Links 6/30/18

Harlan Ellison, Provocative Sci-Fi Writer of ‘Star Trek,’ ‘A Boy and His Dog,’ Dies at 84 Variety. I was a big Ellison fan when I was young. I read Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions when they came out, along with many of his short stories (such as his classic “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”). With the benefit of hindsight, I was influenced by the television criticism columns he wrote for the Los Angeles Free Press, which were published in the book The Glass Teat.

Harlan Ellison wrote Star Trek’s greatest episode. He hated it. Vox

Harlan Ellison, Intensely Prolific Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 84 New York Times

‘Naked hermit’ who lived on deserted island for thirty years ‘captured’, brought back to civilisation Terrible.

The Earth’s magnetic field reverses more often – now we know why The Conversation (David L)

We still have no idea how to eliminate more than a quarter of energy emissions MIT Technology Review

The 25% Revolution—How Big Does a Minority Have to Be to Reshape Society? Scientific American (JTM). Reported elsewhere, but in case you missed it….

A Nobel-winning economist’s guide to taming tech monopolies Quartz (David L)

Bitcoin Bloodbath Nears Dot-Com Levels as Many Tokens Go to Zero Bloomberg

Engineers Develop Electric Car Battery That Can Heat Itself During Winter Popular Science

Fluoridation is mass medication, NZ Supreme Court rules Scoop News (furzy). Help me. You do not want teeth like mine (versus those of my brothers, who did have fluoridated water). With our terrible health care system, we aren’t able to organize to get fluoride pills or drinks to kids of an age when fluoridated water matters (when their adult teeth are forming, I assume ages 4 to 6).

The plateau of human mortality: Demography of longevity pioneers Science


China’s polluted skies Financial Times

North Korea

North Korea has increased nuclear production at secret sites, say U.S. officials NBC (furzy)


Surge in Britons getting EU nationality BBC

Brexit: in the land of soundbites Richard North

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s homespun firebrand Financial Times


How the Iran sanctions drama intersects with OPEC-plus Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (Kevin W)


Merkel buys time with EU migration deals Financial Times

Merkel wins advantage in standoff with Bavaria Politico

Spanish rescuers ‘told by Italy to stay away from dinghy in distress’ Guardian

Trump’s controversial pick for top UN migration job voted down in Geneva CNN (Kevin W)

Trump administration to keep migrant families detained together long term Axios

The Courageous Woman Who Is Organizing Separated Mothers Inside an ICE Detention Center The New Yorker (furzy)

Lawmakers take immigration battle to ballot box The Hill

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

UK’s pressure on US over leaked drops to Julian Assange The Australian (furzy). Google the headline…

Here is the full letter. Bill B:

Note the language: “WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally.”

Allow me to offer a translation in layman’s terms: “We resent having been exposed as a cabal of money grubbing toadies who could care less about unions and growing inequality. We will not tolerate being exposed as such.”

DECEIVED BY DESIGN: How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy Norwegian Consumer Council (hat tip Bruce Schneier)

Edward Snowden describes Russian government as corrupt Guardian

Tariff Tantrum

Canada ‘will not back down’ over US metals tariffs BBC

GM Warns Trump Tariffs Could Lead the Carmaker to Shrink in the U.S. Bloomberg

Companies that want out of new steel tariffs describe a nightmare CNN (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Mugger Mick Mulvaney—Trump’s Sadist-in-Chief Ralph Nader, Counterpunch

Trump’s top economic adviser says deficit ‘is coming down rapidly,’ contradicting virtually all available data Washington Post (furzy)


Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening New York Times (furzy)

A bit too linear re the connecting the dots, but as Lambert said, “Wow…”

Talk About ‘The Appearance of Corruption’ Charles Pierce, Esquire (furzy)

Trump to announce Supreme Court pick July 9 The Hill

Several states ready to outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade overturned Axios

Democratic Elite Scrambles to Respond to Ocasio-Cortez ConsortiumNews

Judge Blocks Kentucky’s Plan for Work Requirements on Medicaid Wall Street Journal

Illinois GOP official admits nomination of a neo-Nazi was an ‘absolute political disaster’ Raw Story (furzy)


Capital Gazette Staff Warned Years Ago to Call 911 if They Saw Shooting Suspect Wall Street Journal

Annapolis killer was allowed to buy a gun — even after woman he stalked warned he’d be ‘next mass shooter’ Raw Story (furzy)

America Has a 1.39 Billion-Pound Cheese Surplus. How Did That Happen? Mental Floss (Kevin W). Your humble blogger has mentioned how restaurant menus are awash with cheese….

Why is gold not shining? MacroBusiness

Chemists beware: Amazon’s attack on pharmacies has just begun Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

Wounded unicorn Domo limps on to the stock market Financial Times

How to get away with financial fraud Guardian (Matthew C)

Guillotine Watch

Class Warfare

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wins as a Democratic Socialist With a 21st-Century Vision Nation (furzy)

PGP is reinventing property guardianship in the London housing crisis Independent

Is This Going to Crush Rents in Seattle? Wolf Street (EM)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “This is Haiku.”

And a bonus antidote. Having a run of cute cats! From Kevin W:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Justice Kennedy resigned because…

    wait for it…

    he is compromised because his son has been @realDonaldTrump’s personal banker at Deutsche Bank for 12 years. The same Deutsche Bank that was fined $630 million for a $10 Billion scheme to launder Russian mob money.
    Kinda puts the lie to the meme that Trump is insular….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To connect all bankers at the bank to the bank itself? He was there for 12 years….bank fined…Russian mob money.

      Do we connect now or wait…a bit, but not too patience-testing long???

      Per Yves

      A bit too linear re the connecting the dots, but as Lambert said, “Wow…”

      Did judge Kennedy help get his son-banker the job?

      Did they stay very close during his son’s banking career?

      My first reaction is the same – a bit too linear.

      1. Lambert Strether

        But it is like the elites all know each other. It’s almost like they’re all one degree of separation from each other!

        (My picture was that the Young Kennedy fell into the category of office decor: You’re doing wealth management, you’ve got the hushed hallways, the heavy drapes, the thick carpet, the walnut desk, the son of a Supreme Court “Justice” behind the desk….

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘But it is like the elites all know each other.’

          Not too far from the truth that. I read an article some time ago which talked about all the cross connections and the Kagan family was one example used (Victoria Nuland is a member of this family). There were ties in the think tanks that they belonged to, the corporate boards they were members of, ties of marriage, government ‘service’, elite schools and universities that they went too.
          Ever been to a small town where everybody seems to know each other? Kinda like that but instead of a small town, they were located both nationally and internationally. They hardly mixed with the unwashed mashes and really only mixed with each other. Think the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard here. Lots of horizontal integration but not much vertical social integration. It was just like the mafia and being a ‘made man’.

            1. zagonostra

              It’s interesting that when you mention the views of Mills, Michael Parenti and others, which I was exposed to way back in college days, to young folks you get a big yawn.

              Facts about our political system that incensed me back then (70’s & 80’s) hardly register with people…the word jejune comes to mind.

    2. Darthbobber

      Fail to see how the fact that Kennedy’s son did business with Trump compromises Kennedy in any way. Pretty normal business relationship, no claim that Justice Kennedy profited, nothing here that would put pressure on him to retire.

      If this is to be the standard, probably the majority of our politicians are living in glass houses. But it only ever becomes an issue when useful as a convenient stick to beat someone with. My take is that this had pretty much nothing to do with Kennedy’s retirement. He would always have wanted to be replaced by a fellow-traveler, and the federalist society approved shortlist consists entirely of such people.

      1. Chris

        I think the reason people are getting excited about this one has to do with Justice Kennedy’s now infamous “appearance of corruption” statement in the majority opinion for Citizens United.

        And, yes, most politicians these days do live in glass houses. But most citizens seem to be content to take selfies in front of the glass, so they’re doing OK :/

      2. Jean

        How about David Brooks’ son serving in the Israeli military? Does that compromise Daddy’s
        “neutral journalist stance?”

  2. Christopher Dale Rogers

    The 25% Revolution—How Big Does a Minority Have to Be to Reshape Society? – According to the ardent Remainers within the UK, even an absolute majority of the electorate plus some 15% more would not be proof evidence enough that many in the UK electorate are not in love with the EU and its numerous Institutions, the same could be said for the Brexit extremists had they been in the losing camp in 2016.

    Further, and sticking with the 25% figure, well that’s about roughly the vote Trump achieved in the 2017 Presidential, with Ms Clinton gaining more actual votes, alas, the US has an electoral college rather than a winner takes all from a single vote cast – so, this figure does seem to fit the present political environment, which is rather daunting as in the USA only a small majority of the electorate actually voted in November 2017, whilst with the EU Referendum in the UK some 28% did not participate, that is they cared little.

    Scotland’s Referendum and turnout was thus stunning, given more than 80% of eligible voters cast a vote.

    My tip is, next time we have elections they should be null and void if a clear majority don’t cast votes, whilst in a Referendum the threshold should be 75% turnout requirement, that way you shut the loser up who keeps telling you a third of the UK electorate are dictating to the other two thirds, whilst 28% could not be arsed to vote period, as such, you can’t claim them as being supportive of any cause whatsoever, if they cared, they’d have voted and it is that simple.

    In the USA, not so simple as both Duopoly Parties seem happy with a 50% turnout, indeed, both parties try and stop people voting, which is strange in a Nation that calls itself a democracy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My answer is 1% or 0.01% (to ‘reshape society.’)

      And the example I need is America today.

    2. Summer

      “A new study about the power of committed minorities to shift conventional thinking offers some surprising possible answers…”

      I’ve made comments about needing around that percentage to effect change.
      It’s more about the commitment needed before and after elections. It’s about the change that will create an environment that produces better candidates and choices at the ballot box, but even more about the kind of people that populate institutions that govern society. It’s about using 25% to change power relationships, not just int the realm of politics.

  3. fresno dan

    Five banks, including a big lender to President Donald Trump, have received temporary reprieves from the administration to run businesses that they otherwise would have had to shut down after criminal convictions.

    The Labor Department granted Deutsche Bank a waiver from punishment allowing it to continue to manage pension funds and individual retirement accounts for another three years, according to an announcement in the Federal Registry soon after the decision last month. Four other banks convicted in criminal cases were also granted waivers.
    Sheer coincidence…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We can look forward to the other four ‘grateful’ banks to start doing business with Trump, if soon, perhaps in a not-too-distance future.

