Links 6/9/18

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Bees Grasp a Math Concept That Took Modern Humans a Long Time to Understand Inverse (David L)

Florida alligator attack: Dog-walker feared dead BBC

The Dying Great Barrier Reef Could Be Rescued by “Coral IVF,” Say Scientists Inverse (David L)

Bizarre Events Are Unfolding at Yellowstone National Park ThePointsGuy (David L)

Ecuador To Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies White Wolf (furzy)

CAN THIS STATE FINALLY PUT A PRICE ON CARBON? Wired. Note that the Financial Times advocated taxing carbon in 2007.

‘Shut the lights off, say no more’: Nursery rhyme prepares kindergartners for lockdowns Washington Post

Smart Phones Make Dumb People Left Hook (furzy)

Windowless planes might soon become reality TheNextWeb. Kevin W: “This sounds like the time someone tried to have airlines have planes where the seats all faced to the rear of the plane because of safety reasons.”

Being obese but ‘metabolically healthy’ increases women’s risk of heart disease, study suggests MinnPost (Chuck L). This seems intuitively obvious, since more body mass means more load on your heart. But I’d rather see all factor death rates rather than look at certain ailments in isolation. Being heavier up to a point is longevity-positive, perhaps because if you get a serious ailment, it’s hard to get enough calories in your system. And I have to say, my mother, who was a bit chunky, took some falls where if she hadn’t been well padded in her hips, she might have broken one.

You’re eating microplastics in ways you don’t even realise The Conversation (David L)

As Lyme goes global, a new book sees it as ‘first epidemic of climate change’ MinnPost (Chuck L)


What it means to be Taiwanese Asia Times

North Korea

China may send fighter jet escort for Kim Jong-un when he flies to Singapore to meet Trump South China Morning Post


Michel Barnier rejects UK’s Irish border ‘backstop’ proposal Financial Times

EU Brexit chief rejects plan for Northern Ireland backstop to apply to whole UK Independent (Kevin W)

Nicola Sturgeon ‘can’t remember’ independent Scotland start-up costs The Scotsman

Sánchez Government Lifts Financial Controls On Catalonia Spain Report (Chuck L)

Leftist Debunks John Oliver’s Venezuela Episode YouTube. UserFriendly: “​This is really quite a great takedown.​”

New Cold War

Soft Power Irrussianality (Chuck L)

President Trump Calls for Reinstatement of Russia to G-7 C-SPAN (Kevin W)


Israeli troops open fire on Gaza protesters as Middle East marks anti-Israel Al-Quds Day DW

UAE buying Jerusalem properties on behalf of Israel Middle East Monitor (UserFriendly)

Iraqi Kurds face uncertain future after election turmoil Asia Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Additional Data About Users’ Friends Wall Street Journal (Kevin W). More confirmation that Facebook is utterly untrustworthy.

Google’s free wifi at railway stations is a way of life for 8 million Indians Quartz (furzy)

Trump Transition

Media Treat Trump Administration’s Partisan Fear-Mongering as Objective ‘Government’ Report FAIR (UserFriendly)

Trump Ex-Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Faces New Charges Wall Street Journal

Read the full tweetstorm:

Exclusive: Nearly 1,800 families separated at U.S.-Mexico border in 17 months through February Reuters

Oversight panel may hold hearing on DOJ reporter surveillance The Hill

UserFriendly: “Just shoot me”:

Health Care

Despite Medicare for All Support ‘Spreading Like Wildfire,’ Pelosi Shrugs, Says Dems Will ‘Evaluate’… If They Win Common Dreams (UserFriendy). As noted yesterday….

Democrats in Disarray. Lambert does point out that the Dems appear to have successfully consolidated around mainstream candidates. However, the generational trend is against them….so can the rebels keep the candle lit long enough?

DNC rules change eyes Bernie Sanders Yahoo

Berned out Economist (UserFriendly)

Breaking Away From the Democrats Counterpunch (ChiGal)

Julián Castro Is Headed to Iowa, but He Thinks the Path to the White House Runs Through the Southwest Intercept (UserFriendly)

David Sirota’s wife:

MSNBC’s Joy Reid accused of threatening ‘physical violence’ by former radio co-host The Hill. UserFriendly: “​How does she still have a job?​” Moi: She must have the 5×7 glossies on someone.

Fake News

Skepticism Beats Snopes as an Antidote to Fake News Amar Bhide, Wall Street Journal

Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host? UnDark (Dr. Kevin)

TransCanada Pipeline Explodes in West Virginia EcoWatch

Saving The Brooklyn Botanic Garden MTOPP. Furzy: “​From high rises blocking the sun….​”

Class Warfare

Warren Says Democrats Lack Guts to Take on ‘Billionaire Class’ Roll Call. UserFriendly: “​In other painfully obvious news.​…”

What can be done about Minnesota’s rising homelessness rates? Minnesota Public Radio News

The rise in child poverty reveals racial inequality, more than a failed War on Poverty Economic Policy Institute

The Market Police Boston Review. Important. UserFriendly: “Nailing neoliberalism to the wall.​”

No, It’s Not a Gig Economy Jacobin

Senator Makes Amtrak Hire Ticket Agents Because 30 Percent of His State Lacks Internet Slashdot

‘Jaw-Dropping’ Report Reveals Rampant Wage Theft Among Top US Corporations Common Dreams (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Karl W):

And from Tracie H: “A Harbor Cat, if there is such a thing. At San Pedro Harbor (Los Angeles County, California).”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. hemeantwell

      Thanks for that very effective dismantling of Oliver. I had no idea he was so slimy.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Too bad the takedown will only reach a tiny fraction of the minds that the Oliveriginal impacted.

      2. hemeantwell

        If nothing else, go to around 26 mins where he attacks Oliver’s map of US interventions in Latin America. His erasures are simply outrageous, unforgivable.

        1. Tvc15

          The propaganda is everywhere and in this case cleverly delivered by a “progressive” comedian. I’m glad NC provided this link. Turn off your television and they can’t deliver your regularly scheduled programming!

      3. Carolinian

        The diff between Oliver and his former employer Jon Stewart is that Stewart was just using the news to make jokes whereas Oliver thinks his jokes should make news and have something to do with actual journalism (the reality being he is just reporting things he read in the NYT). This has gained him some success in the very limited venue of an HBO comedy show. However some of us think he has gone way downhill from his days as a Daily Show second banana.

      4. Pookah Harvey

        Although I enjoy much of what Oliver does, the piece on Venezuela reminds me of the hit job he did on Jill Stein before the election. Pretty much the same kind of misinformation.
        There must be a price to be paid to stay on the air..

      5. Susan the other

        My sentiments too. John Oliver is sickening. I happen to believe everything that Empire Files has meticulously documented. And I’m still almost shocked that none of this ever crosses the lips of our talking heads. It’s disgusting.

      6. m

        John Oliver, like NPR, is getting hard to stomach. When they take away the “Russian” youtube trolls what will I do?

      7. oh

        Yup. The guy has been bought and paid for and the people who watch his slimy show will laugh at his senseless jokes.
        I find that there’s so much bashing of Maduro and the socialist government in Venuzuela. The propaganda is overwhelming and relentless.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Really important to put all that information together in one spot and to disembowel the godawful propaganda piece-by-piece.

      Oliver used to do some decent stuff, but the crap-to-good stuff ratio has really skewed way too far lately.

      One wonders if the producers started to lean on him and his staff more over the last few years as he’s gotten popular. MIC/Intel world might see this as a good way to infect the brain of millenials who don’t bother with cable news.

      1. hemeantwell

        Really important to put all that information together in one spot and to disembowel the godawful propaganda piece-by-piece.

        Yes, I think the critic did a great job. The vid’s technically simple and clean, and I guess the format is very similar what I think of as having been developed back when on the Daily Show, though here used more productively. Are there many people on the left doing this sort of thing? Yves ought to consider it, maybe doing a piece on the Brexit mess.

        1. roxy

          Oliver was funny during the referendum for Scotland leaving the UK, way back in 2014:

          “They could lose the pound. And that’s not nothing. Because if they do, they’d even have to join the currently unstable euro or revert to Scotland’s old currency, which I believe was sheep and threats,” Oliver said, switching to a thick Scottish accent. “I’ll give ya three sheep for it and a punch in the face!”

          Once the “she’s inevitable” campaign got rolling he, along with many other “comedians”, switched from humor to sycophancy.

          1. J Sterling

            You can’t quite “lose the pound,” in the sense of not using it. You just lose any say on the policy the sovereign issuers of the pound adopt.

            That’s what happened when the Irish gained independence from the Brits. They “kept the pound” by pegging their pound to the British pound, to show international markets they were not a joke country. But it hurt so much being tied to a currency that wasn’t theirs, that they quit, and a floating currency was much better for them.

