Links 9/11/18

Dear patient readers,

Thanks for accommodating our comments holiday. Even though the weather in Maine was terrific for nearly all of my week there, I still needed over 12 hours of sleep for three days running! So I desperately needed this break.

On a different topic: we expect to have a high level of CalPERS coverage for the next few weeks. The Marcie Frost misrepresentations story is very much in play. It is separately pressing because Board President Priya Mathur’s seat is being challenged by Jason Perez, and Frost is up for her annual review by the Board at the upcoming board meetings, which start on Monday September 24 (I believe her review is to take place in closed session on September 26, but need to verify that).

Captivating video shows a superpod of dolphins chasing prey in California MNN (David L)

‘End of days’: Birth of red heifer in Israel signals coming of Messiah claim Hebrew scholars RT. Um, why should the Messiah respond to gaming the prophecy?

Will the Death of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness MAGA? Medium (Jonathan E)

Alex Honnold Climbs Halfway Up a New Jersey Skyscraper New Yorker (David L). The Minneapolis raccoon did better.

‘Tone deaf’ Playboy Club opens in New York, defying the #MeToo era Guardian. Ahem, Playboy Clubs are retro and tame compared to strip clubs….of which there is no shortage in NYC.

About a quarter of rural Americans say access to high-speed internet is a major problem Pew

We DIDN’T win the war! Like us all, PETER HITCHENS grew up on stories of Britain’s heroic victory over Hitler… but now, without questioning the bravery of our troops, he’s written a book challenging all we think about WW2 Daily Mail

Call for atheism to be included in religious education Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

British women live shorter lives than most other Europeans Guardian (Kevin W)

New ‘Poison Papers’ Leak: EPA Knew About Many Dangerous Toxins, But Kept Quiet Real News (JTM)

Brain study shows why mindfulness eases pain MedicalXPress (David L)

U.S. “most dangerous” place to give birth in developed world, USA Today investigation finds CBS (furzy)

Among those near Ground Zero on 9/11, illnesses abound 17 years later Guardian. My apartment is about 6 miles from the WTC site. Prevailing winds generally sent the smoke into Brooklyn, but on the few occasions when it went north, it was acrid even at this distance.

High Price Of Insulin Leads Patients To Ration The Drug. That Can Be Lethal NPR (UserFriendly). Appalling.

North Korea

White House says it’s working to plan 2nd Trump-Kim meeting Military Times


A would-be city in the Malaysian jungle is caught in a growing rift between China and its neighbors Washington Post (furzy)

Russia’s massive military exercise with China aimed at Pacific leverage Asia Times

People Might Be Getting the Swedish Elections All Wrong Intercept (Alex V)


Brexit: Barnier says agreement possible by early November BBC. Only if every member of the Tory leadership plus key backbenchers like Rees-Mogg have brain transplants.

Tory Eurosceptics fail to agree on Brexit plan B Financial Times

Network Rail sells railway arches to investors for £1.5bn Guardian (allan, Alex V)


Will World War III Start This Week? Sic Semper Tyrannis (Kevin W)

Leaked Clips from Censored Documentary on Israel Lobby Reveal Attacks on US Activists Real News

Syria’s Idlib: High stakes for Turkey as offensive looms BBC (Kevin W)

9/11 In Context George Washington. Quite a list. Including it for relevance to Syria, but it is impressive regardless.

U.S. to close Palestinian office in Washington, citing lack of progress on peace process with Israel Washington Post (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Geofeedia Touted Surveillance Of Students To Sell Services To Police ShadowProof (Chuck L, UserFriendly)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Bolton threatens sanctions against International Criminal Court The Hill

The Neoconservative Comeback LobeLog (KF)

Trump Transition

Woodward: Trump ‘detached’ from reality, jeopardizes national security NBC (furzy)

Trump faces buzzsaw in ‘year of the woman’ The Hill. The Democrats are determined to do anything other than suck less.

DeSantis resigns House seat to focus on gubernatorial bid: report The Hill

Yes, let’s wipe out Trump. But take neoliberal Democrats with him, too David Sirota, Guardian (UserFriendy)

Obama Urges Young Voters To Ignore How Many Lousy Candidates Democratic Party Runs The Onion (David L)

Kavanaugh Will Kill the Constitution New York Times (furzy)

New York Democrats’ Mailer: Cynthia Nixon Weak on Anti-Semitism Governing (UserFriendly)

Andrew Cuomo Owes Cynthia Nixon an Apology New York Times. Reader Li: “He owes the entire state of New York an apology.”

Campaigns Underway In Colorado, Other States To Make Redistricting Less Partisan Colorado Public Radio (UserFriendly)

Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? New Yorker (David L, furzy). Pray tell, why should he?

Keen to debunk the world RT (Chuck L)

How Education Reform Taught Teachers to Cheat Governing (UserFriendly)

Crisis Orgy

The Big, Dangerous Bubble in Corporate Debt New York Times. I should debunk this in a post but I don’t have the energy. The comparison to 2008 is histrionics. The reason the financial system nearly failed then was due to a derivatives crisis that wiped out collateral used in the repo market (AAA tranches of CDOs).

