Links 6/7/18

Readers:

Yves needs help with a venue for the Chicago meetup, which is Friday July 6, from 5 to 8 PM. Last year, the event attracted about 75 people. This year she expects fewer, probably 50, due to this being right after the Fourth of July..

Last year, readers met at the Marriott Residence at 11 LaSalle. The room was ample and the noise level was good. But the hotel has changed its policy, and she can’t use any space in the hotel unless she signs a contract and pays a space rental fee. Of course, the lobby bar area is so large that NC readers could try the force majeure approach and just show up. However, it would probably be preferable to do what we normally do and find a bar or restaurant where we can reserve a large enough area. We’ve had good luck with Irish pubs, but any suggestions are welcome. All things being equal, not far from the hotel is preferable.

She is also doing a brunch meetup in Green Bay on Sunday July 8, a first “flyover” event. But she hasn’t booked a hotel yet for Green Bay.

Please pipe up with any suggestions in comments. Thanks so much!

* * *

Taking turns: Bridging the gap between human and animal communication? Proceedings of The Royal Society B

The economics of fishing the high seas Science Advances

Huge New Prop under the Stock Market is a One-Time Affair Wolf Street (EM).

Bubble-Like Stock Valuations Miss $3.4 Trillion in Hidden Assets Bloomberg

TSB says 1,300 people lost money through fraud since IT meltdown – as it happened Guardian

A nationwide Comcast landline outage is affecting thousands of businesses The Verge. Welcome to the Third World….

U.S. house prices to rise at twice the speed of inflation and pay: Reuters poll Reuters (EM). EM: “Reuters’ logic appears to be backward: ‘An acute shortage of affordable homes in the United States will continue over the coming year, according to a majority of property market analysts polled by Reuters, driving prices up faster than inflation and wage growth.’ Uh, it’s the ZIRP-and-wage-suppression-fueled price bubble that caused the acute shortage of affordable homes, not the other way around.”

Why the Swiss should vote for ‘Vollgeld’ Martin Wolf, FT. “Finance needs change. For that, it needs experiments.”

German fears after covert look under hood of Tesla Handelsblatt. Interesting.

Musk Says Tesla Manufacturing to Shift From ‘Hell’ to Strength Bloomberg. Finally cleaned the nozzles in the paint booth, then?

Brexit

Logistics industry says ‘too late’ to avoid Brexit disruption FT

UK parties divided over Brexit as businesses sound warnings AP

UK officials float third way Brexit customs compromise Politico

European Seed Investors Love AI, Hate E-Commerce And Are Piling Into France Forbes

The ECB Deserves This Bout of Political Hot Water Bloomberg

Google braced for EU penalty over abuse of dominance FT

Syraqistan

The Russian Gordian Knot begins to unravel Asia Times

Qatar Won the Saudi Blockade Foreign Policy

The Week That Stopped Brazil Jacobin

The wholesale attack on Brazilian sovereignty: an interview with Celso Amorim Brasil Wire (TF).

News drones reveal big companies are draining local water supplies in Peru, Colombia ICIJ

North Korea

Helsinki in Asia: A Response to Philip Bobbitt Lawfare. Bobbitt’s post. I’m a fan of Bobbitt, the epitome of the sharkish WASP Cold Warrior, and one of the few remaining.

US Democratic Party adopts hardline stance ahead of Trump-Kim Singapore summit The Hankyoreh

Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore for Trump-Kim summit NY Post

China?

Why Europe is pivotal player for China in a three-way trade puzzle South China Morning Post

The odd reality of life under China’s all-seeing credit score system Wired

Contextualising Chinese Migration to Africa (PDF) Journal of Asian and African Studies

Plastic wasteland: Asia’s ocean pollution crisis Agence France Presse

New Cold War

Who is to blame for the state of the rules-based liberal order? WaPo. Another appeal to the Norms Fairy. And how anybody, after Iraq, can keep a straight face while saying “rules-based liberal order” is beyond my imagination.

Are We Headed for a ‘Cyber Cuban Missile Crisis’ with Russia? The Cipher Brief

U.S.-Russia Relations: The Price of Cold War RIAC

Trump Transition

Mick Mulvaney just scrapped all the experts on CFPB’s consumer advisory board Los Angeles Times

SEC chief says agency won’t change securities laws to cater to cryptocurrencies CNBC

Farm Bill Targets Food Stamps — But Not Handouts to Well-Off Farmers Governing

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats avoid setback in California primary vote FT. A noticeable lack of triumphalism in the coverage, even as the Establishment settles itself back in the saddle.

Democrats strengthen hand in seeking control of House, even if odds of a blue wave are diminishing WaPo

California Results Are Consistent With a Competitive House Race NYT

Officials demand answers after more than 118,000 people were left off L.A. County voter rosters Los Angeles Times. This keeps happening.

Colorado’s Democratic Party Kingmaker Is a Fracking Lawyer. What Could Go Wrong? The Intercept

Health Care

The preventable tragedy of D’ashon Morris Dallas Morning News (MV). Part One of “Pain and Profit.” Part Two.

Class Warfare

Minnesota Amazon workers seek better workplace conditions AP

Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test The Atlantic (UserFriendly).

The bishop and the brothels Wellcome Collection

Denver Cops Shut Down Lemonade Stand Run by Boys, Ages 4 and 6 The Maven (DK).

#25 The Sky’s The Limit | How Then Shall We Live Pt. 4 (podcast) No Place Like Home. Interview with Peter Kalmus.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

191 comments

  1. fresno dan

    Denver Cops Shut Down Lemonade Stand Run by Boys, Ages 4 and 6 The Maven (DK).

    Jennifer Knowles, mother of the two boys, later learned there is no law or policy requiring kids to obtain a license to set up a temporary stand for neighbors.
    She said she encouraged her children to set up a lemonade stand on Monday as part of a summer project where she planned to teach them business and entrepreneurial skills.

    She also wanted to teach them how to donate to worthy causes, so they picked a 5-year-old boy from Indonesia whom they were going to help.

    But if the kids learned anything, it is to not trust police.
    ….
    So the main question is, why did Denver police enforce a non-existent law?
    ================================================
    So….who was fired at the Denver police department for incompetence?

    Seriously, one wonders how many times take action against people because of “complaints” when there is in fact no basis in law for the police to take any action.
    Now, it would be wrong to draw any parallels between the FBI and “collusion” and this, and the even increasing skepticism regarding police authorities – so I won’t….

    Reply
    1. Ook

      “But if the kids learned anything, it is to not trust police.”

      A worthwhile lesson that will serve them well through adulthood.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Two rules about police you need to have tattooed on your forearm where you will see them all the time.
        1. Police lie.
        2. Never say anything without a lawyer.

        Reply
    2. David May

      “she planned to teach them business and entrepreneurial skills.”

      I find it vile that someone would want to indoctrinate their children into the hustling culture at such young ages. The “charity” angle just sounds creepy, like throwing pennies to the peasants from the royal coach. Just yuck.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I was selling fruit from our trees in our neighborhood when I was 6.

        Small ones were a cent, bigger ones 3 cents.

        My first attempt @ capitalism~

        Reply
        1. freedomny

          My siblings and I didn’t really get allowance when we were young. Before we were allowed to work (16 I think?) we started The Window Wizards (lol)…where we would wash windows and then we expanded to cars! When we turned 16, both my older sister and I got fired from our first jobs – at McDonalds – for putting extra tomatoes on the burgers. It’s been downhill ever since :)

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            when we lived in town for a spell, I sent my boys around the neighborhood hanging bags of surplus fruits and veggies on the neighbors’ doorknobs.
            Jumpstarted a gift economy, in fact.
            It doesn’t seem to have hampered either boys work ethic, or get up and go ism.

            Reply
      2. RUKidding

        Eh? I dunno.