            Had the Scots gone for independence, the ability to have their own floating currency would have been a benefit of independence. Does it seem only to me that the leaders of countries have to be forced to act independently by their people? Their instinct seems to be to give up independence.

    3. George Lane

      Venezuela is a topic that, amongst first-world leftists, is riddled with distortions and misunderstandings. Even the most progressive of Westerners will swallow up the propaganda with gusto. Many thanks to Mike Prysner for putting this together.

  1. Clive

    Re: “Warren Says Democrats Lack Guts to Take on ‘Billionaire Class’”

    While I applaud the sentiment, “guts” — or an apparent lack thereof — covers a multitude of sins. Like saying “they” (as in “who is they?”), what are these “guts” being referred to by Warren? Is Warren saying there’s insufficient offal in the Democratic Party? Probably not. So what’s, then, in short supply?

    1. Steve H.

      The key word for me is ‘says’. But I’m currently oversensitized by a local muckety who thinks words are a sufficient repayment for dumping her kid, not showing up on time to pick kid up, and not even considering a donation to struggling non-profit while paying for multiple different kinds of private lessons. *grumble*

      What are these “guts”? I saw another article with ‘Trump’ and ‘stupid’ in the headline (see ‘virtue-signalling’ by credentialed class). A godson who grew up in Owen County told me that being ‘smart’ is not rewarded in the rurals. The clearest link I’ve found to research is a factor in the World Values Survey, a dimension of survival vs self-expression. In areas with survival as a priority, toughness is valued over smart.

      4/10 Americans not able to come up with $400. Rising deaths from despair. Median farm income -$1.6k. Political red/blue split is rural/urban on a county-by-county basis. Like the traditional v secular dimension, America averages to the middle from splits to the extreme.

      If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough
      When you get knocked down, you gotta get back up
      I ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer
      But I know enough to know
      If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough

      I lit my brain with rotgut whisky
      Till my pain was chicken fried
      I’ve had dudes with badges frisk me
      Teach me how to swallow pride

      I took advice no fool would take
      I got some habits I can’t shake
      I ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer
      But I know enough to know
      If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough

      If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough!
      When you get knocked down, you gotta get back up
      That’s the way it is in life and love
      If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough

      >> Roger Alan Wade

    2. Scott

      Doesn’t saying “guts” imply that Democrats want to take on the Billionaire Class, but are afraid of the political retribution? That’s not the problem, the problem is that most of the Democrats want to advance the interest of that class. They don’t want to stand up to the big banks, corporations, donors, and post-congress employers.

      1. hamstak

        It might be less that “the Democrats want to advance the interests of that class” than that their own self-interests are best served by promoting the interests of that class. They are willing, and (indirectly) well-compensated servants.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Right, not taking on the billionaires has nothing to do with bravery or the lack thereof; it has to do with the loyalties and self interests of neoliberal Democrats which are to protect and serve the billionaires. On the other hand, most likely Warren is simply packaging her message in the coin of the realm; the perpetual wuss machine. It’s disappointing she isn’t more direct (like Sanders most of the time), but nevertheless, it’s likely she is perfectly aware that lack of “guts” is way over simplified if not flat out beside the point as an explanation.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          At least she felt like something had to be said. At least she felt she might gain more than she would lose by implying that the billionaire class should be taken on and that Democrats should be the ones to take it on.

          That is a piece of metanews right there, a meta-straw in the meta-wind.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Agreed. And (FWIW) after reading the article, it appears the “guts” phrase comes from Sanders and Warren only said “yes” when asked if she agreed.

            Her own words were,

            “Until we have all of the Democrats who are willing to take on the billionaire class, until we have all of the Democrats who are willing to fight for the American people and not for a handful of billionaires and giant corporations, then it’s going to stay an uphill fight,” she said on The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan’s “Deconstructed” podcast released Friday.

            I don’t quibble with Clive’s assessment of the term, but the attribution may have been hasty (and if so, a real rarity for Clive – File under: Yea! he’s human after all :-) .).

            1. Clive

              I was very conflicted in criticising Warren. I referred to her comments as sentiments, which I also file as having her heart in the right place.

              The problem I had was that Warren could have said “yes, we lack the guts to have a policy of universal healthcare free at the point of delivery” or “yes, we lack the guts to make an election promise to raise the minimum wage to $15” (or a lot of other specifics which could have been cited).

              Instead, Warren agreed that a problem is one of an insufficiency in some intangible quality, the rectification of which can never be proved and thus no politically leading figure can be held accountable for it.

              And reading her verbatim quote above, which I’m very grateful of being added here, it is redolent of that age-old problem for the left since the mid 1970’s — fighting, but, apparently, never being able to actually win. Certainly not winning on economic equality, anyway.

              I don’t think though that the Warren baby should be thrown out with the lukewarm policy pledges bath water. I’m in the same boat (and a competition with myself for the number of metaphors which can be added to one paragraph) with Labour’s leader Corbyn here. Not a perfect response to our predicaments by any stretch of the imagination. But, perhaps like Warren, the best of a bad-to-mediocre lot.

              1. Brooklin Bridge

                You are fair minded almost to a fault (if that’s possible) – perhaps careful with your assessments fits better.

                I seem to have no such burden. When Warren “capitulated” to Hillary, (along with Sanders) I was devastated for weeks; completely incapable of looking at it objectively. It was the degree that killed me – the apparent sincerity, the total absence of qualifications – made unbearably painful by all the dirty tactics of the DNC and camp Hillary. Even Warren’s reticence to endorse Sanders, which was painstakingly explained on this site many times, I just couldn’t handle.

                Since then, my attempts at being fair minded are somewhat in the category of, fake it until you make it, but then, even that is an improvement for me, vis-à-vis Warren (and oddly, I may be “making it”). All that said, I think your last paragraph, “I don’t think though that the Warren baby…”, is absolutely spot on.

  2. Ignacio

    RE: Can This State Finally Put a Price on Carbon?

    I applaud the initiative. Bravo for fellow washingtonians

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the tax on carbon can get added to the price of things involving carbon such that the price of the carbon tax keeps following the good and/or service all the way downstream down to the very last end-of-the-line buyer-user, then it will be a source of pressure for personal conservation lifestyling.

      It will also be a pressure field slowly driving makers of goods and doers of services to make more carbon-efficient/conserving alternatives or possibilities available.

      ” Take the commuter train and conserve energy!” Well . . . you can’t take the train if there’s no train to take. And there won’t be any train till gas is so expensive that a million or more cardrivers in every relevant jurisdiction demand the creation of commuter trains and accept paying the taxes needed to build and run the commuter trains. That is an example of how tax-price pressure at the social level can force all kinds of conservation lifestyling at the personal level. If gas could be forced up to $10.00 per gallon, all kinds of people would start taking the train. They would start demanding that there be a train to take.

  3. SimonGirty

    Leach Xpress welded before Atlantic Coast Pipeline; trying various consumables and parameters, using old Berkeley Cage welders, they changed repair weld procedures, as transverse cracking was encountered. The mill was experimenting with use of AC welding at this time.

    1. a different chris

      >Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO said at the line opening, “This is truly a best-in-class pipeline

      You know, I’m not disagreeing with him. This is the best we can do. Which means we need to do something else.

      1. SimonGirty

        Ancient mills, in new hands, basically experimenting with ill-considered, untested amalgams of welding parameters, consumables, speed… constantly revising procedures based upon NDE rejects and lab results with exceedingly high personnel turn-over rates (mills, ROW, 3rd party auditors & gas transmission company engineers), such that older, empirically knowageable employees dare not question what’s going on out of desperation… too bad David Brock & K Street managed to kill off all the lefty blog aggregators, so that there’s no place to blow a whistle anymore? Heck, was that a single sentence?

          1. SimonGirty

            I was looking for any excuse to change my recorded email address, without arising undo suspicion?

                1. ambrit

                  Steel yourself for this one. Maybe
                  Make a virtue out of necessity.

  4. Earl

    I logged on a little after 8:00 a.m. EST to read the morning links. They were not listed. I then noticed a statement at the top of my phone’s browser from Google bragging that it had “optimized” this site. Evil Evil Evil.

  5. JTMcPhee

    “Leftist debunks John Oliver:” Now how about a leftist to debunk the recurring episodes on Venezuela, public pensions, “bankrupt Social Security,” and returning to the gold standard that air here so regularly?

    Repeat a Big Subtle Fabrication often enough…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Since there is no Leftist here to do any of that debunking, it is up to us lay members of the commenting audience to do what amateur debunking we can.