Subprime shorts used largely synthetic [made of credit default swaps] CDOs to subvert normal market behavior and put on massive bets on subprime failure without leading CDS prices to rise (which would have among other things made additional wagers less attractive plus through arbitrage made subprime loans way more expensive). Due to lack of central data plus differing definition of what “subprime” amounted to, the amount of CDS wagers on subprime have been estimated at 4-6X the real economy value of the bonds. On top of that, highly leveraged, systemically important players like AIG, the monolines, Merrill, Citi, and some major Eurobanks were on the wrong side of these bets. We discuss this in detail in Chapter 9 of ECONNED.

Subprime mortgage defaults by themselves would not have produced a global financial crisis. They would have produced a real economy hit on the order of 150% of the S&L crisis. Recall that the S&L crisis did produce a very nasty recession in the early 1990s. Bad, but nothing like 2008. And as Cohan effectively admits, the big losers in corporate debt defaults would be investors, not banks.

The Real Cost of the 2008 Financial Crisis New Yorker (furzy)

The 2008 financial crisis upturned politics – and it’s not done yet MoneyWeek (UserFriendly)

Cryptocurrency Wipeout Deepens To $640 Billion As Ether Leads Declines Bloomberg

Amazon bought Whole Foods to take on the grocery business — but one competitor shows where its plan is falling flat Business Insider. Recall we were in the decided minority that was skeptical about this deal.

New Study Confirms Offshore Earnings are Flowing into Stock Buybacks, Not Jobs and Investments Just Taxes. Also as we predicted.

Guillotine Watch

The Elite Humanitarians of Silicon Valley Atlantic (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Thousands in Arkansas fail to meet new Medicaid work rules CNN (furzy)

How to fix inequality Economist (David L)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

Backyard hooligans steeling cat food! (You may notice that the center one, the mom, is standing in the water dish—it’s the best way to assure herself she gets to dip her hands full of cat food in the water before eating it.)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. southern appalachian

    suspicious line at the end of the Red Heifer/End of times article: “we may have to search for underground bunkers and stockpile cans of baked beans once again.”

    I do like baked beans, but why not just stockpile beans? Baked Beans lobby lurking behind all of this somehow?

  2. Itamar

    The red heifer thing is actually kind of scary. In the past a group of Jewish religious fanatics tried to blow up the Dome of the Rock mosque so they could build the temple there:

    These days there’s a museum in Jerusalem ( – notice the bit about “smashing idols”. they also have a page on red heifer), and school-age religious children are taken there for tours, as are apparently some Mormon tour groups.

    Access to red heifer is likely to increase chances of violence.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not sure, but I think that the Temple Institute has recreated all the paraphernalia and costumes that would go into the rebuilt Temple so that they are all good to go. Here’s hoping that Trump doesn’t take the Al-Aqsa Mosque off the negotiating table like he did with relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem. You just know that he would say something stupid like that the US would pay to have the Al-Aqsa Mosque disassembled and rebuilt somewhere else – like Saudi Arabia. That would go down like a lead balloon in the entire Muslim world but I think that he would be oblivious to the consequences of that idea.

    2. Unna

      OK, maybe it’s just me and I should get help from a priest, but every time I hear that Jesus can’t come back until the red heifer is born or the third temple is built I get the following mental image: I see Jesus nervously pacing the floor up in heaven chain smoking cigarettes. A sweet faced cherubim seeing this comes over to Jesus and asks what’s wrong and can he help. Jesus pauses, looks at the angel with a benevolent smile, and explains that he needs to return to earth, that there’s so many things wrong, that he’s genuinely troubled, so much more than a little cherubim can understand, but he just can’t return, not now, and not yet. The cherubim asks, in a lovely and sympathetic voice, why Jesus can’t return, after all, he’s God. Jesus, now emotional, raises up both hands in frustration and says, you don’t understand, I can’t return to earth until the red heifer gets born and somebody builds the third temple.

      And the truly frightening thing is, Mike Pence believes this, not my version but his version. And this is the guy the Dems want to trade in Trump for. Also, and I’m not a theologian, but it strikes me that this idea that Jesus can’t return until this or that happens seems to undermine the doctrine of god’s omnipotence.

