Links 8/18/18

Dear patient readers,

A heads up: We’ll be having more CalPERS posts than usual over the next few weeks. That is due to the fact that there are important stories we haven’t written up yet, and this time of year is good for catching up, plus it is actually timely since board elections start at the beginning of September and are open for a month. Unfortunately, only one seat is being contested, that of Board President Priya Mathur by Corona police officer Jason Perez.

Are our wild animals growing old gracefully? PhysOrg (Robert M)

Milking cows on an industrial scale arrives in western Minnesota, and some farmers shudder Minneapolis Star Tribune (Chuck L)

Study confirms truth behind ‘Darwin’s moth’ PhysOrg (Robert M)

Catholic League On Predatory Priests: It’s Not Rape If The Child Isn’t Penetrated Patheos (Chuck L)

Facebook flat-out ‘lies’ about how many people can see its ads – lawsuit The Register

Taming the Tech Monster Project Syndicate (David L)

A Bot Panic Hits Amazon Mechanical Turk Wired

Telling the Truth About Defects in Technology Should Never, Ever, Ever Be Illegal. EVER. Electronic Frontier Foundation (Dan K)


China, Taiwan and a bakery: How a coffee sparked a diplomatic row BBC

China’s Uighur Camps Swell as Beijing Widens the Dragnet Wall Street Journal

House Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act International Campaign for Tibet (furzy)

“Asia Will Be the Next Source of Downside Systemic Risk for Financial Markets” Wolf Richter

South Korea Is Going Crazy Over a Handful of Refugees Foreign Policy

Europe Needs Its Own Charles de Gaulle Foreign Policy. UserFriendly: “Very interesting. Europe integrated what it shouldn’t have and didn’t integrate what they should have.


Erdogan blames Trump, but should be looking closer to home Asia Times

Turkey Cut Deeper Into Junk as S&P Sees Recession Next Year Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Arizona Officer Uses Bodycam to Film Himself Having Sex in Office, Loses Job Newsweek. UserFriendly: “Classy.”

Exclusive: U.S. government seeks Facebook help to wiretap Messenger – sources Reuters

NSA Cracked Open Encrypted Networks of Russian Airlines, Al Jazeera, and Other ‘High Potential’ Targets Intercept

The devil is in the detail of government bill to enable access to communications data The Conversation

Imperial Collapse Watch

Congress Rushes to Spend Billions on Space Weapons—Even if They Don’t Work Defence One (Kevin W)

America Is Committing War Crimes and Doesn’t Even Know Why Foreign Policy (UserFriendly)

Tariff Tantrum

U.S., China Plot Road Map to Resolve Trade Dispute by November Wall Street Journal

Trump Transition

John Brennan Is No Match For Trump Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Adam Lovinger, Pentagon analyst, lost security clearance after Stefan Halper complaints Washington Times (Chuck L)

Omarosa’s Long History of Being Fired People

Jury signals it needs more time for Manafort verdict The Hill

The Tired Tricks of Gov. Andrew Cuomo Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (UserFriendly)

How FiveThirtyEight’s House Model Works FiveThirtyEight

This Sort of Spineless Corporate Pandering Is Why Democrats Keep Losing CommonDreams (UserFriendly)

Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream The Hill

Bernie Sanders: Andrew Gillum can politically transform Florida Tampa Bay Times (UserFriendly)

Corporate power on the agenda at Jackson Hole Financial Times (David L)

California homeowners get to pass low property taxes to their kids. It’s proved highly profitable to an elite group Los Angeles Times

Fake News

Fake America great again MIT Technology Review (David L). I sat next to a Google guy who was working on the “deep fake” problem for YouTube.

An Open Letter to the Colluding Press RealClearPolitics

Tesla shares tumble after CEO Elon Musk breaks down in interview Independent

Tesla lost nearly $8 billion in shareholder value this week and its board should be ashamed TechCrunch (EM)

Tesla Board Torn Between Service to Shareholders and Iconic CEO Bloomberg

The Game Has Changed at Tesla Wall Street Journal

Here’s the problem with Trump trying to change the rules on how often corporations report earnings Think Progress (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Socialists Need To Fight For Economic Change — Not Just Another Version Of Capitalism Huffington Post

“Socialism” vs. “capitalism”: what left and right get wrong about the debate Vox (UserFriendly)

Elizabeth Warren’s Batty Plan to Nationalize Everything National Review. UserFriendly: “ROFLMAO”

No end in sight for the homeless – Rough sleeping Economist (UserFriendly). Important.

What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy? Tony Judt, New York Review of Books (UserFriendly). From 2009.

Antidote du jour. Lawrence R form Pleasant Lake: “Loon chick testing her wings.”

And a bonus video. Franklin was a last minute substitute for Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammy awards. She gave that performance with all of one rehearsal. This is a reprise years later.

And I have to say as much as I like Adele, Aretha’s rendition in her 70s of Rolling in the Deep gave me chills.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. fresno dan

    Sawyer is dragged into a Kafkaesque nightmare by male sexual aggression and also by a combination of therapy culture; modern medical care, with its tendency toward de-personalization; social-media habits offering fearsome tracking possibilities (amusingly explained to us in a surprise cameo appearance by a leading movie star); indifferent bureaucracies in general; and (my favorite) health-insurance scams. Long before a drop of blood is shed on the screen, the movie had me in a cold sweat. Freddy Krueger doesn’t faze me. What’s truly terrifying is having to fill out forms from Aetna.
    Like the movie The Tingler I imagine there will be ambulances and nurses stationed at the theatre.
    Beyond 3-D, this is an innovation that shocks the conscience – the most horrifying, terrifying, frightening experience any human being could encounter is put on the big screen – The American Health Insurance system Except, unlike with the Tingler, Screaming won’t save you from it!!!

    1. Carolinian

      That’s not a very good movie even though the lead is the great Claire Foy. If they are trying to offer up an expose of the mental health complex then a more plausible plot would help.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    A Bot Panic Hits Amazon Mechanical Turk Wired

    Amazon crapifying everything.

    Amazon’s silence on the topic is striking, considering the level of concern among researchers. Members of the Facebook group where Bai originally posted about MTurk say they’ve reached out to Amazon this week, but do not report hearing back. Last week, Bai created a questionnaire for researchers—not on MTurk—and is now leading a crowdsourced effort among social scientists to figure out how much of the bad data he has seen is new, how large the problem is, and how to stop it. He’s still analyzing that survey, but he plans to send their research to Amazon in the hopes that the data will force the company to respond.

    The problem is clearly bots. I know a couple who own and run a company offering similar services to Mechanical Turk (but on a more ethical basis – they insist on good pay rates for the ‘subjects’. The technical officer is an ex hacker who told me that they had multiple attacks by individuals running bot farms from the very beginning, but they ultimately found it relatively easy to develop algorithms to weed them out before they could do damage. Some of those banned went as far as posting Reddit threads complaining about being weeded out, as if it was their right to do it. I suspect Amazon just couldn’t be bothered doing the had work, they’ve always just sat on Mechanical Turk using it to harvest data no doubt, they’ve never done serious investment in it.

    1. Durans

      They will have to push the issue hard, possibly for years, before Amazon to do anything about it.

      After Amazon introduced the affiliate program where other stores could sell goods through the Amazon website they had problems with their affiliates selling counterfeit goods as the real thing for years before they ever bothered to do anything about it or even admit it was a problem.

      1. Paul Jurczak

        Agree. Amazon affiliate program is a complete, mostly unsupervised mess. Wide spread fraudulent item descriptions and fake reviews are definitely not “putting the customer at the center of everything we do” as Bezos claimed years ago. I contacted Amazon customer service with a few egregious cases and there was no action taken at all.

  3. Wukchumni

    There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.

    Edward Abbey

    I’m turning off the information age for the next week, on just the other side of nowhere.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Happy trails then, Wukchumni. I can only imagine the sorts of places that you will be seeing. Wish I was going too.

    2. fresno dan

      August 18, 2018 at 8:11 am

      Maybe the wisest comment I have ever read.
      I particularly liked: “I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere.”
      Reminds me a bit of Knustler’s “Home from Nowhere” except not only are we going to nowhere, we should get there much, much faster…

    3. Webstir

      Miss ya Ed.
      “To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever … “
      He sure could turn a phrase.

      Happy tuning out to you Wukchumni.

      1. KLG

        Earlier today I repeated for a friend another bit of Cactus Ed’s wisdom: “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

        Long live the firm of Hayduke Sarvis Abbzug & Smith!