      Whenever the cheap tawdry lie that Social Security is going Bankrupt comes up because the Trust Fund won’t exist if it goes to pay back benefits to the people who pre-payed double FICA taxes into it ever since 1983, I will note that the Trust Fund was sold with exactly that purpose in mind . . . to pay out the last Trust Fund Surplus Dollar just as the Last Baby Boomer died.

      And yes, I know that Greenspan secretly intended that none of the money EVER be paid back . . . that ALL of the money be social-class embezzled into Tax Cuts for the Upper Class. But just because that was Greenspan’s secret plan doesn’t mean we have to honor Greenspan’s secret intention. Greenspan is a man of zero honor and we don’t have to Honor the wishes of a man without honor.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Tech triumphalism — the WSJ celebrates the rise and rise of the Tech Lords, just as it was doing in the heedless days of 1999 when punters partied on into the purple dawn:

    Tech is back. The global technology giants at the center of a steep selloff in stocks this spring are climbing to new highs. The Nasdaq Composite is hitting new highs and the MSCI World Information Technology sector is up 9.1% this quarter—currently outperforming the wider MSCI World Index by the largest margin since the dot-com era.

    Technology stocks contributed 75% of the S&P 500’s return in May and now represent 26% of the index. Just 3.6% of analysts hold a “sell” rating on the S&P 500 tech sector, around the lowest since 2013.

    Recent gains by Alibaba and Tencent Holdings, China’s two largest tech companies, have exceeded some U.S. rivals. Both now have market capitalizations above $500 billion, placing them among the world’s top ten most valuable companies.

    An accompanying chart shows that compared to the 26% tech weighting in the US, tech constitutes a massive 41% of MSCI’s China index … but only 5% of MSCI Europe.

    When only 3.6% of Wall Street’s white-cane wielding, dark-sunglassed analysts have a sell rating on tech, calamity lurks not far down the road. Tech stocks are spinning money, but their astronomical prices discount these fat years carrying on forever. It won’t happen — and you can take that to the bank (if the bank survives).

    1. JTMcPhee

      “World’s top ten most valuable companies.” Of course only for some definition of value, one that excludes externalities and such fripperies…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Senator Current Bubble, I knew all the techs in 1999 and 2000. I was there. And you’re no tech bubble yet.”

  7. JTMcPhee

    “The drive to experience womb fulfillment is strong in this one.”

    “Uncontrolled experiment,” available to the 10 or 5 or 1%. Because “We can do it,” the tech answer to every cavil and “neoLuddite reservation,” coupled with “we can make a buck off this.”

    Yaas, one must respect the sanctity of the desire of every woman who desperately wants to grow a fetus in her body to do so, right alongside that other choice, because we all want Freedom, and the world does not already have enough little humans being partum’ed every day. And who knows? Maybe such a human, spawned from the genetic mingling of three humans (which to catch the sympathy and understanding of us all, must be referred to as “parents,” ignoring the large number of ancillary techs who catch, manipulate and deliver the zygote to the uterine wall), instead of the usual duo, might have Exceptional Characteristics? Or at least novel expressions, potentially lethal or debilitating of course, of the potentials inherent in that marvelous compounding of atoms known as “DNA” and its related heritable code…

    Another modality of bio-hacking, where “we,” or some set of self-appointed biochemist subset of “us humans,” determines to “take control (SIC)” of the biological processes.

    What could possibly go wrong? One little corner of it: Lots, of course, but who cares? We are approaching a world of no limits, at the same speed maybe as we are approaching a singularity?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was thinking about that story about the child with 3 parents’ DNA and why such a technique would be developed and have come up with one theory. OK, so you have the DNA for the mother and the father, right? But in that cocktail there might be genes for male baldness, heart disease, mental instability, etc. Suppose in the future that a person has been identified that has nearly none of these problems present. Now could it be at all possible that you could use this ‘perfect’ DNA as a base or template for a baby and then just introduce enough DNA from the parents “for such crucial stuff as your eyes color, your hair, your character and all [the] other important stuff”? I have no idea if this could be at all viable one day but such a theory might explain a few things.

      1. JTMcPhee

        That’s exactly where the “designer baby eugenics” activities are headed.

        “We can do it, so damn the consequences and get the billing right. Because it is so technically cool, and the Elites will reward us well for our new competences! Maybe they will pay us to engineer a virus that selectively kills off all the Useless Eaters, to maximize their looting opportunities and pleasure-center enjoyment of what is left of the planet (and keep a secret vaccine for our delicate technical selves, so the SOBs won’t kill us off too as our expertise gets out of date…)” What can be thought of (mostly) can be done — like the plot in “Rainbow Six,” that “techno-thriller” by Tom Clancy:

        A footnote in the recall vain: after 9/11, it was reported that our state security apparatus convened a bunch of the Forward Thinkers from Hollywood and the “thriller novel” vein, to brainstorm all the possible “terrorist threats” that the next bunch of Wahabbists or what-ever might be thinking about pulling. People like Clancy and Spielberg and Dan Brown. People who actually knew something about the “state of the art of the possible.” Of course the stuff they thought up would also be wonderfully useful to the folks doing Black Research into the weaponization and tactical and strategic use of those Great Ideas… All that research and development being conducted by people who are paid, via MMT money mostly, or tax dollars where there’s no true fiat currency, to develop and deploy all the machinery of death and destruction that are part of the “grab the brass ring” stretch for global hegemony. Including over the mopes here in the US and UK and AU and such places who still beleeeeve in democracy and stuff…

        Welcome to the world where Technology, and Evil as mopes would think of it, have NO LIMITS.

      2. Grebo

        that story about the child with 3 parents’ DNA

        If it’s the one I’m thinking of your theory does not apply. The technique was developed so a mother with defective mitochondria could have a healthy baby by transferring its nuclear DNA into an egg from a donor. To call this ‘having three parents’ is a stretch.

        Your bespoke baby may one day be born but swapping out mitochondria is not really a step in that direction.

        1. JTMcPhee

          All part of the same thrust to mess with poorly understood processes out of tech hubris and some quantum of profit and to allow privileged people to procreate. One wonders whether it is wise, if one carries the genetic potential for a whole host of really unfortunate diseases and disorders, to be selfish enough to insist on some “right to become gravid.” And mitochondrial genetic material is as central to the development of the human as the haploid inputs of the nominal parents, in these emotion-fraught complex interactions with people in white coats and metal and glass and silicon machinery.

          Many places humans practice more direct forms of eugenics and addressing the missteps of human reproduction, by infanticide of deformed newborns and those not of the preferred sex (yes, usually males are selected for.)

          But vanity and pride and desperation are part of what makes a market for these interventions. And techies will be empowering people with power and money to potentially make choices about what future “humans” will manifest as. Not just to satisfy their own compulsions to produce “their” babies, perfected (if all goes well) by tech interventions, but for everyone else, whether us mopes want it or not. Not so sure that is a good thing.

          1. UserFriendly

            This is the same slippery slope argument that said gay marriage is one step a way from dog marriage. I don’t have strong feelings on the topic either way but that isn’t persuasive.

  8. David

    On the “medical quackery” story, the videos about “purported cure for diabetes that does not require medicine” might have something to do with various medical studies showing that Type 2 diabetes can be successfully arrested, and even reversed, by dietary changes. This is rapidly becoming a new orthodoxy. Coincidentally, today saw news of the final exculpation of Professor Tim Noakes after complaints by the South African medical establishment about a tweet he made in response to a woman asking about her baby’s diet. Noakes has been an active proponent of the so-called Low-Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet, and documents revealed during the case made it clear that the country’s medical establishment was out to get him. The full story in Business Day, the rough local equivalent of the FT and the WSJ, is here.
    Of course there’s lots of garbage and quackery on the Internet, but in my experience any sensible person can usually find helpful advice, not on AIDs cures, which is a bit of a red herring in this subject, but on lifestyle and diet changes which can positively impact health. We shouldn’t forget that a lot of money is involved here – treating T2 diabetes accounts for about 10% of the costs of the NHS, and there’s no money to be made from telling people to lower their sugar intake. Rather the reverse in fact.

    1. Robert McGregor

      Pareto’s 80/20 principle also applies to the modern medical establishment. 20% of what they do is substantive and valuable; 80% of bullshit. Save 80% of your medical money and time and spend it on low carb/high fat food, and get better sleep and exercise.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Someone I know recently told me they are taken 14 different medications, a substantial number of which are to mitigate side effects of the other medications. Then there are all those suffering from “incurable” conditions that are, in fact, suffering from conditions that generate more revenue by being so described and treated (cf. Goldman Sachs). Yet people still buy into the BS that the reason meds cost so much in the US is (a) $$ needed to find treatment (never cure), i.e., “fund research and development” and (b) to do that they have to make up for all the money they lose not being able to charge whatever they want in countries with public health services.