      “You own me one.”

      “You also owe me.”

      “You too.”

      “Let’s not forget you. Remember June 2018?”

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Sounds bad but upon further reading it becomes clear that Trump is once agaon just following the precedent set by Obama. From your link:

      The Trump administration waivers are a continuation of previous government policy. The Obama administration had granted the banks temporary waivers under a so-called deferred prosecution agreement with them after their 2015 convictions for manipulating a key interest rate used for loans worldwide.

      The Labor Department said Wednesday that Deutsche Bank got no special deal, and noted that the Obama administration had originally proposed a more valuable waiver lasting five years, instead of the three ultimately granted.

      And the tweet above links to a David Sirota article which it clearly considers damning but also contains this:

      In late 2016, the Obama administration extended temporary one-year waivers to five banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank. Late last month, the Trump administration issued new, longer waivers for those same banks, granting Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Barclays five-year exemptions. UBS and Deutsche Bank received three-year exemptions.

      So perhaps continuing previous government policy did give Trump some cover for his own personal gain. I can see the motivation there. But what was Barry’s motivation to grant the waivers in the first place? He just likes making nice with rich people?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We’ll know more about Obama after we get to know more about Comey, McCabe, Lynch, et al.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          No, Obama expects huge monetary paybacks for what he did for the banks. He and his family expect several hundred million dollars in payoffs over the next few decades just for this alone. Let’s see how much money the Obamas gather over the next few decades.

      1. Oregoncharles

        It’s both simpler and more complicated than, say, Trump’s personal interest. There’s a reason NC deals with such a wide range of topics: you can’t really deal with finance or economic policy in isolation. It’s always ultimately political.

        For instance, and going straight to the Kennedy connection, if you drive Deutsche Bank out of its US businesses, you create a problem for and with Angela Merkel and the German government. If you penalize Citigroup, there are direct American political repercussions. The personalities are largely irrelevant; it’s the interweave of interests with power that matters – and ultimately, is the reason we talk about “the Blob” or “the Deep State.”

        Were Justice Kennedy’s decisions directly affected by his son’s connection with Trump? Probably not. Is it a coincidence that his son is a high-level banker? Of course not. Were Kennedy’s decisions affected by his and his son’s social status? You can bet on it. In this case, the rather vague connections are more important than direct personal interests. Kennedy thought it was OK to resign and hand Trump another SCOTUS seat for the same reason he thought political money isn’t corruption.

          1. flora

            Or: Are there people whose social status gives them the courage to buck the system? I think there are. A person’s social/economic status is not, imo, an infallible guide to their political or philosophical positions. (Money isn’t everything. Think FDR (Dem) or TR (GOP). How very un-neoliberal they were. heh.)

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Why is gold not shining?”

    Meanwhile, in other news. The Swiss government Pension System has decided to change from paper gold in the amount of 700 million Swiss Francs into physical gold and store it in Switzerland. People are starting to get nervous about Trump and world trade it seems. Story at-

    Anybody else notice how Haiku the cat’s eyes follow you around as you go from one side of the screen to the other?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Despite calling it the “undollar,” the Macro Business author lists every reason BUT the main one: gold is the mirror of the dollar. Dollar up, gold down. Like a seesaw.

      DXY, the US dollar index, has risen 6.0% in five months. Not only has this put an enormous hurt on emerging markets, it’s been a drag on stocks and gold in the US as well.

      As detailed below, Craazymon Fund has shed its gold holdings. Gold is a wonderful portfolio diversifier, basically uncorrelated to the stocks and bonds that dominate financial assets. But when the dollar is going against gold, the cost of holding a zero-yield asset becomes too high.

      One thing which made Depression I so severe in 1929-1933 was the dollar making the US a strong-currency island in a sea of devaluers. Perhaps the only effective remedy was Frank Roosevelt’s devaluation from $20.67/oz to $35.00. Not that this in any way justified his gratuitous, unnecessary gold grab from private parties, and his technical default on gold bonds.

      Nobody knows what kind of trouble we’re in
      Nobody seems to think it all might happen again

      — Gram Parsons, One Hundred Years From Now

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Question 1: Why does gold mirror the dollar?

        Is it because the dollar is the global reserve fiat money, and when the sole global empire weakens, when the might backing the fiat authority lessens, the barbaric eternal metal shines?

        Question 2: When gold is dumped by the Craazymon Fund, is that a contrarian indicator to buy gold?

        1. Jim Haygood

          Gold is traded internationally. So even when it’s flat overall, it rises in weak currencies and falls in strong ones, simply because the fiat numeraire is changing in value.

          You can fade Craazymon Fund if you like, but its underlying gold model is a simple trend-following scheme.

          During the 43.5 years since gold was legalized on Dec 31, 1974, the trend-following model held gold 38.8% of the time, and was out the remaining 61.2% of the time.

          While the model was in, gold rose at an 18.1% compounded rate. While out, gold sank at a minus 3.8% annual rate. I’ll take those odds! :-)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You wrote that gold was the mirror of the dollar.

            Is gold the mirror of all currencies or just one (or a few) currency?

            If it mirror the dollar, invariably, then, the dollar is more exceptional than some other currencies.

          2. skippy

            Golds only numeraire is based on antiquarian quasi religious beliefs, that and a massive side of Bernays PR e.g. its psychological group think forwarded by elites to ensure bargaining power superiority or a safe room when their machinations implode socially.

            I think currant market fluctuation makes a bit of a mess of your first para, less we forget that bronze was once supreme only to be replaced by iron,

            1. The Rev Kev

              Where the US Federal Reserve meet, the walls are adorned with banknotes of fiat currencies that no longer exist. This is the equivalent to how in Roman times that during a Triumph, a slave would be whispering into the ear of the conquering General to remember that he too is mortal. I won’t point out the worth of a 2018 US dollar as compared to when the US Federal Reserve came into existence through the backdoor one Christmas a century ago.
              Now, as a thought experiment, let us imagine that that very same room is adorned with historical gold coins of currencies that no longer exist. Have a Lydian gold coin (5th century BC), a Roman gold Solidus coin, a Tokugawa gold coin, a British medieval gold Sovereign, a Republic of Florence florin and so on. Forgetting for the moment their historical value, every single one of those coins still has value because of their metal content.
              Gold is the insurance policy that you have when everything goes belly up.

              1. skippy

                And I won’t point out that the fed was a response to compounding endemic ideological failure which destroyed both social and physical capital. Now if you want to argue about what camps and their perspectives have occupied the fed and its results I’m game.

                Simplistic narratives and monolithic treatment aside.

                Again the entire anthropological perspective on gold is not supported by those that promote it as a so called individual safe haven. Force or discrepancies in the moment of price taking from a historical perspective does not support those views.

                In fact gold has a horrid connection to wars and a plethora of other social ills in subjugating others that had the bad luck of having it around, but not the means to defend themselves. Not only that but its a perfict example of atomistic individualism by dint of immutable tokens of labour [????]. Lest we forget that gold was in antiquity backstopped by perishable goods which one could eat.

                I have no idea what your comparison has to do with anything, laws proceed either case, how those are arrived at seems more pertinent.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Looking at the value of the US dollar from 1913 when it was created one Christmas through the backdoor and what that same US dollar is worth in 2018 I would judge that the Fed has not been doing such a great job. My point is that in times of great crisis, people have to have some sort of currency that they can agree on that has value. Even prisons have their economies and some go with a single cigarette as a unit of value. Zimbabwe was using US dollars when things went bad for them.
                  Ask yourself this. If the currency of your country went blooey and with it the regular economy, just what would have value that you could use as a currency. Barter is not a real answer as barter is what you do when you have no other option for the moment. What would be of value that could be used as a currency. Gold is one answer. I didn’t say the best answer but people have trust in it. One Austrian women survived the hyperinflation of the 1920s by trading a gold necklace, for food, one link at a time. People just trust gold more than a politician’s promise or a modern economist’s theory. Weird that.

                  1. skippy

                    People have “trust in it” yeah that’s a rhetorical special plea of epic proportions.

                    I would also remind you of the Cambridge controversy along with the work done on showing gold does not hold its initial price at point of exchange in desperate situations. People do not always want or see objects in the same light at any given monument. Per your non attributed example one can easily retort that many resorted to sexual bartering to survive or feed families.

                    Yves has pointed this out ad infinitum IMO.

                    I find your arguments pandering w/o substantiation due to personal bias.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      You could very well be right. I admit that I am very biased here. But by the same token, I am right now looked at some banknotes that I picked up from one of my many trips to Germany. They date to the early 1920s and bear a lesson. History has a lot to teach here.
                      Remember the financial crisis of a decade ago when credit almost locked up completely? One Australian big-wig was going on TV on a Sunday telling people that all was well and there was nothing to worry about. This was after texting his wife telling her to get down to the ATMs and withdraw every possible dollar that she could from whatever account they had. History has better to give advice than officials.
                      As for my ‘non attributed example’, if memory serves me right, it was mentioned in “When Money Dies: The Nightmare Of The Weimar Hyper Inflation” by Adam Fergusson. And sure, many resorted to sexual bartering to survive or feed families but that ‘favour’ by definition could not be passed on and as a token of barter is self-terminating by nature.

                  2. skippy

                    I would add that some very feral individualist sorts have opined that those fronting their communities gates in a mad max world and asked what they had to offer in exchange for entrance, and the response was gold, would be shot on the spot post haste…..

                    As a feral capitalist with social democratic leanings I can understand this perspective and have no qualms about being the trigger man.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      ??!??! Dude! It’s only an exchange of ideas, prejudices and opinions here. Stay frosty!
                      And as my reply seems to have been swallowed by Skynet, my ‘non attributed example’ was mentioned in “When Money Dies: The Nightmare Of The Weimar Hyper Inflation” by Adam Fergusson

                    2. skippy

                      No because facts don’t support your rhetorical proposition.

                      I’m being kind because of Yves lounge room rules, were she to let me off the hook I would do the same as some in the past. Beardo and I went around for years, many other names that are not around anymore.

                      This is not a game rev.

