCCP and the Bechtel Infrastructure Corp. [For the uninitiated, this is what is called a “bid protest,” very Constitutional and all.]

    On the second bidding effort, PCCP was awarded the contract for $629.5 million, but that decision was overturned by the Congressional Government Accountability Office in response to a challenge by CBY and Bechtel in 2012.

    The 2013 contract required the stations to be completed by January 2017. Delays resulting in design changes, and additional weather delays resulted in the official turnover not occurring until April 2018. And if you read on in the piece, you see that more costs are being offloaded onto the public. Of course.

    We all sort of remember Hurricane Katrina, right? Oh, the humanity…

    Bid protests are a successful business tactic, for some definition of “success.” This is posted for anyone wanting a one-minute appreciation of what it is going to cost to “protect coastal areas” and other High Value Places against the impacts of combustion-consumption. Profit off externalities all around, everyone who matters as happy as rats in a corn crib… and other rats to help the looters to a share of the cash:

    And another example of the same moral geography:

    Puerto Rico: Suicide Spikes by 30 Percent After Hurricane Maria

    …In 2016, there were 196 victims of suicide registered, the lowest rate recorded in twenty years. However, one year later, health experts had registered a total 253 suicide cases, the highest rate since 2013. The majority of victims, roughly 86 percent, were men aged between 55 and 69.

    As of January, the Puerto Rican crisis hotline has received a total of 3,050 calls from suicide attempts, a 246 percent spike from last year.

    An additional 9,645 people admitted to calling the hotline in the past three months after considering suicide which is an 83 percent increase from 2016’s records.

    Homelessness, unemployment, lack of basic necessities are believed to be large contributing factors to the cloud of stress and anxiety hovering over the island, said Psychology Professor Julio Santana Marino from Puerto Rico’s Universidad Carlos Albizu.

    “It’s normal for there to be family conflicts, but when you add the stress of more than five months without power, without food, living patterns change … it makes it harder for people to manage daily life,” Santana told El Nuevo Dia in February.

    Power Contractors Leaving Puerto Rico As it Faces Longest Blackout in United States History

    The territory continues to experience the longest recorded power outage in U.S. history and health professionals say this also contributes to the prolonged feelings of depression.

    “Such prolonged darkness is insidious to community mental health,” said First Deputy Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

    Of course we mopes can just lay this all on the feebleness of the Puerto Ricans, right? Or because Trump’s “unconcealed contempt for Hispanics,” rather than jackals and looters… or maybe some of it is this:

    Power Contractors Leaving Puerto Rico As it Faces Longest Blackout in United States History

    Published 1 March 2018

    “Useless eaters, JUST DIE. BECAUSE MARKETS!”

    1. nothing but the truth

      The LIRR Queens tunnel was budgeted for 2.5 billion. a couple of deades behind schedule, now it is 11.5 billion and asking for a couple more billions.

      your tax dollars at their best use.

      this is why infrastructure is falling apart. because it has been taken over by the mob, aided and abetted by politicians.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I guess the definition of “mob” is elastic enough to cover banksters and outfits like Bechtel, as well as what we commonly think of as “the mob.” Corruption, as conversion of public wealth and legitimacy to private profit and looting.

        “That’s just the way it is…”

    2. David

      >Puerto Rico: Suicide Spikes by 30 Percent After Hurricane Maria

      …In 2016, there were 196 victims of suicide registered, the lowest rate recorded in twenty years. However, one year later, health experts had registered a total 253 suicide cases, the highest rate since 2013.

      Suicide Cases for Puerto Rico (from La Comisión para la Prevención del Suicidio del Departamento de Salud),

      2013 – 322
      2014 – 265
      2015 – 250
      2016 – 196
      2017 – 252
      2018 – 31 through Feb.

      The majority of victims, roughly 86 percent, were men aged between 55 and 69.

      74 (both sexes) of the 252 (29%) were between 55 and 69. In 2016, 47(both sexes) of the 196 (24%) were between 55 and 69 (same source).

      1. Alejandro

        Given their ‘austerity’ budget constraints, how factual are the facts and how reliable are the stats?

  9. Stephen V.

    On Gaza, Finkelstein flips the script. Not just the fact that MSM insists on the *clashes* framing which implies there is a symmetry of power but more than that: Palestinians as members of an emerging State under Intl Law DO have the right to use force and the occupiers do not !

  10. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Media Whitewashes Gaza Massacre”

    Not just the US media. Was watching the TV news in Australia and a talking head was questioning a reporter in Gaza on what was happening. Trouble was, the talking head was trying to put words into the reporter’s mouth and to shape what he would say in response. It was disgusting to watch.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Allies to One-term Trump: You blew it.