      1. ewmayer

        “…after all, he’s God.” Tangential — the Christian-theological conflation of Jesus with God is considered extremely offensive to Muslims. In Islam, Jesus (a.k.a. Isa ibn Maryam, literally ‘Jesus, son of Mary’) is revered as the second-most important prophet and prophesied to return as Mohammad’s right-hand man in the Islamic version of the End Times, but the central tenet of Islam is a unitary and “highest” God, and any notion of someone/something rivaling or being co-equal to God is heresy. Wikipedia:

        In Islam, Jesus is believed to have been the precursor to Muhammad, attributing the name Ahmad to someone who would follow him. Islam rejects the divinity of Jesus and teaches that Jesus was not God incarnate, nor the Son of God, and—according to some interpretations of the Quran—the crucifixion, death and resurrection is not believed to have occurred, and rather that God saved him.[14] Despite the earliest Muslim traditions and exegesis quoting somewhat conflicting reports regarding a death and its length, the mainstream Muslim belief is that Jesus did not physically die, but was instead raised alive to heaven.[15][16]

        BTW, Unna, thanks for the added notes re. the WW2 Blitzkrieg in yesterday’s Links – very interesting.

      2. Tom Bradford

        I don’t believe a word of this nonsense, but note that the red heifer being born and the building of the third Temple are portents, not pre-conditions.

        What does worry me are the people who change their positions in the belief something ‘supernatural’ is going on. Those who might deplore and perhaps oppose a drift to war in other circumstances might (like Pence if he had any power) actually encourage it if they saw it as a necessary part of some divine schedule.

        1. Unna

          “…portents, not pre-conditions.” Totally agree. So if believers actively take steps on their own in the secular world to create, in their own eyes, the material and or the political conditions for the prophesy, wouldn’t that constitute a sin against their Faith in the promise of god to fulfill his prophesy from his own power and will and in his own time?

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        Yeshua ben Joseph told his followers that no one could predict when he would return, and anyone who said they knew was a liar and a blasphemer.

        All the Christianists eager to ignite Armageddon apparently choose to ignore that part of their scriptures, just like the do all the other inconvenient ones.

      4. Doug Hillman

        Minor point. The Messiah referred to in Jewish prophecy is not Jesus. This would be the first coming, not the return of the guy they crucified for upsetting their power structure.

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Elite Humanitarians of Silicon Valley. This is exactly the sort of thing Thomas Frank talked about when he criticized the relationship that some Democrats and liberals have with Silicon Valley. I actually think these guys are more dangerous than old-school plutocrats like the Koch brothers. Many people are now able to see through things like fusionism, the attempt by conservatives to dress up plutocratic economics with the clothing of religion, morality and family values. But I can see many people today falling for a kind of humanitarian neoliberalism that mixes right-wing economics and social justice causes.

      1. The Beeman

        Bugs, Chuck Feeney seems like a good guy. what’s the issue? Brian

        Lifetime donations: $6.3 billion

        Net worth: $1.5 million

        Generosity Index: 420,000%

        Known as the “James Bond of philanthropy,” retail magnate Chuck Feeney is on a mission to give away his entire fortune — and with his current net worth down to $1.5 million, it seems he’s succeeded.

        The Atlantic Philanthropies, Feeney’s foundation, supports education, science, healthcare, and civil-rights causes across several countries, including the US, Vietnam, and Bermuda.

      2. John

        By the “eye of the needle” standard, all of them have a little challenge ahead. Even the red heifer (golden calf?) won’t save them.

      3. Procopius

        I especially liked the line from No. 9, Eli Broad:

        Eli Broad invests in public education, science, and the arts.

        He’s investing, not giving charity.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “9/11 In Context”

    No mention of the USS Liberty I see which is strange as the attempted murder of about 350 US sailors should be on that list for sure. I do see the following entry-

    (32) The Saudi government blamed Iran for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers housing complex for American military personnel in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Interior Minister subsequently admitted that the attack “was executed by Saudi hands. No foreign party had any role in it”.

    The reason that I note it is that just today, a US judge ordered Iran to pay $104.7 million ( for that attack. It was a default judgment as Iran did not bother to show up in court because seriously, what would be the point?

    1. JTMcPhee

      So much for “rule of law.” But then millions of Americans (sic) are subjected to default judgments in creditor lawsuits.

      And of course our great friends, the Israel-ites (see the first 10 books or so of the Old Testament), get a pass on killing, actually killing, 34 US sailors, and wounding another 174. Over half the crew. And made repeated attempts to not only shoot up the shop but to sink it with all hands.

      Bring on the Red Heifer, the advance creature for the MonoYHWH! Red is such a useful color — Red States, red herrings, Red Russians/Soviets…

      1. The Rev Kev

        No criticism intended. They may never admit that it was an attempted false flag but it is a matter of record that at least one Israeli pilot in that attacking force refused to fire on that ship as it was blatantly obvious that it was an American ship – and that he was court-martialed for not attacking.
        In a just world fighters from that nearby US carrier would have splashed the Israeli aircraft, sunk the attacking ships and then told the Israelis to put on trial anyone connected with this failed attempt. Instead the tail wagged the dog.

    1. Musicismath

      Sirota announced on Twitter earlier this month that he has been hired as a regular columnist for The Guardian US, so we can (hopefully) expect more in this vein from him. I wonder if he’s effectively Thomas Frank’s replacement?

    2. Webstir

      Me too.
      I posted it over at Eschaton, and predictably, the cult of Hillary went crazy on Sirota.

