Links 6/27/18

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft reaches cosmic ‘diamond’ BBC (furzy)

Rising seas: ‘Florida is about to be wiped off the map’ Guardian (David L)

Scientists Fear ‘Slow Earthquakes’ Will Lead To The Next Big California Quake Forbes (DAvid L)

Crypto Collapse Spreads With Hundreds of Coins Plunging in Value Bloomberg

Scientists discover a new mechanism that prevents the proliferation of cancer cells PhysOrg (Robert M)

So much for ‘statistical objectivity’ Lars P. Syll (PlutoniumKun)

Stumbling and Mumbling: Labour: the party of business Stumbling and Mumbling. UserFriendly: “​God this is risky. ​Don’t court a base you don’t want to represent.”

New Cold War

Recent Pentagon Increases Exceed Russia’s Entire Military Budget Institute for Public Accuracy

UK plan to turn OPCW into politicized quasi-prosecutorial body will undermine intl security – Russia RT (Kevin W)


U.S. Toughens Stance on Future Iran Oil Exports: Senior official says any country that imports Iranian oil after November risks sanctions Wall Street Journal

US Wants India To Stop Importing Oil From Iran By November NDTV (Kevin W)

Turkey’s European dream may be over, is the Sultan ready for Eurasia? Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (Chuck L)

Poland backtracks on controversial Holocaust law: ‘It didn’t achieve its goals’ Haaretz (furzy)


18 Democratic attorneys general sue Trump over family separations The Hill

Judge orders U.S. to reunite families, stop border separations NBC (furzy)

Judge Orders U.S. to Reunite Immigrant Children and Parents Bloomberg

The migration crisis will shatter Europe Globe and Mail

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How the Surveillance State Destroys the Lives of Poor Whites and People of Color Prospect (UserFriendly)

European readers still blocked from some US news sites BBC (furzy)

Orlando ends facial recognition program with Amazon Reuters (EM)

Trade Tantrum

Trump Eases Demand for New Tools to Limit Chinese Investment Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump’s opponent in his trade war is actually economics, and he will certainly lose Steve Roach, South China Morning Post (Scott)

Donald Trump: Harley-Davidsons should “never” be made abroad BBC (furzy)

Why It’s Wrong to Vilify Trump and the Folks Who Work for Him Benjamin Studebaker (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

The Memo: Bannon takes victory lap after Trump travel ban win The Hill

‘Media Coverage of This Case Has Been Sloppy When Present at All’ FAIR. Trump v. dissenters.

Sarah Sanders Will Now Get Secret Service Protection After Restaurant Kerfuffle: Report Alternet. Trump trolling the media again…

The U.N. says 18.5 million Americans are in ‘extreme poverty.’ Trump’s team says just 250,000 are. Washington Post

Republican tax law hits churches Politico (UserFriendly)

Earthquake in the Bronx. One thing I have been saying for a while: the prospects for the left get better with every passing day. More old Clinton voters die while more young socialist-leaning young people reach voting age. Lambert will have more to say, but some tidbits for now:

28-Year-Old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Might Just Be the Future of the Democratic Party Vogue. UserFriendly: “Geeze even vogue ​comes out for Ocasio.”

What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Means New York Times. Jeff W:

I don’t often give to political candidates but I did, in fact, all the way out here in California, donate to her campaign.

I am sending you this for the following reason: there is not a word, not a hint, of the fact that Ocasio-Cortez did not take any corporate money and ran very explicitly on that fact.

It’s a glaring and telling omission.

By contrast: Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley campaigning on Medicare for all, guaranteed jobs and abolishing ICE Washington Post (UserFriendly)

4 major lessons from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s titanic upset in New York CNN. Carey, who flagged this story and I have doubts about #4. It overeggs idpol. Ocasio-Cortez is genuine, as is Sanders, in his cranky Jewish uncle way, and Erica Garner was.

UserFriendly: “​More of this. Also, Ben Jealous won and it looks like Emily Sirota will too.​ And pot in OK. Good day for the left.”

And don’t forget this:

Can 2018’s progressive candidates overcome the power of money in politics Fast Company (UserFriendly)

Third Way? Third Way Plus? The Democrats’ Rules and Bylaws Committee Again Revisits Superdelegates Frontloading HQ (UserFriendly)

Here’s why the Bay Area lost its lawsuit against Big Oil Grist

Moody’s Gives Regulated Utilities a Negative Outlook for the First Time Greentech Media (Chuck L)

GE Narrows Focus to Power, Aviation in Latest Revamp Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

Uber Granted New London License by U.K. Court Wall Street Journal

The Gender Paradox of the Nordic Welfare State IFS (PlutoniumKun)

The gospel of Elon Musk, according to his flock The Verge (Kevin W)

How McKinsey Lost Its Way in South Africa New York Times (Dr. Kevin). Hopefully I will have more to say about this tomorrow. Suffice it to say the headline is awfully charitable.

Class Warfare

Hepatitis Spikes as Poverty and Isolation Grip the Homeless and Forgotten Mint Press. Important. UserFriendly: “​Dear God, deaths of poverty now.”

American oblivion: The Obama and Trump years Soundcloud (YY). Thomas Frank on This is Hell.

A six-figure salary is considered ‘low income’ in San Francisco, and the threshold is rising SF Gate (Kevin W)

Inside the bank branch on New York City’s tony Fifth Avenue where Pepper the robot cracks jokes, directs customers to ATMs, and gives directions to the nearest pizza shop Business Insider

Capital In The Twenty-First Century Slate Star Codex (UserFriendly)

For WaPo, Subsidizing Bus Fare Is a Lot Like Giving the Rich $5 Trillion FAIR (UserFriendly)

The San Francisco housing market is so absurd that restaurants are putting diners to work because they can’t afford to pay waiters Business Insider

Antidote du jour. Tom T: “Monarch caterpillar (as far as I can tell) on Milkweed, Elk Grove IL. Milkweed took over the front of the house several years ago, but this is the first time we’ve noticed the caterpillars.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. David

    The McKinsey/Eskom story is incredible. Couldn’t McKinsey have hired an intern to do an internet search on Zuma’s business associates, including the Guptas? That would have thrown up a Do Not Touch With Barge Pole message. And by the time the contracts were signed there were already moves under way within the ANC to bring down Zuma and investigate charges of corruption against him and the Guptas. Didn’t they understand anything?

      1. Felix_47

        Does anyone think it is possible to do anything in that part of the world without greasing the wheels? It is a cultural problem. The Guptas built their empire in only 25 years. The only leader I can think of that was able to understand this was Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore. Perhaps the Chinese to a degree. Under Yew Singapore had a law that if a government employee had assets whose origin they could not identify they were, by definition, guilty. I don’t know if Singapore is still as clean as it was when I was there 30 years ago.

        1. Raulb

          Ironic on a site that exposes corruption and greed in the west on a near daily basis to see corruption linked to ‘culture’. Its a curious dissonance.

          Perhaps greed in the west is ‘better’ than the lay African or Asian variety.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          The Clintons went to $200m net worth in 25 years.

          I suspect that’s also par for the course for the 0.1%. Many got a head start cuz daddy was a law firm partner etc. but the real money tap flipped on for them around 1993 (1985 or so for the Wall Streeters)

    1. Craig H.

      It reads like they helped some African prince loot his country like in the stupid spam e-mail.

    2. Lee

      South Africa…a country with the worst income inequality in the world and a youth unemployment rate over 50 percent.

      It is certainly good and just that Apartheid was defeated. But is this perhaps an indication that identity politics in and of itself is flawed? Or am I missing something?

      1. David

        It’s not identity politics. The ANC (and its Freedom Charter) were deliberately multiethnic, and the new government went to great lengths to keep whites in the country. (They still own most of it, which is one of the political problems.) I don’t know about the worst income inequality in the world, either.
        The better news is the Ramaphosa is cleaning up the mess, and indeed the Guptas were already in trouble with the law in the last days of Zuma.

        1. JBird

          It is certainly good and just that Apartheid was defeated. But is this perhaps an indication that identity politics in and of itself is flawed? Or am I missing something?

          It is not identity politics although that be part of the problem. It is more that countries like South Africa that were colonized had their economies, social institutions, laws, the various ways of organizing shattered, if not just obliterated, by the invading colonizers. The whole country is usually transformed into a very stratified hierarchical social, political, and economic pyramid with a very small, even tiny, group of very wealthy families, served by a small middle class of servants, technocrats, shopkeepers, artisans, all over a gigantic population of workers, miners, farmers, peasants, or even, if it is bad enough, whole populations effectively enslaved people(s). Feudalism with all the bad parts but without the good.
          Also, the length colonization, the time since colonization ended, and just how easily it is for the colonizing powers can directly control, and therefore mess up, the colonized county is important.