                    3. The Rev Kev

                      OK. I was going to leave well enough alone. Let us view this from another point. Who believes that gold has value? Russia and China do as they are stockpiling the stuff for all they are worth. Countries like Germany and Venezuela do as they are repatriating their overseas gold holdings as they do not want to risk them being seized.
                      The US does as that is why they had the Ukrainian gold supply taken out of the country the day of the putsch. France does as they planned to steal Libya’s gold when Qaddafi was toppled (revealed in the Clinton emails.) No, it is not a game. People are being murdered and countries destroyed to enable their gold supplies to be stolen by the west.
                      Hey, I am not a gold bug and I do not own any gold. People are saying that gold is a barbaric relic and that it has no place in the modern world but from the examples that I have listed, any country of consequence is rating that metal damn high. So no, it is just not my opinion but that of world powers. Go argue with them. And these are recorded facts, not opinions.

                    4. skippy

                      As a % in a basket of assets its almost nothing, all the fables about going 20K+ and hyperinflation too.

                      FYI I don’t confuse conjecture or anecdote as facts.

                  3. skippy

                    OK so know I have to have to deal with Milton like front loading.

                    So we are now comparing prison environments with means of production and the value humans extract with WRT mediums of exchange because of scarcity and narcotic demand pull. I must ask if your going all Nashian here even after his retraction.

                    Zimbabwe is a classic case of trade shock by some moron ideologue destroying its export capacity to facilitate some land redistribution scheme to free people [?????].

                    As far as pegs go we had the opportunity to due Bancor, instead we got empire.

                  4. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

                    In two golden words:

                    Panic Money

                    …and holders should make sure they’ve got it divided into those little links that Revin’ Kevin writes about ‘cos otherwise they’re gonna go hungry pretty quick unless they are self-sufficient.

                    Let us hope that the keepers-of-account-of-last-resort really have got a grip on the eminent possibilities.

                    Pip Pip!

              2. Plenue

                And when you find yourself surrounded by people who aren’t at all impressed by your shiny rock? Stop treating it like it’s some universally accepted valuable. Because the evidence is that it isn’t.

              3. drumlin woodchuckles

                Imagine things getting bad enough to where the truth or falsity of gold’s ultimate and eternal value is truly tested . . .

                Picture this scenario: refugee dad and refugee mom and the refugee kiddies in flight from the Burning City. Parching close-to-death in the desert-type heat. Dad wants water for Dad, Mom and the Four Children.

                Dad stops at a guy with a roadside stand and some armed guards . . . ” We Sell Water”.

                ” We need water. We are prepared to pay.”
                ” Oh? What with?”
                “Gold Krugerrands”.
                ” How many Krugerrands do you have?”
                ” Six”.
                ” Well! Aren’t you the lucky lad. Glasses of water cost just one Krugerrand a glass!:”

  5. meme

    Regarding flouride, here are some findings from a few years ago:

    “First, since dental cavities have decreased in countries both with and without water fluoridation, we need to make sure we are dosing our water with the proper amount of fluoride for dental medicine purposes, but no more.

    “Second, we need to make sure fluoridation doesn’t raise the risk of adverse health effects. In particular, we need basic research on animals that would help us understand the mechanisms by which fluoride may be toxic to the developing brain.

    “Third, we need to find out if there are populations highly vulnerable to fluoride in drinking water—bottle-fed infants whose formula is made with tap water, for example, or patients undergoing dialysis. If these individuals are at risk, their water must come from a source that is lower in fluoride.”

      1. meme

        I don’t see a study here, just a dental therapist’s anecdotal evidence, much of which may be outdated. The OECD statistics in the link I provided showed big drops in cavity rates for countries that do not fluorodate their waters.

        “The early studies didn’t take into account the subsequent widespread use of fluoride-containing toothpastes and other dental fluoride supplements, which also prevent cavities. This may explain why countries that do not fluoridate their water have also seen big drops in cavity rates.”

        This link describes what may have been behind the push for universal fluoridation:

        “Given all of this scientific information [similar rates of tooth decay in children with fluoridated and unfluoridated water] what is behind this push for universal fluoridation? Prior to 1945, fluoride was properly regarded as an environmental pollutant. It was responsible for many lawsuits against industries, such as the aluminum industry and the phosphate fertilizer industry, whose waste products contain large quantities of fluoride. This fluoride destroyed crops and animals, leading to the lawsuits. The limited public view was that fluoride was an environmental pollutant that needed to be reduced or eliminated from the environment.

        As a result of clever public relations campaigns, fluoride was transformed from an environmental pollutant to an essential nutrient necessary for producing healthy teeth. The science was poor, but the P.R. campaign was great. Being against fluoride was like being against motherhood or apple pie. Industries not only made millions from selling this environmental pollutant to water companies and toothpaste companies, but more importantly, it saved billions of dollars that would be required to clean up this environmental pollutant.”

          1. meme

            I try to make a practice of looking beyond headlines. Quite often, the story doesn’t support the hype.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Twice as much tooth decay in children, twice as many fillings, twice as many extractions in one town…

      2. junez

        There is also this, from Newsweek,

        “Studies that attest to the effectiveness of fluoridation were generally done before the widespread usage of fluoride-containing dental products like rinses and toothpastes in the 1970s and later, according to the recent Cochrane study. So while it may have once made sense to add fluoride to water, it no longer appears to be necessary or useful, Thiessen says.

        It has also become clear in the last 15 years that fluoride primarily acts topically, according to the CDC. It reacts with the surface of the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acids excreted by bacteria. Thus, there’s no good reason to swallow fluoride and subject every tissue of your body to it, Thiessen says.”

        [Kathleen Thiessen, a senior scientist at the Oak Ridge Center for Risk Analysis, which does human health risk assessments of environmental contaminants.]

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          See my Snopes link. Newsweek got snookered by a misinterpretation of a study that was picked up by Reuters.

          Re topical fluroide, my experience doesn’t confirm that. I got topical fluoride treatments regularly as a kid, before fluoride was in toothpaste. The topical treatments administered in dentists’ offices are more potent in their effects than using toothpaste. Didn’t help.

        2. el_tel

          I try to remain agnostic on the subject – whilst I do believe fluoridation improved teeth, the issue of whether, in a world where we get fluoride from toothpastes etc that reduce the probability that it is going into your body, “the necessity of water fluoridation” may or may not be a real one.

          My beef is that I have seen and worked with so many epidemiologists who, for all their supposed impartiality and desire to be objective, identify “an issue” to make their name on. Where the risks of body fluoride lie in relation to a host of other man-made/environmental/societal factors lie is rarely investigated properly. For instance even bodies like NICE in the UK evaluate a new treatment. OLD treatments are rarely re-examined, nor are broader issues. NC, for instance, has identified the appalling falls in life expectancy among lower socio-economic groups in the USA (and presentations I’ve seen suggest it has started in the UK too) and this is due (almost certainly) to broader political/social issues like austerity. It’s all about putting this into perspective – WHICH issue do we address first to minimise the number of quality-adjusted life years lost? It’s far from clear that water fluoridation is something we should be getting our knickers in a twist about…..yet.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Many of the people who are upset about fluoride are the types who drink bottled water…which creates health problems of its own.

            Pesticides, being downwind of a coal fired electrical plant (mercury in the air) are known public health risks, for instance.

            1. meme

              There is one pesticide, sulfuryl fluoride, that the EPA proposed to start gradually banning in 2011. The pesticide is often used on cocoa beans and dried fruits, and degrades to fluoride. The move was closely linked to the Obama administration’s decision at the time to curb the maximum levels of fluoride in drinking water out of concern for children’s health. Neither the ban nor the curb were enacted.

              Here is a letter from Gene Harrington, vice president of Government Affairs for the National Pest Management Association, to association members, congratulating them on a successful lobbying effort:


      3. meme

        The story doesn’t give me insight into why we should not be doing more studies on risk of harm in comparison to assumed benefits of fluoride, in light of the OECD report on Cochrane Collaboration analysis of 20 key studies on water fluoridation.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Snopes debunked your spin on the article. The negative effects were for fluoride levels in the water way way over the amount used for municipal fluroridation:

      As neuroscientist Steven Novella pointed out in his Neurologica blog, most of these studies’ “high fluoride” groups used concentrations many times higher than allowable limits in the United States, and many of the control groups or “low fluoride” groups had concentrations in the range that is actually targeted as optimal by water fluoridation regulations


      Go talk to older dentists in the US. There has been a dramatic decrease in the amount of work they do, and hence the money they get, from treating cavities, and it is very strongly correlated with the implementation of fluoridated water. I have had multiple root canals and now extractions, since the older root canals used screws which eventually crack roots. My younger brothers have only a couple of cavities each. The difference is dramatic. You can see that all over the US.

      There are many studies and meta studies confirming that fluoridated water considerably reduces the incidence of caries.

      1. meme

        I see this Snopes update in your link, who knows what updates they will have in the future:

        “On 19 September 2017, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives published a study (“Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6–12 Years of Age in Mexico”) that found an association between prenatal exposure to fluoride and reduced IQ in mother-offspring pairs in Mexico.

        While the study is stronger than many used to draw a connection between IQ and fluoride in the past, it is a single study that has yet to be replicated, and it was performed in areas without water fluoridation. As such, it does not change our rating, which specifically concerns the evidence that water fluoridation reduces IQ.”

        The Harvard study says this about Fluoride:

        “Moreover, fluoride itself may be dangerous at high levels. Excessive fluoride causes fluorosis—changes in tooth enamel that range from barely noticeable white spots to staining and pitting. Fluoride can also become concentrated in bone—stimulating bone cell growth, altering the tissue’s structure, and weakening the skeleton.

        Perhaps most worrisome is preliminary research in laboratory animals suggesting that high levels of fluoride may be toxic to brain and nerve cells. And human epidemiological studies have identified possible links to learning, memory, and cognition deficits, though most of these studies have focused on populations with fluoride exposures higher than those typically provided by U.S. water supplies.”

        I don’t think the Snopes article debunks Harvard’s conclusion that we need to examine the risks versus benefits of fluoride, particularly in light of the fact that countries that don’t add fluoride to their water had similar drops in cavities to countries that do in the years since you were a child, which makes it seem unnecessary. I believe your anecdotal evidence is outdated.

        “The early studies didn’t take into account the subsequent widespread use of fluoride-containing toothpastes and other dental fluoride supplements, which also prevent cavities. This may explain why countries that do not fluoridate their water have also seen big drops in cavity rates.”

        Anecdotally, a couple weeks ago, I mentioned to my retirement age dentist that my daugher (a dental student) is avoiding fluoride as part of her detox from being “floxed” after taking one fluoroquinolone pill (and losing faith in allopathic medicine). He shook his head and opined that there is no reason for water to be fluorodated.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Lordie. Do you have a reading comprehension problem? Or do you just not understand evidence?