        I operated several lemonade stands as a kid on my own bat. My ‘rents agreed with me, but it was my idea. No one indoctrinated me. My sibs and I also put together and ran numerous backyard carnivals where we made some small change for ourselves.

        I feel that it taught me how to plan and prepare projects, as well as thinking outside the box (for a kid) for ways to make some small change.

        It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

        I find it appalling, but unsurprising, what the Denver PD did.

        We ARE NOW living in a Police State. THIS is what it looks like.

        Will there be any real consequences for the Denver PD? Doubtful.

        Reply
      3. Baby Gerald

        She forgot the crucial part in the American ‘entrepreneurial process’ that involves greasing the palms of some small-time local law enforcement or authority figure well ahead of time so they look the other way or come to your defense when your business attracts haters.

        Reply
    3. David

      Outbreak traced to Cheerleaders – Lemonade stand is found to be culprit at shrimpfest.

      A lemonade stand run by a group of cheerleaders has reportedly been tied to an outbreak of a virus among at least 48 people who attended last month”s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach.

      …Two of the lemonade drinkers were hospitalized, and most of the affected were sick for two to three days.
      The health department investigation found the lemonade that caused the illness was served at the Fernandina Beach High School Cheerleaders” booth.
      …Health investigators think that inadequate hand washing played a role in the illness.
      …The virus could have been passed through ice or during preparation of the drink, which used freshly squeezed lemons.

      The Denver code prohibits the sale of ice or ice products from the home. The code also requires home sellers to take a food safety course.

      Reply
      1. ArcadiaMommy

        Yeah, hand washing was definitely on my mind as little kids are not too diligent about how clean their hands are. I seriously doubt that the police are responsible for enforcing this code tho.

        On the positive side, I can tell my kids that they have to take a food safety course when they harass me about doing a lemonade stand! :)

        Reply
  2. cnchal

    Denver Cops Shut Down Lemonade Stand Run by Boys, Ages 4 and 6 The Maven (DK).

    So the main question is, why did Denver police enforce a non-existent law?

    My guess is the cops imagined there is a law banning lemonade stands. They did show remarkable restraint by not chasing the four year old down and pummeling him for running away.

    Reply
        1. fresno dan

          RUKidding
          June 7, 2018 at 11:12 am
          It is extremely difficult to tell a yellow lemon from a black Smith and Wesson….
          “I was afraid for my life”

          Reply
          1. cgeye

            What I heard tell, is that the kids set up their stand close to an ongoing food festival — which had permitted lemonade sellers on site.

            In short, their competition dropped a dime on them.

            Reply
    1. NoOneInParticular

      The police apparently didn’t know the law, so chalk that up to poor training and/or supervision. As far as I’m concerned, the real question is who complained.

      The linked page points to a Denver 7 story which says, “…someone from the nearby art show called police on her sons and complained.”

      No further detail there but is it a stretch to think that some vendor at the art show was afraid of the competition?

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        It sure makes one wonder if anybody on the Denver police force is qualified to be a police officer.

        What a life lesson for those children. Encouraged to explore their entrepreneurial spirit by learning the basics of MMT ( (Material Meet’s Tool X sales) – expenses = profit or loss), their material being lemon juice and water, their tools the freezer, juicer, lemonade stand and signage, and combining those raw materials with processes to arrive at a salable product, at a production price less that the selling price, thereby creating value, the results of which were to be given away to help someone in need.

        Then, come the cops. Those two young boys will never look at a cop or cop car the same way again.

        I am reminded of the article a month or so ago about an ex CIA operative that became a Baltimore cop, Skinner was his last name if my memory is working correctly, took a massive pay cut to do so, and at the end of the article describes an interaction with a “street” person by giving them a hug or similar, and another police officer sort of admonished him for doing that because his gun could have been grabbed and used on him, and his remark was, and it stuck with me, that he was thinking strategic and the other officer was thinking tactical. This is a huge difference, like night and day.

        Those Denver cops were about tactics, strategy never considered. Policing is a disaster and failure all the way up and down the chain of command.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          OK, you got me. What is “Material Meet’s Tool ” when it’s at home? Is it a Tool of some kind that belongs to a person or group called “Material Meet?”

          Reply
  3. Jim Haygood

    With the five largest stocks on the planet (our Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse) headquartered on the US west coast, and many of their suppliers in Asia, one might imagine that stodgy old Europe has been left behind.

    Not so, Goldman Sachs reveals. In fact, the iconic European luxury sector — names such as LVMH, Christian Dior, Gucci parent Kering, Hermes and Moncler, who keep the larders, dachas and ski chalets of the global elite well stocked — have fully kept pace with the US Info Tech sector. Chart:

    https://tinyurl.com/y7wgmxqc

    Sounds pretty fin de siècle to me, as the shadows lengthen in the long afternoon of Bubble III.

    Reply
  4. Kevin

    Denver Cops Shut Down Lemonade Stand Run by Boys, Ages 4 and 6 The Maven (DK).

    This is what happens when cops get bored.

    Reply
  5. McWatt

    Yves:

    I might be able to host you at the Cliff Dwellers Club here in downtown Chicago. We are right across the street from the Art Institute and next door to Orchestra Hall. I will check today whether or not July 6th is open. We would be limited to 110 people. We could offer everyone a buffet dinner for around $45.00 each and of course we have a wonderful bar and dramatic views of the the lake front.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      That is very kind but that is not how we do meetups. They are casual events where people can come and go. And we want people with no money to be able to participate. We have some readers who are under financial stress. At a bar, they can just show up and not order anything and not be conspicuous (they just look like they are between drinks or have not placed an order yet).

      $45 is more than I imagine most people would want to spend even if they have money.

      Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      Trump deserves full credit for commuting Alice Johnson’s savage sentence.

      Yet at the same time, his attorney general Sessions reinstituted a policy of charging drug defendants as severely as possible. This means that new Alice Johnsons are being clapped into the Gulag daily as we speak.

      Fortunately cognitive dissonance does not trouble the pensées of the president’s beautiful mind.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m worried that Kim Kardashian will no longer be famous for being famous, having accomplished something in her life, finally.

        Reply
          1. Procopius

            The photographer skillfully posed her so you don’t see her huge ass. I get that many people think she’s very beautiful, but I have a different aesthetic standard.

            Reply
        1. Kevin

          I wonder how many other victims of such incompetent justice sit in a cell somewhere and don’t have a high-falootin celebrity in their corner.

          nice to have friends in high places.

          Reply
        2. lyman alpha blob

          My first thought when clicking the link and seeing that Trump/Kardashain photo was whether there might be some sort of tit-for-tat involved to get the Donald to sign….

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            lyman alpha blob
            June 7, 2018 at 1:19 pm

            wouldn’t that be more accurately stated as “tits for tat”? OR, being Kardashian, “back for tat”???

            Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      lawrence o’donnell’s take on the commutation: Trump only commuted the sentence because, in addition to drug charges, Johnson was convicted of money laundering, the same crime Paul Manafort has been indicted for, and advocated for by Kim Kardashian, a reality TV star. Without those uniquely trumpian conditions, according to o’donnell, he’d have shown the same respect for the rule of law as obama, bush and clinton and left Johnson to rot. (The part about obama, bush and clinton is actually my personal editorializing.)

      I shit you not.

      This morning I find myself wondering if it wasn’t o’donnell who called the cops to get those baby lemonade criminals off the streets of Denver.

      Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        don’t know if you’ve seen the execrable mackey article at the intercept, about putin using a purported “nazi” term to criticise fake news, thereby proving that putin is the next hitler or something, but that outdoes o’donnell imo.

        Reply
  6. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves, in particular for the Brazilian articles.

    What Brazil is going through has had little coverage in the UK MSM. As late as the mid-1990s, coverage of international affairs was good in the UK, but, just like the political class, the UK media class is failing. Clive, PK, Vlade and I have commented on that decline in standards.

    Celso Amorim talks about US interference.

