Links 9/15/18

This is the official Lehman anniversary. I haven’t felt inspired to write about it. I chronicled the crisis in great depth and hate to say I benefitted from it, since it made this blog. Being right about it didn’t make it feel good to watch the horrible financial panic and the desperate ways the officialdom threw money at major institutions and hung the average citizen out to dry.

Australia thwarts Japan bid to end 32-year commercial whaling ban SBS (Kevin w)

Ramos returns to chair after Serena dramas as stats back him up Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

Serena Williams Serves Tantrum, Scores for Identity Politics The American Conservative

Windows 10 Now Warns Users Not to Install Chrome or Firefox ExtremeTech (furzy)

Washington, D.C. mass overdose: synthetic marijuana K2 suspected. Slate (furzy)

Parents are hiring intimidating ‘uncles’ to protect their child from school bullying All K-Pop. I could have used one of them when I was young…but the guy in the photo look like a yakuza.

BPA-Free Plastics Are Just as Toxic as BPA-Laden Ones, Study Says. Here’s Why Fortune (David L)

People wearing virtual reality headsets have worse balance and increased mental exertion PsyPost


In Trump’s trade wars, China’s unexpected win: More friends Washington Post (Kevin W)

(LEAD) South Korea launches 3,000-ton homegrown submarine Yon Hap News Agency. “Six vertical launching tubes capable of firing submarine-to-ground ballistic missiles.:” Hmm.

EU Copyright Fiasco

The development below won’t affect NC much (hat tip Ron A), but it now perversely makes us a beneficiary of Brexit, since these rules won’t apply to the UK (eventually) where most of our EU readers are located. More generally, since we don’t get paid for ads served to the EU and our level of donations from EU readers are microscopic, we will probably lose traffic but not income. However, I hate being denied input and insight from readers outside the US in comments, but we are certain to be blocked under the coming regime. I hope a high proportion of our EU readers continue to visit us and comment using a VPN. Do read the entire tweetstorm….

EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’ The Verge (Ron A)


Angry hauliers now told a ‘no-deal’ Brexit means no licence to drive in the EU The Loadstar. Those of you who watched the Three Blokes video knew this already!

Labour to vote against Brexit deal, Emily Thornberry says Financial Times. Someone in the UK please explain this to me. So Labour is going to make itself responsible for a crash-out by forcing a general election right before the Brexit drop dead date? If they think the EU is going to give a new government a one-year plus extension (the bare minimum needed) to start over from scratch, they are smoking something very strong. Most pundits have said the EU might give a few months if it would help the EU. There is no evidence Labour is going to be more realistic than the Tories. The UK press has fed the ruling class so much nonsense about what trade arrangements amount to that Labour would have to do a ton of unlearning to put forward anything sensible. The FT comments confirm my priors (which does not make them correct, mind you). For instance, from Sir Humphrey:

As if we needed a reminder, here’s the proof that Labour’s leadership is as cynical as BoJo when it comes to seeking power. The tests are nonsense – Labour clearly believe in a sort of quantum EU membership where you can be both in it and out of it at the same time. Their preference is to blow up a deal to force an election, and then fingers crossed they can pick up the pieces afterwards. They have as little to offer as the benighted ERG.

Readers also doubt Labour can force an election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. Per TheHundredDays:

It is inconceivable that Conservative MPs would vote for an election in the chaotic circumstances of the government being defeated on the most important issue of the day. Labour would no doubt scream and shout for an election, but Conservative MPs would be suicidal to vote for one. The most likely scenario which would follow would be a new Conservative leader and a no-deal Brexit at the end of March.

EU diplomats reject Raab claim that Brexit talks are ‘closing in’ on deal Guardian (Kevin W)

Brexit: DIY news EU Referendum. Good media critique of Brexit coverage.

Now the judges agree – the vote for Brexit was clearly tainted Guardian. First, it is going to be very hard to swim against “the people have spoken” narrative. Second, the referendum was advisory. Parliament is sovereign. But third, the hard core Brexiters are depicting this ruing as a vindication of Vote Leave. I’ve seen shameless, but this is so brazen as to need a new word.

Young Russians taking the lead in anti-Putin protests Associated Press

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Here’s How Your Unique Behavioral Psychological Profile Is Being Used to Manipulate You Alternet. Another reason, if you must use Facebook, to muddy your profile.

Trump Transition

Paul Manafort breaks Economist

As Trump WH Disputes Book’s Claims, Woodward Says He Will Release the Tapes If Sources Agree Common Dreams (furzy)

The ‘adults’ in the White House are just as dangerous as Trump, by Patrick Cockburn Unz Review (Chuck L)

As Trump Commits to Endless War, Corporate Media Obsess Over Anonymous Op-Ed FAIR (UserFriendly)

A Sexual-Misconduct Allegation Against the Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stirs Tension Among Democrats in Congress New Yorker (furzy). Agreed DiFi botched it, but the victim may have threatened to make her look bad by going to the press and calling out DiFi for having sat on this. As to the substance, the victim claims to have a history of treatment as a result of the incident, which makes it seem credible. And what goes unsaid is men who force themselves on women seldom do it only once.

Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh denies sexual misconduct allegation Reuters

Ocasio-Cortez to Trump on Puerto Rico deaths: ‘My own grandfather died in the aftermath of the storm. Uncounted’ CNN

Andrew Cuomo says progressive wave is ‘not even a ripple’ after primary win Guardian

How Centrist Is Colorado? Governor’s Race Will Test That Reputation Governing (UserFriendly)

Massachusetts Police Tweeted a Screenshot—and Accidentally Revealed They’re Watching Left-Wing Activist Groups Slate (David L)

Democracy, the presidency and views of the parties Pew Research Center (UserFriendly)

Fake News

Wonkette Is Fake News Like Louise Mensch, According To World’s Best Fucking Chart Wonkette (furzy)

Facebook Condemned for Empowering Right-Wing Magazine to “Drive Liberal News Outlets Into the Ground” Common Dreams. Lambert: “The Weekly Standard as a fact-checker? Really?”


CEO Of California’s $350B Pension Fund Has No Degree Associated Press. Will have more to say about this.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

EXCLUSIVE: Video showing how heavy metal fire doors automatically slam shut in building where white Dallas cop shot her black neighbor and apartment numbers are lit up in NEON contradict her story Daily Mail

Crisis Orgy

10 Things People Still Get Wrong About the Financial Crisis Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Lehman’s Fall Cast a Long, Risky Banking Shadow Bloomberg

Financial panic and credit disruptions in the 2007-09 crisis Ben Bernanke, Brookings Institution

The Makings of a 2020 Recession and Financial Crisis Nouriel Roubini, Brunella Rosa Project Syndicate

The Crisis Next Time Carmen Reinhart and Vincent Reinhart, Foreign Affairs. “What We Should Have Learned From 2008.” No, silly, not “throw the crooks in jail.” The idea.