          You utterly misrepresented what the Snopes piece said. If you do understand, you are engaging in bad faith argumentation, which is grounds for banning.

          The Snopes piece clearly stated:

          1. The fluoride levels in the Harvard study that were classified as low were CONSISTENT with the levels in fluroidated water and were not associated with bad outcomes.

          2. Most of the other studies that said they found bad outcomes ALSO had study subjects that were getting high doses of iodine, and it was impossible to unpack what might be causing the outcome (high iodine, high flouride, or both together).

          The other part you choose to ignore is there is an obvious constituency for getting rid of fluoridated water: companies that sell products to dentists for treating caries.

          1. meme

            Sorry if I seem to be disrespectful, but I have done hours of research on this subject recently because of my daughter’s condition. I don’t comment here often, this one drew my attention BECAUSE of all my research. I’m sorry if I don’t accept your anecdotal evidence as a reason to change the conclusions I have come to.

            The point I was trying to make is that there has not been enough research done to draw conclusions, which is why Snopes had an update after the latest study, and the Harvard piece was inconclusive and called for more studies.

            Why would there be a constituency for getting rid of fluoridated water at their own gain if the number of cavities in countries that do not having fluoridated water are the same as in countries that do, probably because of fluoride in toothpaste?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Because no other country has anywhere near the sugar that Americans have in our diet. It is literally 25% of total calories consumed. You cannot compare other countries to the US as a result.

              Moreover, your OECD claim falls down on further inspection, since some OECD countries do have fluoridated water or portions that do, plus you have this:

              .. many European nations add fluoride to salt.


              Given that people move, you’d have to do very granular work to parse out people who got fluroride in the water or in salt as children v. not. Moreover, the bigger point is that it appears that contrary to your claim, many and potentially even most people in OECD countries do get fluoride internally, so it vitiates your international comparison, which appears to be the sole basis for your contention that topical fluoride on erupted teeth is as effective as ingested fluoride while teeth are developing.

              And this is also a class issue. Poor people cannot afford to have their cavities treated when they get them. Tooth decay is on the rise among older people:


              1. meme

                If you look at the graphs in the OECD study, you will see that countries who don’t fluoridate water and also don’t make it available in salt, like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands and Norway had the same reductions in cavities as countries that had fluoridated water or salt.

                As for sugar:

                “there are worse foods than candy to cause tooth decay. If you’re the kind who never brushes your teeth, then you’d be better off avoiding potato chips and raisins.

                The reason is that sugar doesn’t rot your teeth. Surprised to hear that? Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria in your mouth that feast on carbohydrates, be it sugar from candy or starch from wholesome foods such as bread.

                Harald Linke of the New York University Dental Center has conducted numerous studies on the staying power of food on teeth. He has found that cooked starches, particularly potato starch in products such as potato chips, cling longer to the teeth than many sugar foods, like chocolate bars, thus leading to a longer period of acid production.

                Other studies have found that tooth decay is related more to the frequency of eating than to the amount of starch or sugar. The best scenario for the teeth is to eat three meals a day (and, of course, to brush). Saliva naturally washes away residual food during the period between meals. Frequent snacking hurts the teeth because it reintroduces food particles and keeps a thin layer on the teeth all day, enabling plaque buildup.”


                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  You tout your abilities in interpreting research and you cite Linke? He’s close to a fraud, pumping out “studies” on behalf of the candy industry. His colleagues at NYU have distanced themselves from his work. See here:


                  He’s even tried arguing that candy INHIBITS tooth decay.

                  I also can’t find any references to his supposed studies in peer reviewed journals, because I’d like to see the sample design. Anything with less than 100 in a control group and 100 in the test group is not valid statistically by being too small a sample.

                  And your claim regarding particular countries and fluoride in salt is also factually challenged:

                  We should be wary of describing certain European countries (Nordic countries, Italy, Portugal…) as “unfluoridated”…..At present, more than 63% of salt consumed in Germany is fluoridated. The figure for Switzerland is probably higher, with some cantons implementing 100% salt fluoridation. Fluoridated salt is widespread in Austria, France, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic and probably many other parts of Europe. With fluoridated salt, there is usually no real consumer choice. Most of the supermarkets in Germany (Aldi, Lidl, PennyMarkt, Norma, for example) stock only fluoridated salt.

                  Austria and Hungary have fluoridated salt, contrary to your claim. “Nordic countries” which include Finland, Norway, and Denmark, also on your list of supposedly free of ingested fluoride, don’t belong there either, apparently because among other reasons, many people take fluoride tablets. So your assertions are again not accurate and your country-based claims therefore do not hold up.


                  You’ve discredited yourself. And you accuse me of confirmation bias, when that is projection on your part.

                  This is the end of this discussion. I don’t have the time to continue debunking you.

      2. freedomny

        I have shitty teeth…but I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a cavity – decades. And I am sure it is because my siblings and I all had fluoridated water during our formative years.

        The only reason I personally have dental issues is that I am a teeth grinder. It’s gotten better since I’ve gotten out of “Corporate” America, but it has taken it’s toil over the years. Just this past week I had to have a root canal/other dental work – and with the antibiotics I had to take because I have two artificial hip implants…

        OMG – taking approx 30 amoxicillan pills within 7 days! Talk about being sick at the end of it all. I felt so sick that I was actually scared….

        But there were a few laughable/memorable moments during this last dental escapade….

        The dental hygienist informed me that she could whiten my teeth so I would appear younger. I laughed (inside) and politely said no… because unless you are going to offer me something that is going to make me healthier….how is “looking” younger the same as being “really” healthy?

        The dentist who did my root canal/work was so damn great, caring, cute and smart – I’m trying to figure out a way to introduce him to my niece….

  6. Loneprotester

    An MSNBC correspondent (please note, this is not FOX news) tweeted the following debunking of the Kennedy-was-Trump’s-Banker meme.

    Stephanie Ruhle

    I worked w/Justin at DB
    While he did run a portion of the real estate biz
    He was on the institutional side of the bank -NOT private bank
    Trump was a private bank client & I believe the lending happened after justin left DB
    Trump wanted to borrow from the instit side/they said NO

    9:07 PM – Jun 28, 2018

    1. Sid_finster

      Somehow, I am not surprised that another russiagate blockbuster ZOMG story turns out, on minimal investigation, to be a damp squib.

      The fact that russiagate conspiracy theorists keep having to resort to these far-fetched and easily disproven fairy tales merely shows how weak and fact-free their conspiracy theory is.

      After all, if the proof or even evidence is as readily available as the russiagate partisans claim, why dilute one’s case with obvious BS?

    1. el_tel

      Oh wow that rant is epic…..and whilst I stand by my comment below that he was an ahole concerning the City on the Edge of Forever, I do understand where he is coming from regarding money for services….a career in public service in which goodwill and favours for others was mistakenly assumed to carry over (even to a tiny extent) does tend to make one think like him!

    2. Summer

      Calling all musicians and songwriters…
      They also should play that everyday, first thing when they wake up.

    3. Sid_finster

      “The great tragedy of my life is that in my search for the Holy Grail everyone calls True Love, I see myself as Zorro, a romantic and mysterious highwayman – and the women I desire see me as Porky Pig. ” -H. Ellison

  7. fresno dan

    He styles himself as America’s best-known pimp, a strip-club owner who runs multiple brothels and looks set to win a seat as a Republican in the Nevada legislature with the blessing of many conservative Christian voters.
    just for the record, I have NOT ONCE been to the Moonlite BunnyRanch…..

    1. Alex morfesis

      Not once you say…as in more than once or not just once…much as the famous nato promise to the central committee of not one inch of penetration into Eastern Europe…it was not a lie tovarich…it is difficult to have a soldier stand on one inch of territory… Not one inch…not one…meaning more than one…so…

      how has the snack bar changed over the years ??

      1. fresno dan

        Alex morfesis
        June 30, 2018 at 8:54 am

        how has the snack bar changed over the years ??
        It has improved immensely, and the wine selection is much better too….I had to verify the reports…many, many, MANY times….statistical significance and what not…..

  8. el_tel

    re: Vox piece on Ellison.

    I’d read just a year or two ago a piece somewhere about the “true” story behind that episode, one that I and other fans hold so dear to our heart. Given my own experiences, it struck a chord with me and saddened me that some very inspired people can simultaneously cause so much anguish when even the tiniest compromise is required. What we saw in the final televised version was as perfect as Star Trek ever got (IMHO in terms of TV episodes anyway)….and it was some seasoned writers who really took an inspired but totally wrong story for ST and moulded it into what it was.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Harlan Ellison was a great writer but he must have know what he was signing up for with a TV series. David Gerrold, who did the “The Trouble With Tribbles” episode, wrote in a book of the same name how the process worked. Potential writers received a package with the show’s cannon and how the people and the technology worked.
      Harlan must have been aware how stuff like murderous drug-dealing crew members were not typically assigned to Federation Starships but tried to push it in anyway. Consistency was always important for a series for it to be believable and the actors really believed in this on Star Trek.
      Also, if in that episode it had been Spock that had let Keeler die, it would have been merely logical whereas for Kirk to do it was high tragedy so Roddenberry was right here. In any case, writing for TV or even the movies you can expect your work to be mutilated out of recognition but at least Harlan’s work still shone through in his “The City on the Edge of Forever” for which he will always be associated.

      1. el_tel

        You make a very good point. Whilst Ellison is correct that in principle every writer should get recognition and payment, he clearly just “did his own thing” and totally ignored the writer’s bible (which, as you describe, would be a set of rules for canon in a series). He clearly suffered from intense arrogance and believed that just because he was a great writer that he could break all the rules with impunity.

        Sorry Harlan – whilst we truly do root for you in terms of some of your story-telling, if you think you’re above those people that set canon and the series that you contracted with, and try to over-ride them, you totally blow your case for recognition out of the water. A very sad tale all around……hubris, the bane of so many.

        1. Socal Rhino

          Deathbird made a big impression on me as a youngin, in addition to other works people have named. His later fights dont seem out of character to me.

  9. Jane

    The 25% Revolution article says change is not about a small group of elites like the Koch’s changing American public opinion, it just happens if a few contrarians get together and work to convince the majority that their ideas are the right ones. The article then describes how the experimenters seeded a population with contrarians to create a change in a majority opinion. In other words, the seeders were the elite who were totally not involved in the creation or dispersion of contrary ideas. [No elites were harmed during this experiment.]

