Links 5/24/18

Team cracks code to cheap, small carbon nanotubes (CL).

Legend of Loch Ness Monster will be tested with DNA samples AP

Rice, staple food of billions, could become less nutritious because of climate change South China Morning Post

US Hurricane Clustering: A New Reality? Bank Underground

M&A frenzy stokes fear of market nearing top of cycle FT

OCC gives banks green light to compete with payday lenders The American Banker

Fannie-Freddie Overhaul Plan Is Dead for Now, Senators Say Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank plans thousands of investment banking job cuts FT

Is US Manufacturing Fundamentally Strong? Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis

How Africa’s Elites Hide Billions Offshore International Consortium of Investigative Journalists


Iran’s Khamenei Likens U.S. to Cat in ‘Tom and Jerry’ Bloomberg

Netanyahu Needs Conflict to Survive Foreign Policy

Propaganda 101: How To Defend A Massacre Current Affairs (CL). Worth noting that United States elites identify with Israel far more than any similarities between the two could possibly warrant, so it’s not unreasonable to imagine these techniques being repurposed, cynically or delusionally, for domestic consumption.

Drumpf’s Complicity In Israel’s Brutal Attacks On Palestinians Is Yet Another Example Of The GOP Taking Credit For Obama’s Hard Work ResistanceHole


Why China’s Payment Apps Give U.S. Bankers Nightmares Bloomberg

China’s foreign minister decries disinvitation from US military exercise South China Morning Post

Mekong River nations face the hidden costs of China’s dams Nikkei Asian Review


How Britain’s departure from the EU stretches to mid-2020s FT

UK ups ante in Brexit satellite clash with Brussels Politico

After Windrush, will the rights of the Irish in Brexit Britain really be safe? The New Statesman (KW). “The government doesn’t seem to realise that new legislation will be needed.” No doubt.

Jeremy Corbyn: The next Labour government will abolish the House of Lords Politics

New Cold War

Flight MH17 shot down by Russian military-sourced missile, investigators conclude Independent

* * *

Framing the Trump Campaign as Lackeys of Russia by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis. One narrative of many from the Hall of Mirrors, but Colonel Lang is neither a fool nor a patsy….

The Real Origination Story of the Trump-Russia Investigation Andrew McCarthy, National Review. And another…

A Thinking Person’s Guide to the Stefan Halper Conspiracy Theory emptywheel. And another….

Bowing to pressure, White House to host bipartisan briefing on Russia investigation The Hill

Jared Kushner Gets Security Clearance, Ending Swirl of Questions Over Delay NYT. “Mark S. Zaid, a veteran Washington lawyer who handles security clearances, said it was highly unlikely that the special counsel would uncover evidence of improper foreign entanglements and not flag it for security officials.”

* * *

Exclusive: Yulia Skripal – Attempted assassination turned my world upside down Reuters. Worth reading carefully. Skripal: “I also think fondly of those who helped us on the street on the day of the attack.” Who were not, IIRC, wearing moon suits?

Yulia Skripal and the Salisbury WUT Craig Murray

CIA chief hints agency is working to change Venezuelan government Independent. No way!

The Moon is still strategic The Interpreter

Trump Transition

Pentagon Is Speeding Up Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia, Other Allies Defense One

Judge Rules Trump Twitter Feed A Public Forum, President Can Mute, But Not Block, Users Above the Law

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Conversations We Need to Have Slate. “Conversation.” We seem to be having a centrist eruption.

Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists (charts) NYT (FluffytheObeseCat).

The Left and Right Share a Common Enemy: Capitalists Who Corrupt Capitalism Evonnomics

America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy New York Magazine (UserFriendly).

Old Populism and the New Ideas of Michał Kalecki American Affairs

Some Preliminary Questions For MMT Steve Keen, Econintersect

Democrats in Disarray

Reuters poll shows Republicans leading generic ballot for first time The Hill (original)

#Resistance leaders warn: Patience is thin with Dems who help Trump McClatchy. A little late for that…

Which Democrats Work For Wall Street? Just Look At The Voting Records Down with Tyranny

Health Care

Democrats join Koch group to revamp veterans programs McClatchy (the VA Mission Act). Sanders to vote no. Even the Washington Monthly gets it: “The objective of the VA Mission Act is clear: further privatization of key services inside the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.”

New policy requires on-field players, personnel to stand for anthem ESPN

Class Warfare

Is Capital or Labor Winning at Your Favorite Company? Introducing the Marx Ratio The Upshot (UserFriendly). Clever (?) branding, but I’m dubious. Capital isn’t winning massively at Amazon? Really?

A lab director sets out fixes for the scientific ecosystem Nature

After Evergreen The Stranger

Anarchism: The Jesus Way Hello Gregory (UserFriendly). UserFriendly: “​Written by that fired Palo Alto preacher.​ He’s a smart cookie, for a preacher.”

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Jim Haygood

    New frontiers in flake-o-nomics:

    The U.S. Department of Commerce started an investigation into automobile imports to determine whether they “threaten to impair the national security” of the United States, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday night local time.

    The new U.S. probe will be carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. That section of the law authorizes the secretary of Commerce to determine “the effects of imports of any article on the national security of the United States.”

    Minutes before the announcement, the White House released a statement saying that President Donald Trump asked Ross for the probe. “Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation,” the White House statement said.

    Commerce Secretary Ross sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to inform him of the investigation.

    This is the kind of feckless posturing that passes for policy in a dying empire. The absurd diversionary tactic of labeling imported tires, axles and alternators as a national security issue requires notifying the Secretary of Defense of the dire threat.

    Herbert Hoover Trump ain’t gonna win re-election by painting America as a helpless giant laid low by weaponized car parts, even as its cost-plus, no-bid defense [sic] industry systematically destroys value. Flake-o-nomics don’t pay.

    1. cnchal

      It is an odd world we live in. The military drops so many bombs they are running out of them, and in danger of not being able to make moar, or enough to satisfy demand.

      Kind of like having all the guns in the world but no bullets. Perhaps the F35 can be retrofitted with a bayonet mounted on the nose for $100 billion.

      1. Wukchumni

        In lieu of dropping bombs, has the pentagon considered boulders?

        They’re cheap, tend to put the hurt on whatever they hit, just slap some fins & guidance control on em’, and you’re good to go.

        1. ambrit

          That’s why the Air Force Space Command is slavering to get the “High Frontier” under their control. Cut out the middlebeing. Drop little asteroids on defenseless terran surface installations from orbit. The energy delivered can be “Catastrophic.” Almost, dare we say it, “Extinctual.”

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        Yeah, well, about that 100 billion. The only way to get the F35bay deployed in any reasonable time frame is if we’re allowed to design, manufacture, assemble, test, and deploy in parallel. Otherwise, it will probably cost more (although we haven’t quite figured out just how much more, hence we’ll need a cost-plus arrangement just in case).

      3. The Rev Kev

        They are already installing a bayonet to go on the front of the F-35. Unfortunately, the software to use it will not be ready until 2025.

      4. Procopius

        And yet I saw (but did not click on) a link somewhere saying that the Pentagon is speeding up the sales of arms to foreign nations. The dissonance, it burns.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Even soybeans are strategic.

      ‘Must grow more.’

      They plan ahead, years and decades ahead, taking one step at a time. Perhaps a tiny step like trading soy beans not in dollars.

  2. pretzelattack

    more from the moon

    The British government accusations against Russia have no sound basis. Its chemical weapon laboratory in Porton Down, a few miles from Salisbury, surely has made Novichok agents. These are simple compounds anyone with knowledge of organic chemistry and access to a decent laboratory can create. Dave Collum is professor for organic chemistry at Cornell University. He had criticized the British claim that only Russia could have produced the agent that allegedly hurt the Skripals. He put his thesis to a test. Only one of his 15 students did not manage the task

    1. sd

      I keep wondering if the Skripal’s actually had picked up some form of botulism or ciguatera as they had been out to eat at a restaurant.

      1. pretzelattack

        that is one speculation i’ve seen, at moa. the isolation the skripals are kept in is very odd.

    2. JCC

      I’ve been a fan of David Columm for a long time. He is a very interesting and relatively rational human being. His Year In Review column/essay published every year at PeakProsperity is always a pleasure to read, very similar to Grant William’s Things That Make You Go Hmmm… except covering much broader categories.