A post-crisis cure that has stored up economic pain FT. Great deck: “It has become clear to many people that their future has been re-priced.”

On the anniversary of Lehman’s collapse, a stunning trader default in Norway rattles nerves Quartz (Kevin W)

Lessons From Tesla (the Man, Not the Car) Wall Street Journal (Brian C)

Tesla Autopilot Not Working After Latest Over-the-Air Update, Owners Say Jalopnik (Kevin W)

Wiping the Debt Slate Clean RT. An interview with Michael Hudson

Guillotine Watch

The World’s Richest Man Came To Washington, D.C., And It Was Gross Huffingtn Post (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

The tech elite is making a power-grab for public education code acts in education

Social class determines how the unemployed talk about food insecurity PhysOrg (Dr. Kevin)

Even in Better Times, Some Americans Seem Farther Behind. Here’s Why. New York Times. Seem?

Antidote du jour. David D: “A Costa Rican lizard practices hiding in plain sight. In the context of the busy, colorful forest, I almost walked right past without noticing.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Clive

    Briefly, alas, due to travelling commitments, but Labour’s Brexit seemingly-nonsensical stance (well, it is actually nonsensical, but it makes some sense to some on the left who, here as so often, end up having a logic all their own) is explicable when viewed through a lens of Corbyn and the Momentum wing of Labour being in favour of a hard Brexit — or, at least, not totally averse to it — but like the Conservatives being a party where no single Brexit (or Remain) faction has overall control.

    UK politics hasn’t known anything like this since the Repeal of the Corn Laws. It’s virtually unfathomable, I imagine, to outsiders.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think there is an element whereby Labour has simply zoned out on Brexit – they are so fixated with their own internal problems (as usual) and trying to take over from the Tories that they simply haven’t understood just how difficult it would be to do anything sensible in the unlikely situation where they come to power by March (and thats assuming they won a clear majority, and this isn’t looking likely).

      But I’d agree with the commentator quoted above that the Conservatives simply won’t trigger an election, they have no incentive whatever to play ball – unless the DUP along with some of the loonier libertarian wreckers see it as creating the sort of chaos they seem to relish.

      I do wonder though if in the wilder dreams of some of the Corbynites they see a chaotic exit as the perfect revolutionary opportunity for really radical change, their October 1917 moment.

      1. Brian

        war, plague and the Magna Carta are some of the things that have helped the citizenry of England squeeze a few pieces of freedom from their lords and masters. They have since lost most of those protections to the will of the various incarnations of the Tories and Labour. I have to wonder why they would want to give up any remaining rights to the EU? Authoritarian states don’t usually start that way. The governments take that power quietly until there is no further need to ask.

      2. Monty

        “October 1917 moment.” That’s why they have been smearing him. Just in case. The right people have to benefit from the chaos after all!

        1. Wukchumni

          Over there, over there
          Send the word, send the word over there
          That the yank is coming
          The market plummeting
          The HFT’s short-running
          So prepare, say a prayer
          Send the word, send the word to beware
          The bull market will be over, we’re talking over
          And it won’t come back as it’s over
          Over there

    2. Synoia

      It is fathonable to insiders? Really and Truly?

      None I speak to.

      I doubt Boris understands it, and he is supposed to be “very bright.” Although, his brilliance appears oershadowed by his ambition

    3. Richard Kline

      Being the duty neurosurgeon when the President is wheeled into your ER with a leaking headshot may make one’s reputation, but is that the way one would want to make it to the top of one’s profession? Interesting times giveth to some, but taketh away more from more.

      I’d watched the Insecurities Bubble a-buiilding for four-five years, and had never seen a more evident historical example of one, so it’s bursting was no surprise in my tiny bailiwick, and the max sideways state was locked in by January, 2007. That said, few said that, and more was said on that here than most anywhere.

      The next crisis to hit won’t likely look the same—but the “Who saw THAT coming?” will sound identically naif-like. Nice (not so) little trade war de-gears supply chains? Dollar contagion when the Yurpos bring their non-dollar settlement facility on line on the hurry-up, to a Great Whoops as state-level players play tilt-a-whirl with American unilateralism? No, no way; nobody saw that coming. The will to extend trends to some indefinite point past one’s personal payout date is cognitively captivating beyond any reasoned exercise. It could almost be said that one has to have NO skin in the game to be able to actually watch the players rather than the plays. Well, all that’s for another days cryin’ times . . . .

  2. fresno dan

    EXCLUSIVE: Video showing how heavy metal fire doors automatically slam shut in building where white Dallas cop shot her black neighbor and apartment numbers are lit up in NEON contradict her story Daily Mail

    fresno dan
    September 13, 2018 at 3:35 pm
    (deleted a lot of background)

    The Hotair article has a number of theories of what went down. And my first inclination of what I get out of it is too quick to shoot and too slow to think. But I want to be fair and heed the points made in the National Review article. Maybe this was all a terrible, terrible mistake.
    Time will tell. But there is something fishy here…

    Hard to come to any other conclusion other than that the cop shot her neighbor over noise. Why didn’t she call the police?…oh yeah, she is the police (a cynic would say that the responding police would have shot the man and had a much, MUCH better prepared cover story…..but I don’t want anyone to think I’m a cynic….)

  3. allan

    It must be great to go to an all-boys high school and, 35 years later, get 65 women,
    who attended 5 different high schools, testify at the drop of a hat as to what a great guy you were back in the day.
    My teen years were clearly wasted.

      1. Procopius

        I went to a co-ed public high school and maybe could get to ten if there were a couple of girls I didn’t notice who formed an opinion of me. Actually, I don’t think any of the girls I did know would care to render an opinion of what I was like then.

  4. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    Re Brexit:

    I hardly bother examining the actions and policies of of the party that is out of power. I try to concentrate on looking at real actors through the filter of power, because having hands on the levers changes everything.

    It looks as if an early general election will come about only if very disgruntled Tory MPs “cross the floor” to turn against whichever Tory PM in a vote of no-confidence. The forty year-plus schism in the Tory party over the issue of Europe may be coming to a head, but I’m not going to put any money on it happening this week.

    For those of you into podcasts and would like to have chapter and verse on the whole sorry tale go to this BBC link:


  5. Wukchumni

    Oh how I remember this day a decade ago, how the facade cracked in Lehman’s term, the desperation that followed, in which is best described in this quote by Richard Feynman:

    “Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.”

    In the aftermath, we not only rewarded the Unabankers, but also kept the MIC going for another decade, and instinctively the public knew they’d been had, as evidenced by the last time we had a say, in letting our politicians know just how much we were against TARP, which initially was voted down (gasp!) but then the sometimes residents of the duopoly of DC came to their senses and greased the skids for a perpetual notion machine, that pulled the bacon out of the F.I.R.E.