    At the moment, the EU and US embassies in Mauritius are threatening Mauritius with sanctions. The island state wants the Chagos archipelago (including Diego Garcia) back and has supported Palestine. It’s also increasing cooperation with China and India. Many Mauritians are of Indian and Chinese origin. That sort of thing does not go down well in the UK and US.

    The latest excuse for meddling is a recent LGBT rally. A participant is alleging she has been threatened. As if the diplomats have nothing to do, they are getting uppity, instead of leaving such matters to the police.

    Every few months, the US embassy gets agitated about something and gets tweeting. In recent years, the ambassador has rallied groups in defence of bats, prostitutes and immigrant workers, even marching with the interest groups. That may seem OK, but it masks a hidden agenda, an atomisation of society along wedge issues, and keeps the government on the back foot, as if don’t annoy Uncle Sam.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Colonel;
      Mauritius wants Diego Garcia back. There goes Anglo American ‘force projection’ in the Indian ocean and points north.
      Really though, the Anglo American ‘push’ for exerting hegemony over the smaller states belies their supposed “free market” values. In a truly ‘free’ marketplace of national relations, the highest bidder should get to be the local Hegemon. All Mauritius is doing is shopping around for the best deal for their ‘client’ status. Call it “Rational State Action.”
      Time to re-read “The Ugly American.”

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        If we could only convince the reign of error that Diego Garcia is an illegal and we have to give it back to whomever we appropriated it from?

        Reply
      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you and well said, Ambrit.

        You should visit us. We’ll go to the races. Champ de Mars was the French army’s parade ground from 1715 to 1810. The Brits turned it into racecourse in 1812.

        If you like Louisiana, you’ll love Mauritius. Our Creoles are similar. Islanders of French origin are often related to settlers in Louisiana. I am, hence being a regular visitor to la belle Louisiane.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Excellent film. Two takes on the same post-colonial tragedy.
          I read that Greene based the journalist character on himself, who actually reported from the then French Indochina in the fifties.

          Reply
      3. Carolinian

        For those who don’t know the background of Diego Garcia. From Wikipedia

        Between 1968 and 1973, the population was forcibly removed by the United Kingdom and the United States to establish an American base through intimidation of locals and denying the return of any who left the island.[citation needed] Many were deported to Mauritius and the Seychelles[citation needed], following which the United States built a large naval and military base, which has been in continuous operation ever since.

        (Here’s a citation)

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/01/AR2007010100698.html

        Reply
    2. Sid Finster

      The United States and the UK care very much about LBGTXYZPDQ rights,, just look at how they rage at Saudi Arabia!

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is it cultural hegemony to demand instant progressive measures in lockstep, and not let others progress at their own paces?

        Reply
        1. Sid_finster

          Depends. The United States and UK care very much about progressive measures, when they can be used as a stick to beat countries we don’t like.

          Otherwise, the US and UK could not care less.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Then, they are two cultural hegemons.

            Specifically, fickle cultural hegemons, but cultural hegemons nevertheless.

            Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore for Trump-Kim summit”

    Well, that’s one less worry on my mind!

    Reply
    1. Summer

      Will give the media plenty to discuss other than what really happens at the summit. They love celebrity distraction clickbait.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev and Summer.

        Funnily enough, the geo-political strategist for my employer, this blog’s favourite German TBTF, forecast that when the summit was first proposed.

        Reply
    2. RUKidding

      Ah yes. I wondered if that bright shiny object of distraction would be there. No doubt the Trump team worked behind the scenes to orchestrate this. Rodman’s always good for some sort of display.

      Reply
  8. Clive

    Brexit Stuff:

    UK government published paper on NI border arrangements https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44391539

    Short version, “regulatory alignment” until December 2021 to give time (ha ha ha ha) for the non-hard border solutions to be implemented (i.e. the Magic Sparkle Pony to be brought into being, which I suspect will be like the dragons being hatched in Game of Thrones). Of course, this is the UK government’s proposal, no guarantee the EU will wear it.

    Here’s the original statement from the UK government https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/714594/Technical_Note_-_temporary_customs_arrangement_document_final_clean.docx

    Reply
  9. Carolinian

    Are We Headed for a ‘Cyber Cuban Missile Crisis’ with Russia?

    Er, no. One could laugh at this slice of hysteria from an obscure website if it wasn’t mirrored by the MSM including the WaPo (which alleged that Russians had hacked into a New England power company, then had to retract the next day). Of course the original Cold War was also built on false premises–it was Trotsky who wanted to take over the world for Communism, not Stalin–but after WW2 people may have had better excuse for having the jitters. It’s almost as though capitalism, having lost its great enemy with the breakup of the Soviet Union, decided it needed that enemy back in order to keep their own populace cowed and afraid.

    Reply
  10. Jim Haygood

    A São Paulo-based author laments Brazil’s failure to help set Venezuela on a more positive course:

    What George W. Bush was hearing from then-Brazilian president Lula da Silva was: “Don’t worry about Hugo, I have him in my hand.” [But] under [subsequent] presidents Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer, political and economic crises in Brazil created a regional power vacuum.

    Remarkably, it will be at the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg in July where an enfeebled Temer must make his case vis-à-vis Venezuela to Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, who are crucial to keeping the Maduro government afloat.

    The most likely scenario is that Maduro or someone proffering similar policies stays in charge for years to come, piloting a large passenger aircraft low on fuel as it descends very slowly toward the ocean. How soon it hits will depend largely on the extent of Russian and Chinese financial and political support.

    The result will be a continued refugee outflow into the rest of South America, with Colombia the most severely affected, followed by Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Chile and others, as well as instability along Venezuela’s borders. Around 10 percent of the population is thought to have emigrated.

    Any future Venezuelan government would probably need to sign long-term deals with both the IMF and Chinese banks to initiate the lengthy process of reconstruction.

    http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/9643

    Forecasting a continuance of the status quo is an easy default stance. However, economic history shows that hyperinflationary depressions usually burn out within a couple of years. Venezuela is due for a change to a stable (probably external) currency, whether under the Maduro regime or a new leader.

    Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        Brazil has plenty of problems, including a Real currency that’s falling toward 4 to the dollar (a higher number being weaker). Inflation in Brazil is running at 2.8%, though the recent depreciation is likely to push it higher.

        By comparison, according to Dolartoday, Venezuela’s currency is at 1.89 million Bolivars per dollar. Inflation statistics aren’t even published anymore.

        Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins says prices in Venezuela are doubling every 29 days. Its inflation rate reached 27,000% annually last week, based on black-market exchange rate data.

        Venezuela is in roughly the stage that Germany was in 1922 during the Weimar hyperinflation. It had another year to run before the central bank stopped discounting Treasury bills, lopped 12 zeroes off the failed currency, and introduced the Rentenmark.

        All it takes is a phone call from Maduro to the Venezuelan central bank to produce the same miracle in Venezuela.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Brazil is in chaos now according to most reports with a trucker strike that still partially lingers and calls by many for a return to military dictatorship. Perhaps the re-election of Maduro shows that not everything is about economics. The heavy hand of US intervention is just as likely to bring on defiance as has happened all these years in Cuba. Perhaps all that trash talk by Trump and his minions had a lot to do with the recent Venezuela election.

          Reply
  11. Tom Stone

    I’ll admit I had my doubts about that Reuter’s article predicting rising US home prices until I realized it was based on Suzanne’s research.
    FD, I hang my license at a C21 office.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      on that article: seems like I remember not that long ago there being something of a surplus of houses, being absorbed by banks, and whatnot.
      what happened to those?

      Reply
      1. allan

        From the healthcare issue page on her campaign website:

        Kathleen Williams is the only candidate for Congress with a detailed, achievable plan to immediately reduce costs for Montanans and improve coverage in the individual market, while laying the groundwork for a national dialogue on America’s healthcare system. …

        In Congress, she will work to stabilize the individual market, reduce prescription drug prices, and create a robust public option through allowing people 55 and older to buy in to Medicare. …

        “laying the groundwork for a national dialogue “. [Screams silently into the void.]