      “There has got to be restraint in the [Israeli] use of live rounds,” the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said in statement. “The U.K. position is that we don’t agree with the U.S. decision to move the embassy and we continue to believe that is playing the wrong card at the wrong time.”

      France’s minister for Europe and foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, echoed the call for restraint and urged Israel to respect the Palestinian right to demonstrate peacefully.

      “France disapproves of the American decision to transfer the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he said in a statement issued on Monday, saying it “contravenes international law.”

      That it does, Jean-Yves. That it does.

      1. JBird


        Really? I thought using snipers to kill old ladies and reporters was peachy keen! (Snark!)

        How the f@@@ is this not criminal?

        1. Plenue

          There’s a recent Norman Finkelstein interview on the Real News where he points out that Israel, as the occupying power, has literally no right to use any force at all. There is literally no level of force it can use that is justified. It has the right to (truly) leave and end the blockade. It has no rights at all in the Occupied Territories beyond that.

          One of the Israeli hasbara claims is that Palestinians were planting bombs at the ghetto wall, as well as the usual burning of tires and throwing of rocks (if only soldiers had helmets and body armor and riot shields…would that such magical technology existed…). Even if true, the UN has made clear that occupied peoples have the right to wage armed struggle:

        2. JTMcPhee

          Who writes and enforces what passes for “law” in Israel? And how much proof is needed that “international law” is an empty set (except when useful as an excuse for some Imperial or corporate nastiness?

          “YHWH gave us this land of milk, honey, hypocrisy and corruption… and that land over there, and over there too, plus the mineral and water and air rights to everywhere we can see…”

  11. yoghurt

    About the keyless car. The problem is not the radio key. It’s not the lack of alarm. The trouble is the push-button toggle for on-off. There is no feedback on the switch itself. I have seen keyless with a dial that you turn like a key with off-on-start. In that case, when you turn it counterclockwise to off – you know it’s off. And you don’t have to listen for motor or alarm or look at some lights. The toggle-style makes you have to look beyond the position of the key to figure it out. The article skips this obvious human factors interface design.

    The mash-toggle is obviously cheaper than a dial. I think some regulatory help is needed to correct this.

    It’s like a light switch. When you have one switch controlling a light it is easier. Flip up to turn on and down to turn off. For a light with multiple switches you need to flip up or down. It is harder to control but for a light you see the light and if you get it wrong the consequences are seldom lethal.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I’ve got a Toyota – which is the make that they seem to be pointing to as the most culpable – and I really don’t understand the issue. If you turn on the car, the instruments all light up and the engine starts running. You get visual and vibration feedback. If you turn it off, that all stops. Dead quiet.

      The only thing I could think of as to why people were leaving them on was if they were inebriated or perhaps otherwise impaired. It’s really, really obvious when you leave it on. Plus there’s the beeping. It’s 3 loud beeps. I just don’t understand how they’re leaving it on.

      1. beth

        Well, Bugs, I have left my engine on a couple of times. I have so far tentatively diagnosed it as my hearing is going. I am not yet ready for a hearing aid although that is coming.

    2. Brian

      the one on my beater doesn’t allow me to leave the driver seat without the horn going off if the motor is on. It has been very helpful and it trained me very fast. Any of them could be adapted to do this, no?

  12. Lee

    IMO there will be no peace for Israel … Republished 14 May, 2018 Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

    Wholesale ethnic and cultural population destruction of indigenous populations and replacement by invaders was largely successful almost exclusively in the New World. Theories to which I give great credence hold that this was largely enabled by the introduction of novel human pathogens to which indigenous populations had not been previously exposed causing mass mortality and attendant economic collapse and unraveling of social cohesion. The Palestinians aren’t going to accommodate the Zionists by getting sick and dying off.

    Furthermore, by what mad logic do Zionist believe their blood and soil fervor, based on dubious documentation set down thousands of years ago, will outmatch that of the Palestinians whose claims to land are based on historically demonstrable physical possession and habitation ended by violence within living memory?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Although the Israel ites are doing their best to extinguish the “Philistines,” as their forbears did (at least according to the oral traditions eventually reduced to writing in the form of the first 8 or 10 books of the Torah. Shutting off the electricity, burning th olive trees, filling in the wells, destroying the hospitals and schools, “putting Gaza on a diet,, the repeated bombardments to “mow the lawn” while “settlers’ and Likudniks set up lawn chairs on vantage points to watch the killing,

      Interesting, too, the noise they make about the ‘terror tunnels’ that Palestinians use to get some relief from the Israeli blockade by ‘smuggling” life’s necessities into what’s left of their territory.
      Especially interesting, because quite a few Israeli business people and companies are involved in and of course profiting from the smuggling. And are using Palestinians as house and garden and workplace slaves, too, including “sex work” places.

