Links 6/23/18

What causes the sound of a dripping tap—and how do you stop it? PhysOrg. Chuck L:

If this study was done with federal government funding the late Senator William Proxmire is no doubt pounding on the inside of his coffin lid to give it a Golden Fleece award. There’s another way to avoid being annoyed by a dripping faucet: fix the damned thing so it doesn’t leak!

Changes in the Gulf Stream Cruising World (David L)

A Lover Of Death Gets His Wish :  Neocon Charles Krauthammer Dead At 68 Caitlin Johnstone

Study: US oil and gas methane emissions have been dramatically underestimated ars technica

Apple acknowledges faulty MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards with new repair program The Verge (Kevin W)

Crypto meltdown: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, and Litecoin smashed Motley Fool

The monsoon focusses Bangladeshi battle against polythene bags Third Pole (J-LS)

Groundwater Levels Could Trigger Major Earthquakes LiveScience

Scientists develop drug to freeze cancer cells, keep them from spreading Firstpost (David L)

Researchers Figure Out Why Coffee Is Good For The Heart Forbes (David L)


China will partly lift internet censorship for one of its provinces to promote tourism The Verge

North Korea

Trump flips on North Korea, declaring country still an ‘extraordinary threat’ Guardian

North Korea Agreed to Denuclearize, But US Refuses Despite Treaty Obligation ConsortiumNews

As South Korea, US, halt military drills, Seoul takes aim at Tokyo Asia Times

Franco-German eurozone reform plan faces growing opposition Financial Times. Important and a shame, since this could have been a first step towards fixing


BMW joins Airbus in Brexit warning BBC

Brexit: a shot across the bows Richard North

Two years on from the referendum and we still have no earthly clue how Brexit will play out Independent

Multi-Decade Outsourcing Boom Comes to Sticky End in the UK Wolf Street (EM)


Syria – Damascus And Its Allies Prepare To Remove U.S. Forces From Al-Tanf Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

In Major Privacy Win, Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrant To Track Your Cellphone NPR (David L)

Facebook mistakenly leaked developer analytics reports to testers Techcrunch (Kevin W)


Exasperated Huckabee Sanders Reminds Press Corps That Children Under 14 Can’t Feel Pain The Onion (David L)

Confusion at US border towns as children keep arriving Financial Times. Note that the ones coming alone are typically male teenagers. This is also true for European migrants. Mind you, this is still an inexcusable mess, but important to understand the profile.

Trump hosts victims of undocumented migrants amid family separations row BBC

HHS creates task force to reunify migrant families Politico

The Indefinite Detention Money Trail LittleSis (Glenn F)

By the numbers: States with National Guard troops at the Southwest border Axios

Trump tweet may doom House GOP effort on immigration The Hill

Tariff Tantrum

Trump threatens to slam a massive tariff on European cars, which could cause economic chaos Business Insider (Kevin W)

Here are all the US states that ship more than $1 billion worth of goods to China that would be slammed by tariffs Business Insider

Trump Transition

Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force Counterpunch. More pork.

The Military Drinking-Water Crisis the White House Tried to Hide New Republic

Judge turns down Manafort’s bid to nix money laundering charge Politico

Trump wants to reshape the US food safety system. The idea is great, and terrible. Quartz

Donald Trump’s Latest Threat Against Germany Is a Reminder That He Stretches the Law to Do Whatever the Heck He Wants Slate (Kevin W)

Why Bernie Sanders’s History of Racial Justice Activism Matters Jacobin (Kevin C)

Reality Winner to change her plea on leaking Russian interference report Reuters (EM)

U.S. Authorities Detained a Woman for 2 Weeks After She Accidentally Jogged Over the Border from Canada Fortune (David L)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Supermarket chain apologizes after black man banned from Maine store The Hill

SEC Probes Whether Companies Rounded Up Earnings Per Share Wall Street Journal

Saudi Arabia strikes deal to raise Opec production Financial Times

Exclusive: Tesla to close a dozen solar facilities in nine states – documents Reuters (EM)

Why Amazon’s retail dominance won’t be disrupted by the Supreme Court’s big tax ruling Recode

Uber car’s ‘safety’ driver streamed TV show before fatal crash: police Reuters (EM)

Class Warfare

Two-thirds of adults have less than a four-year degree Economic Policy Institute

The fight between Airbnb and New York City is heating up Recode. “What about regulation don’t you understand?”

Antidote du jour. Tracy H: “This is Itsy”:

And a bonus from crsh: “Probably photoshopped, but still made me laugh”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. J Sterling

    Oh no, now who do we turn to as each year goes by, to ask: how’s that stable Iraq coming along? and where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?

    Oh. All the others, of course.

    1. Andrew Watts

      For anybody that is interested the Musings on Iraq blog is a great source for information on Iraqi affairs. It covers everything from the history of Iraq to present day internal politics. It’s also the only source in English that I know of that keeps an accurate track of security incidents. These incidents can be widely defined by; Iraqi armed forces battling insurgent and IS remnants, suicide bombers targeting civilian targets, casualties from IEDs, and the overall body count from the Turkish Army battling the Kurdish PKK. The number of security incidents has continued to decline from it’s peak in 2014/15. It isn’t a coincidence that this coincides with the fortunes of the Islamic State.

      The war against the Islamic State has always been a war to stabilize Iraq and bring an end to the second Gulf War. I don’t honestly expect anybody here to accept it, or believe that, or even care but the statistics bear it out. When IS captured large swathes of Iraq they inflicted over a thousand civilian casualties over the course of a week in Baghdad alone. This happened on more than one occasion during this point in time.

      As the SDF-Iraqi campaign against IS’s long-standing bases of support in Eastern Syria continues the number of attacks they’ve been able to launch has dramatically dropped since last year.

      Which is kinda the whole point of that exercise.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Re the cat in the bonus Antidote du Jour. I thought that Ninjas were all in black.

    In passing, does Itsy have a brother named Bitsy?

    1. marieann

      I love Itsy. The white kitty in the picture looks like my Fergus
      How the heck did he take such a good picture at a window……the ones I take are so overexposed

  3. The Rev Kev

    “What causes the sound of a dripping tap—and how do you stop it?”

    The article notes that “humans have been kept awake by the sound of dripping water from a leaky tap or roof for generations” so you would assume that before water pipes became standard fixtures in homes, that our earlier ancestors would not have had this problem. Yeah, about that. Anybody familiar with dripstones?
    They were basically blocks of hollowed limestone that you would pour water into so that the stone would filter out the impurities and clean water would would come out the bottom. And that means a constant drip-drip-drip-drip sound going all the time in your home. If you can’t visualize these things, there is an article at which shows one.

  4. blennylips

    HHS Releases ‘Nightmare’ PFAS Chemical Study Suppressed by Scott Pruitt, White House

    Confirms Exposure to Toxic Nonstick Chemicals Should be 10X Lower Than EPA’s Estimates
    Contact: Alex Formuzis
    For Immediate Release:
    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    WASHINGTON – A government report released today – which was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense and the White House for fear it would cause a “public relations nightmare” – recommends a much lower safe level for toxic fluorinated, or PFAS, chemicals than the EPA’s non-enforceable health advisory level.

    The report from scientists at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Control, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, concludes that the “minimal risk level” for exposure to PFOA and PFOS, two notorious PFAS chemicals, should be seven to 10 times lower than the level previously recommended by the EPA.

  5. Wukchumni

    Back from a roadtrip to Oregon, visiting friends there and taking in the flora & fauna along the way. The state always manages to put on a show of sunny everytime we’re there, trying to tempt us to not notice the 5 months of the year which is a better fit for a mallard.

    I’ve never seen so many ‘State of Jefferson’ signs heretofore, particularly in the far reaches of northern California, where we must’ve glimpsed close to 100 of all sizes and shapes visible from the road @ 70 mph, some quite strident in their assertion of secession…

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Franco-German eurozone reform plan faces growing opposition Financial Times. Important and a shame, since this could have been a first step towards fixing

    Its a useful reminder that the fundamental problems with the euro are not exclusively the fault of the ECB or the Germans. In reality, most of the northern European countries are deeply conservative fiscally (except of course when it suits them), and in recent years dominated by centre right (or in occasional cases, far right) governments. They will fight any attempt at reform. Its hard sometimes not to see it motivated by something of a contempt for southern Europeans as it is down to ideology or national interest.

    I’ve often thought that one possible approach to strains within the Eurozone is to look at splitting the Euro itself into two currencies – a ‘hard’ northern Euro and a ‘softer’ southern one, with both being legal tender in all Eurozone countries to allow an easier transition between them if some country struggles.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have heard that idea of splitting the Euro into two currencies before but I am not sure how that would work in practice. They would both have to be floating currencies but could not really be linked into a ratio as that would take out any flexibility needed. They would have to be in reality two separate currencies with the only resemblance being the name. Maybe call them Gold Euros and Silver Euros? Maybe the real truth is that the EU is not really ready for a single currency for so many countries. Things seemed to have worked better before its introduction.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Euro of the 19th century was the Latin Monetary Union, which had equal weights and fineness for silver & gold coins issued by the 20 or so countries that made up the union. It lasted over 60 years, largely put to death by WW1 limiting the issuance of specie afterwards, as most of the players were well and truly broke, and went from issuing silver coins, to striking coins in base metal instead, and forget about gold coins, the Swiss being the only country to strike them after the war.

        1. Alex morfesis

          No…the Latin monetary unit died because they were dumb enough to trust northern European principalities who gamed the system by fraud and forgery and adding a liiiitle more silver in the bimetals than was allowed…those historically honest and hard working northern Europeans…

          and yes… The Greeks defaulted then too…

          1. Wukchumni

            The silly argent provocateurs currently really don’t understand just how much silver came out of the Americas, forever changing the 16-1 ratio (now 80-1) that had held pretty much constant since ancient Roman times. Once the players of that era started gaming silver in the LMU, it became more of an ad hoc gold standard, and lasted another 50 years as a perfectly good fungible system with standard weights and measures for all countries.

            1. Wukchumni


              The U.S. was thinking of issuing a gold coin that was the same standardized weight as the other LMU countries, and a few different types were struck and they’re worth around $100k to a few million a piece. They are known as “Stellas”.