        The problem, of course, it that at this point, once someone has been diagnosed and begun treatment for X condition(s), they may be so dependent on the meds arbitrarily going off them in favor of diet, sleep, and exercise could be life-threatening.

        1. Oh

          It’s not unusual for doctors in a hospital to prescribe a medication to lower the patient’s blood pressure and then prescribe another one to raise the blood pressure because it was too low. I’m sure they use a witch’s brew of medications for the real Cha Ching effect on the hospital’s bottom line!

          1. Chris


            There may be many peculiar practices in the use of medications in a hospital setting, but your example sets off my BS detector.

            Do you have reliable evidence or examples that you can cite?

    2. ilpalazzo

      My brother, now forty, has had type 2 diabetes since his teens. He was able to lower his prescribed insulin intake almost threefold by LCHF diet. Every few years he goes for a two week stay at diabetes clinic where they “regulate” his diet and it always ends with him needing to significantly raise insulin intake for a time. Once back home he goes his old way and insulin dependency is lowered again.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “China may send fighter jet escort for Kim Jong-un when he flies to Singapore to meet Trump”

    It may be that it is not a matter of Kim Jong-un not trusting Trump but him having no faith in the Pentagon and what they might try to do. Especially after the stunt that the Pentagon tried to pull off at Deir ez-Zor in Syria.

    1. hemeantwell

      Speaking of Pentagon stunts, Jeff St. Clair has a good 50th anniversary piece on the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty at Counterpunch.

      It’s indicative of my residual brainwashing that, even though I’ve read similar accounts in the past, I still react with disbelief. The bit about threatening sailors who wouldn’t go along with the coverup with electroshock treatment…… It’s as though once a coverup is underway there’s an incentive to make its methods more and more outrageous in order to make it unbelievable. (gah, I sound like Mulder.)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, I saw that story too. A slight correction though. Aircraft from that carrier was sent not once but twice and called back each time on President Johnson’s direct orders. Navy personnel heard him say over the radio, and I quote: “I don’t care if the ship sinks, I’m not going to embarrass an ally.”
        What should have happened was that those US Navy fighters should have destroyed every single Israeli patrol boat in the area and then splashed any Israeli aircraft that came within range of the USS Liberty. Make no mistake. Israel was determined that all 358 American sailors die without a single survivor as proved by their machine-gunning the life boats and only the actions of the crew prevented this.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Some history there, too: The US deliberately killed Japanese Admiral Yamamoto by sending long range fighters to shoot down the transport aircraft the “intelligence community” learned he would be flying on. Called it “Operation Vengeance.”

      Cheered, at the time, as a great successful thing.

      And of course there’s the whole long history of Imperial activities by the Monroe and Carter and Etc. Doctrine-drafting-and-effectuating sneaky-Petes, to “facilitate regime change” and stuff…

      1. pretzelattack

        yes, can’t remember one president that didn’t advocate interfering in other countries. some practiced it more than others, getting us involved in wars like woodrow wilson, reagan, and both bushes, as well as obama of course, or truman, or greatly escalating wars as jfk and ljb did.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not sure if Lincoln did (interfere in another country) – was the South another country?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Lincoln and his administration were busy in the “influencing other governments” game, too:

            Lincoln’s central diplomatic problem was to fend off British and French intervention on behalf of the Confederacy. He was afraid that need for cotton, fear of Northern tariff policies and the desire to split a potential rival would cause England to support the Confederacy, and he knew that the rebels had the sympathy of the British ruling classes. That his fears were not realized was due in good part to circumstances beyond his influence. War profits reaped by British manufacturers and shippers in time outweighed the inconvenience they suffered from lack of cotton, and after 1862 the chances of foreign intervention rapidly dwindled.

            But Lincoln was not passive. He launched a concerted propaganda campaign to convince the people of Europe that the Union was fighting for republican principles against an aristocratic slave power. One of his first acts after Bull Run was to offer a command in the Union Army to Garibaldi, the symbol of world republicanism. The Italian patriot refused; among other reasons, he would fight only in a war for emancipation. But emancipation was not yet in prospect. Whether or not Lincoln preferred to have it so, a large body of opinion in the North and the strategic border states would have refused at the outset to support a war fought to free the slaves. A resolution of Congress early in 1861 stated that the North’s aim was to bring the South back into the Union with slavery intact.

            Viewed without sentiment, the Civil War thus appears an attempt on the part of the North to deny national self-determination to the majority of Southern whites who desired it. The Union cause was, at the beginning, the cause of centralized nationalism pure and simple; and in the grand political strategy of the conflict it was the Federals, not the boys in gray, who took the offensive. Until emancipation was proclaimed, the war lacked the transcendent moral sanction of a crusade for freedom.

            In the face of these facts, Lincoln’s prompt success in selling the Union cause to European democrats was no mean accomplishment. The North’s war, he told the world, was a defense of a status quo in which the common man had a voice in his destiny and a chance to get ahead. It was a test to determine whether republican government could prevail over an assault from within by forces which were not numerous enough to control it by democratic and pacific means. In Europe republicans took heart from the Union victory. But since the Emancipation Proclamation itself was intended partly as a concession to European opinion, it seems that European liberalism did more for the radical cause in America than Union victory did for liberalism in Europe.“ It’s the American Empire, start to finish.

            And I believe the US Navy and Marines were also busy “protecting American interests” against furriners (“some pirates are bad, especially if Muslim”) all through the Civil War and Reconstruction years and continuing up to the present…

            It’s just the nature of the Beast, I guess. Lots of echoes of the historical type in these observations.

            1. JBird

              It’s the American Empire, start to finish.

              Greed, lust for power, and realpolitik are real, but just don’t mistake them for the whole rather than some parts of it. Both the South and the North had reasons both monstrously evil and very righteous, even holy.

              The Northern business elite did want to end slavery in part to stop the “free” labor of slaves, which was in competition with the paid labor of the Northern workers especially factory workers; the Southern ruling class wanted, and was trying to, expand the Slaveocracy. That is the owning as one would a horse, or a house, of human beings and using them as one would use tools.

              Also the North was trying to tell the whole of the Southern states what to do with their with their lives, including the majority of the whites who were mostly dirt poor farmers and laborers. To paraphrase, what was said by some Southerners, I am fighting you because you are down here on my land. That is one reason why the South fought so. The Federal Government was a invading force that was destroying and killing.

              However, Antebellum South was the richest, often the most politically powerful part of the United States because of its great wealth in human as property. Farming, manufacturing (there were some real factories in the South), sex slaves (the New Orleans brothels were noted for this), or any work you can think of, except maybe clerks as reading and writing was forbidden to slaves. Brutal overwork, torture, rape, the splitting up of families, just about anything was legal so long as no murder, or some very extreme torture was done.

              The Southern elite distorted, manipulated, corrupted, and often controlled the whole country, as well as trying cause wars and invasions to expand slavery, preferably under American control. The original invasions of Central America, the entire Mexican-American War had their main impetus from that desire. Not that all of this was frame as a need to enrich Southern slave owners, and their many financial backers in the North; many in finance, insurance, and shipping in the North became very wealthy.

              It was like the nexus of the Kochs, with their personal allies, sycophants, minions, and their business allies in the finance, lobbying, advertising industries. People through the United States, including the South, were not at all happy, or even tolerant of this. However, in the South, abolitionists became exiles, or dead, while in the North the moment grew.

              What truly started the Civil War was the election of not an abolitionist, which Abraham Lincoln was not then, but of a man know to personally dislike slavery and would not help the South expand (read enrich themselves) slavery. To them slavery was a positive good that had to keep expanding, so freezing the expansion was the same as abolition. The Southern elites, who controlled everything, declared succession, mindfracked the poor, working, and yoemanry classes that this was a good think. The Northern elites wanting to keep the money flowing, the patriots who wanted to keep the country together regardless of what others wanted, and the large number of antislavery individuals responded military.

              I could go one with the Copperheads, with the Southern Abolitionists, and other items. My post is alread far, far too long. Just keep in mind that the Battle of Antietam was not fought just for the American Empire. It was fought over ideas as well as the empire, wealth, and ideas all combined. Rather hard to have a million plus dead(the numbers are disputed, but the latest figures are over a million), and millions more wounded, in a nation of only thirty-one and a half million, or about ten percent of the entire population over just the dollar.

          2. LifelongLib

            IIRC Lincoln always said the southern states were individually in rebellion and tried to avoid any suggestion that they were a separate country. He didn’t like terms like “Confederacy” which implied otherwise.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              General George Washington prevailed, and we were another country.

              Otherwise, we were not another country.

              I think that’s a good rule of thumb for determining the status.

  10. JTMcPhee

    Re “The Market Police” and the Neoliberal Project: highlights that the people who are looting the planet and us mopes have the strength that comes from a coherent Organizing Principle, one welded up and polished to a high shine to maximize their “take” from the Commons and the vast bulk of us mope humans.

