Links 6/25/18

If Pollinators Had Dating Profiles US Fish & Wildlife Service Medium

Stripes for the Solstice: Meteorologists United on Climate Change Weather Underground

Rising bedrock below West Antarctica could delay catastrophic ice sheet collapse Science

Methane leaks from US gas fields dwarf government estimates Nature

U.S. Shale Companies Motor Ahead Despite OPEC WSJ

Tech Unicorns Are Taking Over European Stock Markets Safe Haven

KPMG won BBVA audit with stolen data about rival’s inspections Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

Amnesia dooms bankers to repeat their mistakes FT. One of the best headlines ever: Paul Krugman’s “The Night They Reread Minsky” (who, oddly, is not mentioned in this article).


Transcript: Jared Kushner’s Interview With a Palestinian Newspaper NYT

Turkey’s Erdogan claims victory in presidential and parliamentary elections Deutsche Welle

Fighter Sale to Turkey Could Pit Trump Against Congress Foreign Policy


Brexit: Two years on, the Irish dilemma remains as intractable as ever Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Dense…

Varadkar warns of likelihood of no-deal Brexit Irish Times

Fine Gael selection conventions brought forward in case of autumn election Irish Examiner. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign….”

Most Brexit voters feel a hard border with Northern Ireland would be worth it to leave the customs union – we shouldn’t be surprised Independent

Jeremy Hunt hits back at Airbus over Brexit warnings on jobs Guardian. “Hunt said the best way for businesses to achieve the ‘clarity and certainty’ they needed was to back the prime minister in her negotiations with Brussels.”

The Home Office offers a fluffy environment for EU citizens in search of settled status Institute for Government

Italy’s deputy PM Salvini called for ‘mass cleansing, street by street, quarter by quarter’, newly resurfaced footage reveaks Independent

Italy disrupts ‘summit to save Merkel’ on migration FT

To save Europe we have to abandon the euro Lars P. Syll


China’s central bank frees up US$100 billion in funding as trade war looms and Chinese leaders ‘absolutely confused’ by Trump’s demands on trade South China Morning Post

Trump targets China investments as trade war heats up FT

The Dramatic Expansion of Corporate Bonds Conversable Economist

Vietnam Mass Protests Expose Hanoi’s China Dilemma The Diplomat

Malaysia picks 1MDB investigator as central bank chief Agence France Presse

New Cold War

At Site of U.K. Poisoning, Doubts About Case Creep In NYT. “Britain’s control over the narrative slipped away.”

Mitt Romney: Where I stand on the Trump agenda Salt Lake Tribune

Democrats in Disarray

There Is Still Only One Clear Way To Get Rid Of Trump Current Affairs

No, There Won’t Be A Big Blue Wave Newsweek


A world of free movement would be $78 trillion richer The Economist. Wouldn’t it be ironic if open borders were exactly what global capital wanted?

Trump wants to send undocumented immigrants back without hearings: What we know now USA Today

11 States Will Challenge Trump’s New Immigration Executive Order in Court Governing

Exclusive: Immigrant Detainees In an Oregon Federal Prison Are Being Held In General Population Units The Appeal

Jogger says she was detained by border patrol for two weeks after accidentally crossing Canadian border The Hill

1 big thing … The unraveling: An angry American weekend Axios

Let the Trump team eat in peace Editorial Board, WaPo

Our Famously Free Press

How an Affair Between a Reporter and a Security Aide Has Rattled Washington Media NYT

No, then-Indonesian president Sukarno did not hang out with Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor Agence France Presse

Black Injustice Tipping Point

What we know about the police shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr. PBS

Class Warfare

Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society (excerpt) Thomas Frank, American Empire Project. Selected essays. This, from 2006 in the Times (when Frank, then a guest columnist, was still publishable in the United States) appears to be the title essay.

50 years later, the new Poor People’s Campaign lays out a political strategy beyond its Washington rally WaPo

How Student Debt Is Worsening Gender And Racial Injustice Current Affairs

“Jobbymoons” For The Rest of Us Ted Rall

A Gallery Owner Was Arrested After Leaving a 10-Foot Heroin Spoon Sculpture Outside OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Time

After 25 years of being homeless, I learned there’s one simple thing you can do to help Guardian

Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital Science

5 Reasons Horrible Dictators Always Catch Us Off Guard Cracked

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Clive

    Re: Brexit and the Island of Ireland

    I didn’t submit this for inclusion in Links as there’s lots not to like in the Unionism-biased coverage, but nevertheless it might be useful reading but better below the fold than above it:

    Readers are invited, not that you need any invitation from me, to engage critical thinking while considering the points made in that article.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Well, thats one option cut off. It does seem that both sides of the Tory Brexit debate are determined not to face reality. As the other link on Brexit above has shown, the Tories have never been particularly bothered about Northern Ireland being part of Britain.

      Churchill contemplated trading it for the support of the Irish Free State in World War II and made a number of overtures on this basis to the Irish taoiseach of the time, Eamon de Valera. In 1983 meanwhile, Margaret Thatcher asked the then Northern Ireland secretary James Prior if he thought her government should prepare for a “tactical withdrawal” from Northern Ireland. She signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement two years later, which gave the Irish government a consultative role over key policy decisions in the North. It was a massive blow to the unionist psyche, but their feelings were less important to Thatcher than a potential alliance with Dublin and improved diplomatic relations with America.

      He also conveniently forgets that Northern Ireland is in fact a separate legal juristiction in many regards – abortion, for example, being mostly illegal. I’m curious though as to whether that speech was meant to be reassuring to Unionists or not – as other observers of NI politics have written about, one significant element of Unionist opinion – the Belfast business establishment – are not nearly as hostile as the DUP to the Irish Sea option – in fact some see it as a business opportunity.

      I can’t link to it right now as its behind a paywall and I can’t remember the article title, but Pilita Clark in the Financial Times today writes about why she thinks so many business people in Britain are so quiet about Brexit, despite numerous private briefings that many are in despair at the potential impact. She ascribes it to a number of reasons, one of which (I hadn’t thought of before) is a fear of losing government contracts and grants. But I think one key reason why the Brexit talks are in such trouble is the failure of the business elites to do their usual job and forcing a Tory government to be pragmatic.

      In my opinion, the only likely deal possible is a full capitulation by May on the backstop for Northern Ireland. But the complete failure by her and other pragmatists to ease the way for a sell out of the DUP will make this nearly impossible I think. When even the Remainers haven’t realised that its the only likely way of getting the transition period the UK desperately needs, then there is little hope for anything but a no deal-exit, and all that entails.

      1. Clive

        Yes, that pretty much sums up every problem I had with that piece, but was too weary with it all to go through. The Conservative grandees such as Grieve, whilst wearing their Unionist hats, ably describe the problem. But their solution always comes back to the same thing. Namely, the UK government to the EU: “We — still — want a pony”. Sigh.

      2. ChrisPacific

        The headline on the Independent piece is wrong. What the poll actually says is that most Leave voters see NI leaving the Union as an acceptable price to pay to get the Brexit they want. That’s a somewhat stronger statement than just ‘a hard border.’ If Grieve’s statements about the consensus Conservative view on Union from Clive’s link are accurate then that puts them well out of step with the electorate on the issue. Granted he was addressing a Unionist gathering so he may have been, er, ‘taking a public position’ as Hillary would have put it.

        It does make me wonder why NI remains so consistently devoted to the Union when a sizable proportion of the British population would apparently quite happily trade them down the river for the next shiny thing to come along. It seems like that has been true for a very long time now per the Churchill and Thatcher quotes, so I guess there is a kind of co-dependency at work.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I am given to understand that the border between Ireland proper and Northern Ireland is about 499 kilometers – about 310 miles. If that is going to be the border then you are talking about customs posts, patrols and the whole rigmarole and that is going to cost some serious money. Then you are talking about a major disruption in traffic between the two and god knows how much that will cost annually.
      Now who is going to pay for all that? Split the costs? Ireland would say why should they pay for something that they never asked for and no way will they go along with that. If the UK wants the border there, then they can pay for it. After Brexit, I suspect that the UK won’t have the money to pay for all that anyway. Nope. The border is going to have to be in the Irish Sea with customs done at the ports. If people like Dominic Grieve still don’t like this and try to fight this, then I say-

      1. Alex morfesis

        There are many enclaves in Europe…northern Ireland would be an arbitrage opportunity… Although sadly (crocodile tears in 3…2…1…) The dup would lose power and will have to go back to hanging out with Afrikaners and renting themselves out as orange assassins again…

        oh well…and in further news…

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The NI border was an artifact of an attempt to engineer a strong Unionist majority, so it never followed logical natural features, such as rivers or mountain ridges, which is why its probably one of the least enforceable borders in the world. There was a high security border up to the 1990’s. In total, about a quarter of the entire Irish police force and army were based there during the ‘Troubles’, although of course that was mostly about security, not trade. To simplify things, many minor roads were simply closed off, to the fury of local people. Bear in mind that many major roads cross the border several times over the course of just a few miles. But its complicated now by the reality that there is a vastly increased intensity of trade, especially in the food industry, which is almost entirely integrated north and south.

        The British will of course do their best to pretend they don’t have to enforce the border, as they believe in free trade – this will last up until they are challenged by the WTO. In reality, they will probably try to simplify things by using the Irish Sea border to control trade as this is far more logistically practical than the land border. So even if the Irish Sea border option is rejected, this is what will actually happen in reality (although of course, this will leave NI in even more limbo).

        So at least initially, the great burden will be put on the Republic, and no doubt it will seek aid from Europe for this. But it will be gigantically expensive, and its unlikely it will be able to do it in the time period. For most trade, it won’t actually matter, as the relevant regulations apply at the factory gate, not on the border (in other words, there won’t be milk trucks stopped at the border, they will be turned away from processing plants if they are not ‘legal’).

    3. beachcomber

      It seems to me that one question (as concerns the NI/Republic border) that’s never aired is:- if there were to be a no-deal exit, what then? In what way would it be in UK’s interest to erect customs posts and all the rest of the border apparatus? What would be the point? It would be the EU’s problem if they’re that fixated on stopping smuggling.

      I can’t see any benefit in it at all from a strictly UK perspective. Yes, it would (or might) plug what would otherwise be a gap (a gaping hole?) in the UK’s land-boundary with the EU through which – what, exactly, might pour? Hordes of illegal immigrants? Possible I suppose but seems unlikely. Anyway, who would care that much apart from a rabid minority? And what could *they* do about it?

      No doubt I’m missing something. Anyone care to instruct me?

        1. beachcomber


          Unable to read the link but thanks anyway for putting me wise. I hadn’t thought about the WTO aspect (knowing almost nothing (well, nothing) about its rules).

          However, I’m still left wondering about where the onus falls. Any border has two sides. So presumably in this case the onus in respect of incoming goods – into NI – falls on the UK govt, and in respect of outgoing (incoming seen from the Irish side) on the Irish govt (&/or EU Commission?). Who bears which costs?

          And how about enforcement of all the non-tariff barriers, and the costs of those if (as I presume) at least some of those are outside the WTO’s aegis….?

