Links 8/17/18

Dear patient readers,

Your humble blogger is still behind. I wanted to do a Brexit post but that will have to wait. I spent time with the tLC which in theory should be able to find the ride where I lost my laptop based on key variables but has not. A tech guy who sounded promising wasn’t willing to accept my requirements, but I think another candidate will work out.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died CNN

Aretha Franklin, ‘the queen of soul’, dies aged 76 Guardian

Are Cities Making Animals Smarter? Atlantic

Rare ‘bamboo rat’ photographed at Machu Picchu PhysOrg

99-million-year-old beetle trapped in amber served as pollinator to evergreen cycads PhysOrg (Kevin W)

NASA’s playlist of wakeup songs for Opportunity the Mars rover Quartz (Chuck L). I dunno, if you REALLY want to wake someone up, I would have included Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Ginastera.

The nightmarishly complex wheat genome finally yields to scientists ars atechnica (Kevin W)

Why Does DMT Make You Feel Like You’re Dying? Motherboard

Burn, Baby, Burn

British Columbia declares state of emergency as over 500 wildfires burn Guardian (David L)

Cryptocurrency: Currency of the Future or Just a Fad? National Conference of State Legislatures. UserFriendly: “States coming after crypto too.”

Both low and high-carb diets can raise risk of early death, study finds Guardian. Crap reporting and like pretty much all diet-related studies, the study sounds lousy too (read it here). Correlation is not causation. And the study method was awful too:

Those people filled out questionnaires on their eating patterns on two occasions, six years apart

“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare Counterepunch (Chuck L). My first MD (a cardiologist in his late 30s) was perfectly fine with debating his diagnoses, in fact he seemed to enjoy it in case he’d missed or overweighted something. But it’s not hard to see why psychotherapists are less secure.

A Huge Misperception About Sex RealClearScience (UserFriendly)


China ‘training for strikes’ on US targets BBC

China, Unsure of How to Handle Trump, Braces for ‘New Cold War’ Bloomberg

Google Employees Protest Secret Work on Censored Search Engine for China New York Times

India deploys military to save southern residents trapped by flood DW

Greece’s eight-year odyssey shows the flaws of the EU Economist


UK pharma chief: EU stance ‘puts patients at risk’ after Brexit Politico


Riding on Qatari wings, multipolarity arrives in the Middle East Asia Times (Kevin W)

Syria – Pentagon Plants High ISIS Numbers To Justify Occupation Moon of Alabama


The lira is tumbling after the US said it’s ready to kick its battle against Turkey up a notch Business Insider

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Chinese Cops Now Spying on American Soil Daily Beast (Chuck L)

German government places Socialist Equality Party on subversive watch-list WSWS

Trump Transition

Trump escalates feud with intelligence officials The Hill

America’s Newspapers Just Played Right Into Trump’s Hands Politico

Trump lashes out at China, Mexico for role in opioid crisis New York Post (Kevin W)

Did Trump Really Save America From Socialism? The American Spectator. UserFriendly: “If Alex Jones wrote articles, this is what he’d write.”

The fragile legacy of Barack Obama Brookings. UserFriendly: “WOW a substantive critique of Obama!!!!”

Obamacare forgot about you. But Trump didn’t. Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Obamacare forgot about you – no, he just wanted to bost insurance profits. But Trump Won’t – HAHAHA”

Google releases a searchable database of US political ads TechCrunch (Chuck L). Google doing a random act of non-evil to keep you off balance.

New McCarthyism

Soaring US profit margins pose challenge for investors Financial Times. UserFriendly: “Let me get my tiny violin for the investors:”

With 90 per cent of companies in the S&P 500 having reported their results for the second quarter, net profit margins hit 11.8 per cent, the highest level since financial information provider FactSet began recording the data in 2008.

Why Are ATMs Disappearing at an Alarming Rate after a Wave of Branch Closures? Wolf Street (EM)

Tesla Was Under SEC Scrutiny Prior to Musk’s Tweet Wall Street Journal

Tearful Musk Tells NYT Nobody Reviewed Tesla Funding Tweet Bloomberg

Meet the renegade who’s teaching the world to fix totaled Teslas Fast Company

U.S. banks teach financial literacy with hands-on experience Reuters. EM:

Oddly, I don’t see any mention of teaching the youth about predatory lending, foreclosure fraud, phony account creation, transaction reordering to maximize overdraft fees, or usury interest rates on credit cards. Perhaps those are in the advanced second-year curriculum?

Class Warfare

School Choice Is the Enemy of Justice New York Times (UserFriendly)

New CDC estimates: A record 72,000 US drug overdose deaths in 2017 WSWS

What you probably don’t know about Social Security MarketWatch (UserFriendly)

Top CEOs’ compensation increased 17.6 percent in 2017; The ratio of CEO-to-worker compensation grew to 312-to-1 Economic Policy Institute

The Evidence Is In, and Austerity Is Declared a Loser Truthdig (furzy)

Agency Collects $50 Million From Kentucky Students Without Court Order Governing (UserFriendly)

How Trump’s War on Regulation Is Trickle-Down Economics American Prospect

Why Amazon’s HQ2 Hunt May Be Costing Cities That Aren’t Even Finalists Governing (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. integer

    David Ford – State Of The Union

    Clap your hands in the sparkle and glitter
    Shake your heads at the twisted and bitter
    Oh they don’t know how lucky they are…

    How they love you so cold and so vicious
    With friends like these, well who needs politicians
    The first one, its always comes free
    They tell you heroin takes like ice cream…

    And have no fear of the state of the nation
    Let the facts have no bearing on public relations
    It’s a shame, it’s a shame, it’s a shame

        1. skippy

          I would suggest the Jane’s Addiction clip where a bottle rocket is lit in their loft with a chicken present in the room as accompaniment, landing in the clothes rack to start a fire as punctuation. The slow motion treatment as its lit reflects the time distortion some experience under the currant environment.

  2. fresno dan

    fresno dan
    August 16, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Nancy Altman: The truth about Social Security today is that it works extremely well. It is completely consistent with the founder’s vision and in fact, although some revisionist historians today say the founders wouldn’t recognize it, not only would FDR recognize it today but they’d be shocked that it wasn’t larger and didn’t include Medicare for All, or paid parental leave, or medical leave, because those are all aspects they envisioned.
    MarketWatch: What are the biggest misconceptions about Social Security?
    Altman: One huge misconception is that it is going bankrupt and it is unaffordable. Whether to expand Social Security or cut Social Security is a question of VALUES, not affordability.
    We run deficits because of defense spending year in and year out, and nobody squawks about that. Its a matter of POLITICS, not economics.
    Deficits don’t matter. Don’t trust me, trust Dick Cheney:
    You know, Paul (Paul O’Neill, Treasury Secretary) Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due.

    Social security is endangered only because rich, stupid, greedy people have a lock on the government.

  3. fresno dan

    Antidote du jour: And a bonus video:

    Do goats wag their tails when they are happy? I have to say, that is one mellow dog.

        1. Stratos

          I think the Prez is the stupid, posturing goat. The Media that seldom barks and tolerates the goat’s antics is the dog.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Is it blue? I mean, the color of the sky on your planet? We just had a coordinated anti-Trump mass editorial by the nation’s so-called “news”papers; the stenography of hyperventilating neo-McCarthy red-baiting is nonstop; they report the Manafort trial for 2005 tax dodging as though it had something, anything to do with Trump or Russia. I happen to think The Orange Man is a (smart) buffoon but to say the press is “tolerant” and “seldom barks” is entirely counter-factual.

            1. Stratos

              I get your frustration and disgust with the media. All that you described comes under the heading of “news” theater.

              In reality, the Media is just as lazy and ineffective as that dog. If they wanted to shut the Prez down, they would refuse to attend mendacious press briefings, not broadcast his Twitter rants and “forget” to attend Presidential news conferences.

              In short, they would marginalize the Prez. Instead, the Media chase after “access” from the Oval office and allow themselves to be marginalized by a master of distraction. The Media are their own worst enemies—–manipulated by a juvenile billy goat.

              1. witters

                So the media shut the prez down? The media are sovereign? The corporate media? The sky there is not blue Hal, it is falling!

    1. Kokuanani

      I hope readers note that this is a MALE goat. I can’t imagine that females would engage in such aggressive nonsense.

    2. Pajarito

      Goats wag their tail when ‘frisky,’ Its a social signal (perhaps: “I’m not seriously threatening you, just want to head-butt…”). Females behave similarly, including the invitation to head-butt, the head down behavior. They also frequently do the standing lunge, often met very fast with a responding standing lunge. As owner of goats, I have learned that you have to respond in a very un-goat like way to teach them you aren’t another goat to play with. Usually a non-frontal shove or blow works. The males, even about 100 lbs., can deliver a lot of force to one small area with that standing lunge, so I never tolerated it. One mellow dog, indeed!

    3. marieann

      My librarian has goats and always has stories for me when I go in.
      Her goat really annoys the dog, but doggo puts up with it, until one day she comes home and there is a goat’s ear in the barn and dog is snoozing in the sun.

      This is a female goat…she says they are worse than the males.

  4. UserFriendly

    Oh boy. Taibbi on Twitter.

    Occupy London, which claims 151,000 followers, appears to have been taken down by Facebook. A spokesperson for the group confirms it. Awaiting comment from the company.

        1. ambrit

          We are sorry. There is insufficient cognitive capacity available to formulate a coherent reply at this time. Please try again later.
          (Message# NSDAP ’23.)

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Unbelievable that Herr Zuck would line up with the Atlantic Council. Please, sir, can we have WW III now? Can we please spend more trillions on bombs today? Zuck is either completely overmatched for the social role thrust upon him…or the rumors of the CIA funding Facebook so they’d do their job for them are all true.

            Ancient proverb:

            “Beware of bastards”

      1. Kurtismayfield

        I hear MySpace is pretty nice this time of year. I would prefer to go back to icq, where you really knew where you stood.. we were all numbers.

        I am curious if hosting thier own server would be a good idea if any of the jurisdictions threw the book at the host.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      At about 1400 CDT today, 8/17, shortly after I posted a Black Agenda Report article on US responsibility for Venezuela’s economic woes to my news group on Facebook, the page ceased loading posts other than a query I set up as an announcement. The page shows as having loaded, but the post blocks are all blank. I closed the browser and tried again to the same result.

      Probably just one of those internal technical errors, like the one that kicked Venezuela Analysis off, right?