      They really are an angry vile mob over there. The T. Frank article would make their dentures fall out of their mouths.

      1. Duck1

        Don’t you think they have implants? They will hammer the remaining teeth and need molto crowns below, har

  5. Alex

    The false flag operations list is certainly impressive but not all of the cases are equally supported by evidence.

    See number 34: ‘senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings. No one has actually admitted it in a sense Nazis admitted the false flag attack on Poland at the Nuremberg trials, just click on the link in the article and check. And while it’s definitely possible it’s by no means proven as Chechens showed that they are perfectly capable of blowing up civilians both before and after 1999.

    So I have a feeling that a lot of others, especially towards the end of the list, are also less than 100% proven beyond the reasonable doubt, or even on the preponderance of evidence.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “I have a feeling…” Therefore let us activate the “fear, uncertainty and doubt” screens and discount all the items on that list because “impeachment” (the other definition, the trial-tricks one.)

      How, in the world of CIA and other operative disinformation and propaganda now freed from the opprobrium of falsity and blatant and subtle manipulation by renaming that stuff as “false news,” can one begin to claim that “actually admittted” is the standard for testing the validity of claims regarding the provenance of evil events? Almost as huge a PR coup as the re-naming of the Department of War as the “Department of Defense.”

      1. Alex

        It’s not me who used the ‘actually admitted’ standard but the author of the article.

        And I have no intention of activating any screens, it’s just that I happen to know a little bit more than the average about this particular case, having lived through it more or less and having heard both pro- and anti-government versions . So when they don’t acknowledge that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about it I start doubting whether the same is true for other cases about which I know much less (especially the ones with links to youtube videos)

        1. Anon

          As a student activist in the late 60’s, I can vouch for the FBI attempts to infiltrate and plan false flag maneuvers to discredit the movement. The (Frank) Church Committee investigation (1975) in the US Senate confirmed our experience.

          For some silly reason most Americans still trust their government.

  6. Olga

    We DIDN’T win the war! Like us all, PETER HITCHENS grew up on stories of Britain’s heroic victory over Hitler… but now, without questioning the bravery of our troops, he’s written a book challenging all we think about WW2 Daily Mail:
    “But the sad truth is that this country deliberately sought a war in the vain hope of preserving a Great Power status our rulers knew in their hearts it had already lost. The resulting war turned us into a second-rate power.”
    Is history about to repeat itself? This time, though – Syria as Poland?

    1. David

      Hitchens seems to be lashing out in all directions in the hope of hitting something, contradicting himself a lot in the process. I’m not sure how many people believe the straw-man “myths” he is taking aim at, or ever did.
      Nobody thinks the British government “sought” war: indeed historians have criticized (if not vilified) British governments of the 1930s for their strenuous efforts to avoid it. The British policy was one of precautionary rearmament from the mid 1930s, coupled with an intensive effort to find a political solution to the problems of German minorities which the Nazis were exploiting. By early 1939 it was clear that war was inevitable, but documents of the time show that the British saw such a war as potentially apocalyptic and quite possibly the end of the country, not just the Empire. (Hitler had no designs on the Empire and the war was not fought to preserve it). There was never any question of attacking Germany to “save” Poland. Not only were the Poles expected to fight well, the plan was for the Navy to strangle the German economy while the strong French Army kept the Germans bottled up.
      I’m of the same generation as Hitchens, read the same books and painted the same model aircraft. I too was brought up on a story of the war as one in which the British part received too much emphasis (and the Soviet part, for obvious reasons) none at all). But he obviously hasn’t read anything since, judging by the “myths” he’s trying to combat.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In addition to the problems of German minorities, in the ’30s, there was the Holodomor in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, for which the British government might or might not have been busy finding a solution.

        It turned out to be the UK (and others) with the USSR vs. the Axis powers, and not the UK (and others) with the Axis powers vs. the USSR.

      2. Jessica

        He omits all the maneuvering that went on between the West and the Soviets, each trying to get the other one-on-one with Hitler, or at least insure that their side didn’t wind up fighting Germany alone.

        1. Jessica

          I think he misunderstands that Britain was actually seeking. The point was not to actually get fully involved in a war over Poland. The point was to use faux concern about Poland as a way to ensure a war between Germany and the Soviet Union.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: New York Democrats’ Mailer: Cynthia Nixon Weak on Anti-Semitism Governing (UserFriendly)

    Donald Trump is destroying the foundations of our democracy by [fill in foundation-of-democracy-destroying Trump sin here] and must be eliminated. He is a treasonous traitor whose behavior is terrifying the country and the planet and he’s prolly insane too. Everybody says so.

    Everyone MUST vote blue in November to return the nation to the safe and sane care of experienced political professionals who know how washington works.

    Save our yeshivas and you save our democracy.

    1. Carolinian

      She seems to be impossibly behind, so far, in the polls so doubtless the “accidental” mailer was all about sending a message.