              The coin and the prospect of joining the Latin Monetary Union were rejected by Congress, but not before several hundred restrikes of the Barber flowing hair design had been produced and sold to Congressmen at the cost of production. These later became a source of scandal when it was noted that a number of them ended up as jewelry pieces adorning the necks of madams operating some of Washington’s most infamous bordellos.


      2. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t think it would be much easier in practice than for a country to leave the Eurozone (i.e. immensely difficult and damaging). But it may be politically an easier pill to swallow and would avoid the contagion effects of multiple countries leaving over time.

    2. Altandmain

      I think that the whole episode demonstrates that the Euro may be fatally flawed.

      Nations with different and competing interests all want the currency to do what is in the best interest of their nation.

      1. Expat

        Western Europe has had peace since 1945 which is the longest period in history. Those who believe war is impossible between democracies need only look at far right and far left movements to see how easily countries can slide away from “democracy.” If the Euro is flawed and the EU is flawed, it might be costly, but I believe it is much less costly than war. The US spends at least one trillion dollars a year on war and defense. Imagine if the world were united in a flawed but functional single currency and quasi-unified government. Free education, free healthcare, etc. Unless of course Trump decides that the trillions saved could be used to build a Death Star for his Space Force.

        To paraphrase Buzz Lightyear, “To Insanity and Beyond!”

          1. JBird

            There were wars in Europe then but they were usually fairly short and usually left the civilians alone. Going quickly from memory there was Otto von Bismarck’s two(?) wars with France, then a war with Denmark, and finally one with Austria. The series of wars unifying Italy.

            It is true that they were nothing at all like the Napoleonic Wars or the First World War. They were sideshows compared to those wars. In that the Treaty of Vienna worked.

            I am sure a European, or at least a serious historian, will probably wince at what I just wrote, so if anyone wants to correct my inaccuracies please do. I’m too tired to do a good job on this. :-)

          2. Expat

            1821 Greek war of independence
            1823 French invade Spain
            1828-1834 Portuguese civil war
            1830 Ten Days’ Campaign : Holland invades Belgium
            1848 Italian war of independence
            1866 Austro -Prussian War
            1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War
            1897 Greco-Turkish war

            And I left out a few. The Treaty of Vienna just put paid to Napoleon, not war.

    3. David

      I often think that you could write a history of modern Europe entirely in North-South terms, both between and within countries (Scotland-England, N and S Italy, Flanders and Wallonia, Germany proper and Bavaria etc. etc.) It must be something to do with the Catholic/Protestant divide after the Reformation. If you look at EU enlargement, whereas the original six were, in population terms, heavily Catholic, this has steadily changed since the 1970s, and now there’s a much stronger Protestant element, typified by well-organised and prosperous countries like Sweden. The difference is obviously cultural, rather than religious as such, but interesting nonetheless.

      1. dcblogger

        Also the distribution of coal. But Protestantism does play a role. Protestantism’s insistence on the importance of scripture promoted the spread of literacy. Also Zwingli invented the secret Swiss bank account.

    4. Pookah Harvey

      Nobel prize winning economist Robert Mundell is considered the “Father of the Euro”. Mundell was also the father of “supply side economics”. Journalist Greg Palast knew him and discussed the Euro with him. He wrote an interesting 2012 article in the Guardian about those discussions:

      The euro would really do its work when crises hit, Mundell explained. Removing a government’s control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession.

      “It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians,” he said. “[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.”

      He cited labor laws, environmental regulations and, of course, taxes. All would be flushed away by the euro. Democracy would not be allowed to interfere with the marketplace

      …when crises arise, economically disarmed nations have little to do but wipe away government regulations wholesale, privatize state industries en masse, slash taxes and send the European welfare state down the drain.

      It is an interesting read about the thinking of the elite.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        One of my long standing bookmarked articles on the Euro. It really does illuminate the horror of the EZ’s underlying premise.

      2. John k

        I previously thought the evils of the euro re Southern Europe were not predicted by the architects, kind of an oopsie. Another of my many misconceptions.
        So the point was to facilitate looting in the ‘liquidate, liquidate, liquidate’ phase.

      3. Whoa Molly!

        Thanks for link to Mundell article by Palast. Sounds like a good reason to buy one Mr Palast’s films or donate a couple bucks

      4. The Rev Kev

        Oh god. That sounded so bad that excerpt I had to read that article. And what did I find by the second paragraph? Mention of the University of Chicago as well as Milton Friedman. Yep. That says it all. Game, set and match.

  7. sleepy

    Another excellent article on North Korea from Consortium News, by Gareth Porter:

    Those elites are determined to resist the political-diplomatic thrust of the Trump administration in negotiating with Kim and have already begun to sound the alarm about the danger Trump poses to the U.S. power position. Not surprisingly Democrats in Congress are already aligning themselves with the national security elite on the issue.

    The real concern of the opposition to Trump’s diplomacy, therefore, is no longer that he cannot succeed in getting an agreement with Kim on denuclearization but that he will succeed.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The diplomatic success of the summit between Trump and Kim can be accurately measured by the stock market declines of the war profiteers. The self-absorbed obsession with Trump’s approval ratings and desire to see his presidency fail overshadows most of the American media coverage in addition to the other points Porter raised.

  8. Carolinian

    That Reuters story says the Uber “safety driver” was watching The Voice via Hulu on her phone at the time of the Tempe accident. She could even be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

    Doubtless there are many non Uber drivers who watch TV while driving not to mention texting and there have been comments here about how GPS can contribute to distracted driving. Should we go old school and ban electronics from cars altogether? Or should we go the other way and make sure our cars have better robot drivers to protect pedestrians from those all too fallible humans?

    Meanwhile some of us who occasionally cycle believe cars should be avoided as much as possible. Bicyclists who mix it up with cars on busy highways are taking a very big risk indeed.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Which isn’t to say anything about the ability to protect individual autonomous cars from being hacked or the possibility that entire fleets of these cars could be hacked at any time. The possibility was demonstrated quite entertainingly in the eighth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise.

      Doubtless there are many non Uber drivers who watch TV while driving not to mention texting and there have been comments here about how GPS can contribute to distracted driving. Should we go old school and ban electronics from cars altogether? Or should we go the other way and make sure our cars have better robot drivers to protect pedestrians from those all too fallible humans?

      I’m guessing the ability to spend more time on their cellphones is the primary motivation for the consumer hype behind autonomous cars. As opposed to any measure which increases roadway safety. It also provides yet another gimmick for the car industry to expand sales.

      A new and stricter law was just passed in Oregon that banned people from using cellphones while behind the wheel. It involves anything that requires taking both hands off the wheel for extended periods of time or that requires swiping.

      1. Carolinian

        Well non automated cars can be hacked already and this was demonstrated with a Jeep model. The truth is that car engines have been computer controlled for a long time and this has been a great advance when dealing with complicated fuel injection and pollution controls. What’s new is the concept of networking these cars via cell internet and that probably is a bad idea. If the car dealer can update your firmware over the web then so can the hackers.

        IMO automation does have the potential to improve safety even if that may not be the primary focus of the researchers or the car companies. In techie lingo this would be a “knock-on effect.”

        1. Andrew Watts

          Contemporary car hacks require direct access which means they can do several nasty things to your car anyway. Self-driving cars have tech that makes remote hacking and GPS spoofing theoretically possible and I guarantee you that security is a low priority afterthought.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Robo-cars are being hyped in the hope that social attention mass-paid to robo-cars will be social attention mass-diverted away from being paid to various kinds of mass-transit.

        I remember about 15 or twenty years ago there was a lot of hype about “smart roads” which would allow train-travel equivalents of cars and passengers to pack onto smartened-up roads and highways and achieve semi-mass transit THAT way, without having to bother with old-fashioned retrograde steel wheels on steel rails. That was also designed to soak up all the attention away from mass transit in order to delay investment in mass transit long enough to hopefully deny it forever. This is the best reference I can find to relict micro-survivals of the Great Smart Roads Dream.

      3. Odysseus

        I’m guessing the ability to spend more time on their cellphones is the primary motivation for the consumer hype behind autonomous cars.

        Commuting is a worthless, soul-sucking, evil waste of time.

        Any technology which allows me to pay less attention to traffic while commuting is worth a large portion of my soul.

        Quit screwing around with automation level 3 technology. Give me level 5 or give me death.

        1. Andrew Watts

          If this country had a modern rail system we could move daily commuters over long distances in a more comfortable and efficient manner. I feel a great deal of sympathy for people who are trapped like crazed sardines in their tincans every day though.

          1. Wukchumni

            Someday, we’ll be able to approach 19th century standards again as far as railroads being useful in the Golden State.

            As fresno dan related, you can’t even get there from here, there being Fresno to SF, they have to bus you into the city from the outskirts.

            We’ve hollowed out our transportation, and thing that separates us from our Bizarro World cold war competitor the USSR is, they generally had really good public transport as evidenced by the Moscow subway photos, and in Prague in the 1990’s, I rode on subway cars built in 1986 in the USSR, that were of a high standard.

            We’re leaving a Poortemkin Village behind in our descent.

  9. Eclair

    RE: Changes in the Gulf Stream.
    “One of the central questions of our time, of course, is the ­degree to which man-made sources have contributed to climate change, and in this case, what role they played in the AMOC slowdown. Interestingly, the authors of one study ­attribute the cause mainly to human-induced factors (i.e., those that have played a part in the relatively new phenomenon of swiftly melting ice), while those of the other suggest it probably began for natural reasons around 150 years ago but has since been aided and abetted by our own collective impact on the changing climate.
    As with contemporary politics, there is no clear consensus.”

    Yeah, we wouldn’t want to give our readers the impression that they can do anything about global warming.

    1. kgw

      Similar to a great article I read many years ago by Michael Parenti…He was watching a BBC special on the advancing rates of asthma among the poor in the large cities in England, of interest to him because he deals with asthma himself.
      The hour-long documentary wrung its hands all the way to the end on the suffering of the children but never dealt with the source of the issue. He said he sat their quizzically having a “media-moment,” like a senior-moment, he said.
      No mention that the living spaces of the “poor” were situated near factories and major roadways.