      1. Yves Smith

        The EU is not going to allow Northern Ireland to become a route for non-complaint goods getting into the EU. The smuggling would quickly become large scale if the EU didn’t act.

        The EU also does not want a land border. It wants a sea border.

        Also bear in mind that the UK will not have a trade deal with the EU any time before the early-mid 2020s, so it could take its revenge that way, as in make it conditional on the UK eating some of the costs if the EU has to do things it thinks the UK should have done.

        1. beachcomber



          Yes, I appreciate that the EU would be intent upon stopping its land-border with the UK being porous and that it’s to be expected that they would institute the necessary controls on the Irish side to prevent that (so far as possible – not easy given the terrain, but still…).

          My point had been (before reading PK’s post) that I couldn’t see any compelling reason – post a no-deal exit – for the UK to do anything or incur any costs for its own part when there would be little or no advantage that I could see to be gained by UK from doing that.

          “The EU also does not want a land border. It wants a sea border”.

          It may want it but it doesn’t look likely to get it and it’s probably not in the UK govy’s power to deliver it

  2. The Rev Kev

    “If Pollinators Had Dating Profiles”

    Swipe right for the Monarch? Somehow the thought of pollinators and Tinder seems to go together very well.

  3. Bugs Bunny

    Many thanks for the link to the Science article on the skull racks in Tenochtitlan. I’ve always thought it was ironic that the invading Spanish saw the Aztec religious practices as barbaric during the height of the Inquisition. A lesson for our times.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think there is also an Inquisition museum as well (or in another former location).

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s a few bars around the periphery with 8 x 10 glossies of gored or gory vignettes of bullfighters on the wrong end on winning, all over the walls, some particularly gruesome.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe not in Madrid then.

            Perhaps in Avila or Toledo…an Inquisition museum on an actual, former Inquisition building.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Bad and all as the Inquisition was, it really was quite mild in comparison to what was normal daily business for the Aztecs. They may well have been the most genuinely psychopathic and brutal society that ever existed. Its no wonder that most neighbouring tribes actually welcomed the arrival of the Spanish (at least initially)

      1. Wukchumni

        The thought is that Aztec invaders from the south made their way to Chaco Canyon, and after the advanced society was bounced on account of climate change combined with being post peak as far as a culture goes, many resorted to cannibalism using the crudest weaponry. A fine dense read on it, is Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric Southwest, by Christy Turner.

        If you haven’t been to Chaco Canyon, I urge a visit, along with going to Mesa Verde, where the cliff dwellings there were much more defensive in posture, as the aforementioned Aztec invaders from the south, played for keeps.

        1. Rosa

          When Chaco Canyon was abandoned (12th century), the Mexica (Aztecs) didn’t even exist. The first mention of the Mexica is of them wandering around the Valley of Mexico looking for a place to settle in the late 13th century. Neither is there any mention of the Mexica empire extending anywhere near the region you mention and, as you know, empires keep very precise records of their conquests and imperial possessions.

          1. Wukchumni

            The telltale sign of invaders from the south was their filed teeth, and a number of skeletons have been found having that alteration in and around Anasazi lands.

          2. Oregoncharles

            IIRC, the Mexica were Athabascans, like the Navajo and Apaches in the SW. Hence, they came from the north and would have come through New Mexico. So maybe it’s the direction that’s wrong.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Nice reminder of what us humans are capable of. Not that anything like that could happen here and now…

      3. Kevin

        I read extensively on the Aztecs when I worked in Mexico City. Cortez and his men could not even approach within a mile of the Aztec sacrificial pyramid – the smell nauseated them so bad they threw-up.

        There is Uncivilized barbarism and Civilized barbarism – both are barbarism

      4. cyclist

        Just read a review of a book entitled When Montezuma Met Cortez: The True Story of the Meeting That Changed Hisory by the historian Matthew Restall in the NYRB. It would appear to refute your claim about the Aztecs, and even states that most of the remains in Tenochtilan’s Templo Mayor are actually from animals. It was also in the interest of the conquerors to inflate the cannibalism of the natives because that would allow them to be pressed into slavery (there was a labor shortage in the Caribbean due to smallpox). tI’m no expert on this, but…..

        1. False Solace

          The article states that one of the reasons archaeologists were so eager to dig there was to gather evidence about the scale of the human sacrifices. The article seems to suggest there have been attempts to downplay the tales about ritual violence. Based on what they found — hills of skulls on poles — it sounds pretty indisputable that large scale human sacrifices took place. Of course we all know the Spaniards practiced their own brand of devilry on the population.

          There were also serious attempts to rehabilitate the ancient Carthaginians. Those too were refuted, in that case by abundant evidence of infant sacrifice.

      5. Rosa

        Mexica (Aztec) culture and society are difficult for us to understand but labeling them psychopathic is not helpful at all. They also produced great historians, poets, and artists.

        1. False Solace

          I consider it quite helpful to label our own society as sociopathic. If a ruling caste based itself around literal human sacrifice I’d consider that pretty sociopathic as well. However, I don’t know much about the Mexica and won’t venture an opinion on them specifically.

  4. zagonostra

    Re: Thomas Frank.

    This weekend I came across a book I had read years ago by Kevin Philips written in 2005, American Theocracy. He has a chapter on financialization which is/was prophetic.

    When I was re-reading it, I was thinking about Thomas Frank’s critique of the Democratic Party. Philips worked for Richard Nixon, and his critique of the Republican Party was scathing. If you combine Philips with Frank, you see how hopelessly lost this country is in the world of party politics and how far we have traveled on the road that is the demise of democracy.

    What happened to Philips?

    1. Carolinian

      I saw an article yesterday that suggested the party system is the principle mechanism for subverting democracy in the US and several other Western countries–that this unregulated duopoly gets to make its own rules about choosing potential candidates while using ballot access laws to limit competition from third parties. Thus the Democrats can add super delegates to ensure “no more McGoverns” when another McGovern may be just what we need.

      Perhaps a stealth leftist is what is needed. Such a candidate would pretend to be middle of the road to reassure the party bosses and then become the people’s champion once elected. Call it the FDR model. The current Dem party’s Obama/Bill Clinton model is just the opposite.

      1. David

        Looks like the author of your article has finally realised how liberal democracy is designed to work.
        Rather than seeking to have a direct voice in the running of the country, liberal democracy presupposes that the people have agreed to subcontract these rights to a professional political class which forms itself into parties and competes for power. The mechanism of allocating power, and deciding winners and losers, is by elections, which give ordinary people a small influence on the political system, but their choice is limited to the parties on offer, and the policies they promise to introduce. Once a party is in power, then in liberal democratic theory the only popular sanction is to throw them out at the next election. Effectively the analogy is with experts like lawyers and doctors, who you employ to take specialist decisions for you, and can sack if you don’t like the results.
        But that’s liberal democracy for you, and if you don’t like it you can try something different: direct democracy for example. David Van Rumbeycke’s “Against Elections” is a good place to start if you are interested.

      2. fresno dan

        June 25, 2018 at 9:00 am

        Can there be a more scathing indictment of American democracy that the “choice” was Clinton versus Trump?

        “Perhaps a stealth leftist is what is needed. Such a candidate would pretend to be middle of the road to reassure the party bosses and then become the people’s champion once elected.”

        I don’t know….remember Trump saying the Iraqi war was a mistake, insulting McCain, Bush was esteemed in the republican party, and any number of things that were suppose to ABSOLUTELY end Trump’s nomination…and than election? WHERE DID ALL THOSE SHIBBOLETHS COME FROM…AND WHY?
        AND speaking of stealth, I think we’re more likely than not to get a stealth neoliberal…..cough, cough, Obama, cough, coughs out lung…..
        Other than by the people trying to screw us continually, where do we get the notion that most Americans are “middle of the road?”
        I think a left wing Trump who said the US is run by the 1% who spend every waking hour trying to F*CK you, and its time we start F*CKING back would win.

        1. edmondo

          I think a left wing Trump who said the US is run by the 1% who spend every waking hour trying to F*CK you, and its time we start F*CKING back would win.

          I wonder if that person would live long enough to see Inauguration Day.

          1. Balakirev

            Too messy. There are a number of mechanisms in place to prevent the rise of anybody with such a message. Getting a political message out, for instance, requires sufficient access to mainstream media, owned by six conglomerates that are heavily politicized, as well as possessing the funds to make a marketing dent in target audiences. If the presidential candidates representing both hands of the Monied Party agree only to debate one another, most people aren’t going to even think about third parties.

            And as the recent DNC tiff reminded people, candidates are typically chosen in backroom deals, as they almost always have been. There was a brief window when parties actually held conventions where candidates and planks were hotly debated in public, but the push to the right in the 90’s and the triumph of the so-called Third Way Dems put paid to that idea.

            So the system is self-reinforcing, and keeps any genuine voice from the left out of sight. Now, if you want a smiling, sexy right-winger who makes progressive noises but acts like a regulation Third Wayer, we can give you Kamala Harris. Isn’t that nice?

            1. Lord Koos

              Corporate media’s influence ain’t what it used to be. There are a lot of new media outlets online these days.

              1. Balakirev

                Look at the BARC, Broadcast Audience Research Council ratings for CNN, etc, and tell me that mainstream media isn’t as powerful and all-pervasive as ever. You and I turn for news elsewhere, but we’re part of a very, very small group; and just because we hang around and discuss issues with one another, doesn’t mean the rest of the world isn’t going its own merry way without reference to the sites we visit. Would it were otherwise, but…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I know it’s not intended that way, but do many unconsciously think that

              1 there is nothing to do until he’s the next president
              2 it’s all about pinning one’s hope on one person

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Clinton v. Bush would have been a vastly more scathing indictment of American democracy.
          Clinton v. Christie would have been a vastly more scathing indictment of American democracy.
          Clinton v. Cruz would have been a vastly more scathing indictment of American democracy.
          Clinton v. Rubio would have been a vastly more scathing indictment of American democracy.
          Clinton v. Carson would have been a vastly more scathing indictment of American democracy.
          Clinton v. Fiorina would have been a vastly more scathing indictment of American democracy.
          Clinton v. Whitman would have been a vastly more scathing indictment of American democracy.

          and so forth and so on . . .

          So always remember, it could have been worse.

      3. False Solace

        > Thus the Democrats can add super delegates to ensure “no more McGoverns” when another McGovern may be just what we need.

        That relates to a realization I came to during the caucus season here in MN recently. I feel that one would have to be an idiot to participate in the presidential primary on the Democrat side. If the race is anywhere near competitive, superdelegates will always decide the outcome.

        If you create a game and your rules say you’ll always win, you shouldn’t be surprised if people stop playing.

    2. fresno dan

      June 25, 2018 at 8:19 am

      Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society (excerpt) Thomas Frank, American Empire Project. Selected essays. This, from 2006 in the Times (when Frank, then a guest columnist, was still publishable in the United States) appears to be the title essay.