        Also, from the Priorities page on the site:

        … Fix and simplify the tax bill by restoring progressive taxes to the federal code and fixing mistakes resulting from hasty passage of the bill.

        As much as she’s preferable to the incumbent, that’s pretty weak tea.

        Reply
    1. DJG

      Thank you, lyman alpha blob. Heartwarming.

      First, it is remarkable that the stupid owner never thought that the crocodile would become big enough to resolve the issue. (And I am reminded of the Buddhist tale of the devout dragon and what the dragon did to the monkeys who bothered it.) Yet each day I see dogs-of-white-privilege doing privileged and dumb things, and this poor dog seems to have believed her own P.R.

      Second, and after the required statement that I am very fond of dogs (in their place, which doesn’t mean forced on my leg by their clueless, beaming owners), I want a crocodile as my emotional support animal. Imagine how it would keep airports tidy and the crowds of passengers flowing.

      Ahhhhh, to quote the immortal Marianne Moore, “O to Be a Dragon…”

      Reply
      1. polecat

        “dogs of white privilege” ??

        Is that even a thing ?!! … some social justice meme I’ve been unaware of, until now … ?? … #underprivilegeddogsmatter … or something ???

        Reply
        1. DJG

          polecat: I live in a neighborhood with two high-end dog boutiques within a ten-minute walk of my place. I suspect that the typical local dog eats more protein each day than the typical family in Mali. And who owns these pampered “fur babies”?

          Reply
          1. polecat

            DJG,
            You could probably extend that thought to virtually All the clientele of PetsSmart et. al., honky priv. or otherwise …

            Reply
    2. Ford Prefect

      In our neighborhood, many of the dog owners had Invisible Fences installed to within 5 feet of the road. Their obnoxious yapping and barking dogs coming flying down to that fence line to annoy every person who walks along the road. Periodically one of the dogs comes charging through the fence and there have been attacks on people walking dogs in the road.

      It’s good to know there is a potential solution……

      Reply
  12. Livius Drusus

    Re: the Blue Wave in 2018, I am not good at predictions but I think Democrats will be disappointed this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they fail to win the House. Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics are only part of the problem. The Democrats still don’t have a strong message other than “we aren’t Trump” and I am afraid that the (sort of) good economy will hurt them this year. Very few people care about Russia and the other scandals that plague the Trump administration. Those that do care are likely highly partisan Democratic voters anyway,so they are already in the bag for the Dems.

    The demo that Dems need to win, poor people, are the people who are least likely to vote because neither party offers them anything of substance. The Democrats just assume that demographic change alone will win them elections without realizing that many younger new electorate voters are alienated from politics because they see nothing in it for them.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      I agree. It’s unsurprising but beyond annoying how smugly complacent Big D is… as usual.

      Well, they really don’t care about winning, do they, as long their Oligarch donor money keeps flowing into their off-shore accounts.

      I think that’s another reason why Big D doesn’t have a deep bench? These entrenched septa/octagenarians want ALL the money for themselves. Greed-heads, one and all. No sharing the lolly with the younger generation. Ergo, no mentoring of up & comers, other than a selected few, who’ve proven their NeoLib bona fids and are quite willing to screw over the proles.

      Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      Minnesota is an unexpected bright spot. Keith Ellison leaving Congress to run for state AG shook up everything here. There are 9 candidates for his seat, mostly women and mostly women of color.

      There are now two women running for governor on the D side, and the guy (Tim Walz) would (despite having been a Blue Dog in Congress) be an excellent governor (former teacher much beloved by his students who ‘gets’ state issues much better than national stuff).

      Can’t speak for the rest of the country but the super high primary turnout on the D side in Iowa Tuesday is also promising. There’s a young woman running for Congress in NE Iowa and 9 counties in her CD just lost their clean water (very surprising, not an underfunded part of the state). Iowa also got a rich guy as their D candidate for governor, but he’s actually a ‘good’ rich guy with a solid track record. Not the best candidate available, but more than good enough to turn around a state savaged by fundamentalist politics.

      Having hit bottom, I think the Midwest may come back this fall. Even Wisconsin (but don’t bet on it as their voter suppression laws are insanely effective).

      Reply
        1. Mark Gisleson

          Still have not seen the list of counties and may be wrong about them all being in her CD (one may be in Steve King’s CD).

          Infrastructure fail should be recorded and mapped as it’s a safe bet afflicted areas will flip their votes away from whomever they see as being responsible.

          Reply
    3. JohnnyGL

      22% turnout in CA primaries says…..yup, you’re prob right.

      Still no registration efforts, still all fund-raising, all the time. the upstart lefty crowd will win a few battles, maybe claim some House seats, but we’ve got work to do before we can pose a real challenge to party leaders.

      Knocking of Di Fi in the Senate was always a big ask, and it’s still possible, but it’s going to be a long, hard road to get it done. I’m not sure DeLeon is up to the task.

      Reply
    4. Arizona Slim

      To those Democrats who keep saying that they aren’t Trump, I say, why not? Yeah, I know. He’s Trump and thus he’s evil.

      But never let it be said that The Donald lacked boldness and a bias toward, well, doing things. Yeah, he stomps around china shops and leaves the inventory smashed and all over the floor, but he isn’t sitting around and dithering.

      Reply
  13. JTMcPhee

    Re high seas fishing economics: Straight looting behavior.

    In first-year property class in law school, you learn about “ferae naturae,” ‘wild beasts’ in the wild areas of the world (those not reduced to “ownership by law.”) The ancient rule was that anyone can “take” any quantity of such creatures as they can kill.

    So you see studies on “fisheries collapse,” aka extinction events, for lots of individual “fisheries,” those government-subsidized looting operations the “economics-driven” article describes a bit of. And Cassandra pieces in obscure journals, and even some mainstream outlets, talking about the Death of the Oceans as an ecosystem and dumping ground for plastic crap, sewage, nuclear waste, Big Ag runoff, sh!t from concentrated animal feed operations, “fallout” from burning coal and bunker crude, all that stuff. Talk talk talk, but the only actions in sight, to even reduce the depredations and corruption, are minuscule and impotent.

    In the meantime, of course, corpogovernments are busily engaging in “research” to reveal the lootable metals and other “resources” on and under the seabed, and geo mapping the whole ocean into a Big Data set that will be a playground for divvying up the spoils that are what is left of both “edible biomass” in the “infinite seas,” and the extractables that will be dredged up to facilitate the end-game of “energy-consumption-based” political economies.

    I keep going back to the world as posited in “Soylent Green:” A single corporate entity is the victor in all the consolidation, having finally looted and degraded the whole planet, including even the oceans as a once giant growth medium for algae as the last protein source for the rump population of humanity. What’s left in the wreckage of cities is a debased and starving population of humans running out one last loop through the looting: as humans die, their corpses get dumped in vats to support the growth of algae that gets processed into the “Soylent” food products, like the eponymous Soylent Green.

    The corporate executives know that it’s the end game for the planet, that their but of course they are living high while yet they live. The apotheosis of people like Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP (remember him?) at the time of the preventable Deepwater Horizon blowout, the guy who said this was all such a bother and “I’d like my life back.” (Why are so many British tossers named Tony — Blair, Eden, Hayward, etc.?) http://www.businessinsider.com/bp-ceo-tony-hayward-apologizes-for-saying-id-like-my-life-back-2010-6

    Being a spiff means never REALLY having to say you’re sorry… Back to the yacht races! Let the looting and degradation continue! We have personal pleasures to service!

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, JT.

      Is spiff the same as spiv?

      That’s a great point about Brits called Tony.

      Do you use tosser in the US?

      Reply
    2. L

      Below looting though, is basic need. Whether fishing on the high seas is “economic” or not, people gotta eat and fisherman gotta fish. I would argue that high seas fishing will get “economic” for the same reason that mining landfills will get “economic” because as you say we’ve destroyed the rest.