      1. JBird

        Well yeah, if they admitted to the causes, they might feel compelled to actually do something. Right now they can virtue signal, or in that instance blame the poors for their suffering, and not actually do ****-all. A win-win.

    2. Procopius

      Yeah, we wouldn’t want to give our readers the impression that they can do anything about global warming.

      Well, I hope you understand that anything we start doing now won’t show any noticeable effect for a couple hundred years. I’m not saying there’s nothing we can do, but I am saying we must recognize that this is going to take longer than a couple of human lifetimes. I suspect some form of new religion is needed. You know one of the tenets of Mormonism is that they are required by their God to keep a year’s supply of canned goods? Something like that, but having to do with controlling carbon emissions. Or the idea from decades ago, to monitor stored radioactive waste, which has a half-life of hundreds or thousands of years, we need a new religious order dedicated to the task.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Ohh . . . . I don’t know . . .

        We have seen at least one example in our lifetime of how a discrete event which changes the heat-balance/ heat budget of the earth surface and atmosphere can have an effect within a year and last for several years. And that example was the Mount Pinatubo eruption.

        I remember seeing a CBC news special years ago several years after the Pinatubo eruption. They noted that in the several years before the Pinatubo eruption, the sea ice in Hudson’s Bay formed later in fall and melted earlier in spring than was traditional . . . leading to polar bears becoming unable to hunt for seals in their normal way and becoming thinner and then emaciated and starving. But when Pinatubo erupted and for several years thereafter, there was enough high-atmosphere dust and especially sulfuric acid droplets ( from all the erupted sulfur dioxide) that enough sunlght was stopped from reaching earth surface that heat buildup and temperatures reduced and ice-formation recovered somewhat. Polar bears for those couple years were fat and healthy and were even referred to as “pinatubo bears”.

        Now, if that has all been disproved and debunked by more recent science and analysis, then that happy example is no such thing. But if “pinatubo bears” really is/was a thing, then we could achieve something similar over decades or perhaps faster with supporting greatly increased plant growth and especially soil-recapture and soil-storage of mass-amounts of CO2 over millions of square miles of plant-growing land.

        1. Odysseus

          then we could achieve something similar over decades or perhaps faster with supporting greatly increased plant growth and especially soil-recapture and soil-storage of mass-amounts of CO2 over millions of square miles of plant-growing land.

          I’m in. So that’s two of us.

          Now how do you recruit the other 100 million you’re going to need?

  10. Altandmain

    Re: Apple and its keyboard problems.

    It took them a really long time to get any acknowledgement about this problem. They really seem to have screwed over their customer base on this one.

    I am fortunate that I do not own a Macbook, but I do have friends that do and after this, I am more sure that buying one is not a fit for me. Plus I love being able to tinker, udrgade the RAM DIMMs, update to a faster SSD, upgrade the wireless chip, install Linux, and repair it myself.

    IFixIt, the repair website has given Macbooks a very poor score in that regard. Louis Rossmann has a few good videos as well on YouTube. They are a Mac Repair Shop currently based in NYC.

    It seems like Apple is throwing a lot of customer good will down the toilet the way they mishandled this.

    The sad thing is that the whole episode started because they wanted to make laptops thinner, whereas with other laptops, replacing the keyboard is much easier. The other is that Apple hardware has historically been overpriced for what you get.

    It looks like the software of the Macbook is also undergoing a lot of crapification. They are a phone company now first and foremost. The laptops, Macbook Pro, and other applications now take a backseat to the iPhone and iOS.

    I would not be surprised if a lot of people who purchased a Macbook got left out of this fix that were affected. Judging by the Rossman videos, these plans are often incomplete in their coverage of those who are affected by the poor design decisions that Apple made.

    1. sd

      Apple made it very very clear that it stopped caring about its professional users with its new slimmed down MacBook Pro in 2016.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Apple’s been ignoring their desktop users forever. I’ve stopped upgrading my operating system and have shut off most of their cookies. Apple is not on my side anymore, and as one of their customers since 1990 I feel like they now see me solely as data to harvest.

        Given that Apple has always cost more, this seems like a very poor way to reward faithful customers but maybe I was naive for thinking Apple was alone among all US corporations in actually trying to serve their customers instead of exploiting them.

        1. dcblogger

          Years ago I saw Richard Stallman speak and remember him saying that choosing between Microsoft and Apple was like choosing your slave master and the only way to live free was free software. I am beginning to think that he is correct.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Is “free software” as easy to use as Apple or Microsoft without having to be a computer and programming hobbyist? The way you don’t have to be with Apple or Microsoft?

            Or is having “free software” like having a hotrod which you are always fixing and maintaining and getting under-the-hood-of and putting on-the-rack and etc.? Because if that’s what is involved, then you are a slave to the “free software” itself in that it consumes hours and days and years of your attention fixing it and replacing parts and polishing it and washing it and buffing it over and over again forever.

            Of course, if you are a software hobby-ologist then it doesn’t feel like being a slave to the “free software” because you are a hobbyist and constantly fixing and maintaining software will give you the same pleasure which constantly fixing and maintining an old MG sports car gives the owner of an old MG sports car.

            But I am not a computer hobbyist. If my choice is either being the slave to an easy-to-use brand name software master or being the slave to a “free MG-sports-car” software program that I constantly have to fix and pay attention to and maintain . . . then I will choose to be a slave to AppleSoft rather than to Free Hobby Program, because at least AppleSoft will waste less of my time and waste less of my life.

            1. c_heale

              Free software which is the main open source software is as easy to use as proprietary software in many cases. There is no need to maintain it and I think this comment is strawmanning tbh. However, there are a couple of problems. There are certain software packages where the open source software is not as good or as widely used as the proprietary software, and there is often some incompatibility between open source software and proprietary software, which can cause issues (formatting problems in word processing software). It’s best to stick to one package and not have to convert between them. Having said that, I use open source and free software all the time. Sometimes it is better than any commercial software.

        2. Procopius

          Steve Jobs was the world’s greatest salesman, and I think he understood that the way to gain complete dominance is to have your satisfied customers coming back while you continue to gain new customers. I don’t think his replacement(s) have understood that. They think in businessmen’s terms, not salesmen’s terms. They also believe in Schumpeter’s “creative destruction.”

      2. Lambert Strether

        Yes. If you’re a professional content creator, you type a lot so you need a good keyboard. (If you’re a consumer, all you have to do is tap and swipe). So this is another kick in the teeth from Apple.

        Why can’t Tim Cook be honest and fair to his users and sell the business he hates, instead of slowly strangling it to death?

  11. PlutoniumKun

    BMW joins Airbus in Brexit warning BBC

    Brexit: a shot across the bows Richard North

    I think we are beginning to see the first surface manifestations of panic as its finally getting through that entire industries face enormous turbulence in the event of a hard or chaotic Brexit. I think if this builds up over the summer it makes it a little more likely that we’ll see a capitulation by May to the ‘backstop’ over Northern Ireland – in other words, a complete surrender to EU conditions in order to win the transition period. In order for this to happen the business/pragmatist wing of the Tories has to completely sideline the Brexiteers/DUP. The history of the Tory party indicates that this is what will happen, cash always defeats ideology.

    1. Synoia

      cash always defeats ideology.

      Where is this not true?

      Obviously in the US. I’m sure our beloved elected never put money above their duties to their constituents.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Our MSM also helps when cash just isn’t enough. It prides itself on how fast it can spin the public into a 180 degree turn in beliefs and attitudes. I imagine there is some competition going on with our good friends the British MSM which will rev up it’s own spin machine on whatever brand new Brexit reality it’s told to make the British public swallow. The Guardian provides an escape valve in comments for the moderate discontents and I suppose others do much the same for the harder cases; all but those who are finally waking up to that morning when things aren’t right anymore can’t be made to go away.

    2. begob

      I expect it will need a few deployments of the wall of propaganda, but the new editor at the Daily Mail only takes over in November – after the party conferences and the final summit.

      1. J Sterling

        Compare the 100,000 in London with the well over half a million (up to a million in some estimates) who marched in the same city against the Iraq invasion, and that still happened.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force”

    Fortunately there has been no funding being given this supposed new Space Force. Perhaps they are waiting until they can send astronauts into space by themselves without hitching a ride with the Russians (‘Your Uber is here, Komrade!’) or maybe they are waiting until they don’t need to use Russian rocket boosters to put their stuff in orbit. Whatever.
    I see though that Trump has fallen pray to this idea of “dominance” as so many have in Washington DC. A presence is not enough – it has to be dominance! In idle moments I sometimes wonder whether there is a cabal of dominatrixes enclaved in Washington with their black leather outfits, fish-net stockings and riding crops lording it over the Washington elites and filling their heads with all sort of ideas. It would explain a lot in how Washington always wants to dominate the land, air, sea, space, cyber, economy, etc.
    And what is supposed to be the end result of a Space Force. Nuclear satellites circling the earth in polar orbits waiting for the command to drop down onto the earth’s surface (Look! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Oh god, its a dropping nuke!)? Military Space Stations armed with multiple nukes aimed at the Earth as seen in “Space Cowboys”? Or will it be more like this-

    Or maybe what they are really hoping for is this-

    1. Wyoming

      There is huge opposition to this force in the military and their resistance to the idea is why Trump finally decided to try and force the issue. See here:

      This cannot happen without Congress approving of it and that is far from certain. It will find its proponents as all ideas do but they will be driven by the image of extra profits or new career paths, not need for such an entity.

      As to the militarization of space…well there is noting in this proposal which will speed it or slow it either way the decision goes. That will happen regardless.

      1. Procopius

        It will find its proponents as all ideas do…

        All they need is one general who finds a supplement to his quarter-million-dollar pension through this boondoggle and they’ve got it made. When I was on active duty, the saying was, “Nobody ever got rich being a soldier.” That’s no longer true, although I suppose it depends on what you count as “rich.” And, you know, it’s funny, but as generals have been paid more they seem to have become less competent.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Dominance – that’s an interesting issue.