          Using South Africa as an example, the Dutch colonists invaded something like four centuries ago, doing the usual stealing and murdering. Later, during their expansion, they also did the same to more locals. The neighboring Zulus also did the same to their own natives before being conquered by the British/Boers. South Africa’s main industry became diamond mining, followed by other mining using very poorly paid blacks. So the wealth curse happened also. After World War 2, Apartheid was instituted by the white ruling class. The economy was expanded to such things as heavy industry, but guess who owns most of it, and how well the workers are paid and treated? Add the fact that the country has only been effective decolonized for a few decades.

          One can also look at the Latin American countries, or one could use the American South as similar examples of what did and is happening. Going by history, it will probably be 2-3 centuries before South Africa is a truly functioning society.

  2. Alex

    Re So much for ‘statistical objectivity’ do see the original article in Nature and the graph below:!/image/nature_graph_redcard_08.09.15-web1.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/nature_graph_redcard_08.09.15-web1.png

    So it’s not that bad: most of the studies found that there is probably a moderate effect of skin colour on getting red cards, only one found a huge effect and none found that it definitely doesn’t exist.

    1. Expat

      The use of an inherently subjective and likely biased sampling to demonstrate that statistical analysis is wrong or worthless deludes only those who don’t have a clue about statistics. The cartoon set alongside the article says a lot more about the author’s personal bias and lack of understanding than his references to any meta-analysis of red card bias.

      Statistics are designed for large numbers. So simple statistical analysis such as probability cannot be made with a small or biased sampling. Flipping one, two-headed coin once does not help in determining that a coin toss is a 50-50 proposition. When dealing with correlation, there are many nuances and ways to measure and check it; it is even more subject to sample size and sample bias errors.

      And finally, I find that most people who argue against statistical analysis end up with the same basic argument: something happens or it doesn’t in each individual case so statistics are lies.

    2. Ted

      Yeah, but that conclusion is wrong. 20 of 29 studies OF THE SAME DATA found, with 95% confidence, that there may be SOME effect. So tell me punk, are you feeling lucky? Willing to bet that 5% null finding isn’t the empirical truth? Had they used a 99.9% threshold, then what do you get … Bupkis.

      The report is more about telling in terms of how crowds settle in on what they expect to find (racial bias in sports, oh my!) and then agree together to find statistical illusions to support that end. The red dots in the graphs are exactly the sort of illusions social scientists use to create their fictions. In a confidence interval there is no greater truth in the red or grey dots than in any other point in the interval, all of the infinity of points along that line are equally possible (at 95% confidence!)

      And then, of course, there is the quality and provenance of the data themselves. That unopened pandoras box of social scientific fairy dust.

      1. Expat

        As I said, that is a sampling bias. Setting the threshold is part of sampling bias. If you set the threshhold at 1% you can prove just about any correlation you want. If you set it with 50 “9’s” after the “99.” then you better be working with stars or atoms or something counting in the billions.

    3. funemployed

      Had a long post prepared, but decided to share the main point. They should have kept the data blind.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Stumbling and Mumbling: Labour: the party of business Stumbling and Mumbling. UserFriendly: “​God this is risky. ​Don’t court a base you don’t want to represent.”

    And the interests of these small businesses are often opposed to those of bigger ones. Smaller firms face high rents (and often upward-only rent reviews) from landlords; banks that deny them finance and sometimes actively try to destroy them; rip-off and unreliable utility providers; the huge buying power of oligopsonistic supermarkets; competition from big firms that can hold costs down by dodging tax; and massive losses if one of their big clients (such as Carillion) goes belly-up. If you want to hear anti-capitalist attitudes, forget Momentum and just ask a small business owner what he thinks of bankers.

    There is a certain logic to this, but its very hard to get past entrenched opinions. Greg Palast, in his book ‘The Best Democracy Money can Buy’ has good anecdote about how his local home town had a campaign to enact zoning ordnances to prevent big box retailers moving in and wiping out the Main Street. The main opponents of this were… the businesses on Main Street, mainly because they hated regulations (or believed that they were supposed to be opposed to them, because they are anti-business or something like that). And guess what happened? A few big box retailers came in and wiped out the local hardware and grocery stores.

    In a past career as a consultant, I had multiple experiences of this, where the small businesses I advised frequently raged against ‘regulations’ seemingly oblivious that their businesses actually benefited in many cases, and ‘taxes’ oblivious to the fact that many of them depended on government contracts. The smarter ones realised this, but many seemed quite happy with their hypocrisy.

    The left can never I think ‘represent’ business, but with clever framing it can at least make business less hostile. An obvious start is to focus on anti-trust and monopolies and represent real competition in areas like internet retail and telecommunications. And, if necessary, go for divide and conquer – make it explicit that big oil and big coal are the enemy, but the numerous small and medium sized businesses involved in renewable energy and energy savings will benefit.

    1. todde

      I once had a client who owned a restaurant on the same block as an AIG office building.

      He would always rage against the ‘free money’ AIG got. Always was asking ‘where’s my free money”.

      I tried to point out the restuarant full of AIG employees on lunch, but he wasn’t satisfied.

      1. Expat

        Seriously? AIG and Goldman receive tens of billions in dollars in taxpayer money instead of being shuttered and having all their employees sent to prison and you suggest that this was an equitable and reasonable “trickle down”. I suppose the restautrant owner should have gone out of business by refusing to accept money from AIG employees.
        Did I get you wrong?

        1. todde

          Where did I say equitable and fair?

          His restaurant would be out of business if there were no AIG employees to buy his lunch, you do understand that, don’t you?

          1. Expat

            Sorry, the way your phrased your original comment made it seem as if you were telling the owner that he is sharing in the bailout so he should just shut his mouth and not complain. Which is what you appear to say again in your follow-up.
            While it is possible that his business might suffer if AIG failed, there is no reason to suppose that AIG is his only client or that another client would take over the building.

            1. todde

              His business IS suffering.

              He can complain all he wants, and if it is important enough for him to risk losing his livelihood, that is up to him.

              If he wants to talk about what is ‘fair and equitable’, I suggest he consult a philosopher or a priest.

              My hobby is telling people what should be economically. My business is telling people what IS, economically.

                1. todde

                  you maybe willing to sacrifice this restaurant owner to fight ‘big business’, I am not.

                  “Slit your throat” that’ll show ‘the Man’. Good Luck with that argument.

                  the way to help small business isn’t to take away their customer base.

                  Start with a highly progressive tax system.

                  1. todde

                    and eliminate or reduce the payroll tax.

                    The number one small business killer as far as taxes go.

                  2. False Solace

                    Allowing criminals to run rampant on Wall Street and set the rules of banking is certainly not going to be favorable for small business in the long term. Which probably explains the stunningly low rate of entrepreneurship in the US compared to previous decades.

                    1. todde

                      I agree.

                      I’m so old I remember when we used to put banks in receivership when they made bad loans.

                      But we still gave them money so they didn’t go under.

                      Are you suggesting my client’s small business should be shut down because AIG committed a crime?

                    2. todde

                      Now when I was born the FICA tax accounted for 10% of federal revenue.

                      Now it accounts for 33%+ of federal revenue.

                      and ths guy owes about $100k in fica taxes.

                      Arresting bankers who commit fraud, which I am all for, ain’t gonna help my guy much.

                      Lower/reduce the payroll tax or as I always said, have the 1st ten employees work fica tax-free.

                      That will help mom and pop shops.

                      and you can still advocate for arresting all the bankers you want.

            2. todde

              I was telling the owner if he doesn’t increase revenue, he will lose his business and his house.

              So railing against policies that increase his revenue, may not be the route to go.

              1. False Solace

                You’re failing to explain the causal link between a random dude who complains about injustice (the bailout) and the mechanism that created the injustice. I somehow doubt that one guy’s complaints had any effect on how or why AIG got bailed out, so your suggestion that he shut up about it (lest he go out of business) has more snark than sense. It seems like you’re suggesting he’s hypocritical because he wants both justice and to stay in business. Maybe if the senior execs and lawbreakers had been sent to prison the guy would have had complimentary things to say about his remaining AIG customers.

                1. todde

                  You’re failing to explain the causal link between a random dude who complains about injustice (the bailout) and the mechanism that created the injustice.

                  you are correct but I find that irrelevant.