  4. Mark S.

    From Milking Cows on an Industrial Scale:

    “All the large dairies — not just the ones in Minnesota, all over the country — they’re just flooding the market with milk,” said Heidi Beyer, who raises beef cattle near Clontarf, about 18 miles from Murdock, and helps her parents run the 60-cow dairy where she grew up. “Why are they doing this to other dairy farmers?”

    Because that’s what our economy demands!

    1. Wukchumni

      We were on a hike to Salt Creek Falls on BLM land here, and met a couple of dairying families from Hanford, who had 6,000 and 7,000 bessies in each of their CAFO operations. Not exactly lacked dose intolerant, such heady numbers.

      A friend who is a trucker tells me one of his primary drives is picking up milk powder from these dairies, to be delivered to the Port of LA, en route to the People’s Republic, where apparently an awful lot of Chinese people don’t trust Middle Kingdom made milk.

      Picked up quite the rarity in these United States yesterday, a hitchhiker in the guise of a German IT guy in his 20’s with a backpack, and I was going to Visalia and he needed to get to Hwy 99, so I drove him the extra 5 miles and deposited him on an on-ramp, where you’d more than likely find someone attempting to turn cardboard into alms in silent pleas, please.

      He was intrigued by the food forest we were passing by, and I mentioned that almonds & pistachios were the mainstays in terms of per pound price, so they were the dominant orchards, and a good percentage of both crops were for export, so in essence we are selling fossil water from never to be replenished aquifers for around $3 for 300 gallons, condensed into a pound of almonds.

      It’s so foolish, and we’re robbing the future for a pittance.

      The same applies to milk for export, for what happens to the excrement from those 13,000 cows (just a tiny part of the total of milk cows in the Central Valley) and all of the other unpleasant cowcophanys?

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        regarding manure…if they’d somehow learn to avoid contaminating said manure with persistent herbicides and hydrogenated oil(from stale fritos they feed the cows(!)), and other such insanity…that manure would do a world of good just spread all over anything that used to be called “farmland”.
        add in prudent injections of “good bugs”…soil microbiota…and some prairie grass seed…and not only is it a carbon sink, but a rehabilitated topsoil, the degradation of which, worldwide, is undereported and contains a great big helping of Doom.
        but Cafo’s are not amenable to such endeavors…prophylactic antibiotic overuse, etc.
        Down with the Milk Cartel, I say.

          1. clarky90

            How Grass-fed Beef Will Save the World


            IMO, Immense herds of ruminants (like buffalo) covered the grass plains of Earth. Our pals, the wolves (dogs) herded them along, eating the old and sick ruminants that fell by the wayside of the herds. Early humans started to tag along with the wolves (dogs) and made friends with some of them (pets)…. The rest is history.

            There is a repugnant campaign to blame ruminant herd animals for climate change. This is the opposite (imo) of the truth. The ruminants turn grass into compost (dung and urine) which becomes deep, fertile, black soil.

            Soy, wheat, corn, (plus) Glyphosate (plus) fossil fuel (plus) intensive cropping (equals) the destruction of our topsoil. Soylent Green for dinner again? yuk

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              It all depends on who is using the ruminant ungulate and for what purpose. The Corporate Lords of Feedlot use the cow to eat corn-soy and emit carbon. The Yeomen of Pasture and Range use the cow to eat live green plants out in the field, and the best and most talented ones are using the cow to help the cow-pasture/range system capture carbon and store it in the roots and in the soil.

              Yeoman-grown carbon-capture beef will cost more than Corporate Feedlot Lord corn-soy beef. That is the cost of carbon capture. What is the “price” of carbon capture . . . if it really works as hoped? What is the “price” of survival itself?

      2. heresy101

        While these massive dairies need to be prevented and keep the family farms, there is a process that can deal with large amounts of cow manure. It is called anaerobic digestion where the manure, either wet or dry, is mixed without oxygen to make biogas (mostly methane). The biogas is burned in a generator to make electricity and the by-product is a high quality compost. A number of smaller dairies in the Elk Grove area of the Central Valley are utilizing this process.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Dumps also produce biogas.

          And our gas utility claims they’re starting to put it into their gas supply, saving a step in the process.

      3. Procopius

        The Chinese probably don’t have a dairy industry. The Chinese phrase for “cheese” used to be “rotted milk.” I imagine now that they are achieving minimal prosperity some of them are experimenting with exotic foods. I doubt they’ll develop a dairy industry now, so it should be a good market for some time to come.

    2. Jhallc

      “All of the milk that’s trucked away from Riverview’s nine dairies in Minnesota goes to make cheese. Riverview is a major source of milk for five cheese factories in western Minnesota and South Dakota.”
      Can never have enough cheese I say. oops… guess we can

      My mother grew up on an upstate NY dairy farm. My uncle ran it until he retired and none of his children were interested in taking over the hard job of running it. He sold the 100+ herd of Holsteins and 200 acres of farm land to a neighbor. It had been in the family for over 100 years. The days of my youth spent helping with the haying and harvesting the field corn are some of my best memories. But, then again I didn’t have to live it 24/7.

      Gotta go make some nachos.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I just had an idea. The Chinese do not trust their local food producers and this must mean milk as heaps of powdered milk is purchased in Australia and shipped back to China, right? And America has so much milk that they are turning it into cheese to keep it stored, right? Can you see where I am going with this?

  5. ChrisAtRU

    “Socialism” vs. “capitalism” is a false dichotomy

    “We need go-go capitalism to afford a generous welfare state, and people won’t support go-go capitalism without a safety net. “Socialists” and Republicans forget different parts of this lesson.”

    “We need go-go capitalism to afford a generous welfare state …” ????


    Stopped reading right there. This type of fallacy is what passes as pragmatic with the likes of Vox.

    1. Baby Gerald

      Thanks, Chris, for saving me the time of reading that drivel.

      In fact, I’d be inclined to offer the inverse of the author’s argument and claim that we need a generous welfare state in order to afford ‘go-go capitalism’ [whatever that adjective is supposed to imply]. Curious, too, how the author claims that the argument here is between republicans and ‘socialists’, leaving the corporate democratic party machine unmentioned. And did the author really use air quotes around the word ‘Socialists’? What’s the point of that?

      We’ve had go-go capitalism without much restraint for the last twenty-plus years. Now how about serving up some of that generous welfare state you mentioned? Yet another attempt by media to give capitalism a shine and stifle the social-democratic surge that we’ve seen over the last few months. Joe Crowley could have written it.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        “I’d be inclined to offer the inverse of the author’s argument and claim that we need a generous welfare state in order to afford ‘go-go capitalism’ [whatever that adjective is supposed to imply].”

        Well, those of us on the #MMT, #FunctionalFinance, #SectoralBalances side of the house have been screaming just this – that Government deficit spending better enables private sector to be in surplus. The only difference is that the welfare spending is of the corporate variety, not the public good or social safety net variety. Kleptocracy in the US means that the body politic chooses to pay for:
        Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and Corporations
        Bail Outs for the Financial Sector

        … needlessly at the expense of:

        States’ Funding for Crucial Infrastructure & Services
        Clean Energy

        Articles like the one at Vox are exactly as you said, an attempt to “stifle the social-democratic surge that we’ve seen over the last few months”.

        Thanks for your response!

    2. DJG

      Agreed: Thanks, Chris, for wading into the bog to spare the rest of us. Good to meet you at the meetup, and good to benefit from your clear thinking.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      I honestly couldn’t get past the irony of Vox and HuffPo deciding they should tell us all what socialism is about. Thanks for letting me know my instincts still work well.

      1. Jeff W

        The article in the Huffington Post is by leading US Marxian economist Richard D. Wolff. I don’t have any problem with him telling us his view of socialism.

        The article cogently and concisely makes the distinction between the socialism found in, say, the social democratic Scandinavian countries with “national health insurance, subsidized education and transportation, and other policies aimed at social equality” (“a gentler, kinder form of capitalism,” according to Wolff), and the socialism that “prioritizes transition beyond the employer/employee structure of production…the democratization of businesses ― for a transition from top-down, hierarchical organization to democratic, worker co-op organization.” Wolff, it might be too obvious to state, favors the latter.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOL it’s always hilarious how the “Bad Socialism!” arguments get made. Few own up to the question: Socialism for whom?

          Hate to tell you but America has full-on socialism today. The military gets it, in the form of $5000 toilet seats and trillion $ fighters that don’t work. Wall St get it to the tune of trillions: no capitalist “creative destruction” allowed there. Big Pharma? Check out Medicare Part Five. The 1%? Too easy, just make laws so they can hide their winnings offshore, $34 trillion handout there. Google, Apple, Facebook? Check, just let them use a “Dutch Sandwich” or “Irish Subsidiary” to avoid paying any taxes.