      Reply
    3. ObjectiveFunction

      Sustainable or not (pretty much not), this was a great 101 precis of an industry I didn’t know much about before.

      Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Scott
      June 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

      FROM the ARTICLE:
      • Inflation: The good news is that flat-panel televisions, tablets, tech gadgets, toys — many of the things we want and enjoy — have tumbled in price as a result of widespread adoption and economies of scale. The bad news is that costs for health care, housing and education have consistently been rising at rates much faster than the CPI.

      We have deflation in the things we want, but inflation in the things we need.

      AND
      https://www.axios.com/the-coming-health-care-wars-f24d847a-5842-4785-86eb-a07e87cc7e8e.html
      The sleeper issue is rising out-of-pocket costs, which affect far more people than ACA premiums or the price of new drugs. The average deductible for employer-based coverage has gone up almost 400% since 2006.
      =======================================
      you can live without a new TV….you can’t live without insulin….

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        fresno dan
        June 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm
        AND
        For a different take, consider the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Billion Price Project, which tracks all sorts of prices found online. If anything, it shows that the official CPI basket of goods in recent years has been understating the rate of inflation.

        This is not a bug but a feature. It was created in part by that same hedonic-adjustment process. There’s a backstory here: In 1995, the Boskin Commission 1 was charged with revising the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation measure. The unofficial goal was a backdoor way to lower inflation readings to reduce cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security and other government spending. No surprise that the committee found several dishonest ways to claim CPI inflation was overstated. One was substitution, the idea that people switch to less expensive chicken when beef prices rise; the other was the aforementioned hedonic adjustment. 2

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’m a sunflower seed addict, have been for like forever.

          Frito Lay has always been my favorite choice of all easily acquired comers, and the 99 cent bag used to contain 4 1/4 ounces, and then it went away for about a year, to be replaced by a new 99 cent bag containing only 3 3/4’s ounces, about 12% deflation in terms of seed loss, but nothing in terms of inflationary cost.

          This happens all the time, and doesn’t get picked up.

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            Yup – I bought some granola bars for my kid’s lunch the other day. Box was the same size and it cost the same price but when I opened it up the actual granola bars were significantly smaller than they were the week before.

            Funny how they never seem to mention that on the box…

            Reply
    2. Bill Smith

      “But as I first explained a decade ago, and have been repeating with some regularity since, progress is humanity’s default setting.”

      Don’t think this is true. There where hundreds of years where there was no progress. Between 4000 BC and 500 BC what was the progress? Between 400 AD and 1200 AD what was the progress?

      And there where years when things went downhill.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        Progress is a modern idea and it corresponds roughly with the start of the Industrial Revolution.

        Look at Japan before the Black Ships came. They rejected the idea of progress. They wanted things to stay as they were.

        Reply
        1. Lord Koos

          Countless of indigenous peoples rejected “progress” brought by foreigners. With few exceptions, they lost.

          Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “A Helsinki Conference For Asia”

    Philip Bobbitt’s essay certainly seems very well thought out. I might add one or two things to it though. A main point in it is that China would extend its nuclear umbrella over China as does the US over Japan and South Korea. That being the case, it might be an idea to have a Chinese trip-wire force based in North Korea just to keep things honest. I would also be not so dismissive of Russian involvement here as they actually share a border with North Korea and there has been a fair amount of diplomatic contact recently. Russia might offer a defensive grid to discourage aerial attacks which by their very nature would be of a defensive nature.
    The trouble comes from the disunited American forces at work here. Just yesterday Rudy Giuliani tried to blow up the negotiations by saying in Israel that “Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged” for the summit to go ahead. Trump should tell him “You’re fired!” for that betrayal. The US Democratic Party is basically saying that the summit should be a surrender ceremony and all sorts of onerous conditions imposed on North Korea but even if it was so, they will still not ratify any treaty, so there.
    Another factor is sanctions. The treaty with Iran was signed and Iran gave up nuclear development in return for cancelling sanctions. The US took off sanctions but when the treaty was signed they imposed a new set of them because of stuff that was not in the treaty and kept adding more. North Korea could never accept the position that sanction relief would be totally contingent on the provincial politics of only one country in a region-wide agreement. Time for some realpolitik.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        The Iran nuclear deal. I call it a treaty because a treaty is described as ‘a formally concluded and ratified agreement between states’. If it barks like a dog…

        Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    A Texas man decapitated a rattlesnake. It bit him anyway and he nearly died, his wife says.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/07/a-texas-man-decapitated-a-rattlesnake-it-bit-him-anyway-and-he-nearly-died-his-wife-says/?utm_term=.d7c371d7c266
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I’ve been dispatching rattlesnakes from our property ever since I was a kid, and usually we’d use the old shovel guillotine method as the Texan did, and one time we came across the biggest rattler i’ve ever seen, a 6 foot model that was so scary we enlisted one of my friend’s father to do the deed and it was done and the head was buried about a foot down, and a few minutes later it made it’s way up to the surface and was quite upset over the situation and I can still see it baring it’s fangs @ a 45 degree angle of opened mouth, the damned thing still gives me daymares almost 50 years later.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      YIKES!!!! Now that’s a story.

      And now I’m gonna be even more a-feared whilst hiking. Usually the rattlers let us know where they are, so we can quickly walk in the opposite direction. But have almost stepped on large rattlers a few times.

      Egad.

      Reply
    2. Lord Koos

      They are around here as well, especially dangerous in the spring when they are shedding their skin. I had to kill one once and they do not go easily or quickly.

      Reply
    1. Carolinian

      While Musk is a whipping boy around here for his business practices it’s possible some of his technological innovations are the real deal. His rocket company, for example, seems to be quite successful.

      As for BMW, they have glitches too. Someone died in the paint shop of the local BMW plant a few months ago.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes, I thought the point about Tesla batteries using less cobalt was interesting. It’s possible that Musk and his Silicon Valley ilk can manufacture batteries without being able to manufacture cars (though I remember rework issues at the battery plant as well).

        Reply
  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Contextualising Chinese migration to Africa.

    Only a few centuries back, on what is now Taiwan lived only the ancestors of Hawaiians. Then came pirates from Japan, Fujian and Europe. Then a rump Ming dynasty and the Qing that encouraged mass migration of Han Chinese.

    Similarly, further back in time, the Yue or Viet people were assimilated or driven South to Vietnam. Or the Thai people, and other minorities we find in remote areas of southern China today.

    In the North, the story had been nomads from beyond the Great Wall driving Han Chinese to the sourh, so that the spoken Chinese of the Qin dynasdty, the first, not to be confused with the last, the Qing, can be found preserved in some words spoken by people in a town near Guangzhou, and the Chinese of the Jin dynasty (the one following the Wei dynasty, not the one preceding the Mongols) closely resembles the Minnan Fujianese (including the Amoy dialact and Taiwanese).

    Other times, China did not stay long. Ventures into Central Asia, first in the Han dynaty, then during the Tang, had produced no mass, petmanent Han Chinese presence, cultural or otherwise. Neither did the many voyages of Zheng He, including at least one trip to the Africa.

    That’s some background to the current Chinese to Africa migration story.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another California story is there are fewer voters to be counted (and uncounted), as net migration into the state has been negative.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        In the American West, there’s a reverse Okie migration. Meaning that people are leaving California and moving elsewhere. Arizona is a very popular destination.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’d imagine the later-day Joads are paying all cash for their Az digs, and maybe buying a 2nd or 3rd home to utilize as vacay rentals with the proceeds of their bungalow in the Golden State

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Oregon, too. I’ve hear some describe themselves as climate refugees, and that was years ago.

          But a lot is financial; even pricey Portland is cheaper than S.F. or Los Angeles.

          Reply
      2. Anonymous

        California is on track to be a two tier state of the ultra-wealthy, a small professional class, and masses of migrant poor. The de facto outcome of the liberal policies is to drive middle working citizens out of the state: we are not wanted, other than as chumps to pick up the bill.