                  The bailout had a positive effect on his business.

                  If he wants to risk that to fight for justice, I am perfectly fine with that.

    2. liam

      Oh, the dissonance. It always catches me out. How it is that people can be so blind to their own interests, let alone the naked truth. Nothing to do with intelligence, of course, not unless we redefine intelligence. Even in professions which are supposed to have robust means for determining, if not the truth, then at least the falsehoods, entrenched positions abound. Science advances one funeral at a time and all that. Its as if what people profess to believe is outsourced to a tribe, with profession being less a statement of truth than of belonging. Some hold entrenched views on topics that are bewilderingly irrelevant to their lives. They have zero skin in the game, and yet they’ll take you to task for seeming heresies. It’s the narrow path. The social mind. A hive of truisms and constraints and self-censorship, that betrays the security it is meant to endow. The irony is that those with the strongest belief in individualism are often those most wilfully blind. Reminds me no-end of a scene from The Life of Brian:

      “You are all individuals.”
      “Yes, we are all individuals.”
      “I’m not.”

    3. JamesG

      “And, if necessary, go for divide and conquer – make it explicit that big oil and big coal are the enemy … ”

      Oh right.

      Let’s bring back those mom and pop oil refineries.

      I really miss them.

      (Hint: some jobs can be performed only by large companies.)

      1. JTMcPhee

        Totally missing the point. Large corporations are in fact “the enemy” of ordinary mopes and deplorables and yes, even smaller businesses.

    4. John k

      Right now big business and big monopolies are because they big donate… small business is as forgotten as flyover because they don’t.
      Need pols and at least one party not on the rake before working class and working business get attention from anybody.

    5. JBird

      The smarter ones realised this, but many seemed quite happy with their hypocrisy.

      I find that some do not want to think. Nuance is some sort of sin, or it hurts the small-souled wonders to actually use their perfectly fine brains for thinking. So a lack of intelligence is not is the problem; most of our problems do not require that much intelligence to understand, but a lack of willingness to use one’s God given intellect certainly is.

      Having had to look at my own beliefs, I can understand, even forgive, resisting the effort to do so as it can be really painfully hard to change one’s mind on things that are bedrock to their beliefs or views of reality. Who wants pain? I can not accept the mental arrogance to refuse to even try as too many people seem to want to do.

    1. Jim Haygood


      She ran as a woman, as a young person, as a working-class champion, as an unabashed liberal and as a person of color. She piled up endorsements from national progressive groups in recent weeks and from Cynthia Nixon, who is running her own insurgent bid for governor against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Ms. Nixon attended the Ocasio-Cortez victory party.

      If Crowley can be taken down, so can Cuomo, New York’s soi disant first gay black female governor.

      As a New Yorker, I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body. We are one New York​.” — Andrew Cuomo

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe they will split New York into 3, like California.

        That might triple his chances…first try this one, then, if necessary, you move to the other new state…

        1. bronco

          the state of new york should be split. The City should probably combine with New Jersey. Upstate could absorb vermont. Western new york could merge with western PA .

          The state lines were drawn long ago and many make no sense now , lets smash a few states apart and mush others together.

          Whats the point of Rhode Island? Or Delaware ? They are basically towns . Horribly corrupt towns

          1. JTMcPhee

            And giving Vermont over to the tender mercies of the State of Albany is a good idea, just why? And what will combining Rhode Island, where most of the System is “mobbed up” and so many mayors and governors and legislators and judges have done jail time, with Conn, is going to do what, to change the culture of corruption and violence?

            Of course it becomes increasingly likely that there will be recourse to that bit of text I had to memorize in Grade School (along with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and the song “Inchworm, Inchworm, measuring a marigold”):

            When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

            Hey, there’s a great precedent!

            1. bronco

              rhode island goes to eastern mass as does connecticut east of the conneticut river , western mass goes to vermont , vermont takes half of upstate new york , New hampshire stays as is , give most of maine to canada. PA gets a lot of western New York state , Philly gets kicked into the whole new york city , new jersey metro area, it has nothing in common with the state of Pennsylvania

                1. JTMcPhee

                  And most of northern Vermont, the Northeast Kingdom, might prefer joining the Canadiens…

                  Who knew that speculative geography could be so much fun? I thought it was only a game for neocons and globalists…

      2. zagonostra

        I keep seeing comments like the NYT which will invariably try to make it a personality/identity politics victory. I also see comments like:she “represents the future of the Democratic Party,”

        But isn’t she a Socialist? I’m confused on this point. Is she a threat to the Democratic Party or is she going to be sucked into that maelstrom of corruption?

        1. Summer

          Whatever happens, she will be a catalyst for many more revelations about the state of “reform” in the Beltway.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > I keep seeing comments like the NYT which will invariably try to make it a personality/identity politics victory.

          They literally have no other way to think. Those are their categories, and they’re sticking to them.

          But Ocasio-Cortez cannot equivocate on this; it’s poison.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I am watching her being interviewed on morning joe right now.

      Wow. Just wow.

      If establishment democrats are not worried, they should be.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Earth to Zuck:

          Matt Stoller

          And @Ocasio2018 made it clear in her campaign that she won’t be intimidated. She’s one of the few candidates to call for antitrust action against Zuckerberg and big tech, as well as aggressive privacy regulations modeled on the European GDPR.

          Sunset the Tech Lords: let ten thousand horsemen bloom.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Rising seas: ‘Florida is about to be wiped off the map’ ”

    This makes sad reading this. I have distant family that lived in Florida and that were buried there. And one day not far down the track their graves will be underneath a shallow sea and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. A long time ago I read a CSIRO report of sea level rising and I think that there was a one to seven ratio on how far inland it spread. That is, for every meter of sea level rise. about 7 meters of beach would be lost. People forget about this ratio when they hear about sea level rising.
    Maybe the only thing left to do is to erect statues. No, seriously. Have them for people like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush who deny that that the sea is rising and erect them at major beach-fronts. That way, as they stand there like King Canute, people in years to come can mock them as the sea not only starts to lap around their bases but eventually they will be free standing in the middle of a shallow sea. Kinda fitting that.

      1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

        Sand sculptures could be an inexpensive option, featuring their big idiot heads erected above high tide in anticipation of them being gradually undermined until they collapse & are taken by the sea – perhaps sculpted in an Easter Island style.

        I have just returned from my Daughter’s wedding on a beach in County Cork . Four days with no news & it is a shock to return to the lunacy.

    1. Expat

      It’s a great idea for the statues, but my thinking is a bit darker. I think that we could take direction from Creepshow (1982), “Something to tide you over”

      1. Synapsid

        Paul O,

        So true. Tried to show that secular power is nothing compared to that of God and gets misrepresented for a thousand years.

    2. Anon

      There is a California corollary to the Florida submersion:

      The USGS has just released a study delineating the cliff erosion along some of the most expensive California coastal property. The Palos Verdes cliffs near LA get particular scrutiny in the Times article.

      My community known as the California Riviera has just finished spending $30 million on a beach-side bridge that will likely be submerged by sea level rise, if not an eventual El Nino event, in the next 40 years. Another $7 million is being spent on renovating the East Beach pavillion that is no more than 4′ above high tide. (And most of the tourists arrive in town via automobiles.)

      1. ArcadiaMommy

        Just returned from a 3 week trip to a north county San Diego beach community. Many of the projected to be affected citizens are demanding to be compensated for the loss of property value as a result of global warming. Of course these are the most expensive properties.

        There were some alarmingly high and low tides this year. Also lots of ripe- and side-tides (whichever I have never heard of). Not sure if it was something related to hurricane bud tho.

    3. bronco

      if the sea level shoots up I doubt graves will be on too many peoples radar , I mean what good are they anyway?

      Cremation and scatter your ashes in the ocean , since you are going to wind up floating in it one way or the other anyway

  5. Jim Haygood

    Senate majority leader Mitch McClownell gets confronted over family separation, as his public official “wife” yells back, “Why don’t you leave my husband alone?

    Thanks to President Twitler’s racist rants about hispanics being rapists and criminals, prominent Republicans can’t even go out for dinner no more. :-(

  6. timbers


    The big story in Greenland and Antarctica is that the warming ocean is working its way in, deep under the ice sheets, causing the ice to collapse faster than anyone predicted, which in turn will cause sea levels to rise faster than anyone predicted.”

    And what are the predicted rises that are lower that what is really going to happen?

    Panel on Climate Change expects roughly two feet of rise by century’s end. The United Nations predicts three feet. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates an upper limit of six and a half feet.