      The financial crisis of 2008 engraved this pattern in the public mind. Every trusted professional group touching the mortgage industry had turned out to be corrupt: real estate appraisers had puffed the housing bubble, credit rating agencies had puffed Wall Street’s trashy securities, and of course investment bankers themselves had created the financial instruments that were designed to destroy their clients. And then, as the larger economy spiraled earthward … as millions around the world lost jobs and homes … the trusted professionals of the federal government stepped in to ensure that their brother professionals on Wall Street would suffer no ill effects. For the present generation, the bailout of the crooks would stand as the ultimate demonstration of the worthlessness of institutions, the nightmare knowledge that lurked behind every scam that was to come.
      And as we serve money, we find that money always wants the same thing from us: that it pushes everyone it beguiles in the same direction. Money never seems to be interested in strengthening regulatory agencies, for example, but always in subverting them, in making them miss the danger signs in coal mines and in derivatives trading and in deep-sea oil wells. You can have a shot at joining the one percent, money tells us, only if you are first committed to making the one percent stronger, to defending their piles in some new and imaginative way, to rationalizing and burnishing their glory, to exempting them from regulation or taxation and bowing down as they pass.
      Money always wants MOR – and money says a lot for public consumption, but what money REALLY believes is that your loss is money’s gain.

      1. Summer

        “The con game is our national pastime. Everyone either is in on it or has a plan for getting in on it soon.”

        Important to remember.

        And the hijacking of aspirations. That word came up this weekend while with friends who were showing a tourist around LA. They get to Rodeo Dr and one person pipiea up “This gives you something to aspire to.” I cringed. I said, “Or you can think of it as just a place to get a souvenir or treat yourself or someone to an expensive gift. Either way you are still the same person leaving the store that entered it.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The oh-so subtle brainwashing.

          The next thing you know, the tourist goes home, feeling pressured (or inadequate) and gambles on Bitcoin.

      2. flora

        and this quote:

        “It was a golden age of corruption. By this I do not mean that our top political leaders were on the take—they weren’t—but rather that America’s guardian class had been subverted or put to sleep. Human intellect no longer served the interests of the public; it served money—or else it ceased to serve at all. ”

        …but rather that America’s guardian class had been subverted or put to sleep.

        Pretty good summation of why we are where we are, imo.

    3. Big River Bandido

      Oh my, I read American Theocracy years ago — it chilled my blood, particularly the chapters on financialization and its historical context.

      Philips has written dozens of books, including a few recent ones which are scathingly critical of the Bush family. He’s written on topics other than politics and economics as well, although I have not found that strain of his as interesting; I started The Cousins’ Wars with enthusiasm and good intentions, but gave up early in the game.

    4. geoff

      Phillips is a great political writer, beginning with “The Politics of Rich and Poor” (1990, in which he examined the growth of US income inequality) up through 2012’s “1775: A Good Year for Revolution”. Wikipedia notes he was born in 1940, so perhaps he’s enjoying a well-earned retirement.

      And thanks Lambert for bringing the new Frank book to my attention– i’m a longtime fan.

  5. Wukchumni

    1 big thing … The unraveling: An angry American weekend Axios
    The America I grew up in was always protesting something, with the war in Vietnam being the focal point, and nobody really stopped these from happening, and it not only changed public opinion, but allowed steam to escape from a pressure cooker of an environment, lest it blow up…

    The America I live in occasionally protests something, but you get the feeling the only ones really interested are the professional protester types (‘hey, weren’t you @ the anti-farmed fish protest in Portland last month?’) and any attempts with cohesion by rank amateur resolutionists are easily squashed by the man (protest zones blocks away from the DNC & RNC conventions, ha!) so there isn’t much in it, as far as getting the message out-a dead end, and then enter the internet, where people protest about stuff all the time, often in words that would never be uttered face to face lest the utterist face fisticuffs forsooth.

    Our manners took a dive a long time ago now thanks to this contraption, and then enter the reign of error-who plumbed new depths in Emily Posting, showing us the way in an odd raze to the bottom, that can be best described by my biannual roadside trash pickup duties, in that if there is no trash on the side of the road, drivers are hesitant to toss something, but there more there is, the more likely it gives license to those on the cusp of doing the wrong thing.

    We toss trash talk on the side of the modem now, and nobody cleans it up and it just accumulates, while the pressure cooker environment in the real world is desperately trying to let off steam, vis a vis personal one to one protestation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A Gallery Owner Was Arrested After Leaving a 10-Foot Heroin Spoon Sculpture Outside OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Time

      One of the occasional protests.

      It’s curious why the occupation is relevant here (a gallery owner). Had it been the sculpture’s creator, presumably, that would have been used instead. But if he/she had been merely a cook or a plumber, say, would that have been identified? “A Janitor Was Arrested After Leaving a 10-Foot Heroin Spoon Sculpture Outside OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma.” Or “A Protester…” “A Man/Woman…”

      1. Wukchumni

        As long as you can somehow make the profession sound arty in a “Oh, he’s just another Hollywood type”…

        You’ve won the hearts and minds of those of a like kind, who are turned off by the mere suggestion.

    2. blennylips

      > We toss trash talk on the side of the modem now, and nobody cleans it up and it just accumulates, while the pressure cooker environment in the real world is desperately trying to let off steam, vis a vis personal one to one protestation.

      Let’s not forget this does not just happen. Zerohedge picked up on it back in 2014:

      Here is the Snowden released exfiltrated power point slides ZH is talking about:

      Kinda reminds me of McChrystal’s “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war”

      Here is the corresponding slide from the “art of deception” deck:

  6. La Peruse

    A World Of Free Movement from The Economist is classic neoliberal gaslighting.

    I’m in the process of reading Quinn Slobodian’s Globalists, and finding it informative on many levels, not least because the globalists perceived a real problem and pursued a real solution. The problem they saw is based on classical economics: how to maximise utility by the most efficient allocation and consumption of resources. Their solution was to free up markets and world trade, and in particular to erase rigidities in labour markets and government regulations aligned to nation states. On a superficial level this sounds very plausible, but the solution always seemed to be that rigidities, especially in labour markets, make things too expensive, so reducing the cost of labour will make the economy more efficient.

    What is totally ignored in this argument is that increased efficiency is gained at a cost to labour. As if the increased efficiency (read profit) of the trading sector should be paid for by the reduced wages of working people. Well, the last fifty years have shown us exactly what happens when this policy is implemented, and how true that is.

    So to then argue that labour should be open to unfettered freedom, and this will somehow make the global economy more efficient (that is, increase utility) and throw in a really big number to make it all seem worthwhile is a total discombobulation. But at least now we know why the author’s of such pieces do it…

    1. John Wright

      The article has:

      “Workers become far more productive when they move from a poor country to a rich one.”

      I believe this sentence is incomplete and could be re-written as:

      Workers become far more productive when they move from a poor country to a rich one as they use far more hydrocarbon generated energy to product their economic output.

      But won’t more achieved “economic output” only lead to reaching climate change criticality even sooner?

      Also pulled from the article is this statement:

      “Labour is the world’s most valuable commodity—yet thanks to strict immigration regulation, most of it goes to waste,” argue Bryan Caplan and Vipul Naik in “A radical case for open borders”.

      I believe there are many other more valuable commodities such as fresh water, arable land and a healthy and diverse ecosystem.

      Given that the authors are advocating for migration from less developed countries to more developed countries, if the labour in developed counties is, indeed, “the world’s most valuable commodity”, why are we seeing wage stagnation of the developed USA middle class over 40-50 years?

      It appears the USA employers did not get the “labor = most valuable commodity” message.

      I continue to believe future climate change will damage the long term future of the “Profession of Economics” as editorials such as this suggest some economists cannot see the elephant in the room as they push for ever more economic growth.

      But they are probably well paid to write this stuff.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yep, which is why I sort of like Caplan. He takes things to their cartoonish extreme and ends up illuminating them in a twisted way. Things descend into farce so quickly when you’re listening to him that you realize the numbers around ‘value’ and “GDP” are garbage about how things are priced. There’s externalities all over the place!.

          To your point about environmental problems, yes, the fastest way to deep-fry the planet is to take central and south Americans, bring them here to the USA and turn them into energy hogs like the rest of us in the United States.

          What’s that quote about economists knowing, “the price of everything and the value of nothing”. If taking subsistence farmers (valued at zero) and turning them into landscapers (valued at market price of mow, edge, blow) is a positive for economics, then it’s clear the profession is using numbers that are trash. Caplan is making this clear for us.

          1. John Wright

            I can visualize an economist surrounded by hungry Donner party members in 1847 making the case that “Labour is the world’s most valuable commodity”.

            Then he finds out what is on the menu for the next meal.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I sort of like Bryan Caplan in a twisted way because he generally takes bad ideas, espcially those of economists to their cartoonish, bat-$h!t crazy, usually conservative, libertarian conclusion and unintentionally reveals some uncomfortable truths about our society and our liberal establishment.

        He made the case against college education, recently, in a book and in some interviews and I came away thinking he’s just demolished the intellectual and moral standing of our education-industrial complex and the model of high tuition and fees, combined with bloated hierarchies, sporting/entertainment franchises, and country-club level living arrangements for students, all propped up by federally backed loans that often push into 6-figures.

        Kaplan smashed the idea that “college prepares you for the workforce” and said it’s mostly signalling and status-seeking. He’s right.

        I think his approach can help force colleges to face their own contradictions and re-orient themselves towards what they should be trying to accomplish….perhaps focusing on helping create better citizens and doing valuable research and maybe not charging so much for the whole process???

        1. JTMcPhee

          When is it ever going to happen that the institutionalized institutionalizers in colleges and universities here in the Empire are ever going to change the “vision” of their hierarchies and functionaries to a focus on “helping create better citizens,” at least what you or I might mean by that phrase, and stuff like that? Far as they are concerned, going by what I read in my alumni magazines from several such institutions, the PTB there think they are doing just that — for a certain class and category of “citizenry.” As to what is outside the ivy covered walls? Pish-tush to that.

          Time to go answer their fund-raising pitches in today’s e- and snail-mail…

        2. Octopii

          Ya know… I’m grateful every day for my college education. My ten year gap between high school and college was a grinding, painful, dangerous lesson in lifestyles of the minimally educated.

    2. Alejandro

      The neoliberal project seems to have determined convenient, not clarifying the context of “efficiencies”, e.g., concentration/accumulation v. distribution/wages. Note that “free” market ideology can never reconcile for fictitious ‘commodities’, e.g., life, environment and “money”. It takes effort to break from this dogmatic cage and recognize that regulations are necessary to curb the tendency toward extremes and ameliorate the effects of excess. IOW, problems created by “free” market ideology cannot be solved by “free” market ideology, and life, environment and “money” are not ‘commodities’ by any definition of ‘commodity’ in market lexicon.