  5. cnchal

    > Why Amazon’s HQ2 Hunt May Be Costing Cities That Aren’t Even Finalists Governing

    . . . Take the Birmingham, Ala., metro area. It was one of hundreds that bid for Amazon’s HQ2 and didn’t make the short list released in January. But just weeks ago, Amazon announced it would open a new distribution center there — the first in the state — and create 1,500 jobs. For doing so, the company will receive $51 million in state, county and local tax incentives, on top of an unspecified amount in local occupational tax incentives.

    The deal was hailed by regional leaders as a huge win. “Whenever a company of Amazon’s panache enters a community, things improve,” Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington said in a press statement.

    Panache. Seriously? Huge win indeed, but not for the people that have deluded civic leaders paying Amazon to build a satanic mill in the neighborhood.

    Definition of panache

    1 : an ornamental tuft (as of feathers) especially on a helmet

    The palace guard had a panache on his helmet.

    2 : dash or flamboyance in style and action : verve

    flashed his … smile and waved with the panache of a big-city mayor

  6. Kevin

    Conservative dilemma:
    You have an African American (Stacey Abrams – yes, she’s female too – ACK!!) candidate running for Governor.

    What do you do?

    You decide to close 75% of the voting poling stations in Randolph County where 97% of the voters are African American. And the Supremes are there to help; In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court rolled back Voting Rights Act requirements that required many jurisdictions to receive permission before changing ways people are allowed to vote.

    1. ambrit

      Reimposing a Poll Tax is next.
      What if we emulated Australia and imposed an anti-poll tax? Fine every voting age person some not trivial amount for not voting. Then, return to paper ballots, hand counted in public.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If you don’t vote here, you need to “provide a valid and sufficient reason why, or pay the $20 (US$15) penalty”. The sum is small and that is worse as it is too small to try to get away with and is much more hassle to deal with than just going to the polls to vote. It works for us. I think that the capital of Australia, Canberra, is the only place using computer voting but that is only a city-state and full of bureaucrats like your Washington D.C. In any case, the code for those computers is open to inspection and is not propriety.
        In passing, if you were ever going to make a movie about the end of the world, I heard that Canberra would make a great place to film it in.

        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Surely the question is what do you do when Donald Duck wins? I have not seen too many MM cartoons but he always came across as quite reasonable. Donald however…


    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is a 2014 Forbes article, entitled ‘The death of voting booths. America is changing the way we vote,’ regarding mail-in ballots.

      How does that relate to this? Would that counter this?

  7. emorej a hong kong

    Trump escalates feud with intelligence officials The Hill

    first instance of a president unilaterally intervening in a security clearance case of a former, high-level official.

    Is this making anybody wonder about the following?

    Q: Is it good for any “former high-level official” to retain a high-level security clearance?
    A: Yes, great, if you like revolving doors and empowering the Red and Blue teams to:
    (i) earn big paychecks from private purchasers of secrets (or, to be polite, “secrets-based analysis”),
    (ii) worse: dismiss (as uninformed about the most relevant information) Green, independent, academic and other teams’ security-related perspectives, or
    (iii) worst of all: do to anti-establishment figures what Trump believes was done to him by British former-official Steele.

    Q: Did Trump show himself to be a small-bore thinker on this?
    A: Yes, if you consider:
    (i) the “anti-insider” cred he might have claimed by revoking or downgrading all former officials high-level security clearance, and
    (ii) although not relevant for Brennan, Steele, any Greens or most academics, such a move by Trump might also have incentivized some Republican fence-sitters to join his administration in order to regain high-level security clearances.

    1. Stephen V.

      But Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s clearance, and his threats to revoke the clearances of other former officials for the sole reason that they have criticized his conduct and policies, amount to unconstitutional retaliation.

      Says the ACLU. As if Russia Russia is all just a personal political matter. As if Obama & Co.
      spying on Trump campaign was protected speech. My head is exploding.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “…..unconstitutional retaliation……” I still don’t get it.

        I mean, it’s not like they put a piece of duct tape over his mouth, a hood over his head and renditioned him to some shithole country in the Middle East where they could put a towel over his face and pour water on it to make it seem like he was drowning.

        Or dumped him in Guantanamo and threw away the key.

        Or hung him from the ceiling naked in a freezing room in Afghanistan while they threw cold water on him and zapped him with electrodes and took selfies.

        I mean a career public “servant” and consummate american “patriot” knows what “unconstitutional” means, right?

        1. voteforno6

          Especially this patriot, since it was under his watch that the CIA hacked into the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He has to know what actually is unconstitutional.

        2. Whoa Molly!

          Revoking security clearances is a huge threat to the wallets and retirement plans of a very high number of people.

          No security clearance often means no private sector job in MIC at 3x gov salary.

          For the record, I agree with Trump and Rand Paul on this one.

      2. Stephen V.

        This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.

        Oops. ACLU and media just following Brennan’s lead on Twitter. Who needs the Pope when we have these guys?

      3. Roger Smith

        I made the mistake of reading through NYT comments yesterday on his whiny screed Op-Ed. My aim was to find one, just one of a rational, sane person calling it out for what it was. I stopped looking after 10 mins of “what a stand up guy!” comments. What the heck is going on here? First they started praising the corporations, now the political goons too? It is Bizarro world. Trump is President and the lemmings are walking off the cliffs. I hope Trump revokes more clearances and I hope some other fool pens an op-ed about how the Founders intended security clearances to be lifetime licenses.

        1. Carolinian

          If Brennan goes down RussiaRussiaRussia goes down. He’s the spider at the center of the web. Many are invested.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            This is my take also.
            Of all the sh*t they threw at the wall, this is the only one that vaguely had legs.
            Once this narrative goes away, the trail leads upstairs to a former master of the universe, ten dimensional chess playing, smooth talking huckster.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          The Comfortable will also refuse to do any kind of research when challenged to review their new hero’s history They instead demand you do all the work for them, and of course dismiss as propaganda anything that isn’t from CNN/MSNBC/et al.

          It’s the same way with that whole Colorado baker thing. Constitutional protection for freedom of religion only applies if the tenets of said religion don’t challenge the established positions of the virtue-signalers. They see nothing wrong whatever with demanding a religious group must change its position on LGBTQ. Oh, and no member of the LGBTQ community has ever attacked a anyone because of that person’s religious beliefs. Not that we’d know one way or the other.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        Since when is the CIA in the Constitution, or that government officials have lifetime rights, along with a pension? I must have missed that.

        This has now become the trope du jour, that everything Trump does is unconstitutional. Help me.

        1. MLS

          Yes the man is boorish, a brute, a bully, a bigot, and generally just an a##hole (we knew all this during the election, BTW), but the commentary surrounding his actions from people for him and against him increasingly reminds me of the old Gary Larson Far Side cartoon of the amoeba wife complaining to her amoeba husband: “Stimulus, response! Stimulus, response! Don’t you ever think??”

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          It’s beyond pathetic. Before Aretha Franklin was cold, someone launched a graphic with Trump’s response to her passing next to Obama’s florid tribute so everyone could sneer at what a complete loser Trump was compared to St. Barack. Given his personality, I found Trump’s tribute beautifully simple. Not the legions suffering TDS, though.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            No wonder Hilary wanted Trump to be prez, he’s perfect for the Clinton Foundation/CFR/Atlantic Council/Faceborg/Amazon agenda. He does the stuff they pretend they’re against, and they get to feign outrage and opposition while their constituents’ coffers continue to fill to bursting. The constituents being of course Big Wall St, Big War, Big Pharma, Big Spy, Big Prison, Big Oil blah blah blah

      5. Jeremy Grimm

        “After provoking the ire of many politicians with his outspoken opinions during the Second Red Scare, he (J. Robert Oppenheimer) suffered the revocation of his security clearance in a much-publicized hearing in 1954, and was effectively stripped of his direct political influence …” [] Some argue he lost his clearance in part for opposing the development of the hydrogen bomb.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      In a joint statement Thursday, a dozen of the nation’s leading former intelligence officials slammed President Donald Trump’s recent decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
      “We all agree that the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances ― and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” they wrote. “You don’t have to agree with what John Brennan says (and, again, not all of us do) to agree with his right to say it, subject to his obligation to protect classified information.”

      One of the rebukers was puny ex-spook and unlikely sex symbol david petraeus, whose security-clearance-enabled “freedom of speech” likely contributed greatly to his post “service” career “success.”

      From Wikipedia:

      Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., a New York investment firm, hired Petraeus as chairman of the firm’s newly created KKR Global Institute in May 2013. Petraeus will support its investment teams and portfolio companies when studying new investments, especially in new locations.[215] In December 2014, Petraeus was named a partner at KKR and remains Chairman of the KKR Global Institute.

      On February 10, 2016, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs-Harvard University, unveiled a new project with its goals to use Petraeus’ experiences and his views on the role of the theater level commander, specifically from the perspective of strategic leadership: the link between policy and operations.

      There are many others. We should all be so free to “speak.”

      1. Wukchumni

        Ooo bonk me Dave Patraeus
        Bonk me Dave Patraeus…
        Bonk bonk bonk bonk me Dave Patraeus
        Bonk me all the time to the top

        He was into Intelligence
        And he lived in the big city
        It was near Vienna, in Langley
        Where he did everything
        He had Humordor by the balls, in the CIA halls
        But a couple women loved him
        And each one shouted:
        Come on and bonk me Dave Patraeus

        Patraeus, Patraeus, Patraeus
        Patraeus, Patraeus, Patraeus
        Patraeus, Patraeus, oh oh oh bonk me Dave Patraeus

        He was Superstar
        He was popular
        He was so exalted
        And then his peter got excited
        He was a reverse cuckold
        As his wife was looking old
        And he shouted:
        Come on and bonk me, i’m Dave Patraeus

  8. Kevin C Smith

    I did not know that Aretha Franklin had her first baby at the age of 12.
    Quite a remarkable woman.

    1. Massinissa

      She had a second at 14. She didn’t like to talk about these first two pregnancies in interviews. I dont blame her.

      Remarkable that she persevered all her life so well even with two children barely younger than she was.

    2. CanCyn

      If nothing else, I have gained even more respect for her in reading the obituaries. I didn’t realize that I knew absolutely nothing about her personal life. How refresing, for someone to be that talented and to have shared that talent with so many for so long to have never become a ‘celebrity’. Inspiration for and loved by so many other musicians. What a testament to her career.
      What a woman indeed!
      PS I could live without the Obama quotes in the obits. Musicians’ opinions and thoughts are much more important.