    “The rate of sea level rise is currently doubling every seven years, and if it were to continue in this manner, Ponzi scheme style, we would have 205 feet of sea level rise by 2095,” he says. “And while I don’t think we are going to get that much water by the end of the century, I do think we have to take seriously the possibility that we could have something like 15 feet by then.”

    1. Samuel Conner

      Without meaning to minimize the hazards, this item (I think recently linked at NC), is grounds for hope that in addition to the dangerous positive/reinforcing feedback loops that accelerate warming and sea-level rise, there is one significant negative/opposing feedback loop that could delay sea-level rise (unexpectedly large earth ‘rebound’ that may stabilize the West Antarctic ice sheet against near-term catastrophic collapse):

      It won’t help with the dessication of important grain-producing regions or intensifying extreme weather, or the spread of tropical diseases, but perhaps the coasts will not be drowned as quickly as was previously thought.

      1. jsn

        I read that. The earth is a closed system for these purposes though, so I have to assume there is a seismic implication here. Trading one systemic effect for another.

        1. Anon

          Yes. the article, in general, suggests the earth crust beneath the West end of the arctic ice sheet will push upward into the sea as the ice sheet melts (water being less dense than ice). However, the volume capacity of the earths oceans will not increase with this expansion. The Archimedes principle at work; a closed system.

          Here’s the last paragraph of the article:

          The weak Earth structure that we found under ASE and the related rapid stability feedback have a strong direct impact on WAIS evolution at the centennial time scale. The presence of such a low viscosity under ASE has effects on the millennial time scale also, with important implications on understanding of the potential WAIS collapse scenarios, as well as on the development of paleo ice-sheet history reconstructions and the associated long-term Earth deformation models (13, 14), hopefully helping to improve the accuracy of future climate change prediction and sea-level projection.(emphasis Anon)

          This hopefulness is likely unhelpful to the citizens of Florida.

  7. rd

    The common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a pretty large plant with coarse leaves and a nice flower. It works well in meadow settings and will colonize many types of soils. I let it grow in areas where I have tall grasses or shrubs.

    From a horticultural standpoint, two that are easier to incorporate into a landscape with the same ecological benefit are:

    Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) which hates clayey or moist ground but loves dry silts and sandy soils. It is excellent for those really dry sunny conditions where sedums etc. will thrive – it grows 12″-24″ tall and has great orange flowers in mid-summer. It does not like competition so is difficult to grow in fertile garden soils. It will not survive if the soils hold a lot of water over the winter. Unfortunately, my soils are too clayey for this species.

    Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) grows in average to wet conditions, so can be grown in most sunny gardens. It is typically about 2 to 4 ft tall with gorgeous white to pink flowers in mid-summer. The leaves are also much more interesting than the common milkweed and will often become maroon to purple late in the season. This is the one I grow in the moist to wet areas of my garden and it is a major player in July and early August before the goldenrods and asters come out.

    All three are propagated by seed floating away on the silky fluff in the pods. They used to collect that material to use for lightweight stuffing materials for insulation, and has even been used for life vest flotation filling:

    1. Carla

      Magnificent antidote! Thanks for all the info about milkweed. I tried to grow swamp milkweed in my garden but it didn’t take. Many of my neighbors have large stands of common milkweed, but I haven’t seen any Monarchs yet this year.

  8. rd

    Re: Florida and sea level

    There is no such thing as a normal sea level. The sea level has repeatedly fluctuated up and down by 50 m to 100 m around a mean that is about 50 m lower than today over the past million years because of the ice ages and inter-glacial periods. See Figure 1 in this paper:

    A couple of meters rise or fall is a blip on the geologic time scale that falls within the statistical noise. It is our fault if we are constructing infrastructure predicated on precise water levels with allowable difference measured in centimeters. So climate change is going to push up sea level – CO2 and methane emissions are accelerating that but it could have occurred anyway over a longer time frame.

    So we don’t even need a discussion about global warming to prepare for sea level changes. We should be doing it anyway, because that is what geologic history tells us happens repeatedly. It is just unusual (but not unprecedented) for several meters of change to occur within a human lifetime

    1. Nick

      What’s the geological precedent for several meters of change in sea level during a human lifetime?

      1. bronco

        Who cares? Don’t build your house on the edge of the ocean , and don’t expect anyone to pay to rebuild it if it washes away. If you have a place in an at risk area , move and rebuild your life in a drier area now before property values crater.

        If you care about sea levels rising tell and keep telling everyone you know , don’t buy that house don’t move to that town where ever it is because the land its on will be submerged in 30 years.

        1. Summer

          Rising insurance costs may take care of a lot of it – at least, you’d think. But, denial is not a river.

      2. rd

        See pages 8-11 of this pdf regarding ice dam breaches during the melting of the continental glaciers. There were massive lakes covering significant percentages of North America and Asia that would have ice dams or earth barriers holding back massive quantities of glacial meltwater from about 20,000 BP to 9,000 BP that would suddenly break. These lakes covered up to several states and provinces at their peaks. The current Great Lakes are just tiny remnants of these massive lakes that existed for about 10,000 years. The flat land from Saskatchewan to upstate New York is made up of clays from those lakebeds. Basically Chicago and Rochester, NY were part of the same lake. These breaches created some of the massive meltwater channels that would have carried rivers larger than the Mississippi for several years emptying out these lakes. This would cause sudden jolts in the sea level rise as the ocean could rise a meter or two in only a handful of years as massive inland lakes suddenly rush into the sea.

        In some cases, the global sea level rise might be ameliorated because the opposite would occur somewhere else as a barrier preventing the ocean from entering a low area would breach. There is serious research indicating that the Black Sea was converted from freshwater to saltwater about 7,500 years ago by the Mediterranean overtopping the dam at the Bosphorus and the sea flooding the freshwater Black Sea Lake that was 10s of meters lower in elevation. In that case, the global oceans would not have risen much, and might even have dropped as the Black Sea filled up with ocean water.

        Info on the Missoula floods through the Snake River to the Pacific Ocean:

        The ice dam breaches could also change climate for decades or centuries as well as cause sudden sea level rise.

        A relatively small one may have caused a global cooling period about 13,400 years ago:

        The shift of floodway to the St. Laurence River from Lake Agassiz due to an ice dam breach may also have caused the multi-centuryYounger Dryas cold period about 12,900 years ago:

        We have actually been living in a relatively placid climatic and sea level rise period over the past 10,000 years. This is similar to the low volatility period in the stock market a year or two ago. Everybody started thinking that was normal, when in reality it is quite abnormal.

        My concerns about CO2 emissions and climate change are focused on ocean acidification and methane hydrate release which would be major game changers. These will potentially trigger massive extinctions, possibly including us. Sea level rise is something that happens and the current cause of sea level change is likely global warming. However, the planet has done just fine with a sea level range of 100+ m over the past million years, so this is predominantly an economic concern, not an existential one.

        At some point in time, the mortgage companies will stop writing 30-year mortgages in many coastal areas and that will cause those real estate markets to collapse. Similarly, private insurance will be much tougher to get, especially any form of flood insurance. The federal government will try to stem the tide with flood insurance for a while but eventually the flood insurance program will be bankrupted by coastal flooding and that market prop will go away. Some areas will be able to build sea walls and tide barriers like Holland but that will be infeasible in Florida because the limestone is too porous and weak. They will have to dredge sand from the ocean to build up the land to stay above sea level rise. That will be difficult to do in areas like Miami. More importantly, they will run out of fresh water because their limestone aquifers will become saltwater contaminated, so Florida will need to desalinate to get drinking water.

    2. Expat

      Okay, let’s try this: you are standing in the middle of a highway and truck is roaring down on you. I yell, “Get out of the way! There’s a truck coming!”. You calmly reply, “Yes, this is a major vehicular thoroughfare upon which travel many large trucks. The average speed on this section is about 54 miles per hour. This is normal and happens regularly.”

      All true. But SPLAT.

      The sad truth is most deniers seem to believe in the Static Earth Theory (other than the Great Flood, of course) in which nothing changes but governments and people. Or that change is good for us. Or that one number (“It was cold in Miami this weekend in October so global warming is a lie made up by the squirrels to steal our nuts!”) negates the science.

      In any case, the science is NOT saying what you are saying. It is saying that the Truck is swerving off the shoulder into our yards and traveling at 300 miles per hour. But I guess that, too, is normal.