    3. danpaco

      Perhaps I’m properly gaslit and I’m missing something.
      As I see it, The current neoliberal order needs closed borders to maintain control on labour, through labour arbitrage between states and as a threat during labour negotiations. The capital class would never allow labour an equal position in the global economy, it would be too much of a threat to their profits if transnational labour unions had an opportunity to organize. The current fragmentation of labour is needed to maintain their economic hegemony.
      To be clear, I’m an advocate for open borders for labour but only within a trade agreement area, such as the EU. If NAFTA had a labour movement provision written into it I’m sure the current southern border crisis would be playing out much differently. Unfortunately in the 90’s, congress passed immigration reform and southern border enforcement before the ink was even dry on NAFTA.
      As for future increases in efficiency, it will happen regardless of border policy due to automation and AI.

      1. John Wright

        >The current fragmentation of labour is needed to maintain their economic hegemony.

        It is more a case of everyone for themselves as WW people are pitted against each other for better jobs..

        The USA has truly had rather open borders for years, as per the link below:

        “Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 86.4 million people, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to the 2017 Current Population Survey (CPS).”


        I suspect the price of labor, aside for wages of the people in control and their upper class support crew, would tend to equalize at a very low price if there were open borders everywhere.

        Furthermore, there are other ways of diminishing the lifestyles of workers as, In the USA, many low wage workers would benefit from better infrastructure.

        But that is being crapified, at least from my vantage point in CA.

        Poverty scales very well, but what many of the world regard as a better, and usually energy intensive, lifestyle does not.

        In my view, WW labor has no pricing power, making it impossible to organize it significantly.

        1. Yves Smith

          You Census data does not support your claim. “Immigrants” includes and probably consists largely of legal immigrants, or did you miss that? And a lot of employers sponsor immigrants.

          Australia has fabulously tough immigration controls, yet also greatly liberalized its rules to allow for higher levels of immigration. Having high levels of immigrants in no way, shape, or form, proves that a country has open borders.

  7. DJG

    The article by Nathan Robinson on the only chance to beat Trump is very carefully argued. He marshals the facts, gives devasting assessments of various Democratic hopefuls, and points out that the Democrats allowed Trump to gain the moral high ground against Hillary Clinton and cannot afford to do that again.

    Will the Democrats take Robinson’s advice and join Bernie Sanders? They are already thinking of ways to keep him out of the party. Expect them to float wondrous things like a Kamala Harris / Rahm Emanuel ticket. Or Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, again, with Bill in tow to “fix” the economy through further “entitlement” “reforms.” And a memorial statue to Steny Hoyer, although it is hard to tell of old Steny whether dead already or not.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Or Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, again, with Bill in tow to “fix” the economy through further “entitlement” “reforms.”

      It’ll only happen if we generously support Downward Together in its vital mission of spreading sqaumous-cell clintonism to new victims believers in every walk of life.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Against Trump, you need someone whose past does not contain obvious instances of hypocrisy that they will struggle to explain.

      Is this the best “political” sentence EVER, or what?

      F*** Trump. “Look forward, not back” seemed like the perfect way to handle the problem until a jerk like him wormed his way into into the “conversation.”

    3. Expat

      It is not particularly hard to gain the moral high ground against Hillary Clinton. What is amazing is that Trump managed to do it. That leaves a few possibilities: Hillary is truly evil; people perceive her as truly evil; or Trump is not as bad as many think.

      I grew up in and near NYC. I know Trump is bad, evil, morally corrupt, etc. Horrible, horrible person.

      So, that leaves either Hillary being truly evil or the perception is exaggerated. I think both.

      Democrats have lost elections or had them stolen and the Republicans have put some fairly questionable people into the Oval Office (and vice versa) but it says a lot about the Democratic Party that they were unable to beat someone like Trump.

      1. ewmayer

        During the 2016 campaign, Hillary could not be bothered to pretend to give one shit about the 90%, the folks immiserated by her neoliberal-policy-elite class. Ergo, ‘deplorabes’ and avoiding key areas of the Rust Belt which Trump visited repeatedly. And her lengthy past history of doings worked against her – as it should – on the few occasions when she made a half-hearted effort to pretend to care, such as when after shilling hard for TPP/TTIP/ISDS under Obama she suddenly expressed ‘concerns’ about such fake-free-trade pacts. Nobody outside her brainwashed true-believer circle believed her.

        Trump, with his uncanny instincts, seized upon the above as the golden political opportunity it was and exploited it to the hilt. Going after the establishment of both parties hard in a year where the public was clearly esperate for an outsider after 8 years of hope-and-change betrayal by Obama certainly didn’t hurt, either – the irony being that it was the GOP, whose establishment probably disliked Trump even more than the Dems’ did (after all most DNC types saw Trump as the ideal cakewalk-for-Hillary nominee) which acted in something approaching democratic fashion by not dirty-tricking Trump out of the nomination, while team DNC, with its legion of anti-democratic superdellegates firmly in place, was further busily sabotaging Sanders at every turn.

        Another irony to me – I think many folks who went to Trump rallies out of curiosity and many of those swing voters who switched their vote from Obama in 2008 and 2012 to Trump in 2016 didn’t really believe Trump had the interests of the working class at heart. But this is how desperate folks in neoliberal-devastated flyover country were, and are – that confronted with a choice between 2 awful members of the oligarchy, they took the one who was not 100% guaranteed to sell them out, and who at least bothered to *pretend* concern about their plight, by actually showing up and saying ‘I care about you’, however implausible said claim may have been.

    4. JohnnyGL

      “Kamala Harris / Rahm Emanuel ticket” – LOL! Are Dems trying to lose Illinois in the 2020 elections?!?!?!

    5. David

      Don’t you think it’s sad that the article is about “beating Trump”, as though it was by a sports journalist arguing for a change of personnel or tactics so their favourite team could win? Isn’t politics about, you know, actual policies making a difference to peoples’ lives, not just which team gets to carry off a prize?

      1. Balakirev

        Your time machine’s a bit off. That held true, to my way of thinking, until the 1990s, when Gingrich pushed the GOP hard right, and Clinton and his team pushed the Dems hard right in response to get the same corporate dollars they felt were necessary to win elections. Pleasing a constituency still holds true–but the constituencies both mainstream parties now appeal to are large corporate lobbies, like Big Pharma, Ag, Fossil Fuels, Giant Media, Wall Street, Munitions, etc. We’re just clowns who should shut up and choose one of two corporate-processed candidates then go back to sleep until needed again at the ballot box.

        …Mind you, I voted in 2016 and 2012 for Jill Stein, believing that it was more important to support a good candidate than agree to the Hobson’s choice between two rancid ones. So my time machine has the same issue as yours.

        1. juliania

          It is worth remembering that Jill Stein did offer to have Bernie join her ticket. I don’t think he bothered to answer that. Maybe he should have.

          She was pretty clear and pretty correct about the policies this country needed. But of course the machines kept her numbers low, so that’s the game.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Sanders and his supporters and well-wishers ( like me) can tear the nomination away from the tentacle sucker discs of the Official Mainstream DemParty Leadership, they will combine forces against him to MAKE him lose. Fifty million Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites will vote against Sanders out of rage, hate and vengeance.
      If you don’t believe it, just go read The Confluence ( and make sure to read all the comments) and then you will believe it.

      But I don’t care. I want Sanders nominated anyway. Let the Clintonites re-elect Trump to get their revenge on Sanders for daring to challenge Hillary. Let the Clintonites be SEEN to re-elect Trump in the full light of day.

  8. Louis Fyne

    -Methane leaks from US gas fields dwarf government estimates Nature-

    good thing we, and most of the western world, are replacing evil nuclear with advertising-told-me-so “clean” natural gas.

      1. Roger Smith

        Sometimes I think about all of the radioactive oil drums buried away in the Earth and wonder what kind of damage they will end up doing one day. I remember reading a few years ago about an old silo being uncovered in Greenland due to receding ice.

        Not only is the process of nuclear energy extremely dangerous, it produces the worst kind of waste. I don’t think it being efficient really matters at that point.

        1. ambrit

          In America at least, the problem of the ‘disposal’ of atomic wastes has been a political football. Remember the proposal to store Americas nuclear wastes in Yucca Mountain in the state of Nevada? That ‘football’ is still being tossed around, while the amount of haphazardly stored nuclear wastes goes on growing, day by day. That place is designed to be a permanent disposal site for all sorts of nuclear waste. Also of possible use, and even better safety potentialities, is the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. That place plans on encasing the nuclear wastyes inside an abandoned salt mine. Since salt flows, very slowly to be sure, the drums etc. of waste will eventually be encased in solid salt and be much more safe over time, geological time.
          Yucca Mountain:
          When dealing with ‘Forces of Nature,’ a geologically long time frame is required. There are no shortcuts. So, when dealing with Atomic Wastes, no financial managers need apply.

    1. macnamichomhairle

      I agree!

      Too many people have died and will die from the radiation nuclear plants constantly spew. Too many places have been poisoned. Too many nuclear apologists blinded by belief or by their salaries have attempted to evade these points.

      1. Andrew Dodds

        – How much radiation?

        – How is it detected?

        – How many people have died? How did you arrive at this number?

        – What area has ‘been poisoned’? How do you define ‘poisoned’?

        You have simply made a load of assertions and then said that people won’t answer them. Quantify them properly and perhaps your points would be addressed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You got a point. How about we get together and discuss this. I have heard of a nice town called Pripyat in the Ukraine we could meet at. Or if that is too far for you, we called always meet at a lovely town called Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture. Your choice.

          1. Duke of Prunes

            Minor point, as I’ve learned recently from a Ukrainian, it’s “Ukraine”, not “the Ukraine”. Do we say “the Canada” or “the France”? Why “the Ukraine”?

            I think it might be because we *do* say “the United States” and “the United Kingdom” so maybe we think countries that start with U must be preceded with “the”, but then we don’t say “the Uruguay”, I digress…

          2. apberusdisvet

            Suggestion for Andrew: go to to see the radiation levels in the USA post Fukushima. By former USGov standards, many cities should already have been evacuated.

            1. Andrew Dodds

              Well, I went there and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Unless you have some specific link which you are refusing to post..

            1. Roger Smith

              The U.S. Government sent these people directly into radiation fallout… and they want their day in court with GE? I mean, they are responsible too no doubt, but come on.

          3. Andrew Dodds

            Ah, emotion over numbers it is, then.

            Note that I did not claim that ‘nothing bad has happened’, I would simply point out that nuclear power is massively less polluting than fossil fuels and kills fewer people per kWh – indeed, fewer than distributed wind and solar.


            Quite happy to meet in Pripyat to discuss it. Turns out that most radioactive contamination goes away in a relatively short time, compared to things like heavy metal pollution in soils.

            And I’m prepared to back up my arguments with numbers. Are you?

            1. Yves Smith

              Your first line is a personal attack and against our written site Policies. You are already in moderation for previous violations. One more time and you will be blacklisted.

              And you minimization of the issue of nuclear waste is counterfactual. The US still does not have a repository site, for instance:

              Nuclear fuel remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years after it is no longer useful in a commercial reactor. The resulting waste disposal problem has become a major challenge for policymakers.


              Fukushima also has a storage problem, albeit of a different sort:


        2. nippersdad

          Are all of the stories on Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Savannah River Nuclear facilities insufficient for us to make extrapolations on what might happen when, say, a nuclear power plant is built on a river that dries up during droughts like the Flint here in Georgia?