    Instead I posit that their study is actually evidence of the truth of numerology. In a group of 20, 4 contrarians are not enough to change the majority opinion, 5 are required for change to occur. According to numerology, 4 is the number of stability and hard work while 5 is the number of man and change, and so change occurred when the 5th contrarian received funding.

    1. Summer

      Numerology also makes me think of astrology.
      Next time someone asks me what my sign is, I will say, “I’m a Contrarian.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        This is the dawning of the age of Contrarious
        The age of Precarious

        Villainy and undermining
        Apathy and doubt abounding
        Media falsehoods and derisions
        Dark, failing dreams of visions
        Deceitful cryptic revelation
        And the mind’s false liberation


        1. newcatty

          Ha! We saw Hair when a production came to Phoenix when it was hot! No jokes from the balcony…Yes those were hot times in the city.

          Sad that the dawning of the age of peace, love and flowers instead of bullets has nefariously and darkly become the Contrarious dawn. Maybe the critical mass of Muricans will bring back the Aquarian light.

  10. Richard

    re the 25% revoution
    Also, if you’re interested in even smaller numbers, chris hedges opines that 3% of us, engaged direct non-violent action, shuts the whole thing down.
    Ralph Nader I remember wrote a very inspiring piece with a similar number. He really is about the best of us, you know. I’m not even sure we deserve him. Anyway, he’s dedicated a substantial part of his life to reminding us how low that number really is.
    Exhale and reflect. And RIP Harlan. Heaven gets a little more pissed off today.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I believe the people who fomented the “American Revolution” constituted a pretty small fraction of the “colonizers” that were invading and occupying that “untapped New World continent.” That minority did know how to manage and propagate the Message, and stay on it and on task and on point, in moving the process of “when in the course of human events” along. With the fortunate help of Frenchies and a big ocean and all the other pieces that let the White Land-and-Slave-Owning Rich Folks in the Colonies set up their breakaway for Freedom ™ and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property Happine££…”

    2. David

      Unfortunately, history suggests that very small numbers of people can enforce their views on others provided they are (1) motivated and well organised (2) have access to the media and the political system and (3) do not face equally motivated opposition. This is why Nassim Nicholas Taleb has recently argued that France will go 100% halal in the near future. There are a small number of people ferociously keen on the idea that halal meat should be available everywhere, they have sympathisers in the anti-racist lobby who would regard opposition to such ideas as “racist”, and, critically, they face no organised opposition. In the end, all restaurants will decide life is just easier if they offer only halal food, just as in some areas on Paris and the suburbs, you have difficulty buying alcohol, because shopkeepers don’t want to be harassed and intimidated, and few people are ready to demonstrate outside shops for the right to buy alcohol.
      This may be an exaggeration, but it reminds us that political organisation is a technical issue, and that disciplined and motivated campaigns usually succeed, where the stakes are relatively low and opposition is not that powerful. A good recent example is homosexual marriage, which a tiny minority cared passionately about, but which hardly registered with ordinary French people. Critically, the cause was well-supported in the media, had been a campaign promise for the Socialist government, and took up political space that might otherwise have been devoted to issues like unemployment, poverty or education. It produced a fair amount of opposition, but that opposition was not so well organised or motivated, had far less media coverage, and could be handily dismissed as the result of “hatred”. The same lobby has now indicated that it will be pushing for so-called Medically Assisted Procreation to be available to all women, including those unmarried and to lesbian couples, as well as ultimately to male couples as well. There’s been recent large-scale consultation on this that demonstrated the public opinion is very divided, but here, as elsewhere, it won’t be public opinion, or percentages, that decide the issue, but lobbying by determined groups.
      Similar things happen in all parts of the political and moral spectrum, and if you have a cause you support, it’s important to understand that even having a majority of the population on your side is no guarantee of success.

      1. Richard

        Unfortunately, the things we really need change are not low stakes at all. We need to see if 3% of us (or whatever it is we need) can save “organized human existence”, as Noam Chomsky puts it. We have very limited access to media and political systems, because oligarchy. We aren’t well organized. All of that is true. But the fact remains:
        We need to see if 3% of us or whatever can save organized human existence.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I think the most suitable quote might be: “It’s Easier to Imagine the End of the World Than the End of Capitalism.” — anonymous

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Yes RIP although not sure whether Ellison would appreciate the ‘peace’ or not as he seemed to revel in his irascibility. He really was a prick’s prick (meant in the best possible way).

      1. Richard

        I thought it was going to be Harlan and Nader for a second, and was thinking what alien god brought those two together?

  11. JTMcPhee

    In case anyone missed this one-minute read from Reuters,

    Boeing wins $1.5 billion U.S. defense contract: Pentagon
    Reuters Staff
    1 MIN READ
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) has been awarded a $1.5 billion contract for the production and delivery of 22 F/A-18E and six F/A-18F Super Hornet planes in support of the government of Kuwait, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

    Lest we forget what the Empire’s supply chicanery chainers are up to, 24/7/365. “Building Security, One Billion At A Time!” I imagine all those well-paid middle-class-jobbers, in and out of uniform, getting up in the morning, having a nice breakfast, driving to Crystal City or the Pentagram, having that nice second cup of java from SBucks while they move along the procurement and “State Department review and rubber stamp approval of foreign weapons military sales” and go-suck-up-to-and-lie-on-the-Record-to-Congressmembers-and-Committees and invent-new-surveillance-and-war-technologies processes and (haw-haw) accounting, happy to have such nice paydays in their immediate and long-term futures. Do they laugh and sing as they work, or is it all grim-jawed “protecting the Interests (always undefined, but “everybody knows what they are”) of the Nation” every moment of their workdays? I’m guessing that “business model” of more-work-from-fewer-people-for-less-money-with tighter-management that applies to people like nurses and “retail” and “fulfillment center” workers does not apply to the Evil Work Forces.

    Trillion is the new Billion — just ask the Banksters. Meanwhile, under the falling-down bridges and out-of-sight spots:

    What kind of political economy do “we” want, again?

    Hey, it’s just business, right? And only $1.5 billion to “support” a “friendly government…” Not goons bother to link to the many “contracts” that MMT money is funding to “support” Saudi Arabia and Israel and other “friendly governments…” Too dang depressing to look ‘em up.

    And what’s up with the “F-word,” here? Is it now back in the approved lexicon here?

    1. newcatty

      High Ho! HIGH HO! It’s off to Work we go!

      The theme song appropriated by the Empire for the “Evil Work Forces”.

    2. oh

      I reserve the F-word for these leaches and shysters who regularly scare people about the defense vulnerability, escalate tensions, snoop on the populace and receive trillionsin largesse that they steal from the public coffers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Haiku about haiku

      First, five syllables.
      Next line, seven syllables
      You end with five more.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Democratic Elite Scrambles to Respond to Ocasio-Cortez”

    If they want things to stay the same, then they are going to have to change.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They have to ask themselves why Crowley was only about to turn out about only 12,000 votes (apprxly) in this year’s primary, when he got over 147,000 in 2016 (the last general election).

      Granted, fewer people vote in primaries.

      “Is a political machine a political machine if it can’t turn out over 16,000 voters in any given election?”

      Do they need better machines (the same, eternal question vexing humankind)?

      1. Big River Bandido

        Gee, why is it that fewer people vote in NYS primaries?

        • Could it be that the “parties” require voters to register and declare party choice 6 months before the primary election?

        • Could it be that the Board of Elections has a history of engaging in unlawful purgings and other vote suppression efforts?

        • Could it be that machine politicians know exactly how large their organization is, and how many votes it can deliver? And that their goal is to keep any challengers below that number?

        In fact, all of these are true. The BOE is in fact now operating under a consent decree because of illegal purgings of the rolls prior to the 2016 presidential primary (in which 200,000 voters in Brooklyn were disenfranchised). The same shady activities were used in 2016 to take the presidential nomination away from a “change” candidate who filled stadiums and give it to a business-as-usual candidate who couldn’t fill a high school gym. The status quo exists because the Democrat misleadership wants it this way. Usually, low turnout serves them well; they’re able to win elections with only a handful of supporters.

        This time? They ran into a candidate who was able to out-organize the machine. Tough luck, suckers.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Was 140,000 democratic votes in 2016 few?

          That may well be correct, given the BOE issue you mentioned.

          And why do fewer people vote in primaries (not just New York state)? In general, it is so, when compared to general elections.


          Tough luck it may be, but the hardcore machine people will look over why they couldn’t turn out 16,000 votes.

          That’s my guess.

          And, this should not be surprising, that maybe they – the machine people – don’t believe she won on issues.

          1. John k

            If her win wasn’t on account of her issues, to what should we credit her victory over a powerful leader of the local machine, with 10x the spending, and a decade of name recognition? Remembering how tough it always is to oust an entrenched incumbent not caught doing the wrong thing with a minor.
            Simply that she was female and/or Hispanic?

            1. tegnost

              because one russian dollar has has the same caloric content as 10 democrat dollars?/s

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To understanding the minds of the machine bosses, i would venture to guess they would say she won not on issues (or more precisely on all issues).

              That’s my guess the case they would make.

              They would say (again, more precisely, no all issues), that they voted for abolishing the ICE, and not, say, Medicare-for-All.

              To counter this, we would need post-election polling to see why voters voted for her, which was or were more important to them, etc.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Go to the top of the comment – Democrat Elite Scrambles…

                I see the work here (work for me anyway) to get inside their minds…figuring out what they would think, say or do…

                Maybe anticipate the next counter move and have a counter to that counter ready…

                One question for them, I believe, would be, why couldn’t we (the bosses) turn out more than 16,000 voters?

              2. flora

                Could the party machine comprehend the idea that the “party machine” was itself an issue ?

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  We have to keep watching to know…so far, not much, except the need for more powerful machines…AI maybe.

          2. Richard

            I think we’re missing something here. The low turnout was a benefit to Crowley, not OC. It was meant to be, anyway. I see this tendency to say, “Oh, it was only a few thousand votes, the elite can easily get that back”. But I think that just misses the machine’s dilemma in this case; if they open up the process, they don’t catch up, they lose by more. I don’t think they can solve this by restricting the vote either. They do that to an intense degree in NY, and it still didn’t work.
            Start fiddlin’ with the machines fellas. It might be all you have left.