          These forms of socialism, usually gifted on the very people who yell “Socialsm Bad!” the loudest, massively outweigh the piddling crumbs actual people get.

          So let’s play a game of “F*uck Off””. You start.
          And I’d say to the coddled corporate welfare queens: “I’m all for Capitalism. You start”.

    4. Plenue

      I do appreciate them putting right out in front like that an indication of how completely wrong the article is. Saves me the time of reading bullshit.

    5. norm de plume

      The author Will Wilkerson is affiliated with the Niskanen Centre – a think tank for approved limited hangout staffed by Reason-able people like Postrel, Frum, Drezner, Cowen, Balko, De Long… I smell Soros!

  6. ChiGal

    From the article (FB):
    Ordinary Facebook text messages, Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Gmail, and other services are decrypted by the service providers during transit for targeted advertising or other reasons, making them available for court-ordered interception.

    A succinct statement of the problem: WE ARE THE DATA, BECAUSE SHOPPING.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Catholic League On Predatory Priests: It’s Not Rape If The Child Isn’t Penetrated”

    No comment.

    1. Craig H.

      John Paul II has been canonized. Pretty sure it was close to record time. D. 2 April 2005 & Canonized: 27 April 2014. If eleven years is not the all-time record, it’s close.

      Even registered sex offenders deserve a patron saint. Who is the patron saint of computer geeks?

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Who is the patron saint of computer geeks?’

        That would be Saint Isidore.

        “In 1997 Pope John Paul II declared Isidore of Seville the patron saint of the internet. Saint Isidore died in the year 636, long before the first host-to-host ARPANET connection in 1969. But Isidore did try to record everything ever known in an encyclopedia that was ultimately published after his death.”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Who is the patron saint of pedophilic priests and protective church hierarchy?

          Maybe the retired archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney?

          Or Saint John Vianney, patron saint of pawnbrokers and priests?

          Not this guy, either — quite the contrary: Saint Peter Damian,

          So it appears there’s a longstanding and only sort of concealed problem with nasty “priests as representatives of Jesus on earth” peddling inerrancy and all that, and gettin’ it on behind the altar and in the vestry and maybe even, for a real zingy thrill, in the Confessional itself?

          Holy holy water, Batman!

          “Only repent, or pretend to, and ye shall be forgiven your sins and transgressions…”

          1. carl

            How about Cardinal Law? I loved how he got kicked upstairs to THE VATICAN, and GOT TO HELP CHOOSE THE NEXT POPE. Yeah, Catholic Church, that’s them.

    2. Unna

      So yes, technically correct but it hardly matters. Lenthly sentence no matter what exactly these guys did, touched, or how “far” they went. Feel the need to go over to the Am Conservative and see what Dreher has to say these days. Just finished making another coffee, the smoke is thick here in BC, and some perverse entertainment is welcome.

      1. Shane Mage

        How typical to see “Catholics” and “Humanists” denounce each other over their respective definitions of the word “rape,” while both parties agree that it is a terrible crime to caress a child’s (the world “child” being defined by those paragons of corruption, avarice, stupidity, and incompetence, the State Legislators) penis or clitoris while treating adult mutilation of those same body parts as acts of religious devotion.

        1. Unna

          I’ve read that most of the molesting between adult priests and “boys” have been between priests and middle to late adolescents and young seminarians, not pre pubescent children – although of course that happens.

          I’m not a psychologist, but the explanation for this that I’ve read is that these priests are gay but were growing up in strict catholic families in a homophobic church and religious culture. They loathe themselves and so counter intuitively they seek careers in a celibate priesthood in order to escape their own sexuality. They imagine that the vow of celibacy will turn them into non sexual beings and so the problem of their homosexuality will be solved. The Church itself states that it is not a sin to be homosexual but only a sin to perform homosexual acts.

          Of course this doesn’t solve the problem at all and these youths, now men, remain homosexual only to become frustrated and guilty adult gay men. So eventually when their sexuality becomes too much to suppress, they become active and their sexual activity typically begins with partners who would have been age appropriate at the stage in their own adolescence when they first fled from their own sexuality into the celibacy of the Church. This process can be generalized and is found in other religious and cultural populations which are seriously homophobic. And I’ll stop at that.

          The problem is not, in at least many cases, that gay men are seeking careers in a celibate Church in order to be with other gay men in order to have sex, but that celibacy actually attracts otherwise gay men and youths who are using celibacy to flee from their own sexuality. This whole process prevents these men from developing a healthy adult sexuality no matter what their orientation – witness the matter of priests molesting girls. Same idea.

          1. JamesG

            Don’t forget what repels many healthy heterosexual males from the priesthood: the prospect of life-long celibacy.

            No one could ever prove it but I am sure that the population of prospective priests among the young hetero population was permanently reduced by the sexual revolution when even shy Irish-American teenagers became sexually active. The hetero supply fell, the demand remained constant and the shortfall was made up by gays entering seminaries.

            1. Unna

              I’m sure that’s true. But if the high proportion of gay priests was mainly the result of a drop in religious vocations due to our increasing secular, sexualized, and pleasure oriented culture, you’d have also seen a similar rise in the proportion of gay women entering convents because the “hetero” supply of teenage girls was drying up. And at least as far as I know, that’s not been the case.

              Also, how much of this mess was caused by those good and holy traditional Irish and other families who pushed one girl and one boy into a life of celibacy and sexual-psychological frustration and torment typically as early teens when they had no real choice. As a kid I ran into a wall of what I can only describe as mean, vicious, and violent nuns whom I’m now sure didn’t even know why, or even that, they were so horrible. Forget sex, it was the beatings that made these people so hateful.

        2. Unna

          To Shane.

          Christian, Jewish, Muslim. If “God” says to cut it off, you gotta cut it off. If “God” says no sex, it’s no sex and no questions asked. At least those unfortunate male priests of that horrible Magna Mater, or Great Mother Goddess, Cybele, had a choice about making body modifications on themselves. Truely strange what people do.

      2. Darius

        How can you trust anyone whose first impulse in these cases isn’t to call the cops? Of course in many cases the cops also were involved in the cover up. But this all is primarily a criminal matter not theological. No one is above the law. The hierarchy isn’t a government unto themselves, no matter how much they act like it. They’re subject to civil authority, just like everyone else.

        1. Shane Mage

          “No one is above the law.” In very many cases, emphatically including what you have in mind, “The Law, sir, IS AN ASS”

        2. Oregoncharles

          Not in their own minds, or even their own liturgical law.

          The Roman Church remains intensely political to this day. On the one hand, they insist that church doctrine should be the law for everyone; on the other, that the church is above the civil law – as it was in the Middle Ages.

          Most of this is muted in public, even they grasp that it’s bad PR; but pretty obvious in their behavior.

    3. nippersmom

      As a lifelong practicing Catholic, let me state that the Catholic League is an embarrassment, and does not speak for me or any other Catholics I know. They also do not speak for all, or even most Catholic clergy. This is an excerpt from a statement issued by Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta:
      Absolutely nothing can dispense the culpability of those who have harmed and violated our people in the name of religion, nor those who concealed knowledge of those horrific acts. Catholics and people of good will everywhere have been scandalized again by these events.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I understand some of the bishops are dead, and for many of the cases, the statute of limitations applies.

        That said, the treatment meted out by the Pope to the Bishops reminds me of the treatment meted out by Obama to the bank CEOs: “I stand between you and the pitchforks.”

        Elite impunity, period, seems to be the rule; Yves’s painful therapy for CalPERS is a refreshing exception. The Jimmy Savile scandal at the BBC (Savile being now dead) is another example of “horrific acts” at an enormously power global institution. The CT loons who got caught up in Pizzagate and now Q may have poor targeting and no sense of evidence, but it’s hard to argue that, directionally, they are not correct.

        It’s as if the Pizzgaters/Q people and #MeToo are looking at each other in a cracked mirror: #MeToo is good at evidence in the individual case but refuses to connect the dots; Pizzgaters/Q connects the dots, but all too frequently, and with no sense at all of evidence. And don’t @ me.

        1. Craig H.

          MI5 has files on Saville and all his friends a mile long. The NSA has gigabytes on all of Hastert’s friends. The Be Powers need to pretend legitimacy and contain the filth.

      2. boz

        Well said, though I’m disappointed to see the continuing spectre of Scandal in that statement, like it is the crowning horror.

        This word “scandal” has a particular meaning in the Catholic Church – my take is ‘turning people off Jesus/God”. I think this explains the ineffectual remedies on an individual level, and the studied nit-picking in official (PR-polished) responses.