      Humanity, without being intentional, has come to dominate the whole world. The dominance was not an explicitly conceived goal that the human race (species) has persevered to achieved over thousands of years.

      It’s our very nature. We only settle for a presence when the situation on the chess board dictates it. Alexander only turned back when his soldiers got too tired, for example. The Mongols, when they heard the news of the death of the great Khan.

      Even the non-dominating Buddhists could have dominated Europe back way but for the facts on the ground.

    3. Brian

      A hit from a laser has no mass and the only thing that could cause movement would be a hole in the suit releasing air. Would this be enough to counter the initial velocity of the suit and inhabitant itself? maybe not
      would big intergalactic ships really fly around attacking a larger ship like moths to a flame? not likely
      There is no sound in space. There is no reality in hollywood.
      I suspect many in congress believe this is how it would really work though. These rubes think hollywood is real and we let them govern outside a nuthutch? What do you expect from them, sentience?

      1. ewmayer

        Photons are massless but just as they possess kinetic energy, they do carry momentum* – that’s the idea behind using solar sails for interstellar propulsion.

        *Since photons are intrinsically purely relativistic creatures you can’t use either the classic nonrelativistic formula for momentum (p = mv) or kinetic energy (e = mv^2/2) on them; it is useful to think of the formula for relativistic mass taking a 0 (rest mass of photon) times infinity (relativistic factor for speed-of-light object) and the product in effect yielding a finite nonzero relativistic mass for the photon, but even that is flawed because it omits the electromagnetic-wave frequency f of the photon, which features in the actual formulae for its momentum (p = hf/c) and energy (e = hf), where h is Planck’s constant.

    4. Amfortas the Hippie

      please tell us more about the cabal of dominatrixes that run the show.
      I like that a lot better than alien reptiles in human suits, although I reckon the latter is a pretty good rationalisation for the behaviour we observe.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Why yes, I can tell you a bit more. An image has surfaced on the net of one of these dominatrix with one of her client/slaves in Washington. With his costume on, it is hard to distinguish the identity of the “client” but it is either General Stryker, Admiral “Fat” Leonard, Senator Frank Neocon or Congressman Neil Liberal. Image at-

        One could say that it is a matter of a person being submissive in the horizontal wanting to overcompensate by being dominant in the vertical.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    Torturing little children is the a [sic] way to begin exterminating a people.

    This, from your link, is what happens when you can’t win an argument on the facts. And here is an actual fact:

    Why do we need more people?

    The basic question remains. The pat answer over the past 20 years — “to do the jobs Americans just won’t do” — may seem to have some salience with a 3.9 percent unemployment rate. But that only further raises the question. After at least two decades of wage stagnation and even decline, now that we’ve finally reached the nirvana of full employment (and who knows how long it will last), why not take advantage of this tight labor market to raise wages across the board? Especially for the working and middle classes that got nowhere or even lost ground during the housing, finance and tech booms of recent years?

    Just about everyone knows the answer: because the business community does not like tight labor markets and the concomitant necessity to raise wages. That’s bad for the bottom line. The solution? More workers! And so the Chamber of Commerce annex — a.k.a. Capitol Hill Republicans — dutifully attempt to do their donors’ bidding at the expense of their voters’ interests.

    1. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      June 23, 2018 at 10:37 am

      The basic question remains. The pat answer over the past 20 years — “to do the jobs Americans just won’t do” —
      there is nothing that drives me more insane than the above phrase, supposedly given by totally logical economic thinking types.
      But the true phrase is, “to do the jobs Americans just won’t do at the wages offered
      REMARKABLY, the market solution of RAISING WAGES can never be implemented……

      ANY economics textbook starts with the concept of supply and demand. And the open borders crowd (AKA maintainers of the reserve army of labor) will tell you people should be free to move….but heaven forbid prescription drugs (or any product “protected” by patents) have the same freedom to move…..

      1. sleepy

        But the true phrase is, “to do the jobs Americans just won’t do at the wages offered
        REMARKABLY, the market solution of RAISING WAGES can never be implemented……

        Exactly. I’ve said the very same thing over and over for years. The retort is usually along the lines of “but the price of lettuce will quadruple!” No, it won’t. How much per head of lettuce are labor costs? Ten cents on the $1.49 retail price? Triple those costs to 30 cents paid for good wages and benefits, and the price goes to $1.69.

        Maybe someone more knowledgeable about labor costs in agriculture than I am can chime in, but I think my statement is on the right track.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s not the labor costs, it’s the ability to do the labor.

          How many Americans could climb up and down a 20 foot ladder, picking oranges @ the rate of about a ton a day?

          1. sleepy

            Raise the wages sufficiently and let’s find out how many Americans would, or could as you phrase it, do the work.

            1. sleepy

              Missed the edit time–

              Your characterization of Americans being unfit to do that sort of work imho isn’t much different than the statements that Americans won’t do that sort of work ignoring the fact that Americans won’t do it at the wage scale offered.

              Here in Iowa, detasselling corn is tough, nasty field work that is done every summer by high school and college students that are paid $15/hr and there is no shortage of Americans willing to do it. In California that would probably be a $25/hr.

          2. Fiery Hunt

            And why does it have to be a ton a day?

            Hire 2 people at a half ton…or 3 at 1/3 ton…or 4 at…

            Assumptions that destroy are no good at all.
            Foreigners are no different than Americans.

            1. tegnost

              don’t fall into the trap that there is some genetic difference between a Mexican Ag worker (what about all the other latin countries, do they not have the gene?) I work with lots of latin workers and their blood comes out red just like mine…if I needed it they could donate their blood to me, depending on blood type. Some Californians just can’t imagine a world they’ve never seen. At the same time the almond growers who are ” corporate farms looking for an exotic return on their gotten gains” could only pick their crops with this genetically superior race of farm worker, the fact of their being cheaper and easier to get rid of has nothing to do with it, rest assured…/s

          3. kareninca

            “It’s not the labor costs, it’s the ability to do the labor.
            How many Americans could climb up and down a 20 foot ladder, picking oranges @ the rate of about a ton a day?”

            You need to think outside the box here. You are assuming that a farm laborer has to pick a ton a day, in the heat of the day. At the present wages, sure. However, there is another option. If s/he earns a wage that is 2000 times higher, s/he would only have to pick a pound a day to earn the same amount. And they could then time their picking to be in the cooler hours. That of course would be a bit extreme. However, the principal holds.

            What if farm laborers earned four times as much? Don’t you think there are a lot of people around who could work one-fourth as hard as the present workers? I do. I bet I could. I bet you could. And you know what – I think that farm laborers should work about one-fourth as hard as they presently do. Or, if you double the wages and halve the work, that would not bring in as many people, but still perhaps enough.

            Farm labor actually does not pay terribly presently. The absolute wage is not that bad compared with a lot of other jobs. The problem is the long hours and bad conditions. If you held the wage constant, but cut the hours a lot, it would be a different situation altogether.

            You could actually have a system where people work reasonable hours, in a reasonable manner, for wages that are high enough to live on. Yes, produce would cost more.

            1. Wukchumni

              I guess the acid test would be to see what produce costs in countries that don’t have reliable Mexican Ag workers, on the cheap?

              And one little tidbit, when the orange crop is ready for picking, is when it has to be done, you can’t pick your spots when you want to work, and it’s more advantageous to the owner to get it done in one fell swoop. In a citrus orchard of a few thousand trees which is pretty normal, we’re talking about 300-400 oranges per tree. There’ll be 20-30 of the Ag workers cars parked by the curb when harvest time comes.

              Now multiply the trees by a factor of say 100 million. There’s plenty of work for Americans anxious to earn an honest living.

              1. ambrit

                I’ve done orange picking. Your output is measured in ‘field bins.’ Each field bin being a tub about four foot high by four by four and a half foot across. Each tub holds roughly 900 pounds of oranges. The average picker will make $7.00 to $8.00 an hour. It’s physically hard work.
                Then there is the phenomenon of “Agents” hired to procure the pickers. These ‘agents,’ I can testify from personal observation, skim the wages of the pickers. So, while I earned about fifty dollars for a hard days work, the ‘agent’ earned something off of my labour, and spent the day ‘overseeing’ his crew from the back of his van, smoking dope and playing loud music. Since there were about ten or twelve pickers in this crew, even if he only earned ten dollars from each picker, he made out a h— of a lot better than most of us grunt workers. (He wouldn’t even share the dope. Crook.)
                Some figures:
                So, this is a case where “an honest living” is code for “exploitation is the order of the day.”

                1. fresno dan

                  June 23, 2018 at 7:29 pm

                  The hard times of poor white fighters in California provide the background for this brilliant, unflinching and sorely overlooked masterpiece by director John Huston. Stacy Keach is Tully, a down-on-his-luck alcoholic boxer earning money as a field worker while trying for a comeback.
                  Its funny how England and Europe built railways without Chinese or Irish immigrants, but SOMEHOW the US couldn’t….or for that matter, how agriculture could be done ALL over the world without slaves.
                  YUP, the US has one singular economy…..
                  I can remember, back in my youth, running into the motel to keep from being eaten by a T. rex, that most of the motel maids* were Caucasian….. must of been that fear of being dinosuar mcnuggets that made them work as motel housekeepers….

                  *my experience is motel 8 in California’s central valley, where the motel housekeeping staff is essentially just Latina. Are there white housekeeping staff at low cost motels in northern/whiter states?

                  1. Wukchumni

                    It was pretty common when I was growing up in SoCal that 16-18 year old kids in high school worked @ fast food places, but i’ve not seen one in eons, in fact you seldom see an employee that isn’t a hard working Hispanic in their 20’s or 30’s now.

                    But then again, you hardly see on the cusp adults working anymore in these United States on the left coast, why’s that?

                    1. JBird

                      You are right. My lily white family did field work (very reluctantly I think) as well as just about any other work that they could get. I do think that the minimum wage was a little higher and/or the cost of living lower.

                      No, that’s not the only reason. The availability of work was widespread and the wages match an area’s cost of living.

                  2. J Sterling

                    I’m sure England could have built railways without Irish immigrant workers, but historically they had lots of Irish immigrant workers, and the canals before them. It’s why “Irish navvy” is a phrase; it means navigator, i.e. canal digger.