        1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

          One of my great uncles who was in the parachute regiment through D-Day the Rhine crossing & various other smaller campaigns was posted to Israel in 1947, until leaving at the tail end of the nine month long British withdrawal. He had heard of the Belson situation & he with the majority of the servicemen involved initially felt sympathy for the Jewish population. This gradually changed due to Irgun & the Stern gang, which led to the sympathy swinging in favour of the Arabs, particularly after the Deir Yassin massacre, which took place due to the gaps left because of the withdrawal.
          The final straw was what later became called The Sergeant’s affair in which Irgun hung two NCO’s as their kidnapping did not stop the Brits from executing three of what were known as terrorists. The above led to widespread rioting in Britain, the worst case being Liverpool which endured a form of Kristalnacht for five days.
          In his opinion it was much worse than what he had experienced during WW2, as the insurgent tactics of both the Israeli’s & Arabs was something they had no experience of. He was at least well trained but the police who took most of the estimated 2-300 killed were made up largely of young conscripts from the UK who had little training & no experience.
          He is dead now, but when we last talked about twenty years ago, he pointed out some incident in Israel & shrugged, while saying that it was obvious way back then that it would never stop.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Actually, there are five books in the Pentateuch. Which is the first five books of the 24 books of the Torah or Tanakh. Here is the definition of the Torah, at least as Wiki puts it:

          The Torah (/ˈtɔːrəˌˈtoʊrə/; Hebrew: תּוֹרָה‬, “Instruction”, “Teaching” or “Law”) is the central reference of Judaism. It has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch) of the 24 books of the Tanakh, and is usually printed with the rabbinic commentaries (perushim). It can mean the continued narrative from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, and it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice, whether derived from biblical texts or later rabbinic writings,[1] such that simply “document” (in higher meaning) is an efficient translation.

          And I didn’t even go to to Hebrew Schull…

  13. Webstir

    “The Jaguar Is Made for the Age of Humans”

    Oh, great. So, a rich person reads this and thinks “Well now, I can certainly spin this in my favor when I develop my next strip mall right next to protected habitat.” Pave the world … the Jaguar can handle it!

    Also, there should be a “Wolfness” as well. I’ve had many close encounters with them over the years. They’re so smart it’s eerie. They don’t scare. They calmly evaluate you and then “decide” you’re probably more trouble than you’re worth.

  14. Carolinian

    Caitlin Johnstone:

    People make a big deal about Zionism in conspiracy circles, but Zionism is just one more tool of manipulation used by the elite class which only ever cares about power. The people who are actually calling the shots in this world don’t care about Judaism or the Jewish people; Zionism is just a set of ideas they use to move people around. They use Christian fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, white supremacy and secular liberalism in the same way. It’s always about acquiring more power for the western oligarchs, and their insatiable drive in this pursuit is how they wound up at the top of the western power structure. They’ll use any set of beliefs to manipulate the masses toward this end.

    Undoubtedly there is much to this. It has been said that the Israeli lobby’s only rival as a pressure group is the NRA and both groups use wedge issues to mobilize political support for certain politicians. Thus the Republicans use guns and abortion to keep ordinary people in their plutocratic camp while the Dems (and also some Republicans) use lockstep support for Israel to bring in large campaign contributions that allow them to avoid populism. In both cases irrational fear is exploited for the purpose of power.

    Of course the problem for the rest of us is that this quest for power is in many ways itself irrational –however calculating the pursuit–and in Israel’s case the wedge issue often threatens to blow up the world or at least the Middle East. The current case of Iran and Netanyahu is a perfect example. Is he threatening war with Iran because of some mythical Iranian menace or to distract from the various corruption cases against him that are percolating through the Israeli legal system? It’s common for liberals to make fun of gun nuts but the ideas underpinning the Middle East mess are not much different and coarsening the country’s ethics and intellectual life. Perhaps it’s time to return to an old fashioned idea that many of us still believe in: honesty is the best policy.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Appreciated Caitlin Johnstone’s brief but deeply insightful article. Threads to a lot more than Israel and the tragic shooting deaths of the 58 unarmed Palestinian youth in Gaza who were protesting Trump’s decision to ignore the advice of experts and relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

      Those in positions of power who made this decision to kill dozens of unarmed protestors and wound hundreds more are hollow men indeed. One must willfully ignore events not to see the parallels between what has occurred there and the policies of those who carried out the worst crimes against humanity of the mid-20th century.