  9. pretzelattack

    were any of the intelligence officials bothered by bush/cheney outing valerie plame in political payback for plame’s husband joseph wilson exposing the yellowcake bullshit? at the time, i seem to remember a “if the president does it it’s legal” meme. i sure don’t remember a concerted pushback by the intelligence agencies against bush.

    1. larry

      It was Cheney who tried that. But it wasn’t accepted at the time. They didn’t have to push back then, as W wasn’t pushing them like Trump is doing. In that duo, Cheney was the fruitcake.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Trump is experiencing six (6) ways to Sunday.

        If W was only enjoying one (1) way, then, in comparison, Trump would have to push them six times as often or as hard, especially when they have unleashed a special counsel on you, which they didn’t, on Bush.

    2. The Rev Kev

      There is actually a special law on the books making it a felony to out an agent working for the CIA – and rightly so. Once an agent is rolled, then all their contacts in any country come under intense scrutiny by their security services to see who was recruited by them. And Plume wasn’t outed for a deeply strategic political move either but it was just the result of a cheap shot at the wife of a guy who had exposed their bs.

      1. nothing but the truth

        The lesson here seems to be that professional intelligence people (career and political appointees – like Brennan, Bruce Ohr), should try to stay away from their instinctive political activities and prejudices.

        By nature intelligence ops have access to a lot of non public material, a lot of which as we found out from the Steele saga, is fake news planted by interested parties.

        Given the black budget, and the fact that we should be more worried about Israel and China activities in the US political circuit, I am surprised there is no questioning of the deep state and its agendas.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Everything is ideological at some level. Politics can’t be kept out.

          The issue at play is the lack of both oversight for the military industrial complex for so long, and the perception HRC would be President and possibly a death of the GOP at least being locked out the White House, making serving her a safe bet. I have no doubt if Jeb Bush was a viable candidate (the press corp would have been far more aggressive towards HRC given their previous swooning over Shrub and even 41; they treated them like saints.) the FBI investigation into the illegal server would have been a big deal. There would be division. The whole thing was disgusting.

          Trump is crass, but its really no different than one king dying with no heirs being replaced by a distant cousin without blood shed. The courtiers are still the same, but the plum jobs are going to be given to the new King’s people, not the courtiers who had labored on behalf of the Bush Clinton crime families for so long.

        2. Shane Mage

          “I am surprised there is no questioning of the deep state and its agendas.” (Nothing But The Truth)

          “Dass Jenny mich verraten haben soll, erstaunt mich sehr.” (Macheath)

  10. voteforno6

    Re: Tearful Elon Musk

    I’m not sure how that interview is supposed to help him with the SEC. Maybe they’re trying to gin up some sympathy for him. Is he using the same crisis consultants as Elizabeth Holmes?

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard the SEC swallowed their official’s whistle about 25 years ago, and it’s lodged firmly between where the sun doesn’t shine.

      In theory it could still be used, but you’d need to eat platefuls of broccoli to produce a result…

    2. begob

      In an hourlong sit-down with the newspaper, Musk also detailed his frequent use of the sleep-aid Ambien — a drug he’s discussed using before, and whose well-known side effects include sleepwalking. “It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien,” he told the newspaper.

      Roseanne Barr had the same excuse. If true, I pity him – that kind of dependancy suggests some knotty problems with the neurotransmitters.

      1. Wukchumni

        Somehow, I can’t imagine Nikola Tesla sitting down with Pullitzer, discussing his need for Laudanum.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “China ‘training for strikes’ on US targets”

    Well, it’s not like they have to fly all the way to the US to bomb it. There are a whole bunch of US bases surrounding China itself ( they can practice on first. Loved the bit where this article said: China…is restructuring its ground forces to “fight and win”. And I suppose that this is contrast to the Pentagon way of war in places such as Afghanistan? Liked the bit too where it said that “There is regular contact between US and Chinese military officials”. Pity they cancelled China’s invitation to the latest RIMPAC exercises then. The only answer to all these threats is obviously more Pentagon contracts. Kaching!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are many American targets, such as fast food joints, inside China, for them to target.

      The US, in response, can target, say, the big Chinese pork corporation, inside right here in America.

    1. Kevin

      Well, for a country built on finance we are incredibly ignorant about financial matters.
      Probably a feature – not a bug as it easier to fool the ignorant than the informed.

    2. JEHR

      Hercules, Wells Fargo should be nationalized, the CEO put on trial, the bank re-structured with honest folk and re-named anything else but Wells Fargo!!

    3. voteforno6

      I think one of the first lessons in financial literacy should be to not do business with Wells Fargo.

  12. JTMcPhee

    “China ‘training for strikes’ on US targets.”

    Actually, per the BBC, the PLA is “likely training:”

    Over the last three years, the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets,” the report says.
    It goes on to say it is not clear what China is trying to prove by such flights.
    The PLA may demonstrate the “capability to strike US and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam,” the report adds.

    China, it says, is restructuring its ground forces to “fight and win”.

    Too bad OUR imperial ground forces are not “restructuring to fight and win.” Though of course it is all in how one defines “win.” Victory for LockheedMartin and KBR? Note that the War Department’s own Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms does not define “win,” “victory,” “prevail,” “success,” or, for that matter, a word that is used thousands of times in that same dictionary, “war.” Check for yourselves:

    In other news, “US actually training for strikes on China targets.”

  13. BinchCoin

    > Cryptocurrency: Currency of the Future or Just a Fad?

    I had the opportunity a few summers ago to work at one of Canada’s first Bitcoin exchanges. I was studying computer science in school and had read a little bit about how cryptocurrency worked and was interested in learning more about the blockchain and cryptography. At the time, the exchange was in the process of adding support for new coins like Ripple and Ethereum, though their primary business was still in Bitcoin.
    My (extremely brief) time there really opened my eyes to how shadowy cryptocurrency really is. For one, your average consumer won’t benefit from them. Their value is extraordinarily volatile and if you want a legitimate currency, that just won’t do. And even as a method of investment, it doesn’t benefit the average person, as, in the same way as with stocks, most people who are speculating on these instruments are not the middle or working class, but are people who have enough money already to where they can gamble a little. So we have a nonstarter for real currency, and impractical for investment.
    There’s also the issue of exactly who works in promoting crypto. Beyond simple character judgement, the people who worked at the exchange legitimately had no idea how the tech worked, nor how currency markets or financial instruments worked. They railed on fiat currency as having fake value because its supply was “artificially restricted” while promoting the arbitrary maximum restriction on how many Bitcoins can be available. They vaguely understood that the blockchain is a public ledger, but also assumed that it was the mechanism by which Bitcoins were exchanged, not by which exchanges and transactions were verified. When someone asked my boss about the volatility associated with Bitcoin (these were the days where BTC was trading in the low thousands of Canadian dollars, and we had just seen a thousand-dollar swing that day) and his response was “Volatility is good with Bitcoin because it means we have greater room to grow.” Like what the fuck?
    (I mentioned character judgement above, and this is pretty unrelated to the fundamentals of crypto themselves, but the people I worked with were the conspiracy libertarian ancap types, with one of the dudes in the office literally at least once a day talking about how “they” were watching you and manipulating the global economy. He did confirm once that he was referring to Jews. And after working there for 2 weeks, they came up to me and told me they weren’t going to pay me despite what they’d said before. I left immediately after that.)
    This is a pretty good article that NakedCapitalism once shared about why, fundamentally, crypto is pretty much bullshit. In it the author explains why the economics don’t make sense, and he does it in a way that proves far more understanding that anyone at the exchange I worked with.
    That article, plus what I’ve seen, makes me fairly relieved that regulations are starting to target crypto. Don’t think of it as anything but a meme with no real value that has the ability to financially ruin peoples’ lives.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        No, that’s a myth. Ask a numismatist how many cut dollars they have found. Small coins were broken up in rural hinterlands.

        Back then, coins were valued by their actual weight in gold or silver, not just on what they looked like.

        Pieces of eight still exist, so this is obviously not true. If their intrinsic value exceeded their face value they would have been melted down. See copper pennies for example. Precious metals are a discouragement to counterfeiting.

    1. a different chris

      Thanks for this interesting post. Sorry about the 2 weeks of your life you will never get back.

      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        If there was real law in Canada Binchcoin could have got them thrown in jail for twenty to thirty years.


      2. LifelongLib

        Yes, another example of what sets NC above so many other sites. Instead of armchair speculation, posters with actual experience of the subject being discussed.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          With that intro, I just can’t resist.
          Encrypted keypairs have been around a long time and are nothing new, they’re used to secure internet sites and services of all kinds. Typically though they sit inside tamper-evident servers in locked cages in controlled-access data centers.

          If stolen, these keypairs can give access to websites (including bank websites) that in turn have multiple layers of security mechanisms to prevent the theft of funds.

          With cryptocurrencies however, the keypairs are the money. Once you have the keypair you have the money, with no recourse. This of course makes actual security professionals shudder.

          So in practice almost nobody takes the risk of holding the keypairs themselves and trying to keep them secure. Instead, people “buy Bitcoin” from centralized intermediary “exchanges” like Coinbase. Your hope is that Coinbase in turn has security expertise and also that they will buy a corresponding quantity of Bitcoin on your behalf.

          Anyone with financial markets expertise would immediately recognize that these are not “exchanges” at all, they’re unregulated banks. The supine and overmatched regulators seem not to have noticed this. Certainly these “exchanges” obey no rules about capital adequacy or solvency.

          The other point to make is that people opening Coinbase accounts does not mean people are “adopting” and using Bitcoin, any more than the growth in the number of Facebook shareholders equals the rate of Facebook “adoption”.

          A company called Xapo does act as an actual custodian for Bitcoin. How? First they go to the server factory and take possession of clean new servers (bare hardware) with no software on them. (They know that between the factory and the computer distributor a hacker could insert software to steal Bitcoin). They maintain a chain of custody back to their company, where they load a stripped-down version of Linux on the machine that has had every line of code inspected. They ensure the machine does not connect even once to the internet. They load Bitcoin keypairs on the machine, which is then taken to a vault 60 feet underground.

          A clever observer would ask “if it’s so difficult to secure cryptocurrencies how will they ever be the Great New Internet Money?”. Good question.