    Too bad the rest of us can’t come up with a similar and attractive Organizing Principle that informs us what a “minimally acceptable ethical and physical-conditions life” entails. And that can then be matched against all the moving parts of the “political economy” to force different outcomes in all the various elements of the human social and political ecology. And beyond that, to then organize, with the same insistence and persistence that the Looters have shown, in grasping all the means of looting and dominating to satisfy their own clearly insatiable wants and limbic-system-overloading self-pleasing behaviors.

    A very difficult project, of course, given infiltration by agents provocateur and defections among the rank and file, and the enormous head start the Looters have on the rest of us, but maybe all the little bits of actual growth in husbandry and stewardship and organizing one can see indicate there’s something effective happening?… Just imagine…

    1. Robert McGregor

      JTMcPhee, I nominate you to run for President. I think you can help develop the “Organizing Principle” to run against the 1%-ers. “Single-interest” cultural campaigns are commonly understood to be effective. If thousands of people only care about abortion, or “gun rights,” or gay rights, we understand they are likely to make a lot of progress, because most of us care about more than one thing. But people don’t understand that the 1%-ers have been pushing at the

      “moving parts of the political economy”

      for decades–with the single goal of maximizing their own financial self-interests.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I recall de Tocqueville noting that if something like 2% of the voting, land-owning class in the early “republic” wanted some “policy” change, said change would happen. Miniaturization has apparently shrunk that number to 0.1%. The concentration of power to control and dominate and force “change” is marvelous to behold. I even think the Few get off on knowing that we mopes can recognize, occasionally, how the knife is being inserted between our ribs, yet we mostly don’t even incur “defensive wounds,” or even try to take the killer down with us…

        One might look to the exceptional instance of Bernie’s Sanders. A lifetime of principled efforts to “promote the general welfare” by a person with some charisma and fire and understanding of how to navigate and institute changes in the structure.

        Too bad humans need an all too often ultimately corruptible Leader to catalyze the kinds of efforts needed to accumulate (and hold on to) the power needed to keep the cancerous and parasitic parts of the population in check. (Bearing in mind that there’s a potential Pelosi or Duterte or Gingrich or Koch or Murdoch born every few minutes, among the teeming billions.) Too bad such Leaders are so physically fragile and easily neutralized. By all the usual means.

        As was pointed out by a couple of commenters in yesterday’s thread on the war over money, there was darned little normative content to the very learned discussion with all its attention to the nominal fundamentals of “money.” One might think it would be thoughtful to go back to the reasons for social order that money facilitates, and maybe some agreement on what constitutes a good person, a need-satisfying life for decent, comity-seeking individuals (not the ones with the insatiable demands for MORE of It All), and then reason forward from there. But that does not produce and facilitate the kinds of volatility and disparity and concentration that the MOREists demand.

        A good start for an organizing principle can be drawn from a pretty universal, if pretty universally abused, statement of principle, which we are told was voiced and approved and insisted upon by many different Divinities: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Have to add a qualification: Does not apply to sado-masochists and sociopaths.)

        1. blennylips

          What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.


          Does that work better for sociopaths?

    2. Susan the other

      Mason makes Slobodian’s Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism sound like a good read. Not to miss. There were some big temblers from 1920 to 1950 – one concerned not allowing fascist nationalism to raise its ugly head again and on the other hand not to allow dictatorial communism to do likewise. We Americans started out with a good pole star but seem to be off course now with neoliberal international trade. I liked the reference to Seattle. And the usurpation of property rights… always to be confronted. Also liked the reference to Brecht. Thanks for this link.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I think I need to add Slobodian’s book to my reading list. I hope he’s easier to read than Mirowski.

    3. Olga

      You clearly point to the main problem: “the looting people” are few; “us mopes” are way too numerous. Therefore, it is much easier for the “lootes” to organise and find common ground (part. since their unifying principle is simple – i.e., greed (in other words – the more (and more) for us). On the other hand, there are so many “mopes” that disparities in their motivations will always enter into any organising picture/structure. It is like herding cats – although on paper, logic dictates that us mopes should have one common goal, we rarely agree on a common reason. Alas, the reality is too complex… I fear that is not an accident that all serious revolutions devolve into violence/coercion. Unfortunately, we humans are just not too enlightened or long-term thinking…

      1. ambrit

        That would be the condition behind the idea of a ‘Vanguard of the Proleteriat.’
        Essentially, a coordinating elite. There we go. Back to hierarchicalism again.

    4. H.Alexander Ivey

      Not a bad review of Slobodian’s book, but dishonest and confusing in its conclusion. Mason went the entire post without mentioning the founding historian on this subject, Philip Mirowski, and his work like ‘The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective’.

    5. Dirk77

      The review makes me wonder how the change in the self-view of economics factored in here. I mean from a handmaiden of politics, i.e., “political economics” as Ha-Joon Chang has said to a “science” in which conclusions flow inevitably from being based upon reason and experience. That is, if you are going to want everyone to think economic outcomes are just the way things are, don’t you need “experts” behind you telling everyone it is just science like the laws of physics – which only a madman would fight? Perhaps someone who knows the history could tell me?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “What can be done about Minnesota’s rising homelessness rates?”

    Well, Minnesota could take a leaf out of what other States have tried and simply round the homeless up and offer them a one-way bus ticket to the State border of their choice. For Minnesota, that would mean North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think we do well to first, or also, find out first why they are rising, or rising faster than other states’.

  12. Jim Haygood

    A headline that made me laugh — courtesy of Bloomberg:

    G-7 Officials Toil Through the Night To Paper Over Differences

    In other news, bats toiled through the night hoovering up insects …

    1. Jim Haygood

      Saturday morning cartoons, kids … Herbert Hoover Trump, with Kudlow and Bomb Walrus Bolton at his side, delivers a communique at Charlevoix before picking up his marbles and jetting home.

      Trump’s remarks on trade are pure head-up-rectum yankee unilateralism. When he pivoted to security and started ranting about Israel’s America’s bête noire Iran, I changed the channel to the vintage Wile E. Coyote cartoons which so fascinate Ben Bernanke in his dotage.

      1. Jim Haygood

        “I would say the level of relationship is a ten — Angela, Emmanuel and Justin — we have a very good relationship. I won’t blame these people, unless they don’t smarten up and make the trades fair.” — HH Trump

        Patronize much? This is just breathtaking … ordering European and Canadian leaders to “smarten up.”

        Albert Einstein Trump went on to assert, “That’s the way we learned it at the Wharton School of Finance.”

        1. ambrit

          Yeah. Sorry Comrade Jim, but Government is not Business. (Maybe I should say: “Sorry Comrade Don.”)

          1. JTMcPhee

            On the other hand, “The business of America is business.” And the Powell Memo, and so forth.

            And of course Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler’s very informed observation that “War is a racket” to enforce US business interests in little sh!thole countries…

            Maybe not SUPPOSED to be business, but such vast discrepancies between rhetoric and reality these days…

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          One constant about President Trump is his disdain for the less powerful around him. It’s particularly hard on normal members of our financial and political elites. They are overly used to being sucked up to, and are almost frozen with shock in the face of his simple, Bronze Age thuggery. He knows this, and uses it.

          Watch who he does not trash talk. He never seems to be on record talking to the leadership of China this way. Russia neither, but that’s expected. He is deeply intuitive about power dynamics, and seeing who he refrains from dumping on is……. enlightening. Everyone he mouthed off at this way is guaranteed to come back for more. They may, and likely do, get back at him in veiled ways that involve hurting regular Americans rather than him, or his coterie. The upshot is, he has no incentive to change his attitude.

          1. JTMcPhee

            …speaking of thugs: Oh Lord, please forgive me for momentarily thinking “What this country needs is another LBJ to do right by the general welfare.” I sin greatly, especially as I am a veteran Imperial Trooper from that thing “We” did in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia etc.

              1. JTMcPhee

                d. All of the Above, and many others.

                LBJ, I believe, traded a bunch of dead gooks, and GIs, and a big leg up for the Security State and the MIC, and importation of “illegal drugs” into the Homeland, etc., for the very impermanent “Great Society” and some small temporary progress in reducing inequality.

                A person I knew was one of his nurses at Bethesda or Walter Reed, who had tales to tell about LBJ’s #metoo-ness toward the female nurses and staff, and general obnoxious power-person behavior. But I love the LIFE Magazine pictures of LBJ grabbing various elected officials and others by the lapels, bending then back against a wall or table, and telling them how it was going to be. We mopes love people who are effective that way, kind of like all too often, in the end, like Winston, we “love Big Brother.”