      I’m sure this little experiment will show up in his 2018 Year In Review with some good detail. Can’t wait to read it along with his pithy commentary that goes along with it.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Here’s what I’ve never understood about traditional Chinese ‘medicine’. The Chinese seem to pirate and sell cheap knock offs of just about everything, so why is it that they must use authentic animal parts? If they sold talc as powdered rhino horn, how many people would really know the difference?

    1. derechos

      Last night PBS had an hour-long Nature program on pangolins. They are the most trafficked animal in the world. Unfortunately, they are slaughtered for their scales (used in Chinese medicine despite the fact that they are comprised of only keratin, the same protein that makes up fingernails) and flesh. They are nearing extinction in many areas.

      1. pretzelattack

        a variant on the rape of the earth by capitalism, in this case driven by chinese medicine.

      2. crittermom

        Today’s antidote is a great photo.

        Whenever I hear of yet another species facing extinction, I’m horrified.
        How completely stupid the human race can be, never thinking nor caring about the future, or consequences.

      3. JCC

        The full episode is very good. I had never even heard of these animals before today. Man’s Inhumanity to Earth… actually Man’s “Humanity” to Earth.

        At least some in Africa, China and Viet Nam are trying to do something to stop it. Hopefully it’s not too late.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Occupied Australia:

    The U.S. and Australia have begun a multibillion-dollar improvement of air bases in northern Australia, part of a $150 billion upgrade of Australia’s military. Over the coming months, US Marines will embed for the first time on Australian amphibious assault ships.

    “This place is of huge importance to the United States,” said the Marines’ Darwin commander, Col. Jay Schnelle. “The Australian-America relationship underpins peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.”

    China is by far Australia’s largest trading partner. Darwin today is home to large numbers of ethnic Chinese, Thai and Indonesian migrant families. The city’s affinity with Asia, said Mayor Kon Vatskalis, helps to explain why a 2015 deal handing China’s Landbridge Group a 99-year lease over the city’s port attracted scant attention locally.

    When Washington later voiced concern that the $368 million agreement could facilitate spying on Marines, Australia rushed to tighten rules around foreign investment in critical infrastructure.

    The U.S. presence here has been steadily expanding since the Marines arrived in 2012 as part of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. This year’s rotation of almost 1,600 Marines will grow to 2,500 in the next few years. The U.S. and Australia have ruled out permanent U.S. bases on Australian soil, wary of domestic sensitivity to foreign bases.

    Australia getting too friendly with Asians? The world’s self-designated policeman can’t tolerate that. So “we” have to militarize the place with some yankee occupation troops, garrisoned out of sight and out of mind from cosmopolitan Sydney and Melbourne where well-to-do feathers might be ruffled.

    Thanks, Obama!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As the Mekong River nations would say, so close to our hegemon, so far from Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of compassion.

      And 99 year leases are commonplace these days.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I’ll have you know that we are not Occupied Australia!. It is more a case of our political leaders, on both sides, are selling Australia out as hard as possible to the US and it is having an effect on them. Just tonight I heard a politician call another politician a ‘patriot’. To Australians, this has a really weird, creepy sound to it and you hardly hear much of this word. In fact, if you called another person that, you would probably get some strange looks from anybody within earshot.
      Looking at map of our region, I seriously doubt that those bases are really about China. I think that it is more of a matter over over-watching countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. Being so close, it would be easier to send quiet missions and patrols to these countries. Australia may have to accept US air bases here as our own Air Force is going to be seriously handicapped for the next coupla decades. Why do you ask? Because they are going to be equipped with F-35s whereas our neighbours are starting to buy Russian fighters – and they actually work!

      1. JTMcPhee

        Rev Kev: You gotta look at the BIGGER map — the one showing all the Imperial “deployments.” , and I am sure there are even better maps, like that Strava “heat map” excoriated for “revealing” those covert sneaky unacknowledged “bases” and “lily pads” where Really Tough Special Forces guys and gals go fitbitting around the perimeters…

        Those bases in Oz are just part of the “natural development” of what used to be called “encirclement” and is now better thought of as “englobement,” or “full spectrum dominance.” If one could work out a map, a “geovisualilzation,” of the ability of the Empire (on paper at least) to “reach out and touch” those items on the Grand Game’s target list, from all those “installations” and “bases” and “lily pads,”, a set of circles that describe the tactical and strategic ranges of all those expensive weapons systems (which so often fall far short of the MIC corporate hype), and the various layers of “power projection” through corruption/finance and “regime change” and “trade domination” and so forth, one might get a better picture of what the, what shall we call it, hive mind of the Empire is contemplating. The thought processes (sic) and institutional and careerist and profit-taking drivers are all in place. And like the Evil Aliens in that silly movie, “Independence Day,” it looks a little like there’s an “embedded clock signal” in the Global Networkcentric Interoperable Battlespace system, counting down willy-nilly to that moment when all the Giant Black Interstellar Extraction Ships are in place and ready to open fire…

        Not, of course, that there is any certainty that the Grand Plan of Owning and Extracting Everything Just For The Titillation and Benefit Of The Very Few, [yaas, no doubt just a bunch of tin foil hattery, mmmhmmm) might actually eventuate… There may be a Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to interracially and intersectionally figure out how to inject the fatal malware viruses into the Alien Internet…

        I do like the lede in this article about the “lily pad” activities:

        The US Military Expansion in Africa, One “Lily Pad” at a Time

        Using the “lily pad” strategy of “temporary” troop deployments, the US now has an “imperial-scale” military presence in Africa. With troops in more than 15 countries the US expansion has become self-justifying. The US must now stay in Africa to protect the interests of the US military there.

        “We invaded your sovereign nation, killed some folks, you dared to shoot back and actually killed some of our Sacred Troops! Now we have perforce to ramp up, lock and load, and put you Wogs in your place!” Same justification for so much of the Imperial englobement. What a wonderful load of self-licking coconut ice cream cones…

        1. JCC

          Lilypads… When I was in the Army we used to call ourselves human trip wires when we were assigned to places like Panmunjom, otherwise known as “The Truce Village”, or Tegucigalpa.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “China is by far Australia’s biggest trading partner.”

      It’s not necessarily a good thing – it’s like saying America is Mexico’s biggest trading partner…so far from God.

  4. JohnA

    The latest MH17 nonsense report would appear to be a final attempt to sabotage the Russian World Cup finals due to start in a couple of weeks. The MSM are already reporting letters from victims’ families bemoaning the fact.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I love how the main faker said in the article declaring the debate was finished “we still have alot of work to do”.
        Talk about telegraphing. Um, by “work”, did he mean “work to actually prove what we’re asserting?”

      1. Arizona Slim

        Not to worry. The US men aren’t that good at soccer. They’ll be gone long before the finals.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think they got lucky, which had happened from time to time, like the USSR basketball team in 1972.

              1. Arizona Slim

                Or, more recently, my beloved Michigan Wolverines.

                The men’s basketball team had a great run through this year’s NCAA tournament. I didn’t expect to see them playing for the championship. Which proved that Villanova deserved to win the title. They are that good.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  For what it’s worth, Russia may be hosting the Cup but even they will admit that they don’t have a great soccer team. They may exit soon too.

        1. Darthbobber

          Already are gone. Hence the change in managers. The only reason we get there usually is because we qualify out of concacaf, one of the weaker regions. Failing to qualify should have been a near-impossibility.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          They’re already gone before the first round even starts. They got booted in the qualifiers by that powerhouse of Trinidad & Tobago.

  5. notabanker

    “What happened in China was not an even playing field,” Al Kelly, Visa’s chief executive officer, said at an investor conference in March. “What I hope happens around the rest of the world as they migrate is that at least it’s an even playing field.”

    Says the head of the largest western payments oligopoly.

    How completely unsurprising that the Chinese have figured out the only real “disruption” to payments processing; bypassing the bank and interchange legacy systems / processes to get as close to peer to peer as possible. The irony here is that the Chinese will happily retrofit their systems to adapt to the western processes to play the long game of taking consumers.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “China’s foreign minister decries disinvitation from US military exercise”

    So I guess that someone in Washington decided that it was better having China on the outside of the tent p*ssing in.

  7. Steve H.

    The Kalecki and Keen articles are rolling through my head like a taiji ball vortexing down a hill. I’ll need to reread a time or two, but what popped from the depths of intuition when I looked for a conclusion came From Mexico:

    It’s MMT for me,
    and austerity for thee

    1. Paul O

      Warren Moslers’s free book

      is a surprisingly enjoyable read (or I may just be sad) and covers the trade deficit stuff.