    3. ambrit

      The Younger Dryas Impact Group posits a rise of meters in sea level in months. The evidence is building to support this theory. Do remember, that all any of these pronunciamentos are are theories. Incrementalism is not meeting the parameters of the observed history.
      The sea level fluctuations are from roughly 400 feet lower than today to roughly 200 feet higher than today. The big rises in sea level post maximum glaciation were not gradual, but gradual with at least two major ‘pulses’ of rise happening quickly.
      For evolution it’s called Punctuated equilibrium. Read:

      1. Expat

        Punctuated Equilibrium has been punctured. It is a hypothesis invented to account for the lack of fossils and the lack of understanding of the existing fossil record. Evolutionary biologists now recognize that evolution is a long process. Where there is “punctuation” it is only because there was apparently no evolutionary pressure. But once there is, the process is slow as always.

    1. Expat

      I don’t like Trump and would giggle if he got pancreatic cancer, so I am biased, but why is it this administration is unable to approach anything near the truth on any subject. Does this all come from Trump? He says whatever passes through his mind (short trip), his supporters cheer, and the nation weeps? Then Sanders, Haley and every other sycophant feels entitled and empowered to just “make shit up” to please Trump and themselves.
      I still vote for the Asteroid.

      1. RUKidding

        No, it doesn’t all just come from Trump. This IS the Republican Party. This IS how it has ALWAYS been. Trump has just given them a microphone and bull horn, rather than a dog whistle.

        They’re all in hog heaven.

        1. Expat

          The worst part is that this is now the image of America that is projected loudly and clearly across the globe. The rest of the world has an odd love-hate relationship with America. There is all the propaganda about being a beacon of light, freedom, and liberty, etc. Then there is the reality on the ground of US invasions, torture, bombing, support of any right-wing dictator who promises to kill commies and support Israel and the US.
          But through all this and over the years, the world has generally see America speaking as a voice of tolerance, openness, hope, and freedom, however cynical and hypocritical those words were.
          Today, the voice of America is one of hate, intolerance, whining, complaining, threatening, lying, stupidity and ignorance.
          And now those are considered American Values!

          p.s. Yes, I am generalizing and I know that Trump supporters and hard line conservatives on both sides do not represent all Americans, but they now represent America.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I saw hundreds of posters of Bill Clinton with a bullseye on his forehead all over Athens 20+ years ago.

            The US thinks the US represents tolerance, openness, hope, etc. The rest of the world, especially the parts that have been on the receiving end of Uncle Sugar’s ‘freedom’, saw through the scam a long time ago.

            1. bronco

              somewhere I have a ball cap with Momar Khadaffy in a sniper crosshairs that dates back to 86 or so

              1. Expat

                We had a dart board with Ayatollah Khomeini’s face on it. I guess that was around 1980-1982.
                Today, Trumpturds (sorry about that but a bunch of them demanded I stop saying “Trumptards” because they claimed I was ripping off their “libtard” insult) probably have a Hillary dartboard. Of course, they posters of their favorite male idols as well: Kim and Putin.
                God bless ‘Murica!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People here have been trying to point that out, amidst the recent attention on the southern border by the media and Democrats.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Means”: ‘What remains to be seen, though, is whether Democratic leaders can embrace these newcomers or will see them as a threat.’

    Oh, I think that we all know the answer to that one.

    In passing, I see that there are already over seventy comments on the “Earthquake in the Bronx” story and you can almost feel the excitement running through there.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Newcomers.” Why the word “euphemism” was invented.

      the new york post was a bit less subtle, shall we say, on today’s cover proclaiming “RED ALERT.” Can a hammer and sickle, Putin interference connection be far behind? Quite a pretty pickle “we” have here. (She apparently advocates for a lot of “free stuff” like “healthcare” and education.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For WaPo, Subsidizing Bus Fare Is a Lot Like Giving the Rich $5 Trillion FAIR (UserFriendly)


        Will it be subsidized bus transportation or free bus transportation?

  10. Enquiring Mind

    GE’s other businesses wendt* away.

    *Gary Wendt, former head of GE Capital Corp., which was at one time an outsized concentration of risk in the company. Their balance sheet had to shrink after that little kerfuffle in 2008.

  11. DJG

    Naked Capitalism introduced me to Benjamin Studebaker’s blog, and his writing is usually tight. But I’m not so sure that the left shouldn’t be engaged in street theater. I am reminded of the 1990s in Poland, when people would throw small change at politicians in the old communist regime to show them that the people knew how easily they had been bought.

    First, Studebaker is wrong about this one important assertion in his post. He’s been reading too many of those Here We Believe placards.

    “Kindness and compassion are values of the left, and they lose their meaning when they are reserved only for those we deem worthy.”

    The great leftist movements, like the communists in Italy, were broad based, appealed to universal values like freedom, equality, and solidarity, and were also rather severe in their thinking. Not puritanical. But severity meaning capable of making judgments, capable of working without being distracted, and capable of self-restraint. The Spanish anarchists, too, understood solidarity. But a lot of American-style twaddle about kindness and petting doggies isn’t going to go far. In fact, that’s why so many “moderates” are complaining about people violating restaurant etiquette.

    What matters is solidarity, which is sorely lacking in the U S of A. I’m not at all sure anymore that I care What You Believe, (I know that I don’t care much about what the right believes.) We must do.

    Now, is it a good tactic to badger administration and other officials? At a time when the rule of law is so tenuous that you can wait through years of litigation to find out that it really is okay to mislead women about what options they have in getting an abortion? I’m going to suggest that street theater (dare I call it “disruption of the mojito”?) may have to be decided case by case. I suspect that what is going on here is that the activists have bumped up against white privilege. A terrible sin. Don’t bother the white ladies like Huckabee Sanders and Nielsen. You are stirring up residual Gone with the Wind anxieties.

    Recall how Sarah Palin, another distinguished white lady, spend much time on the campaign trail spewing Mandingo fantasies about that strapping Negro Obama. And then there is that subconscious / substrate of White Settler Lady Kidnapped and Outraged by Indian Tales, which were a staple of the nineteenth century. And are still around.

    So: As a tactic. Steer clear of the white ladies. But demonstrating outside Sessions’s house? Maybe some incivility is called for there.

    Although I have to admit that I find the idea that I, or someone else, shouldn’t interrupt that nice ambitious Gina Haspel at her dinner of raw meat and suffering is rather rich, indeed.

    Please advise.

    1. DJG

      I was going to paste the Metta Sutta here, but it is rather long. I will note that Buddhist ethics are neither left nor right. Metta is a kind of universal requirement to remain human. So this business about kindness and compassion would be more compelling if I were seeing more metta out there: But American religion is so filled with conditions, so mingy, so persuaded of its own value, so focused on the silliness of salvation by faith alone. And that sort of religion infects left and right in the U.S. of A.

      I will plant this excerpt here, though:

      Let none deceive another,
      Or despise any being in any state.
      Let none through anger or ill-will
      Wish harm upon another.

      1. JamesG

        “Recall how Sarah Palin, another distinguished white lady, spend much time on the campaign trail spewing Mandingo fantasies about that strapping Negro Obama.”

        Actually, no.

        I don’t recall that.

      2. Spring Texan

        Confronting someone can be done without wishing them misery. (I would wish Jeff Sessions removed from exercising any power because then he couldn’t do the horrors he does – but I don’t wish him – or Trump – torture or an agonizing death.) I don’t think it’s healthy to make contemptuous comments about how stupid or fat or ill-spoken or uneducated or crass or whatever these people are – they are people – but it’s fine and necessary to absolutely oppose what they say and do and make clear it is utterly unacceptable and refuse to shake their hand, break bread with them, or serve them in restaurants. (It would not be acceptable in my mind to try to get no one to sell them groceries, but hey — they will still be eating.)

        I thank the confronters.

      1. Jean

        You mean like harassing Wells Fargo bank officials when they go out to eat?

        Have you seen their massive media buys in an attempt to ‘reinvent’ the giant parasite on the economy that they have become?

        How about corporate felon Pacific Gas & Electric officials responsible for killing dozens of people in exchange for enhanced CEO bonuses?

        The internet is your friend.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          People are innocent until proven otherwise.

          And ex-FBI deputy director McCabe was able to bypass public shaming by bad guys, and instead raised a lot of money online.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Sorry for not being clearer, I was prefacing the remark about McCabe, not PG&E.

      2. Kokuanani

        The shaming must be bothering him, for her to react that way.

        Well, the results of his action are bothering US.

        I don’t usually support the protesters’ public action like this, because it leaves, e.g., abortion rights/civil rights + others open to retaliation, but now that we’ve lost the protection of the courts [and it likely will be gone for a generation or two], I’m at a loss re what tactics to employ.

