Links 8/11/18

Yves here. Maybe I should never travel again.

Last year, on a trip to the West Coast where I also had 2 emergency room visits, I managed to lose a 22 karat gold earring that I cannot replace, either $-wise or style-wise.

Tonight, I lost my laptop, which is an over $3k mess given that I will have to buy a replacement (which means used or refurbished, I want the 2015 MacBook Pro) and find and pay someone to set it up and (first) retrieve data from my backups. And I don’t have a Mac person right now (I never used to need one, the fact that I do is a symptom of the crapification of the Mac). Add to that the considerable tax on my time (getting laptop, being idled during backup retrieval and set-up/data transfer to new machine). And I have a program I really like on my current Mac which may not run on a more current version of the OS.

I blame it on the gods punishing me for not stumping up to buy a new check-in size bag. I always use carry-ons save when going to Maine, and last year, the airport staff ripped the handle off the big bag I had.

During normal travel, the laptop always goes in my carry-on, (I have very specific routine) so no risk of loss.

I had an old carry-on that was pretty much kaput and had bought a new exact replacement. I took the old carry-on to Alabama and took back a larger bag that my mother is no longer going to use.

I also felt like crap last night and on the flight, so bad that all I did was sit with my eyes closed and feel miserable. In the cab from the airport, all I was thinking about was how fast I could get into bed.

So the big bag went in the trunk. The laptop in its black bag went on the black seat. I somehow got out of the cab without the laptop.

I paid cash and didn’t get a receipt (this is where my effort to minimize info about my comings and going comes to bite me, and I really should make a point of getting a receipt, that part was a complete self-inflicetd wound). I have reported the loss to the police, to both of the precincts locations where cab drivers leave lost goods, but I doubt I will see this laptop again.

And on top of that, I was fond of the laptop bag. It was an old Kensington Skin case that was at least 15 years old, simple, lightweight, sturdy shoulder strap, did the job. All the replacement candidates have too many features and are too heavy.

It seems I’m doing ongoing harm to myself starting with when I tripped on my shoelaces in the Atlanta airport on January 1, 2017 and wrecked my hip and ankle and have not been remotely the same since.

I know I’m now just whining, and there are many readers with far more serious hardships. But I am upset not just about this stupid blunder but also that this also now feels like a pattern, that everything I do on a routine basis just gets more and more difficult (among other things, the demands on us just keep going up while our ad revenues have been wobbly) and on top of that, I am regularly making things worse for myself.

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages in Roundup cancer trial BBC (David L)

Court Slams EPA For Allowing Pesticide With Known Side Effects Newsy (David L)

Thousands of Farmed Salmon Escape Into the Wild Modern Farmer (Robert S)

Impact of smoke from California’s wildfires spreads across the country ThinkProgress (David L)

Are You Listening? Hear What Uninterrupted Silence Sounds Like NPR (Kevin W)

Aggressive wildfire menaces thousands in southern California city Reuters (EM)

Blood Cells Transformed into Neurons New Atlas (David L)

Urinary sodium excretion, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality: a community-level prospective epidemiological cohort study Lancet. PlutoniumKun: “”Salt isn’t all that bad for you.’ This study has been really strongly attacked…. see Independent article: Very low salt intake may be as bad as high levels, international study claims Independent


China Uighurs: One million held in political camps, UN told BBC (David L)

Globalization with Chinese Characteristics Project Syndicate (David L)


Britain urged Ireland to reduce emphasis on NI peace in Brexit talks Irish Times. Wowsers.

Syraqistan. Tweets courtesy guurst:


Donald Trump has thrown the Turkish lira under the bus Economist

Erdogan warns of ‘economic war’ as Turkish lira carnage spooks global markets DW

How Turkey’s Currency Crisis Came To Pass Moon of Alabama

China will buy Turkey on the cheap Asia Times. Um, China did not rescue Pakistan, and Pakistan asked for help.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Cables Detail C.I.A. Waterboarding at Secret Prison Run by Gina Haspel New York Times (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Social media posts could ruin your college dreams, lawyer warns RT

Millions of Android Devices Are Vulnerable Right Out of the Box Wired

‘Women are devalued and demeaned’ at Nike, two ex-employees say in lawsuit CNN (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Melania Trump’s Parents Become U.S. Citizens, Using ‘Chain Migration’,Trump Hates – New York Times (Chuck L)

Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ Trailer Aims To Expose Trump’s ‘Evil Genius’ Huffington Post (furzy)

Where Governments Are Losing the Most Revenues To Tax Abatements Governing (UserFriendly)

The Latest Pipeline Battle Is Ramping Up in New York Nation (Thomas R)

Dems seek GOP wipeout in California The Hill

Fearing ‘blue wave,’ drug, insurance companies build single-payer defense The Hill

Transgender candidates could make history in upcoming races Reuters. EM:

So, the ‘ideal’ Dem-establishment candidate would seem to be a centrist LGBT[whatever] former-intelligence-community person of color who made their real money in Big Finance/Pharma/War. Did I leave anything out?

Engineers Say ‘No Thanks’ to Silicon Valley Recruiters, Citing Ethical Concerns Spectrum IEEE

Why the Democratic Socialists of America Won’t Stop Growing In These Times (UserFriendly)

Millennials Are Sick of Old Politicians but Too Poor to Replace Them Vice

To Learn How to Govern, Go Home Again RealClearPolicy

New McCarthyism

Google Boots Open Source Anti-Censorship Tool From Chrome Store TorrentFreak (Randy K)

Inside Twitter’s Struggle Over What Gets Banned New York Times (David L). Yesterday, the Times had a story pumping for Uber…

Ex-Goldman Sachs director claims whistleblowing led to dismissal Financial Times

The State of Modern Money Deficit Owls August 2018 Newsletter (UserFriendly)

A Simple Modern Money Tale – Buckwell Island Establishes a Currency heteconomist (UserFriendly)

The Bond Market Doesn’t Control Anything; the Currency-Issuing National Government Does Ellis Winningham. UserFriendly: “MMT explained with some pleasant snark.”

Elon Musk and Tesla sued over ‘funding secured’ tweet Guardian

Fed-up locals are setting electric scooters on fire and burying them at sea Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

Dead robots raise questions about brave new world Financial Times

No College Degree? Your Employment Chances Are Higher in These Places Governing (UserFriendly). Funny, CalPERS isn’t on the list.

In expensive cities, rents fall for the rich — but rise for the poor Washington Post (UserFriendly)

What Businesses Should Be Doing for Their Communities Govening

Ryanair pilots stage European-wide strike WSWS

Socialism and the Liberal Imagination Dissent Magazine (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “So, this might be hard to make out—because it’s just hard to find a poodles face sometimes. It’s two young red poodles racing in circles in opposite directions, both airborne when they pass each other.”

And a bonus antidote of sorts:

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    1. Shane Mage

      “b”‘s Stalino/Tsarist horns, tail, and claws are revealed: “PKK/YPG…is a terrorist organization which tries to create its own country in the eastern part of Turkey, north Syria and north Iraq.”

  1. Lona

    Sorry to hear about your troubles, Yves. IMHO you have the best website out there – the only one I read anymore! Hope things look up and laptop comes back!

    1. dcblogger

      Yves, very very sorry to hear that you are feeling pooring and that you are having laptop troubles. technology is great, until it isn’t.

      also NC is the first site I read each morning.

        1. beth

          My sentiments exactly. We love you and want you well, for your own sake.

          To have all of these things together is overwhelming. I am routing for you and wish I could help.

          Take whatever time you need with our blessings.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Fearless and stalwart pamphleteers like Yves, Lambert, Jeri et al have been the keystone to social progress for centuries. Your tireless work is immensely appreciated and terrifically important. Best site on the web. Changing the world is thankless work so I’ll just say: thank you

    2. Pelham

      Like Lona, I too rely on this website above all others, often to the exclusion of visiting any other site on a given day (apart from those linked here).

      Yves, you and this site are a treasure. Irreplaceable. If you need to take some downtime to rest, recover and get your computer woes sorted out, please, please do so. You owe it to yourself, and I’m sure your followers would not only understand but also encourage you to do whatever it takes to fully recover and rest up.

        1. tegnost

          I’ve long thought that the slow news month of august would be a good time for a respite for our fearless leaders, no one can do 24/7/365 forever, and I really don’t want them to burn out. Dean Baker shuts down every year, but cepr probably has more infra than nc. I imagine ad revenue might take a hit from this, but the archives are imo an underutilised treasure, and could easily provide content, and outis and jules (if there are any’s) could maybe run the moderation, but this requires us to provide resources such that this can happen. Targeted fundraising works better for me, I used to throw water cooler a few bucks on a weird schedule, now I just save for the annuals, one for cooler and one for the site. We need to come up with some solution to this ongoing problem.

        2. Alex Cox

          Thirded! You have the most interesting and useful site on the web. We all get older and forget things. Please take it easy and don’t be too stressed.

          Computers are just things and a used one won’t cost anything like what the new one did.

          1. beth

            I agree. I have long thought that you and your staff need to take more time off. What about Saturdays or Sundays and August or December off to allow you to rejuvenate? This is not to dictate, but to help you keep from being so stressed. We love to see you in person but traveling is not easy.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, know rest for the weary is in order, especially when it comes to self-inflicted injuries, which tend to leave a nagging doubt in one’s mind afterwards.

        I fractured my shoulder 5 years ago, about 6 miles in the backcountry (always try and injure yourself on the upper torso in lieu of lower extremities, so you can walk out) on Memorial Day weekend, and ruined a usual summer of walking about 250 miles in the higher climes, and tried to push it, and set back my recovery so much, that I also missed the skiing season.

      2. pretzelattack

        strongly agree. yves has to do so much above and beyond, and especially with having to take care of her mother piled on top, that such rest is richly deserved. i must admit my concern is partly selfish–there are so few honest voices these days, we can’t afford to lose any.

      3. John k

        Yes. You’ve created a site we all use routinely, but you’re the precious asset. And being human, subject to overload.
        Take time off, let others do a bit more, drink lots of tea, lots of water, chicken soup, stay warm, and get plenty of sleep.
        Trump and all the worlds troubles can wait a bit while you rest up.

    3. curlydan

      Good luck, Yves. You deserve some. Sorry to hear about your ongoing troubles. You may not be able to help yourself as much as you like, but you help and make many people’s lives better everyday by continuing your wonderful work here.

    4. flora

      About the lost mac, if you have its serial number that can help track it. Also, now that its out of your possession, changing passwords used on the mac for all accounts (another hassle) is a good idea.

      Find My Mac is the only Apple service that can help track or locate a lost Mac. If you didn’t set up Find My Mac before your Mac was lost, or you can’t locate it, these steps might help you protect your data:

      Change your Apple ID password to prevent anyone from accessing your iCloud data or using other services (such as iMessage or iTunes) from your Mac.
      Change your passwords for other accounts you use with your Mac, including email, banking, and social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
      Report your lost or stolen Mac to local law enforcement. They might request the serial number of your computer. You can find this information on the original box or receipt you received when you purchased your Mac.