      I read ‘Econned’, Keen’s ‘Debunking Econ’, Wray’s ‘Understanding Modern Money’ and the above over a period of just a few weeks. I am still on the recovery path – it has been close to 8 years now.

      Looks like a good debate though (the Keen piece). Pleased to see them in dialogue. Sometimes I too wish Bill Mitchel might be a little less caustic – though it is often deserved.

      1. Susan the other

        The interview was unintelligible. Too bad. Keen seemed to be banging his head against a wall of fungibility. I shut it off but sounded like Mosler was the most logical. And I thought the BIS handled those global settlements – which implies that surplus countries eventually pay domestically by having a stronger currency and must rebalance domestically with more spending to stimulate the economy again… and all MMT is advocating is to simply spend that money into the economy as sovereign, debt-free money. I assume that Keen’s MCT is Modern Capitalist Theory. Which is hopeful given his description that his new model incorporates both money and energy into an ecology of capitalism. This must be where he travelled from analyzing debt in capitalist economies – that debt is energy transmogrified into money, or something. I’m confused. Nevermind.

  8. allan

    Subprime on the government’s dime:

    Getting Rich on Government-Backed Mortgages

    … Each time Christian sells a home loan, the company he works for, American Financial Network Inc., takes as much as 5 percent—$12,500 on a $250,000 loan, to be distributed among his staff, corporate headquarters, and, of course, himself. As he and his team chase more than 250 leads a week, they’re on pace to close 50 a month. …

    He calls back a customer who’s spent hours watching his sales videos: “Bad Credit, I Can Help,” “Fresh Start: Credit Boost,” and “Go For Your Dreams.” This would-be homeowner has a 596 credit score, putting him in the subprime range. His car has been repossessed, something that would likely disqualify him at the Bank of America branch next door.

    “Usually a repo that’s like three years old, we’re not really going to sweat that,” he assures the caller. “We’re pretty lenient here.” He steers his prospect to several $400,000 homes with swimming pools. “Have your wife check that out,” he says, referring to a remodeled kitchen with granite countertops. “She’s going to love it.” …

    Christian can do this kind of deal because he is, in effect, making the loan on behalf of the federal government through its most important affordable housing program. It’s a sweet deal: He gets his nearly risk-free commission. Taylor puts no money down. If things go south, the government ultimately bears the risk. …

    Time to start pre-production on 99 Homes, Part Two – The Trumpening.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “About 9 percent of FHA loans are 30 days or more past due, below the high of 14 percent in 2009. But on average, borrowers are spending 43 percent of their income on debt payments, the highest level in at least two decades,” says the article.

      Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports today that with Senators Corker and Warner having given up on a proposed bill, “the two quasi-governmental companies at the center of the U.S. mortgage market [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] will have spent more than a decade under federal control without an end in sight.”

      Like the National Helium Reserve which fuels our strategic fleet of military dirigibles, Fannie and Freddie may soldier on for a century as wards of a Congress that couldn’t manage a lemonade stand, much less the dynamic hedging of a mortgage portfolio with constantly shifting maturity and convexity.

      The take-home lesson is that the next housing crack-up is being engineered right in front of our eyes, as the final lot of unqualified victims buyers is saddled with homes they can’t afford. Time for Time to drop the other shoe:

      1. Wukchumni

        I sold my Fannie Mae stock for around $59 a share in 2007, and presently it’s worth a princely $1.52, and that’s after the housing bubble not only came back, but surpassed previous highs in the aughts.

        So riddle me this batman, why is Mae worth about 97% less now?

          1. Wukchumni

            The hangover hadn’t happened yet and the party was still raging, and it wasn’t common knowledge about all the NINJA & Liar Loans that had propped up the housing bubble, many of which were underwritten by Fannie & Freddie.

            1. ambrit

              Yeah, and I’ll just mention that some centrist radicals hereabouts scowl mightily at me when I denigrate the “Confidence Fairy.” It seems I’ve crossed some ‘inclusionary’ line.
              Your use of ‘hangover’ suggests that the ‘players’ in those markets back then were inebriated in some sense, or lack thereof. Otherwise, I’d just hate to think that there were cynics running the casino back in ’07.

    2. bronco

      Somebody had 8 years to try to the housing market , why not call it the Obamaning?

  9. Wukchumni

    OCC gives banks green light to compete with payday lenders The American Banker
    Some years ago we were walking down the main drag in Hurricane, Utah (pronounced ‘hurry-kin’ by the locals) and there was a payday lender with a clipping from a SLC newspaper on the front window that had them @ the lowest rates in the state @ 312% apr, versus 946% being the highest.

    They were proud of being the least usurious shylock in the beehive, ha!

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Flight MH17 shot down by Russian military-sourced missile, investigators conclude”

    In other news, investigations found that it was the Spanish that sunk the USS Maine in Havana Harbour and the Vietnamese did in fact attack US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

    1. Wukchumni

      I almost perished aboard KAL 007, nearly 35 years ago.

      I was on a KAL flight from LA to Anchorage to Seoul the next day, as luck would have it.

      The only thing that happened was that i’ve never seen so many help yourself to a snappy cocktail beverage carts in the aisles of an airplane before or since. Everybody was acutely aware of what went down, and KAL must’ve decided on drinks, to calm our nerves.

      Nothing untoward occurred obviously, as i’m here to tell the tale.

      1. a different chris

        I had to fly US Airways out of Pgh the day after 427. Was so sad in the airport. Understandably, the employees really couldn’t even make eye contact.

      2. JCC

        I remember that flight well. I was stationed on the border at that time and had a few friends with relatives on that flight including my Korean Language teacher’s brother-in-law as well as a Korean pilot friend who was on that run the previous year. He was a wreck for awhile after that. She wasn’t in good shape either.

        It was pretty devastating at the time. The entire country was on lock-down for three or four days. Seoul at the time was the 7th largest city in the world and I had never seen a city that large in complete darkness at night. I mean complete, no lights on anywhere, no auto traffic, no street lights, nothing. Very eerie.

        Our rifles were our only bed partners for a week.

        The South has a much more obvious and important reason for reunification than most here can even imagine.

    2. LifelongLib

      What’s so implausible about some Russia-backed militants making a mistake? Still not a reason for the U.S. to back Ukraine…

      1. Katsue

        One of the reasons there’s a debate is that the same make of missile was in use by Ukraine’s military. However, my take has always been that much of the blame lies with those who directed a civilian plane to fly over a warzone with an active air-bombing campaign.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          And maybe that is why the Ukrainians have made the recordings of the air traffic controllers over their airspace on that day unavailable. Less awkward this way in case they were deliberately ignoring the internationally circulated cautions about commercial overflights in that area in order to specifically direct commercial air flights across the area of potential peril. Gotta get the fish in the barrel first, and then…

  11. Wukchumni

    Now that the Supremes have shot down labor, the concept of Labor Day seems outdated.

    We need a snappy new moniker for the end of summer…

    Any proposals?

    1. FriarTuck

      Here’s a few suggestions:

      Proletariat day
      Plebian day
      Serf’s day
      Pay day (the one day a year where you get paid the equivalent value that you bring the company)
      Everyday American’s day
      Nonunion day

        1. Expat

          I’m confused. Will we be kneeling to our new overlords or not? I hear you can get fired for that. Maybe we will have to bow like the Nipponese.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Not just bowing or deep bowing, but prostrating.

            A big sticking point for the first British diplomatic mission (McCartney Embassy) to China was about the nine prostrations before the emperor.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Wait, wait – why not just call it “Capitalism Day”?!

        And have all the brilliant entrepreneurs take a well-deserved day off.

    2. Quentin

      ‘Elites Day’. Be proclaimed that on this hallowed day all onderlings will happily serve their overlords with even greater displays of devotion and exertion to further ‘The Cause’.

      1. Wukchumni

        Or how about ‘Labor Day’ with those mothers delivering on the appointed date, getting an unlimited supply of free diapers?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Very Zen.

        Thus the saying in Chado, “Everyday is a good day.”

        No one (day) is more special than others.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Anthropomorphically speaking, the little tomatoes in the garden know they will soon be eaten alive by some yoga practicing vegetarian, (not an easy, peaceful way to go for sure), but they hold on strong.

        That ought to inspire us.