      1. Pat

        I had two mailers when I got home last night while one had one side devoted to reminding people to vote, two sides were about vote Coumo/Hochul, and the last side was an attack on Nixon’s experience. Funnily enough the State Democratic flyer was NOT the one reminding people to vote.

      2. freedomny

        I don’t believe in polls – at least not the ones that are presented to the people.

        Was at a rally in Brooklyn on Saturday – Cynthia Nixon, Z. Teachout, Nina Turner and Jumaane Williams all spoke. Had not heard Jumaane speak before and thought he was great. Teachout got 33% of the vote in her governor bid in 2014 – so Nixon just needs to build upon that. Additionally approx the same amount of people who voted in the 2014 gov primary were added on this past year as additional Dem registrants so this could really skew any polling – no one really knows what direction these people will go in (I’m guessing progressive). I would love it if Nixon, Teachout & Williams all won….but it’s really important that Teachout does win….my take from the peanut gallery.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      RE: New York Democrats’ Mailer: Cynthia Nixon Weak on Anti-Semitism Governing (UserFriendly)

      This from yesterday’s cooler:

      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


      US House candidate, NY-14
      How did the NYS Democratic Party manage to spend $11k on a mailer, falsely accusing a Dem candidate of anti-Semitism, w/o party leadership knowing?

      Why isn’t it issuing corrective action before Thursday’s primary?

      & why is the party taking sides in a primary to begin with?

      Is it just someone being weak on that, or is it someone in fact being one?

      Is AOC implying that, if you’re weak on, say, Russia, you’re a traitor or you’re in collusion with Russia?

      Or was it actually stated on the mailer that (falsely) she was one?

  8. a different chris

    Y’all can make fun of the Red Heifer, but this western Pennsylvania atheist is getting a bit jumpy. We’ve have fire – the idiots and their gas line – and floods so I’m thinking I may be overdue on paging thru Revelations. :)

    1. Wukchumni

      We can relax a little in that it’s the 10th Red Heifer, which is the one the evangs are all hot and bothered over, but once that bad boy is slaughtered, game on.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “….potential cow of prophecy…….born in the land of israel…..”

      The Temple Institute began its Raise a Red Heifer breeding program back in 2015 with the express goal of producing the heifer of prophecy…..

      The group imported the frozen embryos of red Angus cows and implanted them in domestic Israeli cows.

      So, that’s how “prophecies” work. Good to know.

      1. Brian

        A gen-mod-crossbred-red israeli angus cow with with the image of a prime minister clearly visible in its fur if you look just this way when the light is just so. “cow of prophecy”, excellent and so appropriate.

      2. knowbuddhau

        Oy vey. Machining even (their idea of) God into submission. In ancient times there were lots of “Machines of the Gods.” The new tech back then was steam. The intent there, though, was part carnival/amusement, part dramaturgy.

        And the temples competed for the most impressive and popular effects.

        Reminds me of King Minos. He was given a gift, not to keep, but to pass on. He was supposed to reliquish his private interests for the public good. But he tried fooling Apollo with a fake, and as we know, that ended badly.

        So they’ve made a fake “divine” red heifer? Brilliant.

        Better still, it’s like that STNG ep where the desperate cult of Kahless makes a GMO prophet. Hilarity does not ensue.

        Seriously, though, it’s the ones who look forward to the whole world blowing up, and by God, they’ll make it so if they have to! that really scare me.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Bolton threatens sanctions against International Criminal Court”

    That is the thing about so many bullies. At heart they turn out to be cowards who are afraid of facing the consequences of their own actions. Dick Cheney was a case in point. He is reputed to have had torture sessions piped into his office and yet at the same time, had the Google satellite image of the Vice-president’s home blurred as he was afraid that sharp images might help an attack on him. Bolton is of the same type who has a history of bullying people and now he can hide behind a team of Secret Service personnel. Guy must have grow up using Yosemite Sam as a role model.

    1. L

      I agree. It is also significant that he issued the threat while visiting the Federalist Society in DC not the ICC in The Hague. So he is big on threatening his enemies while they are very very far away and he is surrounded by an adoring crowd of supporters.

      Kind of reminds you of someone else…

    2. David

      Bolton has a lot of form in this. He was the lunatic who tried to “un-sign” the Rome Statute (which Clinton had been too cowardly to submit for ratification) in 2001, and who insisted on signing the official letter withdrawing US support, even though he wasn’t responsible for the subject at the State Department. He did his best to destroy the organisation in the years that followed.
      Of course, now the “Resistance” (TM) will be obliged to call for the prosecution of all those involved in atrocities in Afghanistan, including Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama, just because it’s the opposite of what Trump wants. What fun.

      1. RUKidding

        I’d like the “Resistance” to

        call for the prosecution of all those involved in atrocities in Afghanistan, including Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama

        Not because it’s the opposite of what Trump wants but because it’s justified. Albeit at appears that you may have forgotten to include the names of GW Bush, RCheney, DRumsfeld and many others. Atrocities in Afghanistan, not to mention, Iraq, didn’t just happen when BigD was in charge.