    ‘Pavlov’s dodge’, er bad reinforcement.

    1. flora

      A small quibble:

      …we not only rewarded the Unabankers, but also….

      ‘We’ did not reward the bankers, ‘we’ did not fraudulently foreclose homeowners, ‘we’ did not look the other way at the frauds and crimes… the bankers’ cronies in the fed govt did the rewarding and the looking-the-other-way; the Geithners and Summers and Paulsons and Obama and the DOJ and the rest of the bankers’ best-friends-forever in the fed govt did the rewarding. I refuse to be included in that ‘we’.
      I and most people I knew at the time, and still, were petitioning at our elected “representatives” to crack down on the crooks and stop the frauds. Huge amounts of mail were sent to Congress back then opposing the bailouts as rewarding crime and criminals. Most of the public knew what was going on, and didn’t support it, and knew it wouldn’t help the real economy – and it didn’t help the real economy. But it sure helped the big FIRE sector. (I think this is why the enablers of the financial crimes find it necessary 10 years later to keep trying justify what they did then. )

      1. Wukchumni

        I think of what the Unabankers thought best to invest their ill-gotten gains in, and how tawdry buying aged Ferraris for $70 million, or some 20th century painting for $179 million.

        Both being all-time price records set most recently.

        The more see me-dig me ones felt a 46,000 sq foot house with 749 windows, was money better spent.

  6. SimonGirty

    … then they came for Wonkette! But, nobody was left to speak up; because they’d bought-into David Brock’s CTR stomp down of any dissent adverse to K Street, our tag team kleptocracy; or any lefty blogs questioning Robby, Debbie and John’s agenda, tactics or clientele. I suspect, one by one, lots of “liberal” blogs are about to bite the dust, now? It’s not like there’s any venue to whistle-blow, plan or commiserate with our fellow victims or righteously vent?

  7. Livius Drusus

    Re: The tech elite is making a power-grab for public education.

    Thanks for posting this. This is legitimate nightmare fuel. The goal of tech in education is to train students to be obedient workers who will put up with high-tech neo-Taylorism in the workplace and general surveillance on a level we have never seen before. Another goal is to make sure that you cannot get a job unless you are part of a Silicon Valley social network. You will literally be dependent on Silicon Valley for your livelihood even if you don’t directly work in tech. This is all part of the drive to eliminate the wiggle room that ordinary people traditionally had when dealing with the powerful. The dive to eliminate cash is another example of this. Even medieval peasants could thumb their noses at their lord by hunting on his lands or engaging in other forms of resistance. I think we have less freedom today than peasants and workers in the past.

    It may seem like I am wearing a tinfoil hat but I don’t think this is some nefarious Luciferian plot to bring about the New World Order. The reality is even scarier. As mentioned in a previous article on this website, the big shots of Silicon Valley actually think they are helping people with all of their plans. Some of them probably think of themselves as good progressives. But they are more dangerous than the traditional merely corrupt and greedy plutocrats. I would definitely take 1980s-style financial pirates over Silicon Valley magnates any day

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      This is what is called by esoteric thinker Gordon White ( of Runesoup) the “World Without Sin”. Which mirrors how our economy works. IT’s a frictionless hyper-engineered profit machine. In the future, if you go a tick over the speed limit, your car will report you and as it’s a minor infraction, the fee will be auto debited from your account. China’s social credit system seems to be making its way to the UK with lightning speed as well. Imagine not being able to get away with jaywalking. Your iphone’s GIS gizmo will report you right away. Auto-debit of course. Go ahead- you can insist on a jury trial, but like any other such thing, it will just make them bring the hammer down on you for real, for defying their smoothly running automatic prison world.
      I say- monkeywrench this mother any which way we can.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Sounds like the radar cameras here in France. If you go 5km over the limit (that’s basically walking speed) you get a ticket in the mail 2 days later asking for €45 and lose one of the 12 points on your driver’s license. If you want to contest it, you have to send a “deposit” of €60.

        But that’s not all! When you eventually go to court, you end up paying costs – which are about €300 (excluding a lawyer, bien entendu). The end result is of course a regressive tax imposed by little boxes along the roads, the most lucrative of which are on the down side of a hill.

        1. Wukchumni

          You’ll come across signs around these parts that proclaim:

          “Fines doubled in construction areas”

          A couple of orange cones sometimes constituting construction…

          My last speeding ticket about a decade ago, cost me $425 and digital attendance on traffic school, to rid it from the record.

          To put it in punitive terms on an average salary, the amount is tantamount to what the various Unabanker firms paid in percentage terms of what they made, to civilly absolve themselves of crimes and misdemeanors.

          1. Anon

            Umm, that’s what the Justice Department discovered going on in Ferguson, MO. It goes on in my coastal community, as well. (A location where parking tickets generate over $2 million per year.)

        2. cnchal

          Where are the guillotines, in museums with safety blades?

          With miniaturization, a device that looks like a blade of grass will be writing tickets for the crime of existing.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            There is some French resistance to these radars. A lot of them have been vandalized lately in reaction to the lowering of the speed limit on undivided country roads. Some vandals work in very creative ways. I saw a radar today that had some strange orange sticky paper on the lenses and flash. It looked very hard to get off.

            1. Wukchumni

              My favorite automaton story is from Arizona, where by law, one caught in a photo-finish must be served in person, and if you never opened the door in a 90 day window, why they couldn’t serve you now, could they?

              Tip 1: Ignoring a Notice of Violation Can Result in Your Case Being Dismissed

              By law, after a ticket is filed in court, a municipality has 90 days to nail you. The first thing a city will do is to mail you a notice of violation, asking you to sign and return a waiver (along with, ideally, a check to cover your fine).

              No muss, no fuss. But no teeth, either: You have no legal obligation to sign the waiver. That’s because state law requires that a ticket must be delivered in person in order to stick.

              If you don’t sign the waiver, a process server might come to your home.

              If the process server catches you at home, you’ll pay $25 to $40 on top of the fine. But it’s a decent wager to make. Because if you manage to dodge the server, the ticket will disappear from the system 90 days after it went in.

        3. Lidia

          In a town near Perugia, they gave control of stop-light cameras to a private company, which sent out the automatic fines. This private company also controlled the lights themselves, and gradually more and more accidents started happening as the yellow lights got progressively shorter and shorter (increasing profits).

        4. rd

          Interesting. Over the past decade, I have been caught a couple of times by cameras. However, all they can prove is that the car was speeding since they don’t know who is driving it, so the tickets are a reasonable amount (typically about $35) and don’t come with points, because it is the car getting a ticket, like a parking ticket.