        Reply
        1. Expat

          LOL. And you hope to find a Haven for the Middle Class somewhere else? Alabama? West Virginia? New York?
          You might try Canada or Europe which both have larger and happier middle classes and which both have far higher socio-economic mobility than in America. In case you are Trump supporter, let me explain that in simpler terms: in America you are born poor and stay poor; I Europe you can be born poor and then move up.
          “Liberal policies” indeed! 5th largest economy in the world. I guess those liberal polices suck or something.

          Reply
  17. allan

    University leader sought details on video that took down chief of staff [Albany Times-Union]

    The president of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse recently ordered her staff to find out who had produced a video that was posted on the school’s website and showed her former chief of staff fabricating information about his professional background.

    University President Danielle Laraque-Arena also sought information on who logged in to view the video when it was posted on the school’s website, as well as the list of people in attendance for the October 2017 lecture.

    Her former chief of staff, Sergio A. Garcia, resigned two weeks ago after the Times Union published a story that raised questions about multiple claims he made during the presentation, including being in the White House for seven days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. …

    Your healthcare dollars at work, Part 3724.
    Please no one tell CalPERS – they might get ideas.

    Reply
  18. Summer

    Re: Who is to blame for the state of the rules-based liberal order? WaPo.

    Ha! I couldn’t be bothered past the first paragraph.

    Reply
  19. Jim Haygood

    Today Ed Yardeni’s fundamental economic indicator weakened for the fourth week in a row. Chart:

    https://ibb.co/nmfO2o

    Weakness in the indicator was driven by a drop in Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, which crested seven weeks ago. Likewise, the four-week average of initial unemployment claims rose for a third week to a still-low 225,500.

    Raw industrial material prices increased for the third week running, offsetting some of the deterioration in the other two components.

    The New York Fed Staff Nowcast projects 3.3% GDP growth in the second quarter. By contrast the Atlanta Fed’s nowcast sees a wacko 4.5% growth rate. The Georgia peach eaters have been so wrong for so long — repeating their wild overestimations every quarter — that it’s no longer worth paying attention to them.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not too long ago, the worry was over oil.

      It seems, to defeat Russia and Iran, lower crude can be a weapon.

      Reply
  20. Polar Donkey

    42 Year old single mother in Memphis gets life imprisonment for being a drug look out.
    #memphisasf!&ck
    Renting car rims
    #memphisasf!&ck
    27% poverty rate
    #memphisasf!&ck
    Major logistics company shipping vast quantities of narcotics
    #memphisasf!&ck
    2007 home ownership rate 64%. 2018 home ownership rate 50%.
    #memphisasf!&ck
    $100+ million in tax breaks for a bass pro shop that no one buys anything at.
    #memphisasf!&ck
    Operation blue crush-using COIN as a law enforcement/anti-poverty policy for 15 years.
    #memphisasf!&ck
    Don’t let #memphisasf!&ck happen to your city.

    Reply
  21. bruce wilder

    ” A group of East African employees is asking retail giant Amazon to improve working conditions at an eastern Minnesota warehouse.”

    There are several layers of untold stories there.

    Are any commenters aware of the situation?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not aware of it, but it somehow prompted me to look up history of Indian South Africans and the history of Indian Fijians.

      They are there today because the British moved a lot of people, or enticed a lot of people to move, around the world in the 19th century.

      Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      By East African they mostly mean Somali although Minnesota also has quite a few Eritreans, Tigreans and Ethiopians. I suspect Somali because they have been ‘aggressive’ in not assimilating. Theirs is a refugee community that (like Miami Cubans) still thinks they’ll be able to go back. If they’re pushing this protest, it’s a protest that will not go away.

      The Amazon warehouse itself, of course, is a horrorshow. Documented inside temps well above 100°F plus the legendary Bezos productivity plans that require inhuman levels of constant movement, no sitting and no doing anything but your job. Plus drug testing so the traditional E African get-going-in-the-morning stimulant of choice (Khat) is forbidden.

      I’m not up to speed on the precise form of Islam practiced by Somalis, but I’m sure it’s radically incompatible with Jeff Bezos screw-the-workers style capitalism. And, like most desert peoples, Somalis may be tall but that doesn’t mean they choose to walk fast and Amazon’s stopwatch culture takes offense at that.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s interesting that Africans are leaving Africa while Chinese are migrating to that continent

        Reply
      2. bruce wilder

        Apparently, from the AP story, for religious reasons, some of the workers insist on wearing heavy clothing and refuse to hydrate — I am sure that goes over well with management, too. I am sure you right, khat would be out of bounds, but I wonder if the typical 6-panel screen would pick it up — is it chemically recognised as an amphetamine by these mechanically processed tests?

        I also wonder how they manage to get it that hot in the warehouse in Minnesota. An outside temp of a 100 degrees would be exceptional.

        We will have to watch for the Fox News version of this story.

        Reply
        1. blennylips

          An outside temp of a 100 degrees would beis exceptional.

          Within 43 days, Minneapolis went from a 26.1 inch all-time record April snowstorm to it’s earliest 100 on record and first since 2012.

          http://www.markvoganweather.com/2018/05/29/in-43-days-minneapolis-goes-from-record-april-snowstorm-to-earliest-100-degree-day/

          Remember, higher latitude regions are heating fastest.

          From (the one true)scotsman.com (last week):

          Scotland hotter than parts of Africa during sizzling Bank Holiday

          Reply
        2. Mark Gisleson

          MN (under neoliberal Gov. Dayton) is a world leader in detecting and punishing khat users (regulating Somalis would be a more accurate way of putting it). It’s a naturally blue state but Minnesota has a super heavy concentration of the three most neoliberal institutions this side of Wall Street: Healthcare, Health Insurance, Addiction Recovery. Which is why MN’s medical marijuana law is an absolute disaster and khat is not tolerated.

          Reply
  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: …it’s the ZIRP-and-wage-suppression-fueled price bubble that caused the acute shortage of affordable homes, not the other way around.

    In my town, the population has not risen all that much over the last 40 years but the number of homes has. At first this was probably due to changing ways of people living together, with fewer people inhabiting each home. Case in point: my old neighbor once lived in her home with her husband and 5 kids but by the time we moved in it was just her. We also know quite a few divorced couples where both stay in the area and each need a home now. To my mind there isn’t really a shortage of homes but that hasn’t stopped prices from skyrocketing. Just found out this morning that a small house very comparable to ours sold for 75-80% more than we bought ours for just 10 years ago. A check look at my paycheck tells me my salary has not gone up by an equivalent amount.

    But there is pressure to continue to build even though it has not resulted in lower prices. Small lots are being crammed with new houses by unscrupulous developers who know they can make a fast buck flipping property. Other are taking homes off the market for residents by using them as illegal hotels (aka Airbnb). More sit empty most of the year, having been bought up by out of staters looking for an investment and a place to spend a vacation for a couple weeks a year until they decide to cash in.

    Seems like they more they build in our town, the faster the prices go up despite there being a negligible increase in year round population.

    Thank for pointing out the real reason.

    Reply
    1. hemeantwell

      As NC has tracked, after the recession various scavenger funds bought up 1000s of foreclosed or otherwise unsellable homes. AFAIR some of them were being kept off the market to try to keep prices up. Is that still going on and, if so, is that contributing to the problem?

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        I have a friend a couple towns over who was going through a divorce and didn’t pay his mortgage for a few years and the bank never foreclosed. My guess is that it was for the reasons you stated above – a little ‘extend and pretend’.

        Funny thing is he is a lawyer who has worked in foreclosures in the past. Not sure if the bank knew that or not. Haven’t talked to him in a couple years though so the situation may have changed.