    3. The Rev Kev

      How about bring back Saturnalia ( from Romans days again though that was held around December. The Romans turned into party animals and you would have things like masters serving slaves, gambling everywhere and rampant overeating and drunkenness became the rule. It would be great!

  12. Mel

    Re the Keen article, Keen may be confounding prescription and description. I don’t recall Mitchell recommending trade deficits as a policy goal. Mitchell may be taking it for granted that to run a trade deficit you have to have a counterparty, and counterparties have ideas of their own. If trade deficit policy has only worked for the U.S. (as seems likely), it has worked brilliantly. How many millions of iPhones has the U.S. obtained, in exchange for only a number, typed up in a Federal Reserve, or maybe a Bank for International Settlements, computer? It’s only lately that the wheels have started to loosen, and we get questions like how many soy beans you have to have to swap for an iPhone.
    The emphasis I’ve seen in MMT is on development and growth issues. We’ve seen third-world countries starve their populace in order to grow cash crops for export. Mitchell just finished a series on Timor-Lese, now facing policy choices that may lead down that road, or others.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Keen is better off connecting trade deficits explicitly to the global reserve currency status.

      And being its sole issuer means you have no need to peg your money to another monetary sovereign’s.

      These two statements are simply descriptions of what is. There is no recommending nor any need of it.

    2. diptherio

      I have a hard time finding fault with Keen’s argument. It’s the same reason why the IMF and World Banks insistence that every country try to run a trade surplus is bonkers.

      And no, for the record, our trade deficit has not worked out that well for the US. We may have lots of iPhones, but we’ve also lost a lot of jobs. Most of us would rather have the jobs, thank you very much.

      1. skippy

        I think the key bit is MMT replacing NAIRU with a JG where taxation is used for upper or lower bound deflation – inflation vs natural [tm] anything. Ideological friction unfortunately is a mill stone here.

        CAD is a hot button topic I find for those with more sound or hard money leanings [Keen did say “debt-free”], can’t even get past the Reserve Currency dynamic with some or any of the histrionics around it, not to mention the propensity for surpluses baking in the next recession – Rubinomics post wages and productivity diverging [demand] and government savings. Yet distribution [PK] is only via political pork starving broad investments thingy and then when the market does one of its “animal spirit” fueled party’s in lieu of…..

        Still, when I quire on what is a reasonable time frame for CAD dynamics to work itself out I never get a reasonable response.

        I guess I’ll still agree with PK on EMH where the the market is dynamic and rarely if ever in equilibrium; markets might be above or below equilibrium level at any given time.

        Yet none of this money business [crankery] sorts out a cornucopia of other economic laws and theories which are baked into the misleadership class and unwashed collective thoughts.

        In other thoughts why do people spend a packet on an RE referb and to save a few bucks decide not to repaint areas or walls – press panel ceilings ad hoc in the planing stage… only to cave at the last moment. It costs more in the end and really messes with the dead line.

        Ummm… homo economicus – ????? – aesthetic force majeure – ????

      2. Oregoncharles

        Which is more important to most people: their job, or the price of cheap plastic widgets?

        1. skippy

          I think its a bit more complicated.

          Without getting into CT its been argued with data that CBs were fighting a non existent inflation bogeyman due to previous monetarist leanings which then went neo – new Keynesian or quasi monetarist. In addition the increasing dominance that equity played in everything from executive remuneration to offsetting income for the middle class, unwashed wage earners, and pensioners.

          As far as your question goes I would proffer people would like access to basics which knowlage and resources currently have to offer whilst attempting to deal with all the foible this mortal journey has to offer.

  13. Tertium Squid

    It’s a terrible idea making people stand for the anthem. Rather than a patriotic display of love for nation and its principles, it’s reduced to merely a display of coercion and power imbalance.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read somewhere how this caper of having the players come out for the national anthem was only introduced a coupla years ago and before that, they waited in the locker rooms. Don’t know how true this is.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I’m OK with it, it being not more demanding than the requirement that we must use Federal Reserve paper with ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ on it.

      Ok with it, but not necessarily loving it..

      1. Quentin

        And are kids still standing and putting their right hand over the heart while reciting the pledge of allegiance every morning at school, as if they’re all potential traitors and saboteurs. Any day might stick the lord’s prayer back in the routine.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think they do that in the army. You get up in the morning, raise the flag and salute to it.

          Speaking of which, as being a solider is a job, does OSHA inspect battlefields for dangerous working conditions?

        2. JTMcPhee

          Maybe add “Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!”

          And then circulate some credentialed bureaucrats among them to have them fill out and sign Truman Loyalty Oaths: President Harry S. Truman signed United States Executive Order 9835, sometimes known as the “Loyalty Order”, on March 21, 1947.[1] The order established the first general loyalty program in the United States, designed to root out communist influence in the U.S. federal government. Truman aimed to rally public opinion behind his Cold War policies with investigations conducted under its authority. He also hoped to quiet right-wing critics who accused Democrats of being soft on communism. At the same time, he advised the Loyalty Review Board to limit the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to avoid a witch hunt.[2] The program investigated over 3 million government employees, just over 300 of whom were dismissed as security risks.[

    2. JamesG

      What is profoundly stupid is believing that the only way to “demonstrate” against [fill in the blank] is to insult the people who, by watching television, pay you millions per year.

      1. Wukchumni

        But on the other hand, it shows how few avenues are available to enable protest in these United States.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Few, in or inside the United States.

          More, I understand, if one becomes an ex-pat.

          1. Expat

            Works for me…I scream at people all day long on the internet hoping to affect a change!

        2. John k

          There are lots of ways to protest. You can do it, unmplested, and probably without need of permit, on many street corners, as i just watched in nyc.
          Ah, if you want a national bully pulpit for your protest, that’s different. Are you being handsomely paid for your time as you protest? At a higher rate than min, even higher than 15/hr? In this case it might be reasonable that your employer prefers you not offend many of the millions that are paying so handsomely, one way or another, for your time.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I’ve been protesting silently for decades now, by not watching TV.

            And I think about protesting violence in small ways, like not profiting from violent sports games personally.

          2. marym

            The players are protesting that black people often can’t even merely exist unmolested by police on street corners. Only those responsible or complicit in that molestation need feel offended.

          3. roadrider

            Can’t agree with your logic here. The employers in this case are deliberately politicizing a sporting event by playing the anthem and requiring players to engage in a compulsory demonstration of blind loyalty which may conflict with their personal beliefs.

            If the owners want to avoid political statements at their events how about not playing the anthem and discontinuing those paid-for advertisements for “saluting the troops”?

            The Yankees (I know, different sport) used to have cops prevent fans from leaving their seats to go to the rest rooms or concessions stands while they gratuitously played the jingoistic, theocratic anthem “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch. They were forced to stop that practice (harassing the fans not playing GBA).

        3. JamesG

          But on the other hand, it shows how few avenues are available to enable protest in these United States.

          Oh right.

          He doesn’t have enough money to pay for an ad in WaPo or the NYT.

          He cannot write (or hire someone to write) a Letter to the Editor and, most likely, no editor would publish a letter from an NFL star.

          To repeat myself, he elected a course of action that was stupid.

          1. roadrider

            Did you ever consider that what the players are protesting is being forced to stand for the anthem or the playing of the anthem at all – that is, forced politicization of a sporting event along with a compulsory display of blind loyalty that is in conflict with their personal views?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              What about Olympic sporting events?

              Not simiply a matter of some one person who just won an event, but glorifying the nation, playing the anthem, and raising the flag?

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  But not too many followed up, after Mexico City.

                  I have not watched the Olympics since, I think, 1990, or maybe even earlier.

                  In contrast, more people than eve watched the last one, I assume.

                  Still, I recommend boycotting that, and not buying stuff online requiring shipping. Instead, buy local.

                  Also, don’t watch TV, and avoid chain stores. Go to places where you can actually talk to the entire ownership and management.

                  And avoid going to NFL games and watch a little as possible, if you must.

                  1. Amfortas the Hippie

                    aye! and growing a bunch of tasty vittles and giving half of it away is a revolutionary act, as well.
                    One cucumber at a time.

                    and, it occurred to me, while i was chasing the geese and thinking about today’s NC threads: why do people still bank at…say…wells fargo or BOA?
                    I had a BOA checking account a long time ago…then a bounced paycheck made a bunch of my checks bounce and it took me homelessness, 3 years and a record as a “thief” to get out from under it.BOA was less than helpful.
                    Now I only bank at the local one, where I know the president and the owner…and where they live,lol.
                    Both of them also know that everyone knows them and where they live…which I think is a sort of preventative measure to skulduggery.They know that their houses would burn.
                    reckon this is as it should be.
                    so why do people continue to do business with such known criminals?