      Hope you get all this sorted and shoo away Murphy (of Murphy’s Law : anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time). Also hope you feel better soon.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Thanks a lot. Fortunately, I don’t do banking on my laptop (I think accessing bank accounts on a device that leaves your house is asking for trouble) and changed other passwords. But I am so paranoid about info that I don’t use cloud services (this includes my web-host, the site sits on one server rack and the backup sits on racks in another location, and not a “cloud” provider). I don’t trust Apple as far as I can thrown them with data.

        Sadly I don’t have my device serial #. No one in Manhattan has room to keep device boxes.

        1. Anon

          If you bought it from Apple and paid with a card, check with them to see if they can look up the purchase. Also, if you’ve ever brought it in or sent it to them for service, they can probably find it that way. (Sorry if this has already been suggested elsewhere.)

        2. Scott1

          Editor Yves, Was the cab one in a line waiting for their turn for a fare at the airport? Is it worth a trip out there at the same time to wait and watch and see if you see the same cab driver?
          Did you call a cab dispatcher? Do they keep a log of calls & assignments?
          Cab company even?

          Is it an anniversary of significant personal loss? Events in our past can have significant effects. Losing things at anniversary loss is a story I know of.

          It does sound as if something has set you off your pace. I hope for you the best, “Better luck than you deserve.”

    5. Corky

      Sadly I see so many good people struggle these days. Naked Capitalism has always been there for me. It is the best website and I am so grateful.

    6. Lord Koos

      Yves, so sorry to hear of your misfortunes. I realize you are probably venting more than wanting advice, but perhaps you need to make sleep a high priority in your life if it is not already. I find the older I get the more crucial a good night’s sleep becomes… I make far fewer memory-related screw ups and less mistakes of all kinds when I’ve had proper sleep, so I’ve made it a thing to make sure I get enough rest. I sleep with a mask and earplugs, and always try to wind down from the day before going to bed. If needed in the middle of the night, I will take a small, safe sleep aid such as a Benadryl with an aspirin.

      If you drink a lot of coffee and work into the night on your computer, that can have a negative effect on your sleep patterns — I don’t know about Macs but there are Windows programs that automatically begin to shift the color of the screen at sunset, which is very helpful. Blue light from monitors is correlated with insomnia.

      I’m another one who reads this site first thing every day, your work is appreciated very much.

      1. bassmule

        Based on stories like these, plus a brief meeting at 10 Bells way back when, I suspect you are one of those with two speeds: Full Ahead and Off. I know my ability to screw up simple things increases exponentially when I’m 1) In a frantic hurry and 2) Not getting much sleep. I tell myself to slow down, but that’s easier said than done, no?

      2. Annieb

        Sleep is so very important! Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, Ph.D is excellent info. He is a neuroscientist at Berkeley. Also see his interview on the Joe Rogan podcast on YouTube. I have used some of the ideas he suggests and my sleep has improved 100%. Turning off WiFi at bedtime has been a tremendous help.

    7. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      F all other sites, Naked Capitalism is the ONLY good website.

      FWIW, i lost 2 phones and my ipad last year, and i havent replaced them. I honestly felt worthless and like a POS. My self loathing knows no bounds.

      BUT YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE. There is light within us bursting to combat the darkness.

      Throw another fundraiser. Were good for a few thousand…

        1. Robert Hahl

          Taxi reciepts are usually just blank forms that don’t identify anything other than the company name. I doubt that would have helped recover the lost items.

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      Sorry to hear of all the misfortunes in your recent travel.

      I took note of your observation that it seems like a pattern. Traveling has become far more complex, stressful, and risky. Items we can rely upon are wearing out and becoming irreplaceable. What was once simple has grown difficult. These are some of the patterns which stand out to me.

      I suspect you demand too much of yourself even as the situations of travel demand more. Were you to recognize your fatigue, perhaps you might tip the cab driver or other persons along the way to double check execution of your travel routine — to make sure you have all your bags for example. And do you really need to take your Mac everywhere you travel? I don’t but should always remember when I’m in a hurry: “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

      Your observation that “demands on us just keep going up while our ad revenues have been wobbly” seems like a fitting epithet for the people and small enterprise of our epoch.

    9. Susan the other

      Yves, Your schedule isn’t even human! Take some inner R&R. And FWIW: When I took care of my aging parents, first helping my mother with my father and then my mother herself, I was young. Too young to have an understanding of how human they were. So that was my best lesson, one of grief. Sort of realizing they were giving me their last gift. Deep breath.

      1. Clive

        Thank-you Susan. I’ll remember that. I’m not a patient sort. But what you said their transcends sentimentality. We are being given something precious, hard though it is at times to see it as we’re asked to give more reassuring, assistance, personal time, occasional tongue-biting and efforts to keep the peace that would challenge the United Nations and “OMG do not under any circumstances do *that*” beseeching. Which usually falls on deaf ears. But there’s an honesty there, isn’t there, which is absent from relationships with younger people.

      2. flora

        Thank you. Reconsidering the events and work of parent care as a gift is rather extraordinary… and comforting.

    10. Elizabeth Burton

      Hey, vent all you want. That’s what friends are for—listening while you relieve stress then either commiserating or, if requested, offering suggestions. And honestly, although I don’t know a single soul here in person, the community comprises people who feel more like friends should than some of the ones I do know.

    11. Richard Kline

      Yves, you too? Those are some bitter losses, sorry to hear about it. I live in fear of my own laptop going down or out. And the user-hostile tech industry makes replacement a living nightmare by planned obsolescing all the features and configurations which actually worked in anything for maximizing all those which make the user more dependent upon them by working less well.

      . . . It’s August. I have a model of high and low times in the year. This week is for bottom fish only. I may have tweaked my own knee further working out Thursday. Then yesterday, I spilled hot fat down my front cooking a pork chop. Some ugly blisters today. I dread every August.

      1. skippy

        Sorta begs the question about down loading our lives on too a_device_in a symbiotic relationship then it goes the full Bernays wrt fear of impediment.

        Persoanly I can’t see the point in OEM laptops or PC’s due to the inherent rentier machinations when custom hardware builds are both less cost vs OEM and more user focused. Then one can use whatever OS and other software as needed.

        In my case I spent more on hardware to extend user function at point of purchase so I don’t have to engage in upgrade antics until new code and environmental factors dictate such is needed. Then I guess it gets right back to the old trades being call the mysteries… everyone knows their indavidual task but has no clue to how its all put together thingy – sorta like economics… eh…

        Aside… Yves intensity is a two edged sword and at the end of the day long road marches can take a toll, have a care, because as noted in comments you are important too many others. No one will benefit from from you wearing yourself out lov [Oz application oxoxox].

        1. Richard Kline

          Equipment choice is a trade off of time/concentration against plug-and-play utility. I’m not going to spend the life/time necessary to ride herd on and troubleshoot a custom build, it’s that simple. Other things to do. Now, if one is concerned with ‘digisecurity’ or wants to feel the healthy glow of a one-up on Big Tech, that is a different kind of premium value. Equipment is strictly utilitarian in my world. I’d do what I do with a quill pen, pretty much. The main values in laptech are 1) ease of editing, and 2) speed of distance communication.

          Big Spy can watch for all I care. I can’t be bothered to spend the time to pretend to myself that I can actually hide anything. “Do what thou wouldst have the City know,” is a motto to well-consider, both in what to avoid doing, in what to accept in what one chooses to be legitimate acts, and as an organizing principle where power in numbers and confidence in commitment far, far outweigh the occasional success of some minor, furtive, skulk. —But that’s just one man’s thinking . . . .

          I’m all with Yves on never banking off a digi-platform, going cash when possible, and so on. When I travel, I always have my laptop in a bag practically strapped to my person (no lie). But Excreta Extrudes on the plans of us all. I still had to change all my bank accounts and many passwords when my jacket and waller were jacked from my gym locker last year. Oh, cruel fate!

    12. Oregoncharles

      I’ll add my vote hoping you recover from your illness and get enough rest. If you need to take a break, take it, please, for all of us.

      I’m most concerned about your shaken confidence. It isn’t justified. Traveling sick? An oversight, even a devastating one, means nothing. Unfortunately, we’re all all-too-human.

      Or, of course, you could get one of those courier cases that lock to your waist, just in case. ;)

  2. Olga

    Sorry to hear about the all troubles, Yves. Losing a computer is a real bummer; I can absolutely imagine how it feels: it seems kinda dumb for allowing ourselves to lose things. But – don’t be too hard on yourself. It can happen to a best organised person. Bad energy must be resisted and reversed. It sometimes seems like at all comes at once (when it rains, it pours kinda way): in cases like that, I say to myself “everything changes, nothing stays the same for too long, things will get better, it’s just a bump on the road; let’s see what can be done to remedy/mitigate the situation.
    Be gentle with yourself! It will get better! It must!
    As someone once said: optimism is a moral imperative!
    (Not that I myself wasn’t ready to scream y-day, when Microsoft manged in its infinite wisdom to lock me out of yet a second! email account on the pretext that “someone else is using your account, you must verify.” Unsurprisingly, the verification is a Kafkaesque process, designed not to work.)
    I do wonder what sort of a world we’re hurtling into. And travel – even in the best times – has just become such a stressful nightmare.
    But never mind – sending tons of good energy!

    1. ewmayer

      I second that emotion!

      On a practical note, since my 2010-vintage Macbook classic hard drive – which had survived multiple system failures, I just kept swapping into cheaply-bought 2nd-market chassis as those gave up the ghost – died last year and it took me a full month to get my original OS/software-setup redone [I’m sticking with fast stable old OS X 10.6.8 as long as I possibly can] I’ve been maintaining a fully bootable backu image on an external SSD using the CarbonCopyCloner software. Works beautifully – the initial full-imaging takes a while, but subsequent incremental backups are fast.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Working in music production, I have come to find my own productivity more and more held hostage by Mac crapification. Everything we do has become computerized, and for most of the entire industry that means Mac. Once upon a time that was not too bad a thing. The company was excellent at enforcing backwards compatibility and doing everything they could to improve the arts user’s experience and efficiency. You paid more for the product, but you could use it for years with DIY repairs and the occasional replacement or upgrade of components. Now? You can’t even open the damn things, usually. And with every “update” and “enhancement” of Logic, Final Cut Pro, Sibelius, and a host of other applications, there’s less one can accomplish and it takes a longer amount of time to do it. The alternatives (Windows, or analog tape) are bleak.

      I, too, have been sidelined, sometimes for weeks, dealing with stupid tech or finance issues (such as the cascade effects from having to replace a single piece of hardware in the face of planned obsolescence). Fortunately it hasn’t happened to me in quite awhile (knock on wood), but when it does happen it’s a horrible, frustrating experience for an artist. You’re on a roll, things are going great — you might even be about to wrap up a big project, and then all of a sudden you’re dead in the water and can’t move forward.

      So Yves, I hope you don’t suffer in that way. All the rest is quite enough to deal with by itself. Thanks for all that you do for us.