        The power of this fear increases in relation to the level of societal privilege enjoyed…so in the States: lots. I don’t know a lot about the history, but I think this is a familiar pattern where the Church has become “establishment”, ie it becomes too invested in worldly glory and esteem.

        Possible solutions:

        – fix the Issue of clericalisation, ie more “lay” leaders, professionally trained and paid well, in all levels of the Church (will also increase presence and influence of women in the Church).

        – insist upon separation of church and state (see Pius X)

        Catholics everywhere have no excuses anymore. We owe a continuing debt of gratitude to the secular media, and one of sorrow and shame to the victims who persevered to see this day – and those who didn’t.

        “Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help. Take their breath, they return to clay and their plans that day come to nothing.” (Ps 145)


        1. Stephen V.

          As a cradle Catholic, I think this nit-picking is baked in to Romanism like the columns of our Justice buildings so-called.
          The morality of the RC Church is invested in the Pope. Whereas in reality it resides in each individial human bean. The Church’s ship sailed centuries ago. Kill it with fire perhaps?

        2. Richard

          “Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help. Take their breath, they return to clay and their plans that day come to nothing.”
          Why is that language so beautiful? Apart from the sentiment, which I agree with too (or think I do, I like it more as a “distrust the word of princes” than a “we all return to clay” idea), can anybody explain to me why it sounds so great?

          1. Epynonymous

            Try reading Orwells Politics and the English language.

            His section of examples on how artificial complexity is very eye opening.

    4. clarky90

      For as long as I can remember (I am old!), it has been permitted (even encouraged) to discuss, litigate and denounce pedophilia and child rape IF it is within the Catholic Church.

      However, any talk of (even a hint at) child exploitation, trafficking, pedophilia, among the Hollywood Elite, the Political Elite, the non-Christian religions (Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist…), the Economic Elite, the MSM Elite is;

      Strictly Verboten!

      Gosh, it is almost, as if……

      No, no, no, no, it could not possibly be “sleight of hand”, used for distraction.

    5. Big Tap

      Isn’t the old joke about the Catholic League “it’s run by one guy with a fax machine”? Who does Bill Donohue represent but himself? I’ve seen Donohue interviewed over the years and no matter how serious the allegation is he always thinks the Catholic Church is in the right and it’s the gays or radical leftists fault. He’s also the master of false equivalency.

  8. Carolinian

    Re Fake America Great Again–we currently have a would be revival of the Cold War based on mere assertions and quotes from “official sources” so I’m not sure this computer ability to fake video evidence gives much additional cause for concern. In fact it’s always been going on, and photo fakery was quite doable in the darkroom era or by photographers staging scenes. Many now say Robert Capa’s famous photo of a Spanish civil war fighter at the moment of being shot was staged.

    So news and information has always been a question of who do you trust which is why the current news media bonfire of their own credibility should bother us all.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Socialists Need To Fight For Economic Change — Not Just Another Version Of Capitalism”

    How about fighting for the original version of capitalism. You know. The one where people like Musk would be getting zero subsidies from the government. And growing food crops for car fuel would make no economic sense so would not be done. And where if a company screwed up so bad it would go out of business, it would not be bailed out thus clearing the way for new businesses more smarter and better suited for conditions. And company management had their stocks with the company that they worked for so if the company did badly, so did their fortunes. And no bonuses for when you screwed up. That sort of capitalism.

    1. ambrit

      Rev Kev;
      That’s so Olde Guard!
      Cm’mon. Be a Hybrid! Join the ‘Vanguard of the Kleptoteriat’ and help lead the way to the ‘Premised Land.’

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Reminds me of a comment I recall Howard Zinn making in one of the documentaries about him that I watched — don’t recall what documentary. Zinn said something to the effect the USSR was a poor example of Communism and gave Communism an undeserved bad reputation. I immediately thought the US Neoliberal “Capitalism” was a poor example of Capitalism and gave Capitalism an undeserved bad reputation.

    3. Nick

      Where and when can we find this original version of capitalism? Before or after the Inclosure Acts?

      1. Lambert Strether

        That’s a very good question. From a summary of Giovanni Arrighi’s life and work:

        [U]nlike Wallerstein, but like Braudel, Arrighi locates the origins of world capitalism not in the territorial states of Europe during the long sixteen century, but instead in the Italian city-states of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, in what was a regional forerunner of the modern world-system. Arrighi then traces the alliance of Genoese capital and Spanish power that produced the great discoveries, before going on to analyze the changing fortunes of the Dutch, British and US hegemonies, their respective [systemic cycles of accumulation (SCAs)], and the challenges posed to US power by the East Asian economic renaissance, today joined by China.

        I’m no historian, but I read Arrighi’s The Long Twentieth Century and was persuaded by its account.

        (We should also remember that there’s no reason to think capitalism began only in one place, or that it thrived everywhere it took root.)

        1. knowbuddhau

          Interesting, thanks. I like that that history emphasizes the joining of capital with power acting under the color of law.

          FIRE + Power = Or do we have Gov.FIRE? Either way, it ain’t working.

        2. GERMO

          This hypothetical original capitalism would of course be powerful enough to transform itself — inevitably, relentlessly — into the all consuming force it is today.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Yes, that’s how the “systemic cycles of accumulation” work.

            Interestingly, we seem to be at the end of one such today. Enormous amounts of capital accumulated sloshing about, even if you take air out of the balance sheet, but no place to put it to work for a sufficient return.

        3. witters

          If that is the birth of capitalism, the birth of neoliberal agency (corporate power with massive political capacity) can be dated to the east india companies, starting with Britain in 1600 and the Dutch in 1602.

    4. John k

      I like subsidies for e cars, and would like them to continue for all mfrs until e cars make up at least 50% of all cars. And, if for political reasons they must be paid for, pay them by reducing subsidies for fossil fuels.
      Otherwise I would like subsidies for fossil fuels, not least oil depletion allowance, to stop.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        No electric car requires that you use renewables to power it. If you are still plugging you electric car into the US grid, then it is being powered by mostly fossil fuels. This is very inefficient and you would be better off from an efficiency standpoint of just driving a good combustion engine around.

        1. Marlin

          This is not true. With modern natural gas power plants, that have energy transformation efficiencies of more than 60% and less CO2 per thermal unit than liquid fuels, you can have less CO2 emissions than with a traditional car. It really depends on the way the electricity is produced and what is the marginal electricity production technology, if electricity needs are increased. I guess in the US it is mostly natural gas.

  10. DJG

    Cory Doctorow on Telling the Truth about Defects. Excellent but a tad technical: People here can handle the technical details. All of us deal with the crappiness of software every day, and some systems seem to be determined to become even more preposterous. Are there any programs more crapified that Word and Adobe, neither of which even tries to be stable, and yet are the lingua franca of writing, publishing, and academia these days?

    Not so long ago, I heard some higher-up at Mozilla go on about their ethics. I am skeptical. If she (the higher-up) is the best, then Mozilla is just the best of the terrible.

    1. Carolinian

      There are also some state laws forbidding telling the truth about food. I believe Texas has one re cattle, brought on by the mad cow scare.

      Doctorow has been a crusader against digital locks and restrictions based, in part, on the fact that they don’t work. In the movie world DVD encryption was cracked almost immediately by a Norwegian teenager and the supposedly uncrackable Blu Ray encryption in a couple of months. Telling hackers they aren’t allowed to do something is like waving a red cape in front of a bull.

  11. chuck roast

    Thanks for the Tony Judt link. I miss him to this day. His death was a great loss for the left and anyone who loves lucid prose and intellectual history.

    Here is a link where you can see him in action against warmongers.

    1. JEHR

      If every single American could read this essay, it would tell him/her what has to be done to save the world from fear. It is an amazing read from an intelligent, thoughtful and empathic writer. As I was reading it I thought about our Tommy Douglas (who reminds me of Bernie Sanders). Douglas first brought health care to his own province and then struggled with the federal government until healthcare became universal.

      This essay reminds me how we must still be vigilant as there are forces abounding that want to tear down what has taken many years to build up. For example, in our Liberal governing party we have a finance minister that wants to peck away at getting rid of defined benefit pension plans that the federal government now has. This minister once worked in his family’s business creating alternative private pension plans. Not only is he in a conflict of interest (although he claims not to be) but he is trying to tear down good pensions for pensions where the risk is not on the employer but on the employee.

      This creep towards privatization is always waiting around the corner to take care of parts of our health care system. We have to keep continually fighting for its universality.