          2. Plenue

            No one cares about Letters to the Editor anymore. Whereas doing something on TV, that will get noticed. Oh, I’m sorry, a bunch of the braindead audience were ‘insulted’ by it? Tough freaking luck. They might have to engage their brains for once.

            American football is already intrinsically a political and propaganda affair, and has been for a long time. The hypocrisy of complaining about a player using it as a platform for political protesting when the USAF regularly performs flyovers of games is breathtaking.

      2. pretzelattack

        if you mean the players, they aren’t insulting me, they are supporting something i believe in, and they are using the same platform the nfl/military partnership used to sell the propaganda.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think if a player knees to protest, say, the bank bailout, I would probably say, ‘Good. Thanks.’

          Though, afterwards, I might ask myself, the millions protested as well, but they still bailed them out. And I might ask, ‘Should we move from protesting to something else?’

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Except we don’t.

              Mass protests are not everyday occurrences. A lot of people are angry still about the bank bailout, but few gather to protest.

              Most are doing something else regarding that.

              And we are made busy with other crises, like, Global Warming for example.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Which is to say, that

                1. You protest, once or a few times.
                2. You raise awareness
                3. You move on to implement action plan

                If you just

                1. protest
                2. protest
                3. more protest, and nothing else, people will ask, why? Is this virtue signalling? Or protest for the sake of protest?

                I believe with kneeing, we should be ready to move past just protesting. The issue has been made known.

                1. pretzelattack

                  people still sat at, and got arrested, for using facilities restricted to whites only, even after the issue became known. there were still demonstrations for civil rights, even after the issue became known, witness the march on washington. and people worked on overturning those laws, simultaneously, so, multitasking.

      3. nippersmom

        Don’t assume all, or even most, of the people who follow the NFL are “insulted” by the players’ protests.

        I am a frequent commenter on a website for a popular NFL team. By far the majority of the fans on that site support the players right to protest, and a large percentage disagree with the entire premise of playing the national anthem before every game in the first place, much less requiring the players to stand for it. As noted below, it is relatively recent development that players are even on the field during the anthem. Commenters have also suggested a cessation of flyovers. Not everyone believes it is appropriate to turn a sporting event into a propaganda opportunity.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In September, 2001, following several national tragedies, football and baseball games were cancelled or suspended.

          Sports and national security can be linked in a non-intuitively direct way like that.

          Then we have the ceremonial first pitch. In the Wikipedia page, there is a list of the presidents throwing out the first ceremonial pitch of a game.

          World champions are often invited to the White House…that’s another one to think over.

          1. pretzelattack

            they’re being linked in a monetary way, and the players are effectively leveraging that to get their message to a lot of people.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              They are linked to money.

              For example, there is a lot of money in the World Cup. Players wrap themselves with flags. And when a country wins, the whole nation (maybe not everyone) goes wild, as if the event is of great national significance. The little people pour out unto streets waving their flags and singing their national anthem.

              For the players, they will get a lot of money too.

              A few days later, they will parade publicly, and all the politicians will come out, surrounded by flags, and more patriotic songs, and they will make speeches about the nation, its greatness, etc.

              That’s the best time to make a statement, take a knee.

              1. pretzelattack

                the players have already had some effect, and can continue to. i think they should continue to draw attention to the issue, and perhaps more issues, because they are uniquely well situated to do so.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I believe they were raising an important (police brutality, especially against African Americans).

                  But it seems they got distracted. And we are now, here, talking about paid patriotism/propaganda (which is an important issue as well), and freedom of speech.

                  So, there is the stay on focus issue (multitask).

                  And with freedom of speech or protest, you get a permit to march down a street. But it’s harder to get permit to do that for 30 days, or 1 year straight. So, that you were able to knee for one or 10 games would negate to a degree the freedom of speech issue. The larger problem is that the effectiveness of saying (silently – that is another problem) the same over and over again. You can have the same message, but you do well to keep the listeners’ attention by varying your delivery or words.

                  The fist raising in 1972 is a good example. You do it once, and the impact is more powerful. People will always remember that. You do it all the time, it risks of becoming commercialized or monetized.

                  Beyond that, you have to have action plans. I see more good things done off the field, after the initial kneeing. You have players given money. There are a lot of rich players, and sadly, money talks. There is an article on today’s links about the value of teaching minority teens to code. That’s one action with concrete material benefits. With the awareness raised, they can add to the money they have with additional donations.

                  That’s where they or we should be at…Instead, I think towards the end of the last NFL season, it became a ‘because you want us to stop, we will not stop’ kind of test of will to see who would triumph, because freedom of speech, and nothing about the original message.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      What would happen if black-sympathetic players stood with their backs to wherever the team-owners were sitting? What would happen if black-sympathetic players raised a black power fist while standing? What would happen if black-sympathetic players did both at once?

      And of course concerned team-members or even entire teams could stay in the locker-room or wherever till the antheming was all done.

  14. Jesper

    About the nanotubes research:

    This core technology led Pint and Douglas to co-found SkyNano LLC, a company focused on building upon the science of this process to scale up and commercialize products from these materials.

    I know research is costly but it still irks me a little about the need to lock things up in patents for a long time to recover the costs. If I were to guess then the research would not have been done if relying solely on private funding. And if I were to make a second guess then my second guess is that the ones making the discovery aren’t going to be the ones making the most money out of their discovery. Interesting to see how a society values different activities, if we were to approximate the valie with who gets the money then it might seem that society values some unexpected people/behaviour.

    1. ambrit

      The general rule of thumb in the inventing game is that the people who underwrite the commercial production of a new invention get the lions share of the profits.
      Another aspect of invention is that often, the really useful ways for a discovery to be used are not at all obvious at the beginning. Later tinkerers make add on discoveries and run with them.

      1. Jesper

        True. And the difference between the public and private sector is:
        -an employee in the private sector will not get much, if any, benefits from a patent. IP generated while in employment is owned by the employer
        -an employee at a university (at least partially) funded by the government can apparently take the generated IP into private ownership. Possibly the university gets part-ownership.

        I’m not sure if government funded research should be given away for free but if the government through taxes (or through the Magic Money Tree MMT) funded the research then there is at least an argument that the government should retain control of the IP.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Who cares about the Precautionary Principle, when there’s Vast Profits To Be Made? “Carbon nanotubes dangerous to the environment,”

      And of course it seems that nanotubes can be as carcinogenic as several types of asbestos fibers.

      But hey, never let any of us stand in the way of The Next Big Thing…

  15. Wyoming

    Re: the Reuters poll indicating that the R’s have a slight lead in the generic polling.

    Considering the trend in this type of polling over the last 6 months, and the lack of a D response, I have to say that we are very near the same kind of situation we were in the primaries of the last election cycle. In that the D’s are squandering their lead and ignoring a situation which could burn their fingers.

    I expect that they will continue down the path they are on and come midnight election day there will be a lot of tears and hand-wringing going on about how the voters did them wrong again.

    1. John k

      They will be crocodile tears so long as they accomplished the primary goal of keeping progressives from power. Only blue dogs need apply to dccc for assistance… donors don’t give a rats ass who wins if the choice is blue dog or rep. Following such contests all dem losers will cry all the way to their bank.

  16. Craig H.

    from the Anarchism Jesus Way blog post:

    In the early hours of the morning before their Sunday service on the fourth of September 2016 Christian Anarchists smashed the windows of a Starbucks inside 12 Stone Church in Atlanta Georgia

    1. This is unbelievable;

    2. so I looked it up;

    3. it turns out it is not exactly true but the degree of exaggeration may be both innocent and harmless;

    the news report: Vandals target 12 Stone Church locations, causing nearly $10K in damages (Fox 5 Atlanta)

    According to Fox news the broken windows were on the street not on a Starbucks franchise inside the church. The news doesn’t mention Starbucks at all, although I don’t have any problem believing that an Atlanta church has a Starbucks franchise inside so I did not check that detail. 12 stone is the name of the church and the number of locations was two, not twelve.

    Anybody know the actual facts regarding the Starbucks angle? I cannot imagine the satanists on top the Starbucks management chain are eager to have their brand connected with a church even if it is in Atlanta and they pull 400K a year in sales.