          I, personally, would like to hear the answer to the storage issues for nuclear wastes BEFORE they are dispersed throughout the Pacific, why the public must prepay for such facilities and even insure them rather than the companies that profit from them instead of a lot of pettifogging after the fact on why nuclear is still a viable option. Perhaps it would be better for the industry to quantify its’ own rationales before attacking ours. But that may just be me.

          1. Andrew Dodds

            Well, if there was any serious danger of a river drying up, it would be noticed well in advance (you think the operators don’t notice these things??) and the reactor shut down well in advance. That’s what would happen.

            Fukushima happened because a 1960s reactor was hit by an earthquake 10 times more powerful than it was designed for, and then a tsunami meters higher than designed for, after numerous safety warnings had been ignored. Yet very few people died. Had a chemical facility blown up in exactly the same circumstances – with toxic chemicals killing ten times as many people – it would barely have made the news.

            We should use nuclear power because is is demonstrably safer than fossil fuels without the massive pollution issues. The problem being the reaction of people who prefer emotional scaremongering over rigorous analysis.

            1. blennylips

              > if there was any serious danger of a river drying up, it would be noticed well in advance

              As it has recently, described by the phrase of the decade: Rio Grande at Embudo – “slouching towards intermittency”

              > Fukushima…Yet very few people died

              So far…Fukushima has changed our world forever

              >We should use nuclear power because is is demonstrably safer than fossil fuels without the massive pollution issues

              Maybe, but this is also true (the economics make no sense):
              US nuclear might rests on civil reactors

              Experts say there can be no US nuclear might without a large civil atomic industry to prop up the military.

              in edit: Hey Skynet, it seems I can edit a post about every other comment – my impression anyway.

        3. Brian

          thanks Andrew, it might be worth considering; It is well known that cancer is being caused from this exposure to nuclear war, tests and waste. Let’s be realistic, steel isn’t invulnerable to the radiation and is contaminated from 1950 something onward. How many people are going to die? You ask how?

    2. Louis Fyne

      I’ll take a possible multiple Chernobyls 50 miles upwind over a certain acidification of the oceans from methane-induced climate change

      the internet can’t have a sensible, dry discussion about nukes…just like atheism or migration, I get it.

      no such thing as clean energy. it’s all about relative risk-reward. and my argument iatural gas is awful, even worse than nukes. see methane. see ocean acidification

      1. Lord Koos

        Those are not good choices. Better we apply tech to conservation of energy and get people to change their habits. And perhaps we should stop encouraging people to have children.

  9. Pat

    Falling into the category of both Monopoly/Anti-trust AND the reasons for the destruction of Net Neutrality:

    Yup, ATT moves closer to becoming a monopoly and one of its first moves is to buy a tech ad company. The cynic in me thinks it might top the proliferation of cel phone providers selling ‘Unlimited’ plans with various limitations in being a raised middle finger to the fools who must do business with them.

  10. Bugs Bunny

    The review of “Born Trump – Inside America’s First Family” in today’s Guardian is a hoot and will save you from having to read the book.

    “How unutterably stupid-seeming they are, and how unspeakably tedious reading about them is”

    If only this one statement could be internalized by the Trump deranged centrist stenographers at the usual media outlets.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Ironic in that the Trump DOJ by pushing the right of businesses to discriminate against gays, is basically opening the door to discriminate against anyone for any reason;

      While the Justice Department says this wouldn’t necessarily allow businesses to turn people away because of their race, if the Constitution protects such a right to discriminate against gay people, it would also authorize businesses to discriminate based on national origin, sex, religion, disability, gender identity, or any other basis.

      And of course, Trumps base probably believes this right is, or should be guaranteed by the constitution.

      While I’m uncomfortable with where this seems to be going, I’m more comfortable with discrimination based on the obvious, and demonstrated contents of ones character than the color of their skin or their sexual orientation.

      There’s probably going to be brisk business going forward for more and bigger signs;

      “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”

      1. ambrit

        The sign for taking this to extremes is: “We refuse service to everyone.”
        Try taking that business strategy to your bank and asking for a business loan.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We might ask if a restaurant can run its ‘admissions’ like some colleges do, or used to do.

            “20% for this group and 30% for that group. Sorry, there is no room, at the moment, for your group. We only have so many tables.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Based on character…

        The other consideration is whether the transaction (service or product) is essential, critical, life-saving, etc., or not.

        A musical band can refuse to play for a billionaire’s kid’s birthday, for example.

        “We refuse band service to your kid.”

        A charity can refuse donation money from a smuggler.

        “We refuse your money.”

        A painter can refuse to do a football star’s portrait.

        “I don’t like you.”

  11. Wukchumni

    Farmers are having difficulty finding people to work their crops. A trend from before the current administration continues and grows worse, with immigration crackdowns depleting the pool of workers willing to work the fields for low pay. Now, with Trump and his GOP cohorts ratcheting up their chants of “build the wall”, and by kidnapping children from their parents and holding them hostage to force through legislation, the crisis is deepening.

    The Los Angeles Times has a good piece on the troubles being faced by agriculture in California. Farmers can’t get non-immigrants to work the fields, even at more than double minimum wage.

    It does you no good to have all the water you need, when you can’t find anyone to work the fields. Mechanization is the only hope some in ag have now, but there are many crops that still cannot be tended to or harvested by machines.

    How long can Tulare County maintain it’s position as the number one ag county in the United States, if our farmers and ranchers can’t harvest their crops?

    Nunes needs to pay attention to the real problem, and it’s not his imaginary liberal, radical-environmentalist-and-Democratic-Party caused drought. A well thought-out plan to allow workers to enter the United States legally, and to provide a much less complicated and expensive route to citizenship, is something we’ve needed for a long time. Nunes and his Republican cohorts don’t seem interested in creating one.

    Our Hispanic communities here are different from those in big cities, in that most every job in a place such as Woodlake (population 7,300) is somehow Ag related and in the case of the aforementioned burb, the population there is 86% Hispanic.

    It sits squarely in the citrus belt and is surrounded by Navel oranges mostly. Valencias can be grown all over the world, but Navels only in a few locales, the Central Valley being one of them. It’s as mono croppy in that sense as the rest of the state is awash in almond trees. You go with what only grows in a few places and then go whole hog.

    As citrus trees are always topped with a raised circular saw that guillotines each tree w/o killing them, it gives the horizon the look of a long green flat table, as you gaze upon eatlysian fields afar.

    The largely Mexican immigrant community in the Central Valley has been under unduly stress, the drought idled many Ag jobs in it’s long duration, and now the threat of invasion from the body snatchers, as the summer crops need to be harvested as always, oblivious to conditions outside the orchard.

    1. anonymous

      The oft-repeated canard holds that capitalists have difficulty filling many jobs, so must turn to illegal immigrant labor. But, typically it’s because the capitalists only offer subsistence wages, at best.

      Farmers might claim that ag jobs go begging even when they offer workers more than the minimum wage, but closer inspection suggests this is a bogus claim.

      What % of ag jobs offer significantly more than the minimum wage? Additionally, even if close to all ag jobs pay significantly more than the minimum wage, many of the ag jobs are seasonal and therefore contingent. So workers are furloughed for much of the year, with no wages. Hard to attract domestic labor. Until these issues are addressed, capitalists want to use exploitable immigrant labor.

      1. Wukchumni

        The vagaries of Ag here being what it is, with the average age of a field worker now pushing 45, it isn’t as if new arrivals are chomping at the bit to replace them, for it’s hard work and as you wrote, comes in spurts & stops.

        Why is the average value of a home in Woodlake $200k, if the residents there are all paid merely subsistence wages?

        How do they afford it?

        1. ambrit

          Check out the length of ownership for lower priced dwellings in the region. I find it hard to imagine migrant workers, or lower rung agricultural workers anywhere in the world, owning much of anything, much less homes.
          Of interest also would be average rents and occupancy densities.

    2. anonymous

      The oft-repeated canard holds that capitalists have difficulty filling many jobs, so must turn to illegal immigrant labor. But, typically it’s because the capitalists only offer subsistence wages, at best.

      Farmers might claim that ag jobs go begging even when they offer workers more than the minimum wage, but does this hold up upon closer inspection?

      What % of ag jobs offer significantly more than the minimum wage? Additionally, even if close to all ag jobs pay significantly more than the minimum wage, many of the ag jobs are seasonal and therefore contingent. So workers are furloughed for much of the year, with no wages. Hard to attract domestic labor. Until these issues are addressed, capitalists want to use exploitable immigrant labor.

      1. anonymous

        Apologies for the double post!

        Dear Site Administrator, please delete the above post, thanks!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Recently I watched two movies. One called Village Dreams about two twins growing in a rural village in Japan around 1948. The other one, called Disappearing Village, which some say is China’s first green feature, about a village in Yunnan. In both films, there is a sense that people look to their past, their cultural identify in rural farming villages that have been there for thousands of years.

      And you probably get the same in other countries.

      Here in America, I don’t get that feeling. Maybe I don’t watch enough TV or movies, but are there TV shows that are set in the flyover country, depicting farmers struggling to cope with industrial farming, talent drain to big cities, and, er, well, traditional values (people may not like that term) or, more acceptable, maybe, traditional way of life (here, I imagine a,, say, Japanese equivalent could perhaps be a show about a way of life centered around making paper or miso soup the traditional way,or in France, for another example, a TV drama centered around a farming community in Provence)?

      Are there such TV shows?

        1. Stephanie

          Longmire, maybe? The Cheyenne community isn’t the sole focus of the show, but reservation life, and reservation politics, serve as major plot-points and themes.

            1. Newcatty

              Longmire is one of the best series we have spent our time on watching. Indeed reservation and politics are integral plot and theme points. Also, the interface of the Cheyenne people and the surrounding “white” world is captured brilliantly through the eyes of the local sheriff and his deputies and family and Cheyenne nation community residents. The show is timely and in many ways an honest and spiritual look into a not often talked about place in our country’s past and present. Also, the acting is amazing.

    4. John k

      Ca ag takes 2/3 of water used by man, contributes 2% of Ca gdp.
      Charge ag half what others pay for water, ag gets reduced to highest value crops, water shortage ends.

      1. Watt4Bob

        From what I hear, every vineyard, every orchard in CA exists now as a play for water rights.

        And there is a $billionaire, whose wife sells pomegranate juice, and he personally controls like half the water in the state.

        Who make s these sorts of rules?

        And why do we play by them.

    5. tegnost

      This is a good overview

      FTA… “About 90% of California crop workers were born in Mexico, and 60% are unauthorized, according to the NAWS, which is 10 percentage points higher than the U.S. average of 50% unauthorized crop workers (Carroll 2017). The reason for more unauthorized workers in California is that it has a higher share of foreign-born workers: most foreign-born workers are unauthorized, and California’s 90% share of foreign-born crop workers exceeds the 60% foreign-born share in the rest of the United States. A slowdown in unauthorized migration can put upward pressure on wages.”