      1. tegnost

        I’ll highlight this passage…
        We don’t live in a world where the lines between nations mean anything to those with real power; in reality “Israel” and “America” are both purely conceptual constructs which only exist to the extent that people believe in them. There is no actual “Israel” which can exert control over an actual “America”, and vice versa. It isn’t nations and governments pulling the strings of real power in the world, it’s a class of plutocrats who aren’t ultimately answerable to any government. This class of plutocrats uses governments like Israel, the US, the UK, and the KSA to advance its agendas to exploit, loot and plunder the rest of humanity.
        but I’ll wait for more evidence before I’ll agree that people are waking up to this fact

    2. Alex

      The current case of Iran and Netanyahu is a perfect example. Is he threatening war with Iran because of some mythical Iranian menace or to distract from the various corruption cases against him that are percolating through the Israeli legal system

      Most certainly the latter is no less important than the former.

      Symmetrically, it seems that the Iranian government is so preoccupied with Israel to keep the people thinking more about the Zionist foe rather than about their own rulers

  15. DorothyT

    “We don’t take cash …”

    What could go wrong?
    Tried to add cash to my apt. bldg.’s laundry card this morning. Inoperable.
    Check out the scope of this FIOS outage.
    FIOS outage

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry re your story. Hope that is your only inconvenience.

      Looks like I dodged a bullet. I was forced off DSL by Verizon, and was very pissed to have them also kill my copper landline (which was the real point, to escape being a common carrier). So even though readers seemed a tad more positive about FIOS reliability than Spectrum, the Spectrum users weren’t beefing and I really did not want to give my business to Verizon.

      1. DorothyT

        Re: FIOS outage

        My inconvenience was incidental to discovering the FIOS outage. Our NYC apt. building was rewired for FIOS thus the laundry room’s ‘technology’ is affected but I don’t subscribe.

        Could this be the story? If you look at the FIOS outage map provided by Verizon, note that some of Pennsylvania is affected, i.e., Allentown, Lehigh County.

        Then note that today is the PA primary election and that area is important through redistricting. Could FIOS outage affect PA’s election reporting and or results? This question is no longer in the paranoia column.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I used to have Verizon, until this part of their business was sold to Frontier.

          Since last week, my home internet has been out…something about ‘open out in the cable’ (I hope I got the terminology right).

        2. DorothyT

          Just returned from my NYC retail neighborhood where many FIOS subscribers cannot conduct electronic transactions. I mention this because they were told by FIOS that it was caused by a fire 4 blocks away and they’re ‘working on it.’

          That must have been some fire if it took out FIOS in Washington DC, NY, VA, NJ, and areas of PA that might be voting Democratic in their primary today because of redistricting (ordered by the court). Want to bet that FIOS will be up and running soon after the PA counts are in?

    2. anon48

      We’ve been both FIOS and Comcast customers…our experience was FIOS was much more reliable.

      Our current carrier, Service Electric (yes, it’s a cable co) says it’s claim to fame is that they were the first cable company. They have an old black and white commercial they run that shows the original owner running a cable line from the back of a TV he had sitting in the front window of his store, out the back door and up the mountain behind the store to a TV antenna that he plopped at the top.

      Our current experience is that they must have us connected to the same line.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I’m not about to give the business to Verizon after getting rid of my copper landline. I agree Comcast is horrible, they are the service provider I’ve had to use in Maine. But Spectrum is the former Time Warner here and NYC users had service levels pretty comparable to Verizon. And I don’t need tons of speed, particularly since the limiting factor in site loading speed these days is rarely your connection once you are at decently peppy broadband speeds.

        1. Howard Beale IV

          Out here, Spectrum (fka Charter) for some strange reason loves to ignore IPv4 when something on the head end goes wonky -I’m forced to do a Raytheon Reboot (power-cycle) of my cable modem/wireless router combo in order to get it back.

          If it keeps happening I’m going to get a new separate cable modem. Gaah….