        Need to do a bit more research on resistance in Nazi Germany.

        1. JTMcPhee

          All the “leftist” causes celebre are already “open to retaliation” (actually very offensive and often violent “street theatre–” I don’t believe any Lefty True Believer has assassinated a Kochist, at least of this date, and what happened to MLK, Jr. again, let’s not forget lynching, and even the NYT reports on how much violence has been directed at “abortionists” and women seeking care at clinics.

          The contradictions might be sharpening, Along with other instruments of social interaction. Seems to me a lot of bullying and repression gets worse when people do not push back (from a position of decency and comity.)

          Gets back to that open question: what do we want our society to look like, and how can we fit in the ecology we are born into? Is there an organizing principle that all our choices and behaviors can be tested against, something like “do no (or at least minimal) harm,” while treating others as we would like to be treated? (Exception for sado-masochists…)

      3. Kevin

        Chamberlain kissed up to Hitler. It took Churchill a long time to convince the English civility was not going to work.

      4. Lord Koos

        I enjoy the public shaming of our political class, since these people so rarely have to confront any of the consequences of their actions.

    2. Eclair

      DJG, I too have been reading the reactions to reported disruptions of quiet dinners and am conflicted. I understand the admonitions, ‘if we do it to them, they will do it to us.’ But, that thinking supposes that what ‘we’ do is equally vile, immoral, unethical, despicable, evil.

      Many writers advocate the creation or maintenance of a kind of ‘neutral zone,’ in which political officials can conduct their private and work lives without harassment. We can criticize their actions in letters to the editor, or comments on blogs, or in officially sanctioned ‘free speech zones.’ But, we must respect these peoples’ rights to mingle with friends, drink and dine quietly, attend their children’s school functions, shop.

      My question is, at what point do we hold high officials (and their enablers) responsible for policies and actions that deprive women of their reproductive rights, despoil our forests, result in the world’s highest incarceration rates, incite hatred of non-white and non-christian peoples, fill our air with poisons, sell off water rights to for-profit, multi-national corporations, bail out banks, deny people health care, invade small countries and bomb their civilians …. ? What is the line? We can let the powerful and elite slide by and enjoy themselves but at some point they will have gone too far … and, then we will act. But what is ‘too far?’

      We have no money; and, its corollary, we have no power. Except the power to disrupt and shame. Peacefully, non-violently.

      PS. I do wonder about the choice of two women as targets. Are women seen as ‘safe’ to attack? Why not choose a powerful man and interrupt his dinner?

      1. DJG

        Eclair: And a secret Lithuanian-o-American handshake to you.

        Yes, the question is: At what point do we throw some horse droppings at the gilded carriage? And isn’t that okay to do? And maybe even break a window?

        But attacking women, especially privileged white women, is going to unleash a lot of problems. It makes no difference that Maxine Waters recalls black people being denied service. I am reminded of when PETA would spray-paint women’s furs. We see how well that went for PETA, which is off in the fringes as ever. (I much prefer Mercy for Animals, which talks sense.)

        If these rightwing guys are so tough, then they can stand some public shaming. But I’m not sure that they are so tough. I’m sure Tom Cotton will squeal like the proverbial stuck porker.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > If these rightwing guys are so tough, then they can stand some public shaming.

          I loathe the entire call-out culture because it’s fractal. Pretty soon we’re going to have people being shamed in the local coffee shop. It’s the political equivalent of “cheap grace.”

        2. EricT

          The MSM really didn’t care when the tea party assailed the town hall meetings of democratic congress representatives. Seems to me that these fascists complain to much. It must be working.

      2. wilroncanada

        Perhaps because most of the men have private clubs, complete with servants with mostly “foreign-looking” skin tone or accents, if they are allowed to speak at all. Women like Huckabee-Sanders on the other hand, even though they have very public faces, are not in the same stratum as the ‘elect.’

        And of course most of the White House denizens, cabinet and so on, have long since armed themselves with security details, paid for by taxpayers.

    3. Spring Texan

      YES. It doesn’t mean we don’t understand adversaries are human too and it doesn’t mean punching people, it doesn’t mean not getting along with those of our families or co-workers who support Trump, but making our opinion of the evil that the leaders are doing (or defending) VOCAL and CLEAR is great and I admire those who are brave enough to do it. Thanks to them!

      So disgusting to see Schumer and Pelosi berating Maxine Waters but not people who vote for bankster bills, nor do they act with vigor to throw sand in the works of a horrible legislature, no they are all worked up about ‘civility.’

      Someone tweeted that it was ridiculous to see them pontificating to an elderly black woman about public eating places.

      1. ewmayer

        “It doesn’t mean we don’t understand adversaries are human too…”

        Well, by way of example, NCer Expat writes:

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

        Again, not to defend the lady’s character or political views, but we’ve seen examples of goodthinking liberals loudly cheering deaths of despair of those backwards deplorables, so I suspect this sort of attitude is not terribly rare amongst the smug bicoastal-and-beltway-dwelling Clintonite crowd.

    4. fresno dan

      June 27, 2018 at 9:34 am

      (Red Hen) This is a disgusting and appalling lack of civility and a departure from the norms of American political discourse and I cannot fathom where liberals got the idea for it and, by the by, here is a list of some things the current president of the United States of America said while campaigning for his office:

      “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
      “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
      “Part of the problem . . . is no one wants to hurt each other anymore.”
      “I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or if other people will.”
      “The audience hit back. That’s what we need a little bit more of.”
      “If you do [hurt him], I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it.”
      “I’ll beat the crap out of you.”
      “Knock the crap out of him, would you? I promise you, I will pay your legal fees.”

      It’s a mystery, isn’t it? Where in the world did Maxine Waters and the Red Hen and the people in that Mexican restaurant come up with such terrible, norm-shattering ideas about civility?
      The reason we have norms in the first place is because there is always an undercurrent of violence in politics. And that’s because, to invert Clausewitz, politics is war by other means. One of the great accomplishments of Western civilization has been, for the most part, to push that undercurrent way down deep. It has not always worked. It will not always work.
      First, kind of amazing that I am quoting the Weekly Standard
      Second, I have been advised to ignore what Trump says, e.g., take Trump seriously but not literally. That Trump’s red meat is merely diversion, i.e., squirrels to dogs, and civility and norms are unimportant – we got POLICIES to think about.
      Mean words to rich people is “class warfare” and is terrible and counter productive – but real policies that kill poor people is….business as usual, but can only be spoken about in the most bland ineffective manner possible.

      1. DJG

        Thanks, fresno dan: Yes, Daniele Luttazzi, an Italian satirist who minces no words, calls society in general La Guerra Civile Fredda = the cold civil war

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Nice. A small touch of honor from the dwindling never-Trumpers. It’s been rich watching “conservatives” – who were so happy about the SCOTUS baker decision 2 weeks ago – snarl about the INCIVILTY!! of another private business owner exercising her right to do business as she pleases, with whom she pleases, within the letter of the law.

        They care only about retaining and extending unearned privileges for themselves. Privileges of race, class, region, and connection. Their loud regards for freedom and talk about a virtuous nation characterized by proud, independent small businesspeople…. is horse crap.

      3. Lambert Strether

        >here is a list of some things the current president of the United States of America said while campaigning for his office

        I agree. We should become like Trump in order to defeat him. He was, after all, successful. “Of all the works of Sauron, the only fair.”

        Idea: Focus on policy? For starters?

    5. Lambert Strether

      If you optimize for leadership that glories in the suffering of others, that is surely the leadership you will get, after your side wins. Be careful what you wish for.

  12. Samuel Conner

    Without meaning to minimize the hazards, this item (I think recently linked at NC), is grounds for hope that in addition to the dangerous positive/reinforcing feedback loops that accelerate warming and sea-level rise, there is one significant negative/opposing feedback loop that could delay sea-level rise (unexpectedly large earth ‘rebound’ that may stabilize the West Antarctic ice sheet against near-term catastrophic collapse):

    It won’t help with the dessication of important grain-producing regions or intensifying extreme weather, or the spread of tropical diseases, but perhaps the coasts will not be drowned as quickly as was previously thought.

    1. Samuel Conner

      my apologies for the duplicated comment; browser hiccoughed and I assumed that the first attempt failed.

  13. Eric Titus

    The “Nordic Welfare State” article is written by a Manhattan Institute hack citing a Cato Institute paper, on a website devoted to advancing a conservative view of family life.