  3. Todde

    If musk doesnt have a buyer that he was at leaat in the later stages of negotiations with regarsing fundimg for his Tesla going private, he will lose the lawsuit

    We have the dumbest geniuses in our Society

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have received so many class lawsuit settlement notices.

      The last one asking about my landline phone bill from like 10 years, to get any money.

      Unfortunately, I don’t usually keep stuff like that.

      Of course, I never know if they are legit or just someone trying to personal information.

      1. Wukchumni

        I filed on a class action lawsuit one time when prompted to do so, and to my amazement a couple of years later, received a check for almost a couple of grandidos…

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        IANAL, but shouldn’t there be records to determine who is eligible to be part of a class action? I know when Apple et al. lost the fight over pricing, I received various rebates to my various ebook accounts, and I didn’t have to respond to some form.

    2. Summer

      Why are people placing bets based on tweets?

      Fools anyway. And don’t take that as any defense of Musk.

      1. Wukchumni

        I once knew a degenerate gambler that punted on pre-season NFL games, so wagers based on tweets seem almost normal in comparison.

      2. Todde

        I dont think the court is going to take that aa a defense either…

        And i imagine he is being sued by a short seller…

    3. Summer

      And if people react to tweets for FOMO (fear of missing out), I propose that if you have to wait for a tweet for info, you already have missed out.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m to the point where following any old shouter @ Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner, seems more sane than anything the reign of error spouts, not that there’s anything right with that.

  4. Pavel

    Yves, so sorry to hear about the laptop. I travel constantly and amazingly (touch wood) have never lost one of my many Macbooks purchased over the years — especially amazing as I am generally disorganised, jetlagged, and on occasion woozy from drinks in the lounge or on the plane :)

    I did once spill a drink onto my keyboard whilst on holiday in Japan, and had to buy a new one (thankfully they had English keyboards available) and restore from my most recent backup which alas was a few days old, so I lost some emails and photos and documents.

    After that rambling intro, here is my advice for all Mac users:

    –buy a small portable SSD drive that matches your needs (mine is 500GB). These used to be expensive but have come way down in price. Mine is a Samsung and is about the size of 4 credit cards stacked on each other

    –buy Carbon Copy Cloner ($40-50 or so IIRC). This allows you to back up the entire laptop including hidden system files so one has a completely “bootable” copy of the laptop (or one that can be used to set up a new laptop). [DISCLAIMER: I have no financial stake in CCC, just a satisfied customer! I used to use similar software called SuperDuper but CCC is better.]

    –when travelling keep the SSD hard drive separate from the laptop (separate bag or purse etc).

    –IMPORTANT: make a backup just before going on a flight. Mine takes about 15 mins to run on average (depends on how much new data to b/u)

    I have done this for a year or so and now travel with much greater peace of mind. I am mainly worried about laptop theft in TSA security theatres. If your Macbook is lost/stolen, in theory you can use the SSD with a friend’s Mac to boot up from the external drive while waiting to get a new one or retrieve the lost one. (I confess I haven’t had the need to try this.)

    Good luck, and I hope the taxi driver manages to turn it in to the lost and found! Apologies to non-Mac users for the technical ramble.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Don’t give up just yet!

      I’ve left things on a plane (Kindle) and cabs (smart phone) and managed to get the airline and cab company, respectively, to find and return them to me. So it does happen and you may be pleasantly surprised.

      Your items will most likely be with the cab company’s lost-and-found, not the police.

      If you have the name of the company and the time and address of your drop-off then you have a good chance to identify the driver and recover your bag and laptop. As the bag itself is unique it will be easy for someone to identify. Also, it could take a day or two for the driver to return to their office and your items to get placed in their lost-and-found. Be persistent.

      And, fwiw, I use cloud storage to back up my important (and not so important files).

      I also keep an encrypted SSD in my desk with the contents of my password safe. (see The problem with is you need to keep it up-to-date as you rotate passwords (and every one does this regularly, right?). Recently, I’ve been using LastPass to solve for this.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          I think what Otis is saying is that the cab company may have a record of your ride if you can provide the time and address. That would include the cab number, which in turn could be used to identify the driver. At least, that’s how my husband’s cab company works now that it’s all on computer.

          I can empathize with your situation for sure. Had to do a clean OS reinstall thanks to Apple deciding to incrementalize the move from 32-bit to 64, which ended up making some of my most used software obsolete without my knowledge. It was one of the reasons I signed on to SetApp, where I can play with various apps that are updated whenever needed. I know people hate subscriptions, but honestly, they can be the best solution when changes are made on a weekly basis.

            1. ambrit

              How about the CCTV at the airport? See if you can find yourself hailing the cab and go from there.

              1. ambrit

                I just noticed Oliver Buddes comment from downqueue. A good idea if true. The Panopticon might have some pro-social uses after all.
                August 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm
                Re your bag, contact the TLC. They GPS-track all yellow and green cabs and can tell you the medallion number and owner of the car that dropped you off once you give them the address and time. If the owner is not a solo, you will have the name of the garage and they in turn can ask the driver. Don’t write off the driver or give up hope yet.
                Reply ↓

        2. Otis B Driftwood

          As Elizabeth Burton said, Yves, if you remember the cab company, all you really need to do is call and tell them you left an item in one of their cabs. It might help if you give the time and address of your drop, but not essential. Again, it’s not uncommon for people to leave belongings in cabs and so companies have a lost-and-found desk.

          What you have going for you here is you have a unique bag. I was able to get back a run-of-the-mill Samsung phone (with no power) with little more than a description of the item.

          Again, good luck!

  5. johnf

    Regarding the laptop, I recently left behind a black bag containing my day planner, in a cab, under remarkably similar circumstances. You have my complete sympathy.

    Next time, I think will carry anything I don’t want to lose, in a high visibility bag, along the lines of a bright orange, aviator survival bag, and then tie it, James Bond style, to my person. No point in allowing a single point of failure.

    My youngest brother, for reasons I won’t get into, gets tired and has trouble remembering everything. He addresses that, extremely well, by creating and following, routines and check lists.

    Just some ideas you think about.

    1. johnf

      Sorry: Just some ideas to think about. Perhaps I should create a comment posting check list. :)

  6. The Rev Kev

    So sorry to hear of all that you are going through. It is trite to say that we all go through our own year of living hell, or annus horribilis as some call it, every now and again. We all of us probably have our share of horror stories. It doesn’t make it any easier and the only thing that you can I have found is to hold the line until things change as they always do. Only thing is, as you date your problems to your airport accident back in January of last year, yours seems to be going into extra overtime.
    Meanwhile, in the department-of-closing-the-barn-door-after-the-horse-has-bolted, may I offer up one or two suggestions for your laptop? Pavel’s comment above has similar thoughts. After you go through the hassle of getting a 2015 MacBook Pro again, perhaps it may be wise to acquire a second one if affordable, as a backup laptop. That is the first half. Then, after you have reinstalled all your programs, settings and main stored files, you install a hard drive cloning program. Acronis is one but I do not know how well that works for Mac computers.
    What this all amounts to is that if your new MacBook Pro goes belly up, you can take the whole thing back to when you have your backed up image (say, on an external hard drive) taken. If this new laptop dies or goes MIA too, then I think that with a good cloning program, that you may be able to put that saved image on your backup laptop with only minimal delay in getting back to where you are. Again, this idea may not suit your requirements but offer it anyway. Still, that missing laptop may still turn up so here is hoping.

  7. Dave

    Sorry about the computer. I would suggest that if you get a new Macbook pro, you get the one without the touchbar. It’s not just useless, it makes typing a nightmare! Also, I’ve heard it actually slows the computer down.
    I have a macbook pro and a cheap Lenovo Thinkpad. The only remaining advantage of the mac, as far as I am concerned, is the quality of the touchpad. You are right, it has been crapified.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, I plan to get what I have now, the 2015 MacBook Pro. The later ones got lots of complaints. That means refurbished or used, always a bit nervous-making.

      1. Knifecatcher

        That machine is still our corporate standard. We used to replace hardware every 3 years as a matter of policy, now given the unsuitability of the new machines for professional work we’re just keeping them as long as they still work.

        About 6 months ago I asked our IT dude what we’re doing about machines that absolutely need to be replaced and he said – at the time anyway – our reseller could still get new production 2015 macbook pros, though it was very hush hush and you needed some sort of secret handshake to make the order.

        Fortunately my machine is still chugging along. Good luck with the replacement.

      2. Inode_buddha

        I’ve had great luck in the past by buying surplus machines from banks such as M&T. Very clean and well-maintained, although they take out the hard drives for obvious reasons. Often a ~3 yr old machine can be had for as little as $120 shipped off eBay (they have surplus store fronts there)

    2. Oregoncharles

      FWIW, I can vouch for the Lenovo – I’m using one at this very moment. I usually don’t take it with me when I travel, giving myself a bit of an internet vacation; but Yves can’t do that.

  8. Clive

    I just love to travel. 20 years ago, I went everywhere and anywhere. I always enjoyed seeing the places I visited.

    Now, I never much see anything other than my hometown, London (a well trodden commute) and a few places near where my mother-in-law lives. Even visiting these I do as a rarity. I won’t venture out in holiday season (like now). I won’t do anything by road more than a 20 or 30 mile trip. If I could just click my fingers and magically appear at a destination, I’d pick up on my old love of travel. But not when I have to do the actual “travelling” bit. I’ve simply had enough of being at the sharp end of incidents like Yves’.

    Yesterday was a case in point. I was visiting a Japanese friend, which I try to do at least a couple of times a month on average. It should be a straightforward journey as I know the route and know the transportation options. I can walk to my local railway station so that’s a big plus, as is being on a main line. I can get pretty much everywhere I want to go with no more than a couple of changes. But the UK’s railways sure ain’t Japan’s so you can end up with long waits at stations if you end up missing a connection.

    My route to my friend involves two changes, the first was fine but the second I only made by a matter of minutes as the intermediate stop (a city called Bath, which is a tourist Mecca) gets congested because hoards of visitors clog up that station while taking luggage off the train (this additional stopping time isn’t built into the timetable and on a train which might call at two or three popular places enroute you can get a 10 minute delay by the time the train, which started at London, gets to Bath). But I did make my onward train connection.

    When I arrived at my final stop, however, disaster. The town where my friend lives is congested with traffic at the best of times, yesterday there was torrential rain which only made things worse. But what was fatal was that the local authority had permitted three different utility companies to undertake work on the road in three different key arterial routes into and out of town. I knew something bad was afoot when I got to the front of the station and found the taxi rank had only two cabs waiting. There’s usually a dozen.

    I got into one and the driver immediately said “you probably won’t get very far today”. He explained the malady which the town had had inflicted on it. I don’t like giving up so I said fine, I’ll try my luck as see how far I can get. Not very was the answer. After 15 minutes we’d covered about 500 yards and there was £8 on the meter already. I phoned my friend to apologise and said I’d have to cancel (she offered to have her husband come and pick me up, but I had to explain we’d both then just be in the same predicament). I asked the driver to double back and then went to see what damage limitation options I had by way of returning trains.