              1. Richard

                Yeah, I looked at the older results. Those were all general elections. So they were open elections, no party registration needed, much higher turnout always. Crowley hadn’t been primaried, well, ever I believe.
                Machines keep primaries closed and turnout low for very clear, rotten borough type reasons. They tried hard to cheat in one of the most undemocratic ways possible, and failed. I don’t think we should presume malfeasance of any kind (they could have cheated harder?). Those votes just weren’t there for them.

          3. Big River Bandido

            The 140,000 vote figure you cited was from a general election, not a primary.

    2. flora

      A member of the ‘coalition of the ascendant’ has ascended; Dem estab freaks out; news at 11:00. /s

      1. flora

        Who can forget the Florida fraud lawsuit (dismissed) against the DNC ?
        (Oh those super-delegates – what a bunch of kidders…)

        “Bruce Spiva, representing the DNC, made the argument that would eventually carry the day: that it was impossible to determine who would have standing to claim they had been defrauded. But as he explained how the DNC worked, Spiva made a hypothetical argument that the party wasn’t really bound by the votes cast in primaries or caucuses.

        “The party has the freedom of association to decide how it’s gonna select its representatives to the convention and to the state party,” said Spiva. “Even to define what constitutes evenhandedness and impartiality really would already drag the court well into a political question and a question of how the party runs its own affairs. The party could have favored a candidate. I’ll put it that way.”

        1. Richard

          I wish that statement had 100 times more exposure. Their summed-up legal argument about primaries: “We’re under no obligation to be fair. Truth be told your honor, we don’t even need to count all the votes.”

  13. Stephen V.

    And wasn’t there an entire floor of Trump Tower leased by Russian, er, business men? Or am I just being foily?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Can you spell “hostile takeover”? “Buy to rent”? Remember the Rick Scott-HCA business model? Being replicated by one of the Eat-Them-All-Up debt-financed conglomerators (Community Health Systems) that has bought and stripped out a premier local resource, Bayfront Medical Center.

      At what point does the cancer so affect all the major organ systems of the sufferer that the patient dies? Not a pure analogy, since the tumors in this case get to live on in their High Towers and free-floating “nations” and island redoubts.

      What did that ‘70s bumper sticker read? Oh yeah — “EAT THE RICH!”

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        This is the 21st Century. “Eat the Rich!” might leave many still hungry after the feast. There are so very very many who are not rich and so few rich to eat.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Revise the joke about lawyers (and other hated — for good reason, maybe add economists — professionals):

          Q: What do you call a thousand lawyers, chained together, all wearing cement overshoes, and drowned on the bottom of the ocean?

          A: A good start.

          That the policy makers fear their campaign donors might not be anything new, but Monday’s vote is a bit revealing. The Buffet rule is probably dead, unless Obama is re-elected and the Democrats increase their numbers in the Senate. A Gallup poll last week said a solid 60% of Americans approved of the tax on millionaires, but that doesn’t matter because that 60% is probably not made up of political donors and don’t have personal private wealth managers. What is more telling than the rejected Buffet rule, however, is a report this month by luxury real estate firm Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank that confirms that what the rich fear most…is you.

          That’s right, political unrest, growing social inequality and a fear that governments will finally bend to the wishes of the 99ers is the top concern of the rich.

          Wall Street is well aware of this fact.

          “People are angry because they see that their living standards are coming down while the rich have done quite well. They are not going to stand for this quietly,” said Rudolph Riad Youness, Head of International Investments and a partner at Artio Global Investors on Madison Avenue.

          You got to start somewhere… I just re-watched “Fried Green Tomatoes” with my loving wife… “Hurry it up with that barbecue, will you?”

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Interesting and depressing that Buffet continues to ply his Faustian deal with the devil trade – so wickedly – and be so frank about it at the same time.

  14. bob mcmanus

    I read all of Ellison’s stuff in the late sixties, and his importance cannot be underestimated. But I was not a big fan, and considered him overrated, especially compared to a lot of his colleagues.Ellison was a terrific and courageous stylist, and did more than anyone to bring artistic and literary values to the field, but was substantially very ordinary. He had the mentality of a tv script writer, and seldom had anything interesting to say. To use a more modern comparison, Aaron Sorkin plus Pynchon.

    Silverberg, Delany, Russ, Le Guin, the list of writers he helped liberate is endless. But they were better than him.

    1. John D.

      I read some of his books when I was a kid in the 80’s, and found that I didn’t care much for his fiction…but many of his opinion pieces and the introductions to his short story collections really held my interest in a way that his fiction didn’t, perhaps because he was using them to pontificate on his favorite subject, i.e. himself.

      Ellison’s talents notwithstanding, he was first, foremost and always, a shameless self promoter with a grotesquely out of control ego. He could be quite nasty when crossed (or when he thought he’d been crossed). I saw him speak twice when he was visiting Toronto, and on the second occasion the group I was with had an encounter with him during his talk that was straight out of Bizarro Land. Stable Mable, he wasn’t.

      1. RMO

        I never much cared for his writing, both fiction and essays and believe me I gave him a damned good try since he was highly thought of by others I respected. This at least saved me from one more case of cognitive dissonance where I love the art but find the artist personally objectionable. Do you like Stan Getz? Don’t inquire into what he was like as a person and you’ll sleep better. One of my favorite MST3K moments was in “Mitchell” where the camera pans through the police station and someone who looks vaguely like Ellison is in the room. Joel: “Hey, they arrested Harlan Ellison” Crow: “Good.”

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, come on. I loved how hopelessly irascible he was. His intros to all of the stories in Dangerous Visions were great fun.

      And some of his contemporaries that are celebrates IMHO were very erratic. Dick had some amazing books (Valis is my fave) but I don’t get the enthusiasm for some of his other stuff. I agree that Le Guin was a remarkable artist, someone with tremendous range as a stylist and a great ability to create environments that allowed for behavior to play out under extreme scenarios. I’m not as keen about the others as you are.

      And his media criticism for the Freep was great.

      1. skippy

        Must be why he had to litigate so much after everyone trying to plagiarize him… eh….

      2. geoff

        Thank you, Yves. I don’t know if I’d be reading NC today if it weren’t for reading The Glass Teat when I was a kid. And the PKD story (“Faith of Our Fathers”) in DV is a real favorite.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Mugger Mick Mulvaney—Trump’s Sadist-in-Chief”

    It seems that Mick Mulvaney is a man in the tradition of the Clintons. From Wikipedia: ‘In April 2018, Mulvaney told a room of banking industry executives and lobbyists that as a Congressman he refused to take meetings with lobbyists unless they contributed to his congressional campaigns. He said, “If you are a lobbyist who never gave us money, I did not talk to you. If you are a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.” ‘

  16. Jim Haygood

    Runnin’ scared:

    Donald J. Trump

    Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference…Prices to [sic] high! He has agreed!

    4:37 AM – 30 Jun 2018

    In Twilight in the Desert (2005), the late Matt Simmons asserted that Saudi production had peaked owing to the aging of the giant Ghawar Field, and would gradually decline from a ceiling of around 9 million bpd.

    Simmons was proved wrong, as Saudi Arabia has continued churning out 9 or 10 million bpd ever since. But dialing the volume up to 12 will put the Simmons conjecture to a harsh test. Can they do it? Will sucking so hard on the straw damage the field long term?

    One thing is clear: Trump watches the ominous rise in crude oil with the same alarm I do. You gotta love the impudent yankee brilliance of complaining about “turmoil & dysfunction in Iran and Venezuela,” when that’s precisely the objective of harsh US sanctions. To [sic] much, dude!

    1. JTMcPhee

      What, are one’s personal positions in the Market for crude not paying off in the current situation? Or is one fully hedged, so who cares, and it’s just fun to remark on?

      I do note that gas prices in my neighborhood are what medical people call, in reference to fevers, “labile.” As in regular went from $2.49 to $2.65 in a heartbeat (got to love those LED price signs (and the pricing data in all those gas pumps) linked to the Big Oil central-office computers… One wonders if the jokers in Marketing spin a dial and laugh their heads off as they “readjust to market conditions” to fork in another billion or three of Consumer Money…

      1. Jim Haygood

        It’s purely macroeconomic commentary. No one is being recommended to invest in anything.

      2. skippy

        Most petrol stations are on very low margins and will increase price reflective to market so they can pay the increase for the new stock.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It used to be that Japan would suffer a lot too.

      What about China today? Does Beijing share the same alarm, or more alarm? Will that lead them to pressure Iran?

    3. Expat

      Saudi has been drilling like crazy for the past ten years. One wonders why they would need to do this if, as they boasted, Ghawar could pump another three or four million with the turn of a tap.

      Saudi Arabia has hit their peak at around 12. They are also consuming large amounts domestically in their refineries and for power. They STILL burn crude for power. As per an Aramco VP in the crude department, they burn whatever is nearby instead of burning Heavy (I laughed and he said, “It all costs the same to us.”)

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      We have a potential disaster waiting in the wings. As the supply of petroleum runs out the price of everything will go up by at least as much as the added petroleum costs [I believe we are at a level of Corporate Consolidation sufficient that little or none of the added cost will be absorbed by the Corporations and some added profits might be added with the increasing costs of petroleum as an excuse.] The U.S. has an economy of long supply lines increasingly dependent on trucks, and aging highway and R.R. infrastructures. Few cities have any mass transit to speak of, limited sidewalks, and even more limited bike paths — so we have no plan ‘B’ to replace our automobiles. We run on “just-in-time” local inventories managed to a be a most minimum size.

      In response to this known threat to our way of life, even the lives of many of us, our leaders make patches and hope they can pass on the social contraption to another slack hand and breath their last before things fall apart.

      “Après moi, le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society.” — Karl Marx wrote in Das Kapital (Vol. 1, Part III, Chapter Ten, Section 5)

      Our society grows fragile like the one-horse shay

      How it went to pieces all at once,
      All at once, and nothing first,
      Just as bubbles do when they burst.
      “Just as bubbles do when they burst”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        People may or may not agree with the tariffs being imposed, but it is a good time for more localism and my always go-to option – less consumption.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      “Turmoil and disfunction in Iran” . . . ? Does Trump himself not understand that when he tries to extort countries around the world into boycotting Iranian oil, that there will be less oil for sale in the world and the oil still on the market might cost more? Does the Trumpster truly not understand this?

      If the ChinaGov wanted to create some problems for American society, could it use some of its dollars to buy more oil than it needs in current real time and store it in “strategic reserves”? How much oil would China need to buy to reduce amounts available to the rest of us and force prices up enough to destabilize American society?