      2. cnchal

        > I say- monkeywrench this mother any which way we can.

        Agree. What are the most effective tactics?

        1) no farcebook, googlag or twittr accounts or social media of any kind

        2) no online buying of anything where information is harvested and sold, which is almost all of them.

        3) pollute your searches with crap you have no interest in, ie piss into the cloud

        4) that’s a start – I am open to moar and better ideas and tactics.

        As for the Windoze article – Windows 10 Now Warns Users Not to Install Chrome or Firefox ExtremeTech, I have a laptop with that on it that might as well be a brick, as in I never use it because it is so annoying to be “updated” for my own good at Microsoft’s in your face insistence.

        1. cnchal

          5) totally forgot, because I don’t have one and will never get one, a phone that spies on you, which you are paying for to boot.

  8. Richard Creswell

    Re Colorado gubernatorial candidates: Cheri Jahn , pictured and referenced was elected as a Democrat but changed to Independent. When I asked her if she was open to a state bill to allow local communities to raise minimum wage she said she was not. As a business person she claimed book-keeping would be ever-so-hard if her employees had different rates of pay in different communities. She’s a neo-lib to the core.
    Polis will not stand up to gas and oil even on weak setback regulation which he had promised in answer to my question about his previous cave-in. It took him just one week.
    Stapleton denies knowing his governor granddaddy was a KKK member. This race is pushing the Democrats to the right on the state level as always. Adds I’ve seen are irrelevant.

    Present Governor Hickenlooper was given to us by Obama. A gas and oil man at heart with no apetite for conflict with Republicans only Democrats.

    1. JBird

      When I asked her if she was open to a state bill to allow local communities to raise minimum wage she said she was not. As a business person she claimed book-keeping would be ever-so-hard if her employees had different rates of pay in different communities.

      The woman said this with a straight face? Really?

      Almost any midsize, and some small, businesses has employees working in areas with different tax rates as well as minimum wages. This is the very first time I have heard of anyone complaining about book-keeping and different wages.

      She must be really desperate not to have any wage increases anywhere in her state.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    (LEAD) South Korea launches 3,000-ton homegrown submarine Yon Hap News Agency. “Six vertical launching tubes capable of firing submarine-to-ground ballistic missiles.:” Hmm.

    Its definitely a ‘hmm’ moment. South Korea has a range of mobile cruise and ballistic missiles with sufficient range to hit anywhere in North Korea from land (the farthest point of north Korea from Seoul is about 500km, fully within range). So this submarine seems intended for another enemy. The Chinese and Japanese I’m sure are keeping a very close eye on this.

    South Korea of course has no nuclear weapons, but its generally considered that they have the knowhow and materials to build nukes within a very short time if they needed. Like Japan, it would be surprising if they didn’t already have ‘paper’ designs.

    The South Koreans are thinking long term, and it seems at least one working scenario is that they no longer have US military support.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed on this line of thought. North Korea might sting the South Koreans but the South Koreans can pound them with or without new subs. Those subs are for another purpose. Maybe the South Koreans have woken up to the fact that when your military depends on another country’s military platform, that that is not really a good idea. They must be wondering too that if it came to a choice between Japan and South Korea, which nation would the US align with more?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think the South Koreans have always been aware that they can never rely long term on the US. They’ve been developing a domestic armaments industry for decades, despite constant US pressure to get them to stop (and buy from Lockheed instead). They’ve also developed weaponry that seems of limited utility against North Korea (such as those cruise and ballistic missiles), so they are clearly thinking beyond either North Korea or the US.

        I think a credible scenario they may be playing with is not being ‘abandoned’ by the US, as in the US getting weaker and Japan going militaristic and developing nuclear weapons. Korea is then stuck right between the two (and there are Koreans still alive who experienced what happened the last time Japan and China went to war. They don’t want to be a Poland stuck between Russia and Germany, they want to be an equal. Of for that matter, a Belgium, trampled underfoot as the big guys fight. Submarine based missile capability only really makes sense if thats what they are thinking. And the obvious addition to that tech is nukes.

    2. David

      Hidden away in the story is a key fact – the submarine has Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) which means it has an endurance similar to that of nuclear submarines and can be deployed very far from home. This fits with the long)term SK objective of becoming a regional power in the Pacific, and developing capabilities that the Japanese do not have: not because they are afraid of them but because the obsessively compare themselves to their former colonial masters. It’s also a way of getting out of US influence: I personally never met anyone from SK who felt “protected” by the US.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes – this new sub is fully twice the size of the Type 212, the German sub that forms the basis for previous Korean subs and is the normal size class for mid-sized powers. This new sub is intended for force projection, its not for just coastal waters. Its a bit statement by the Koreans. If the DPRK was doing something similar it would be all over world news…

  10. Wukchumni

    Goooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    It all boiled down to the ‘skill-ratio’ back in the world, as far as Fiatnam went. Once upon a time, a CEO might’ve earned 20x what a rank & file clerk’s paycheck would amount to, but with much pluck and d’êtrermination, it was reported on the nightly news more recently that it was more like 300-1, so there was little doubt we were winning hearts & minds of like kind.

  11. disillusionized

    Labours position isn’t really new and is fairly predictable given the political logic.
    They were never going to vote in favour since that means accepting blame for the outcome, while they won’t get the credit, or influence.
    And they won’t abstain because that gets them nothing either, just pissing off those who are against.
    Whereas voting against has several upsides, from a possible new GE, to letting them complain endlessly about the bad things.
    Does that make them as bad as the Tories, by playing games with the country yes.
    But if they take office with only a few months left I atleast think they have one option that May doesn’t have, EEA – labour are less rabid and have the excuse they don’t have time for anything else

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Even though Richard North has been pushing for EEA as an option, it isn’t. It is one thing for four small countries to have a pretty advantaged relationship with the EU, and another kettle of fish for the UK to get that sort of deal. Moreover, I believe the EEA members themselves would have to agree and they probably won’t because the UK is so large it would dominate them and it behaved really badly in the EU.

      1. Biologist

        Exactly. It might have been an option had the UK spent serious effort trying to convince the four current EEA members as well as the EU, showing some goodwill and willingness to engage constructively with their concerns. Of course none of that happened, yet pundits are viewing the EEA ‘option’ as something the UK could fall back on last minute to avoid a crash out, or even as ‘safe harbour’ while they get their act together for a proper hard Brexit. The continuing arrogance is stunning.

      2. disillusionized

        Oh I’m with you I think the eea solution would work maybe 10 years before the chafing brought it down, but it’s a can begging to be kicked.

        And as much as I like eu ref his fantasies about rewriting the eea agreement into the UK’s desired intergovernmental eu is plainly never going to happen.
        The european village idea died the second the USSR died, the eu is too big now.