    My rail fare was £21, an overpriced coffee, water and danish for breakfast was another £7, the taxi to nowhere as I mentioned was £8, I was hungry by the time I did make it back to Bath, the only places I could get to in the 30 minutes I had there were tourist haunts just outside the station so the meagre lunch I found at the only decent cafe I know was another £5 — so I was down over £40 on the day (which I’d taken as a day off, so that’s one off the annual allowance) with absolutely sod all to show for it.

    And, suffice to say, that was merely an average bad travel day. I’ve had far worse than that. I might as well just become a recluse. No wonder people become isolated. And it’s not even like throwing money at the problem will fix it. So sympathy to anybody who’s had Journey From Hell experience(s).

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, ugh, what a mess and all for naught. I didn’t realize UK trains were so potentially unreliable but it should have occurred to me given austerity

      1. vlade

        Was like that before. British rail services was a byword for bad (late, old trains) and overpriced before GFC. It got worse since, although it may be hard to believe. One thing you have to give them is inventiveness as far as excuses for running late go. Such as “wrong type of snow” or “leaves on rails” (coz only UK has leaves, or maybe the special properties of the English leaves is something that German/French trains can’t deal with?) etc. etc.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Actually, leaves on the rails is a problem in the U.S. as well, whenever there’s a really wet spell after the fall leaves have dropped. Metro North and LIRR sometimes have troubles with this. When fallen leaves get wet, they stick to the rails, often in clumps, and it lessens the “grip” of the wheel on the rail.

          1. vlade

            Yes, the leaves on the rails are problem – but the point is, that they are problem everywhere, every year.

            It’s not like it is a UK specific problem. Other rail operators around the world have to solve it, and presumably did, given that trains (say) in continental Europe manage to run more or less on time, and most of the countries there tend to have more forests than the UK does. IIRC, Paris-Avignon TGV rail goes through more than a few miles of oak forests.

        2. larry

          The UK train companies have a leaf removel car which can go out before the day’s schedule begins and remove the leaves from the rails, but over the past few years, that car has not been used. What a surprise.

    2. run75441

      Sounds like Shanghai. If you can not walk it, stay in the hotel. Two strips of bacon, orange juice, and a roll – $12.00.

      1. Clive

        I’ve had similar thoughts. Two people coming from the provinces to, say, a march in London would be a £100 cost (~$130) including transport and a small allowance for provisions. Even if you shared a car, congestion charge, emissions charge, parking charges (worthy initiatives, but unavoidably regressive) plus $6-a-gallon gas would be as bad or worse. Protesting is now a middle class pastime. Add in the hassle factor and many would wonder “why bother?”.

        That’s before you consider the pricing out of “leisure” such as cultural enrichment through galleries, parks, theatre or museums. Increasingly out of reach for a lot of people.

        1. The Rev Kev

          And here I thought that “kettling” was only done to crowds of demonstrators in cities. I had not realized that you could kettle a population from its capital. No wonder how in some countries you hear of protestors being bused in.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Holy moley….even on a weekend when the congestion charge would hopefully be lower?

          We Americans are really spoiled by our cheap gas….which is why we’re the numero uno per capita contributors to global warming.

          1. Clive

            Yes, if you schedule your travel for a weekend you avoid the emissions and congestion charges which make it a little cheaper, but parking merely gets cut from “nosebleed” to “eye watering” levels (c. $20 for six hours, $30 for 12 — and then you have to pre-book on a select few not-especially convenient car parks). These fill up well in advance at anything resembling a popular time such as summer and the Christmas/New Year blocks.

            Forget any kind of street parking on a Saturday. There’s a two-hour waiting restriction outside my house and every street for miles around Monday to Saturday 08:00 — 18:30. My town is 50 miles from central London and any other place of any size is the same. US residents would be shocked at how anti-car Europeans have become.

            I was astounded at how car-centric even places like Brooklyn are. Like, you can street park outside your house or building with no restrictions (apart from the obvious like avoiding fire hydrants and so on). Only Manhattan seemed to be anything resembling where the balance was strongly tipped towards public transport.

  9. semiconscious

    So, the ‘ideal’ Dem-establishment candidate would seem to be a centrist LGBT[whatever] former-intelligence-community person of color who made their real money in Big Finance/Pharma/War. Did I leave anything out?

    i don’t think so. it’d appear that simply being a hindu military veteran congresswoman isn’t quite enough anymore:

    Tulsi Gabbard: how a progressive rising star is a paradox for the left

    seriously stupifying/disgusting…

    1. perpetualWAR

      Well, a lesbian ex-prosecutor candidate for Mayor is just fine for Seattle “progressives.” Jenny Durkan, who is all of the above, was voted in by Seattle “progressives.” Yet, Durkan failed big as a prosecutor. She was Western District US Attorney when she should have prosecuted WaMu executives for financial crimes. But she didn’t.

      I protested Durkan at my neighborhood community center because of her failure regarding prosecuting WaMu. I got boo-ed. It was at that point that I determined “progressive” Seattle was not progressive at all.

      1. crittermom

        It’s becoming obvious that the term ‘progressive’ is now being used to win votes, rather than expressing the actual views of that candidate (proven by their past performance), as you so solidly related from your own personal experience.

        Sadly, this shows how many are automatically supporting candidates just because they fit their idea of a ‘progressive’ on the outside. (Much like Hellary, Obummer, B Clinton pretended to be Democrats?)


        1. flora

          Identity politics is what the 1960s wins on civil rights have devolved to in politics. (Pay no attention to the incarceration rates or the wealth destruction in the minority communities. We got Identity Politics! What else could we ask for. /s) The civil rights movement was maybe the last real win for the old New Deal Dem party. Today’s Dem neoliberal estab wears identity politics like a badge of moral courage; instead, it is a distraction from their deliberate financial destruction of the middle and working classes – the people they used to represent (and now only pretend to represent), imo.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        High time to recognize this for what it is–absolution by identity.

        obama’s enablers executed it masterfully. Every criticism of every policy betrayal was excused, deflected and shut down as racism. Instant teflon, now being extended to any alternative “identity” that can be dreamed up. And the more identity puzzle pieces that can be assembled into one single candidate, the less assailable s/he becomes.

        (It’s almost funny to realize that gays and lesbians may have peaked too soon, and that that “identity” alone may have become too common to provide effective cover.)

        As far as I’m concerned, it’s a compelling argument for only voting for straight, white men, since they’re the only ones of whom any criticism, especially a completely legitimate one, will even be tolerated. Not because they’re more “worthy” mind you, but because they’re the only ones who don’t rob you of your voice.

        1. flora

          It’s a thing now for pols with questionable character to draw themselves up in a self-righteous, moralizing, indignant posture and attack their questioner’s morality and character, instead of answering the question; to accuse the questioner of the very failings or corruption the pol is being questioned about. I see this everywhere. This is some kind of ‘tell’ about said politician’s character. Its not a convincing performance.

          Question O’s policies? You’re a racist.
          Question Hil’s time as SoS? You’re a sexist.
          Question Kobach counting the votes for his own race? You’re trying to undermine the integrity of the election and the voting process.

          Rove would be so proud. His ‘children’ have learned well.

          1. Carey

            What you describe has been my experience, as well. I’d only add that
            it’s come much more often from “liberals” than from the right, whose
            adherents I can at least talk to.

            1. flora

              The essence of the civil rights movement, imo, was the rejection of ascriptive identity as a proxity for character, intelligence, worth, and belonging in the American experiment.

              How ironic to see the supposed avatars of civil rights fall into ascriptive identity as a proxity for all of the above. They are more interested in declaring ‘who does not belong’ than in fealty to MKL’s simple formulation (which applies to all races):

              ” have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
              – Martin Luther King jr.

          1. ambrit

            I have similar cyberio gustatorial issues from time to time.
            Phyl suggested I start spelling the offending NAME: S–net. (Since one has to supply ones’ own KY.)

              1. ambrit

                It shore ain’t Tennessee sweetheart!
                Keep safe. The ‘Silly Season’ has started big time.
                Speaking of “Silly Season,” there is a good science fiction story from the Fifties about an alien invasion that is staged in the “Silly Season” because the aliens have figured out that anything out of the ordinary reported in August will be discounted as too “silly” to be taken seriously.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      The corporate media are pedaling like mad to dilute the meaning of the word “progressive” so that they can apply it to standard centrist Third Way Dems while at the same time using it to bludgeon those who support most or all of the People’s Platform. In point of fact, most of us revolutionaries applaud Ms. Gabbard both for her willingness to meet with DT and to get on the ground in Syria. It’s The Comfortable ™ who will oppose and attack her on that basis, either directly or via pseudo-left candidates, and the purists on the left who can’t get it through their heads that all or nothing doesn’t win elections.

    3. oh

      That one sided article in the Guardian gives no details on what the candidates running against Tulsi are for! Just another hit piece probably fed by the DimRat party.

    1. ambrit

      Our local library once had the Criterion Collection box set with both the German and French versions of this film. Both were made at the same studio with the same director and crews but different actors. The versions are somewhat different also.
      Brecht and Weill would fit right in today with nary a problem.
      Imagine a Brecht and Weill play about Wall Street! (Indeed, the end of the German film version has the Villains becoming ‘respectable’ by becoming bankers!)
      If you want a peek at our near future, read about what happened to the outspoken actress Carola Neher who played Polly on stage and in the German version of the film.

      1. ambrit

        Yes and no. It depends on what version of the work we refer to. The “Kanon Song” is at the front of the stage play version of work. It is near the end in the film version. Pabst took great liberties with the stage version in his transferring it to celluloid. Much of the music and song was dropped in favour of a more standard plot progression. The stage play version is in almost a cabaret format.
        I still think a modern version is appropriate. “The Three Platinum Coin Video” perhaps. Disgraced bankster ends up running the Fed. Uh, Phyl says just drop the disgraced part and we have a WSJ headline.

        1. Carolinian

          Our library just got an excellent Pabst film–Kameradschaft. It may be a new Criterion transfer and available at yours.

        2. Shane Mage

          The Dreigroschenoper is an Opera. It is Weill’s music, not Brecht’s update of John Gay, that makes it one of the 20th century’s masterworks. It took two hundred years, and a composer of Weill’s stature, to update the Gay/Pepusch masterpiece. If someday a composer of Weill’s stature is there to update it, update away. Until then, *no updates*!

          1. ambrit

            You are too harsh SM. We live in debased times. Today ‘rip off’ is spelled “homage.” How’s a fellow to make a few pfennigs? (You have seen what passes for ‘art’ on Broadway now.) That’s an idea! Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy enters politics!

          2. ewmayer

            Interesting Kurt Weill factoid – he was married (twice!) to actress Lotte Lenya, best-remembered for her role as the deplorable poison-shoe-shin-kicking Rosa Klebb in the classic Bond film From Russia with Love.

            1. ambrit

              You should see her singing the “Pirate Jenny” song in Pabst’s German language film version of “Die Dreigroschenoper.” There’s a good reason why Bobby Darrin name checks her in his version of “Mack the Knife.”