    1. ewmayer

      “In honor of Google not doing something evil” – but note the GOOG offset the rare non-evil innovation here:

      Non-evil: Google releases a searchable database of US political ads | TechCrunch

      Evil: Google Employees Protest Secret Work on Censored Search Engine for China | New York Times

  14. Huey Long

    RE: DMT

    For those of you out there contemplating a DMT experience, yes it really does feel like you’re dying, yes you see your life flash before your eyes, yes this is mostly peaceful, and yes this can be disturbing sometimes, i.e. bad trips can and do happen.

    Be very careful NC, remember to mind your set and setting, and have a nice trip!

    1. Craig H.

      You can save time with Erowid.

      Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, sweats/chills (alternating), and other flu- or food poisoning-like symptoms, much less common after multiple experiences
      Fear and/or paranoia
      Disequilibrium, difficulty walking
      Feeling as though one is losing one’s mind
      Feeling as though one is dying
      Unwanted and overwhelming feelings
      Unwanted or unexpected life-changing spiritual experiences or personal revelations


      For some reason they do not list the appearance of spirits, fairies, demons, et al which are what some of the users claim to be the biggest part of the deal. Probably just an oversight.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Just skip the chemicals and find yourself a bad oyster, worst experience ever, with all of the effects listed above.
        Did not think I would make it through the night.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t understand why would anyone want to experience a near death experience. Besides how different is deep sleep from death. Neither appeals to me especially although I do appreciate the rest deep sleep affords me when I wake.

      1. LifelongLib

        I wake up from sleep with a sense of time having passed, meaning I was not entirely gone. I think death would be more like general anaesthetic, from which I wake up with no sense of time having passed at all and seemingly nothing having happened.

    3. JP

      Didn’t know DMT was still a thing. Didn’t know it was injectable. It was smoked back in the sixties. I always thought of it as complete annihilation with a downside of universal love.

  15. JTMcPhee

    A little thought experiment: What would happen if, say, half a million American citizens mass up at the norther border, and cross over into Canada? Up through the Northeast Kingdom, the New Hampshire border, and the Maine woods? In search of economic opportunity and political freedom? Bringing with them the drive and perspicacity of refugees, to add to the working population there?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      In search of economic opportunity and political freedom?

      And “healthcare.” The basic human right of “healthcare.” I hear that Canadians are clear on that concept.

    2. Wukchumni

      I heard that said settler activities would include turning around all of the goods in a supermarket so that the side written in French would be on display, and other random acts of desparagement.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A slightly different thought experiment.

      This time, half a million homeless Americans.

      Would they get housed immediately?

      1. Wukchumni

        I feel the hurdle we’ve placed on those sans domicile has been repeatedly unrealistic, with proposed nouveau nomenclature being:


        1. JTMcPhee

          And of course Pharrell Williams had the whole word singing and dancing to the notion that happiness is “a room without a roof…”

      2. CanCyn

        Don’t kid yourself, Canada is no paradise. We have our neoliberals and their systems firmly in place here too. We have:
        provinces allowing private healthcare to take place (and not a lot of protest about it),
        we have homeless,
        we have a handsome prime minister whose looks (he’s not such a smooth talker as Obama) seem to beguile many Canadians and the rest of the world but who is firmly in the neoliberal camp – supporting pipe lines, identity polictics and lots of other neoliberal tropes.
        We have hesitation about gun control in the wake of a recent shooting spree on a busy street in Toronto,
        We have unemployment and under-employed, lots of contract work instead of permanent full-time employment,
        union busting everywhere,
        Doug Ford (brother of now deceased, former drug addled Mayor of Toronto) as premier of Ontario.
        the list goes on, I’m sure many other Canadians could add to it
        Yes I thank goodness for our healthcare system but it ain’t all sweetness and light.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Bloomberg called the NYPD his “private army.” Bragged it was the 7th largest in the world (actually about number 21). Also claimed he had his own State Department and the other trappings of a national government.

        Referring to the U.S. Department of State, located in the Foggy Bottom neighbourhood of Washington, DC, he added: ‘I have my own state department, to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the UN in New York, so we have entrée into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have.’

        ‘I don’t listen to Washington very much, which is something they’re not thrilled about.’

        And then it’s being noticed that Cuomo thinks “his” state police is HIS private army.–head-of-port-authority-police-union-says.html

        Anyone curious (and I am sure there are people like those looking for profits in global financial and environmental collapse, who are into gaming this out) about what the place will look like “when in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, ”

        “Welcome to the Sity-State of Nuyawk, astraddle the mouth of the Udson River, in the Shire of Obamaany…”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the article:

      A major human rights crisis is unfolding in northwestern China, according to the United Nations, which said last week that there were credible reports that the Chinese government is holding one million or more ethnic minorities in secretive detention camps.

      Yet even for those who have escaped China, surveillance and intimidation have followed. As part of a massive campaign to monitor and intimidate its ethnic minorities no matter where they are, Chinese authorities are creating a global registry of Uighurs who live outside of China, threatening to detain their relatives if they do not provide personal and identifying information to Chinese police. This campaign is now reaching even Uighurs who live in the United States.

      Hypothetically speaking, if China were to march north to take back Vladivostok, we should say nothing. Who are we to say anything, given our own history.

      1. olga

        There may be some logic hiding somewhere in the comment, but I fail to discern it… But could be just me, of course.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Vladivostok above is a hypothetical example.

          If America did something (went into Iraq, or stationed FBI all over), and if China did something similar (went into Vladivostok, or sent spies to the US), what could we say or do about it?

      2. olga

        Yes, UN was also claiming recently that a huge number of refugees were clustering on the Syria/Jordan border. Except, as MoA pointed out, no one could quite locate them. In the end, it turned out to be a false alarm. Not sure what is going on with the UN – but I’ve learned to verify its claims before getting too worked up about something. Plus – hiding a million people is not an easy task. If it, indeed, were the case, we should get some proof. I am sure that NC readers do not need reminders about all sorts of dis-information floating about… (But still not sure how this relates to China’s designs – real or imagined – on Vladivostok (which apparently contained only a few huts at the time of the 1858 treaty.))

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right that we should look at the specifics.

          Here, the article talks about creating a global registry of Uighurs.

          In addition to all the FBI locations, the relevant comparison would be the FBI compiling a similar global registry of, say, Russian Americans globally.

          1. Olga

            Not an apples-to-apples comparison. Uighurs are from China, and if the central govt. wants to make a registry, there is at least some relationship (however unpalatable the entire concept may be). Russians for the most part are from Russia, and so having FBI collect their info wld be a bit strange (and no, I’d not qualify, lest you’re wondering). (Not that they were not trying – there was a story recently that some US outfit was collecting Russians’ DNA samples – in Russia!)

            Uighurs – some, unfortunately – have been used as a fifth column to stir up trouble in the region – directed, invariably, against the central govt. This is not to say that they might not have legitimate grievances – but too often, such grievances have been exploited for devious goals. And here we have the real problem – which no amount of agonizing over the info collections will solve.

            The root problem is that certain countries (predominantly western) interfere in the internal affairs of others – often with the goal of destabilising them and/or overthrowing the govt. The infamous regime change (on 8/19/18, it will be 65 yrs since the overthrow of the Iranian govt.)… Even if one is unaware of the past history, we’ve seen plenty of examples since 1999. (And since US cannot let matter just be, DT had apparently established a new group dedicated to regime change in – where else – Iran.)

            There is a story from the times of the Cuban revolution. Che Guevarra is said to have told Fidel that if he let Cuba be “an open society,” he was risking infiltration by a fifth column. He had seen just that happen in 1954, in Guatemala, when CIA overthrew president Arbenz. Guatemala was “an open society” at the time.

            So here is a dilemma for the countries under attack. Be open and risk having your govt. overthrown – or not be open and risk continuous disapprovals by the western press. Which would you chose? (And yes, perhaps one would have to have lived in such circumstances fully to appreciate the dilemma.)

              1. Olga

                If you seriously think about what I am trying to say, it should not matter. But it does require one to think through all implications…

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I think the ‘FBI all over the world’ comment, in response to the article, in the first post, took away the focus.

            1. Oregoncharles

              It’s a lot safer to be “open” if you aren’t colonial or tyrannical toward your own citizens – as in the case of the Uighurs or Tibetans.

              Neither China nor Russia could be overthrown in the way Guatemala was under Arbenz, or Iran; they’re too big. Making trouble around the margins is another matter.

            2. The Rev Kev

              That US outfit that was collecting Russians’ DNA samples was actually the US Air Force. I can understand the Chinese thinking about Uighurs. There are thousands of them in Syria fighting the Syrians and in the process getting both training and combat experience. The Chinese are thinking that the US will bring them back to China to stir up a local war there in much the same way that the US uses ISIS and Al-Quada fighters in Syria and Yemen.
              In all fairness, countries like the US do have a history of recruiting people from other countries that have come there as activist and even fighters. Remember the Bay of Pigs invasion? The Cuban fighters in that were trained by US forces in Florida but their opsec was lousy as they had fighters being interviewed on American TV stations in the lead up to the invasion.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Can you believe that US citizens living abroad have to file taxes every year and report their income to the US government? Insane! You have to tell them your address, your employer and how much money you make! Right out of the CCP playbook. Orwellian!

      This article made me want to throw my phone at the idiots who wrote it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        America allows people to have dual citizenship.

        Some countries make the naturalized citizen give up their old ones.

        From Multiple Citizenship, Wikipedia:

        Canada and the United States allow dual citizenship and are worldwide the only two developed economies to grant unconditional birthright citizenship. The United States taxes its citizens and non-citizen lawful permanent residents worldwide, even if they have never lived in the country. In 2014, the U.S. Department of State increased the fee for processing requests for renunciation of citizenship from $450 to $2,350.[110][111]

        It seems to be a mixed bag.

        American is good in some areas, and not so, in others.

  16. Wukchumni

    A very odd connection here, as the Trump investigating belongings of the late Tesla, was the paternal uncle of the reign of error.

    Two days later the Federal Bureau of Investigation ordered the Alien Property Custodian to seize Tesla’s belongings, even though Tesla was an American citizen. John G. Trump, a professor at M.I.T. and a well-known electrical engineer serving as a technical aide to the National Defense Research Committee, was called in to analyze the Tesla items, which were being held in custody.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are historians of one school who look at only on a few selected people in history, and see the same names keep coming up upon such their focused examinations.

      Is that the case here?

      1. Wukchumni

        Sorry detective, I merely came across it when investigating Nikola’s personal habits, nothing to see here, please move along.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        John G. is Il Douche’s uncle. I can appreciate the synchronicity. Cute to know that Donald Trump’s uncle was selected to dispose of Nicola Tesla’s intellectual property. But, y’know Donald is pure something else like a troll changeling or something, harumph.