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Prosecutors Seek Complete Ban On Media Reporting Of Cardinal George Pell Trial”

    Well, that little news item didn’t turn up in Google News from what I saw today. Then again, they crapified it a coupla months ago so I shouldn’t be surprised. This story makes me wonder. Not long ago, after five years of reports and investigations, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse ( finished up its work and all sorts of “rock spiders” were uncovered.
    Also uncovered were their enablers such as the Catholic Church who would move these priests from parish to parish after each new set of inevitable scandals arose. In addition, it came out that the Police forces in those States were also helping cover up these scandals as there are a lot of Catholic officers who sought to protect “mother church”. I am wondering if we are seeing more of the same with the Victorian Department of Public Prosecutions here.
    Personally I am not a fan of the ‘super injunctions’ mentioned here. Apart from the fact that this amounts to secret courts, justice has not just got to be served but it has to be seen to be served. Otherwise you have to admit that some defendants are more equal to other defendants in the sight of the law.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Keef gets it:

    Guitarist Keith Richards was once so angry at Donald Trump that he pulled out a knife ― when the future president wasn’t in the room ― and stabbed a table.

    The rock icon told the BBC that back in 1989, Trump was the promoter of the Rolling Stones’ “Steel Wheels” tour dates in Atlantic City. When the band arrived, however, they found Trump’s name in huge letters and the band’s name in much smaller type.

    “I got out my trusty blade, stuck it in the table and said: ‘You have to get rid of this man!’” Richards told the BBC. “Now America has to get rid of him. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

    It won’t take long to forget you
    Time it passes fast
    Maybe all be over in a minute
    You’ll be in the past

    –Rolling Stones, It Won’t Take Long

    1. Sid Finster

      Sure, he’s a warmonger and a dolt, but those sins apparently pale into insignificance, compared with the shocking, almost unspeakable crime of actually trying to upstage The Rolling Stones!

      Now I know.

      Quelle horreur.

    2. ewmayer

      This is like that scene in Spinal Tap where the band’s fortunes sink so low as to get 2nd billing to a puppet show at a theme park. But I shall have nightmares about poor Keith’s bruised ego. /sarc

  18. Robert Hahl

    NYT: More than 2 dozen people killed by carbon monoxide after leaving on their keyless cars WSFB

    I sent the story to Albert Donnay, a well known carbon monoxide expert. Here is a letter that he sent to the authors:

    Hi Ms. De Puy Kamp,

    Congratulations to you and Mr. Jeans on the NYT’s front-page publication of your investigation into carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by vehicles with keyless fobs that lack automatic shut-offs.

    As a toxicologist specializing in CO, I welcome this report, but the 28 deaths you found associated with fobs since 2006–averaging just 2 per year–are only the tip of the iceberg. Unintentional CO poisoning from motor vehicles kills over 200 Americans per year, more than any other cause except fires, and sends thousands to hospitals with non-fatal headaches, nausea and dizziness.

    All these CO deaths and poisonings could be prevented easily but not with any of the time-based shutoffs Ford and GM have been installing in some of their models that allow engines to idle for 30 minutes or longer.

    Any gasoline vehicle left idling in a typical one or two-car garage with the door closed will take just 5 to 10 minutes to raise the CO level above the US government’s workplace evacuation limit of 100 parts per million. And if the catalytic converter is cold or not working, the CO level may quickly exceed the 1,200 ppm level deemed “immediately dangerous to life and health.”

    The obvious solution is for automakers to install a CO sensor that can automatically shut down the engine of a parked vehicle as soon as a dangerous level CO is detected.

    Underwriters’ Laboratories adopted such a requirement earlier this year for portable generators, but the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has rejected three petitions for such devices in cars, including one I filed in 2000, and a fourth is under review (filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    NHTSA’s public position has been that anyone concerned about CO in their vehicle can just drive with a home CO alarm, but these cannot shutoff the engine and do not warn of CO until the level has been over 70 ppm for 4 minutes to 4 hours.

    Over 2000 more people have died of vehicular CO poisoning since NHTSA rejected my petition in 2005, even though millions of cars with electronic climate control systems have a $5 CO sensor under the hood that could have saved their lives. Instead of being programmed to shut off a parked vehicle if high CO levels are detected, however, this “air quality module” is used only to automatically open and close fresh air vents in response to the level of CO detected outside.

    I am hoping you can do some follow up reporting to find out why automakers have not reprogrammed these sensors to also shutdown a parked vehicle if CO levels keep rising, and why NHTSA has not adopted a CO exposure limit for vehicle interiors.

  19. fresno dan

    I always enjoy looking at the various ways advisor perspectives slices and dices the data. I never bought the cockeyed optimism of the ninties, but I have a hard time believing middle class wages earners are doing better now than then (real weekly earnings). Supposedly the result takes into account hours, but even accounting for that….because of course, the big problem is that if your not getting ANY wages, your not seeing any improvement in the world.
    As well as paraphrasing what Mish says – you can afford all the flat screen TV’s you want, but maybe not all the health care you need to live…..