                1. ambrit

                  I have an issue with the prices Criterion charges. It’s just my Scots Moms ancestors influence. See if your local Library has a copy and watch it to see if you want it for later watching other times.
                  I, being cheap by nature and upbringing, keep my eyes open for Library sales. Our local Library will often sell off extra copies of films they purchased extra copies of in anticipation of high public demand. That, however, usually involves recent filmic efforts. I have seen, and bought when in pocket, older films that were purged solely because their call for rates were below some algorithmic demand per customer ratio. Automation of processes can be the enemy of culture.
                  That said, there is also a French version of the oper done at the same time as the German version. Same director and crew but basically different actors. Also on the Criterion DVD set.
                  Happy viewing!

  10. KB

    Take care Yves……found your picture and a brief summary of this in my local paper today:
    “Yves Smith on Why We Didn’t See the 2008 Crash Coming”….I will supply the link but believe it to be behind a paywall…Curiously, this in a column by my favorite meteorologist, Paul Douglas, I believe a known conservative but heartily believes in climate change…Happy to see you and your wisdom in my local paper, The Star Tribune….cheers…

  11. JTMcPhee

    Yves, sympathy and empathy for both your recent travails and the longer term issues. Would a mid year fundraiser help with any resource related parts of the long struggles against political-econmy entropy?

    I’m sticking some funds in the contribution pot, less than I would like and less than you deserve for the massive importance of what you do. I hope lots of others will do the same, as partial compensation for what you give. Also another drop in the bucket for Water Cooler, for the same reasons.

    How many of us can imagine how much poorer we and the thoughtspace would be without you and NC?

    Here’s hoping your laptop finds its way home, and somewhere along here you take the time to recharge yourself.

    1. tegnost

      I will participate in a technology fundraiser…a couple weeks ago I dropped my much -less-important-than yves’ laptop, a cheapy but still…maybe the taxi driver is a reader of the blog, we can always hope…

  12. perpetualWAR

    Didn’t Michael Moore support Clinton? Perhaps Michael should examine just exactly how Trump happened: because of neoliberal policies like Obama allowing bankers to steal 18 million American homes with zero prosecutions. Until he does, Moore has no platform.

    1. crittermom

      I’ve seen you state the 18M number of us who lost our homes before, but wonder where you get that figure from?
      Not that I’m doubting you, but I’ve been unsuccessful in getting any recent figures.

      1. Skateman

        You should doubt it. It’s an absolutely bullshit number. There were only about 10 million homes foreclosed on, in total. To blame those foreclosures on Obama is retarded.

        1. Darius

          HAMP, HARP? Designed by sociopathic Obama favorite Tim Geithner to squeeze a few more payments out of distressed homeowners before the bank foreclosed. Obama sure did like to kiss the banks’ asses. If a bunch of poor schlubs’ lives were ruined, it was a small price to pay so his Ivy League-educated banker buddies could get their bonuses. After all, they’re the people who really matter. Way to go, Obama! You’re the best!

          1. RopeADope

            That program caused me to write off Obama for good. During the GFC a good friend had lost 2 businesses with buildings and 4 of 5 homes of his immediate family members. Bank of America got maybe a year and a half of ~$7000 monthly payments out of him for the last house that was half a million underwater. The family members that had lost all of their houses were living with him and his wife so they were willing to be extorted out of that much money. It was also the last remnant of 30 years of backbreaking 4am to 9pm work running his business so that was probably a year longer of making payments then someone normally would. During this whole time BofA kept giving them the run around that the paperwork was missing or in the wrong department and please send in again and make sure that huge payment keeps coming in. He ended up losing the house along with an extra $90k in payments above and beyond rental rates.

        2. Darius

          Retarded. A favorite word of Rahm Emanuel for leftists, and, I suspect, of all the Jons without an h who worked in the Obama White House. Funny how selective liberals are about outrage at bigoted language. Or not.

        3. perpetualWAR

          Skateman, I would like to ask you if you could name the Obama programs that saved Americans’ homes, how many homes were saved by each program. Next, I would like you to recite how much money went to each bank during the Obama administration. Keep in mind, these are the banks who were responsible for funding these predatory loans. Thirdly, please list the bankers who were indicted under Obama’s DOJ and went to jail.

          After you list all of that, then and only then, we will talk.

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          There were “only” 9 million foreclosures, and I’ve regularly called out readers who toss out higher numbers. However, it is absolutely correct to blame Obama. Most of them were of borrowers whose home ownership could have been saved by a not-necessarily-even-big principal mod, which would have also reduced investor losses. Many borrowers missed only a payment or two and a not-trivial number were created by banks (for instances, holding payments to make them late, not properly crediting payments made in the branch, etc.)

          You seem to forget we covered the foreclosure crisis in excruciating detail. The short version is that Obama had all the power in the world to force bank servicers to staff up to do principal mods, since the chain of title liability was so great it would have brought down the banking system. Instead, he gave the servicers (and hence the banks) a second bailout in the form of the National Mortgage Settlement of 2012.

    2. oh

      Not to mention that Obamba gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to the RePigs when they were on the verge of extinction.

  13. fresno dan

    Wages in the U.S. fell over the past year despite an ongoing economic boom, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

    In the last 12 months through July, real average hourly earnings dropped 0.4 percent. That figure takes into account seasonal differences, as well as the effects of rising prices.
    “despite an ongoing economic boom”
    To paraphrase The Princess Bride – I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means…

  14. Jack P Lifton

    Professor Eichengreen, who I respect and whose work I follow, says:

    “Finally, China continues to exercise tight control over its financial system, as well as maintaining restrictions on capital inflows and outflows. While the IMF has recently evinced more sympathy for such controls, a China-led international regime would be even more accommodating of their use. The result would be additional barriers to US financial institutions seeking to do business internationally”

    So, in other words, the Chinese approach to dominance will cause China to supplant the US as the world’s (or at least their region’s) center of finance and POWER, but if we follow the same path it will diminish ours.

    I note that: “The result would be additional barriers to US financial institutions seeking to do business internationally.” As the philosopher Seinfeld of Manhattan said: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for thinking of us but no thanks re Patreon. As Lambert says, if your business depends on a platform, you don’t have a business.

      Specifically, Patreon effectively owns your IP. It has a copy on its site and God only knows how easy/hard it is to extract it if you leave. They would never allow a comments section like the one we have (even if they were prepared to host 1+ million comments, which I really doubt, we would not be able to moderate and they would most assuredly own that IP)).

      They also charge 5%, and that’s before the 3% cut that credit card companies take.

      See these comments:

      1. Monty

        Writer C. J. Hopkins of has a patreon page and he never gives any rewards or content or anything like that. I am fine with that.

        It’s just an easy way to give a small recurring payment to show appreciation. Even if the site skims a few pennies off for the service, it’s easy for the donor.

        I would certainly pitch in a bit monthly if you had one set up. I’m sure many others would too. Set it and forget it. It all adds up!

    2. Clive

      Patreon are just plain evil. They make PayPal look like archangels, which takes some doing. In 2017 unilaterally — no consultation, they just went ahead and announced it — they advised they were changing their contractual agreements with subscribers to gouge them even more on their fees than they did already. Their user agreement permits them to make any alterations they see fit — no one in their right mind would ever enter into such an arrangement.

      Both content creators and subscribers had the Mother of All Hissy Fits and forced a retreat. But read the get-outs Patreon gave themselves — they’re just biding their time before planning something even nastier.

      I wouldn’t trust Patreon to monetise pictures of my mother-in-laws’s cat. Never mind anything as important as this blog is in the sphere of journalism.

  15. Norb

    Yves- the frustration expressed in the last paragraph of your intro is felt by many. Coupled with the images of dead children as the result of the US/KSA war in Yemen, it goes beyond just whining. It is deeper and more profound.

    It is putting into words and action the fight against injustice.

    It is the supreme contradiction of our times- especially in America- that in order to make a living, and survive in this country one has to meekly accept the obfuscation and outright lies dished out by those in power. The more one tries to resist the various encroachments into our liberty, the greater the chance of failure and oppression.

    This seems logical because fundamentally, one is still part of the reigning system, and that system depends on abuse to function successfully.

    Last week I was reprimanded at work for instigating too many “political” conversations. It seems in order to remain employed, I must up my game in political subversion. The latest round was brought about when coworkers were discussing auto insurance and the money saving opportunity afforded by installing a tracking device in your car- and supplying the data to the insurance company through your cell phone. Needless to say, I told them they were insane to participate in such actions. However, although hesitant, EVERYONE was going to participate in the practice in order to save money on their insurance.

    How does one cope with such actions?

    Your blog, and the community you have created have been a bastion of sanity over the years, but it is sobering to realize that it could end overnight. It is a sense that we are all building our futures on an ocean of sand.

    Please stay healthy, and in these times of searching for resilience, I send my best wishes that you can find balance in your endeavors.

    1. knowbuddhau

      My sentiments exactly, well said, Norb. I often wonder, sometimes aloud, how ya sposed to live a life of integrity, consonance, and clarity, in a fundamentally effed up society? (The process is the answer.)

      Sorry to hear, Yves. You’ll get through, and we’ll be here for you.

  16. Webstir

    Mindfulness Yves. I often find myself feeling the way you are currently. It always comes back to the fact that I’m not present in the moment. My brain is working 5 minutes ahead of my reality. I take a deep breath and continue to breath while mantra’ing the Serenity Prayer (I’m an atheist — but the utility of prayer was taught to me in AA). It always brings me back, slows me down, and centers my focus.

  17. Wukchumni

    …sitting here in the forest for the trees thinking about the flammability of our flimsy forays into fauna and the price to be paid when Prometheus comes calling

    What’s been different this year, is the lightning strike caused fires locally haven’t come on high, but @ rather pedestrian altitudes of 5,600 and 7,400 feet, leaving lots of latitude for upward conflagration, as in over a mile of vertical inferno.

    Both blazes were squashed in a hurry and i’d guess the one @ lower altitude that consumed all of 34 acres, cost somewhere in the vicinity of $150k to bat down.

    I practically get 2nd degree burns on the tips of my fingers when writing the check for $804 a year for insurance on the cabin in the National Park, and would feel naked without it, as when the inevitable comes along, we’ll be able to crawl from the wreckage and start anew, not that it’d be that easy to rebuild, for all of the sudden, 100+ cabin owners here would want to do the same thing, and finding competent construction workers that can do the job is on the difficult side, as they would have to drive 2 1/2 hours one-way to the jobsite each day, coming from Visalia.

    I feel certain @ some point, the insurance company will either really jack up the rate we pay, or simply not renew our coverage.

    1. Carolinian

      You may have answered this before but how is it there are private cabins in a National Park? Or are your neighbors park workers?

      I’m sure you and your neighbors are very careful about fire but of course there is a debate about the trend to put houses in or near national forests and fire prone areas. I visited an area near Prescott, AZ where the Forest Service had clear cut trees presumably, in part, to protect a nearby neighborhood of vacation cabins that were smack in the middle of the national forest. It seems that saving real estate is becoming a major chore for firefighters and impediment to things like fire breaks.