        Reply
    1. zagonostra

      How do you convince people to stop voting for either of the two corrupt corporate Parties that have mis-manged the political economy for the past 50 years, that have presided over the demise of the middle class, indebted a whole generation of young people to debt peonage for simply trying to get an education, made affordable healthcare impossible, conduct endless wars, and on and on…

      Can’t they see that nothing will improve/change, that all their promises and statements are lies and that by voting for them they legitimize their corruption? I don’t understand…are they all these voters mindless proles?

      Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        Constantly remind people the super plurality is already there – not voting for either. That if they are D or R, they are the minority, rightly so. They should have no claim to power, quite the opposite, be considered illegitimate.

        Reply
    2. DonCoyote

      TINA/Lesser of Two Evils

      (From 2012, no less) Would you still vote for Obama if he promises to build fewer concentration camps than Romney? “The answer is an unequivocal, absolute yes.”

      And there you have it. You’ve essentially played the Hitler Card on yourself (concentration camps OMG!) and still think you’ve “won” (“unequivocal, absolute”), because “Lesser of Two Evils” (perhaps the third, or zero-th, law of neoliberalism). Vote Obama, because Eight is Less Than Ten (about 28:00 ff).

      Now discuss whether “lesser of two evils” is either a variant of the existing laws (with regards to neoliberal concentration camps, progressives go first, so then it is rule #2; OTOH someone is going to make a lot of money building and staffing these camps, so then rule #1), or just a footnote.

      #FARS (FixARottenSystem)

      Reply
  23. Jean

    “California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said he was “gravely concerned” and asked the county registrar to provide him with a detailed report on the cause of the debacle..”

    The same Alex Padilla that was on the Hillary Clinton for President Committee while he was Secretary of State and who made sure that hundreds of thousands of potential Bernie voters were disenfranchised?

    See “Uncounted” on Youtube for interviews with L.A. County precinct workers who outline this fraud that led to Trump’s election.

    Reply
  24. s.n.

    “National security” cited as reason Al Jazeera nixed Israel lobby film
    https://electronicintifada.net/content/national-security-cited-reason-al-jazeera-nixed-israel-lobby-film/24566

    …The Israel lobby groups reported on in the film could be expected to take legal action against Al Jazeera if it is broadcast. However, such threats alone would be unlikely to deter Al Jazeera from broadcasting the film… the high-level individual in Doha’s claim that the film is being censored as “a matter of national security” ties the affair to even more serious threats to Qatar and bolsters the conclusion that the censorship is being ordered at the highest level of the state.
    A year ago, with the support of US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a transport and economic blockade on the country….
    The Saudis and Israel accused Qatar of funding “terrorism,” and have taken measures to restrict Al Jazeera or demanded it be shut down altogether over what they perceive as the channel’s anti-Israel and anti-Saudi-monarchy biases. The blockade and the diplomatic assault sparked existential fears in Qatar that Saudi-led forces could go as far as to invade and install a more pliant regime in Doha.

    Reply
  25. zagonostra

    How do you convince people to stop voting for either of the two corrupt corporate Parties that have mis-manged the political economy for the past 50 years, that have presided over the demise of the middle class, indebted a whole generation of young people to debt peonage for simply trying to get an education, made affordable healthcare impossible, conduct endless wars, and on and on…

    Can’t they see that nothing will improve/change, that all their promises and statements are lies and that by voting for them they legitimize their corruption? I don’t understand…are they all these voters mindless proles?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not just the two parties.

      And not even progressives can do much about the demise of the middle class and perhaps endless wars, unless we can show that it’s possible to prevent and reverse that demise while still being the issuer of the global reserve currency.

      Perhaps it’s possible, but we first need to discuss that, and then show whether that is possible.

      I’m not sure we are talking about that yet

      I know European countries and say Japan are doing better when it comes to the Middle Class, but they run trade surpluses.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      Following an article I saw years ago, I think the biggest factor sustaining the Two Party System is blind habit. I don’t know if you had civics in school, but I was certainly taught that it was one of the secrets of the US’s success. And from here, multi-party democracies like France or Italy look very unstable – although they seem to get by as well as we do.

      The chief LEGAL factor is plurality (“first-past-the-post”) voting, which creates the “spoiler” effect. People who think about politics seem to actually worry about it. And the “major” parties are very attached to it, so they think it helps suppress the competition. Others are barriers to ballot access. And the other most important factor is a probably-conscious effort by the MSM to pretend other options don’t exist, which of course reinforces the habitual mindset.

      Frankly, I think it will take a crisis of some sort to break all that down. The ballot access barriers would be insignificant if people were mad enough, as would the spoiler effect. “Affiliation” (basically, the percentage of people who will admit to a pollster that they belong to one party or the other) has fallen drastically, so people evidently are getting antsier.

      Do we hear those jungle drums off in the distance? (An old movie reference that may be lost on young people; it means “the natives are restless.”)

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        Blind habit is part of it, as is the voting legal structure/process, But I remember that just about every magazine and newspaper including the Rolling Stones, New Yorker, The Nation, all the major MSM newspapers and the vast, vast majority of media outlets endorsing HRC and resigning themselves to a rotten and evil system. They bear responsibility as well and will never be trusted in the same way again…

        I regretfully am coming to the same conclusion as you, that a “crisis of some sort” has to occur in order to dislodge diseased fingers holding on to political power.

        The drums beating are those of the oligarchs and their minions, they’ve managed to silence the primal sound of Johnny Weissmuller howl reverberating through the jungle, Jane is screwed and will be stewed along with the rest of us…

        Reply
      2. Expat

        Voters vote what Daddy voted. They vote their pockets whether they know the truth or not. They vote single issues to the exclusion of anything else. Civics has nothing to do with it.
        The two major parties control everything. The pendulum swings from center to moderate right with occasional bursts of liberal or far-right legislation. Neither party is willing to give up anything and they control the money. Vested interests rule roost. Elected officials are overwhelmingly rich and get richer in office and after leaving office. And leaving office, at least the Senate or House, requires death or scandal usually (“getting caught with a dead girl or a live boy” though given the Trumpian movement, I suspect that even getting caught with a dead boy would not exclude a Trumpian Senator).

        Multi-party democracy is no more unstable that the illusion of democracy in the US. The government continues to function and the state continues to exist. Look at Belgium. They have not formed an official government in years and they are muddling through. In Italy and France, multi-party democracy really just means the same old corrupt bastards with a fresh paint job. It reminds me of “Life of Brian”. Judean Liberation Front. Liberation Front of Judea. Front for a Free Judea, etc. In France it’s Les Républicains, La République en Marche, UMP, UDF, They all went to the same few schools, all gorge themselves at the same trough, and all serve themselves rather than the nation. But, as I said, it works just as well as the US system but gives a greater illusion of change and voter importance.

        Reply
  26. Ray Phenicie

    Meetup report
    As I was considering driving in from SE Michigan to Chicago, I looked up meeting locations. Seems downtown Chicago is a bit upscale when it comes to that venue. I’m not familiar with the area but Google maps shows three so far; as they all have web pages maybe people could chime in on what looks to be the best possibility.

    312 Chicago 136 N LaSalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60602-probably too swanky-menu has some hint of over the top prices.
    The Gage -24 South Michigan Avenue | looks a bit more reasonable.
    Lloyd’s Chicago is located at 1 S. Wacker This looks real good.

    Also might be helpful from the host’s perspective to know what people planned to partake of-just drinks?, appetizers? full course meals?

    I’ll add more discoveries later in the day -check back after 7 pm

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      And, to all of you Chicago meeter-uppers, I extend this invitation:

      Come to Tucson and visit with us. We’re taking a summer break, but we’ll be back on the meetup track this fall.

      Reply
    2. Ray Phenicie

      Just found this -looks reasonable on price angle.
      Exchequer Restaurant & Pub
      226 S. Wabash Avenue
      Thing is they want room reservation with drink & meal package
      Again: waiting for comments on what people are looking for.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What people planned to partake of-just drinks?, appetizers? full course meals?