        Not that I’m holding my breath or expecting anything to happen, whether the “Resistance” or some other group, calls for this.

    3. RUKidding

      Duly noted that Bully Bolton and his big stick shout out his threats and imprecations on this side of the Pond. Coward.

      1. Big Tap

        Bully Bolton is also coward Bolton. Thought that other people should die in Vietnam but not himself since he said the war was ‘lost’. Went into the National Guard and wasn’t called up to go to Vietnam. LBJ supposedly called up few Guard units unlike previous wars to serve. Bolton and I guess Bush the Younger also knew that was a desirable place to be. Bolton for many reasons is despicable.

  10. Wukchumni

    Cryptocurrency Wipeout Deepens To $640 Billion As Ether Leads Declines Bloomberg
    I’m proud to announce the ICO of Bitchcoin, and the more you complain how ‘the man’ is manipulating the cryptocurrency market downwards, does the value increase ever so slightly.

    Rumors are rampant that miners have set up shop in the mother-in-law’s home, to better sharpen the possibility of pay dirt in carping.

  11. ACF

    Re the false flag list’s discussion of the effort to falsely link 9/11 and Iraq, I remember in the days immediately after the attack WSJ and NYT headlines–but the WSJ stick with me more, because that was when it did headlines with detailed subheads–announcing that Saddam had nothing to do with it. It was clear at the time that an internal DC war was happening, that the anti-attack Iraq forces were trying to make it impossible by going public. I think it took a couple of years to launch that war in large part because of that internal opposition. And it made the run up to the war justifications that much more transparent and depressing.

    1. Off The Street

      Worse than you may think. See the article about another September 11th incident, at Benghazi. Then spare a moment of silence for those who died in both of those tragedies.

  12. L

    This “The Elite Humanitarians of Silicon Valley Atlantic (UserFriendly)” is interesting and well worth a read not only as a view on the US but also as a view on China’s constant push for “win-win” development projects around the world.

    That said I think that the author falls into the (not uncommon) trap of oversimplifying Adam Smith. While he did note the power of self-interest he was not an Objectivist. Smith after all authored a book called The Theory of Moral Sentiments which argues for the importance of ethics and communal feeling as a grounding of activity which is presupposed in the beneficial operation of markets. That is really not the same as being all about me. By the same token there is some debate about how much he believed in a “free” market.

    a libertarian and there is real debate about whether the author of “The Theio

    1. Carolinian

      The problem with win-win is that it assumes the winners want everyone else to win whereas all of history suggests that subjugating others is part of the point of winning. In other words it’s not just about the money and material comfort. It’s also about the power.

      So, now that Google has morphed from a startup to a powerful institution the “don’t do evil” slogan is being tossed in favor of a “we know what’s best” mentality.

      Personally I’ve started using DuckDuckGo–more links per page and the links aren’t wrapped in Google encoding.

  13. Jim A.

    Re: the Playboy club. The point behind Playboy clubs and the magazine were to normalize and, indeed make somewhat classy the “male gaze.” Strip clubs, skin mags, and these days much of the internet ghettoize sexuality and prurience. Now to a real extant, trying to eliminate the male gaze is fighting against millions of years of evolution. But many societies do attempt to limit it or channel it.

    1. georgieboy

      ahem, yes indeed some societies do attempt “to limit or channel it”.

      hijab, wigs, burqa, & enforced isolation are just such attempts. pick a poison along the gradient.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I know you mean well, but when I was a kid, not even the secretaries would wear skin tight sweaters. They are now common in offices. So women wear provocative clothing and get upset when men look at their bodies. Help me.

      The flip side is that I know plenty of women who say they have trouble getting men to make eye contact because they can’t stop looking at their boobs.

      1. Angie Neer

        I once put both feet in my mouth on this subject with a female colleague (note that my name, Angie, is short for Angus). I complained that at professional conferences, where everybody wears name tags, people look at my chest before looking at my face. She let out a hearty laugh; “welcome to the club.”

    3. Darthbobber

      The point behind the clubs and the magazine was to make money. The male gaze hardly needed that to normalize it. And there’s a bit of a pushme-pullyu response to male attention.

  14. divadab

    Re: Raccoons (antidote du jour):

    They are cute little fellers but woe unto you if they figure out how to get into your house through the cat door and eat your cat and/or dog food. And they are also very tough – they will kill and eat your dog or cat. We had a family of raccoons living under our neighbors’ deck and my dogs went after them – both got tagged – one in the eye, and the other in the ear. Nothing major, fortunately. It was scary but also a bit inspiring to see our little chihuahua/terrier mix fearlessly go after a big buck raccoon. And the raccoons shortly thereafter moved out.

    My basic rule for wildlife is I will protect you in the outdoors, preserve your habitat, etc. – but come into my house and you will die.