    There are certainly debates to be had about gender in the Scandinavian welfare state. The article doesn’t mention policies that increase or even mandate paternal leave. The proportion of women in management is (comparatively) high in the US, and does not map neatly onto other gender inequality outcomes. But the article does not really do justice to what is actually a lively conversation about this on the left and among academics.

    1. Jim Haygood


      August WTI crude trades at $72.55/bbl

      Air traffic control has cleared us to ascend to flight level 100.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Not involved, but the chart says it’s going higher.

          Meanwhile the Orange Flake just crushed another stock market rally:


          Andrew Mellon and a suavely-dressed Satan are toasting another liquidationist victory. “Values will be adjusted” etc

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You either stand (not retreating) or start studying Mao’s Little Red Book,

            I would like to see what Hollywood films would be like again, without having to have their scripts reviewed by Beijing.

            (Trump may be orange, but Xi, with his ridding political opponents in the name of corruption, is the black or red?)

            By the way, good luck with your social credit score. May you ace it that!!!

    2. Expat

      Deflate this back to 1980 and you get $25 a barrel oil. Oil was $37.50 back in 1980.
      If Americans and the American economy can’t handle $75 oil, there is a serious, fundamental problem with America which won’t be solved by insulting Harley Davidson or pissing off the Chinese.
      Oh, and if high oil prices are so dreadful, perhaps the unjustified, illegal embargo of Iran should be reconsidered.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Yes, interesting that elements in the USG are threatening to impose sanctions on those nations who import Iranian oil. Why were the sanctions imposed in the first place? Second, as a writer at CNBC observed in an opinion piece yesterday, U.S. global dominance is fading. So what are the real policy goals here?… higher domestic oil prices?… geopolitical conflict?… recession?… other?

      2. Lord Koos

        Take into account that people are making pretty much the same money, or less, than they made in 1980.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Pity their bills never stayed at the same level such as healthcare, education, electricity, etc.

        2. Expat

          I have not lived in the US since 1988 so I am out of touch. What do people earn? I see articles about pensions with school board members or heads of fire departments retiring with $200k per year after twenty years. But median household income is still $59k. (In 1980 it was apparently $17k, by the way, so oil prices have only doubled nominally while income has increased by 3.5 times. Cars are also more efficient.)

          Here in France the median household income is $25k. For most places in France, that is considered a decent salary.

          The question of what is a good income depends on where you live, of course. NYC or San Francisco? You are poor at $200k.

          Any thoughts on this?

    3. John k

      So it’s a win win for the big oil donors… be different if some of them had a piece of Iran’s action.

  14. JCC

    The Thomas Franks interview is telling, and to my way of thinking, combines well with this book review.

    What we are seeing here, I believe (and have believed long before I ever heard of Franks) is an equivalency, the rise of Monopoly/Surveillance Capitalism comparable to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany during the 30’s. The rhetoric is similar although the rise is slower… but accelerating.

    It is the prime reason why, by March of 2008, I had completely abandoned y support of Obama once he had filled his Cabinet and Advisory staff with Wall Streeters. It was very obvious to me that the (accelerating) rise of the worst of US-style capitalism was set to continue unabated.

    There are quotes galore regarding all this, these two come to mind; Mark Twain supposedly said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”, and George Santayana’s “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  15. Wyoming

    off topic.

    I don’t know if anyone else has this issue but some of the mainstream links (like from the WP) will not open for me from within NC, but if I open a separate Chrome page and then try and open them they do work.

  16. dcrane

    This bit from the CNN article on Ocasio-Cortez’s win was especially interesting:

    Worth noting: With Crowley’s loss, the next generation — below Pelosi — of future Democratic leaders has been totally obliterated. Xavier Becerra left Congress to be the California Attorney General. Steve Israel of New York retired. Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen ran and won a Senate race. Debbie Wasserman Schultz crashed and burned as the head of the Democratic National Committee. And now, Crowley. There’s no one left. It’s a wasteland

    1. RUKIdding

      That’s been a huge problem for a long time. And as one crying in the wilderness about it, not much has changed. Big D has never ever built a deep bench in my voting life time. They just keep churning out the same old same old hacks, crooks, swindlers, liars and grifters.

      FFS DiFi is in her frickin’ 80s! She’s THAT GREEDY that she needs MOAR.

      The only “bench” Big D has are tools and crooks and DINOs like Kamala Harris, Patrick Duval and Cory Booker. Thanks for nothing.

      Republicans have ALWAYS been building their bench. They ALWAYS have up and comers.

      Big D? Not so much.

      These younger people who are running as Democratic Socialists have to do so because Big D simply Does. Not. Want. To. Associate. With. “THOSE PEOPLE” shudder!!!!!!

      My disgust for Big D knows no bounds.

      1. Sid Finster

        At risk of quoting my feline self yet again:

        “Lady Macbeth gonna Lady Macbeth.”

    2. bronco

      so theres a lack of shitty leaders a rung below the present shitty leaders?

      Thats a real shame

    3. Lambert Strether

      > With Crowley’s loss, the next generation — below Pelosi — of future Democratic leaders has been totally obliterated. Xavier Becerra left Congress to be the California Attorney General. Steve Israel of New York retired. Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen ran and won a Senate race. Debbie Wasserman Schultz crashed and burned as the head of the Democratic National Committee.

      That’s terrible, terrible.


  17. Carolinian

    This seems important. Cory Doctorow:

    Upload filters were a bad idea when a giant American company rolled them out voluntarily, and they’re an even worse idea now that the EU wants to force every European competitor to beat US Big Tech in its race to the bottom. It turns an inter-industry bargain that made YouTube a frustrating place for many creators, into an unavoidable, automated censorship barrier for every Internet user in Europe. What’s more, the only large scale providers of these black-box filters are other big US tech giants, meaning everything intended for publication by and for EU internet users will have to make a round-trip through an American server, allowing US corporations to spy on and censor the public discourse of Europeans, and get paid millions for doing so.

    In the US Silicon Valley has managed to beat back more radical proposals that would turn websites into copyright cops for the benefit of media companies and others. Rights holders have to find the violations themselves and ask that they be removed. And yet despite fears that the Internet would kill off Hollywood it has somehow managed to survive. Is the EU becoming a major threat to Internet freedom?

    1. Summer

      A lot of those “others” aren’t big media companies. They pay out of their own pockets on a daily basis to create content. They are part of the disappearing middle class.

      1. Carolinian

        And those other “little people,” internet users?

        Article 13 is often described as balancing the interests of media companies and technology platforms, but it completely omits the interests of the hundreds of millions of Europeans who use the internet but are neither a Big Tech employee or an employee of Big Copyright.

        If you post something that is wrongly snared by a filter, either because someone falsely laid claim to it, or because the filter ignored your fair dealing rights, you have no real remedies. You can meekly ask the company to unblock your material, and if you disagree with their (eventual) response, you can hire lawyers and sue to have your material uncensored.

        This cure sounds far worse than the alleged disease.

  18. KB

    Just ordered Thomas Frank’s latest book, so am only 1 day into it and just love it.
    He writes in an easy to read format and provides such great context with oodles of examples….Will report more later.

    I also loved “Listen, Liberal” and read the spring before the 2016 election…
    reminds me of when I recommended it as a book to read at the book club I then attended. The suggestion alone brought responses of blasphemy..that from the mostly liberal audience members. I dropped the book club immediately…A book club should be an open to all ideas space eh?

  19. jsn

    Slate Star Codex on Piketty: that “straight line graph” is just documenting the continuity of financial accounting and the slow compounding of interest.

    GDP is a monetary abstraction that has had increasingly little to do with the real conditions as more and more real conditions are first monetized into market economies (day care, health care, food prep. etc. now, shoe making, butchering etc. at the dawn of industrialization), and then financialized where what was real becomes increasingly subject in measure to the various and propagating accounting frauds that pass for growth in the financialized world.

    This growth has to compound at that static rate or institutions must accept the write downs on all the interest bearing contracts that underwrite Capitalist production. The chart represents the steady growth of Capitalism as the societies of the world in aggregate engage deeper and deeper with it while it is eroding what is real outside financial the frame at an exponentially growing rate: that exponential environmental destruction is necessary to maintain that financial straight line graph with Capitalism’s “order” of real production.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “The San Francisco housing market is so absurd that restaurants are putting diners to work because they can’t afford to pay waiters”: ‘Some restaurant that look like full-service spots have diners seat themselves, fetch their own water, bus their table, and more’

    Sounds like an upmarket version of McDonalds to me.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe street food is an answer to high commercial rents there.

      The city could use someone who runs on housing as a human right.