        It’s a bit like finding out that George Herbert Walker Bush was not some pulled-up-by-his-bootstraps cloth coat Republican, from Connecticut.

  17. Ignacio

    RE: UK pharma chief: EU stance ‘puts patients at risk’ after Brexit Politico

    He also called on the U.K. and the EU to agree to mutually recognize one another’s drug quality control testing procedures, to spare U.K. firms multimillion-pound costs in setting up duplicate testing operations in the EU, and vice versa.

    Mutual recognition and/or equivalence rules require a new fully negotiated treaty between the UK and the EU. This cannot be a given, it requires a working legal framework.

    But Thompson pointed out that if the U.K. is cut out of the system, it will put patients on either side of the Channel at increased risk. He said that 38 percent of warnings about adverse side-effects linked to medicines across Europe came via the U.K.’s own alert system. “Those are going to be lost to Europe from March next year, unless we put something in place,” he said.

    Oh, don’t worry sir, London will no longer be needed for “pharmacovigilance” because the European Medicine Agency will be moved from London to Amsterdam. Anyway, nice to know UK’s big pharma chief is worried about the harm his industry causes unintentionally.

    I believe that Mr. Thompson is mostly worried by the fact that a lot of investment in drug development and assay will move to the continent. He tries to disguise it as concern about consumers. Good but failed try.

    I found this “Japan’s Message to the United Kingdom and the European Union” interesting. (LINK: Trying to protect the interests of Japanese firms that invested in the UK.

    Also, today I learned about a thinktank (IFT LINK: headed by Daniel Hanaan that looks at brexit as:

    “the intellectual and moral case for free trade, and sees Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a unique opportunity to revitalise the world trading system.”

    Jesus, Mr. Aznar is an advisory board member!! This is a good reason to abandon support for brexit!!!
    The rats are joining the brexit boat!!!

  18. Ultrapope

    America’s Newspapers Just Played Right Into Trump’s Hands

    The inability of these writers and journalists to see how self-defeating this move will be yet again reveals how insanely out of touch our “thought leaders” are with reality.

    1. Wukchumni

      There was a very clear warning from a Venezuelan journalist about what would go down in our country, as she’d seen the Chavez charades up close and knew the drill:

      The first time I felt my mouth go dry with impotence I was standing in the Caracas newsroom of El Mundo, a Venezuelan newspaper that was highly successful under legendary editor Teodoro Petkoff, a respected former guerrilla and politician who had taken to journalism like a teenager to rock-and-roll.

      That afternoon in mid-1999, Petkoff was in his office, watching the same broadcast that I, along with other reports, was watching on a tiny TV set in the politics section of the newsroom.

      President Hugo Chávez, bloated with power and anger, was attacking our front page. He was taking potshots at a headline and attacking us. Yes, “us,” because he was attacking each of us.

      Reporters like me had already felt the swift consequences of his pronouncements when we left our newsrooms. For his faithful followers, that was just the bait they needed to punish us for the lack of loyalty to the “revolutionary process” that was starting to paint Chavez Red every single institutional corner of the country.

      We had started to remove from our cars the company logos that had once gained us entry to difficult places. We hid our press cards. Chávez’s speeches were usually followed by rocks, insults and even urine, thrown at video cameramen, photographers, reporters and even drivers.

      Petkoff shouted as he flew out of his office, rolled up the sleeves of his light blue shirt and walked toward us.

      “Let me tell you something. I expect no one in this newsroom will even think about being intimidated or allowing themselves to be crushed by what this man is saying. No one!,” he said. “We are doing what we know how to do. We continue to be critics. Let’s all go back to our jobs and continue our work as journalists.”

      That day, I understood that would be our new life, our new routine with Hugo Chávez. Soon, the names of journalists would be mentioned in a macabre game that exposed reporters, especially women, to scorn as he and his cabinet ministers laughed and applauded.

      That bombastic Chávez, illuminated and framed by TV cameras that he learned to control so easily – and which at times captured him reprimanding the cameramen – played with his targets like a cat and mouse. The cat steps on the tail of the mouse, allows it to run, cuts it off, paws it and pins it against a wall before biting it with pleasure and spite.

      When he knew the cameras were on and the country was watching him – every station was required by law to broadcast his speeches – he would single out a reporter. “What’s your name? Who do you work for?” We learned after awhile that was how he started a sadistic act of public humiliation. “I am not going to answer your question, girl, but don’t get upset. Uhh. Now she’s upset and she’s going to say that she’s just a journalist doing her job.”

      The list of his attacks is long. “You’re misinformed” and “You’re following the bias of your medium” are just two of his accusations, which pale in comparison with his allegations of conspiring with the CIA or accepting bribes to criticize him. His ministers soon learned to brand journalists as palangristas, Venezuelan slang for a reporter who accepts bribes to favor or attack people. Chávez supporters would shout “Tell the truth” as journalists tried to cover public events.

      Later, they started to deny us access. To hospitals, to jails, to public places, to archives. At first it was an order from some official. Then came official letters prohibiting all comment and access to journalists. The Chávez government installed watchdogs in every public office and the phrase “I am not authorized to comment” became a mantra, repeated by everyone from a teacher asked about her salary to an oil minister asked about the price of crude.

      Discrimination against members of the national press became the rule, and we were not allowed into the presidential palace or any other place where the president, of humble origins and military education, held one of his increasingly bizarre news conferences. Parliament and some ministries restricted reporters to tiny press rooms with TV sets that showed official comments. There were no opportunities to ask the hard questions.

      Does it sound vaguely familiar?

      1. JEHR

        Yes, the change into an autocracy is so slow at the beginning that few people notice the changes until it is too late to reverse the trend. The autocrat’s powers gradually become “normalized” until full dictatorial powers are commonplace.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Hmmm, it doesn’t appear that Chevez closed down El Mundo as it is still publishing. I don’t believe Trump has shut down any media outlets either or had any journalists arrested.

        Are heads of state not allowed to criticize media that criticizes them? Are they not allowed to state their opinions? Freedom of speech works both ways, no? Personally I’m pretty sick and tired of all the stupidity coming from all fronts these days and would prefer better media and a better president. But we work with what we have.

        So wake me up when Trump starts incarcerating reporters rather then simply mocking them, which many of them rightly deserve.

        Meanwhile huge corporate platforms continue to actually stifle the speech of left leaning organizations and inhibit people’s access to ideas they don’t like. Ideas like those posted on this website.

        1. makedoanmend

          Well said/written –

          The major take away for me was the kabuki theatre aspect whereby a facade of duality of opposing views is created that makes it appear that something is occurring that needs the immediate attention of us citizens. Meanwhile the barn is burning down and we are not meant to notice. Standard neo-liberal play-book practice.

          According to CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) based in New York City, Venenzuela doesn’t rank in censorship in their list of the top 10. A selected list of journalists confirmed killed in the line of duty, so to speak, friom 1992-2018 is as follows:

          Venezuela 6
          USA 11
          Afghanistan 45
          Pakistan 60
          Phillipines 79
          Iraq 186

          Looks as if the West’s directive to create freedom loving democracies in the invaded countries of Afghanistan and Iraq could use a tad more work. Any day now.

          A little context goes a long way.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          We survived Spiro.

          But sigh, the change here in the US of Journalist going from a Trade to a Bachelor Degree.

          If the Mayor hasn’t distributed your eight by ten to his personal detail, you’re not a very good Investigative Journalist. You’re just another Qualified Professional.

        3. John k

          The question is not whether a newspaper is allowed to publish, but what it is allowed to publish.
          Wukchumni seems to be speaking from personal experience of pretty bad state intimidation of the press. There the issue is reporters’ personal safety, not so different from Mexico; here reporters just get sent to Coventry when they step off the reservation a la Frank.

          1. makedoanmend

            “Wukchumni seems to be speaking from personal experience of pretty bad state intimidation of the press.”

            Said person is a commentator on this site, not a claimed Venezuelan journalist. See the citation source below the article quoted in toto.

            Univision is a New York and Miami based USA company. Make what you will of their biases. Every news organisation has them.

            Anecdote is not data and Trump, as another poster has stated, is not censoring the news nor has any evidence been presented that Venezuela is censoring the news.

            The Western MSM is very good at censoring itself.

        4. JP

          really? El Mundo has been cowed. Do you think Petkoff is still in charge?

          The free press has always been cheer leading, partisan, muckracking and so what. No, heads of state can and should refute but there’s a good reason that libel and slander law doesn’t apply to public persons the same as private and it’s only personal if you chose to go down that path. Heads of state should refrain from personal attacks and petty thin skinned acts of power.

          Look at the history of journalism in this country to get some perspective. It has always been partisan and yellow. It is a feature of the free market of journalism that it is yellow. It doesn’t really matter if repression is labeled left, right or purple. The stuff you are peddling is authoritarianism. People are largely tribal. IMHO that is more the problem then those corporate bastards. This is all about intimidation not censorship, so wake me up when they break down the door.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Meet the renegade who’s teaching the world to fix totaled Teslas”

    Why would you want to fix up a high-priced piece of junk like a Tesla? Sure, fix up a first-generation Ford Mustang but a Tesla? It’s like being proud in the late 1950s of fixing up totaled Edsels.

    1. a different chris

      It’s, um, electric. Why fix up a first generation Mustang when you can get a useful late-model car for less outlay and drive it that day? And compared to a, say 2008 Honda Civic, rated as (and only as! – I am fond of them!) a useful piece of transportation equipment the 1G Ford Mustang is actually a piece of junk. Actually pretty much any generation up to the past couple.

      Excuse my sensitivity. I am not a Tesla fanboy, what I am is a EE. One who weirdly does understand how a carburetor works. But one who therefore wholly subscribes to Reese Callaway’s statement that the IC engine is a triumph of refinement over design. Time to move (pun not intended) on.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        We will all be dead before the IC engine is, a hybrid design is the only logical destination.
        Electric motors are wonderful, smooth, powerful, torque out the wazoo, battery storage not so much.
        Much like self driving technology, why not start in a controlled atmosphere, railroad, and work out from there?
        At least a locomotive could haul its two tons of batteries somewhat economically.
        Maybe use the wheels as generators to charge the batteries as it rolls along.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          If we really wanted to, ball out, as the kids say, we would be be working like fools on magnetic levitation.
          Basically free energy from the universe.
          Always on, as strong or as weak as you want to make them.
          But it’s hard and much like Teslas’ energy model, not much wealth extraction long term for the rentier class.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Not talking about the battery concept but that of quality control. Tesla doesn’t have any. When you read of how in a heavy rainstorm the bumper of a Tesla can fall off what does that say about how the car was built? Decades ago those in the know would avoid a car built on a Monday or a Friday. On Monday workers would still be hung over from the weekend and there would be a lot of absent workers forcing the others around to doing different jobs. On Fridays, the workers would be thinking of only the weekend ahead. With Musk, he has advanced this so that all days of production are now crap production. Not really blaming the workers as they are only doing what they are told and are working in a chaotic production line. You can’t ignore quality control without paying a price.