          2. Expat

            Trump grew up rich and spoiled. He was a spoiled Prince of NY. He wiped out his shareholders and bondholders over and over and still managed to hold onto the only thing of value he had, his name. He was famous for being famous long before the internet. He then became a tv star and earned tens, if not hundreds, of millions from his show. And in Hollywood he learned that as a star he could do whatever he wanted including grabbing women by their feckless bits.
            It still boils down to this: Trump is rich and successful because of his name. Therefore he is untouchable as long as the brand is worth something. So he could do whatever he wanted and dictate terms.
            Now he is the most powerful man on earth and consequently can continue to act the way he has always acted. Donald Trump could never be a Senator or a Congressman because he could never accept being less than totally free to be an absolute asshole.
            He won’t stand up to anyone who doesn’t back down because he is fundamentally insecure (he still wants to be accepted by NY WASP society and old money). If Macron, Trudeau, and Merkel can work up the nerve, they can back him down quite easily. Putin knows how to deal with him. So do the Asians in general.
            But again, Trump represents America. Perhaps not the fine, educated people here on NC but one-third of the country completely and most Republicans. Americans seem to be violent, racist, xenophobic, ignorant, and greedy. And they found their ideal leader in Trump.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I disagree with you on your assessment. Trump has had 6 or maybe 7 BKs out of literally hundreds of corporate entities. Some people made money with Trump. Others got taken for a ride. But to say he’s always been a loser is flat out false. The better criticism is that he’s become a lazy, lousy negotiator, and that’s far more relevant to his current role as Prez.

              Trump never wanted to be accepted by NY society. There are real estate developers who have been able to do that (Fred Wilpon, for instance) and other new money, most notably leveraged buyout artists like Henry Kravis. You give money to the respectable charities like the Met. You hire the right decorators. Trust me, throw enough money around to the approved interests, and you are allowed inside.

              You do not decorate with lots of gold and marry swimsuit models.

              Trump has always given NY society the upraised middle finger. That’s one big reason NY Magazine kept making fun of him in the 1980s. They (as representatives of Good Thinking New Yorkers) couldn’t stand that Trump didn’t give a fuck about appearances.

              1. rd

                My biggest concern with Trump is that he does not appear to understand that he can be an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

                In real estate and entertainment, there are lots of potential deals to be made. You can pick and choose a very small percentage of the possibilities to move forward with.

                As President, the items to be negotiated show up and then you win, lose, draw, pull off a win-win, or end up with a lose-lose (most wars are lose-lose) in that negotiation. This is very different than sorting through a bunch of potential deals within your organization’s experience base and then picking the ones with the best possibility, ignoring the rest.

                Similarly, he scores a business deal ok if it survives and excellent if the business grows profitably. But the business scoring is nearly all measured in cash flow. The scoring is much fuzzier in international diplomacy. You are at a disadvantage if your focus is cash flow to the detriment of understanding the many other factors in play.

                Kim Jong Un is going to have very different criteria for defining a successful outcome than Trump has probably ever run into before. Those criteria might even be unimaginable to Trump.

                In 1950, MacArthur did brilliant amphibious landings at Inchon but then went north to the Yalu River to get the “big win”, a strategic blunder which pulled China into the war – most of the US casualties were after this. In 1990, G.H.W. Bush stopped when Iraq had been expelled from Kuwait, with very few casualties and a relatively stable Middle East. His son invaded Iraq resulting in numerous US casualties as well as igniting ISIS and the current refugee crisis in the Middle East.

                Looking at everything through US-centric vision is historically disastrous for the US. The stage is now set for a similar Trump blunder on North Korea if he does not understand that power does not necessarily equate to power in these types of negotiations.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  I’m not defending Trump. I am concerned about factual accuracy. There is a well known cognitive bias called halo effect, which is the tendency to see people as all good or all bad.

                  Trump is flailing as president. Yet he managed to get into office (and go through the Republican candidates like a hot knife through butter) and his ratings, while still pretty bad, are up from the lows of earlier in the year.

                  Re Kim, Jim Baker has said before Trump won that there are checks on Presidents, particularly regarding the use of nukes. Most experts have said the negotiations with North Korea will fail because past negotiations have failed. There isn’t an overlap in our bargaining positions. North Korea would want the US to pull all its troops out of South Korea as a condition of denuclearizing, and that will never happen, because China (and other reasons).

                  The only deal I could see is North Korea giving up further development of ballistic missiles. But that wouldn’t be a big enough deal to please Trump

                  But despite all the threats, would/could Trump escalate versus North Korea? It seems pretty doubtful despite all the brash talk. Maybe some provocative flyovers and having US ships stray occasionally into North Korea’s waters.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With Angela, perhaps it’s not her personally, but Germany in general, as i read recently that.. way back in the 90’s, Trump was not at all happy at seeing all those Mercedes automobiles made by the Teutonic knights and their descedants cruising up and down Manhattan.

          My guess is that he doesn’t, or didn’t, like Bavarians much either.

          1. SimonGirty

            We ARE seeing lots more Maybach, AMG Daimler SUVs in the UWS (though it’s still mostly yooj Audis switching over to Geeley made Volvos, among the immigrant dead eyed yuppie hordes). There’s obviously eclat to Hitler’s cars NOT built by deplorable untermenschen in South Carolina or ‘Bammy, go figure?

        4. Danpaco

          Could someone explain to me what Trump wants and what the possible end game is here. There seems to me an easier way to fairer trade than antagonizing your closest trading partners.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Trump on some level gets that “free trade” is a misnomer and we operate in a system of managed trade. Most Chinese goods come into the US with 2.5% tariffs, while most US goods are hit with 11% tariffs when they go to China. And China stealing US IP hand over fist isn’t cool either

            But his approach for addressing the problem sucks. His remedies aren’t well thought out and as you point out, his tactics are even worse.

            1. Plenue

              Correct me if I’m wrong, but given that the status of the $ as global reserve currency is not dependent on any ‘petro-dollar’ but because of intentionally maintaining a trade imbalance, isn’t the very thing Trump spends so much time raging about (massive imports from China), the result of deliberate policy?

              And how, if he actually knew what he was doing, could he set about recreating decent paying jobs and resurrecting US industries? And could he achieve those goals on a large scale without destroying the trade imbalance the GRC depends on? Or is American monetary dominance directly dependent on the immiseration of American citizens?

  13. Altandmain

    Re the rules on running for President by the Democratic Establishment.

    The DNC is terrified and it shows. They are fully aware and terrified of the possibility of a Bernie Sanders run, in which case he will be a very strong candidate for the president.

    Bernie should run as an independent. I suspect that would throw a bombshell into the Democratic Party.


    The Maine Democratic Party is accused of laundering money for Hillary Clinton.

    I wonder what other dirt we are going to dig up now that this is over.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Didn’t George Wallace and Ross Perot run as independents in 1968 and 1992, respectively? ISTR that John Anderson did in 1980.

      1. John Zelnicker

        @Arizona Slim
        June 9, 2018 at 11:02 am
        Yes, George Wallace ran under the American Independent Party in 1968.

        He ran for the Democratic nomination in 1964, 1972, and 1976. Although he was unsuccessful in these attempts, in the 1964 presidential election Alabamians could not vote for Lyndon Johnson. The Democratic Party electors were pledged to Wallace. Johnson wasn’t on the ballot.

      2. ambrit

        The problem is seemingly a technical one. Without a ‘ground game’ as supplied by a party organization, Independents get roughly Twenty Percent of the votes, tops. So, build up an ‘on the ground’ organized presence, then run. I suspect that that is why Sanders tries to run as a Democrat nationally; no well organized national third party yet.
        I would be very interested in who Sanders’ Veep candidate is. That person would have a good chance of prevailing in ’24 or ’28, no matter what happens in ’20.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Idealists are often said to be impractical. Can’t play realpolitik, the detractors claim.

          Taking over the infrastructure of a party is an in-your-face act of confiscation.

          “I am only becoming a Democrat to take possession of your toy, er, your machine. That’s the sole reason. I feel nothing for you people. Tough luck, kid.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I believe there are Hawaiians still disputing the controversial overthrow of Queen Lili-uokalani, statehood in 1959 or not statehood.

            To them, even if you were born there in 1961 or in Kenya, you’re still not an American, but a Hawaiian (in the former case), and there is no need to send any representatives to DC.

            1. ambrit

              Yeah, but there is still the Nipponese cultural bias against those of Japanese ancestry who are not dwellers in the Home Islands. Go figure.
              I still remember talking to the factotum of a Japanese company office in New Orleans. (Something to do with work on the upper middle class house the Japanese managers were supplied by their company while they lived their years of overseas posting.) Essentially, I was told that being posted to a company overseas position, no matter how important or even a step up the corporate ladder it was, was considered a punishment posting.
              I was very effusive in my thanks for the tutorial in Japanese business culture. I didn’t even want to hint at the question of how the Sons of the Rising Sun viewed peons like me. At least that companies cheques cleared the bank. More than I can say for many American businesses.