    1. Wukchumni

      In this day & age would an intimidating uncle send texts threatening to take away a bully’s bandwidth, if they don’t stop badgering Liam on social media?

  12. rd

    Re: No degree for CALPERs person

    I don’t really care if somebody has a degree or not. I have two kids who never got anything past an associate’s degree. What is critical is that there be no misrepresentation about not having a degree or working towards one. That is a key character test.

    A person who has achieved a lot without a degree should be able to celebrate that fact and show that it is due to inherent character traits. Hiding behind misrepresentations should not be one of the character traits that allowed them to do well.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I know. It has been frustrating to see the press take up CalPERS’ spin and try to make the controversy seem to be about Frost only being a high school graduate, as opposed to lying about her educational status. And we identified other resume lies that the press has ignored.

      1. Brian

        That AP story should tell us a lot about the state of journalism in these modern times. There is no opinion, so they have maintained the WWWWWH, which is to be commended. However, they spend a lot of ink saying what could have been done in two sentences. They neglect to include facts we know from NC’s coverage that demonstrate the problems. It is close to reading “nothing to see here, move along”. Are they just an apologist? I haven’t read an AP story that wasn’t turned into milquetoast in many years.

      2. Tom Stone

        Yves, it is not entirely surprising that the MSM is taking the AP’s position that this is just
        “Mean Maggie Brown” trying to stir up trouble
        That’s the party line, and a lot of influential people want this to go away.
        It’s an election year…
        However there’s simply too much Money, Power and influence involved, not to mention fame for a reporter and news agency that has the guts to cover this scandal for that to happen.
        Why John Cox hasn’t seized on corruption, and especially corruption at CalPers as an issue is beyond me.
        It would give him a real shot at winning in November.
        Letters emails and phone calls, especially to the legislature do have an effect.
        I urge my fellow readers here to keep sending them at least weekly.


        1. Wukchumni

          This doofus?

          Surrounded by TV news cameras, Republican John Cox chatted with weary Californians stuck in long lines at a Sacramento DMV office and joyfully blasted Democratic leaders for turning the agency into a model of inefficiency.

          The appearance was primed to be a much-needed publicity coup for the gubernatorial candidate — until he compared the wait times to the Holocaust.

          “You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach,” Cox said to a man waiting inside. “He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse. He’s 90 years old and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?”


          1. The Rev Kev

            Well, I have seen lots of images of the lines of people as they were waiting to go into the ‘shower block’ in those concentration camps and they were awfully long. I have no idea what the average wait-time was for of those lines but I am sure that John Cox would know all about that as compared to the lines in a DMV office.

      3. CalypsoFacto

        I think this is happening because so many people still believe college degrees, especially expensive advanced degrees from well-known universities, are still useful and relevant for white-collar job acquisition. Shifting the focus from ‘a pattern of lying, deception and incompetence in a position of wide-ranging power and importance whose professional actions directly affect the lives of many people’ to ‘non-credentialled’ serves 2 purposes: it attempts to localize all blame for the overall poor performance of CalPERS and recent scandals outside of Frost within her issue, while also reaffirming every other indebted (or hereditary) credentialled reader of the spin that their own pursuit of the advanced degree (and debt) wasn’t functionally pointless. After all, she got the job without the skills supposedly necessary and only obtainable via advanced education, what does that say about all the other MBAs? But the debt still must be repaid…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I beg to differ. It is a much bigger deal than you think among CalPERS beneficiaries. Pretty much any white collar CA state job, and pretty much all managerial jobs at the local level, particularly ones involving handling finances, require a college degree. So the idea that Frost, who has no college degree and no training to compensate for that, has an extremely highly paid government job, is highly offensive to the many state employees who had to get degrees and often other credentials as a condition of employment.

          1. CalypsoFacto

            we’re in agreement, it’s offensive she got where she got by lying, especially to those who have had to pay for the degree to get their own paid jobs. it’s offensive to the CalPERS beneficiaries who are also white collar professionals who had to pay for their degrees (and their debt, which is likely some part of their identity). it’s also offensive to the writer of these pieces, which is why the argument in the press is about her being uncredentialled and not that she ran CalPERS’ poorly along with the rest of the management. But if we focused on the poor management would the solution put forth by the other board members be the same? I confess I haven’t followed the CalPERS story as closely as some others but I believe the combination of student loan debt (and paying it off) + accepting that the degree (and debt) was a requirement to get the white collar jobs = why this is such a big deal to the beneficiaries. But isnt Frost just one problem among larger issues at CalPERS?

            Rather like the commenter that opened this thread, I did not get a degree yet managed to work my way up to a white collar job, so the college degree (and debt!) is not a part of my identity, however it defines the lives of everyone I know as a peer, so I know how touchy people get when there is some implication that compensation may have been unfairly rewarded.

            1. flora

              As a generalization, in some respects a college degree is meant as training in lieu of the older tradition of a long apprenticeship in, for example, education or law or engineering or business begun after high school graduation. A college education is supposed to rationalize and pick the best practices and speed learning in these fields for young entrants. This is not to denigrate the older and more time consuming apprenticeship training. (And there is still the virtual apprenticeship in the career once employed in the field one has obtained a degree in.)

              However, Frost appears to have neither a degree nor any carefully mentored apprenticeship or specific training for this role, but only a series of jobs for which she fudged her application data and did well in the interview process.

              1. Wukchumni

                I was a middling student @ best in high school and graduated in due course, but rebelled against anything organized scholastically henceforth, as it wasn’t necessary in my line of work, which involved a lot of time traveling.

                That said, a good many college & university graduates stop learning after getting that hallowed degree, but I never afforded myself the opportunity, so I had to keep on accumulating knowledge in a relentless pursuit with no finish line.

                1. Chris

                  it wasn’t necessary in my line of work, which involved a lot of time traveling.

                  You’re not from Gallifrey by any chance?

              2. CalypsoFacto

                I appreciate your thoughtful response, flora. I’m not sure my original point is being picked up here so I’ll rephrase one more time and drop this because I worry that I’m picking a sensitive point and we have the larger post about student debt today.

                From my perspective Frost is not the only or even the main problem with CalPERS, she is just one of many that demonstrates a massive problem with the way the fund is being managed as a whole. Yves has reported on many of these issues and several have bubbled up to wider coverage in the Sac Bee and other places, but overall the same consistency of problems with the way the fund is being managed has continued. However the stories of the problems are not what get consistent attention from the beneficiaries – they seem to be big systemic problems with no clear solutions being presented from the managing board (including Frost). Frost lied about something the beneficiaries have close experience with (her degrees, which the others paid for or are still paying for), so the solution is clear: get rid of her!