  20. EoH

    Thanks for the critique of the Guardian article on the supposed problems with high and low-carb diets. The Guardian’s Sarah Boseley and her editors generally seem to adhere to an establishment view of food and nutrition, which seems overly friendly to current patterns and to big Ag.

    Boseley describes this new study as “pooling” data from various other studies, which must be her colloquial way of saying it was a meta-study. But the caution that the study was indirect and suggestive was not in her headline.

    She does not explain, for example, how the two low-carb diets were compared: the high-animal protein vs. the high-plant protein diets. She does not address the narrow set of subjects, the limits to their self-selected data, or the possibility of underlying metabolic disease, the presence of which is often why people try these diets.

    Her conclusion is that neither low nor high carb diets work and they may not be healthy. What I would call Normalizing 101.

    The multi-billion dollar a year “diet” industry has its high-priced charlatans and unhealthy fads. But the prevalence of diet-induced metabolic disease, however, should tell us that the current “normal” diet is unhealthy, too.

    1. In The Land of Farmers

      It makes sense that the results mirrored Big Ag. People like to think of themselves as some sort of hunter gatherer paleo people but in reality the vast amount of Europeans are far from that. How do we know this? Genetic distribution of the genes that contraol Fatty Acid Metabolism. (FADS1 and FADS2). This change resulted in in what they call different FADS Haplotypes. Go ahead, look it up. It’s the same reason why the Inuit can survive on their extreme diet.

      You see, when humanity started getting more of their calories from farming, evolution selected people (by survival) who could better turn long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like alpha-Linolenic acid found in Flax Seed, into short chain PUFAs, like DHA and EPA found in fish. It’s basic biology.

      There is nothing “wrong” with that study, it is just data. And while they know the limitation, there is nothing that would make it useless. In fact, the U shaped curve is just a generalization of the population. There will be individuals can exist fine on either side of that curve, on low fat or high carb diets. This is just showing a generalization of a genetically diverse population. It is not meant to be used as a prescription for any individual.

      Anyone here who eats a strange diet without know their genetics is risking there health. That’s all there is to it. I am one of the freak, the true hunter/gatherer. I know this from my FADS, TCF7L2, and several other genes that link me to these people. They are rare gene changes, that, when I eat a “farmers diet”, which is high in fats, specifically long chain PUFAs, like seed oils, they give my family heart attacks at 45, ankylosing Spondylitis, and diabetes. You know, all the things Native Americans get. I eat high carbs, but they are low fat high carbs, like potatos and pasta. Would I tell someone to eat like me because it changed my life? Not unless they had my genetics.

      There is a reason my nickname is In The Land of Farmers. I am a stranger in the dominant farming culture.

      1. Lee

        My blood tests reveal that refined carbs are my enemy. To the extent that lipid blood tests are indicative of health, some experimental dieting indicated that I could do quite well on a diet of bacon, brie, and strawberries. Now, for the sake of my palate if nothing else, I simply keep refined carbs to a minimum. Having logged in my three score and ten and then some, the heart and circulatory system are doing well. It’s the rest of me that’s proving problematic.

        1. In The Land of Framers

          Lee, don’t you think “the rest of you” is also linked to your diet? While your blood markers for heart disease are “better” what about your inflammatory markers or the levels of oxidative stress?

          1. Lee

            Given the number of factors that can lead to disease and dysfunction: injury, pathogens, diet, environmental toxins, psychological stress, etc., your question is difficult to answer. And then there is time. To borrow a line: “Time fucks us harder than anything else.”

            As for endogenous factors. I am of the opinion that we are a complex compounds of complex systems and that those various systems each has to some degree its own agendas and needs, as it were. At at times they are at odds with one another. Auto-immune disease and unhealthy dietary cravings are but two examples that come immediately to mind. What we think of as our singular selves is something of an illusion—a yet to be fully evolved organic or psycho-spiritual aspiration, perhaps. We are more like little ecosystems, settings, venues where various drives and forces contend. Sometimes they find harmony, sometimes they do not.

            1. EoH

              Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist, discusses the biochemistry of metabolic syndrome, the regulation of glucose, the fat cycle, etc., in Fat Chance. I think he would agree that, in general, biochemistry drives feelings of hunger and satiation.

        2. earlofhuntingdon

          Even Atkins folks recommend lots of veggies and limited fruits on the long-term version of their diet, giving it similarities with other diets, such as Paleo, South Beach and the Med diet. The issue is which ones. Broccoli and cauliflower have very few carbs compared to peas and potatoes, for example.

          Improving public health will require systemic solutions, because these specialist solutions are all expensive. For starters, we might require prominent labeling of “added sugars” in addition to total sugars, adding a line on all sugars (given the dozens of names they go by), recommend against full sugar juices instead of whole fruit, etc.

          Another issue is what works over time. Lots of celebs recommend diets on which they’ve lost 50 lbs – over and over again. Those are probably not long-term fixes.

          Perhaps the most important issue evolves around short-term weight loss. Atkins created his diet for severely obese people, for whom the negative effects of a high-protein, low-carb diet were less severe than the metabolic impact of remaining obese.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Eighty percent of the people I work with are on some kind of diet all the time and their body weights fluctuate visibly. That can’t be good.

            I’m declining from a little over six foot, and been the same weight for twenty years. I’m at what the BMI describes as morbidly obese, and I describe as ‘paunchy.’ I’ve gotten used to returning expatriots to our berg asking if I’ve lost weight. Answer: ‘No everyone else got fatter.’

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Sorry, the study sucked. Asking people every six years about their diets? Are you kidding me? I should not have to explain to you why that is methodologically crap.

        More generally, all diet studies suck, and for good reason. In general, studies on anything related to diet are not reliable. Among other things, participants lie about compliance and there isn’t enough $ to fund a study of long enough duration to be valid, particularly since, unlike drugs, there’s no real money to be made if you find something.

        For a dietary supplement, for instance, I’d want to see a study of minimum 5 years, better yet ten. That’s way way too costly to be done well. You’d need a much bigger initial population than your intended target # to deal with dropouts.

        1. In The Land of Farmers

          I do understand why you think the study was crap. But it was more than just asking people what they are every six years. They used data from the AIRC study. And they updated a previous meta analysis.

          But the amount that people lie is factored in to these studies. So It’s not perfect, but so what?

          This study was useless for other reasons, namely it just reveals “a majority of people can eat a balanced diet” and live longer than people who do not. This is something we already know but does nothing to help the outliers. It enables the government to make one size fits all diet programs that are just as bad as fad diets.

          In general you should find u shaped curves with diets in a population. There will be a mean and there will be people who are outliers. Genetic diversity is responsible for the u shape. Any population that does not have a genetic distribution does not survive environmental changes well.

        2. JohnM

          They spent a boat load of money on the dietary modification arm of the Women’s Health Initiative but pretty much buried the results since they failed to support the hypothesis (again) that restriction of dietary fat would be beneficial. Average intervention of over 8 years and $700 million spent, although i’m unsure if that dollar amount included the other arms of the study.

      3. Lee

        Is there some reading you can recommend on genetic adaptation to different diets? It makes a great deal of sense—something layperson accessible such as Diamond’s Saltshakers Curse. In my own experience, most doctors and nutritionists seem to make one size fits all recommendations based on the prevailing common wisdom of the day. This seems odd given all the rage, or is it hype, for medical treatments based on individual genetics.

        I am a stranger in the dominant farming culture.

        Have you read, and if so what do you think, of Thom Hartmann’s writing on ADD as a hunter-gatherer brain function adaptation that persists in our farmer dominaed population.

        1. In The Land of Farmers

          I don’t have any reading recommendations outside of research. But I know a few books that are being written on the topic. For a kind of light read search for “Rise in Agriculture, Dietary Changes, May Be Linked to Adaptations in Fat Metabolism Seen from Ancient to Modern European“.

          Thom, and quite a few others, knew that many mood disorders were environmental mismatches in the 80’s but were shut out of the discussion. This includes disorders like schizophrenia. But although there might be a survival advantage to ADHD traits in H/G societies, having “too much” ADHD might decrease survival. Unfortunately this is the price to pay for the benefits of the majority being ADHD. It’s the same problem that arises with Sickle Cell Disease in West Africa. Although being heterozygous for the HBB gene does not give one Sickle Cell Diseaee, it still protects infants from Malaria. The price to pay is that some of the population will have shorter lifespans if they are homozygous for the changes in the HBB gene.

      4. cojo

        I think there is a lot of confusion in diets because the science is relatively new (last 50 years or so) and diet studies are so hard to perform due to the latency period of chronic diseases. Thus we are left with populations studies. Not perfect but they do add some data to the equation. Add to this genetic variability, as well as difficult to measure lifestyle differences, and the limitations of dietary questionnaires.

        I agree, some people can tolerate one type diet more than another based on genetic predisposition, however, genomics are complex and trying to isolate individual genetic markers are fraught with pitfalls. Although a few select genes may suggest a benefit for one diet vs another, you as a carrier of one of these genes may not necessarily. This is the dilemma of complex multi factorial disease processes with associated complex genetic interplay.

        Finally, one last thought. We should all be careful about teasing out whether our ancestors were more hunter gatherer vs “farmer” etc. as if you actually look at ancient stool samples, most all samples had much higher fiber content suggesting that even the hunter gatherers supplemented their meat intake with a lot of plant based material. What we also know for paleopathology (studying mummified corpses) is that the higher up the socioeconomic chain one was, the higher the incidence of atherosclerosis in your body (hardening of the arteries) thought to be due to higher animal protein intake. Our genomes have evolved over millions of years and only in the last 500,000 to million years did we do more hunting than gathering.

        1. Lee

          Our genomes have evolved over millions of years and only in the last 500,000 to million years did we do more hunting than gathering.

          But just to complicate the matter further, it’s probably safe to assume that some adaptations occur more quickly than others depending on selective pressures and mutational happenstance.