      1. Craig H.

        Good find there HL. I wonder if they know the Starbucks logo has female nipples this close -><- to being bared, save for the temporary vagaries of the ocean current when the mermaid was posing for the illustrator?

  17. Jim Haygood


    President Donald Trump called off a planned summit meeting with leader Kim Jong Un of North Korea. In a letter released by the White House, Trump told Kim the summit “will not take place.” North Korea was angered by U.S. demands to denuclearize. Trump said in his letter: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”

    Yet another example of how the two Koreas likely could reach an understanding, but for the third-party yankee occupiers who won’t leave and won’t get out of the way.

    Flake-o-summits don’t pay.

    1. Mel

      He’s the Bizarro-Obama. Obama would go into negotiations with his final offer, then bargain down from there. Trump and Bolton won’t start negotiating until all their demands are conceded in advance.

      1. Carolinian

        Trump, Bolton and now Pence shooting off his mouth. Aren’t Vice Presidents only supposed to go to funerals? Seems NK did the unforgivable in Trump’s book by criticizing Pence’s statements. Surely Trump’s first and biggest mistake was in picking Pence for VP. Even before being elected he thereby surrendered to the Blob.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Rumors abound that the monied interests who own the GOP are gearing up to replace Trump with Pence in ’20, now that Trump has played his part and kept everyone distracted while the federal government suffers a silent plutocratic coup. Let us not forget that Pence is and always has been a creature of the Kochtopus, and given the contrast between his style and Trump’s it’s not farfetched to consider he was put on the ticket for just that reason.

          After four years of Trump, what sensible Republican voter wouldn’t be more than happy to give their vote to the handsome, polite Mr. Pence in a primary?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And if Sanders gets the DemParty nomination, what sensible Clintonite voter wouldn’t be more than happy to give their vote to the handsome, polite Mr. Pence in the general election in order to avoid voting for the Head Bernie Bro in Chief?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Too bad he’s not more obsessed with winning a Nobel Peace award.

      The ‘what’s in it for Trump’ analyses are still good, I think. We are getting to know what he likes or doesn’t crave all that much.

    3. jo6pac

      Yes the two Korea make peace happen with Russia and China standing behind them to make it happen. Then maybe South Korea will ask Amerika to remove all troops and Navy from their country then rent space to both China and Russia.

      That exploding sound we hear is boltons head;-)

    4. Sid Finster

      The United States does not want the Koreas to reach an understanding.

      Bolton’s reference to Libya and its fate was entirely intentional.

    5. crittermom

      When I saw what Trump wrote this morning I let out an audible moan.
      Most of the time he talks he reminds me of a spoiled, schoolyard bully, full of bluster & pompous.

      After this latest from him, I can’t get the image out of my head of a bully with a super-soaker confronting a boy with a water pistol while in a lyrical voice taunting “My gun’s bigger than youuur gun.”

      1. a different chris

        Really? It seemed way weirder than that to me. He acts like NK cancelled the summit, not him? WTF? It’s like one of those unexpected love letters that guys, and it’s always guys given this particular idiom, write to a woman who never even was under the impression she was in a relationship.

        I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.

        If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I’m no poker player, but is this another bluff, by acting weird?

          Is there a self-help book called “How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Embrace Brinkmanship?”

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          Anyone who has ever had a close relationship with a narcissist, especially a malignant narcissist, has no problem at all with that apparent confusion. The cardinal rule of narcissism is that it is always the other guy’s fault.

    1. ambrit

      Wait just a minute there. When you insult Pence, you are insulting G-d!. It says so right in the RNC Book of Prayer.
      So, when President Pence assists with laying the Cornerstone for the Third Temple in Jerusalem, don’t you expect anything less than the fulfillment of Scriptures, lots of them, from all over the place.
      Well, the propaganda has already started.
      U S ambassador and picture of third temple, Haaretz:

  18. Carolinian

    Lawrence Lessig Evonomics article is good and commonsensical. What he is getting at is that corruption is the central problem of our capitalist paradise. The excellent BBC In Our Time podcast recently did a show on Tocqueville and talked about Tocqueville’s puzzlement over a country devoted both to democracy–which according to classical thought requires a spirit of “virtue” or honesty and civic mindedness–while at the same time being completely devoted to the pursuit of money.

    Not much has changed, and current culture doesn’t even pay lip service to virtue. Rather, telling lies and working the system to your advantage is viewed as a sign of one’s cleverness. Some might even call it The Art of the Deal. In this age of irony honesty is seen as quite corny.

    Lessig gives an analysis but not much of a prescription about how campaign finance and other corrupt institutions can be reformed. In fact this may not be a job for social theorists since what needs to change is not so much the system as ourselves. It could be time for corny ideas about honesty and unselfishness to make a comeback. Liars to the Gulag.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Is US Manufacturing Fundamentally Strong?”

    I really do not know about this article. I was reading an article on RT at about the problems that the Pentagon is having with the industrial base supplying weapons to the military. In fact, there is now a high reliance on imports of weapons parts from overseas countries like China. As an illustration of other problems, weapons like the Sidewinder and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles may not be able to be manufactured before long due to chemicals that will soon be no longer produced. These are not temporary problems but are structural problems in how weapons manufacturing is done in the US. My point is that if this is the case of an industry of vital concern to US national security, then how true would it be for the rest of the manufacturing base? I reckon that this would be more of a worry than stopping foreign produced cars into the US on national security grounds.

    1. jo6pac

      True rare earth round magnets are now made only China and Russia. They are used in the guidance systems. The plant that made them in Amerika was sold and shipped out of the country over a weekend to China during big dogs potus days.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Rome of manufacturing was not dismantled in one day.

        Trump might be the first to confront it, but it will only to be harder in the future.

    2. Jim Haygood

      The FDA lists dozens of drugs as “currently in shortage”:

      By contrast, the US is totally saturated with vehicles. It got along for five years (1941-1946) with zero domestic auto production and no imports, as all auto plants were converted to weapons manufacturing.

      Invoking “national security” as an all-purpose carte blanche for evading WTO obligations will sink the global system into Trump-style autocratic discretionary chaos.

      According to BofAML’s Michael Hartnett, “South Korean export growth, a notoriously good global cyclical indicator, has turned negative for the first time since 2016.” Here’s his chart with visual proof:

      As the Orange Charlatan pursues his bogus “auto parts are the health of the state” protectionist aggression, he’s setting up the global recession in 2020 which will make Herbert Hoover Trump a reviled one-termer.

      1. Carolinian

        a reviled one-termer

        You say that like it’s a bad thing. Even we sometime Trump defenders are giving up.

        They should all be reviled, not given monumental buildings in Chicago parks.

        1. georgieboy

          Coming soon to Chicago, on priceless city parkland, successfully preserved for kids from political grifters for more than 100 years — until, that is, the community organizer won the pre-Nobel.

          The BOAT ! Barack Obama Adoration Temple, thanks to John Kass.

          No library therein, by the way. Too messy for a proper temple.

          1. ambrit

            Tinfoil Hatt types think that this is a trial run for the Third Temple in Jerusalem.
            Just when we think we’ve gone as far down as it is possible to go.

      2. allan

        From the FDA list:

        Sterile Water Currently in Shortage

        The world’s greatest health care system. JF[amilyblog]C.

        1. petal

          If that’s the sterile irrigation water made by Baxter, I’m going to take a wild guess that’s from a location in Puerto Rico.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Concentrating production (of anything) in one place (or country) is best avoided.

            The first thing the bad guys (those Russians, for example) do will be to seize it.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I saw it too. Bezos’ comments about putting his moolah-moolah into space travel were a classic example of cluelessness.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Fantastic work by Sanders’ staff on that one.

          It’s a kid of pre-emptive strike against the “but, but, those billionaires invest in lots of wonderful, innovative products, we NEED them to do this” argument.

          That argument just got buried.

          F-ing spaceships!!!!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            FDR never fantasized about space travel.

            I think Kennedy was the one who wanted to go to the Moon. From Wikipedia:

            We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

            There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

            We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.[10]

            Is it a case of us Luddites opposing progress now – the ‘progress of all people?’

            1. Mo's Bike Shop

              “not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win”

              It is striking rhetoric. Whenever I recall that speech, I think ‘any politician who goaded us to action like that today would get lynched.’

              Then I think, ‘Oh wait…’

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                “We’re going to Mars!!!”