                The point I wished to make was in the context of why those other problems’ reports did not have legs the same way this appears to have. It’s because the student loan debt and the college degree are big parts of the identity of most white collar Americans, and Frost stole that valor so to speak by lying about attaining (and paying for) advanced degrees.

                Side one of the coin: If Frost is able to be hired and work at a job making six figures without a college degree, the degree’s value has been diminished publicly for everyone else who did the work and paid for it. Side two of the coin: the degree was not required for the work she was doing and the high salary for the college-required jobs is purely random or class-based, not merit based. I suggest that side two of the coin is actually a far larger issue in America today, especially as inequality and college costs show no signs of decreasing.

        2. Anon

          Let me put this way: Marcie Frost as CEO of CalPERS is like having Donald Trump as President of the United States. They may have similar salaries, but they are both unqualified (despite the vote of the Electoral College) and do a disservice to their broader constituencies.

      4. rd

        Surprisingly, an example of the various routes one can take for success is engineering.

        It is difficult, but possible, to get a Professional Engineer license without a degree. The requirements are actually structured in terms of years of experience with a year of ABET-accredited university equivalent to two years of experience doing engineering work under the direction and supervision of a Professional Engineer. So theoretically, you can get a PE license in 12 years without going to university.

        In reality, it takes much longer than that because the burden of proof on what constitutes engineering experience is high and so many of the years get rejected. However, it is a route that people with Associates, non-accredited degrees, other science degrees, etc. can take where some of their education is accepted and the knowledge gained helps prepare them to do engineering-related work and they can get a PE licence in their late 30s or 40s. I know a handful of people who have done this over the years, but it takes hard work.

  13. rd

    Flood insurance

    Only 9% of South Carolina homes and 3% of North Carolina homes carry flood insurance:

    More moral hazard coming as the political push will be to provide financial relief to people who did not purchase federally-subsidized flood insurance. As the relief requests come in, the people who purchased flood insurance or live outside the mapped 100-year flood plain should be prioritized for federal help.

    The local communities and state should be covering the people who didn’t have flood insurance within the 100-year flood plain as those governments control the land use zoning and infrastructure development in those areas.

    Afterwards, the two states should be re-mapped by FEMA for flood potential based on the new data. Some areas that were outside the 100-year floodplain may end up being moved into it which will cause more screams of anguish.

      1. Jen

        A coworker of mine owned a house that was not considered to be in a flood zone because it was 47 feet above the river near her house. Then Irene blew through, and her house was flooded. I’m now leery of any property that is in close proximity to water.

        1. Chris

          It’s important to understand the difference between flooding (water flowing down) and inundation (water rising up).

          Contracts for insurance routinely game this difference.

      2. rd

        This is one of the areas where governments at all levels are failing the citizens. Local municipalities control zoning and land use. In many jurisdictions, their goal is to maximize property taxes and allow developers to make profits. So many houses and business get constructed in locations where they should not be. Levees are built without thinking about how they exacerbate flooding.

        The federal government offers subsidized flood insurance but doesn’t do a good job keeping up to date maps and doesn’t do a good job policing the insurers. However, the insurance is grossly under-priced and homeowners have something to fight over if they own a policy. That isn’t much different from home or auto insurance, but those are offered at market rates.

        In 2012, Congress made a good attempt at beginning reforms of the flood insurance program but the screams of pain from homeowners, developers and communities put an end to that in 2014. Personally, I think FEMA should be mapping 25-year, 100-year, and 500-year flood zones and update those maps every 10-20 years taking into account changes in impervious surfaces and levees. Those insurances could then be offered at market rates. Buyouts of properties within the 25-year zone with permanent conversion to open public greenspace could then be implemented which would likely reduce flooding of the 100-year to 500-year areas. But that would change the structure of urban America.

        I make sure my house is not in a location that is likely to flood. That is ultimately the best protection.

        1. Wukchumni

          The flood of record came here around xmas of 1955, and were a similar one to come along now, there’d be 100 homes/businesses utterly wiped out, but we tend to forget things once nobody remembers the destruction it wrought.

          My favorite episode of cultural memory, would have to go to the Onge tribe of the Andaman Islands in the face of the 2004 tsunami…

          The aboriginal tribes – some of the oldest and most isolated in the world – have oral traditions apparently developed from previous earthquakes that may have allowed them to escape to higher ground before the massive tsunami struck the island chain off Indonesia.

          The Onge tribe, for example, have lived on Little Andaman for between 30,000 and 50,000 years and, though they are on the verge of extinction, almost all of the 100 or so people left seem to have survived the 26 December quake and the devastating waves which followed.

    1. nihil obstet

      In past disasters since the 90s, financial assistance in North Carolina has been provided regardless of flood insurance. Recipients were either moved out of the 100-year flood plain or elevated above it. They had to agree to maintain flood insurance on the new or repaired house. The problem, of course, is that many of those assisted let the insurance lapse after the first year (which was paid for by the government funds). They “learned” from their experience that if their house was destroyed, they would get a new house. In some cases, that turned out to be true — some owners have had houses replaced or significantly repaired already more than once. That probably has something to do with the low rate of flood insurance. The people most likely to let the flood insurance lapse are the very poor, and the community is not likely to leave them homeless. Meanwhile, local governments just hate bought-out properties going off the tax rolls. We don’t really have a good model for how to carry out a sustainable recovery that has a consensus on the fairness of assistance both to the victims and to the public funds.

      We’ll see what happens over the next couple of days. Florence has not been bad in terms of wind damage, but the summer was wet and Florence dropped a lot of water. If we see record-breaking flooding in the aftermath of the storm, a lot of homes outside the floodplain will be affected.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Flood insurance is prohibitively expensive, even “subsidized.” The rates were recently raised. We live in a flood plain and don’t have flood insurance. Fortunately hurricanes aren’t a big factor here; spring thaws are. I’ve seen three feet of water running across our driveway, but without reaching the house. I never noticed that dip in the driveway until it was full of running water. We aren’t even an example of bad zoning; we’re “flood plain agricultural,” an area of 5-acre homesteads that provides a sort of greenway right into the city. There are flood-prone areas much more densely developed.

      So I have a lot of sympathy with the uninsured; I could easily be one of them.

  14. Tom Stone

    That AP “Article” on Marcie Frost’s education is nothing but a hit piece on Margaret Brown, “The only board member making this an issue”.
    It might as well have been written by Priya Mathur, absolutely no mention of any of the substantive issues, just “Marcie doesn’t have a college degree and these stuck up meanies are being jerks about it”.
    Our “Famously Free Press” doing what they paid to do, help maintain the status quo.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I think the article is more negative for Frost than you think. The reason is due to CA civil service rules, pretty much all white collar government workers have to have a college degree. For Frost to get one of the highest paid government jobs in the entire state and not have a college degree is offensive to a lot of them even before you get to the lying part. So CalPERS beneficiaries are not happy about this. Although to your point, the writers of the article probably did not understand that.