          1. cojo

            Very true. Now, imaging all the permutations and combinations of diets to genotypes that exist and multiply that by the time it would take to do a longitudinal study. Therefore, one can look at the different evidence on biochemical studies being done for small groups and small groups of food/nutrients to glean some sort of recommendation based on some evidence. A good source for much of the dietary literature out there in an easy to understand format is Dr. Michael Greger’s

          2. Oregoncharles

            Except for a few extreme environments like the Arctic or the Himalayas, people never did more hunting than gathering. Observational studies of hunter-gatherers show that women brought in most of the daily food, mostly plants; men were bringing in the occasional protein binge. The proportion would vary with environment, but that’s the pattern.

            One thing that suggests is that we’re adapted to OCCASIONAL concentrated protein, not every day, unless your ancestors were Inuit or pastoralists. Of course, the original Indo-Europeans were pastoralists, so that might be a lot of us.

          3. Mo's Bike Shop

            Yeah the hunter gatherer thing. The current genetics (forget everything you heard over 10 years ago /smirk) has most of Europe’s population descending from waves of agriculturalists from the post ice age.

            I mean, if your ancestors weren’t in the top five percent of middle ages Europe, they got by on 75% carbohydrates. Your ‘hunter gatherer genes’ are anything that didn’t get killed by that.

            For bleeding edge commentary on genetics I like Razib Khan. I found him on Unz when he was recovering from the fallout of being a total zeeb selected to be a columnist by the NYT. His crucification is ironic to me because he’s actually more keen on the Enlightenment than I am.

    2. EoH

      For an example of the Guardian’s balance in covering food and nutrition, here is:

      “Chicken is where it’s at: the unstoppable rise of KFC” – by the inimitable Harry Wallop: “KFC has survived health scandals, veganism, and a major [UK] delivery fail: can the fast food behemoth stay on top?”

      For comparison, Wallop’s article received the same placement as Sarah Boseley’s. His is well over twice as long, with paragraphs of double the length.

      Sarah’s has a single picture of two pieces of bread sandwiching a fistful of french fries, dripping with sauce. Harry’s is replete with six high-definition photos, two of diners, three close-ups of food, and a large photo of a smiling, Ivanka-like blond taking a selfie with a mock-up of the Colonel.

      The Boseley article had two links. Wallop’s has twenty-six. His also has a link and an invitation for commentators to vie for having their comments published in the Weekend edition.

      The 9-piece bucket surprise, though, is that it includes a version of the Colonel’s “secret” recipe, with eleven herbs and spices: “the most famous recipe in the world.” (It does not include the original instructions for cooking in an oil-filled pressure cooker.)

      Who else has a 1275 calorie bucket meal when you need one? The average reader might be forgiven for thinking that the article was paid advertising.

  21. cojo

    On “Both low and high-carb diets can raise risk of early death, study finds Guardian. “, the authors explained the rationale of only asking two questionnaires six years apart.

    Another limitation of this study is that diet was only assessed at two time intervals, spanning a 6-year period, and dietary patterns could change during 25 years. However, because participants are able to increase or decrease their consumption of carbohydrates during the course of follow-up, any dietary changes that occur after the described assessments would be expected to attenuate any observed associations.

    Dietary studies are notoriously difficult due to the long lag times between cause and effect as well as the day to day variability in peoples diets. However, I would not necessarily through out the baby with the bathwater here. The main takeaway the authors wanted to point out was there may be a J shaped survival curve based on the amount of carbohydrates one takes in.

    1. Wukchumni

      In the midst of being in the back of beyond for 17 days out of the last 30…

      …and on a long backpack trip of say 9 days w/o resupply, there is really no way you can make up for energy exerted on the trail, because you can only carry so much

      You make do with around 1,000 calories a day, and somehow you’re not famished, although in the last day or 2, sometimes we fantasize about the 1st meal back in the world.

      A friend always gets a root beer float, I opt for Thai food if available, and as the scant amount of fresh food we took with us on the sojourn was eaten quickly early on, we all yearn for salads.

      1. cojo

        Wukchumni, you backpacked for 9 days, you my friend get a pass to eat what ever meal your heart desires on the way back. Unfortunately, most of the study participants are unlikely to get anywhere near that physical activity in their civilized every day lives.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      J shaped vs. V-shaped.

      Presumably J, and not V, means the risk at the low carb end is lower than the high-carb end?

      It would V-shaped, if the risk is the same on both ends?

      Does that mean we go back to ‘all things in moderation?’

      1. Cojo

        J shaped as in a little worse for a low carb diet (think Atkins or Keto diets) and even higher at the more extreme carbohydrate levels (western diets, food deserts in low income neighborhoods etc). Good luck teasing out the cofounders there, but in the end, yes, moderation may be your safest bet. One more thing to point out, humans eat foods, not macronutrients. So some of the protective effects as hypothesized by the authors as well, is likely due to the higher fruit intake in the moderation camp.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s interesting the same problems and the same advice or commandments keep re-occurring throughout history.

          Don’t kill…gun control.

          Don’t covet your neighboring (co-ed) high school classmates – teenage pregnancy, banning sex.

          Don’t drink – prohibition.

          All things in moderation – still all things in moderation.

          Less consumption – still less consumption.

      2. Burritonomics

        I would say no. Keep in mind that these rely on “food frequency” questionnaires. That data can be notoriously bad, influenced not just by faulty memory, but by poor question design.

        The thing that really gets me about these kinds of studies is that theres little consideration about food quality – a meal of french fries will look macro equivalent to a baked potato with a pat of grass fed butter. IMO, they are not the same.

        Hidden in all this is that we have a pretty good idea of what ISN’T good – and there’s reasonable agreement on that. No one’s touting refined sugar, unstable/rancid oils, bleached flour, etc, as healthy food. But most commercial processed food contains all that stuff. I don’t want any of that in moderation at all.

        1. cojo

          Agreed, processed foods adds another layer of complexity and confusion, and most processed foods are very detrimental to your health. When I say moderation, it is in the context of the current argument of the macro-nutrient, carbohydrate.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          I make potato wedges and feel a little guilty.

          I make sweet potato wedges and feel a little virtuous.

          And closer to your point, I only use about 15% of my grocery store. I’m not missing anything.

          Although fresh meat is now something I treat as a biohazard until hopefully neutralized. And then there’s the Romaine thing. Is the overprocessed corn-starch and sugar product actually safer for those without training in the dangers of our food chain? I can assure you that trusting your grocery store’s ‘fresh’ prepared salads and etc. is being overly credulous.

      3. In The Land of Farmers

        They said it was U shaped in the study. Note that what ever shape it is there will still be a lot of people who are outliers. So health can mean very high carb for one person or very high fat for another. I know this makes it boring and unable for people to sell books for fad diets, but it’s the truth.

        The cognitive bias against personal genetics shaping diet is the last hurdle we face to improving health across all populations.

        1. EoH

          Among other “last hurdles” in improving public health, I would add: the insufficiency of nutrition research, the medical establishment’s reluctance to treat nutrition science with higher regard, the emphasis on treating symptoms rather than their underlying causes, the influence of bigAg in promoting the profitable over the nutritious, and the related difficulty of turning revised nutrition proposals into effective public policy.

  22. Kurtismayfield

    Bank closing branches and ATM’s

    I don’t see this as a cashless conspiracy.. I see this as treating outlying areas as colonies again. They already have everyone with direct deposit, they don’t need branches. And when the citizens no longer have an option they will resort to barter.

  23. Lee

    Are Cities Making Animals Smarter? Atlantic


    But civilization, cities being one of its hallmarks, has made humans fatter, dumber and less fit than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Collectively our fund of knowledge is greater than that of our distant ancestors but individually we tend to know more and more about less and less.

    When it comes to deriving the necessaries directly from the unmediated natural world, we are hapless babes in the woods who wouldn’t last a fortnight without tools and products provided by the efforts and knowledge of untold numbers of others living and dead with whom we have no direct connection. Now, if we could just keep this civilization thing, upon which we are now utterly dependent, and is in its own way quite lovely, from killing us and the planet.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Wendell Berry has said a few things about that:

      The specialization of production induces specialization of consumption. Patrons of the entertainment industry, for example, entertain themselves less and less and have become more and more passively dependent on commercial suppliers. This is certainly true also of patrons of the food industry, who have tended more and more to be mere consumers — passive, uncritical, and dependent. Indeed, this sort of consumption may be said to be one of the chief goals of industrial production. The food industrialists have by now persuaded millions of consumers to prefer food that is already prepared. They will grow, deliver, and cook your food for you and (just like your mother) beg you to eat it. That they do not yet offer to insert it, prechewed, into our mouth is only because they have found no profitable way to do so. We may rest assured that they would be glad to find such a way. The ideal industrial food consumer would be strapped to a table with a tube running from the food factory directly into his or her stomach.

    2. Oregoncharles

      There’s an addictive Youtube series called “Primitive Technologies.” It’s one guy wordlessly, all but silently, making the various tools and structures that more primal societies used. When last seen, he’d graduated to clay roof tiles, fired in a hand-built clay kiln and added to a grass hut. Because of the silence, it’s deeply soothing; and fascinating, because we’ve never seen these things done before.

      Whether it would actually be useful I don’t know, and hope not to find out. Of course, it wouldn’t be available in a primal condition. You’d have to learn the skill beforehand.

  24. knowbuddhau

    Ah, goats. Who says goats can’t dance? lol. It’s clearly and even elegantly saying, c’mon, butt my head and I’ll butt yours. Guess that old and, let’s be honest, rather overfed dog don’t speak goat.

    I know the feeling, little goat. Like talking to people at work. Might as well go butt a wall.

    1. CanCyn

      I gotta say I felt sorry for that old, and yes, overfed, dog. He was clearly annoyed by the goat not just patiently abiding the antics. Made me wonder if he couldn’t get up and walk away. I’d call that one an anti-antidote.

    2. KFritz

      The goat is a billy goat–a male. (After about 15 seconds of its behavior, I took a glance between its rear legs.) Many billy goats, like their cousins rams and bulls, are unpredictably and eccentrically aggressive–and dangerous to ordinary humans. The dog looks like a Pyrenees Mastiff, a much more formidable and violent dog than its cousin, the Great Pyrenees. You’ll notice the dog’s reactions were all business, and that the goat never pushed things to a full confrontation.

  25. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    That Taxi Artist is a MUST WATCH video.

    Haha, and hes fn hilarious!