                (We don’t have politicians like that, but billionaires are our new heroes.)

                1. neighbor7

                  Dubya Bush announced a mission to Mars, which was remembered for maybe four minutes…

    1. nippersmom

      Anyone up for watching Nancy Pelosi lie like a rug??????

      Reminded me of the old joke:
      How can you tell Nancy Pelosi is lying?
      Her lips are moving.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m surprised the NC links did not include the Repubs call for a new special counsel.

        So Donald gets elected; he says pursuing the Clinton crimes “is not a priority”; the Obama DOJ concocts Russia-Gate; and after two years of considerable patience, grudging cooperation, tweetstorms, and forlorn hopes that the DOJ can actually act in a non-partisan manner, Team R finally says “you want to go there? That’s how you want to play it?” OK here goes:

        The list of crimes sounded pretty comprehensive to me, they even got Uranium 1 in there, the Clinton “Foundation”, and of course the Top Secret memos on the homebrew servers in Chappaqua. I noticed the use of the term “obstruction of justice” and “destruction of evidence”. That’s 30 years. Only thing I could see missing was 1 MDB in Malaysia, you know, where the nation’s leader received a transfer of $689 million dollars to his personal account as a “gift”.

  20. Alex

    The Foreign Policy article on Netanyahu is spot on and it worries me a lot too having seen this kind of thing in Russia when Putin reacted to growing opposition in 2011-2014 by becoming much more assertive (or aggressive if you want) abroad. And it was a tremendously successful pivot for him, his support has grown and stayed high

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, JGL.

      It’s a pity that Fox is no longer aired in the UK cable and satellite, so one has to watch online.

      It’s amazing that Carlson is one of the rare journalists on MSM.

    2. geoff

      Agreed, good interview, but I had to laff (sic) when Carlson transitioned to his next story with, “(paraphrasing) Democrats intend to impeach the President should they win back control of the House next year.” Uh, yeah, sure, THAT’LL happen.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Tom.

      My employer’s AGM was certainly eventful as per It was getting tasty, literally and metaphorically. If only the food at work was as good.

      With regard to your question, is that rhetorical? I hope RB Houghton chimes in as he had some witty analysis of banks on the Torygraph business blog just before the paper went behind a paywall.

  21. Lunker Walleye

    Wish i knew what to think about Marcy Wheeler. She was great at live-blogging the Scooter Libby trial but it seems like she has changed during and since the 2016 elections.
    I don’t have the time to go through her analysis, though I did read part of the article. The comments section is harsh of anyone who questions Marcy’s research and understanding. After listening to George Webb (and I don’t know truly who the heck he is) it seems like there is a lot more information out there than the press is covering. Who do you believe these days?

    1. Eureka Springs

      I hear you. Much as I love Marcy and the wheelers I can hardly read them anymore. If one doesn’t follow her daily it’s likely one will no longer be able to see the ocean for the algae. That said, Publius Tacitus at Sic Semper (and comments of course) is my go-to guy with limited time on these matters.

    2. Andrew Watts

      I don’t think it’s necessary to believe anybody or form an opinion about matters like this. I’ve never understood why people are pressured to have an opinion about everything. It’s not going to change the outcome of the presidential election. Nor will it dictate the course or policies of the Trump administration anyway. I must admit that my opinion isn’t heavily influenced by other people on this subject.

      Before I knew about the Steele dossier I already had British intelligence pegged as a primary culprit behind the undermining of Trump’s presidency. The question was always who was going to potentially lose the most from a Trump administration. With all his talk of America First and NATO being obsolete combined with Brexit I reach my conclusion and recent developments have only served to reinforced it,

      Publius Tacitus makes a pretty good case that he readily admits is circumstantial at best. That said, I like this take for no other reason then the fact it provides ammunition to taunt the FBI with. It’s popular among their lot to label leftists as “useful idiots”, but who’s being manipulated by a foreign intelligence agency? Somebody needs to teach the G-men a lesson along the lines of…

      Nations don’t have friends. They have interests.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I thought Publius’ case was, at best, vaporous. There’s a certain plausibility, as you note, but one picture does not a case make.

        1. Andrew Watts

          I imagine that we’ll find out more that’ll bring some clarity as time goes on. We’re living through a particular moment where the American state is heavily divided and busy fighting against itself. Want an example? It’s just like CIA-backed Arab/Turkomen Islamist/Jihadist rebels fighting Pentagon-backed Arab tribal and Kurdish socialists in Syria.

          The various narratives offered by journalists like Greenwald and Marcy are little more than professional sniping, That doesn’t mean they aren’t acting in good conscience.

          I’d also like to point out that the recent Post on (redacted for the lulz) involved his enthusiasm for privately meeting with foreign students and teachers while he was working at Cambridge. Which doesn’t sound like something a talent scout or recruiter would do… right?

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘I already had British intelligence pegged as a primary culprit behind the undermining of Trump’s presidency’

        Haven’t thought about it but the three countries mentioned with Russiagate -the US, the UK and Australia – are all members of the Five Eyes. I wonder if Canada and New Zealand will put in a special appearance before it is all finished?

        1. Andrew Watts

          Neither Canada or New Zealand are suffering from a geopolitical crisis which would motivate such a desperate and opportunistic undertaking. The NSA, and presumably the other SIGINT agencies in the Five Eyes, has been reluctant to give their public endorsement of this cluster—-.

          I don’t really think that anybody in the US intelligence community has the brains and backbone to initiate something like this either. Clapper and/or Brennan were probably convinced that something was going on that worth investigating. I don’t believe in the cupidity of McCabe with all his private talk of an insurance policy though.

          That sounds like Publius’ confirmation bias and/or institutional loyalties at work.

        2. HotFlash

          Don’t know about NZ, but Canada is not really a powerhouse, spy-wise, and in any case our PM, Mr Trudeau the Younger, could not possibly be more accommodating. Not in the sense of being America/GB’s poodle, heavens no! Poodles are smart and known for doing things their own way, ‘master’ be family blogged. Our Justin is more like a Labrador puppy.

  22. Carolinian

    Of interest since this is a topic around here.

    At 1.3 seconds before impact, the self-driving system determined that an emergency braking maneuver was needed to mitigate a collision. According to Uber, emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the vehicle is under computer control, to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior. The vehicle operator is relied on to intervene and take action. The system is not designed to alert the operator.

    Perhaps Uber should have stolen more of Google/Waymo’s tech (alleged by Waymo).

    1. Andrew Watts

      That’s what I admire most about the British system of government. They can ditch their government at any time. It’s rare but it can happen.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its hard to see it happening – who wants an election? The Brexiters know May is under their control so its not in their interest – ‘moderate’ Tories fear letting in Corbyn, while Corbyn probably knows the timing isn’t right. From what I’ve seen of the polling, another election would probably just end up with a fairly similar Parliament, although likely with the DUP weakened.

      1. HotFlash

        If I were a sensible Tory, I would be falling over myself to stick Jeremy Corbyn or indeed, anyone else, with this monstrous Brexit baby.

    1. johnnygl

      See my pelosi link above for a particularly egregious example of her gaslighting.

    2. marym

      I’m a leftist and the Democrats’ Russia mania appalls me, but the Federalist is an extremely right wing outlet, and, as constantly pointed out in the twitterverse, doesn’t reveal its funding.

    1. Carolinian

      He’s spoken of this before but not in such detail. All who would defend Mia should read.

      There’s a lot of accusing going on these days and not as much proof. Morgan Freeman is the latest #me too target. But the freely circulated and believed accusations against Allen are particularly bad. He is casually accused of a major and quite heinous felony.

      1. pretzelattack

        yeah i was kind of creeped out by his relationship with his adopted daughter (i’m still not sure how i feel about that, but there’s nothing illegal about it; families are weird) and i was initially inclined to believe there was a fire there, with so much smoke, but this is looking more and more like a frame to me now.

        1. Plenue

          From the article by Moses:

          “Even people who doubt Dylan’s claims of assault, often cling to Woody’s relationship with Soon-Yi as justification for their skepticism about him. The public attacks on Soon-Yi by complete strangers still stagger me, as does the general misinformation that so many people consider fact. She is not Woody’s daughter (adopted, step, or otherwise), nor is she developmentally challenged. (She got a master’s degree in special education from Columbia University!) And the claim that they started dating while she was underage is totally false.”