    1. John k

      Yes. Had to feed some bold squirrels that did that.
      Though took a broom to raccoons, who only reluctantly gave up the cat dish. And broom eventually persuaded skunk to move out of his new residence under the couch.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Police were called to arrest those Raccoons but it was impossible to identify them as they were all wearing masks.

    3. Lord Koos

      Raccoons are cute but if you have a garden you don’t want them around. They are basically small bears, good with their paws and smart enough to get into a lot of trouble. A cat I used to have got beat up pretty bad trying to defend our turf against a raccoon, he slept for about three days straight afterward.

  15. Carey

    Term from a recent Publius Tacitus column at Patrick Lang’s blog:

    “NeoCon conga line” And it seems that all are strongly encouraged to
    dance their dance…

  16. DJG

    The red-heifer article is so patently bizarre that I will file it under my category, The Continuing Crisis of Monotheism.

    The Lord is my shepherd. He brings me frozen embryos.
    The Lord is my real-estate agent. He gave me title to this land.

    1. Jack Parsons

      It will go on a roadshow in the evangelical South. 20 state fairs will have the red heifer. Somewhere on the way it will be stolen.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    U.S. “most dangerous” place to give birth in developed world, USA Today investigation finds CBS (furzy)


    Question: Why do many foreign mothers come here to give birth?

    Answer: They don’t fear danger, unlike American mothers.

    That answer would be WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

    Here, the question is the journey and the answer, while wrong, is one (out of many) destination.

  18. RUKidding

    Lucky for me I have been canoeing/camping in the magnificent Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. Lucky for me, it was still pretty much a pristine wilderness. Sad to see it likely be polluted beyond saving by the likes of TrumpCo. Hooray for “our” side.

    I don’t care for Trump and his bombastic racism.

    Sadly he’s a useful buffoon for the GOP and their patrons. The media can be relied on for endlessly focusing on Trump’s nonsensical bull ____, all whilst almost completely ignoring the rapine, plunder and pillaging being wrought by the GOP.

    Make America Gross Again.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Racism is pervasive and manifests itself in various privileges – some we’re conscious of, while others come to surface when we examine life (our own).

      In many cases, the not-so-bombastic kind can be more damaging.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      IMHO, the full paragraph eloquently bashing Trump made me question the objectivity of the author. It had nothing to do with the topic, aside from letting us all know how horrible the guy is. After that, it made some good points, but I almost didn’t make it that far.

      1. Aleric

        Especially since the BWCA mining expansion is supported by both MN DFL senate candidates and the DFL Gov candidate, but the problem is entirely due to that awful Trump of course.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We’re grateful there has not been a second 9/11, and we have to remain alert to avoid that in the future.

      And there are a lot of places in the world we are better off not there, though, not having attacked the US 17 years ago has nothing to do with that, strictly speaking, because the battle field is always shifting.

      So, for example, that fact that no Russians were involved in 2001 then means nothing (not more, not less).

    2. Lord Koos

      Weren’t two or three of the hijackers from Yemen? (Not that it would justify the current suffering in Yemen.)

  19. georgieboy

    The Intercept piece on interpreting the Swedish elections fits in nicely with the Thomas Frank interview on how US Democrats are no longer real Democrats.

    Maybe economic and social pressure on the “less than top 10%”, and the hijacking of their old political parties, precedes the so-called nativist movements everywhere in the West?

  20. MaxFinger
    Environmental disaster. We are the land of the world’s factory farmed meat/animal export.
    Smithfield, owned by Shuanghui Group, is right in the path of Hurricane Florence.

    Shuanghui Group, WH Group purchased Smithfield Foods in 2013 for $4.72 billion, more than its market value.[7] It was the largest Chinese acquisition of an American company to date.

    Smithfield had many problems before the Chinese company bought them in 2013

    Wet Waste

    More than 10 billion pounds of wet animal waste is produced annually in the state, according to a June 2016 report by the group, which has monitored the impact of past storms. North Carolina is the top U.S. turkey producer, ranks third for chicken and is home to more hogs than any state other than Iowa, government data show.

    Storms are getting stronger with impacts on many chemical and waste pits scattered around the coast. Take a look back from Katrina to Harvey to see just how much has been affected by these larger storms/rain events.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was also wondering if any wind farms are in the path of the incoming category 4 hurricane, if they can withstand that.

      Will the blades become missiles?

      I think nuclear power plants in the area also need to be looked at.

      1. Jack Parsons

        Does the stress of withstanding high winds age the blades even if they stay on?

        Side note- the eggbeater style windmills are neutral to wind at standstill, they only respond to wind when already turning. Of course, they need a big brake shoe to avoid starting in high gusts.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Illnesses abound, 17 years ago, near Ground Zero – the Guardian.

    Tens of thousands of people who lived or worked in the neighborhood at the time found themselves breathing in air thick with toxic fumes and particles from the pulverized, burning skyscrapers.

    I did not find anything in the story about what was in the toxic fumes or where (in the buildings) they came from.