                    I think you make the mistake of thinking America is the only country with a history of immigration, but 10% of English people have an Irish grandparent (and therefore eligibility for an Irish passport post-Brexit).

                    I agree with you that immigrant labor is not “needed!” for “the economy!”, but the phenomenon goes back further and in more countries than you may realize.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That seems like a race to the bottom….for you can always design more work that would require even more ‘willing’ workers from even more desperate parts of the world who would do that new work which American workers and current foreign guest workers would not.

            1. fresno dan

              June 23, 2018 at 6:09 pm

              As Dean Baker always points out, somehow all the desperate doctors, dentists, and CEO’s from 3rd world countries never manage to sneak in…..

            2. John Wright

              One way for a risky/arduous job to be automated is to have human labor priced high enough to justify automation.

              If an employer can find human labor at a low enough price, there is no pressure to design machines to do the work.

              There are some people who suggest that Social Security will be troubled by lack of workers to support it in the future.

              Have the Social Security trust fund invest in robots that will be rented to businesses and you have more workers(mechanical ones) supporting Social Security.

              Climate change may force much re-thinking of the demand for human labor.
              If the lifetime expected CO2 production of a human worker, from birth to death, is much more than the lifetime expected CO2 production of a robot, from birth to scrap, that can replace a human worker over the same working life, the world may want to substitute more machines for more humans.

        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          what would the labor cost be if those folks(lettuce pickers) owned the company?
          There’s lots of things get left out of these discussions.

      2. boz

        Fresno Dan you are spot on.

        We are starting to hear the same bleating here in the UK ahead of Brexit.

        “Fruit will rot in the fields!” Etc

        Well…no it won’t. Invest in automated machinery (and increase your productivity) or pay higher wages. The eta of exploitative cheap labour is over.

        Food costs are goin’ up.

      1. Lambert Strether

        And falling life expectancy in the flyover states does not meet the definition of genocide.

        Actually, I don’t think it does, but I’m surprises that the argument hasn’t surfaced.

        1. ewmayer

          Its only genocide if the victims are some kind of MSM-and-policy-elites-designated ‘special vulnerable oppressed group’ deserving of extraordinary help, whether in form of regime change or permanent massive foreign-aid subsidy. Backwards-looking flyover-state Deplorabes resisting induction into or failing to make the cut for the local Amazon warehouse-hellhole don’t qualify, nor do starving cholera-ridden Yemenis or those thousands of annual lawnmower-accident victims in the open-air prison of Gaza.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          White-grievance Nationalists think the falling life expectancy in the flyover states does meet the definition of genocide. They have a word for it. They call it “white genocide”, meaning a program to exterminate the white people and fill the vacated space with third world immigrants.

          Well. . . that’s what they think. The Two Party SystemLords still have a few years to prove them wrong by freezing and then reversing the falling life expectancy in the flyover states. But every year that goes by with the Two Party SystemLords remaining committed to lowering life expectancy in the flyover states makes the White-grievance Nationalist accusation of “white genocide” seem more reality-based to more people.

      1. Aumua

        Haha nobody cares about the truth any more. If I was to point out where images like this weren’t genuine on social media, I would most likely be attacked in some way or another. Most people seem to take it very personally when you challenge their beliefs in this way, especially when emotions are running so high. But it’s not really real emotions, and it’s not real outrage. It’s all virtual.Your phone is telling you personally what to think, based on what the algorithm determines about who you are. It’s getting completely out of control.

      2. fresno dan

        June 23, 2018 at 11:12 am

        (the picture of a little boy in a cage)
        It has since emerged that the picture was in fact not from a detention facility at all, and instead was taken at a protest against Trump’s immigration policies held on June 10 outside Dallas City Hall. The demonstration organized by Brown Berets de Cemanahuac was held to call out the policy of family separation and confining undocumented children.
        Ergo: an activist journalist and undocumented immigrant makes it look as if a picture depicts something that in reality it did not. Note also that the article says he wanted to comment on the Trump immigration crackdown, because he has memories of the Obama immigration crackdown, when he saw children locked up. But then, hey, that’s social media, right? Anyone can say anything.
        Incredible. First, would it really have been that hard to find a photo of a child caged BECAUSE of Trump policies? Second, but more importantly, why is it SUCH a big deal when Trump does it but not when Obama does it?
        and third….truth dies in darkness

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Weird, I was also responding to Aby’s post about the children being separated at the border qualifying as genocide.

      And indeed, that is what all of the 24/7 news channels are covering, not even a mention of the PPC in the crawl. As evidenced by the replies to my comment, you pretty much have to be on social media for it to register. I did find a liveblog from TruthDig online.

      And no, nothing about babies in Flint, MI or Yemen.

  14. Brindle

    Trump Rally in Duluth, MN….

    I know this yesterday;s news but I wanted to share a some things about Duluth and the rally. I lived in Duluth for a few years and know it fairly well. My brother, who works near the site of the rally said many people were bussed in for the rally from Wisconsin and other areas to insure the arena was filled. He said that what he noticed about the people walking around downtown Duluth with MAGA hats etc was how many were over-weight .
    Duluth poltically is one of the more progressive small cities in the country. It’s U.S. Representative, Dick Nolan is a classic old-style FDR–New Deal Liberal. He generally does good work.. Duluth has a thriving craft beer scene . Yes, Duluth does have problems—but because Trump holds a rally there it shouldn;t be tar & feathered like the sophmoric Ana Marie-Cox article,.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Good points but the observation about weight really could have gone without saying. The degree to which Americans have been victimized by massive ad campaigns to sell crappy food is bipartisan. R’s love to point to fat inner city welfare recipients and ‘fat shaming’ is a constant when elites discuss the masses these days.

      Nolan is retiring this year and the scramble for his seat is complicated by a big mining deal hated by progressives but it would mean jobs in an area with out of work miners. Franken-replacement US Senator Tina Smith just voted for that mine. The Bush admin carpetbagger RW Painter is running for the D nomination against Smith by campaigning against the mining deal.

      Duluth will be in play this fall. That would not be possible if the Democrats still represented working people.

      1. sleepy

        I posted yesterday about how much I liked Duluth, its history, its natural beauty, its architecture, and so on. That is easy for me to say since I don’t live or work there being 5 hours south in Iowa, but the city certainly deserves a fairer shake than the elitist tone of the Cox article.

        If I had to live in Minnesota, I would take Duluth over the Cities or Rochester any day.

        An anecdote regarding the weather–had a friend from Ely who would say that he and his buddies would go down to Duluth in January to get warm! lol

  15. The Rev Kev

    “As South Korea, US, halt military drills, Seoul takes aim at Tokyo”

    The islets mentioned in that article have an interesting history. Japanese claim to Dokdo islets stems from when they seized and occupied Korea over a century ago – an extremely bitter episode in Korean hstory – but neither Korea is having a bar of that argument. Japan was supposed to have renounced sovereignty over its occupied territories after World War II which included those islets but in order to curry favour with Japan, the US awarded the islets to Japan in the same way that they awarded the Chinese Senkaku Islands to Japan as well.
    The US has even bombed those rocks twice and the first time in 1948 29 B-29s killed somewhere between 30 to 100 South Koreans. The US claimed that Japan let them designate them as a bombing range which, considering the number of Korean dead, sounds unlikely. Probably they wanted to scare the South Koreans away from those islets. North Korea has a lot of disputes with South Korea but on this subject they back the South Koreans to the hilt. In any case, the South Korea has built a lot of installations on these islands. The islands have a lighthouse, a helicopter pad, a large South Korean flag visible from the air, a post box, a staircase, and police barracks so they are not budging and aren’t going anywhere.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That ‘Japan renounced sovereignty over its occupied territories after WWII’ has been used, by some (from what I have heard) to support Taiwan Independence.

      That is, Japan did not hand her claim on Taiwan over to the ROC, but only renounced sovereignty over it.

      In that case, Dokto can declare independence if so desire.

      1. Wukchumni

        Taiwan was only a Japanese possession from 1895 on, hardly much precedence there, just a bit longer than their Korean real estate holdings.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The ROC never had sovereignty over Taiwan, as its history dates to some time after 1911, but bases its claim through the Qing dynasty that could date to the early 1600’s after the surrender by the last Tungning king.

          That would make that older than America itself.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Bernie Sanders’s History of Racial Justice Activism Matters Jacobin (Kevin C)

    Racial justice relates to various races, though in the article, it is mostly about African Americans (or is more up to date to say ‘blacks’ again).

    That community, like others, has always been a diverse group of people. Some groups believe that only they can help themselves*. You can search and hear (I used to hear it on Democracy Now and the public radio stations) the speech by Malcolm X about northern white liberals.

    That is just one school of thought among members of that broad community, and it is still around today (will likely always be, in almost all ideas).

    And you get articles like this one (showing, not the viewpoint is necessarily valid or not, but it is still controversial):

    *Watched Brando’s Ugly American recently, and his friend, the Sarkanese leader, Deong, insists on freeing their country by themselves. It seems to be innately human…the desire to help oneself on one’s own. So, a lingering question will always be, Did you emancipate yourselves or some greater being freed you (a lesser being in comparison, or made lesser by the very act)?

      1. Wukchumni

        A great follow up to Burn, would be the amazing “Walker” starring Ed Harris.

        It’s a delicious film that starts out as a 1850’s period piece and then all of the sudden halfway through the film, modernities show up and the plot segues into an allegory for our messing with Central America in the 1980’s.

  17. allan

    Why the middle class can’t afford life in America anymore [NY Post]

    After spending his days teaching AP American History and Economics at the public Live Oak High School in San Jose, Calif., Matt Barry drives for Uber.

    Barry’s wife, Nicole, teaches as well — they each earn $69,000, a combined salary that not long ago was enough to afford a comfortable family life. But due to the astronomical rising costs in his area including real estate — a 1,500-square-foot “starter home” costs $680,000 — driving for Uber was a necessity.