      1. Wukchumni

        Mineral King was previously a National Forest Game Reserve prior to it’s inclusion in Sequoia NP in 1978, and there are 2 types of private cabins here, about 70 or so on NPS land, and another 40 on land that was homesteaded in the 1880’s, where the cabins are on private land, surrounded by the National Park.

        It’s one of the only kind of it’s type within a National Park…

        The cabins date from around 1900, to a few built as recently as the past few years.

        I just had a conversation with the new owners of a cabin here, that bought it a few weeks ago. They submitted an offer 1 day after it was listed for sale.

        Cabins rarely come up for sale on the market, as a typical one built in say 1934, has 57 different owners now, and it isn’t as if owner #42 can sell it, for they are well and truly locked up, never to be sold.

        We’ve had NPS prescribed burns (they used to call them ‘controlled burns’ until too many got away) for the past 20 years, on most flanks of the cabin community here, and in so doing, they’ve created many fire breaks that could come in handy if fire comes our way, but most everybody here realizes the futility of fighting the inevitable that must surely come along some day.

        1. Carolinian

          There is an abandoned group of fishing cabins at the Elkmont area of the Smokies–abandoned as recently as the 1980s. That’s why I asked. The Smokies Nat. Park took a lot of private land when created in the 1930s.

          Of course if the Trump administration has its way you may soon be joined by oil derricks.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hi Yves, I sympathize and empathize with your problems. Since about Nov. 2017, it has been one time consuming/energy exacting exercise after another, for me.

    Just yesterday morning, before going to work, I grabbed a bunch of stuff, including my driver’s license (which I took out from my wallet the evening before when I went to the gym to work out) from the bathroom to get dressed. The next thing I knew, I couldn’t find the driver’s license. After about 10 minutes of frantically looking around for it (had to show up for work on time, you know), it turned out it was inside the shirt, on my left shoulder.

    (How did that happen????)

    I hope something like that is in store for you.

  19. Crow

    Social media posts could ruin your college dreams, lawyer warns RT

    This is really bad. Censorship, enforced conformity and political correctness moving forward engulfing the nation. Our country is cracking up. I object to what’s happening.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Social media posts could ruin your college dreams, lawyer warns RT

    Like cigarette smoking, it ought to be required by law that a highly visible warning be shown over the entire computer screen, before anyone posts, every single time, that such posting could lead to bad health, or misfortune in this case, for the rest of your life…not just ruining college dreams (college is not particularly special nor exception…free health care & free housing are as essential to survival as free college, if not more).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As for weed smoking, a similar warning might be needed.

      We’re, I think, in the process of reaching some sort of scientific consensus whether marijuana smoking leads to lung health problems, or not. The American Lung Association says (or at one time said…don’t know how recent the statement from them that shown on my duckduckgo search is) they are concerned.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Aren’t many if not most of the deleterious effects of smoking tobacco the result not of the tobacco itself but rather the myriad additives? I remember seeing a list of what was in just one brand of cigarettes a few decades ago and it read like a weapon for chemical warfare.

          1. Aumua

            Of course inhaling particulate matter straight to the lungs is perfectly safe, as long as it all natural weed, right? On a related note, you ever scrape the resin off your pipe? They don’t call it chronic for nothing…

          2. JBird

            I’m pretty sure the cigarettes are not safe, but from what little I’ve read, the various additives make the cigarettes more addictive, carcinogenic, and lung damaging. The smokers who roll their own smokes from less processed tobacco seem to have fewer problems.

            Rather like hamburgers you made yourself compared to a fast food chain. Both are not that healthy but it’s the fast food stuff that will kill you more quickly.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Smoke Weeeeeed Errrrydayyyyy, ya heard meeee!

        One or Two hits a day is optimal for my PTSD n Mental Health.

        1. ambrit

          It also makes the drive over the Causeway go bye quick. It is almost necessary for driving in Metairie.

            1. ambrit

              Oh good God! We lived in Covington and later North Tammany Parish. One night I tried to get my Kawasaki 500 Triple Stock up to a hundred going to the Northshore over the Causeway. At about a hundred and ten, my front wheel started to lift up off the roadway. Thankfully, not being loaded, I did not ram the wheel back onto the pavement but eased up on the throttle and made a gentle reacquaintance between front wheel and cement. I never pushed it that hard again.
              Yep. The Money is still in Mandeville and Covington.
              Slidell now. That has become a suburb of Chalmette.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Well, duh. The warnings have been out there pretty much since “social media” became a “thing.” Color me unapologetically unsympathetic.

      Given that there is an entire industry devoted to gaining admittance to the “most competitive colleges in the country,” it was just a matter of time before those institutions began looking past “personal essays” for additional ways to qualify potential students. And if it’s a “private” school, they pretty much get to do whatever they want, just like the “private” company called facebook.

      I don’t think it’s too much to ask of an applicant with “stellar grades, top test scores, [and] ‘amazing’ extracurricular activities and volunteer work” to engage in a cogent discussion of his/her online activities, even with an interviewer who was a “Bernie Sanders follower.” I mean what did the kid expect to do, recite the names of the AP courses he got A’s in, reiterate his class rank and recount heartwarming vignettes from his humanitarian volunteer work? Not exactly what I would call standout or “competitive.”

      And speaking of that “Bernie Sanders follower,” it sounds like she was hoist by her own “social media” petard and the school with her. Lucky for the kid that the parents could afford a good lawyer to out her. Advantage 9.9%. Again.

  21. JTMcPhee

    “FBI agent found not guilty of lying about gunshots”

    Well, not exactly if you read the piece — prosecution failed to prove its case, query how hard they tried. And there is this laugher from the prosecutors:

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Sussman declined comment after the verdict.

    The verdict marked another high-profile loss for prosecutors in cases related to the Bundy family, which opposes federal control of public lands.

    Ammon and Ryan Bundy plus five other occupiers were found not guilty of conspiracy and gun charges in a trial that ended two years ago.

    Earlier this year, charges stemming the Bundys’ armed standoff with government agents in Nevada were dropped.

    U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams said he strongly believed the Astarita case needed to be tried.
    “Our system of justice relies on the absolute integrity of law enforcement officials at all levels of government,” he said.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Globalization with Chinese Characteristics Project Syndicate (David L)

    Translated into Chinese: Globalization is written with Chinese characters.

    And courtesy of Google Translate: 全球化是用汉字写的

    Everyone in the world would do well to memorize that.

    Also from Google translate, the pronunciation guide (to help with memorization): Quánqiú huà shì yòng hànzì xiě de

    1. Plenue

      Somehow I think I’ll be just find not bothering to learn China’s ludicrous chickenscratch writing system.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not chicken scratch. This is the correct name, from Wikipedia:

        Bird-worm seal script (simplified Chinese: 鸟虫篆; traditional Chinese: 鳥蟲篆; pinyin: Niǎo Chóng Zhuàn) is a type of ancient seal script originating in China.

        1. Plenue

          I’ll take that as a compliment.

          It’s kind of telling how every civilization that has ever made use of hanzi eventually tried to move away from it. The Japanese partially adopted a phonetic alphabet, the Koreans fully developed a separate writing system, the Mongols made an attempt at a universal alphabet, the Vietnamese (admittedly under French rule) adopted a modified Latin alphabet. Even the Chinese themselves have attempted to simplify their characters.

          One only has to read about the hilarious history of the Chinese typewriter or the years or decades it can take to make a new Chinese font to come to an obvious conclusion: the Chinese writing system is just stupid.

  23. Wossname

    Proposing a NC community fund drive to replace Yves’ computer. Putting $ 500.00 where my mouth is.

    1. footnote 4

      $500 from here as well for the Yves Smith Stress-Reduction Fund – every contribution according to ability is one more warm body standing by your side.

      (Sending check to Tip Jar physical address to avoid credit card charge)

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      On the road myself now which is why I’m coming to this late, but I’m good for $100 when I’m back.

      I agree with everyone, this website is so precious to me, anchoring my day and keeping me informed and connected to others with a similar weltanschauung, that I owe you far more.

  24. Wukchumni

    New Zealand is set to ban foreigners buying homes after a spate of millionaires creating luxury doomsday bunkers has apparently pushed property prices up for local buyers.

    It comes after purchases by PayPal founder Peter Thiel and disgraced former NBC host Matt Lauer, who lost his job after allegations of sexual misconduct.

    The country’s centre-left government, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has blamed the wealthy expats for their major housing crisis with homelessness rates being among the highest in the developed world.

    The CANZ housing bubble is already in full retreat, and this will only exacerbate it, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  25. Eureka Springs

    One of the things I find so odd about mac products is that for the prices they charge customers should be able to order many custom features.

    Anyway out here in Deploraville I’m seeing a few nice 2015, 15″ pro models for 1200 on craigslist.

    Feel better Yves. There’s no place like home.

    1. Plenue

      Apple inflates their prices by at least 100%. You can see this on a per component basis just by going to their website and customizing a computer. Then compare what they charge for a hard drive, disc drive, memory, etc, to prices on Newegg or a similar site.

      1. Lambert Strether

        As a long-time Mac user like me (and I assume Yves) I’ve got 2018 – 1986 = 32 years of Mac muscle memory, hours a day, every week. It really is not easy to change, at least of 5% or 10% loss of productivity matters…

        1. Plenue

          I’ll have to take your word for it that Apple used to be good. I’ve never been impressed with their UI or design stylings. But from the sounds of it they’ve basically forced you to change, whether you want to or not, through crappification.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I was able to do desktop publishing because of Apple, and become a writer as well. (The Acta outliner, now Opal, enabled me to finish what what I began, because I could write in a non-linear way and reorganize.) At the time the Mac became my platform, there was simply no comparison to the PC, at least in my mind.* That’s two careers, so I’m grateful to their technology. But somewhere along the way, I think when the Cook/Ives obsession with thinness began, the Mac turned from a star to a dog. I waver. If I have to swap platforms, I have to surrender all those years of muscle memory, and take weeks or months to learn new habits (under deadline pressure, too).

            * My theory is that because the PC was so bad, it required an army of consultants and trainers to make it useful, even though the sticker shock was less. These consultants and trainers then sold it as the superior platform, when it wasn’t. There’s probably an analogy to the Democrat Party in there.

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              Having both Mac and Windows laptops, and having switched from the latter platform to the former after years of using the latter, I really, really, really would never want to drop my Macs. Sorry, but there is simply no comparison. I have two 2015 Macbook Pros, and I’m booted up and ready to work in three minutes. I boot up the Lenovo and just getting to the login screen takes that long. Getting everything loaded takes another 10 minutes, and if there are OS updates, I can’t do squat till Microsoft gets done screwing around.

              My daughter, who was a certified MS tech, recently went to Mac after using a 2004 Macbook I sent her to use to format ebooks for iBooks.

              This is one of those debates that will go on endlessly, but the sad fact is those of us who are Mac users are hopelessly averse to moving to Windows. And we have very good reasons for it. :-) Just comparing the ease of use of Pages vs. Word for desktop publishing is a selling point.