      Even the prime minister promised private-public partnerships for re-building our infrastructure when he was running for election.

      There was a time when I didn’t know where to look for this dismantling, but I know now.

      It appears that the present US administration has taken on all kinds of dismantlement of the public interest that one can think of. There is so much that must be done and I hope that the good people of the US find the way to do it.

      1. Unna

        Tommy Douglas voted “Greatest Canadian” by Canadians in 2004 I believe. If Bernie gets Single Payer through, can you imagine Americans voting Bernie as the “Greatest American”? Now that would be something! And if they get single payer, he’d deserve it.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > This creep towards privatization is always waiting around the corner to take care of parts of our health care system. We have to keep continually fighting for its universality.

        “This enemy you cannot kill. You can only drive it back damaged to the depths and teach your children to watch the waves for its return.” – Quellcrist Falconer (Richard K. Morgan, Woken Furies)

  12. cm

    I fail to understand the love for Twitter, given their rampant censorship. I know Lambert uses it extensively…

    Is this a disconnect? Is there a reason to support such an evil company/platform that works so hard to defent McCain and other neo-cons?


    1. Jason Boxman

      I don’t understand Twitter, either. But I’m not a media superstar, so any messages I send simply disappear into a void. I do find Twitter useful for complaining at brands. Often I find I can get useful technical support or customer service, but not always.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > Is there a reason to support such an evil company/platform

      Because to do my job I have to process enormous amounts of information in near real time, and for me there’s no better way to do that. (Google News? Please. Facebook? Ugh.). A curated RSS list would come close, but I like the Twitter commentary. I don’t have an extensive email correspondence, either. Back in the day, c. 2003-2006, the blogosphere served the same purpose, but liberal Democrats decapitated it. and the network gradually fell apart. Then social media delivered the coup de grace.

      There are also “nice neighborhoods” on Twitter, with all kinds of friendly information sharing going on.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Journalists, both MSM and alternative, are active on Twitter, as are think tanks posting their latest reports. It’s a good place to find out “what’s happening now” informationally, particularly since even some of the mainstream journos will point to pieces they find interesting that might be from not well trafficked sources (ie, it’s a way for them to show they are really plugged in). And you have characters like Artist Taxi Driver, my current Twitter fave ( And you also have people like Glenn Greenwald, Caitlin Johnstone, and Matt Stoller, who aggressively take on The Stupid.

      I have a Twitter feed but unlike Lambert, don’t spend much time there because I’d be too tempted to try to take on some of the idiocy, and I’d never get any posts done.

      1. Epistrophy

        Plus, by definition, if you are dealing with idiots, there is no hope anyway; “Stupid is as stupid does” as they say. For the most part, Twitter is a cesspool.

  13. Spring Texan

    Hmmm. The Max Blumenthal stuff about “violent revolution” in Nicaragua does not reflect the reality that the government which has been the much-more-violent side and has lost most of its former supporters, deservedly. They were insane to be that violent in repressing protests with the snipers and the para-military folk, but they were and are. Has been terrible for the country. Ortega and wife are horrible and detested.

    Does that make US or Mike Pence OK vis-a-vis any of Latin America? Of course not. But the Blumenthal tweet is just odious.

    But you gotta admire a lot of the protesters and their bravery.

    Interesting video from a clueless motorcylclist who went there not knowing what was occurring in June:

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      So, the Ortega government should have just addressed violent protestors and para-military groups with flowers and candy? And what is the basis for your statement he and his wife are “detested”? By whom?

      1. David

        (Former Nicaraguan Vice President) Sergio Ramirez: Ortega is facing a bloody reality check (AlJazerra)

        Two days later, numbers swelled as plans to cut pensions and other social security reforms were announced and protests morphed into calls for the country’s ageing leader to resign…

        Ortega responded with a brutal crackdown, allegedly using paramilitary groups to put down protests. He, and his wife and vice president blame the protests on so-called “terrorists” and have refused calls for an early election to defuse the crisis.

        According to the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights, some 448 people have been killed since protests began, many are university students who have been a key force in the demonstrations.

        Ramirez is critical of Ortega’s response, saying the levels of violence are worse than during the Sandinista revolution.

        “These are unarmed casualties, people who are being persecuted, hunted by snipers, killed by machine guns, people who are burned to death in their homes, shot in the head in the middle of the street. It’s something without precedents in the history of Nicaragua,” he says.

        Sergio Ramirez was head of the “Group of Twelve” who supported the FSLN in its struggle to overthrow Samoza in 1977. He was elected Vice President in 1984.

      2. Oregoncharles

        @ Spring Texan and Elizabeth Burton,
        Both narratives could be and may well be true, you know.

    2. Olga

      I guess some have forgotten the contras and Central American wars waged by the Reagan administration. Pretty sure daily beast would not be my choice for news about Nicaragua. For a bit of balance, you may want to read this:

      “There is a great deal of false and inaccurate information about Nicaragua in the media. Even on the left, some have simply repeated the dubious claims of CNN and Nicaragua’s oligarchic media to support the removal of President Ortega. The narrative of nonviolent protesters versus anti-riot squads and pro-government paramilitaries has not been questioned by international media.”

      1. Shane Mage

        After some 40 years in power (on and off, but mainly on) the Ortegas continue to criminalize every woman who elects to terminate her pregnancy. Some of their opponents surely are bad people, but how does that justify even the least support to perpetrators of misogynist tyranny?

        1. Olga

          There are many countries that ban abortion – according to your logic it’d be honky-dory to support the violent overthrow of all those governments….??? Just asking.
          And issues in Nicaragua go far beyond a woman’s right to choose.

      2. Carolinian

        More debunking here

        And below is a suggestion that as usual US favored regime change would lead to something worse.

        The trajectory of the anti-Ortega opposition is to a rightist putsch. Were it to succeed, handing direction of the pension plan over to the IMF would not be socialism. Leaving the enforcement of Nicaragua’s anti-abortion laws to the tender mercies of the Catholic bishops would not be feminism. And this would not be the solution that long-time solidarity activists such as Dan La Botz seek. If we are to learn from history, the overthrow of the Libyan government did not result in the utopian emergence of a socialist third way. Nor would such an outcome transpire with regime change in Nicaragua.

  14. cm

    Not fake news

    The judge in the tax- and bank-fraud trial against onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Friday he’s been threatened over the case, denying a request from media outlets to release the names and addresses of the jurors.


    Nice to know CNN is trying to keep us informed by doxxing the jury…

    1. cm

      Whoops, not just CNN:

      In denying the request from CNN, The Associated Press, Politico, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News, Ellis said he has no reason to believe the jurors wouldn’t also be exposed to threats if their names were revealed.

    1. Shane Mage

      One of those four “instances of antisemitism” states “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” Which is exactly backward. Israel, more than any other “nation” (by the way, don’t forget what “god” in the Book of Samuel says about Israel’s aspirations to nationhood) consistently and vehemently defies and violates many, many, decisions of the UN Security Council that, as a UN member, it (like all other “states” whether someone considers them democratic or not) is legally required to conform itself to. The “no double standard” instance is thus an overwhelming condemnation of Israel. “Antisemitism” vs. “Prosemitism” has nothing to do with it.

      1. Alex

        It really boggles my mind that people take issue with the idea that applying double standards to Israel is not okay.

        1. Oregoncharles

          A classic straw man, and a violation of site policies, I believe.

          Of course, the whole “double standard” line is itself a straw man; Israel’s real problem is with being held to international standards.

    2. Lambert Strether

      From that article:

      In adopting the full IHRA definition, the party will jettison the principle of free speech and curtail critical debate about an entire country, Israel – as well as a key foreign policy issue for those concerned about the direction the Middle East is taking.

      Discussion of what kind of state Israel is, what its policy goals are, and whether they are compatible with a peace process are about to be taken off the table by Britain’s largest, supposedly progressive party.

      It’s [family blogging] demented. And the whole issue is going to migrate over there, sure as shooting.

      I’m not sure I’m as pessimistic as Cook, however. He writes:

      According to a report in the Guardian this week, senior party figures are agitating for the rapid adoption of the full IHRA definition, ideally before the party conference next month, and say Corbyn has effectively surrendered to the pressure. An MP who supports Corbyn told the paper Corbyn would “just have to take one for the team”.

      But who is the team? This is just Parliamentary Labor trying to backstab Corbyn. Again. If the Labour base supports him, as I think it does, Corbyn should win this battle too.