    2. Jean

      Guess you haven’t heard about sushi restaurants:
      They don’t even cook the fish and they charge double for it.

      San Francisco is hopefully like New York–about to get a Giuliani who will reverse the crime, demagnetize the city to attract fewer economic drifters and civic misfits, to and including Latin Americans who occupy lots of formerly low income housing, and who will institute sane economic policies. Things will have to reach crisis levels before this happens.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Yeah, sure…
          SF City government LOVES them some big private development and have been front row cheerleaders for nigh 10 years.


  21. fresno dan

    The most important study on the placebo effect is Hróbjartsson and Gøtzsche’s Is The Placebo Powerless?, updated three years later by a systematic review and seven years later with a Cochrane review. All three looked at studies comparing a real drug, a placebo drug, and no drug (by the third, over 200 such studies) – and, in general, found little benefit of the placebo drug over no drug at all…..
    This is kind of surprising, since everyone has been obsessing over placebos and saying they’re super-important for the past fifty years.

    What happened? Probably placebo effects rode on the coattails of a more important issue, regression to the mean. That is, most sick people get better eventually…..People go to the doctor during times of extreme crisis, when they’re most sick. So no matter what happens, most of them will probably get better pretty quickly.

    In the very old days, nobody thought of this, so all their experiments were hopelessly confounded.

  22. Jim Haygood

    Supreme Court busts public sector unions:

    The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that public sector unions for state and local employees can’t force non-members to pay a “fair-share” union fee. In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the extraction of agency fees from non-consenting public sector employees violates the First Amendment.

    The case centers on an Illinois law, similar to those in 22 other states, that allow public-sector unions to collect a “fair-share fee” from employees for non-political activities like collective bargaining, regardless of whether those employees belong to the union or not.

    Mark Janus, a state child support specialist at the center of the case, argued against having to give up about $45 from each paycheck to AFSCME Council 31. Doing so, he said, violates his First Amendment rights because it forces him to support the union’s messaging.

    A group of 15 public sector unions warned the court in a friend of the court brief that eliminating fair-share fees would eviscerate public sector unions. “Elimination of fair-share fees would create an all-or-nothing choice: pay union dues or pay nothing but still receive the benefits a union provides,” they wrote. “In that world, many rational employees will choose to become free riders.

    Free riders or freedom riders? You decide …

    1. Jean

      I remember my enthusiastic worker son being denied a promotion decades ago. The commercial union he was forced to join and pay union dues to loudly proclaimed on the break room poster:

      “Our union fully supports the promotion of women and minorities to management positions.”

      After that, our, and that of most of his fellow workers, sympathies for unions evaporated. They are now Trump voters. You reap what you sow.

      The Democrats are doing all over again at the political level. His Hispanic wife, a legal immigrant, also voted for Trump.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        According to Hillary, she only voted that way because your son made her. Can’t make this (family blog) up.

      2. bones

        Care to explain? Does the union represent supervisory workers (i.e. management) and have a say in who gets management positions? I ask because usually supervisory workers are not part of the bargaining unit. Not knowing the situation, it sounds like your son might just be a bitter guy who is predisposed to scapegoating minorities for his own inadequacies and the shittyness of the economy.

        1. Jean

          The union represented all employees in the theater from manager to candy sellers.
          We’re not talking corporate executives in the home office.
          The economy was not shitty in 1975.

          I guess all those people passed over for promotions and school admissions in the last forty years because of affirmative action are “inadequate.”

          Keep attacking, you’re helping guarantee President Trump’s reelection.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Um, the US was at the end of the worst recession since WWII in 1975. However the definition of unemployment was much more stringent than now, and workers had more bargaining power, with many workplaces subject to formal or informal cost of living adjustments. So it might be more accurate to say that the shitty economy of 1975 would actually look not bad if accounted for in our new more forgiving statistical treatment.

    2. bones

      If it means that stale, staff-dominated, paper-membership unions actually have to go out and talk to their members, it could be a good thing…eventually. Unfortunately I don’t think the typical union is going to have any idea about how to respond. They’ll just layoff staff, raise dues, and try to maintain. It’s depressing to hear from union workers who don’t know who their steward is, and have no contact meaninful contact or interaction with their union’s leadership, but on the whole a dysfunctional union is better than no union at all, and in the medium term this decision is just going to lead to further decline.

  23. JTMcPhee

    I followed the Ha’aretz link on the repeal of that Polish law that criminalized saying that Poland, the nation, had a role in the killing of Europe’s Jews, Gypsies, Communists, “mental defectives” and others. In a sidebar, I ran across this article which contains a rich soup of threads tied into our zeitgeist: In Colorado, First Openly Gay (And Jewish) Man on Track to Become a U.S. Governor,

    Possibly not a progressive triumph, of course:

    The liberal Polis, a five-term congressman from Boulder, and Stapleton, who embraced President Donald Trump’s immigration and tax policies, wasted no time in trading barbs following their primary victories Tuesday.

    “Make no mistake: As governor, Jared Polis will raise every tax and fee he can to take more money from hardworking Coloradans,” Stapleton said.

    “People are tired of hearing that divisive political rhetoric,” Polis said. “They want a governor who can unite rather than divide them. I can work with Trump when we need to, but I am not beholden to him.”

  24. Matthew G. Saroff

    In terms of that commentary on the “Nordic Nations,” it should be noted that the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) is a right wing org.

    Look who they have in the quotes of their about page, and who is on their staff page.

  25. precariat

    Re: confrontation

    When acting on principles is the sole perogative of the powerful, rich and corporations you know we no longer live in a democracy.

    A breakdown in civility is what these powerful people have been engendering for years. What they do not want is to experience it themselves and thus give rise to recognition that their actions are destructive.

  26. bones

    “the prospects for the left get better with every passing day. More old Clinton voters die while more young socialist-leaning young people reach voting age.”

    Yves, should we actually expect this, or is it like the browning population, the demographic trend that was supposed to be a problem for Republicans? US population, as far as I know, is greying, and (even with the US’s declining life expectancy, the Boomers are going to be around for some time. On top of that, this particular primary, looks to have occurred in an especially favorable location, a gentrified area, which means a very young population.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The “browning” is a problem for the Republicans, but the “New Democrats” weren’t guaranteed to be the inheritors of that vote. There was a book from 2002 widely spread in Democratic politico circles that more or less made this claim called “The Emerging Democratic Majority.” A chief criticism would be the lack of how those votes move from non-voting to voting.

      The death/birth model still matters. In both 2008 and 2016, Hillary had virtually no support with anyone under the age of 30 and then 38 (a number that lines up with whether a person was old enough to vote for Gore) and her support with people not old enough to vote in 1996 wasn’t good either. Sanders did not have the operation that Obama had or the credibility as a candidate given his age and state. Illinois versus Vermont matters especially with the free press those two states can generate. Then we have to include the obstacles to voting put in place by the Democratic party. In 2016, she enjoyed Democrats who wanted to focus on the general and end a “destructive” primary, an important red state advantage in the primary calendar, and a better organizing structure. Will the nursing home cadres come out and vote for a “New Democrat” not named Clinton or with a connection to a nostalgia driven structure? My guess is not in those numbers.

      Yes, the Democrats may have declared victory on the economy because the rich are richer and everyone else is poorer, but the narrative does hit reality. There are more millenials than baby boomers and this has been true for several years.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The popular position is most support bipartisan, equal opportunity treatment, and we should also show it to the bankers and billionaires (we might have to paddle to their private islands, but nothing worthwhile in life is easy, though many of us could use that exercise).

  27. Jim Haygood

    Amendment V: ‘nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb

    The reality: A grand jury indicted James Alex Fields, 21, on 30 federal charges, including one count of a hate crime resulting in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and 28 other hate crimes involving attempts to kill other people in Charlottesville. An attorney for Mr. Fields, who is already facing murder charges in state court, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

    Americans are unique in the world in having to face two parallel criminal codes: federal and state. Amendment V is perfectly clear in denying the government two bites at the apple. But rubber-stamp judges like Anthony Kennedy didn’t care when this vital plank of the Bill of Rights was nullified.

    Now federal prosecution “piles on” atop state prosecution in notorious cases such as those of Timothy McVeigh, Dylann Roof, and (now) James Fields. These defendants deserve no sympathy. But stripping their constitutional rights annihilates ours too.

  28. precariat

    Trump appointing 2 to the SCOTUS. I really do not think it is an exaggeration to say we can kiss what is left of our democracy goodbye. Media focusing on LGBT and Roe v Wade – those issues are the *least* of the damage his pick will do.

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