    1. John Wright

      The link maintains “The latest hypothetical real (inflation-adjusted) annual earnings are at $38,042, down 12.6% from 45-plus years ago.”

      This doesn’t even begin to capture the additional costs of college, medical care, housing or loss of retirement security such as defined benefit pensions.

      From my vantage point in California, I’d also put the USA declined infrastructure as another lifestyle cost borne by wage earners now versus 45 years ago.

      A decline of real wages but accompanied by lower cost housing, lower cost higher education, lower cost medical care and a first class infrastructure could have been a worthy trade off.

      But that didn’t happen.

  20. Ted

    Re: Life expectancy in the US and peer nations.

    If there was a better measure of how the USA has fallen out if “first world” status, I don’t know it. It is also too bad that the NYT report is so unimaginative that it only can loop back to health care costs and health care spending. Life expectancy is a very broad measure of overall population health, it points to general conditions in a society as much or even more that it does to to the health care industry and policy. It suggests that general conditions in the USA have been bad for 40 years. Hmmm … now what general political economic trend really got going after 1980?

    1. Tim

      Agreed. The term “Neoliberal epidemic”, is a quite literal statement of fact.

      When you’re vitality is being extracted from you in every conceived way by profiteers and rent seekers, it diminishes your ability to survive.

      That is what that chart shows.

      1. witters

        Life in Hobbes’ state of nature realized in the US – “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Quite an achievement.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Tesla’s top engineer takes break; Elon Musk begins reorganization”

    A quote from Petronius, a 1st century Roman writer: “We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization. During our reorganizations, several commanding officers were tried out on us, which added to the discontinuity.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        By golly you are right! I checked and found that this quote was misattributed to Petronius. The quote seems to have come out of a book by Charlton Ogburn about Merrill’s Marauders from WW2. I still wonder if the people at Tesla would recognize the sentiment here though.

    1. Craig H.

      Three envelopes-messages for your three confrontations from your irate bosses:

      Envelope one: Blame Your Predecessors;
      Envelope two: Reorganize;
      Envelope three: Prepare Three envelopes.

  22. Mark Gisleson

    A couple stories in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel today worth mentioning. Cathy Myers (Randy “Ironstache” Bryce’s Democratic primary opposition) apparently took IL tax credits while living across the border in Janesville. Analysis shows inner city Racine (blighted urban area) residents are unlikely to get any Foxconn jobs despite the plant being only six miles from Racine’s city limits.

    But the hot link is a front page story on how to get your $100 per kid free money from the state with a smiling picture of Scott Walker:

  23. Alex

    I’ve read a Washington post article where they ask random Gaza protestors what they intend to do once they cross the border (and the answers were rather predictable), so I tried to find similar interviews in more newspapers more sympathetic to their cause. Either I couldn’t find it or they don’t have them. Which is weird because talking with protestors is one of the first things the journos are supposed to do. Maybe they did and got answers like those in the washington post article which did not fit their narrative. But this is a speculation on my part and if someone can show me at least semi-reliable source asking this questions I would appreciate it a lot.

    1. bronco

      Is it safe to talk to protestors in Gaza? I can see snipers targeting reporters, they can’t write anything bad about you if they are dead.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Do you really need to ask after that whole 7-year-old who doesn’t speak English but recites it really well thing CNN pulled off to persuade us to invade Syria? Among other incidents?

      Was Hamas instrumental in getting protestors out? Probably. However, when did it become okay to kill old people and kids just because “they’re being used by X”? If you know that, and kill them anyway, that strikes me as even more morally reprehensible.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Using internationally banned explosive bullets on unarmed civilians seemed to have been their way of saying that we can do anything we want and nobody can stop us. Good thing that this will never, ever come back to haunt them.

        1. bronco

          I question the concept of explosive bullets being bad. Like you are somehow deader with those? As far as haunting them , that happened already during the holocaust . They are coming full circle and now commit the atrocities once visited upon them. They are not all the way there yet of course but give it time. When they do get to that point and are shooting lined up civilians into a pre-dug trench the bullets they will be using will be stamped made in USA

  24. PlutoniumKun

    Top 100 Economics Blogs of 2018 Intelligent Economist. NC is on the list again!

    Congratulations! Its good to see NC getting highlighted.