            2. LifelongLib

              There are a lot of divisions among the the various movements. Some want Native Hawaiians (people with ancestors here prior to Cook’s arrival) to have a relationship with the U.S. federal government similar to Native Americans. Others want Hawaii to become an independent nation again but are willing to extend citizenship to everyone born here even if not Native Hawaiian. Yet others want independence with citizenship restricted to Native Hawaiians, possibly not including all of Hawaii. Or various combinations of these. So far none of these movements have enough followers to have a serious impact.

          2. Spring Texas

            Tulsi Gabbard is anti-Muslim, so I hope not. Also likes India’s terrible Nahendru Modi (not sure I spelled that right).

            See Jacobin’s article from awhile back on “Tulsi Gabbard is Not Your Friend.”

  14. allan

    DeVos determined to strike in U.S.:

    DeVos reinstated for-profit college accreditor despite staff objections

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos earlier this year reinstated an accreditor of for-profit colleges despite findings by her agency’s career staff that the organization failed to meet federal standards, an internal document shows.

    The report, released by the Education Department on Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, shows that career department analysts had serious concerns about restoring the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools just a month before DeVos issued an order reinstating the accreditor’s federal status.

    Career analysts wrote in the report that ACICS failed to meet 57 of the 93 criteria that accreditors are required to meet under federal law. …

    Critics of ACICS have said it has served as a rubber stamp for too many dishonest and poor-performing for-profit colleges to access federal funding. The accreditor most notably approved the Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech chains of schools until their collapse amid allegations of fraud and predatory practices. …

    “failed to meet 57 of the 93 criteria”, but DeVos, a big fan of high-stakes testing for kids and their teachers,
    gives ACICS a passing grade.

  15. crittermom

    RE: ‘Bizarre Events at Yellowstone”

    Uh, no. Mother elk protecting their calves is not bizarre behavior. It’s commonplace. Moose & even deer can exhibit the same behavior when protecting their young. So will bear & many other critters.

    “Hancock and a group of people,,,”
    Neither is it bizarre for a buffalo to attack when a group of idiots people get too close. It obviously felt threatened so that was normal behavior.
    (With personal experience walking among & filming buffalo on nearby ranches at my former home, I can say that Buffalo pick up on subtle signals–especially in your eyes. Example: narrow sunglasses or even squinting mimic a ‘predators’ eyes, which sets off an ‘alarm’ sense in them & may cause them to stampede or attack, whereas round sunglasses or wide-open eyes signal you are also a prey animal like them, & hence no threat).

    The only ‘unusual’ incident I see among those revealed is the geyser going off much more than before.
    I see it as Mother Nature being upset & ready to blow her top.

      1. Lee

        A protective mama goose in a local park charged me as I rode my bicycle when the bike path took me to close to her and hers. I nearly went down but corrected quickly and got the hell out of there. The bane of my mom’s existence as a child was their Thanksgiving turkey, which they raised themselves and allowed to free range around the barnyard. It would chase her every chance it got.

      2. crittermom

        As a teenager, I was just walking on the lawn at Sea World in shorts when a goose attacked me & bit my calf. I suffered a nasty bruise for a couple weeks.

        Years prior I was visiting a farm when a gaggle of ’em chased me so I hopped a corral fence only to find myself face-to-face with a bull.
        Out of the frying pan into… Oops? (I quickly jumped back out, as I decided I rather fend off the geese)

    1. Lee

      Having spent a good deal of time critter watching in Yellowstone, usually through a telescopic lens, I’ve also witnessed all sorts of human cluelessness when it comes to how to act around wildlife. The general rule is, if they pay you any mind, you are too close. When younger and first venturing to such places, I was similarly clueless. Overwhelmed by cuteness, I got too close to a pair of back bear cubs. Mama bear charged and I swear, I sprouted wings and was shortly up a tree.

      1. Synoia

        I was in Gorongosa watching elephant, many years ago. A Mother with Calf charged us for getting too close to the wandering calf.

        The guide had noticed the agitated mother, and we were leaving as she accelerated.

  16. crittermom

    As a teenager, I was just walking on the lawn at Sea World in shorts when a goose attacked me & bit my calf. I suffered a nasty bruise for a couple weeks. Not sure that there were any young around. I figured it was just tired of tourists,

    Years prior I was visiting a farm when a gaggle of ’em chased me so I hopped a corral fence only to find myself face-to-face with a bull.
    Out of the frying pan into… Oops?
    I quickly jumped back out, as I decided I rather fend off the geese.

  17. Oregoncharles

    ” Being heavier up to a point is longevity-positive, perhaps because if you get a serious ailment, it’s hard to get enough calories in your system. ”
    A nutritionist who worked with nursing homes a lot told me exactly that: it’s better to have some cushion, in both senses. That was by way of telling me to gain some weight, a couple of decades ago. Now I’d like to lose a little.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It all goes back to the three keys Yves mentioned before

      1. Low caloric intake
      2. Weight lifting – or some mass, if not fat
      3. (Sorry I don’t remember) maybe plenty of sleep, or drink lots of water, or maybe eat beans a lot.

    2. funemployed

      If you want to live long and prosper, all you need to do is…

      1) eat mostly real food (incl. lots of plants)
      2) move around vigorously on a regular basis (but not too much – like 10 hours a day in an amazon warehouse)
      3) have meaningful work and long-term social relationships
      4) avoid toxic stuff
      5) don’t be too unlucky

      If you do all that stuff, your body will probably settle on a weight that is probably not going to kill you. n=1 wrt individual health after all, and optimal “healthy” weight varies quite a lot from person to person and as you grow older.

      1. funemployed

        Oh yeah, and if you want to control your weight or reverse an unhealthy trend in that regard, don’t try to out willpower your appetite (your appetite will win – it existed long before consciousness), just make veggies and fruits a higher percentage of your food intake (and feel free to slather them with healthy fats). If doing it makes your body feel better, you are either getting healthier or riding a sweet wave of placebo.

  18. akaPaul LaFargue

    Re: Doug Henwood’s Jacobin article. On his website there’s a comment (copied below) that questions the veracity of the BLS survey. And therefore Henwood’s conclusions. – – –

    [the comment] While I rarely comment on other blogs, I feel it is necessary to do so to Doug’s current commentary on the BLS contingent-alternative survey just released.

    I certainly agree with Doug that US workers not in what’s called ‘precarious’ employment are being exploited increasingly severely, but that fact is not a justification for arguing that addressing those in precarious employment is a kind of distraction from the former, as Doug seems to suggest.

    Nor do I think that just because the latest May 2017 BLS supplement survey is not that different from the previously most recent 2005 survey that it shows contingent-alternative work–which is almost always accompanied by lower pay, benefits, and working conditions–is not a critical issue. If non-contingent labor is being screwed more with every passing year, then contingent is being even more screwed. If American workers are being increasingly exploited (meaning wages stagnating, benefits taken away, privatized, or cost thereof burden shifting, employment security even more tenuous,etc.) then workers in precarious jobs are super-exploited (wages even less, benefits virtually non-existent for many, etc.)

    There are serious problems with the BLS supplement survey on contingency to which Doug refers. One should not simply take the BLS ‘at face value’. What’s behind that ‘appearance’ is important. That’s not to say there’s a conspiracy by government to cook the numbers to reduce the magnitude of the precarious jobs growth problem. It’s all in the definitions, assumptions (overt and hidden) that underlay the BLS report.

    First of all, the gig economy is excluded by the BLS own admittance (see the Technical note). No Uber, Lyft, Taskrabbit, AirBNB, etc. They may add it later, but not in these numbers. So we’re talking about contingency and alternative work only. So what’s the definition of these terms, and is the BLS’s the best definition? Moreover, all jobs that are gig or contingent or alternative that are second jobs are excluded. But shouldn’t the BLS be estimating ‘jobs’ that are contingent-alternative, etc., and not primary employment only?

    Contingency refers to a condition that is not permanent in some way. The BLS defines lack of permanency by referring to time–i.e. hours of work and conditions of employment a year or less. But why that definition? Shouldn’t contingency refer to the existence of a different wage structure, second tiered benefits provisioning, reduced legal rights and other working conditions exclusion, or whatever establishes a group of workers relationship to the employer as ‘second class’? Why just time, why not conditions?

    Given the BLS’s actual assumptions and definitions, there are significant problems nonetheless. Here’s just a few:

    First, BLS defines ‘temp’ workers as those employed by Temp Agencies. But there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who are hired direct by employers on a temp basis, not through agencies. The CPS has always ignored temps direct hired. Check out the auto industry where their numbers have been expanding for years.