              Yves, if it’s of any use, I bought my backup MBP from Best Buy; it was a Geek Squad certified refurb. I haven’t had a lick of trouble from it in three years.

              1. Plenue

                All I can say is that your Windows setups must have run on really bad hardware. My Windows 10 machine is fully usable within 15 seconds of hitting the power button.

              2. Kurt Sperry

                I migrated from Mac to PC some years back, it took some getting used to. My Dell XPS laptop (which I quite like) boots nice and fast, although I think most of the credit goes to the SSD hard drive. The sheer number of hardware and software choices for PC is both a blessing and a curse for me, though more a blessing I think overall.

    2. Whoa Molly!

      Quick scan: looks like about $2000 for a fully equipped, refurbished or excellent condition MacBook Pro.

  26. Wukchumni

    Fed-up locals are setting electric scooters on fire and burying them at sea Los Angeles Times

    There’s a quite poignant photo in the link of an electric scooter about 2/3rds buried in sand on the beach, that is reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty scene in Planet Of The Apes, or would it be Planet Of The Apps?

    1. Lambert Strether

      > reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty scene in Planet Of The Apes,

      And for good reason. This is the first example of mass property destruction, in recent times, that I can think of.:

      Lt. Michael Soliman, who supervises the LAPD Pacific Division’s Venice Beach detail, said he’s aware of some vandalism — his team has seen scooters left in a pile 10 feet high. But because people aren’t reporting such incidents, it’s not something officers are responding to, he said.

      Yet mayhem directed at dockless scooters is the order of the day on Instagram’s “Bird Graveyard,” whose contributors relish publishing photos and videos of scooters that have been set aflame, tossed into canals, smeared with feces and snapped into pieces. The account has more than 24,000 followers.

      One moderator, a Westsider who declined to give his name for fear of prosecution, said that more than 100 videos and photos of scooters being defaced are submitted to the account each day. Only the most outrageous are published.

      This goes beyond ritualistically smashing ATMs or Starbucks. I think the key point is the the scooters are vulnerable and unguarded; as abandoned (as indeed they are, after use). So it will be interesting to see if property comes to be perceived as vulnerable, and if so, what will happen to it.

      1. Wukchumni

        It does set up things for a ‘smash & trash’ mentality with all other private property, as i’d imagine the powers that be are happy to see the public doing their job for them, in regards to scooters.

        1. Earl Erland

          Protect private property at all cost, such as we saw with Occupy and DAPL. Never do a cost benefit analysis. Why? It is not a cops job. He or she is only following the orders of GoGovCo, a wholly owned subsidiary with the power to bend the imaginary market competition counter forces to unending profit and destruction. It makes perfect sense that some aspiring student would get droned for being connected to Alex Jones. It is of course ridiculous to be scared of ideas, but hey we are shoveling trillions into a War on Terror. If I was applying to University today, I would never mention I read Mein Kampf as a teenager, because I would have no hope of explaining to an Admissions Officer that I was interested in WW2 because I had several uncles and a Grandfather who fought, two in infantry roles, in that War. But Mein Kampf will still be read, even if only by those who view it as an inspirational blue print.

  27. Ignim Brites

    “A Simple Modern Money Tale – Buckwell Island Establishes a Currency”

    Instead of long winded tales of how any MMT regime “might” work or “logically” could work, how about some analysis of how a couple of currency issuers currencies have failed. What mistakes from an MMT perspective did these sovereigns make and what might have been done at each stage of the collapse to rescue the situation. Turkey and Venezuela come to mind. Additionally it would be good to have an analysis from an MMT perspective of what potential currency sovereigns might do to become currency issuers. Greece, Italy and Cook County, IL come to mind.

    1. Wukchumni

      Kinda read like the money from Yap Island, where a bunch of stoners lived.

      Rai, or stone money (Yapese: raay[1]), are more than 6,000[2] large, circular stone disks carved out of limestone formed from aragonite and calcite crystals.[3] Rai stones were quarried on several of the Micronesian islands, mainly Palau,[4] but briefly on Guam as well, and transported for use as money to the island of Yap. They have been used in trade by the Yapese as a form of currency.

      The monetary system of Yap relies on an oral history of ownership. Because these stones are too large to move, buying an item with one simply involves agreeing that the ownership has changed. As long as the transaction is recorded in the oral history, it will now be owned by the person to whom it is passed and no physical movement of the stone is required.

      In 1871, the Irish-American David Dean O’Keefe was shipwrecked near Yap and was helped by the natives. Later, he assisted the Yapese in acquiring rai and in return received copra and trepang, which were valuable exports in the Far East.[9] O’Keefe provided the Yapese with iron tools. As a result, a form of inflation set in and rai stones acquired with his help were less valuable than more ancient ones. The film His Majesty O’Keefe is the story of his life on Yap.

    2. TroyMcClure

      Turkey borrowed in foreign currency (like Argentina.)

      Greece, Italy and Cook County don’t issue their own currency.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Well Greece and Italy have issued their own currency in the past and I would assume MMT proponents would expect they would be better off doing so in the future. And I would assume that MMTers would think that Cook County could only fund their pension liability and simultaneously maintain some semblance of civic service by issuing their own currency even if that required them to secede. And truthfully, who would even want to stop them from seceding. So the way is wide open for MMTers to make their case.

        And if the MMT answer to why Venezuela’s currency collapsed is that they were allowed to borrow a foreign currency, does that mean that in principle the citizens of a sovereign under a MMT regime cannot access foreign capital markets?

        1. John k

          MMT is not a different regime. It just explains how fiat money works.
          You can borrow in a foreign currency, but it’s like a drug… easy to get addicted and go overboard just because, while your currency is relatively high, it is cheaper, or allows access to foreign goods… and that’s another drug like luxury. Not too much.
          Venezuela sacks experienced oil workers not loyal to the ruling party, and does not make payments when due to foreign oil cos developing hard to extract heavy oil, so production crashes. Then they operate two exchange rates, a favorable one for insiders that helps them get their money out, a much lower one for businesses importing goods in short supply.
          And I think they’ve taken productive ag land and given it to people that don’t know how to farm.
          Nothing wrong with socialism, but a well run efficient economy generates more wealth that can be shared than one badly mismanaged. This country has the most oil on the planet and is going broke, huge numbers of formerly productive workers migrating to many other SA countries.

        2. Jag mayeroffer

          If you really want a good example of MMT working, all you have to do is look at our money system. Money’s created outta thin air by govt laws and policies, used within society and taxes are where the money is destroyed, ie inflation control.
          Fed taxes dont fund federal spending, money creation. We need to stop calling MM a theory, because it’s in plain site.

    1. Synapsid

      Ignim Brites,

      Your mention of Turkey and NATO brings to mind something I’ve wondered about for a while:

      Last I looked, US nukes were stored at Incirlik, a Turkish air base in the SE of the country. NATO protocol says that the host country is responsible for the safety and security of nukes based in their country. The Turkish military, then, has responsibility for the security of US nukes in Turkey. Erdogan has brought the Turkish military pretty effectively under his control, it seems. This is not a happy thought, though I suspect that it would be difficult for Turkey to take control of the things. Maybe a point of vulnerability?

      It is possible for the US to remove them but there’s a waiting period after announcement of intent; I don’t recall how long it is. At any rate such an announcement would be a powerful slap in the face to Turkey and we already aren’t getting along.

      I was stationed on Turkey’s Black-Sea coast for thirteen months long ago and loved the country and the people. And the food! It’s sad to see what’s happened there.

      1. Ignim Brites

        I thought JFK removed nukes from Turkey in return for the USSR removing their nukes from Cuba. I am unaware that the US has redeloyed nukes although I would not be surprised.

        1. ambrit

          A quick scurry to my personal ‘Wayback’ machine says that the nukes in question were also in Italy. The Jupiter missiles, actually rockets.
          The redeployed nukes are of the air deliverable variety. Different from the old Jupiter launched versions. Possibly much smaller, in terms of yield, today.

          1. Ignim Brites

            So presumably the US military has a contingency plan to get the air launched nukes out in case our ally Turkey (Russia?) moves to seize our base (s) there.

            1. ambrit

              I’m thinking that the Russians want the Turks to seize those American nukes even less than America does. I’d be surprised if the Russians haven’t made that fact plain to the Turkish General Staff already.

        2. pretzelattack

          yeah, after (not before) the cuban missile crisis. would have been avoided a major risk by not deploying them in the first place.

  28. David in Santa Cruz

    Tip deposited. Sorry about the Mac and the bag. Too much traveling frazzles the brain.

  29. Summer

    Re: Yves
    “feels like a pattern, that everything I do on a routine basis just gets more and more difficult”

    I don’t know how feasible it is for you, but maybe an occassional travel buddy would give you a new look at the routine. Of course, that depends on the urgency of the travel agenda.

  30. Wukchumni

    For all our vaunted airport protection from terrorists, all it would take to lay waste to the state is a rental car, a full tank of gas and a dozen road flares, starting in say Lake Isabella, making their way north to Lake Tahoe, all in the space of a day.

    …and essentially unstoppable

    1. cm

      Arizona has similar vulnerabilities. How odd that the major terrorist threat hasn’t made any headway since 9/11,

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      here, it’s a loose chain bouncing along the shoulder behind a big hay trailer.
      spot fires every 200 yards for 20 miles.
      but the monsoon finally happened, and 6-8 inches of rain later, and all’s quiet on the scanner.

      and Yves.
      My empathy and sympathy.
      getting older and more damaged means you might hafta rethink some things.
      my doddering cripplehood started when I was 36, and I resisted it tooth and claw…until re-reading Marcus Aurelius re-lit the introspective lamp and I relised that there was nothing for it, that I couldn’t muscle through with bruxist tenacity any more.
      coming to terms with such limitations isn’t easy.
      I’m with you in Rockland.

  31. Brooklin Bridge

    One of my own concerns is software that becomes unusable due to lack of support if I move to a ‘next’ OS. Libraries change; it’s happened to me before and backwards compatibility seems to no longer be a big concern due to ze cloud (which I refuse to have anything to do with) and the tectonic shift -well advanced now- toward application rental rather than ownership.

    The two solutions I see right now are one or more virtual machines on which ever OS I choose as a host and a better backup and/or fail-over/syncronization strategy. It can get pricey and I don’t have a ton of physical space either, but it would be nice -if I have to travel- to feel that potential loss is restricted to the point of departure until point of re-sync.

    I keep saying this, but keep never having the time to make it happen.

  32. Oliver Budde


    Re your bag, contact the TLC. They GPS-track all yellow and green cabs and can tell you the medallion number and owner of the car that dropped you off once you give them the address and time. If the owner is not a solo, you will have the name of the garage and they in turn can ask the driver. Don’t write off the driver or give up hope yet.

  33. Corky

    We are all getting squeezed these days. Yves, your story is all too familiar to me. Do not be angry at yourself. Do not ever give up. Most of all: SURVIVE. I stumble through minimum wage jobs battling a disease I have had for three decades and I “trip over my own shoelaces” constantly. Your site is one of the things that keeps me going. Take care of yourself and keep yourself alive.