    To that list I’d add Michael Pettis’s blog, he doesn’t post often, but his views on China and trade are always very well argued and interesting. Michael Hudson too of course, although much of his writing is found elsewhere. Its not a purely economics blog, but Crooked Timber is always worth a look, especially John Quiggins contributions.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Congratulations too. NC deserves honourable mention. I was wondering what a list of great economic sites would look like on NC’s part when the penny dropped. You already have it – on the section marked “Blogroll” to the side.

  25. Jean

    “What to do if you find yourself choking—and no one’s around”

    You’ll die if you try and read this article before they *finally* get to the worthwhile instructions.
    Have these people ever heard of an editor?
    Or, is this article just a carrier deck designed to launch ads?

    1. Carey

      Yes, I noticed that, too. No real content until the *sixth* paragraph. Very noticeable, and I wondered at the time if it was just me.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Australia Bans Cash For All Purchases Over $10,000 Starting July Of 2019 Gizmodo (Kevin W)

    When you buy a house all cash, you often pay with a check or wire transfer, but you don’t take out a loan.

    This banning cash for all purchases over $10,000 is about hauling pennies in a wheelbarrow, I assume, to buy, say a used self-driving electric car, and not about requiring everyone to take out a loan for old clunkers.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mexico’s education reforms flounder as more spent on PR than teachers Guardian (JTM)

    Don’t forget the children.

    It’s not just PR vr. teachers.

    And it’s possible you spend more on teachers while less on students. Let’s not just compare PR vs. teachers.

    From the article:

    López Obrador has promised to increase public education spending, provide more stipends to students and introduce school lunch programs. He also said any future education policy would be made with input from teachers.

    The headline writer could have done a better job here.

  28. Andrew Watts

    RE: Encrypted Email Has a Major, Divisive Flaw

    …but don’t worry you’ll be safe from the NSA! /sarc

    I gotta laugh over this considering how many people that don’t know the first thing about cryptography or hacking were promoting the idea that their preferred encryption app is secure. The answer to which commercial encryption schemes are trustworthy is still absolutely none of them.

    1. Mark Alexander

      If I understand the article correctly, the problem with PGP is that modern fancy email clients will act like GUI browsers and load all sorts of additional crap for things linked to in the emails, like style sheets and images and so forth. So this problem is partly the result of the widespread use of HTML in email. I’ve always thought this was a horror, but then, I started using email back in the pre-web mid ’80s, when text email clients were all you had.

      I still use a text-only email client to this day, and this client can be configured to display HTML emails in a reasonable manner (by spawning the w3m text-mode browser), but it never loads anything else, so is not subject to the vulnerability. The very nice mutt email client can also be configured in a similar way.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Cod and ‘Immune Broth:’

    The group is now participating in an ambitious, state-funded study to test whether providing daily nutritious meals to chronically ill, low-income people on Medi-Cal — California’s version of the Medicaid program — will affect their prognosis and treatment, or the cost of their medical care.

    Hopefully, it will be expanded to cover low-income people, chronically ill or not.

    And when we think big or imagine a better world, we ask, why not cover everyone in that program, instead of (i.e. prioritizing over) free college, or at least equally, i.e at the same time?

  30. JTMcPhee

    Re the Fitzgerald post, here’s a story from the more grunt-friendly Stars & Stripes:

    Seems the Brass and the MIC scum are circling the wagons to lay blame on some lower ranked mopes, for a “superior naval platform” with all the sexiest hardware the Brass could ladle onto it, colliding with a 29,000-ton commercial vessel. I’m sure the Enemy Militaries are taking careful note of the info on readiness and morale of the Imperial Fleets, as those fleets go about, Project Power ™ around the globe. (And don’t forget that the lower and mid-grade officers who sit in the launch control bunkers of the “land based leg of the strategic triad” have been caugh cheating on their proficiency tests. What’s a passing grade in the exams, the ones about how to fire off those Minuteman ICBMs with their mortal payloads?

    More stupid human tricks, eh?

  31. anonymous II you

    I would strongly urge that the NC commentariat read the original judicial statement which is the background behind today’s important link Facebook Faulted by Judge for ‘Troubling Theme’ in Privacy Case

    US District Judge James Donato’s language is unusually heated; he gives a very strong condemnation of Facebook’s previous attempt to wiggle out of the need for a jury trial. Now Facebook lawyers are getting sassy again-just like their waywardly entrenched leader who so far has refused to offer anything other than promises on course changes at Facebook.