      Or is that just a silly thing to think?

  17. Jim Haygood

    Well it’s that time of the month again … the end, that is. Last month, Craazymon Fund switched its 30 percent weighting in emerging market stocks into the Nasdaq 100 glamour index. This proved to be a timely move, as EM stocks sank another 4.5% during June, versus the Nasdaq 100’s 1.1% gain.

    But the same phenomenon which pushed the fund out of emerging markets — a rising US dollar — has now done the same to gold, whose value tends to be cut by a rising dollar. Accordingly, Craazymon Fund will switch its 20 percent weighting in gold into the Nasdaq 100 as well.

    This pits Craazymon Fund — 50% junk bonds, 50% Nasdaq 100 — against a benchmark of 50% Bloomberg Aggregate [investment grade bonds], 50% S&P 500 index.

    Since inception on March 2, 2016, Craazymon Fund has gained a cumulative 28.57%, compared to a 22.55% return on its benchmark. Chart:

    Next month this chart will be updated with a ribbon along the bottom showing the changes in holdings.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If I had the money, I’d be thinking about copying the Russians and buy some gold.

      But, alas, I’m no Russian (but a patriotic USian).

      1. The Rev Kev

        Even if you went gold, there is no guarantee that someone like Trump would go all Roosevelt and make it law that all Americans bring their domestic and foreign holdings of gold in again.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With Trump, you look for personal angles (to confirm our belief about his character flaws).

      Why is he picking on Canada? Is it not white enough for him?

      Is it due to the French some of them speak?

      The burning of the White House was too distance (time-wise, logic-wise).

      Did they refuse some of his deals in the past?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          But only playing with tariffs, and not say, banning travelers from Canada.

          Is there only one explanation and not say, different explanations for his different actions?

          I still believe in intelligence gathering about your adversaries and analyzing those persons.

        1. RMO

          America annoys and riles Canadians all the time, the unusual thing here is that a member of the Canadian government or establishment would voice such annoyance. They’ve been steadfast boot licking sycophants for decades now. The other unusual thing is that the U.S. mass media is willing to say anything at all about Canada as we’re generally completely ignored. Not that being ignored is a bad thing as I’ve noticed what usually happens to nations that the U.S. establishment pays attention to… “Nice place you’ve got here, it sure would be a shame if something were to happen to it.”

    2. cnchal

      > How bad does your behaviour have to be to annoy and rile Canadians?

      Canadians, personally, couldn’t care less about the Canadian steel and aluminum industry, but the annoyed and riled up Canadian government is kicking Canadians in the stomach and punching them in the head with these idiotic tariffs.

      First of all, the Canadian steel and aluminum industry is run by foreign companies, having been either started by them or been taken over eons ago, and second of all, the Canadian market by itself is far too small for these tariffs to affect the producers of the products subject to those tariffs to any noticeable amount and there are no Canadian producers eager and prepared to fill any potential minute gap in the “market” due to the tariffs. It is Canadian government idiocy cubed.

      Why did Trump impose the steel and aluminum tariffs on supposed allies? Only Trump knows, but it would be irresponsible to not speculate. It could be something as simple as doing the ossified Wilbur Ross a solid. Wasn’t Wilbur a former owner of steel mills? Might he still have interests in those mills? Or perhaps, kicking your buddies in the groin demonstrates a certain unpredictability to the real target of Trump’s concern, China, and the US’s buddies are collateral damage in Trump’s scheme. The real reason is in Trump’s head, and he isn’t telling.

      As for the official reason, national security, it is laughable. It’s what the steel and aluminum is made into, which is a national security concern, not the steel and aluminum itself.

  18. Craig H.

    > The Earth’s magnetic field reverses more often – now we know why

    I am pretty sure we do not.

    The weasel wording in wikipedia is classic.

    Their simulation reproduced key features of the magnetic field over more than 40,000 years of simulated time and the computer-generated field reversed itself.

    reproduced key features

    This is how they say I dunno at Stanford.

    quote is from here

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Here, they’ve created what they believe is the world, essentially or with all the relevant or key features, and that world is equated with the world we are in.

      A lot of people do that, though they aren’t paid as scientists for their modelings of (political/social/economic/etc) reality.

      1. Summer

        “the computer-generated field reversed itself.”

        I guess people are supposed to forget that computers do exactly what they are programmed to do.

        Even simulated time is a loaded proposition.

        1. newcatty

          Also, people are counted on to ignore that many paid scientists in academia and elsewhere decide what simulation of “reality” is now real.

          1. ewmayer

            Are you implying the scientists who did the study are being paid by e.g. the corrupt “Big Tectonics industry” to engage in research fraud?

            See also my note to Craig H below – and I extend my “why should the reader consider you to be qualified to sit in judgment of the work?” question to you. Do you have the slightest clue about numerical modeling of physical phenomena? If so, please give us a brief summary of your understanding of the following basic concepts: [a] discretization, [b] consistency, [c] stability, [d] convergence, and fill in the blanks in the following sentence describing a famous theorem in the field which ties together those concepts: “given a ________ finite-difference scheme and a well-posed IVP, the discretization is _________ if and only if it is _______”.

            1. flora

              Thanks for this.
              The sales pitch for “open science” as a “solution” to peer reviewed science research – which often comes to conclusions not approved by the non-scientific community for political argumentation (see political correctness, both left and right) – is alarming.

              Yes, researchers’ grants may come with an implies bias from the grantor. I have watched this play out (in a field I won’t mention). The peer reviewed science always, always! wins out. No matter the hoped for political or economic gain of the grantor.

              Any thought that science should be taken away from scientists and the peer review process and given to the “open science” crowd reminds me of the chairman’s great-leap-forward idea that uneducated-in-metallurgy people could make industrial grade steel in their backyard furnaces. (And, the “open science” idea is pushed by the neoliberal dogmatists, by the way. They hate expertise unless it agrees with their dogma.)

              1. flora

                adding, for example:
                The peer reviewed science articles on the relationship between CO2 levels and atmospheric heating are almost unanimous. The few outliers do not discredit the scientific review process.

            2. newcatty

              I was not implying anything like the fact that the scientists who did the study were paid to engage in research fraud. First of all, I stated that many , not all, or that these specific scientists engage in scientific studies that are influenced by the expected or desired outcome.
              To say that I was sitting in judgement of the ” numerical modeling of physical phenomena” is , perhaps, a neat trick of projection . Genuine and peer reviewed science is valid and the best scientists are not influenced by hubris or “political or economic gain”.

    2. Synapsid

      Craig H

      The title is both misleading and wrong, in two short sentences. The researchers didn’t write the title.

      Your comment didn’t refer to the article, either.

      Start here: First, read the article. Then, re-read the next to last paragraph in the article, where the researchers give their conclusions.

      Then, turn to your keyboard if you have anything to say that pertains to the article.

      1. Craig H.

        Par. 2:

        But our new research shows that there is a relationship between the Earth’s magnetic field and the amount of ancient ocean floor that descends

        Par. 2nd to last:

        But it is an encouraging result, because it fits with our expectations of how the deep Earth works and gives us a time delay that sits somewhere in the middle of previous estimates.

        Nice pictures. Otherwise the article is wank.

        1. ewmayer

          Not sure whence your extreme hostility, but numerical modeling is the only known way to run ‘experiments’ in this kind of field, since doing things in real time is off the table except for the singular data set known as reality, which we only see in current-snapshot form, the time scales of the processes in question being so much vaster than that of human existence on the planet. They use a combination of plate-tectonic models which yield large-scale model data re. subduction rates, and measurements of both zircon grains (an actual physical correlate of subduction rates) and historic reversals recorded in the geologic record to infer a rather robust time-delay correlation between global subduction rates and reversal frequencies, which their numerical model of core dynamics also predicts.

          If you have a better way of understanding these phenomena, by all means do enlighten us. Failing that, please at least inform us why the reader should consider you to be qualified to sit in judgment of the work in question.

  19. el_tel

    re: Britons getting EU nationality

    There are also movements to GAIN British citizenship in play among people the media haven’t cottoned on to (or only partly due to the Windrush scandal). For instance, my half-sister was born in Dublin and though having moved with my mother and her then husband to the UK in the late 1960s never bothered to get British citizenship (unlike my half-brother). When we started going on Spanish holidays – my mother had remarried (my and my full sister’s father) – my half-sister got an Irish passport/citizenship (unlike the rest of the family), which she maintains to this day. Now in theory the BREXIT negotiations and bilateral UK-Eire treaties mean her UK pension/residency etc from a long British teaching career are all safe. In practice, we should never under-estimate this government’s ability to mess things up and she has finally recognised this, and wants British citizenship. Unfortunately it is far from simple. She really should have done this when we all first got (British) passports (around 1979). But neither she nor my mother did this – she decided on preserving her Irish heritage and got an Irish passport, whilst my mother chose an “easy” route and “just” became a British subject (even though she was entitled to British citizenship at that point with a bit more paperwork/homework which she failed to do).

    In the mid 1990s my mother had to jump through an insane number of hoops to be upgraded from “British Subject” to “British Citizen” – since she only got around to it post-1982(ish) reforms. My half-sister would probably have similar issues – she can’t claim British citizenship on the basis of parentage (neither parent being a British citizen at key dates) and must probably go through the (now largely defunct but still valid) process of becoming a British Subject, then upgrading to Citizen, once the Home Office is convinced she has been resident here for a long long time. Of course there is the “standard” EU route to becoming a British citizen based on long residency etc, but a citizen of Eire is then in no better a position than a citizen of any other EU state. But whatever route she chooses, she will be out of pocket for several thousand pounds……when she could have obtained dual British-Irish citizenship for just a bit more paperwork back in the late 1970s….all very vexxing for her but I’ll bet there are other Irish citizens out there in the UK who should be thinking this through carefully too – like I say, in theory no problems for them….in practice, who knows how this might all go wrong….

    Meanwhile it is trivial for me to get Irish citizenship (giving me tri-nationality) should I choose to do so (though of course I’d be paying the Irish govt 1000 euros or something for the privilege). Irish born mother, and/or Irish paternal grandfather qualifies me…’s all so insane….

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      My first thought was to wonder if political operators within or just above the “intelligence community” are trying to preserve their permanent cold war racket on the Korean Penninsula and are lining up or have lined up various “Curveballs” to say any handy thing about “secret weapons of mass destruction programs” in North Korea. I wonder if such operators are trying to prevent Trump from winning a historic Diplomatic Victory.