    Knowing that ordinary ‘blokes’ and ‘Yats’ from da Parish see eye to eye on everyday Politics is a #WINNING

    Looks like the ‘GANGSTER’ Tory MPs are gonna Shock & Awe the Venerable NHS via Brexit.

    Its not a shocker, but shocked the MPs will be when we (the royal one) throw their asses in PRISON!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, he has a daily “read the headlines” video. They are all funny.

      He also has nice watercolors if you click over to his Twitter feed. Clever marketing. I missed buying one of a black cat looking out a window into a vista with trees and flowers.

      Caption: “Fuck, another day”.

  26. Sub-Boreal

    “British Columbia declares state of emergency as over 500 wildfires burn”

    Although the major fires are 200 km or more to the west, the smoke was so heavy this morning in the central BC city of Prince George that the street lights went back on around 9:00 AM (Pacific). And they’re still on, more than an hour later.

    End times.

    1. Oregoncharles

      All the way to western Oregon (don’t know about eastern – but we were in the Cascades hiking yesterday and the smoke was pretty thick.) We seem to be at the edge of it; the sky is actually blue today. But a trip to Salem, 40 miles away to the north, led into a brown cloud. I could even smell it. Must be awful in Portland.

      It isn’t local; so far, knock wood, we don’t have major fires near here. I actually saw it coming in from the north over the weekend.

      Seems to be the new normal, something I don’t remember in the past. (Actually, we used to get heavy smoke from burning the grass seed fields, but that was deliberate. Made the valley look like a war zone. Ironically, the natives did the same thing for different reasons – there are more trees in the valley now than then. Occasionally you see one of the gigantic, spreading oaks that grew in the savanna. )

      1. Lord Koos

        Heavy smoke here in central WA for the last 4-5 days, we’ve been mostly staying inside & running the air filter. It’s depressing not being able to see the horizon or the nearby hills and not being able to take my bicycle rides… it’s mostly smoke from the BC fires, which are not going out anytime soon. These photos from Seattle show what it’s like, worse air than Beijing by a factor of three (scroll down a bit): The smoke has lifted quite a bit today thankfully but is forecast to return on Monday if not sooner. This has been an annual occurrence since we moved here in 2012 to look after my mother, but due to this happening every summer now I doubt we will settle here permanently. The annual smoke has only started happening in the last 7 years or so, I grew up here and it was never like this. Ecuador is looking more appealing every day.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Did Trump Really Save America From Socialism? The American Spectator. UserFriendly: “If Alex Jones wrote articles, this is what he’d write.”

    FDR saved capitalism, it is said often and perhaps that’s debatable.

    Saving capitalism (whether he did or not) is different from saving America from socialism, though related.

    Is Trump doing, trying to do, or perhaps is thought (by some) to be doing the former or the latter?

    I read today that he is talking about corporations reporting every 6 months, instead of 3 months. Would that be trying to save capitalism?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Capitalism is dead, Jim. ca 2008. Everything now is carving down this edifice of credit we’ve built over the last 200 years of free petroleum. Pity about the quality of the concrete. And the lack of human scale.

      Penury sounds nice if you smile about it. I posit that we are in the Pre-Penury phase of our economic development.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Are Cities Making Animals Smarter? Atlantic


    If they are making (presumably non-human) animals smarter, do human-animals have to up their game, and become even smarter, just to be able to lord over the non-human animals?

    One more thing to worry about – are cities making plants smarter?

  29. Oregoncharles

    “A Huge Misperception About Sex”

    The real lesson is probably that when it comes to sex, people lie. To themselves, among others. So surveys are not a good source of information, except perhaps when it comes to changes over time. They are, however, the only information we have, as explained in the article. So when you look at the chart, the yellow “reality” bar has to be taken with a grain of salt.

    It’s also a lesson in how misleading averages can be.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Heard one of the best lines about sex just yesterday. It is reckoned with sex that women have an advantage over men in that women can use sex to get what they want whereas sex is all that men want.

  30. Susan the other

    ArsTechnica. The wheat genome. Is amazing. This is diversity self-contained in one, one, organism. We owe this complex wheat genome to random mutations? Maybe by a genius genome. Must wonder if this hexaploid cooperation is part of other genomes not yet discovered. I would think that it is an excellent technique for replacing pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fragility of all sorts. Also wonder what farming practices the Chinese used to produce this combine. Please can I have some?

  31. LarryB

    And Caitlin Johnstone’s twitter account is suspended. Wonder how common that is going to become?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Just wondering: is Twitter offering any justification for this?

        One more reason to avoid Twitter and “social media” in general.

        Granted, we use Youtube quite a bit, but as entertainment, not social media.

          1. David Carl Grimes

            There must be a market for a social media app whose “community standards” are centered around the right of free speech and the first amendment. All these arbitrary suspensions, shadow banning, de-platforming, and algorithmic burying is making me distrustful of all social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (Google). Maybe someone should start building one.

    1. Lambert Strether

      @jack has lost his mind.

      I would bet money Johnstone’s detractors reported her, and the moderators don’t know how to sort out real reporting from gamed reporting.

      The lesson is that social media doesn’t scale, at least when human beings are involved. Moderation does in fact require skill, and social media should be spending orders of magnitude more on it, in terms of respect for the work, and funding. Instead, they’re using algos and lowest bid contractors, so of course the results are bad,

      1. makedoanmend

        Further to that, it is not beyond the realms of possibility these days that “goal-oriented” organisations and associated ‘think tanks’ might target certain writers by reporting them to the sites for apparent infringements.

        It’s a game that can be played by both the Left and Right, although it seems the Right is more, shall I say, organised and determined + probably has more mullah at its disposal.

        As I use neither face nor twit, I really can’t get too energized. If these sites become nothing more than echo-chambers for mass produced narratives, many punters will drift simply away.

        Might be a plus for other interweb sites that do moderate their forums more judiciously.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Maybe they just didn’t like what she said. Somehow, it seems unlikely that it was really a policy decision – I doubt she’s that important.

      3. Lambert Strether

        This account can’t know why Johnstone was suspended, however:

        As a moderator, I deprecate calling for people’s deaths (not always the case, e.g. at HuffPo).Perhaps there is now a policy against that. But this tweet really does not do that; although a low-paid contractor in India or the Philippines might not recognize the hyperbole. (In other words, to have a “healthy conversation,” avoid all rhetorical devices!)

    2. flora

      How odd. I had two comments to this and they were posted for some time, but have now disappeared. I don’t think Skynet is the culprit. I conclude something about them irritated an actual human moderator. (and no, there was no ugliness in them.) oh well….

          1. integer

            I think you posted those comments in Water Cooler, where there is also a discussion on Johnstone.

  32. tiebie66

    It is misleading to claim that “The Evidence Is In, and Austerity Is Declared a Loser” using Portugal as an example. In fact, it might never be possible to use Portugal as an example of the effects of austerity because of a profound confound. In 2014, when the current government came into power and reversed austerity measures, tourism to eastern Europe dropped sharply (Statistics Portugal, Tourism Statistics 2015 edition). Portugal was one of the beneficiaries of this shift away from the troubled Middle East and Central Europe with its war and refugee problems. Since 2014, tourism has solidly increased, rising from 6.4% of GDP in 2016 to about 10% in 2018. This is not a trivial increase and needs to be fully disentangled from the effects of a policy change before the success of the latter can be adequately evaluated. Perhaps tourism is single-handedly responsible for Portugal’s “recovery”.

    It seems possible that the opposite could be said about Greece – that a sharp drop in tourism and the problems associated with the refugees, rather than austerity policies – contributed substantially to the country’s problems. I am not familiar with the data, but am concerned that, to be convincing, policy effects must be separated from extraneous shocks.

    1. makedoanmend

      I’m perplexed. What does a rise in Tourism have to do with reversing an Austerity policy that takes social benefits away from the vulnerable and working people?

      An increase in one sector in an economy doesn’t necessarily confound the ability to determine if a political policy is ineffective.

      Austerity is an economic policy that simply shifts and redistributes productive wealth from working people who produce it to the already wealthy and getting wealthier class. (Often Austerity policy goes hand in hand with tax avoidance and off-shoring.)

      It is not about national macroeconomic issues, such as international trade nor domestic industrial policies. It’s about who gets what share of the pie irrespective of how large the pie is. The pie can increase in overall size and yet working people, via Austerity, still receive less than they did five or ten years ago.

      On the other hand, if a large amount of people receive a larger proportion of the wealth created by a nation, they can either save more or use it as expenditure on commodities and services which can, in turn, increase economic growth.

      During Austerity instead they often go into personal debt to maintain a living standard or to just eek out an existence.

  33. The Rev Kev

    “Why Are ATMs Disappearing at an Alarming Rate after a Wave of Branch Closures?”

    Not only ATMs. In the town near where I live one of the banks is closing. It is one of Australia’s Big Four banks and is usually very busy with customers coming and going. A lot of the local farmers (maybe most of them?) use this bank for their business. This was decreed from HQ I suppose. A smaller bank in town is happily picking up all this extra business as people shut down their accounts as not wanting to being reduced to do all their banking via an app and a phone. This article makes me wonder if the bank will leave their ATM behind or whether it too will go.

  34. southern appalachian

    Don’t be stupid, be a smarty. Anti-authoritarianism is in the DNA of the descendants of the European settlers of most of the appalachians. Applicable, I think, far beyond the boundaries of psychology.

  35. Ray Phenicie

    I feel confident that NC readers are aware of Modern Monetary Theory; the link provides an excellent primer in the event an update is needed. The reason for sharing that bit of knowledge is to clear the way for discussion of “What You Probably Don’t Know About Social Security” . The article is set in the ‘deficit dove’ mode; that’s better than ‘deficit hawk’ but still way out of the playing field for serious discussion about the future of Social Security. Congress has the ability to appropriate the needed funding to keep Social Security checks rolling as long as there are eligible recipients. Fears of ‘Zimbabwe’ usually pop at this point and inflation is a consideration for Congress. However the country is still in recessionary mode despite ardent preaching on the part of the Trump administration about how wonderfully well the nation is doing financially. 40% of the population still lives in poverty and an additional 20% can’t plan past the last paycheck of the month. All of that is brought to play by political choice, not some immutable law of finance and economics. Economic planning would not need to take inflationary concerns into effect for the very near future.

    Follow up on the Social Security situation is available from Professor Randall Wray. This nation has the most under utilized potential (financially, socially, culturally) of any nation on the planet-taking into consideration of what is actually available, we use our resources the least.

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