      1. tegnost

        from the end of the calag…
        “Immigration trends and policy could speed or slow the trend toward more workers being brought to farms by FLCs and earning less than half of an FTE worker. Farmers are responding to the slowdown in new and unauthorized arrivals via the four S’s: satisfying them to keep them in farm work longer, stretching them with productivity-increasing mechanical aids and management changes such as fewer re-picks of fields and orchards, substituting machines for workers where possible, and supplementing an aging and settled workforce with young and legal H-2A guest workers (Martin 2017). The H-2A program could be modified to make it easier to employ guest workers, which could mark a return to the 1950s, when legal Mexican Braceros who were housed on the farms where they worked were the norm (Martin 2003).”

        note that this study predates the current administration

  12. JTMcPhee

    I really enjoyed this piece that somehow snuck into the Grauniad today: “What happens when ordinary people learn economics?”

    In a makeshift classroom, nine lay people are battling some of the greatest economists of all time – and they appear to be winning. Just watch what happens to David Ricardo, the 18th-century father of our free-trade system. In best BBC voice, one of the group reads out Ricardo’s words: “Economics studies how the produce of the Earth is distributed.”

    Not good enough, says another, Brigitte Lechner. Shouldn’t economists study how to meet basic needs? “We all need a roof over our heads, we all need to survive.” Nor does the Earth belong solely to humans. Her judgment is brisk. “Ricardo was talking tosh.”

    So much laughter rings out of this room that the folk outside must wonder what’s going on. They’ve been told this is an economics course – and participants on those don’t normally dissolve into giggles.

    Inside, Pat Bhatt chimes in: “Everything you see around you comes from nature. That’s the basis of everything. Economics is the wrong word. It should be … ecolo-mics.”

    The wisdom of crowds? What villagers and mopes know, from bitter experience? Can this kind of awareness be translated into political power, and why aren’t there classes like this being sponsored and propagated by folks like DSA?

    I wonder if freakin’ economists can take being laughed out of the room… But then they can retreat to their bespoke offices and keep on providing the BS “tosh” support for the PTB…

    1. Geo

      I used to get into heated discussions with a good friend who was a Cornell finance grad and worked at Bear Sterns (yes, this was many years back). Being an art school drop out myself most topics he could “win” due to actually knowing stuff about the markets and finance industries but every so often I would stump him. The main point he could never come back from was “If we have a consumer-based economy and personal debt is out of control how will it function when the debt bubble bursts and most consumers no longer have any access to money?”

      He’d also talk about “market cycles” and I’d have to remind him that for his buddies a downturn was a good time to buy, for the rest of us we lost jobs, homes, savings, and often lives are ruined by those downturns. When he claimed I thought all bankers were evil I said, “No, you just see the world through numbers on spreadsheets and not the masses of human lives your markets impact”.

      So, yes, it would be wonderful if more laypersons were invited in to these discussions. We may not understand the complexities of investment strategies or market forces but we offer a perspective the economist bubble never considers.

    2. Olga

      Funny you should ask… I was just remembering my experiences in the 90s with Deliberative Polling (check it out, I think the term is even TM-ed). In mid-90s, PBS ran some focus groups during the election time – it was amazing to watch, how with some relatively un-biased information, the plain folk were able to make reasonable decisions. Another instance was in Texas – with comprehensive (albeit brief) information, people picked renewable power as their preference to go forward (this was 1997!). The reason this is not used today – is precisely because it would empower joesixpacks.

      1. HotFlash

        Olga, thank you for this info. Duck-duck-goes the term, lots of sources. Diving in now!

  13. Jim Haygood

    “Equity investors have been spooked by the prospect of a full-blown trade war between the U.S. and China,” says Marketwatch this morning, with the S&P down 1.3%.

    Meanwhile, a CNBC polls shows that a majority of Americans support Herbert Hoover Trump’s handling of the economy.

    Something’s got to give. Bubble III — popularly known as the “Everything Bagel Bubble,” is the obvious candidate. Kick the foundations out from under the existing order, and values will be adjusted until enterprising people pick up the wrecks from less competent people, as ol’ Andrew Mellon used to say.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That would be really scary and more people will worry if Bubble III actually was good for people who struggle to make it.

      For those who in fact have fallen further behind, due directly or indirectly to Bubble III, ask them how they feel about this bubble.

      1. Jim Haygood

        WSJ article:

        After President Donald Trump raised the ante last week on punitive tariffs against Chinese products, Mr. Xi told a group of 20 mostly American and European multinational chief executives on Thursday that Beijing plans to strike back, according to people briefed on the event.

        “In the West you have the notion that if somebody hits you on the left cheek, you turn the other cheek,” the Chinese leader said, according to the people. “In our culture we punch back.”

        This is a totally unprovoked fight — as obnoxious as walking up to a total stranger in a bar and knocking a drink into their lap.

        It’s not the Orange Charlatan but the American people who are gonna end up sprawled on the floor, jobless, broke and sucking wind.

        Flake-o-nomics don’t pay.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          American workers should just take punches like they have been taking for the last few decades.

          Still, those who have not benefited from, or those who have been hurt by Bubble III, how do they feel about it bursting?

        2. JTMcPhee

          “Unprovoked fight?” I recall that the Chinese and others have been playing hardball “trade” for quite some time.

          Those who know the bar scene know that a lot of people come in to many of them just spoiling for a fight, preferably with some wimp. And this is just one more episode in the long game of burning up the planet to enrich and empower a very few who are immune to consequences. The Chinese government has been playing hardball, with soft power, for a long time now, and has eaten the lunches of a lot of other people, including many of their own.

          The Trump tariffs are a bad idea, yes, but think of the arbitrage opportunities that they provide! There’s a little post today about Nigel Farage maybe making one such play. There have to be great opportunities for slick traders in all this, like the stuff laid out here: It sure looks like most of the other Big Trade players in the world are happy to mix it up. Even at the risk of “bad outcomes.” Because how much will this collision of interests hurt them, personally?

          And I do have to chuckle at the characterization of the “multinational CEOs” meeting with Xi (is there a transcript) as “mostly American and European.” None of those people has the least loyalty to any national identity, I would venture.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Recalling the claim by SCMP a few months ago, when this was getting started, that there had been a trade war and China won.

            The loser must stay down, and never should get up to start a fight again; otherwise, it’s unprovoked.

            1. JTMcPhee

              It’s the lesson that is taught in all kinds of movies, like “Fatal Attraction:” When you succeed in dropping the opponent, make da#n sure he or she or it is dead. Several bullets to the heart and head. Think back on all the movie scenes where the bad guy gets clobbered or burned or shot, but then rises up to smite the hero or some sacrificial good guy or gal. And of course there are all those movies Americans just LOVE, where the protagonist is someone like Freddy Krueger, or Jason, or Christine…

              (We have read here that at least one head of a big police department encourages his troops to kill the citizen or illegal alien — less exposure to costly and annoying litigation, easier to justify the shooting…)

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Free Trade Agreements have placed many tens of millions of Americans on the floor, jobless, broke and sucking wind now.

  14. JTMcPhee

    Oh, goody — another bunch of RTPers ready to “engage,” to “protect security interests:”

    Nine EU states to sign off on joint military intervention force

    Initiative is backed by the UK which will be allowed to participate after Brexit

    France’s defence minister, Florence Parly, told the newspaper Le Figaro on Sunday: “Defence Europe requires a common strategic culture … The deadlines and decisions in the EU are still much too long compared to the urgency that can arise from a critical situation in a country where Europeans would consider that there is a strong stake for their security.”
    UK offers to maintain defence and security cooperation with EU
    Read more

    The European Intervention Initiative is outside the EU’s structures, so will allow for full UK involvement after Brexit.

    Parly said: “This is clearly an initiative that allows some non-EU states to associate. The UK has been very good because it wants to maintain cooperation with Europe beyond bilateral ties.”

    The UK has traditionally been wary of efforts to build a European defence cooperation that could challenge Nato structures, but has become a champion of such initiatives since the vote to leave the EU.

    A French government source said the UK’s involvement was key, as the two military powers shared similar cultures and analytical approaches on how to tackle a crisis. “That culture is not shared between every EU member state,” the source said.

    The EU and EC, and that “common market,” were such nice dreams, weren’t they?

    1. Olga

      Another European joke… Notice that all – except for Estonia- were big colonial powers. I am sure it is their sense of obligation that is driving them… (ha!).

  15. The Rev Kev

    “At Site of U.K. Poisoning, Doubts About Case Creep In”

    There is a lot of unhappy people in Salisbury. Skripal’s house will be purchased by the UK government for £350,000 (US$464,000) though I am not sure if they gave it to him in the first place when he defected. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey’s house is also being purchased for £430,000. I believe that the pub and the restaurant that the Skripals were in are going to be demolished so they must have been purchased as well. Oh, and probably that park bench as well. Musn’t forget that. More on this story at-

    Good thing that this all really happened or otherwise the whole thing would have just been a scam.

    1. Olga

      Anyway one looks at this case – it is pure insanity. That we would collectively devote so much time to the consideration/debate about such an obviously false-flag event speaks volumes about how low we’ve all sunk as a supposedly civilised society. Whoever came up with the idea – and those who supported it – should have long ago lost their jobs and been banished to some isolated island (kinda like Napoleon). Instead, we have housing stock destruction. Wonder what else the brits will come up to cover their tracks. It’d be laughable if it weren’t sooo bloody crazy…

    2. pretzelattack

      the cat and the guinea pigs managed to survive in the house till they basically died of thirst/malnutrition-cat was still alive but had to be euthanized (i wonder if even that much was true, wouldn’t they have wanted to run some tests?); the corpses were burned i think. does the government think anyone living in the house will starve to death after being sealed inside?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think the UK regime destroyed the pets’ bodies and murdered the housecat in particular to prevent any truth-telling tests from ever being done. The Skirpals’ house and the police seargeant’s house ( and maybe the restaurant too?) are also being destroyed to prevent any truth-telling tests from ever being done.

        Am I wrong to think so?

    3. Clive

      That purchase price for the Skripal’s place is a virtual admission the U.K. government bought it for them in the first place (not that that’s a shock revelation). That barely gets you a shoe box round here, let alone a family house in a nice area. £450k is nearer the mark.

      What they paid for the police sergeant’s house, that sounded more like market value (which is also logical).

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I suspect the reason to buy and destroy the house and the restaurant ( as well as the past decision to murder the housecat and put its body “beyond analysis”) is to cover up what really did happen and what really did not happen, and who really diddit and who really faked it.

  16. Summer

    Re: To Save Europe We Must Abandon the Euro

    The article mentions that things are getting worse for Germany and France.
    That matches my prediction that at first it comes for Greece, Eastern Europe, and then it comes for the rest. Austerity is built into the what I will call the current global finance algorithm. Like an algorithm it doesn’t care (an operative word) about the consequences of the numbers or formulas generated.
    Now a non-Euro adopting country like Britain is even finding their beefs with EU trade agreements are about to return them to their prirate island days.
    Austerity will go on untill you unplug it, not reform it.