    2. jrs

      I know people without degrees are supposed to just: go die. But that some people don’t do so and lie instead, isn’t that sympathetic in many ways. In the same way that turning to the black or gray market is if you have no legal way to survive. Now I don’t defend corruption, but lying on resumes if all doors are blocked … it’s understandable.

  15. cnchal

    > The World’s Richest Man Came To Washington, D.C., And It Was Gross Huffingtn Post

    Watching a little socialist billionaire lick a big socialist billionaire’s boots is gross, but that’s how the billionaire pecking order works.

    1. Wukchumni

      There was an awkward moment on Bill Maher, when he had Steve Ballmer on last night, and the former tells the latter that he donated a million to the donkey show, and then asks if it isn’t true the latter is worth $43 billion, and why isn’t he desirous of big money such as his, doing the same service?

      And Ballmer says, he doesn’t think it’s ethical to buy elections.


          1. Joe Renter

            I was in a bike ride last winter and ran into Ballmer as I stood in line at Starbucks in Medina. He played the sizing up,” Alpha male” bullshit on me as I waited next to him. After I got home and informed my wife of the encounter, she informed me I was probably mistaken since he is know to like the same sex and he was looking at my Lycra more than I knew. Whatever.

  16. jfleni

    RE: Windows 10 Now Warns Users Not to Install Chrome or Firefox;

    IF you really want to give Billy Boy heartburn recommend “Linux” using many of the it’s praises on line in many places!

    1. The Rev Kev

      I suppose that the next step will be that Windows 10 will refuse to install any software that is not on an approved Microsoft list that they are getting a kickback from. I have sometimes thought that with the insistence for people to have their files on the cloud and to move as much as the operating system as well as the programs on the cloud as well, that in the end we will only be left with what was known as a “Dumb Terminal”. You’ll have a monitor that you can tap and if you are lucky you might have a keyboard and mouse as well and that will be it. It would just be a matter of a series of “upgrades” through Windows 10 to go this way.

      1. Carolinian

        Of course there was once a big antitrust action about Microsoft pushing Internet Explorer as part of their operating system. Since most department store computers are still sold with Windows you’d think that might be a concern.

        These days, however, the most widely used operating system is not Windows or IOS or LInux but Android (a form of Linux). Google, now as dominant as MS once was, does allow “apps from other sources.”

        BTW MS in cooperation with Intel has been making it harder to install Linux on those preloaded Windows machines.

      2. Mark Pontin

        Rev Kev wrote: I suppose that the next step will be that Windows 10 will refuse to install any software that is not on an approved Microsoft list that they are getting a kickback from.

        Windows 10 is already doing that. It’s not an OS, IMO, but actually a cross between an advertising platform and malware.

        I recently bought a couple of refurbished laptops at $200 each, and I didn’t catch that one was running 10, not 7. (I keep 4-5 refurbished laptops around because they’re cheap, all I do is word processing, and if one gets lost or damaged when I go through an airport no loss because I have total redundancy.)

        The laptop I bought running Windows 10 wouldn’t let me download Chrome, Firefox, Dropbox, etc. unless I paid $90 to MS for the ‘professional’ version. Apparently, there was a six-twelve month option to do that for free and this being a refurbished computer it was beyond the window.

        In reality, what MS has done is to finally move me on to Linux.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Maybe it was linked here, dunno, but apparently Windows 7, which I have been very happy with, will no longer get updates in a few months. I stopped installing the updates anyway after reading the discussion here about how they were crapifying, but looks like as with my phone I need to make a change. Don’t really want to buy a new machine but for phone I understand Apple is most secure. Have always used Motorola but I’d like to get away from Google.

      What to do, what to do…

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Wow, looks good. Wonder will the big players try to prevent it from accessing stuff (like when using DDG some videos don’t play, some websites don’t give me access)?


        2. Kurtismayfield

          I hope it is produced.. they made their kickstart so fingers crossed. I will be looking for one next year.

      1. barrisj

        Actually, since last year both our Win7 laptop and desktop cannot install the various “monthly rollup security patches” whatever…always get the “failed to install” message. Also, having tried to bat away all the Win10 “upgrade” rubbish pushed onto 7 users also compromised the ability to smoothly install Win 7 patches…now do most stuff on two newish iPads – sod MS.

      2. Mark Pontin

        apparently Windows 7, which I have been very happy with, will no longer get updates in a few months.

        January 2020.

      3. Unna

        I have Win 7 Pro on a CAD$350 Lenovo refurb bought through Staples and have had it for a few years. Great system for me. Cut off updates when they started to use those to shove Win 10 onto your machine. Have good anti virus etc and have no problems. Have done a live USB Lixux Mint which is by definition easy to do (I did it) and some other flavous of Linux, which I play with just in case I need to switch to Linux someday. I wish there was some other OS, not Apple, certainly not Chrome, open source, that I could get my hands on to try out.

        1. Inode_buddha

          Try FreeBSD or one of its desktop variants… its a true UNIX system, basically the great-grand-daddy of Linux. Desktop variants would be PC-BSd and DragonFly BSD.

          I ran Linux exclusively from 1996 to 2016 and finally switched to BSD because I got sick of the politics and the direction the big players (RedHat, Debian) were going.

    3. Arizona Slim

      I have a Win10 desktop that runs Firefox without a hitch. Bought the machine to run Adobe Creative Cloud, which won’t work on my Linux laptop.

      1. Tom Bradford

        My main laptop runs Windows 7 and will as long as it or the OS lasts. However I have a travelling laptop with Windows 10, which I loath, but I was able to install and can run Pale Moon, a fork of Firefox, on it without problem.

        When I can no-longer use Windows 7 I’ll switch to Linux, but have you ever tried to buy a lap-top without Windows?

        I use Windows 7 on my desktop, too, as it’s essentially a gaming machine and many games still won’t run on anything but Windows, unfortunately.

          1. JCC

            Coincidentally our lab just bought one of these with two hard drives, one 1Tb ssd and one 1Tb hybrid hard drive and a 4K screen. It seems to be a very nice and relatively rugged system so far. It ships with Ubuntu which we wiped and loaded Red Hat 7 which also works just fine. I imagine that it would work just fine with Fedora, too.

            Service was immediately helpful over the phone due to a minor glitch loading the Red Hat system.

        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Windows games on Linux:

          Get Wine onto Linux, then install your Windows games on Wine.