  15. Susan the other

    FP. The EU needs a new deGaulle. Except that he was a conservative unreconstructed colonialist. He’d have a frustrating time fitting himself into a neoliberal mold. Or is that the point? He loved politics and sovereignty and fiscal-political issues. Almost as much as he loved the franc and all the revenue coming in from the “former” French colonies. At least neolliberalism has put us on a trajectory for addressing all the problems that monetarism suffers when it neglects society. Maybe that’s the point.

      1. norm de plume

        Yes, but the piece did make some relevant points. The path of shared defence/fo-po but retained national economic sovereignty that De Gaulle wanted remains The Road Not Taken. Or rather the Other Road Not Taken, the first being full political and fiscal as well as monetary union. One Middle Road would be Varoufakis’s concept of mandated centre to periphery payments a la the US fed/state system – the other is what we have, which is exactly what De Gaulle (and later, Wyn Godley and other Euro sceptics) feared: an inward-looking, unmoored, technocratic bureaucracy serving a supranational elite, in capable of mounting an alternative, let alone a resistance to, superpower dominance and control.

    1. gordon

      Sounds like a longing for Deus ex Machina to me. Europeans will have to solve their problems – or learn to live with them – without a father figure telling them what to do, I’m afraid.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thinking about what you said, does that make Donald Trump America’s ‘abusive’ father figure?

  16. FluffytheObeseCat

    The Hill article on Bernie Sanders repeatedly conflated socialism and Medicare for all. As if they were indistinguishable. It also went on at length about Republican operatives’ glee over mainstream Democrats’ (tepid) embrace of this ‘socialism’.

    2 key problems with the assumption-riddled piece:

    1) Treating Republican operatives’ quotes as reflective of their genuine private opinions is unwise. Frankly, it’s laughable; the default assumption should be that they are gaming the writer.

    2) The relentless elite efforts to smear Medicare-for-all with the “socialism!!!” epithet may be over-sold at this point. Of course, most of the voting population doesn’t read The Hill, and doesn’t know it exists. This heavy-handed spin is designed to influence and cow the policy-making elite and their advisers, not to elucidate genuine trends in popular opinion.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      There are still far too many people who still conflate “socialism” with “government control of everything.” I suspect the establishment knows this and so will do everything it can to ensure that misinformation is reinforced as much as possible.

      To understand just how deep that goes, when I explained to someone that’s not what socialism is, that it means the people are in charge, their response was to then conflate “the people” with “the government,” and not in a good way. They were simply incapable of escaping the ingrained narrative.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Medicare-for-all IS Socialism, by almost any definition. It’s a government-owned insurance company, as well as a welfare program.

      Of course, it’s a very partial sort of socialism.

      1. makedoanmend

        It matters about ‘who owns the government’. The democracy thingy again.

        The UK NHS isn’t an insurance scheme. It’s simply a health service run by the NHS and funded by the government.

        The UK government has a sovereignty over its currency.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      My uncle, who lived below the poverty line in his retirement, picked crabs to earn some extra $. In Maine, which meant they were mainly horrible stone crabs (not much meat and not very good meat, but the local restaurants knew how to dress it up to seem palatable). That is a long winded way of supporting your observation.

  17. Louis Fyne

    —South Korea Is Going Crazy Over a Handful of Refugees Foreign Policy—-

    Western establishment media virtue-signal shames a third-party country for not help to clean up a mess that it had no part in.

    While at the same time pushing the intelligence behind Russia-Russia-Russia, when the intelligence behind WMD-mushroom cloud-Iraq was so prescient in 2002.

    1. Plenue

      Yes, it is the media berating a US protectorate for not accepting some of the human wreckage created by the warmongering of another US client state.

      But the South Korean reaction is still very, very ugly. It’s straight out of the “we can’t let the Mudslimes rape our women!!!11” playbook I’d expect to see emerge from the lowest depths of 4chan.

      1. ambrit

        Well, imagine that the “lowest depths of 4chan” are our near future, since everyone and their uncle seems to be pandering to the human race’s lowest common denominator.
        H L Mencken got it right when he said: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
        Extend that thought to include the entire world, and you see the potential pitfalls of having only semi-sane ‘leaders.’
        If the Elites were half as smart as they think they are, they wouldn’t do half the stupid stuff they do.

        1. Plenue

          If elites didn’t think the plebs couldn’t be trusted to make sensible (as in anti-imperial) decisions, they wouldn’t spend so much time and effort lying to them.

          As time goes on I find Mencken’s attitude to be more and more wrong. When our leaders aren’t bombarding us with manipulative lies they’re contriving to strip us of power. Democracy terrifies them.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Well I suppose that as South Korea is not working out, that they could just fly them over to Japan for resettlement. (They don’t what? Oh, OK.) Well maybe Saudi Arabia can accept them with their refugee resettlement policy. Oh, they don’t have one. Israel? Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

  18. Unna

    Tibet Act: What better advertisement could there be that swing countries that want to preserve their cultural and political independence, for better or for worse, should align with the “Eurasian” powers who have as a policy that they don’t interfere in the internal affairs of member countries. Private conversations perhaps but never public. More bluster and posturing about nothing from America’s political elite. When is America going to allow UN or EU experts in to monitor America’s elections? I mean the ones in the South as well as the ones in NY and Calif. This article should have been filed under “Imperial Collapse Watch” because that’s surely what it furthers.

    1. Shane Mage

      As far as I know, Chinese journalists, as well as all other Chinese people, are quite welcome in the South as well as NY and Calif. Why shouldn’t Americans in China have the same access to Sinkiang or Tibet? And what’s that about election monitors? Wouldn’t even a typically corrupt and defective US election be vastly more democratic than anything called an “election” in China, let alone in Tibet?

      1. Unna

        Because China makes the laws as to entry into China. Not America. The problem with America today is that it knows no limits and respects nobody else’s sovereignty. Its like a Treaty of Westphalia type thing. Just like the most likely apocryphal story of a truck load of Americans trying to enter Canada with a bunch of guns where they get stopped and taken into custody: But we’re Americans, they say, we have a Second Amendment right to enter your country with guns.

        Besides, what’s Congress getting involved in this for? I thought Tibet was Hollywood’s responsibility.

        1. Oregoncharles

          “China makes the laws as to entry into China” – indeed, and America makes them for America, and is perfectly entitled to retaliate for Chinese rules it thinks unfair, as long as it does it here. That isn’t colonialism, but the Chinese regime in Tibet, or Sinkiang, or Inner Mongolia, is.

          Just because the US is a rogue empire doesn’t mean China isn’t.

          Like Shane, I’d like to see election monitors in the US; keeping them out is an admission o fguilt.

          1. Unna

            So if China does not give Americans the same right to travel to Tibet as Chinese have to travel to the US, then what? No travel for any Chinese to the US? Well, ah, no: “Under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, Chinese officials responsible for discriminating against Americans who try to enter Tibet would be banned from entering the United States.” So if I read this correctly, a couple of guys in the basement of a bureaucracy can’t travel to Disney World. But Chinese property buyers, businessmen and investors, high fee paying students are always welcome. So this looks like a case of bipartisan virtue signalling. More politics about nothing.

            And then you have to ask why this has become so important. The good congress people want “… international witnesses to the Chinese government’s continuous violations of the Tibetans’ human rights, which include arbitrary arrests, torture, heightened surveillance and severe restrictions on religious freedom.” And then there was some talk about upholding a “ international rules based system” and warnings about “…state-controlled (Chinese) media outlets in capitals around the globe, including Washington D.C.”

            Now I hate oppression everywhere, but what would happen if a few hundred Russian and Chinese “Human Rights Activists” apply for visas to enter the US to monitor voting this Fall, poverty on Indian Reservations, police violence against black Americans, torture in Chicago police detention facilities and so on. Think Jefferson Beauregard III is going to let them in?

            Moreover, America has a track record of trouble making and leveraging genuine ethnic disputes and occasions of oppression into violent unrest and regime change. So one might reasonably question whether the US is operating here with “clean hands” as they say – or has the US suddenly taken up the cause of all oppressed people everywhere? Ah, no again. Before the US gets excited about doing god’s work in Tibet, maybe it should first stop doing the other guy’s work in Yemen.

            Double post? Hope Not.

            1. Oregoncharles

              I agree, notably with how paltry the measure is. It’s really just a marker.

              In reality, eventually the Chinese regime will collapse, as the Soviet Union did, and the colonized peoples will have their chance. Not all that much anyone can do about it in th emeantime, sadly enough.

  19. Charlie

    Re: Mechanical Turk bots

    I had IRB approval to use that for my correlational design study that hypothesized an association for past incidances of being bullied with current workplace behaviors and attendant social skills. However, I was leery of using it for the fact that many would not be truthful and being paid might skew my data (I needed more statistical power from a larger sample size). So it fell by the wayside in grad from a confluence of events.