  17. Summer

    Re: Amnesia Dooms Bankers to Repeat the Same Mistakes

    Kind of related to my previous post. And aren’t bankers and brokers ever more reliant on algorithms? That is the issue on top of the already predatory psychology of many in charge of the banking/finance sectors.

    1. Expat

      Algorithms are still mostly written by humans. Does anyone out there know if any banks are using machine-generated algorithms? I doubt it.

      1. Summer

        Yes, they are written by humans. I’ve touched on that before. GIGO.
        Financial articles have mentioned bot influenced trading for years.
        Another example, if you have a 401k, a person guides you to an automated system for selections – with minimal input from human help unless you have high amounts invested.

        And garden variety banks now are not as separated from brokerage like trading. Now like back in the days of Glass-Steagall

    2. Altandmain

      It is greed that dooms these bankers more so than amnesia. They know they will be bailed out.

  18. Expat

    This discussion of Sanders and the Red Hen continues to ignore the essential facts. Sanders was not excluded merely for her political stance. She was excluded because she is an obnoxious and biased spokeswoman who tells lies to the American people and who uses her unelected bully pulpit to humiliate, insult, belittle, or ignore members of the free press and a large segment of the American people.

    I have no sympathy for Sanders and fail to see why anyone else would. Trumpsters are a pretty insecure bunch which is amusing giving their propensity to mock liberals as whining, crying “libtards”. I only wish I had my own way to discriminate against the Trump administration personally the way they discriminate against all that is decent and moral in humanity.

    1. Carolinian

      If you think all problems boil down to “good people” versus “bad people” then i suggest you check the surprisingly good Cracked link from above.

      If we write off the worst leaders in history as born monsters, then the solution is easy going forward: Stop them before they reach power. Isn’t that the old time travel thought experiment, “What if you could go back in time and kill young Hitler?” But if power itself can smother the humanity in a person, then the problem is more complex. It means that instead of rooting for the rise of a powerful figure who happens to be on your side — be it a politician, company, or seemingly progressive billionaire — you have to think in terms of making sure absolute power doesn’t reside in any one set of hands. That means a system that is by design complicated, messy, and full of petty squabbling among factions.

      Life is more complicated than the cartoon version and the article points out that even the monstrous leaders of the last century had very human sides to them. It is power itself that corrupts–to be sure corrupting some a lot more than others. But the Dems and the Resistance don’t seem much concerned about abuse of power per se, just about who is doing it. When renewal of the AUMF came up most of them voted for it. The Founders, who had a more nuanced and reasoned understanding of politics and the danger of concentrated power, would have been appalled.

      So is it now okay to publicly harass Pelosi and Schumer? Because they are ripe, overstuffed targets.

      1. RUKidding

        You make some good points, however….

        It would seem (can’t say for sure) that the owner of the Red Hen acted on his own accord. I don’t believe he was under any orders from the Democratic Party, nor do we even know if he is, indeed, a Democrat. Perhaps he mainly votes Republican? Or doesn’t vote at all? After all, my understanding is that George Will was advising Republicans to vote Democratic in the next election.

        So it’s a bit too easy, imo, to say: hey Democrats, you better watch out. Why? I think citizens are expressing themselves – at least at this moment in time – on their own. They have a right to do that.

        Should other restaurants or similar choose to kick out Pelosi or Schumer, that would be up to the owner, if they felt so inclined. I wouldn’t get too upset about that, unless it was revealed incontrovertibly that it was engineered behind the scenes.

        Citizens have a right to peaceful protest, which this seems to me to be the case.

        1. Carolinian

          Well if power is the problem then maybe all of our elites should be publicly shunned. Doubtless the WaPo sees this as a problem which is why they editorialized against it.

          However as a tactic I doubt what happened in Virginia is doing the Trump opponents much good. Our middle class US tends to frown on bad manners.

          1. Geo

            What if members of the waitstaff were gay? Should they be made to serve a homophobe that publicly advocates for homophobic policies?

            I’m not a fan of identity politics but if someone in power uses her Christian identity as leverage to oppress those whose identity she despises then it’s only fair she gets that treatment in return.

            Having had “Real Americans” from the heartland come after me with a lead pipe, pull a gun on me, call me homophobic slurs and inflict other abuse on me I have no patience for their aversion to “bad manners”.

            Those who use their identity to suppress the rights of others (no matter which identity they are identifying with) deserve to be shunned in the same ways because, as we have seen, they don’t understand the plight of others until it becomes personal.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              “They did it first!” cries the offended.

              What happened to that “When they go low, we go high” bull so many in the Resistance preached?
              Ahhh yes, the loss of principles and integrity…it happens so fast when power is taken away.

              “They did it first!” cries the offended.

              At what point does it stop?

              I’m truly sorry, Geo, you’ve experienced the worst of humanity. I am ashamed of these abuses as a human being. But this retaliation is not the answer.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Do we think of “Real Americans” from the heartland the same way we think of, say, Real Japanese in Japan’s heartland, when we go search for traditional Japan, or say, Real Italians, in Italy’s heartland, when we go search for traditional Italy?

              Is our heartland scarier or less charming than those countries’?

            3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              And in Russia, for example, for a brief period in the 19th century (from Russian Soul, Wikipedia):

              As the 19th century progressed, focus shifted from the landowning minority to the laboring majority. After Alexander I’s pivotal defeat of Napoleon in 1812, the Russian elite turned its attention to the peasants who had secured the victory. Around the same time and for the next several decades, serfdom was losing popular support, and more and more nobles favored abolition. Public estimation of the government fell steadily, and the simple hardworking peasant became the new embodiment of Russian character, the only hope for the fulfillment of its glorious national destiny.[3]

              That’s the good side of the Russian heartland.

            4. The Rev Kev

              ‘What if members of the waitstaff were gay? Should they be made to serve a homophobe that publicly advocates for homophobic policies?’

              OK. What if members of the waitstaff were vegetarian? Should they be made to serve a steak? Look, if they feel like that they can’t do their job, then maybe they shouldn’t be doing their job. Otherwise, are you going to have waitstaff vet customers on a variety of issues before they are allowed to be served? Will some customers be more equal than others? Doesn’t mean that customers get a free pass to disrespect waitstaff though as it goes both ways. Civility is actually a long term investment.

          2. JohnnyGL

            “Well if power is the problem then maybe all of our elites should be publicly shunned. Doubtless the WaPo sees this as a problem which is why they editorialized against it.”

            Bingo! No one who actually runs institutions that carry out crimes should be allowed to live comfortably among us. They should understand that there’s a social price to pay for being a sociopath and/or collaborating with them.

        2. grayslady

          “Citizens have a right to peaceful protest”

          Where is Carla when we need her–to remind us that corporations are not “citizens”. A corporate entity is granted certain rights by virtue of incorporation, but, contrary to what the Supreme Court has stated, discrimination against a citizen who wishes to purchase that corporation’s products or services smacks of “separate but equal” thinking. If the presence of Sanders, or any other patron, causes the corporation to lose business (such as all the people at other tables asking for the check, then walking out of the restaurant), there is a different argument for asking a patron to leave; but that didn’t seem to be the case here.

        3. HotFlash

          According to the owner, she OK’d the *staff’s* decision that they did not want to serve Ms Huckabee Sanders. Democracy at work? Story at Wapo (paywall) and Slate.

          Personally, as a business owner, I wouldn’t have tossed her out, but I might have said a word or two to her, as, you know, part of that ongoing ‘conversation’ wherein she has always had the first, last and every other word. Just to balance things, you know. Or maybe not — we don’t have to actually love one another, but still, good manners. Although I can see where the staff is coming from, and Ms H S is certainly a very public doozy, I wonder if the staff needs to approve of every person they put dinner in front of. However, if the staff doesn’t want to serve Sarah H S, should the owner make them do it? Probably not. In her shoes, if I couldn’t find enough staff who would serve the Sanders party, I would have done it myself rather than force them to do a thing they found revolting. But toss her out? That’s too much like the Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Masterpiece Cakes and that grocery store that banned the black guy.

        4. Elizabeth Burton

          And the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple wasn’t working for or under direction from the GOP. So, it’s okay to refuse service to someone based on politics but not one’s religious beliefs?

          Because that is the simple thread I’ve yet to seen anyone address in an actual article. The simple fact is what is defined as “okay to do” is directly defined by which side of the matter does it. Which, to me, says the carefully cultured ignorance of what the Constitution actually means is so pervasive is working precisely as desired. It’s being used as a bludgeon to keep us firmly in the sporting-event style of politics also carefully cultured to ensure those in power stay there.

      2. Balakirev

        Our supposedly perfect government consists of three branches offering checks and balances–remember that little nugget from 7th grade Civics? But it never deals with the issue that power may be vested entirely in the hands of a small number of very wealthy people, who would then be able to directly control the executive and legislative branches through campaign funding; while the judicial branch is chosen and approved by the other two.

        Making sure absolute power doesn’t reside with these oligarchs is well and good. But what do you do, in a practical sense, to remove power from their hands once they’ve captured a political system such as ours? Working up from local elections might work, but that’s a movement of change measured in geological periods.

      3. JohnnyGL

        “What if you could go back in time and kill young Hitler?” — Seems like it’d be easier if you just helped coach him a bit so he could get into art school like he wanted.

        Just spit-balling here…monsters are made, not born. Yes, even THAT monster.

      4. Expat

        I am not suggesting that we shun people for their beliefs. It is my personal opinion that Sanders works for a horrid man in an evil administration. Fine. I don’t agree with the hard right wing of America. I have friends who espouse these views and worse. However, my friends don’t say outrageous lies and then tell me to shut up, belittle me,and mock me. And my friends are not spokesmen for the most powerful office in the world.

        The point of harassing Sanders is that she is offensive to democracy and decency, not that she is morally repugnant per se. If she answered questions and admitted to the lies, then we can admit her into the American democracy. But since Sanders uses her power and office to crush dissent and mock two-thirds of America and since we have no power over her since she is unelected, it is our right to protest in any way we can if we so desire.

        This is not about her monstrous views. It’s about her monstrous behavior and lies. I won’t be drawn into a childish argument about killing young Hitler. I will, however, say that Jabba the Spokeswoman is an embarrassment to America and whatever delusional ideals we have about how American democracy and freedoms work.

        1. witters

          “I will, however, say that Jabba the Spokeswoman is an embarrassment to America and whatever delusional ideals we have about how American democracy and freedoms work.”

          Now that is a weird sentence.

    2. Roger Smith

      Yes… those poor, poor members of the “”free””(TM) press! Don’t they also use their conglomerate, bully pulpit to humiliate, insult, and ignore the American public? I have sympathy for Sanders personally because treating someone like dog crap is never justified and by acting like a fool you immediately ruin your own standing.

      Even more so, with the example I demonstrated above, I am sick and tired of this uneven application of ‘morality’ and activism. There are no serious human rights debates happening. This is all a politically manufactured product. If the right face was plastered on it, no one would care (see 2008-2016). It is a joke and embarrassing to watch people “raging” over all of this nonsense, all at the behest of arbiters of the corrupt status quo. Don’t eat the food.