      I must admit that Bolton was not my first thought.

  20. Summer

    Re: Cortez wins with a vision for 21st Century…

    Putting it in those terms is apt. We will see how it works out, but it illustrates how the terms of policy debate are trapped in a specific timeline with the duopoly and its servants. The new parties are needed to at least break though that and best wishes.

    In general, the political climate the duopoly thrives in keeps the policy debates vacillitating along a timeline with 1850 (Republicans) and 1950 (Democrats) as the extremes at both ends. Currently in the establishmemt, the Republicans fetishize 19th Century America, while the Democrats fethishize the mid-20th Century (not the 60s) America.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Oddly, I agree with Pelosi: a unique situation. A big part of it is that there’s no Republican running, so she’s effectively already elected. Apparently, she’s also a remarkably effective candidate, the kind of political gold that comes along rarely; and it looks like Crowley was thoroughly out of touch with his district.

      A good sign, but not automatically significant.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: North Korea has increased nuclear production at secret sites, say U.S. officials

    Nobody knows the full extent of North Korea’s nuclear program making any accusation that they’re increasing activity an educated guess at best or merely propaganda. Nor are they under any obligation from the Trump-Kim summit to disarm until a finalized agreement is signed. If North Korea actually wants to normalize relations with the rest of the world they’ll eventually have to disclose the entirety of their holdings.

    The biggest lie about the US intelligence community is that their job is to provide super-duper top secret information and they don’t attempt to influence policy. Yet here we have an instance where anonymous high ranking intelligence officials are playing politics while delicate negotiations are ongoing.

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who has the fairest skin of them all?

  22. Kevin

    Please articulate how fluoridating the water isn’t mass medication by force? Did you consent to this?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, I believe in vaccination too, although I think there’s a case to be made that the US has gone overboard and there should be a hard look at whether some that are being administered are marginal in their value and/or public health impact and should be cut back (for instance, as in effectiveness isn’t so hot).

      Iodized salt is a “mass medication by force”. Clean municipal drinking water is also “mass medication by force.” So are food standards. See what happens when it isn’t done right, as in Flint. Water in older wells often has high arsenic levels.

      And you can opt out if you want to, by drinking bottled water, using sea salt, or growing your own food (although being fully self sufficient in food isn’t realistic).

      And are you as exercised about all the hormones you almost surely got by eating commercial chicken, pork and beef? It’s only been in the last ten years that consumers haven’t had to go to a lot of trouble to find organic alternatives (I’ve eaten only fish since the 1980s, and only recently started eating “clean” meats occasionally, but that isn’t normal).

      1. Expat

        See! this is the kind of thing I simply can’t understand about my fellow Americans. Nowhere else in the world where I have lived or traveled do the citizens complain to the government that they are getting too much education, too much health and too much freedom!

        Anti-vaxxers, anti-fluoridaters, anti-evolutionists, anti-scientists, anti-freedom fighters, anti-health agitators. How is it that the “greatest, richest and freest” country on Earth uses their “greatness”, wealth and freedom to commit suicide?
        It can’t be genetic. It’s not climatic. Maybe it’s chemical. Maybe fluoride in the water lowers IQ, increases gullibility and provokes suicide like in that dreadful movie, The Happening, only more slowly.
        Sorry for the snark, but I really, really can’t understand this. Those who respond to me don’t really know. Those who have this opinions won’t answer the question other than to call me a scumbag and a traitor. Alas.

        1. JBird

          Comrade Expat, Americans have always been a little bit crazy. I blame it on the people crazy, or desperate, enough to do the multiple weeks/months journey on glorified rowboats.

          More currently (and more seriously) I think the loss of control, of opportunity, and of living standards with the deliberate cultivation of increasing corruption, incompetence, and thoughtlessness by the various political, business, social, and even religious elites because it benefits them, has created national neuroses now strengthening into insanity.

          Look at the oil industry creating multiple decades long propaganda campaign against global warming, which was taken up by business friendly politicians, which also put the very process of science in doubt. Meanwhile, scientists often are happy to create nonsense “studies” which people are aware of.

          How does one find the truth? How many decades were spent by the lead, tobacco, oil, agriculture, Pharma, and medical industries each lying to keep selling products that have sickened, injured, or killed hundreds of millions of people or threaten ecological collapse?

          So yes, people are acting stupidly but they have smart reasons for doing so.

          1. Whoa Molly!

            Comrade Expat, yes I have noticed same thing.

            What I do hear is “If we do (X) We could become more like America” usually in the deadly serious tone of voice people use for warning about awful possibilities

            Good catch.

  23. Burritonomics

    Re: A Nobel-winning economist’s guide to taming tech monopolies

    This article includes something I seem to find in most commentary centered around the internet and Silicon Valley products; that they constitute an improvement in overall life standards.

    From the article (italics mine):
    “Yes, on the whole consumers tend to get a good deal, because we use wonderful services—like Google’s search engine, Gmail, YouTube, and Waze—for free”
    “But on the whole, our living standards have substantially improved thanks to the digital revolution”

    There is nothing about life post-internet that I can think of that constitutes anything other than a slight improvement in consumer convenience. This is virtually worthless in terms of my living standards or my overall quality of life. These things really are only of great utility to the wealthy, imho. Just more talk from inside the bubble.

    1. jrs

      I think the internet itself is an improvement. But that’s largely not tech companies, that was all DARPA etc..
      So good luck convincing most people that the only benefit was to the wealthy, as that’s as extreme an argument as it gets, as most people clearly see more benefit in it than that, and well outside of any Silicon Valley bubble.

      That’s not to be confused with 40 years of wage declines etc. that we have had. Yea ok quality of life overall has not improved in the last 40 years, due to mass disempowerment of labor and anyone not 1%. But that’s not about whether there is any value in the internet. Would internet exist in socialist utopia? I have no idea. But it was all built by the government anyway.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Spanish rescuers ‘told by Italy to stay away from dinghy in distress'”

    Hardly rescuers. More like Uber for refugees. A little maths. The population of Africa was 1.216 billion some two years ago. That is huge and all South America has only a population of 422.5 million. Now let us imagine that only 1% of all these people wanted to go to Europe to try to achieve a better life for themselves. That would mean at least 12 million people all headed to Europe. Does anybody think that the various European countries can adsorb this many people? And that is not even talking about the refugees from the Middle East or further afield. It’s OK for politicians and celebreties to say that we all need to take in more refuges but hard-line conservatives had a field day when they looked and found that these very same people lived in the most whitest postcodes of their country.
    There are a bunch of ‘rescue’ boats who go back and forth from the Libyan coastline to Italy ferrying refugees. It’s a taxi service. Italy can’t do it anymore,especially when France is stopping the same refugees crossing the border from Italy over to France. Doesn’t stop France getting on their high horse. Remember that boat that Italy refused and ended up going to Spain? It went by the French coastline but I never heard France volunteering to take them in.
    Sorry but these boats are simply going to be have to returned back to the Libyan coastline and those ‘rescue’ boats prosecuted for people-running. It is that simple. The East European countries have balked at the demands that they take in hundreds of thousands of people and change their cultures and countries like Germany are having to deal with numbers of people that are hostile to its traditions. If certain parties try to force Europe to keep taking these people in, then expect even more electoral results where hard right nationalists and the like get into power. Do they really want that?

    1. John k

      It’s beyond belief that Europe allows it to continue. Or that the media doesn’t discuss the operation as a delivery service for people that want a better life… or that not putting a stop to it creates the magnet that lures ever more from an unlimited supply, some of whom do die in the process.
      But the lower 2/3 seem to have had enough. Merkel started it all, she deserves to be discarded.

  25. JBird

    Sometimes I think that the only instruction given to the social-media people at @business is to make sure that all tweets will elicit the reaction “oh fuck off”

    On Felix Salmon’s twitter; the “affordable” under $1,000 budget watches, the reviews of Rolex watches including a $37,000 one, low cost business jets as a family one ( like another car) or the article on children’s birthday parties on business jets and these are not the only examples; WTF? No wonder our ruling class is clueless.

  26. ewmayer

    o “Edward Snowden describes Russian government as corrupt | Guardian” — The Guardian propagandists apparently failed to ask Mr. Snowden how he would describe the US and UK governments. I’m guessing “corrupt” would be only one of numerous epithets in such a summing-up, were it solicited.

    o “Illinois GOP official admits nomination of a neo-Nazi was an ‘absolute political disaster’ Raw Story (furzy)” — Sounds like a scene from The Blues Brothers: “I hate Illinois Nazis.”

  27. Patrick Donnelly

    The Magnetic field does reverse.

    Enoch saw it do so, as the Sun appeared to stand still and then go back the way it went up. After that event, graves faced the opposite direction.

    This was caused by the Phoenix. No, not the “bird” that adorns many Symbols, but a natural phenomenon of a planet appearing to become a flaming comet.

    Hence, the Georgia Stones…. but also many reassuring pseudoscience articles by “scientism” employees … question everything, this comment included!

  28. BoyDownTheLane

    “… Around the age of five, Alexandria’s architect father Sergio Ocasio moved the family from the “planned community” of Parkchester in the Bronx to a home in Yorktown Heights, a wealthy suburb in Westchester County. The New York Times describes her childhood home as “a modest two-bedroom house on a quiet street.” In a 1999 profile of the area, when Ocasio-Cortez would have been ten years old, the Times lauded Yorktown Heights’ “diversity of housing in a scenic setting” – complete with two golf courses.
    The paper quoted Linda Cooper, the town supervisor, describing Yorktown as ”a folksy area where people can come, kick off their shoes, wander around, sit in a cafe, listen to a concert in the park, or go to the theater.”

    Westchester County – which the Washington Post, in a glowing profile on Ocasio-Cortez, describes as only “middle class” – ranks #8 in the nation for the counties with the “highest average incomes among the wealthiest one percent of residents.” According to the Economic Policy Institute, the county’s average annual income of the top one percent is a staggering $4,326,049.
    Yorktown Heights, specifically, offers a sharp contrast from Bronx living. According to, the town’s population is 81 percent white, and median household income is $96,413 – nearly double the average for both New York state and the nation, according to data from 2010-2014…..”

    “… We wonder how long it will take Ocasio-Cortez to ride the “Democratic Socialist” wave until she’s firing off tweets from her third home and making $1 million, two years in a row, like Bernie Sanders…..”

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