    “Teachers are killing themselves,” Barry says in the new book “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America” (Ecco), out Tuesday. “I shouldn’t be having to drive Uber at eight o’clock at night on a weekday. I just shut down from the mental toll: grading papers between rides, thinking of what I could be doing instead of driving — like creating a curriculum.” …

    According to the handy Household Income Percentile Calculator, Mr. and Mrs. Barry’s household income
    (ignoring the unstated income from Uber) puts them in the 86th percentile. The top 14% isn’t quite the top 10%, but is close. Illustrating why the idea that “the 10%” are responsible for what is wrong in this country is so ludicrous.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > the idea that “the 10%” are responsible for what is wrong in this country is so ludicrous

      Straw man, much? After a whole discussion about how to split the 10%*, too! Sounds like this couple — education generally, really — has an excellent chance of waking up and smelling the coffee.

      * Credentialed, meritocratic, salaried

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      The top 14% isn’t quite the top 10%.

      Which would be the point. And it’s not that the top 10% are responsible for everything that is wrong, it is that recognizing their role in maintaining a status quo that hurts so many is key to changing what’s wrong.

      1. abynormal

        Picked up a PT job at a Dollar Tree…I lasted 4mos. No working bathroom and AC wouldn’t operate when turned over to the individual store. I made 7.36hr and since no one can live off that the turnover was high. I had to work constantly bc people took other jobs for even 10 cents more. When my urine started turning Brown I left…you train yourself to hold it even when you’re not working.
        I need the money but more than that I’m dealing with ‘compassion fatigue’. My father wanted to die at home so I did that…my youngest brother was diagnosed with cancer and died within 9mos. This whole time I was taking care of my mother…a malignant narcissist if there ever was one. Now my little sister has told me she has two growing tumors…we visited the doctor for a second confirmation and she doesn’t have long….harder, she’s choosing no care. You mentioned how I was doing…I feel I’m losing that aby fight. Now I just hurt…hope I bounce back. People are suffering everywhere and many don’t know why…even with the abundance of history.

        Back to Dollar Tree 2017 Incomes:
        Former CEO $12,723,306
        PRES. & CEO $7,734,904
        CFO $3,391,845

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder if the wealth-and-power distance between a lowest-end ten percenter and a highest-end ten percenter is a large as the wealth-and-distance power between a One percenter and a One Percent Of One Percenter ( an OPOOPer) .

        And the same $130,000 which won’t go anywhere in Greater San Frisco will go far in Iowa or Nebraska. But would there be space for the San Jose couple in the example to go to Nebraska or Iowa and get equivalent work?

    3. Anonymous

      Using a generic nation-wide income calculator for a couple struggling to get by in an extreme housing price and income outlier like San Jose isn’t very honest. If that calculator was indexed by zip code that same couple would probably fall below the 60th percentile.

      And yes, I do believe the 10 percent bears a very large portion of the blame for the current state of affairs here in the US. I have a family member that earns north of $800,000 a year that still consider themselves to be struggling “upper-middle class”. Much like the ten-precenters in the Atlantic article. Despite living in a posh neighborhood with decent schools they send their kids to a $40,000 a year private elementary school, complain frequently about taxes and believe Bernie Sander’s agenda was far too “radical”. These family members were solid Clinton voters and Trump-hater, identity issue pearl-clutchers that still manage to love Republican tax and fiscal policy. I have another family member who lives in San Jose who is a caricature of the Clinton voter Trump voters love to hate. This person emigrated to the states in the late 90’s to attend Stanford. They went to work for Google on an H1-B visa and then became a naturalized citizen. They have done well for themselves financially. The United States has been very good to them. I know from FaceBook that this particular family member is vehemently opposed to single payer healthcare, and raising the minimum wage. They supported the TPP and thought it was a great idea to bomb Syria. They rejoiced when Trump voters in Kentucky lost some of their ACA healthcare benefits, but yet they support open borders with state tax payer funded healthcare for illegal immigrants in California. Other than the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting in Omaha (not kidding), I don’t think this person has ever set foot in a red state, but they travel frequently to glamourous destinations abroad, which they like to document on social media. This person was a one-man Hillary Clinton troll during the 2016 election. They absolutely hated Bernie Sanders and always had something snarky and factually dishonest to say about anything Sanders related during the primaries.

      From what I’ve experienced my acquaintances are fairly typical members of the 10%. Coastal, neo-liberal, identitarians that absolutely hate poor, working class, red-state whites. Obama was their dream President, and yes again; I believe they are guilty of supporting bad policy from bad politicians that have given us a fractious, unequal and unjust country that is in danger of tearing itself apart.

      1. allan

        The mean of the top 5% household incomes in Santa Clara County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, is only $499,700. Describing someone who makes $800,000/year there as being in “the 10%”
        shows how obfuscatory the term is. Which is exactly why the 10% and 20% memes are being pushed
        by handmaidens of the ultrawealthy like Brookings (Richard Reeves), the NYT (David Brooks)
        and The Atlantic (Matthew Stewart).
        Demonizing “the 10%” is political malpractice – except for the 0.1%

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          People who stand “accusable” of “membership in the Ten Percent” will be pressed to start identifying Up or identifying Down in the next few years.

        2. Anonymous

          I have no idea what the San Jose family member earns but I imagine it being far less than 800k. It’s probably in the $200k to $300k range. The $800k plus family member is a LA resident. While 800k certainly doesn’t qualify you as ultra-wealthy in any of the coastal metros these days (sadly) the 0.1% is a nice myth because no one besides the Koch brothers ever has to cop to being a point-one percenter. Every kingdom depends on the acquiescence of a small class of aristocrats and technocrats for it’s power. Our new age of American feudalism is no different. The 0.1% could not get away with their current broad daylight larceny without the complicity of the 10% beneath them. These people are close enough to the real money and power to avoid the miserable lives of their fellow countrymen cosigned to the 90%. They realize the benefits of their class position and act accordingly to protect it. Being completely honest, I would agree, that perhaps “10%” is maybe too broad, maybe it is something more like the 5%. But regardless there is blame to go around for a larger share of the population than just the .1%. Any US citizen that is well-off and comfortable that hoards resources while punching down and supporting neo-liberal policies is complicit in my book.

      2. Altandmain

        I agree with the comments of Anonymous (see his above).

        I think that the main reason why so many upper middle class types voted for Clinton and not Sanders was because they instinctively knew that Sanders was going to reduce the gap between the wealthiest 10% and the middle class.

        I’ve seen tons of upper middle class people who have no understanding of how hard things are for the bottom 90%.

        Their lives are basically like this:

        – Have a professional job
        – Have kids, which go to a expensive private school and get nanny care
        – Their kids go into top universities
        – Through their family connections, networking with their university alumni networks, and because many firms only recruit from the most prestigious universities, they get the top jobs
        – Which gives them a “management track” experience

        Then they tend to see the world as a meritocracy when they were lucky at birth. Maybe not as lucky as kids from the 0.1%, but still lucky.

        Dream Hoarders is an interesting take on this one and they focus more on the upper 20%.

        The argument is that the 1% doesn’t have the numbers to stop any reforms, but the upper middle class, which likes to pretend it is not hyper rich, does have he numbers and the wealth. Meanwhile, they get the lion’s share of many tax credits and kick the ladder down for the rest of society.

  18. chuck roast

    Krauthammer bites the dust.
    I saw him once up in Chevy Chase. He was dining outdoors with a woman at a restaurant. We made eye contact, and I immediately thought of the iconic Alfred Eisenstaedt photo of the seated Goebbels. The guy definitely had a vibe.
    In the words of Johnny Rotten on the death of Elvis Presley…”Good riddance to bad trash.

  19. flora

    re: Who is Profiting from Incarcerating Immigrant Families?

    From the article:
    “[investors include] major money managers like BlackRock and Vanguard, which are financing and investing in all of these companies.”

    A Counterpunch article notes that CalPERS is invested in private prisons.

    (possibly via BlackRock)

    An NC article notes that CalPERS is trying to create an essentially ‘no fiduciary responsibility’ setup with a proposed private equity outsourcing scheme.

    “A limited partnership structure unnecessarily institutionalizes the bad governance features of investing in private equity. The disadvantages include:

    No control over the investments and the operation of the funds.

    CalPERS board will have absolutely zero influence over CalPERS InDirect.”

    And as Clive note in the above NC article’s comment section:

    “CalPERS should have been — but apparently could not give a damn about — alert to the risk of ending up with investment in businesses which they later find they don’t want to be associated with.”

    Now back to the article above. Imagine CalPERS staying with BlackRock, even increasing its financial investments, even in a new ‘outsourced – arms length’ investment scheme.

    Then in California it comes to light that BlackRock is investing in private prisons for profit, the very outfits locking up immigrants at the border. CalPERS has to say, ‘gee nothing we can do about that. So sorry. Don’t blame us for the business of caging Latinos for profit at the border.’ Think that won’t turn into a big political issue in California?

    Hello, CalPERS? Don’t outsourse your PE and do divest from private prisons.

    1. Lee

      With over 2 million fellow citizens incarcerated, the real money to be made is imprisoning our own. Not that some of them don’t belong there but a great many do not. I wonder how many cruelly and unnecessarily busted up families that adds up to. Will be hearing the cries of these kids separated from their locked up loved ones?

      How about the 20,000 in the juvenile justice system, most locked up for non-violent crimes and the 7,200 whose offenses weren’t even criminal? And then there’s the 4,500 juveniles serving time in adult facilities.

      1. Wukchumni

        I live in Prisonville, aka the Central Valley.

        In Delano, there are competing penitentiaries across the road from one another!

        Sometimes it gets a little weird, such as when the women’s prison in Chowchilla got sexually reassigned 5 years ago…

        CHOWCHILLA, Calif. — Formerly Valley State Prison for Women, the new Valley State Prison recently completed its conversion from a women’s facility to a men’s prison in an effort to utilize facilities and relieve overcrowding in California state prisons.

      2. flora

        I agree. Divesting from private prison companies is a good idea for many, many reasons.

          1. Procopius

            I thought everybody knew that. There was somebody complaining a few years ago because some state discovered they had to either provide bodies (slave raiding?) to fill the prison or pay the owners additional fees on top of the regular annual charges. How they signed contracts without reading them I don’t know, but they must have been completely focused on not raising taxes. This year. Illinois? Arizona? Don’t remember.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We’re lucky those corporations haven’t come up with more schemes to incarcerate the homeless.