      1. Expat

        Sanders personal considerations are irrelevant. She is being attacked for her behavior, not her beliefs. Whatever the role or behavior of the press might be, it is frightening to suggest that Sanders is justified in mocking the press, refusing to speak to it, and insulting it because they ask hard or embarrassing questions or they print stories that Trump simply doesn’t like.
        Sanders is a public figure. Even if she were honest, forthright, and decent, she would be attacked. That is politics and that is Washington.
        Again, I don’t like Jabba the Spokeswoman but it’s not her looks or her girth. It’s her abuse of power.

  19. Matthew G. Saroff

    My analysis of the “Security Issues” involved with Turkey’s S-400 purchase is that it is bullsh%$.

    It’s really about a defense contractor hissy fit.

    Even if Turkey were to buy a non-US system from a NATO country, there would be large profits for American firms, which they spend for comfortable sinecures for retired General Officers.

    It is not a security issue: The F-35 will be flying close enough to S-400 systems not in Turkey to collect whatever data they need.

    It’s a defense contractor hissy fit.

    That being said, I favor blocking the F-35 to Turkey because Erdogon is a clear and present danger to NATO and the region.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I’m not sure the F-35 is any kind of threat to anyone. Only one of eight in a recent “flight” was even able to be “booted up.” So what kind of clear and present danger is that? Give them the dang things, the contractors will make their killing with the spares-and-maintenance paydays. Apparently the F-35 provides its own “no-fly zone.” Maybe it can be configured (that milbabble term) to fire the missiles that are supposed to be its primary armament from ground positions? Turn it upside down on a “prime mover” so its weapons bays can see the sky? After all, it is supposed to be so “stealthy.”

  20. Jean

    “75% of the skulls examined so far belonged to men, most between the ages of 20 and 35—prime warrior age. But 20% were women, and 5% belonged to children. Most victims seemed to be in relatively good health before they were sacrificed.”
    Were they separated from their parents first?

    Re Antidote du jour

    Putting out a kept-clean dish of water is the best thing that one can do for wildlife.

  21. Summer

    Re: A World of Free Movement…The Economist

    Except the article really isn’t about “free movement.” It’s about forced migration…people affected by forces currently out of their control and being forced to move.
    And yes capital would really like a lot of those places people free so there would be no barriers to resource extraction and, with the people and resources still flowing to the usual suspects of the last 500 years, the status quo stays intact. They don’t have the people of those countries taking control of the resources.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A more accurate description would be you’re ‘free to be forced to move.’

      By adding the word, free, you calm a lot of people down.

      1. Summer

        And shouldn’t “freedom of movement” include the “freedom to stay?”

        And another thing that gets me about the entire concept is that most countries could now test it within their own borders. There are still plenty of disadvantaged people within their own borders who could use some relocation aide to the “more productive areas” (according to their grand theory). Yet there is plenty of argument made for re-investing or re-enlivening those areas. But for some reason other countries are supposed to use “ship ’em out” as a safety valve.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Given the way the cost of housing is rising, and the availability of affordable housing is declining, I can foresee bands of modern Bedouin-like people who have no desire to stay in any one place for the simple reason it’s cheaper not to.

          1. Summer

            Fences and privatized property kind of eliminate too many Bedouin-like people.
            Public spaces are disappearing.

            More likely lots of people locked up for vagrancy. Ka-Ching!!
            Then they could be prison labor. Ka-Ching!!

  22. Brian

    Okay, what is the antidote? Is it a hairy possum? Around these parts, our neighbor possums Odo, Frodo, Vodo and Donald do not have hairy faces and only one is orange.

    1. ambrit

      I thought that it was a badger.
      I’m wrong! I clicked on the (via) link, as I should have done to begin with, and it tells me that this is a “Yellow Bellied Marmot.” These fellers are masters of disguise!

      1. Synapsid


        Well, yesterday’s Antidote was a marmot anyway.

        There’s not much black/grey contrast on this today fellow. If it’s a badger my guess would be Old World not New World and maybe a juvenile.

  23. WTFDIK?

    ” Wouldn’t it be ironic if open borders were exactly what global capital wanted?”

    Libertarian friend of mine who is partially Koch funded travels the world preaching open borders…not sure if that suggests anything.

      1. flora

        I read tweet 2 in that tweet scroll:

        “2. The salient fact about US politics is that the right has been going steadily more crazy for decades — breaking the law, disregarding norms, sinking into a hermetically sealed media bubble filled with paranoid conspiracy theories, seeking to disenfranchise opponents, etc.”

        Well, what else can the GOP do? They go ‘right’ to distinguish themselves from the Dems, and the Dems respond by going ‘right’ to match them. So, now they have to go even more ‘right’ to again distinguish themselves from the Dems, and the Dems follow to match them again. I’d thought at some point the Dems would stop playing catch-up with the GOP. I was wrong. (And now GOP pol Bloomberg has given the Dems $80 billion dollars. Of course he has.) Whatever the middle is, both parties left it along time ago. (pun intended).

        -not entirely a snark

  24. Synoia

    To save Europe we have to abandon the euro

    They got the plot, we are in scene 2 (scene 1 was the eurozone), now for scene 3:

    Money…as the product of a ruling organization,

    Which begs the question “what is the ruling organization of the Euro?” The EU Commission? The European Parliament? The ECB?

    Probably the ECB, which makes the ECB the sovereign of the Eurozone. Bankers, unelected Bankers, Rule!!

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Meteorologists United on Climate Change” — I believe meteorologists were slow to accept the evidence for Climate Disruption, especially predictions based on climate models. “Traditionally [broadcasts] meteorologists have shied away from climate change communication,” is a kind way of saying meteorologists have remained climate skeptics or agnostic for a long time. Weather resists attempts at modeling making it difficult for meteorologists to accept the predictions from climate models. Now that unambiguous measurable evidence has become difficult to ignore “roughly 80% of weathercasters are now convinced of human-caused climate change.” This is notable and may be the harbinger and vehicle for a major shift in public opinion in the U.S. The Petroleum and Coal cartels may soon need to shift to a next tactic in their long term strategies.

  26. Oregoncharles

    ” Wouldn’t it be ironic if open borders were exactly what global capital wanted?”

    What’s ironic about it? Granted, they also benefit from unauthorized immigration, as that gives them unusually helpless workers.

    Immigration brings the “race to the bottom” to jobs (like mine, landscaping) that cannot be outsourced.

  27. Anthony K Wikrent

    In the Newsweek opinion piece on there not being a big blue wave:

    “With the nation experiencing a long-overdue economic recovery…”

    I’m not seeing any recovery. How about other readers?

    1. ambrit

      Checking in from South Central Mississippi. Nope. No recovery in evidence here.
      I think that Newsweek was always a 10%er publication. The more “serious” cousin to Time magazine. So, maybe the 10% is seeing a ‘recovery.’ The rest of us I suspect are not so fortunate.

  28. JBird

    What we know about the police shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr. PBS

    I’m reading the article and I see this…

    Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala confirmed that police found an empty gun clip on Rose.

    I guess as a reason to justify murdering a human being. It’s not hard to find examples of children being expelled from school, or adults arrested, for having “a” bullet in their pocket or in their car. Advocating banning the ownership of guns is a perfectly defensible position, and I can see where police might say that even a “furtive movement” might be a worry for them, but I keep reading stuff like…

    “Why are they shooting at him?” the person recording the shooting is heard saying. “All they did was run, and they’re shooting at them.”

    …and I wonder what are they really scared of? Who should I be afraid of?

    Before anyone starts up with only black people get killed, look at the stats, which show about half the dead and wounded are white, with about 20% of total completely unarmed and much of the rest with the weapon either being in a pocket or a compartment somewhere(not in hand) or something like a rock or stick. Let me also say that I grew up watching pictures of American and Vietnamese soldiers in combat, and they were never as frightening then as modern American police often look today, and the police now also look more heavily armed then the average grunt then. Again, just who am I supposed to be afraid of?

    Aside from assisting in lynchings (no, not hyperbole) American police in the past have often been used to bust unions, political activists, social reformers, socialists, communists, or what the political powers that be considered troublemakers. The thing that worries me is that the police then, unlike many today, did not think of themselves as warriors not dressed like wannabe soldiers (look at pictures of the first SWAT team created by Bill Gates. They look nothing like the current ones.)

    Oh, and on that News Hour story,

    In response to racist violence, more African Americans look to bear arms

    I keep thinking that this will not end well for us and I keep hoping that I’m wrong.

  29. Third time

    Hmmm, third time (attempt) is a charm?

    ‘Facebook is taking everything’: rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families – Property companies advertising their proximity to Facebook’s campus are giving low-income residents a choice: pay a huge rent increase or move out

    Sandra Zamora is quitting Facebook. Not because of Russian election interference, misuse of personal data or any of the social network’s other scandals.

    For the 29-year-old, it’s personal: Facebook is her neighbor, and the company’s presence, she said, is wreaking havoc on her community.

    Zamora is part of a group of Menlo Park tenants in four buildings facing massive rent increases from a new landlord, who is pricing out longtime residents while advertising the buildings’ proximity to Facebook’s campus. Zamora is holding out as long as she can. But she knows she will soon have to leave her home of 11 years, and she doesn’t know where she will go.

    “Facebook is taking everything we have … and giving us what? Nothing. Just pain in our lives,” said the pre-school teacher and restaurant worker, seated inside her dimly lit apartment, a mile from the company’s headquarters. “Facebook is just ruining the community.”

    The displacement of working-class and low-income [Black and – LS] Latino families [along with retired elderly minority renters – LS] in the shadow of Facebook’s behemoth campus, which is undergoing a major expansion adjacent to their homes, offers a stark illustration of California’s housing crisis and expanding income inequality. By many measures, the tech industry has in recent years exacerbated the crisis of evictions, homelessness and poverty.

    A group of affiliated real estate companies, including Menlo Gate and Redwood Landing Properties, purchased and began managing the 20 apartments now facing sharp rent increases – using a process that tenant activists say is cruel, but increasingly common. The firms, linked to the investor Jesshill Love, sent notices to tenants saying their rents would soon rise from $1,100 to $1,900 a month, and that they would have to leave in 60 days if they didn’t sign a lease.

    The anxiety took an immediate toll on Teresa Rivas, 64, who has lived in her apartment on the quiet suburban street since 1992. “I’m very stressed. I have a lot of headaches,” said the housekeeper one recent evening, noting that she often wakes up at 3am and can’t fall back asleep, her mind racing. “I’m feeling so tired, thinking about, what am I going to do?”

    Further down, a rhetorical question:

    Zamora said the disproportionate impact on Latinos and African Americans in the neighborhood was evident to locals: “They are displacing us. They are pushing us away. Is this purposeful?”

    It’s shamefully rarely, if ever, noted that Facebook faces the Southern Portion of San Francisco Bay on one side, and on the other sides is surrounded by two historically minority communities [East] Menlo Park, and East Palo Alto, both neighborhoods where Blacks had been historically forced to buy a home in the Palo Alto and [East] Menlo Park vicinities. The effect Facebook has been having on those communities is tragic.

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