      My experience at large meetups (50+, as this one is) is that people tend to mill about with drinks in their hands. The smaller ones tend to be sit-down with meals.

      So, subject to correction by Yves, my view is figure “just drinks.”

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in Tucson, we fall into the sit-down with meals category.

        But, if we were to get more than 50 people (hey, a slender Arizonan can always dream), I think we’d get a lot of standup drinkers. And if we had drinkers doing standup, so much the better!

        Reply
  27. Susan the other

    Bridging the Gap Between Human and Animal Communication. London Royal Society-B. This is a very interesting abstract of what language really is and how it started and how it continues. It is an enormous topic. They reduce spoken language to two aspects: 1. a rich acoustic portfolio (? commonly known as a rich nuanced vocabulary) and 2. the basic predisposition to combine linguistic units into more complex acoustic structures. The research indicates language is ubiquitous and communication relies on articulation in the form of turn-taking across all tested species. I wish they had or hope they will someday set up parallel research into plant chemical communication. The finding that all languages are creative, flexible and expressive does not surprise me. I wish they had also pointed out that language is conservative as well – words are almost as enduring as DNA in human language. And fittingly the research into DNA has recently discovered how flexible DNA is/can be without doing harm to the genome. Thanks for this post.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I wish they had or hope they will someday set up parallel research into plant chemical communication.

      I should have thought of that. That’s an excellent question.

      Reply
  28. Olga

    The Russian Gordian Knot begins to unravel Asia Times – not sure who the author (Mr. Bailey) is – but the article (or the headline) makes no sense whatsoever.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I read it as basic Borg or Blob boilerplate. It rang all the usual neo-liberal bells and tweeted all the usual neo-liberal whistles. He asserts that Russia and Iran will fall out and Russia draw closer to Israel. That’s one neo-liberal dream. Secondly, he denigrates Irans’ strategy in the Middle East in various ways. Essentially, he claims that Israel deserves to own the Middle East. Neo-liberal dream number two. Thirdly, he claims to see an existential crisis in the ruling elites of Iran. I’m not too sure of that, but I don’t know enough about it to opine knowingly. Still, regime change in Teheran is neo-liberal dream number three.The Mr. Bailsy who wrote this has a CV at the bottom that says that he is a Professor at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for an Israeli newspaper. Neither fact leads me to place too much trust in his objectivity.
      I am willing to be corrected, but proof first, opinion later.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        But the article makes so many good points! For example, Iran “rampaging” around the middle east! Remember when Iran seized all that territory and ethnically cleansed it to give to xenophobic fundamentalist settlers? Or when they declined to sign the non-proliferation treaty and built a nuclear arsenal? How about that time they attacked Afghanistan… and Iraq…. and Libya uprovoked and turned them into deadly hell-holes? Remember the times when they supplied arms to a bunch of homicidal fanatics who liked to behead people? Or the time they attacked Yemen causing the deaths of thousands and setting up the likely death by disease and malnutrition of hundreds of thousands more? How about the time they attacked a U.S. Navy ship and caused around 200 casualties? Or the time they overthrew an elected government at the behest of oil companies and installed a dictator?

        Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    Just checking up on the Portland meetup: was the Kennedy School (McMenamins) suggestion satisfactory? It made sense to me, but it’s up to Yves. I could make more inquiries if it isn’t taken care of.

    That was the 18th, right?

    Reply
  30. paul

    The madness of king boris and his courtiers

    A man whose time in various offices has created little(nothing) but media fodder sorts out this ‘brexit thing’ over a nice dinner and drinks in around an hour, sorting out north korea, russia and china along the way.

    Jesus,mary and joseph, people sort of vote for these creatures.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, I think that’s a fine idea. I would think we’d be lucky to have 6 people.

      Noon? 1 PM? I need to be at the airport at around 4:45 PM, so I’m not in a rush.

      Got a hotel recommendation? Does not need to be fancy but needs to have room service OR be a short walk from somewhere not bad for dins the night before.

      Reply
      1. Beining Steve

        Yves,
        Noon sounds wonderful. Saint Brendan’s Inn is about 8 blocks away and has food. Also on the Fox River Trail. I would be driving up from Appleton, so transportation would not be an issue for you on Sunday.
        Safe travels!

        Reply
  31. ChrisPacific

    Re: Marshmallow test debunked

    I can recall one of the NC regulars (maybe Cathy O’Neil) making this argument a while back: poorer kids are less likely to wait, because adults can’t always be trusted to keep promises. Interesting to see experimental confirmation of this.

    Reply
    1. Mel

      “Sorry, kid, they cut our program funding; the experiment’s off. You can go home now. We’ll need that marshmallow back.”
      “I already licked it.”
      “Ewww.”

      Reply
    2. HotFlash

      I remember reading of a check on the marshmallow test in which the researchers theorized the same. To test it, they tried doing the one candy bar now, or two later spiel on the upper class kids, most of whom waited for the second bar. When the second bar was due, the researchers apologized, so sorry, we ran out of candy bars, no second for anyone. When they staged the same test some time later, the percentage that just ate the one bar was much higher. No idea where this test was done, but it was a long time back. I think it may have been in the ’60’s, 70’s would be the latest.

      Reply
  32. ewmayer

    Re. Wired UK’s “The odd reality of life under China’s all-seeing credit score system”, talk about trying really hard to soft-pedal this stuff (which the UK and fellow 5-Eyes nations are busily working on themselves, just with less obviously heavy-handed state involvement) – boldfacing of (mis)leading wording is mine:

    The system could go much further in the future. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile payments in China, frequent debtors could eventually be barred from attempting to “buy breakfast, take a bus and look for jobs,” one Chinese academic told China Daily.

    “Could”? Pull the other one, mate! The author follows the last part of a snip with a scary story of why-this-is-totally-justified, about some lady who got plastic surgery to dodge a big pile of debt, which further conveys the unstated implication of the need to tie this stuff in with DNA and retinal-scan databases. Similarly, the author denies that the social-credit system will be used to quash dissent, “since the government already has lots of tools to do that” or some such nonsense. If you think it’s only going to be social deplorables like “frequent debtors” who will be barred from any legal participation in society, you are a fool or a liar.

    Reply
  33. JB

    Live in Portland, but will be visiting the Chicago area on July 6th. The Cubs are at Wrigley and Radiohead is at the United Center that day so the city should be festive. I’m trying to think of a large beer garden that won’t be slammed on a Friday afternoon and I’m having trouble. We may need to go off the beaten path a bit, or find a hotel.

    Reply
    1. Eudora Welty

      Re: the Seattle meet up. This past weekend was the first of several “gridlock times” in the region over the summer (I-5 lane closures). I monitored it, & it seems tempers didn’t boil over (more than usual). Traffic will probably be normal-ish while Yves is here, and she can likely consider many options around the city (not solely SeaTac).

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      The other option is to repeat what we did last year, and take over a portion of what was a very very large lounge area at the Marriott Residences. But I could use someone to go have a look and make sure they haven’t realized the space is bigger than they need and partitioned it.

      Reply
  34. The Rev Kev

    “Officials demand answers after more than 118,000 people were left off L.A. County voter rosters ”

    Could this have been a practice session for the 2018 mid-terms? It worked so well in New York after all.

    Reply
  35. HarrisonBergeron

    The thing about the loop in Chicago is that it pretty much shuts down around 7 or 9PM and all the interesting and large enough spaces are in the neighborhoods. Miller’s Pub near Exchequer Might work. Plymouth Bar is near that area if we’re looking east loop. Around the holidays West and South Loop are likely going to be more busy. Outside of River North or Wrigleyville there aren’t a ton of bars that fit both the size requirement and the style desired. Fado might work. Larry’s in Uptown has sufficient space but is distant to downtown. The Emporium in Logan Square would work but the vibe might not be ideal. I work in the industry and have a few contacts who might be able to help. Let me know.

    Reply

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