          Are they just not that smart or not that greedy? Why don’t they want to incarcerate the homeless?

          Assuming (not a bad bet) money is driving them to incarcerate Americans and foreigners .

            1. flora

              adding: this issue of squeezing poor families to pay for their family member’s prison “fees” is very much a poor peoples’ issue, imo.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Maybe less money per head, but they still get to expand their ‘customer’ base.

                So if not as profitable per inmate, in total, it’s still more profitable.

  20. shinola

    From the Caitlin Johnstone article on Charles Krauthammer:

    “[Krauthammer] was evil, he served evil, and it is good that he is now dead. Hopefully McCain, Kissinger and Cheney soon follow, with increasingly great disdain shown to their infernal legacies.”

    Could not have said better myself.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One option is to exit the US via say Tijuana and let oneself be caught on purpose trying to sneak back in (it helps if you do a convincing foreign accent).

      It’s like those Japanese seniors committing crimes to get housing.

  21. tegnost

    Independent re we don’t know what brexit will be like…well I’d say we know it will be bad, maybe just not what specific flavor of bad. I’d say worse than greece due to the size of the uk economy, speaking of stalemates ireland is a big “?” to me as ireland also could end up a winner but that’s just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing if it sticks

    1. Oregoncharles

      Ireland winds up a winner if the solution to the Irish border is to eliminate it altogether by reuniting the island.

      Ireland winds up a loser if the result of Brexit is a disruptive hard border across Ulster. That would be a nasty shock to the economy and a lot of people, and that is the logical outcome of the present process. I thought Varadkar’s bluster early on made little sense because of this; of COURSE it’s his problem, unless Germany is willing to administer the border and reimburse the Irish people that lose because of it.

      Granted, the latter could lead to the former, as the shock to NI’s economy would be, at best, similar. I’m still fantasizing a Celtic League between a united Ireland and Scotland. They actually have a lot of the same problems, and supposedly the Highlanders immigrated from Ireland. Since the Unionists mostly immigrated from Scotland, rather more recently, this might work out. (My mother’s family were Orangemen).

    2. ChrisPacific

      I think it’s fairly clear at this point that it’s either going to be total capitulation to the EU position in order to secure the transition period (the PlutoniumKun scenario upthread) or crash-out Brexit.

      The Independent article frames it as total capitulation vs. what they call “Canada minus” but I don’t think the second is feasible as it requires an agreement on NI that is acceptable to Ireland. The idea that the UK government might be capable of delivering that outcome requires too much suspension of disbelief for me to stomach. Even if they were to adopt reality-based thinking and start taking EU positions into consideration tomorrow (spoiler: they won’t) it’s probably already too late for anything meaningful to be accomplished along those lines. The Independent claims that “the Prime Minister now realizes that no deal is not an option at all” but that’s not the same as saying that she is willing to take the necessary actions to avert it, or that she is able to accomplish them. Remember, it’s the default position in the absence of an agreement.

      1. Wukchumni

        Of all the 2nd comings, Krauthammer reemerging as a pseudo deity is my current nightmare, thanks.

      2. The Rev Kev

        According to a page at

        “The best and most common method to put a ghost to rest. Digging up a ghost’s remains and salting and burning the bones, will help the spirit to cross over to the next life. When a ghost’s bones are successfully salted and burned, it will go up in flames. This method is used for violent and vengeful spirits.”

        So, who is up for going by a supermarket to pick up a box of salt, lighter fluid and a box of matches?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Thats good. Defamation is wrong. Charles Krauthammer used pseudo-intellectualism and civility to promote horrid policies for decades. There is no need to falsely tarnish his well deserved and wretched reputation. Their ilk shouldn’t get to hide behind their families. They’ve destroyed families in their lives in real ways. ‘

      Even now, would be Krauthammers are desperate to soak up nostalgia and a misunderstanding of the phrase “do not speak ill of the dead” to emotionally connect to viewer and readership in hopes of pushing their own hideous agendas to the less vigilant.

      1. JBird

        Caitlin Johnstone really does not like him. Mind you I usually try not to speak ill of the dead, as I think it is very unpolite, even rude, but I guess “…what a wheelchair full of toxic human waste…” is an accurate description of Mr. Krauthammer.

    2. ewmayer

      I certainly have nothing bad to say about the now-demised Mr. Krauthammer, seeing as he (hopefully) no longer poses a threat to humankind. But I reserve the right to speak ill of his life and ‘accomplishments’ therein.

    3. Tom Denman

      I’ll concede that calling Krauthammer “a wheelchair full of toxic human waste” is a bit overwrought (like the metaphors in Duran Duran lyrics). But Johnstone’s piece is a useful corrective to the outpouring of insincerity that inevitably follows the death of a member of the Washington establishment.

      I find such hypocrisy to be disgusting and am bracing myself for the torrent of crocodile tears that will come after the eventual death of the senior Senator from Arizona.

  22. tegnost

    re immigration: we’re going to wind up with catch and release, I’m looking at seattle trying to manage the homeless crisis and seeing some parallels…they can’t fix it without messing up the golden state of the top 9.9% (as mentioned on nc yesterday) so they’ll end up doing nothing since, hello, no one else matters in the late great us of a, and catch and release will guarantee a trump re election and probable divorce from melania an I’m sure this is not the life she was looking for…

    1. dcblogger

      We are dealing with human beings here. Catch and release is a dehumanizing terminology. We got on fine for centuries with releasing immigrants while they waited on a decision on their case. Imprisoning them is a recent practice (dating, I think, to the Clinton administration). It is being done for the sake of the for profit prisons.

      1. Wukchumni

        You know how it goes in these United States, if it’s profitable-it’s worth doing.

        Other countries glimpse prisons as a necessary evil, we look at them as a way to make money.

      2. sleepy

        I thought “catch and release” also referred to allowing the immigrant to file for voluntary departure in lieu of deportation as well as foregoing criminal prosecution for the misdemeanor of illegal entry.

        As I understand the current scheme of zero tolerance, those who enter illegally, i.e., not through a port of entry (where entry would be denied anyway) are now being 1) prosecuted for that misdemeanor and 2) subsequently deported. In the absence of voluntary departure being allowed by the immigration officials, each of those two steps requires court hearings with attorneys and can take months. Reinstate voluntary departure and the great majority of the problems with detention could be solved quickly. Voluntary departure status does not require a court hearing, and most cases would result in a return across the border in a few days at most.

        The requests for asylum are a different creature.

    1. Expat

      Was it because of her job or because it was an all-you-can-eat buffet and they were afraid Jabba the Spokeswoman would ruin them?

      I know that is not politically correct, but this is Sarah Sanders we are talking about. I would not insult, belittle or taunt a human being. But she is not human so she is fair game.

      1. ewmayer

        “But she is not human so she is fair game.”

        That sentiment, properly propaganda-weaponized and instilled into the masses, has been used to commit just about every mass-scale horror in human history. I might find a person’s political views odious in the extreme, but if said person is not a fugitive in they eyes of the law, they have every right to sit down in a restaurant and get served, if not with tender loving care, with a minimal modicum of decency.

        1. Expat

          Not true. The courts recently decided in favor of the baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. It is the restaurant owner’s right to refuse service.

          Sanders deserves the same decency and treatment she metes out to the American people. That means refusal to provide information, denial of questions, and lies. Translate that into restaurantese and you get the right to refuse her service.

          If you really believe that refusing to serve Jabba the Spokeswoman is tantamount to an incipient holocaust, your either excessively paranoid or desperately seeking excuses to justify being nice to Sanders because you support her. Sanders is not a simple citizen; nor is she elected. She should be held to a higher standard and punished for failing to meet those standards. Since we cannot fire her, we use our constitutional rights to express our disapproval.

          1. ewmayer

            “The courts recently decided in favor of the baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. It is the restaurant owner’s right to refuse service.”

            It appears your grossly misunderstand said ruling – the forcing-the-baker-to-do-custom-work-outside-of-normal aspect was key. Sitting down in a restaurant and ordering something on the menu does not involve forcing the restaurateur to do ‘custom work’.

            So you’re OK if I run a restaurant and refuse to serve people who all happen to be black, then? Because, hey, if I hate black people that’s my own personal choice, and just because I happen to run a restaurant doesn’t mean I should be forced to interact with them. Some ‘civil society’ you are promoting there. But in a way, it’s the Dem-party fixation with identity poltiics run amok – so as long as ‘right-wing deplorables’ are the ones on the receiving end, no problem! And of course if people cheer this stuff on, it will only ever continue to happen to the folks they dislike, right?

            1. Expat

              It’s childish but the left did not start this. The right did. Trump has promoted exclusion, insults and threats of violence. The right marches around with swaztikas, Rebel flags, and torches, hurls abuse at gay rights protestors, threatens and kills people working for abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood, calls for the expulsion of football players kneeling peacefully in protest, and tries to create fear to get their views and plans across.
              So Sarah the Hutt is denied service. Boo-hoo. She might consider that she represents the President of the United States, a country which is purportedly a democracy with open government and free press. She lies to the press, she insults those who don’t support the party line or accept her lies and excludes those who ask difficult questions. Sanders is not an average citizen.
              If she wants service and respect, she should serve and respect the Constitution and the United States of America. If she wants to be treated as she has been, she can continue serving Donald Trump the man.
              Where was all this right-wing uproar when it was gays, blacks, hispanics, muslims and other non-white, non-christians being targetted? This is more “Whites are the Real Victims in America” propaganda. Really? No, really really?

    2. The Rev Kev

      More on this story at-

      Can’t agree with this one. This is not taking a stand but rather a form of virtue-signalling. There is a reason why the term ‘civil society’ is a thing. This is just petty partisan warfare and is bs.
      Yeah, you can fight with each other all day long but you have to turn it off when you go home at night for your own peace of mind. Call it the ‘Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog’ effect.