  34. William Hunter Duncan


    For what it is worth, this website is about the only place online I go regularly for information on the day to day mess the world is becoming. Here’s to hope for an imminent rise in the wave of your personal life, out of the nadir and into the light.


  35. David Carl Grimes

    Losing a college admission for merely following Alex Jones on Twitter? That’s too much. Pretty soon we could lose our jobs for reading NC

    1. ambrit

      s/ Those of us who have jobs. /s
      Snark aside, what about State wealth transfer payments? Like a connection between our Social Security cheques and our social media habits? I am cynical enough to see this coming down the pike. Already, one needs a ‘good credit score’ to rent in the ‘upscale’ apartment complexes. No credit score at all? Sorry, you can’t live with the ‘good’ people.
      It is already becoming a case of literally: “Conform or Die.”

  36. Hayduke Lives!

    Regarding EPA being blasted for giving go ahead for poisonous pesticides and, earlier, apparently easing up on asbestos. Government stooges exist to do the bidding of their corporate sponsors, amirite? So where’s the full list of who is lobbying to change the laws so they can use these chemicals? Seems to me blasting them would be much more fruitful than blasting government prostitutes. Geez, of course Pruitt and his replacement are corrupt. That’s why they were chosen. They wouldn’t put up any kind of resistance to eliminating what passes as consumer/earth friendly laws at that joke they call the EPA.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      You don’t understand. These things aren’t about showing that the agencies we were told are looking out for us were actually doing only what was minimally necessary to protect their true employers, the corporations. This is about TRUMP!!! and how awful he is and aren’t you sorry now you voted for Jill Stein or didn’t vote and make sure you get out and vote for whoever the Democrat establishment ordains in November.

      And try pointing out to The Comfortable ™ that ordering people to vote for a particular candidate or even to demand they vote no matter who is just another form of dictatorship. Put on Kevlar first.

      1. Skateman

        So no matter how much Trump takes a crap on our environment, reporting on it is only a plot to make people vote Democrat? Really logical thought process you got there. At what point does the environmental destruction and corruption actually become simply about what Trump does, rather than about the liberal media?

  37. anon

    Heartbreaking. I’m wondering if an unaffordable rent increase — $eattle/Amazon/Microsoft — where he lived with his wife (not sure if there were children) may have been a last straw:

    Suicidal Seattle airport worker who crashed a 76-seat plane after an hour-long joyride told air traffic control he was ‘ a minimum wage, broken guy with a few screws loose’, and then vomited in the cockpit before plummeting to the ground

    What to say about a country whose Multinational Corporations and Political ‘Leaders’ wittingly create such despair for its residents. I wish Bezos, et al, would disappear forever from the face of the earth, go to Mars and never return.

    (And very sorry about your laptop Yves, I can’t imagine how I’d feel if that happened. I hope you find it, Oliver Budde’s suggestion above sounded hopeful.)

    1. anon

      I hate how the Daily Mail change their headlines (and god knows what else) using the same, or a rerouted URL (disappearing pixels!). The link description in my above comment: Suicidal Seattle airport worker who crashed a 76-seat plane after an hour-long joyride told air traffic control he was ‘ a minimum wage, broken guy with a few screws loose’, and then vomited in the cockpit before plummeting to the ground was solely the Daily Mail’s article title —NOT MINE — and has now been changed to REVEALED: Suicidal Seattle airport worker who crashed a 76-seat plane after an hour-long joyride had passed ALL background checks and was at the end of his shift when he stole jet; which will likely change again.

      That practice is as bad as how Online™ newspaper titles, are many times far different than the printed Hardcopy titles for the same article. The Technocratic Meritocracy Slobbering [San Jose] Mercury News has made a fine ‘art’ of that, for years. That’s Capitalism!

    2. VietnamVet

      It is truly sad to see the passenger plane loop over the Sound and pass over what could have been my old home where I was raised. I’m now an Expat living in Maryland. I left to get a job with a living wage and benefits that that keeps us alive today. This, California’s Fire Tornadoes, Minnesota’s smoky haze and the scooter destruction frenzy indicate that the Elite’s ignorance of what is happening on the ground is about to end. Nothing shows their self-destructive behavior more than the imposition of sanctions on Turkey and the crashing Lira. The contagion will spread to the European banks that invested there. But unlike Greece, Turkey will embrace aid from Iran, Russia and China. Loans will go unpaid. European banks will crash. NATO will break up and the Dardanelles close. When money is to be made, plutocrats and corporations care not who gets hurt and can’t see beyond this quarter’s profits.

      1. anon

        The more I read, the more it breaks my heart: update

        And yeah the Plutocrats, I’d love to witness them receiving what they so richly deserve before I die; their wealth and real estate holdings lost, power stripped from them, credibility and agency™ denied them (as they denied it from so many billions who actually earned it, but were denied it), and suicide barriers all around them so they can’t even escape their poverty ridden fate.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          my brother and his girls came up and me and the boys and them went and floated the Llano river, so all that drama was only in my peripheral awareness til this morning.
          but I got to hold forth about Neitszche’s “200 years of Nihilism”, any way…while parking the canoes against a cliff made of billion year old seabed, for context.
          lichens and ferns creating little universes in the rock face, where a tenacious sycamore somehow managed to lodge itself and minuscule spiders hang out and watch the river go by.
          The tenuous connection to the world gone mad(tm) out there, grew more tenuous with our isolation, but my brother and I were still aware of it, like the thunderheads on the northern horizon indicating it was prolly time to get closer to the trucks.
          I’m paying for that little excursion, today…even though the boys are big enough now to drag dear old dad through the sand bars(“canoeing the Llano” is often really “hiking in the Llano while pulling a canoe”, even after droughtbusting 6″ rains).
          and that joyride story…and listening to the tape of that poor sod yammering…is just too depressing. It feels like an indicator.
          like the lack of frogs saying “too much chemical” in the wetland.
          There’s a great disturbance in the Force.

    1. skippy

      Ditto… STO

      Best bit is when I posted this elsewhere the immediate reply I got was:

      “The analysis misunderstand the true nature of debt. It’s an accounting illusion, and we are ‘borrowing’ from the future rather than each another. The danger of government debt is not the amount of deficit, but the total failure of government.”

      Which is kinda self fulfilling in my observations wrt those that are beholden to such views, but then premise their philosophy off a goal about the enviable collapse they dream of… work for…

  38. Tomonthebeach

    If at first you don’t succeed…. you get a hellova lot of unsolicited advice. (Late Arnold Stang)

    As somebody who just renewed his passport early because I ran out of pages to stamp, here are a few suggestions.

    (1) Gates owns PCs, get over it and buy a light-light from the Surface Pro line and rent the software from MS.

    (2) Briggs and Riley Expandable Upright (2-wheel) baseline, model U122CX. Light ballistic nylon. Mine has at least 300K miles on it – most of them on trips under 1K miles. Over 8 years, it is still like new. Tough as a Tumi, but it can expand so you can stuff in souvenirs and check the bag on the return leg.

    (3) Never check a laptop. They get pilfered. Looks like soon checked laptops will be banned anyway.

    (4) Start a quest to find a hardback briefcase that will hold the new Surface PC, sound-deadening earbuds, Retrak cables, chargers, international converters, HDMI cable, spare batteries, tiny portable phone charger, mouse, tiny 1/2TB memory solid state drive, and your inflatable neck pillow. The now-deceased Brookstone folks made mine. Tthe NOBRAC carbon is nice or the 3″ Halliburton Zero. The Tumi CFX is best, and the $1,000 pricetag ensures you will never leave it behind – ever :-)

  39. Whoa Molly!

    > this also now feels like a pattern, that everything I do on a routine basis just gets more and more difficult


    I think you just got a $2000 wakeup call.

    When stuff like this happens to me it is usually my unconscious telling me something has to change, and soon.

  40. Bulfinch

    I gotta ask…what kinda earrings are we talking about? I got a guy what I bet could recreate anything…

    1. petal

      I also have a friend with her own jewelry business-she is quite talented. Would be glad to ask her about your earring!

    2. Bulfinch

      AND!…I will pay to recreate them. I know what it’s like to have an uncanny and even unreasonable attachment to things from the physical realm. I’m pretty sure if this place caught on fire right now, I’d grab something moronic like my favorite jacket or shirt…

  41. oh

    Non profit doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re good. Direct donations are the best and give less to the middle vultures.

  42. JTMcPhee

    Another thing to thank the Democrat defaication for:

    Air Pollution Denial Could Become EPA Policy

    For decades, the agency has said that inhaling soot in any amount is unsafe. The Trump administration might change that

    Yes, the Obama admin did adopt the PM2.5 rule. But the “secret science” thing has been in the institutional DNA since the forking Reaganauts took power in 1980 and started implementing the Big Plan on how to capture and selectively dismantle the executive regulatory functions. The plan was all laid out in the Heritage Foundation’s “Mandate for Leadership” book, and here’s a bit of a summary and notes of some of the damage to civil society planned and accomplished by the little sneaks, lots of Young Republican climbers and oligarchs, that made the Heritage Foundation such an effective part of the Kitchen Cabinet and Disloyal Opposition:

    So we mopes can look forward to shorter lives, as the current rulership promulgates new rules (it would be a falsehood to call them “regulations”— “deregulations,” maybe) that change a supposed strict “no effects threshold” of ZERO to something much higher and more deadly. And of course that new dys-regulation would be “all nice and legal,” pro forms at least.

    Maybe that could be a talking point in the category of stuff “progressives” ought to be hammering on, among so many others ( negative material damages, vs concrete material benefits), as reasons why it’s time for a vast turnover of incumbents that make up the Duopoly.

  43. skippy


    For all your wrought do you – see – do you see how many lives you touched, how much your intellect and humanity has afforded others… considering the forces brought to bare against dominate concocted philosophy.

    Hold your head high and appreciate the love others imbue upon you in recompense for other means of worth.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for the willingness to help, but hate to tell you, did it for two years back in the days when I had more time and income, 2-3X a week private sessions with supposedly the best practitioner in NYC. Didn’t help.

  44. Eclair

    Oh, gosh, Yves. I didn’t check in Saturday morning because we were off with a friend for the day. There have been times in my life when I have been overwhelmed …. a divorce, my mother’s final illness, a cross-country move for a new job which turned out to be in a shark-tank culture. I fell down steps, backed the car (numerous times) into immovable objects, became depressed and/or anxious, shed pounds, was unable to sleep.

    And I never set myself the punishing schedule that you maintain. So, remember that the body has limits despite what the mind and spirit demand. You are making a difference. You can vent to us.

  45. Yves Smith Post author

    That number is utterly implausible. There were only 53 to 55 million homes in America with mortgages on them. Foreclosures were no where near the level of one in every 3 homes with a mortgage on it.

    There are stats on this, and it’s ~9 million. I’ve corrected you repeatedly and you persist in spreading disinformation. Agnotology is a violation of our written site Policies. Do this again and you go in moderation.

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