    The court found that Facebook most likely violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) which required that Facebook take specific actions before scanning facial photos:

    First, in direct contravention of §15(b) of the BIPA, Facebook never informed its members that it would collect, store and use their biometric facial information. Rather, on or about June 7, 2011, Facebook simply announced that it was collecting such biometric information after it had already begun doing so.
    Second, in direct contravention of §15(b) of the BIPA, Facebook never informed its users of the specific purpose and length of term for which their biometric information would be collected, stored and used.
    Third, in direct contravention of §15(b) of the BIPA, Facebook never received a written release from its members before it began to collect, store and use their biometric information. Indeed, Facebook members are not even given an opportunity to provide a written release because Facebook enables Tag Suggestions on its users’ accounts by default. By contrast, some of Facebook’s other features, like its “Nearby Friends” feature, which utilizes geolocation to identify a user’s friends who may be nearby, provides users with several screens of information regarding the feature before asking the member to opt in.

    In this latest turn of the screw, Facebook is trying to influence jury deliberations; consequences of a jury trial could be ruinous, two counts @ either $1,000 (for mere negligence) or $5,000 ( for each intentional or reckless violation). Found guilty on both counts for reckless violation at maximum adds up to several $billions. 42% of the US population has a current Facebook account, Illinois has 12.9 million residents.

    The original case is very instructive
    Class Action Complaint For Violations Of The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

  32. Andrew Watts

    RE: A former Googler leading the charge against AI weapons says her time at Google taught her that even ‘nice’ people can make bad moral decisions

    These former or current Google employees are simply wasting energy by pretending that they aren’t working as military contractors. But, really, we have to suffer through their half-baked philosophy lessons too? If you have to crusade against or scapegoat something like the weaponizing of AI you’re letting the people who play a pivotal role in the military death ray industry off the hook.

    “Google is full of super nice, very intelligent people, many of whom generally want the best for the world,”

    I find this distinction to be unhelpful and irrelevant.

    1. c_heale

      The expression the banality of evil comes to mind when I read phrases like super nice in the context of the article.

  33. Wukchumni

    RIP Tom Wolfe

    He wrote as if a ladyfinger firecracker went off each time he typed a sentence, a wordsmith.

  34. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Banality of Greed…nice people.

    A former Googler leading the charge against AI weapons says her time at Google taught her that even ‘nice’ people can make bad moral decisions Business Insider (David L). We clearly don’t have the same definition of nice. Or put it another way (and thanks to the state of web search I can’t find the title), a book a few years back on the personal lives of the staff at Buchenwald (or was it Dachau?) found they were “nice” people too.


    Not radical greed.

  35. Cat Burglar

    “Exercise is good for you — unless it is part of you job.”

    You want to answer this with, “Well, duh” — especially if you do physical work for a living, and even more if you have a physical job and do something athletic for fun in your time off.

    For sure class and education have the main impact on mortality (see the post on mortality in developed nations today). But the article suggests the study does not do enough granular analysis to really get at the health impacts of physical work.

    Digging postholes in rocky soil, or moving rocks, or doing ag fieldwork day in and day out might make a 22-year old stronger, but it will destroy anyone over thirty if done without a letup. Based on my experience building range fences at work last winter while trying to train for nordic skiing while being north of 60, a large number of older manual workers would likely be in a perpetually worsening overtrained state if they embarked on an exercise program. Their health not only could collapse, it would collapse. More research and public education about exercise physiology is going to be needed on that topic.

    Progressive exercise programs bring a benefit because they have one thing that a 40-hour work week does not: sufficient rest for recovery to occur. One of the standard memes in bodybuilding is that you do not get stronger from lifting — you get stronger from resting afterward. After around age 40, you’re unlikely to have enough recovery time at the proper intervals for you to experience a benefit from continuous heavy physical labor at work. Unless, of course, you can control how and when you do it…so we’re right back at the politics of work.

    Which brings me to my own annoyance (like Yves’ about happiness conceived as euphoria) — the constant use in political speeches of the virtue of hard work. Not productive work, not effective work, not continuous work, just hard work. Is just getting the job done right, and on time, not good enough? I still laugh when I see a road repair crew out, and many aren’t working — but I know what they’re doing: pacing themselves for a full day’s work, and so they can return the next day. Like Bill Pearl, the former Mr. Universe, says in his bodybuilding books — “Don’t forget the rest day. It’s important.” Glorifying hard work would be kind of what you would expect from someone who wants to work you like you were fresh and young, wear you out, and then throw you away.

  36. kareninca

    Baby formula is sold from locked display cases in the Walmart in Redwood City, CA. So it’s not just Australia.

  37. witters

    In Xi’an recently, and the Shaanxi Normal University supermarket sold coffee – from a locked display case…

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