  23. George Phillies

    “He Stretches the Law to Do Whatever the Heck He Wants” You know, just like W, Obama, and the war on parts of Asia, much of Africa, and part of Oceania.

    It all depends which enemies are being targeted.

    1. JBird

      I saw that and it’s obviously an example of either some power tripping or stupidity. The border is often poorly marked and the definition of wilderness. Unlike with Mexico there is no river, just a line on the map.

      Our country is going to have to eliminate all, and I really do mean all, of the whole “security” regime of the last thirty or more years. There is no need for it as all the terrorism that has happened occurred because of incompetence, not a lack of resources, as a part well as mostly blowback from the government’s overseas invasions, assassinations, bombings, regime change, and other assorted acts of terrorism.

      The whole security regime is going to kill our democracy.

      1. Procopius

        I expect it will at least contort whatever remains of democracy unrecognizably. Actually, the Supreme Court is already doing that, even before Gorsuch joined. Limiting standing (not only them, all courts), reducing requirements for warrants, shielding policement from punishment (they do not have to know if the “law” they are arresting someone for breaking does not exist). Much more. But the “War on Terror” is going to last as long as the “War on Drugs,” and for the same reason. Lots of people are making a reasonably good living off it.

  24. Geo

    Re: Uber driver streaming hulu before crash

    I’ve been on two road trips in the past few months where the person driving (different people each time) either began watching videos on their phone at one point or talked about how on road trips they watch movies.

    It’s frightening to think about how many drivers are that preoccupied by their phones and careless about the lives of those around them (and even their own) that they see nothing wrong with driving while watching videos, texting, scrolling Instagram, or whatever their online obsession may be.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And the media’s dramatic and almost exclusive coverage of it is diverting attention, for a while, from what bankers, imperial adventurers and the blob are doing, and what the homeless, hungry American children and too-poor-to-rent-or-get-healthcare are suffering.

        And the Russia, Russia, Russia crew took a well-deserved break too.

        1. Lee

          Do the Democrats even have a domestic policy that addresses the material circumstances of citizens? WTF are they thinking? FWIW, the generic ballot spread is now only 6%.

      2. marym

        Diverting resources to “cracking down” on desperate parents and children kind of undercuts the Trump argument that we need a wall and an army at the border to protect against drugs and murderers.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The cracking down on American homeless and American children needs no diverting of resources (it has been amply funded – and more resources are in reserve), and has been around for so long that many seem to have been desensitized, including those in the media. whose case seems to be more likely one of purposefully overlooking, and not simply of desensitization.

          This does not include, of course, suffering and scared children, in many other borders around the world, being victimized by various armies.

  25. Wukchumni

    I’ve been to hundreds of concerts, and the best 4 or 5 i’ve witnessed were all on account of Tommy Emmanuel. Not only is he a guitar hero and then some, also what an entertainer!

    He gets offered something like 1,000 concert dates a year, but being a one man band, you can only stretch yourself so thin. He’s on tour now, and check out the diverse locations, one week he’s playing in Marseille, the next week he’s in Salina, Ks.

  26. BoyDownTheLane

    The Second Civil War has begun. The Supreme Court has ruled that the baker was not obligated to decorate the wedding cake for the same-sex couple, and restaurants are now engaged in not serving those with political affiliations held in opposition to its owners. We as a society are now re-congealing; socio-political accretion is underway and its fault lines will split communities, working relationships and marriages.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yeah…the civil war started because a Trump lackey and the sibling of a dog torturer was refused service. Oh the horror! Where are the heros of civility now? Where have you gone, Charles Krauthammer? Bob Novak? William F. Buckley? A country demands a restoration of civility! Important people are being inconvenienced.

      1. Wukchumni

        Whatever happened to the wording you see in most retail establishments that says:

        “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”

        And besides, it’s about time somebody outed Sarah.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It is remarkable how upset conservative snow flakes get upset about free enterprise being practiced on individuals for their life choices.

          If the restaurant owner refused service because Sanders was the brother of a dog killer or the daughter of Mike Huckabee, that would be a different matter, and I might have some sympathy. Its because she’s another pig at the trough.

          Admittedly, why do these people out (politicians types)? Do they not know that their food is probably spit in? If they are lucky.

          Conservatives are traditionalists, and anything that upsets order would be frightening to them, making them upset.

          I think I need to make a trip out to Lexington. It has a bit of a Stepford vibe, but eating there might be worth it.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        The Civil War began over two decades before any blood was shed because John C Calhoun got his feelings hurt by the abolitionists AND COULD NOT LET IT GO.

  27. audrey jr

    Actually, growing up in the sixties and seventies I recall numerous sightings, in restaurants mostly, of the prominently posted “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone.”
    Seems to me that as a private business owner you can serve whom you like, or not.
    I recognize the right to somewhat regulate private businesses with respect to public safety, handicapped access and so on but it does seem to me that these folks could have simply gone to another bakery.
    I do not believe that a bakery owner should be forced at .gov ‘gunpoint’ to make baked goods for an individual or a group with which the owner feels him/herself to be at odds.
    I have never had a problem with the “We Reserve…” tenet as it applies to a small private business.
    Chain or franchised businesses are another category, though. Because of the enormous size and sheer number of locations they must serve all other than those who have no shirt, no shoes.
    But hey, .gov. Haven’t you done enough via regs and laws to the small 1-store mom and pop businesses?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Ahem, there are tons of exemptions from regulations for small business. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees don’t have to provide health care. I don’t have time to track it down but I as a small business have very little in the way regarding compliance to worry about. Having said that, most retail stores are subject to local licensing laws, and for good reason. They require stores to do things like sell goods at the posted price, and have the same price for the same good for all customers. But I take it you object to that.

    2. ewmayer

      ‘I have never had a problem with the “We Reserve…” tenet as it applies to a small private business.’

      Posting a sign asserting such a right does not imply that one actually has such a right, legally speaking. Would you still not have a problem with a small biz owner posting a sign “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone, Especially Gays and Blacks”? Because I defy you to find a court of law in this country which would uphold such a ‘right’.

      The custom-cake case was problematic in several ways, but the crux of the decision was the ‘custom artwork’ aspect. I.e. the decision was in effect, no one has a right to make a private business owner engage in non-ordinary-course-of-business work if said owner does not wish it, even if owner’s rationale for refusal is offensive to some. (Even that is fraught, since ‘custom cakes’ can be construed as a run-of-the-mill service offered by most such establishments, just one that costs a bit extra and is not ‘already on the shelf’.) But said narrow ruling does not give e.g. a Denny’s owner a right to refuse to serve something on the menu to a black person or to anyone else willing to pay for it.

  28. kareninca

    In a study that just came out, the pancreases of eleven cadavers were examined. Eight of the people had had diabetes. All of their pancreases contained a fair amount of titanium dioxide. Three of the people had not had diabetes. Their pancreases were not found to contain any titanium dioxide.

    Titanium dioxide is a food colorant that is exempt from FDA certification:

    “(c)Uses and restrictions. The color additive titanium dioxide may be safely used for coloring foods generally, subject to the following restrictions:
    (1) The quantity of titanium dioxide does not exceed 1 percent by weight of the food.” (

    It is in many, many, many foods, and in many toothpastes. Until recently it was in Dunkin Donuts (

    Per the Intl. Assn. of Color Manufacturers: “Titanium dioxide is used to color confectionery goods, bakery products, dairy products, cheeses, icings and decorations, frozen desserts, non-dairy creamers, dried soup, pet foods, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.” (

    It’s not in all white foods, of course – the International Assn. of Color Manufacturers asks and answers:

    “Do all white foods contain TiO2?
    No. Many foods are naturally white in color, such as plain milks and yogurts. Titanium dioxide is not allowed in plain milks and yogurts. So, not all white foods contain added TiO2 food color.” (emphasis added by me)(

    The IACM claims that it has to be on the label if it is used as a color. I am having trouble finding out if that is actually the law in the U.S.. I am finding many sites asserting that it does not have to be on the label if it makes up less than one percent of the product (“Unfortunately, food producers can use up to 1% titanium dioxide (food grade) without declaring it on the label. Or, it may be hidden behind terms such as “natural color” or “natural coloring agent.”)(

    I think that the U.S. should pass a Pure Food Act to protect us. Oh, wait . . .

  29. Some Guy

    Wondering if this is just me or if Naked Capitalism has offended the mighty google in some way.

    For whatever reason, I often get the link to here by starting to type “naked cap…” in google. Use to be I didn’t have to type many letters before I was offered “naked capitalism’ and ‘naked capitalism uber’ (thanks Hubert). But these days it never auto-completes, even if I get to “naked capitalis”. Have tried on different computers, browsers, same results…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not just you. Tried it myself and reached only to ‘naked ca’ before the auto-complete cut out.

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    I was reading comments over at SST and found a reference to the following story at the following link. It is in Spanish.

    The commenter offers a translation of a small bit of text from the article which is presented as being what Obrador has said in a speech to an assembly recently. It goes like this . . .

    ““And soon, very soon — after the victory of our movement — we will defend all the migrants in the American continent and all the migrants in the world,” Obrador said, adding that immigrants “must leave their towns and find a life in the United States.””

    Now, before I offer any opinions on this or even state any feelings at all, I have to ask whether this is a piece of Fake News . . . either from the Fake News Farms in Macedonia or elsewhere . . . . designed to attract eyeballs for money and maybe make people angry for no good reality-based reason.

    The reason I hope someone can tell me whether this is Fake News or not is because IF this is true, and IF Obrador really feels this way and plans to govern Mexico this way, and IF he is elected, THEN he will have a very strong immediate impact on American politics. My multi-conditional prediction . . ( “IF this . . and this . . and this . . is true . . . THEN . . . blah blah blah follows”) based on all this being true, starting from this news story and going step by step to Obrador’s election and pursuit of this policy . . . is that Obrador will trigger a massive Red Wave in the Congress and the Senate, followed by Trump’s re-election by a Nixonian landslide.

    But I don’t want to embarrass myself by making such a prediction if the news story it is based on turns out to be some Fake News from a Macedonian Fake News Hatchery.

    So . . . is the article above at the link given a piece of Fake News? Or is it a piece of Real News? Does anyone here know?

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