          1. pretzelattack

            i never saw the allegations about being challenged, but it was widely reported she was his stepdaughter (and iraqi wmd’s were widely reported, too, i just didn’t routinely expect the msm to get routine facts wrong en masse at the time i read them). this article is changing my conceptions about the case, and i’m not clinging to anything; as a longtime allen fan, i didn’t want to believe the allegations in the first place.
            apparently she was 21 when they began the affair, during allen’s marriage to soon yi’s mother, mia farrow, and that ended his marriage.

            1. Oregoncharles

              2 things are clear about Woody Allen from his movies (really all I know about him):
              1st, that he is obsessed with moral boundaries and those who step over them. Granted, this is a fundamental source of drama, but he’s made it his own. For a tangential example, there is “Bullets Over Broadway,” clearly written to make people laugh when someone gets murdered. As indeed they do.
              2nd, that he is also obsessed with dangerously young women – which Mia Farrow was not, when he was involved with her. The movie with Mariel Hemingway is an outstanding example.

              His affair with Soon Yi combines them: she was much younger, dangerously so; and he stepped right on a moral line, without quite falling over. It could be one of his movies. Oddly enough, apparently they’ve made something of an ideal couple. Go figure.

              For a further irony, Mia Farrow’s first marriage was quite similar.

            2. sd

              Woody Allen and Mia Farrow were never married and they didn’t live together.

              Even though Woody and Mia never married – and he never lived with us or even stayed the night at our apartment in the city – he would often come over around 6:30 in the morning, bringing two newspapers and a bunch of muffins. I would wake up before the others, and so he and I would sit at the kitchen table together for breakfast. While he read The New York Times, I’d grab the Post and go straight to the comics and word puzzles. We’d spend this peaceful time together before waking Dylan. He’d make her a couple of slices of toast with cinnamon or honey and be there as she ate her breakfast. He hardly seemed like a monster to me.

              1. pretzelattack

                you’re right, never married, never lived together. it was an unusual relationship, committed, but very definite boundaries.

                1. sd

                  Even that is unclear. Mia has insinuated more than once that Ronan/Sachel may not be Woody’s biological son. She has a history of boundary issues herself (Previn) So who knows.

                  The really disturbing part to me is the tragic deaths of three of her children.

    2. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      Thank you for that – I was only vaguely aware of the abuse allegation, but although it is only based on his screen presence I have always had a difficulty in seeing Allen as a predator of any sort, whereas Farrow has always struck me as being someone on a very short fuse.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Rice, staple food of billions, could become less nutritious because of climate change South China Morning Post


    (though I am on a low carb diet…avoiding as much as possible rice, pasta, bread, soba, ramen, etc).

    Eating brown rice, instead of white rice, can remedy that a bit.

  24. Michael Hudson

    Here’s my note to Steve Keen re his article:
    Steve, I think both sides in your trade-deficit article about MMT miss the important point that the Trade Balance is NOT the overall payments balance.
    The U.S. deficit for over 50 years has been mainly military in character. The private sector was just exactly in balance in the 1950s, 60s, etc. Foreign aid generated a surplus (of debt repayments, as the “aid” took the form of loans). Military spending was what pumped dollars into the world economy.
    Increasingly, countries need US dollars to pay their foreign loans, which are dollar-denominated. This drains their economies (think of German reparations after WW I, and Inter-Ally debts).
    U.S. payments deficits pump dollars INTO the world economy. Other countries save their currencies from appreciating by recycling them to the US. And the ONLY thing that China and other dollar recipients can do is to buy US Treasury securities. (The US won’t let them buy US companies or many kinds of exports.) So the US has to issue Treasury securities to provide a vehicle for foreign governments to hold – and to hold down their own currency exchange rates.

    1. John k

      Didn’t know this. Thanks for your posts, always informative.
      Wonder if it remains true this century.

  25. Oregoncharles

    “Framing the Trump Campaign as Lackeys of Russia by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis.”
    While I love the idea that Mifsud was a British intelligence plant, I see no actual evidence for it. All he’s got is one photograph of Mifsud standing next to an actual British spy at an international academy, published in an article that has since been mysteriously taken down. In fact, the sudden disappearances, of Mifsud and of information, are the best evidence he’s got. Otherwise, I see nothing.

  26. rd

    Hurricane statistics are a lot like stock market statistics. There are relatively few secular cycles so the statistics are still quite rough. For example, there are only a handful of examples of major bull and bear markets in the US markets because it generally takes 20-30 years for an entire cycle to run its course. Similarly, by the time you look at climate impacts like El Nino and La Nina, there are only a few cycles of those since 1950 when there started to be good data on hurricanes. The best analogy to Sandy is probably the Long Island Express of 1938. Similarly, Irma is like the Keys hurricanes of the 1930s. Galveston was obliterated @ 1900 by a hurricane that nobody knew was coming until the wall of water showed up.

    However, the biggest variable in insurance damages isn’t the hurricane statistics, but instead the massive coastal development putting lots of expensive properties in harm’s way. Swamps were essentially designed to be hit by hurricanes but filling them with expensive real estate creates an insurance industry disaster. That was the lesson of Andrew – the insurance industry was caught totally unprepared as their claims histories vastly underestimated the insurance hit of all of the recent construction.

    So in this day and age, property damage from hurricanes is essentially a voluntary activity except for where there are essential services (e.g. commercial fishing) where you have to be located by the water.

  27. Oregoncharles

    About Sergei Skripal, ” who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain’s MI6 foreign spy service, ”
    Isn’t that “dozens” of logical suspects, independently of any government involvement? Were any of those betrayed agents in Britain at the time?

  28. ewmayer

    o “Team cracks code to cheap, small carbon nanotubes |” — As cool and potentially useful as the tech is, I fear that widespread use of such highly electrically active (in terms of making electrons do funny, interesting, useful but potentially also harmful things) nano-materials may well lead to a pollution nightmare as they, like certain persistent chemicals, pervade all aspects of the global environment and food chain.

    o “Legend of Loch Ness Monster will be tested with DNA samples | AP” — Great, but good luck getting a cheek swab!

    o “Flight MH17 shot down by Russian military-sourced missile, investigators conclude ” Independent” — As with Reuters’ “U.S. fighter jets intercept Russian bombers in international airspace off Alaska” which I fwded to Yves last week, interesting to see these kinds of “this is news?” (or in this case, “they’re still trying to peddle this conclusion-fixed-around-prescribed-narrative BS?”) headlines. If one didn’t know better, one might almost surmise that the digital-ink-stained wretches in the western MSM have a mandated weekly quota of ‘Scary Russians!’ propaganda to fill.

    o “CIA chief hints agency is working to change Venezuelan government | Independent” — It’s an interesting exercise to see how many nations can plausibly be interchanged with ‘Venezuela’ in the headline. And of course in the wake of the 2016 election the list also includes the U.S.! Our dear CIA, as ever working hard to keep the world safe not for, but from, democracy. Iran ’53 is only one of many entries in the agency’s regime-change-scalps collection.

    o “The Conversations We Need to Have Slate. “Conversation.” We seem to be having a centrist eruption.” — Would that “conversation” be about the need for “healing”, perchance?

    o “New policy requires on-field players, personnel to stand for anthem | ESPN” — Seeing as how the NFL has worked so dilgently to turn itself into the Pentagon’s sports-based military propaganda arm, I actually find the new requirement rather fitting. Why should the servicemembers marching in military parades and such be alone in having their first amendment rights curtailed?

    1. HotFlash

      If the players have to stand for the national anthem like good soldiers, shouldn’t the actual soldiers have to play football?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Only the top soldier, the commander-in-chief gets to carry the (nuclear) football.

        The rest will just block for him.

  29. JTFaraday

    “Is Capital or Labor Winning at Your Favorite Company? Introducing the Marx Ratio The Upshot (UserFriendly). Clever (?) branding, but I’m dubious. Capital isn’t winning massively at Amazon? Really?”

    Well, it’s a nation of plantation overseers, I keep saying. Some of the articles we’ve seen on Amazon corporate, anyway, seem to suggest that the people hired there say they want to work constantly, think work-life balance is a fiction, are keen on competitive pressures, etc. Crying at work might be unfortunate, but ends justify means.

    A Marxist might call this false consciousness. Sort of the same problem with democracy. Most of us, Marxist or otherwise, want to impose our own definitions of democracy upon the political body rather than accepting the simple “will of the people” as democracy. But in a democracy if people think they’re free, then they are.

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