    What about public workers and higher ed teachers? I could not find any verification in the BLS study that they interviewed this sector? Many studies show that 70% of higher ed college teachers are now lecturers. (CHeck out the SEIU study). I suspect they aren’t adequately weighted in the BLS survey if at all. What about, as well, public home health workers, and the growing number of K-12 part timers, especially in charter schools.

    And what about the company practice of hiring interns without pay for 3 to 6 months, then let them go and hire another cohort without pay. That’s a growing practice in tech. Aren’t they ‘super-contingent’? One could add the general practice in Tech of requiring skilled tech job candidates to solve a company problem, for which they aren’t paid, and then not hire them. Or the exploitation of young workers in so-called ‘coding academies’, where they do projects for companies in the hope of being hired, and then aren’t.

    Another big problem with the BLS survey is it was conducted in May. That’s a big seasonality problem. Other studies. that Doug dismisses, were conducted in October-November. Obviously there would be far more ‘contingent’ workers in retail, wholesale, warehousing, etc. that would show up in November than in May. Remember, BLS findings are ‘statistics’, not raw data. They aren’t actual real numbers but estimates of real numbers (as is all BLS data). Seasonality issues are an important problem in the latest BLS survey.

    And what about farm labor. They are certainly contingent. Many are undocumented and are not accurately surveyed (their numbers are plugged in based on assumptions about their numbers and employment). The same could be said for the huge underground economy in the US, now at least 12% of US GDP. Millions of inner city youth are not accurately weighted in CPS surveys in general. The CPS does a phone survey. That survey is biased toward workers who are not transient, who have a landline phone (and only most recently has the BLS been adding cell phones to that phone survey). Inner city youth and undocumented workers do not respond to government phone surveys, if they are even called upon in the first place. These are problems with the BLS-CPS general employment and wage surveys, which they ‘resolve’ by simply assuming an adjustment factor.

    The BLS admits it excludes day labor. Does that mean also that the majority of longshore ‘B Men’, casual workers (who fit the BLS definition of contingent) are also not included? And why shouldn’t students working also be considered contingent? It fits the BLS definition. Why exclude that arbitrarily?

    In short, there’s a lot of problems with the BLS survey, that in general results in a low balling of the magnitude and growth rate of contingent-alternative work. That low balling is baked into the definitions, assumptions, and methodologies it uses. (And of course the many important occupation categories it excludes). The truth is probably somewhere between the Princeton academics’ and freelancers’ union estimates, and the BLS study. But whatever the numbers, it makes no sense to say that precarious employment is not a growing problem in the US (and elsewhere in the advanced economies). Or that we should ignore it and focus on the ‘real problem’ with noncontingent work. They’re both a problem. We should not ignore the growing exploitation and destruction of noncontingent work; nor should we fall in line with government estimates of the precariate world by simply taking their (BLS) report at ‘face value’.

    It’s no service to the US working classes, that have been beaten down in countless ways for more than three decades now, to say that the accelerating capitalist restructuring of labor markets creating gig, contingent, and alternative work (with less pay and benefits) is not a problem. The US government is minimizing the problem. Those who call themselves progressives should not join in.

    Dr. Jack Rasmus

  19. dcblogger

    I simply LUV lambert’s idea of asking congressional and senate candidates if they plant to spend 4 hours a day raising money.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In an ideal Dcarwinian, free competition world, it’s likely super fund-raisers will evolve who can raise in 2 hours what banal candidates do in 4 hours.

      “That was when I decided to focus on bigger, richer masters/clients.”

  20. Oregoncharles

    “.so can the [progressive Dem] rebels keep the candle lit long enough?”

    Is party “affiliation” still going down? That is, are “independents” (everybody else) the majority yet?

  21. akaPaul LaFargue

    Doug Henwood’s blog has a long comment on his piece in Jacobin which questions the veracity of the BLS survey. I think it needs to be considered in full cuz it clearly shows the real limits of the BLS survey and second questions Henwood’s conclusions.

    Opening paragraphs of the comment:

    “There are serious problems with the BLS supplement survey on contingency to which Doug refers. One should not simply take the BLS ‘at face value’. What’s behind that ‘appearance’ is important. That’s not to say there’s a conspiracy by government to cook the numbers to reduce the magnitude of the precarious jobs growth problem. It’s all in the definitions, assumptions (overt and hidden) that underlay the BLS report.”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Why so upset about a link mincing words and using ‘statistics’? We have statistics like unemployment numbers that don’t count the unemployed, job opening numbers that don’t count real job openings, and we’ve been told to worry that the economy is heating up based on a GNP that no longer measures the growth of the national product. The Henwood piece makes distinctions that make no real distinctions. How many people feel secure in their job whether they are contingent, a contractor, working a ‘gig’, or working at a “permanent” job?

  22. Massinissa

    I had to stop reading the article about smart phones when I read the sentence “Does this explain the multiple personality, identity scrambling trans-gender, trans-humanist push by the Illuminati’s Tavistock Institute media branch?”

    Illuminati? And some strange reference to a British nonprofit I’ve never heard of? The Illuminati are supposed to be behind the rise in transgender people? How the hell did this make it on here?

    And in the same paragraph: “Will we completely lose our bearings as to who we are and be herded that much more easily into New World Order City of London-orchestrated depopulation and disease?”

    New World Order conspiracy theories now? Im sorry but this paragraph pretty much invalidates any usefulness the article had.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is halo effect bias, wanting to see something as all good or all bad. The fact that he put up a weird list of effects does not mean that EMFs aren’t messing up sleep and therefore having other effects. A lot of people in the alternative health community think this is a real issue.

      1. blennylips

        How could it not be real?

        1) Earth has ~8 Hz heartbeat (Schumann resonance)
        2) Brain (via EKG) has ~8 Hz beat frequency.
        3) Schumann resonance signal often lost/dead in urban areas
        4) Entrained brains now run, free lose moorings…

  23. Wukchumni

    Meanwhile in Devin Nunes district, er, don’t drink the water, amigo!
    Tulare’s water system failed to meet state water drinking standards, city officials reported in a letter sent to residents this week.

    It could take three years to completely clear the cancer-causing contaminant from Tulare’s water supply, city officials said.

    Samples taken in April and May showed Tulare’s water exceeded the levels of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,2,3-TCP for short, registering .008-micrograms per liter. The standard is .005.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “As Lyme goes global, a new book sees it as ‘first epidemic of climate change’ ”

    A coupla weeks ago NC had an article where commentators reported on what the environment was like near where they lived. There were three points that popped up repeatedly that made me sit up & take notice and that was the lack of bug splats on windscreens these days (very ominous), the increased incidence of ticks and the related spread of Lyme disease. We don’t really have the later in Australia (well, not yet) but from reports by people here I don’t want anything to do with it. It appears that the experiences of people on NC backs up the idea that it is climate change that is spreading this fearsome infection.

    1. JTMcPhee

      It’s not just “ticks,” it’s the globalization of “trade,” all that crap and people moving from here to there and everywhere and empty loads like ship’s ballast water getting dumped into the Great Lakes system with its load of lamprey fry and zebra mussel sprat and all that stuff. And stupid humans wanting pretty kudzu and water hyacinth as ornamentals, and the possibly apocryphal Florida roadside tourist attraction owner, back in maybe the 1920’s, hoping to lure in some tourists and dumb-money buyers of Florida’s famous submerged lands by advertising the curiousity on display, a pair of Real Texas Armadillos. A breeding pair, as it turns out, which he tried to keep in a chicken-wire cage where the wire extended just down to ground level. Armadillos, for those who don’t know, dig like the wind, and were quickly added to the inimical non-native landscape.

      We have ants and termites and lots of other pests here that arrived on one kind of “trade good” or another, in used car tires and wooden pallets and Exotic Woods for Very Special People’s furniture and paneling and such. And gotta love those huge constrictor snakes that “owners” who just have to have Special Cool Pets have released, dumped off or, who knows, whatever the equivalent of arson is among herpetologophilia-bemused mopes and rich folks.

      Stupid human tricks.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Preaching to the choir here. I live in a continent that specializes in invasive species like rabbits, foxes, pigs, horses, cane toads, buffalo, camels with the latest addition being fire ants. Rabbits near ate the continent out of house and home a century ago before they were checked. They were introduced with the First Fleet but some idiot brought a bunch over for a bit of jolly good shooting in 1857 and their population literally exploded. So then another idiot brought in foxes to control the rabbits and now we have both foxes and rabbits. Then a bunch of idiot sugar farmers brought in cane toads from Hawaii back in 1935 to eat the beetles on the sugar cane. They were a total failure at this but now they have spread from one end of the continent to the other. And the list goes on-

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