    Do we have to worry about any fire we happen to be near?

    Do we have to be concerned if we are close to a structure being demolished?

    What toxic materials do we have in our current buildings, perhaps inactive waiting to be unleased, or perhaps active already?

    Many politicians (maybe also celebrities, I don’t remember all the details from then) rushed to Ground Zero, for publicity or to show unity/patriotism/courage/defiance. Most were there briefly. Are they vulnerable as well?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t think you have to think all that much. The foam padding used in furniture and in drywall (IIRC from the 1970s to the 1990s) has been found to be bad MERELY TO HAVE AROUND YOU. The exposure to the chemical nasties from being around it would be way lower than what you get from burning it and then breathing it for weeks. Lots of plastics burned too (think computer housing).

      1. Lord Koos

        AFAIK it didn’t stop in the 1990s, I think current federal law requires all furniture to have a chemical flame retardant in the fabric. That retardant is bad for you, and new furniture will off-gas for a few years…

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How Education Reform Taught Teachers to Cheat – Governing (UserFriendly)


    The headline is disheartening, for the next question is, were the students then, in turn, taught to cheat by those cheating teachers?

    1. Janie

      They are taught to game the test, which will serve them well in life. My son taught third grade. He and colleagues were scrupulously honest, I believe. He taught the children to skim the multiplication pages for anything times zero, then to skim for anything times one. Skip what you don’t know, dont second-guess yourself. An inordinate amount of time was spent on testing. (I volunteered in his class regularly.)

  23. Enquiring Mind

    Railway arches in England’s Network Rail extraction scheme bring to mind a contrast with those other graceful arches across la Manche painted by Claude Monet at the Gare Saint-Lazare. Slowly the romanticism of train travel chuffs into the toxic neo-liberal haze.

  24. Jack Parsons

    “why should the Messiah respond to gaming the prophecy?”
    Because God helps those who help themselves.

  25. kareninca

    The NPR article on the cost of insulin neglected to mention that you can go to Walmart in most states and buy generic insulin over the counter without a prescription for $25 per vial ( I called a couple of months ago and spoke with the pharmacist at the Mountain View, CA Walmart and confirmed this for my locale. It is not as easy to use as more recent versions, but it will keep you alive. If you read Dr. Bernstein’s book (“the Diabetes Solution”), he includes instructions on how to use cheap Walmart insulin.

    Articles about the insulin cost problem – which is a real problem, of course – that don’t tell of this option could allow people to die who don’t need to die. I can’t believe the author of this article did not know of this option. If you go to Diabetes Daily and read the comment section, you will find people who have kept going for decades by using cheap, generic, non-prescription insulin.

      1. kareninca

        My dad’s insulin pens (the new, fancy kind) cost about $600/month. If he didn’t have Medicare, he could get by with two vials of the Walmart kind; that would be about $50/month total. The kid who died was using the pens. I am sure – from the info in the article – he had a family member or friend who could have come up with $25 to get him through until he could sign onto a company charity plan. Of course there are people who can’t afford either. Of course all insulin should be free to the user. But there are a lot of people who can afford $50 a month who can’t afford $600/month.

        That NPR left out that information is really disturbing; it is life-saving information these days.

  26. ChrisPacific

    Suggested soundtrack for Barnier’s comment: ‘If I Had a Million Dollars,” by the Barenaked Ladies.

  27. Anonymous2

    Glad you caught up on some sleep. We all need it.

    An excellent book I read recently is Why we sleep by Matthew Walker. He reckons much of Western society is suffering from a sleep deficit. Thus has serious consequences.

    I also hope the hip is better. I solved my hip problem by going to sleep on my back rather than my front. It is surprising the effect little things like that can have.

  28. Bridget

    Raccoons wash their food before they eat it. That mama is probably teaching her babies some table manners.

  29. Anon

    RE: Marcie Frost Redux

    Here’s a portion of an article from the GuardianUS that asks “Where are they now? (key players in the 2008 Meltdown:

    Erin Callan
    Then: ousted Lehman chief financial officer
    Now: retired

    A former lawyer, Callan had a meteoric Wall Street career, joining the bank in 1995 and becoming its finance chief in late 2007. For a while her super-positive style helped reassure investors but Fuld fired her two months before the bankruptcy. Callan was widely criticised in the aftermath of the collapse for being underqualified to run the finances of a major investment bank as she did not have even basic accounting qualificiations. She was slammed in a bankruptcy court report for ignoring “ample red flags” and using misleading gimmicks to bolster Lehman’s balance sheet by $50bn.

    At least Callan had a college degree. (Chuckle, chukle.)

  30. Doug Hillman

    To The New Yorker, what democracy? Oh right, democracy’s not broken; it’s fixed

    To Woodward, whose version of reality and whose security?

    To the NYT, what supreme Court legitimacy? And whose constitution will Kavanaugh kill?

    US media has clearly lost touch with reality.

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