    I’m so glad I didn’t. My data and findings would have been useless.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wow, she just slid the door open like she knew how it worked. The momma didn’t even force it. Bears are famous for figuring out how to pop car doors open with their claws to find food. This looks like a new level of bear v. car expertise.

    2. fresno dan

      August 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      reminds me of those old, old public service announcements about leaving your keys in your car – Don’t help a good kid go bad….
      Should be updated to, Lock your car, don’t help a good bear go bad….

  20. Samuel Conner

    Re: “Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream”

    I didn’t read past the title — my reflex was “what a crock.”

    How about “FDR capitalism moves to the Democratic mainstream”?

    (though I suspect it may ultimately provide to be the D “slipstream”)

  21. IronForge

    Catholic League’s Logic is clearly flawed. The Perpetrators should be Prosecuted and Incarcerated.

    They know that once the Perpetrators are convicted and incarcerated, their Lifespans get shortened by other Inmates.

    The Catholic Apologists must think that they are above the Law. They’re too selfish and corrupt to see that their wilful negligence only lead to abetting Non-Catholics to get away with similar Crimes.

    It’s up to the BodyPolitc to Prosecute the Perpetrators and their abettors. Failure to stop them would lead to Failed Societies.

    No matter what the Pedos and Priests would argue, Legalizing Pederasty will never bring forth a Paradise – Child Molestations, Trafficking, Prostitution, Slavery, and Abuse will become the Norm.

    Such is the Remnant Legacy of the Roman Catholic Theocracy.

    Failed Religion, Failed State.

    The Fact that their Jesus was a Fabrication of Constantine and his Chrestus Cult Supporters; and their Anno Domino Chronological Reference a 6thCE Afterthought should encourage Many to hold the Catholic, Christian, and Derivative Cults Accountable before the Rule of Law and Code of Ethics established by Peoples around the World.

    1. ewmayer

      Does GratuitTous Use of CapItl Letters Make yOu Feel ImportAnt, Or is That Some Latent “Ich Wollte Ja Wirklich ein Deutscher Sein” Thing?

    1. Skip Intro

      Doesn’t the company just load up on other debt, pay out huge bonuses to management, then go bankrupt?
      Things sound weird in Italy…

  22. Carey

    Linh Dinh- Genitalia as Social Construct:

    “As Stalin said, “Education is a weapon,” and there is a concerted effort by the state, media and academy to neuter the American mind.

    By besieging, indicting and belittling traditional masculinity, America’s rulers aim to enfeeble and neutralize half of its citizens, while enraging the other half into a propensity for cartoonish violence, resulting in a society of sheep and mindless soldiers.

    With its twin cocks publicly castrated and its founding principles hacked off, the US itself has become a shrieking, floundering void, thrashing in a homemade stew of incoherencies. Transitioning, Uncle Sam stumbles towards irrelevance. Again, who are pushing this shit?”


    1. Plenue

      Ah, the incessant whining of men who think that not everything pandering directly to them, or the long overdue condemnation of toxic masculinity and casual sexual harassment constitutes some ‘besiegement’ of them merely for having a penis. Oh, you poor triggered baby.

      As a man, I have never once apologized for having a penis, nor ever been asked or required (either implicitly or explicitly) to do so.

      The actual problems with this country are that the jobs all suck, everyone is in debt, and no one can afford healthcare or rent. It has nothing to do with “its twin cocks publicly castrated [what does this gibberish even mean?] and its founding principles hacked off”. Our ‘founding principles’ were mostly worth exactly piss anyway; with almost everything we associate with American values (like universal voter enfranchisement) having come later, very much against the wishes of our wannabe Patrician founders. The US Constitution amounts to a kind of straitjacket against real democracy.


      “During a recent gay pride parade in Philly, a transgender woman was arrested for attempting to burn a Blue Lives Matter flag.”

      Good for her, burning it. The entire point of Black Lives Matter is that black lives matter as much as anyone elses, and black people (particularly black men, by the way, if we want to talk about actual instances where masculinity is devalued) need to stop being killed by cops for simply being black. Blue Lives Matter is a pathetic, utterly bad faith attempt at deflating BLM and muddying the waters by drawing some equivalence between being a cop, in reality a very safe job in the US, and being a member of a downtrodden social group.

      The fact that Dinh can’t bring himself to just refer to the transgender woman as simply ‘her’ reveals him to be little more than a petulant bully. He can’t even bring himself to do someone the courtesy of acknowledging their self-expression (you know, that thing conservatives claim they care so much about), even though it would cost him exactly nothing to do so. He’s just a douchebag.

      1. Plenue

        Or, to put it in terms his cro-magnon brain can easily understand: I’m sorry that you’re so tiny-dicked that the existence of people with Y chromosomes who don’t want to present as masculine triggers your snowflake machismo.

        1. Plenue

          Good job! You know a logical fallacy! We’re all very impressed.

          If you don’t want me to call him a douchebag, perhaps provide me something us his that doesn’t read like the whiny diary of a caveman*.

          *yes, I’m well aware actual prehistoric hunter-gatherers were far less stupid and more egalitarian than this clown.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Do you suppose that’s why Counterpunch, I think it is, stopped posting him?

      the quote approaches gibberish.

  23. JTMcPhee

    Here’s a fun headline: “Laser beam attacks bedevil US military pilots in Near East.”

    Poor babies. Total violation of the Rules of Engagement, that clearly state that the AC-130 and Apache and A-10 Warthog and “attack jet” drivers are off limits for any enemy action. The order of battle is that the Wogs on the ground are supposed to just stand or squat there to be Hellfired and 30-mm’d and GBU’d to death. How dare they point laser pointers at those valiant pilots, invaders of their countries, waging idiot incompetent corrupt war of aggression, flying high above them or zooming in out of the sun? WE are supposed to be the ones to use lasers to “paint” said Wogs for the smart electronics to home in on and blast to pink syrup or mist!

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read that the same thing is happening to US pilots overflying that Chinese base in Djibouti. Just to make a point I guess.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Thanks. Not a big PCR fan, but this is what’s been bugging me so much lately.

      The external costs associated with economic growth as measured by GDP can be more costly than the value of the output.

      A strong case can be made that this is the situation we currently face. The disappearance of species, the appearance of toxins in food, beverages, water, mothers’ breast milk, air, land, desperate attempts to secure energy from fracking which destroys groundwater and causes earthquakes, and so forth are signs of a hard-pressed planet. When we get right down to it, all of the profits that capitalism has generated over the centuries are probably due to capitalists not having to cover the full cost of their production. They passed the cost on to the environment and to third parties and pocketed the savings as profit.

      Update: Herman Daly notes that last year the British medical journal, Lancet, estimated the annual cost of pollution was about 6 % of the global economy whereas the annual global economic growth rate was about 2 percent, with the difference being about a 4% annual decline in wellbeing, not a 2 percent rise. In other words, we could already be in the situation where economic growth is uneconomical. See

      And that, I presume, includes the economic, quantifiable, monetary costs. Not environmental.

      1. knowbuddhau

        And I don’t think it’s just capitalism, either. That’s just an app. It’s the way of being in the world that makes it possible that’s the real issue.

        Other empires have been their own worst enemies, to the point of absolute collapse, without being capitalist. We’ll not solve our particular crisis with the same kind of thinking that brought it about in the first place.

        If not for the fact that we have to get there from here, I’d give up. I mean, imagine the poor fool, thinking to escape this world of pain by running off to a retreat of some sort. And then one day, on a walk, stumbles upon the property line. It was always closer than he thought.

        The point, in both cases, is the same. You can’t escape the costs of “externalities” merely by hiding them away, and there’s no point in running away, because there is no Away.

        Perhaps the greatest principle of them all then, is simply, no cheating! Be fully here now or it’s the end of the world as we know it. Prolly still even so, but worth a shot I say.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        GDP is a horrible stat if you’re trying to analyze whether “growing” equals “improving”.
        Obamacare premiums up 20%? Add it to GDP. Private equity baron/slumlord rent increases? Oh good, more “GDP growth”. Bank late fees and penalties up? More groaf. None of these however indicate “things” are getting better. Quite the opposite.

        1. anon y'mouse

          economists (well, some anyway) know this. my econ 101 instructor, when discussing GDP as a metric, asked somewhat rhetorically “How might we increase GDP?

          Well, we can burn down a bunch of buildings and bridges, and then build them back again. That would increase GDP.”

          the man knew nothing about MMT, but he had some things right!

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I once tried thinking of language to try thinking about this problem in. I thought of calling what was lost and destroyed in the production of things . . . the “destruct”.

        If the price-expressed value of all things made or done could be called the Gross Domestic Product, the price-expressed value of all things destroyed or lost in that process could be called the Gross Domestic Destruct. And if we subtract the Gross Domestic Destruct from the Gross Domestic Product, we have our Net Domestic Product.

        If the Destruct is bigger than the Product, we subtract the GDP from the GDD to get the NDD . . . the Net Domestic Destruct. I suspect the Americonomy has been Destructing more than it has been Producting for decades at least now.

    2. anon

      I’m guessing he’s never lived in California regarding this:

      In the case of glyphosate, the tide might be turning against Monsanto/Bayer. The California Supreme Court upheld the state’s authority to add the herbicide glyphosate to its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

      The thing that out of staters don’t generally realize about California’s Prop 65 List of Carcinogens™, is that that’s all it is, a list. Prop 65 carcinogen notices have been posted at a multitude of stores, workplaces and buildings, and regularly ignored for decades. There’s no teeth in that law.

      For instance, stores selling china dishware, have been posting signs on their walls for over two decades, but nobody pays any attention, and to my knowledge the store isn’t required to further notify customers of the cancerous content in the black, cobalt, etcetera, porcelain glazes. I’ve also seen a Prop 65 sign regarding the interior premises people were working in, in the lobby of a company I applied for a job at, and a Prop 65 on an outside landscaper faucet of a building I was working in; but I’m betting no potential employee, or landscaper turned down a job/contract there based on those signs. I deliberately foiled the job interview because the guy was an utter ahole who clearly had a mess he wanted me to unethically cover-up, and even be excited about doing it in that toxic environment: You don’t look too enthusiastic! …. I likely would have taken the job if he hadn’t been such a blatant sleazebag, because I needed a job.

    3. makedoanmend

      Capitalism’s strength is the system’s ability to produce commodities of every imaginable kind, and in massive quantities. The nexus between an idea, its manufacture, and delivery is mediated by but is also the modus operandi of a thing called capital. Capital is not money. It is a process, if my understanding is correct.

      Capitalism is unsurpassed in history in its ability to transform potential into actual. It is wildly successful in this regard. Hands down, Capitalism is successful at what it does.

      Quite often on this forum and others, there is a stated a belief that if only pure capitalism were practised everything would be just perfect.* Yet, we have many Western governments scraping every imaginable regulation that tempers Capitalism; cutting so-called red tape and thus oversight; and therefore making it seem like political parties are pursuing pure capitalism.

      In the meantime, the majority of people and certainly for the larger environment these actions described don’t seem to be too favourable.

      Also, it seems that Capitalism cannot be isolated as some sort of monolithic entity. We see under the current USA administration the desire the introduce nationalist policies into trade. Capitalism, like any other system, has to respond and operate within a variety of external factors, and incorporate other ideas as Capitalists compete amongst themselves.

      Capitalism its seems, at the very least, needs strict regulation otherwise we end up with dirty water-ways leading to undrinkable water; mass bouts of unemployment and now permanent underemployment; destruction of every type of habitat; and downright corruption that destroys the fabrics of society.

      The contradiction, to use the lingo (because it is appropriate) is that capitalism’s productive strength is also accompanied by the need to continuously expand. As Capitalists syphon off profit, a gap between what labour produces and that which labour can expend occurs. Capitalist use this profit, ultimately turning money into money, to invest in ever newer production in order to bridge the gap between what labour produces and its reduced ability to consume. The mismatch between production and lagging incomes to purchase goods of production results in temporary, but usually mild**, periods of economic disruption. (Debt bridges this gap temporarily but not sustainably.) Thus a continuous cycle is engaged that would grind to a halt unless the economy always increases in productive capacity.

      We live in a world of limited resources, including labour. Misery, however, seems limitless.

      *A subsidy to a private individual or company is not socialism. Yes, it is a transfer of money created by government, but it is not a transfer to the commons where every individual has the ability to access the service. Nor is a subsidy a government service. It is simply a money transfer. A Government service (e,g, military) and non-governmental services funded by government, like the NHS (UK’s National Health Service), are services whose potential is realisable by the entire community. In order to combat a human tendency towards cooperation, the Capitalist insinuates that the healthy person should begrudge a sick or injured person the right to seek the expertise of modern health care when a commons service is provided.

      ** A recession is when my neighbor loses their job – a depression when I lose mine.

  24. gordon

    It was interesting to read M. Zenko’s explanation of US involvement in the Yemen bloodbath (America Is Committing War Crimes and Doesn’t Even Know Why). He reckons “… as we learned in Vietnam previously and Afghanistan every day, where poor strategic decisions are made and sustained by administrations of both major political parties, there is no political advantage for the party out of power to critique current policy”.

    This points up the essential non-existence of US foreign policy. What looks like foreign policy is really just domestic politicking undertaken without any regard for what actually happens outside of the US.

    Somehow or other, probably during the era of isolationism in the nineteenth century, the US forgot that the rest of the world even exists. In the American mind, foreign States and people have no more reality than the sprites in a computer game. American Govts. can perpetrate the most awful acts and crimes outside the US and feel no more guilt than a teenager would after levelling a city in a war game. The teenager would be astonished if his parents reviled him for his brutality after he put the game on “pause” and went to eat dinner. “But it’s only a game!” he would say. American politicians sound exactly the same.

    1. ewmayer

      “What looks like foreign policy is really just domestic politicking undertaken without any regard for what actually happens outside of the US.”

      That is certainly a significant part of it, but let’s not forget the “what Israel, the Saudis, the U.S. corporate neolibcons and the MIC/spook-complex want, Israel, the Saudis, the U.S. corporate neolibcons and the MIC/spook-complex get” aspect of it. The Israelis benefit from fomenting chaos in the neighboring Arab states and would love nothing more than to wipe Iran off the map (and actually have the nukes to do it, a regional monopoly they will literally go to war to preserve), the Saudis want to remake the entire ME into a pan-Arabic Sunni theocracy, the various U.S. EvilCorps love themselves a continual flow of desperate and exploitable refugees and the threat of regime change to hold over states not dutifully falling in line in the global looter-elite neolib project, and the MIC/spook-complex folks like all the same things as a means to keep their funding rising exponentially and maximize their influence.

      1. gordon

        You have a good point, but I would suggest that because foreign policy is essentially unimportant in the US, the US’ undoubted power can be easily manipulated by others, eg. Israel. To Americans, what they do in the imaginary “world” really doesn’t matter much, so why not do what these guys want and collect the campaign contributions etc. that they’re offering? You could say that that kind of foreign interference actually has its effect by finding a way for foreign policy to impact on domestic politicking.

  25. freedomny

    Twitter is asking me “What’s Happening?” So I’m going to ask Twitter – What happens when Jamie Dimon, Jeff Bezos & Elon Musk decide they want to buy the Catholic Church???

  26. Edward E

    Japan’s hydrogen future may be fuelled by Australian renewables – Australian Renewable Energy Agency

    Renewable energy could drive Australia’s next resource boom as demand for hydrogen surges worldwide.

    Since the meltdown at the Fukishima nuclear plant in 2011, the Japanese Government has accelerated its search for new energy sources, spending more than $16 billion on hydrogen research and development.

    As an established energy exporter with proven infrastructure, two Australian projects are already being investigated with the goal of exporting hydrogen to power the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Hydrogen has a lot of upsides as a carrier of energy.

    When created with a solar powered electrolyser it produces no emissions and releases only water vapor when used in a hydrogen fuel cell…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The problem being then how to ship it and store it . . . tiny elusive goes-through-walls atom that it is.

      1. kimyo

        Why a hydrogen economy doesn’t make sense

        Another headache is storage. When storing liquid hydrogen, some gas must be allowed to evaporate for safety reasons—meaning that after two weeks, a car would lose half of its fuel, even when not being driven.

        “About four renewable power plants have to be erected to deliver the output of one plant to stationary or mobile consumers via hydrogen and fuel cells,” he writes. “Three of these plants generate energy to cover the parasitic losses of the hydrogen economy while only one of them is producing useful energy.”

    1. boz

      I had a figure of 78 trillion in my head for some reason.

      A friend was telling me about a recent Economist article that ranks Deutsche ahead of nuclear weapons in a Top 5 list of threats to peace. Something to do with its potential to vaporise 10-15% of all EUR in existence if it goes under, ie the ATMs will be empty before the bank runs even start.

      I think this is one of the reasons the City and Mr Market believe a deal of some sort simply must happen for Brexit.

Comments are closed.