          (Clunky – I’ll agree, but somehow satifying if it works)


    4. bones

      I used Linux for several years before switching back to Windows recently. I miss the software available for Linux as it was easy to get it to conform to your own preferences. The Linux discussion boards are unbelievably helpful — nothing like Windows or Mac discussion boards where it is impossible to get help. I am thinking about going back. However, I was not convinced that Linux was really ever compatible with the hardware I was using. I installed Linux on multiple laptops (len*vo, d*ll, a**le) and was never sure the power management or fans were running correctly. I spent hours reading up on hardware problems, before giving up. Anyone on here have an opinion on Linux’s hardware performance?

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        It’s topics like this that makes me wish the rich NC commentariat discussions could somehow be tagged and viewed by topic. Alas each comment thread must start anew, and in isolation.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I started an email, which remains a draft, where I paste links to comments I want later access to.

          It’s a pain and I am not consistent about doing it but there is just so much here I hate to lose.

      2. JCC

        (I know this is off-topic, so I this will be the last time I post regarding Linux)

        Generally it depends on the distro. Fedora and Ubuntu (and their forks) are the two I’m most familiar with for cutting edge software support of most hardware and Red Hat for for long term stability. I have had no problems at all with most Dell or Lenovo systems, including fan control, hibernation, etc.

        Your best bet is to figure out exactly what features you want or need and check your favorite support forums first for advice if you are purchasing new. Also, a lot of the mainstream distributions usually do a decent job of managing hardware and mfg. compatibility lists on their websites.

        As an example, should you want something like complete nVidia graphic support vs the opensource “nouveau” driver, learn about what outside repositories are available for software and drivers not supplied by the primary repositories. Often the primaries are unable or unwilling to supply proprietary drivers due to licensing issues, but many non-primary, but well-supported, software repositories are able to engineer install scripts/packages that can handle these drivers successfully while maintaining the spirit of open-source… and without upsetting the copyright holders. nVidia is a prime example (after all, the majority of successful crypto currency “miners” are running on linux software with nVidia proprietary drivers).

        Power management, fan control, UPS monitors, etc., have improved greatly over the last 5 to 6 years since many Govt and Corporate sites have gotten seriously involved with use and development.

        For what it’s worth, both at work and home, I’ve been working with Linux distributions of one sort or another since the mid to late 90’s and have had very few issues with any standard hardware over the last 10 years or so, particularly Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and other large suppliers (occasionally HP and Sony – or very old hardware – throw me a curve, but due to experience – particularly with forum advice that, although meant to be helpful, is not always accurate – I’ve managed to get them running properly better than 95% of the time).

  17. Michael Hudson

    Thanks for posting my interview, Yves.
    I hadn’t seen it, because Spectrum/Time Warner has taken RT off the cable channel. All I get is a notice that RT is no longer available.
    Part of the censorship of Russia. Also, Russian academics are blocked by my Outlook or Safari. I sat in a hotel room in Beijing with one, and sent him a note and he sent me a note. His note never came in on my computer.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Mr. Hudson,
      I cut the cable a few years ago, and I now stream RT via a Roku box. RT also allows streaming directly from their website:

      Sadly it seems that in order to get any “non-approved information” we have to go to the internet.. while I am still allowed.

    2. Wukchumni

      Nice interview…

      Wouldn’t hyperinflation be the back-door jubilee of olde, albeit much more complicated in terms of property now?

      Lets say I bought a house in Buenos Aires for 100,000 pesos 20 years ago on a hypothetical 30 year mortgage when the buying power of the peso was 33x as strong when measured against the dollar, and in the years to follow, prices on everything in Argentina leaped forward to make up for the pesos misgiving, and everybody’s monthly mortgage costs a pittance, greatly favoring those indebted on a long term basis.

    3. Ted

      Thanks for giving the interview and for raising, once again, the issue if debt (and credit) and how these drive much of urban life since antiquity. I just taught, once again, David Harvey’s Rebel Cities, and discussed the relationship between capital, credit, and urban development with students. I was reminded through our conversation just how little people in the US and probably elsewhere understand of the financial dynamics that really driven the sorts of cancerous forms of economic growth we have seen in the world since the 1970s. (well, according to Harvey since 1850).

      Anyway, toward the end of your interview, you noted that most people, including religious people, don’t understand the connection between religious principles and the politics of credit/debt. But, of course, since credit/debt fuels the jobs and salaries for the professional classes and intellectuals, it’s kinda not in their interest to notice the problems of credit/debt, no? I mean, we wouldn’t want to stop the fueling the cancerous growth of debt financed higher education, health care, or religion, now would we?

    4. juliania

      Dear Dr. Hudson – I so love your championing of the ‘forgive us our debts’ theme from the Christian writings (two of my sons are permanently crippled by student aid debt, one sadly unable to bear the ignomy of it, along with other admitted weaknesses that I hope he will someday overcome.)

      But I have to gently disagree with your insistence that what Jesus was persecuted for was solely the debt issue. You quoted from Luke, and gave accurately the announcement of the Year of the Lord Jesus was announcing, but it was not that which made the people he was addressing angry – in fact, they thought at that point he had been speaking well, and they wondered since he was the son of a carpenter how he had done so. It was after his reply, in which he, perhaps reading their minds, suggested that they would now be expecting him to perform some of the wonders he had done elsewhere, but also gave scriptural examples implying he would not be doing so, that they became angry and sought to throw him over a cliff.

      All I mean to say is, I agree with the importance of the debt jubilee. But if you look at Scripture it is very hard not to see that the Jubilee year of the Lord Jesus is describing is indeed a spiritual message, even though he, like you, thinks of such a thing as a good, a very good practice, and uses it as an example.

      Thank you for all you do in the effort to correct our badly mangled financial system. My heart goes with you; I wish you success! And thank you for being on this forum and understanding matters I do not.

  18. ChiGal in Carolina

    Trivial compared to other news I suppose, but what a dumb article about the tennis Slam stats.

    It is meaningless to compare violations awarded to men vs women without knowing how often the behavior occurs. If men use abusive language 10x as often as women then even if men have, say, 4x the violations of women, this still shows bias against women.

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics…

    1. tokyodamage

      Here’s a headline I’m waiting to see:

      This is the biggest non-story since Oprah yelled at a million-dollar purse store for being closed.

    2. Senator-Elect

      Exactly! The issue is whether umpires are systemically tolerating aggressive behaviour from men while penalizing women for such behaviour. The stats provided are not germane. But it is also worth noting that, even though Serena’s systemic complaint may be accurate, her particular case was correctly umpired. See here.

      1. Anon

        So now that we have “Hawkeye” to keep the chair umpire straight they’re now exploring minor infractions in a Major event to inject themselves into the match?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I’m going to spend some time on the draft directive text. I’ve been ignoring it and the noise until the Parliament vote. I don’t think it’s as big a disaster as some (mostly American) lawyers/activists seem to believe. Oh but hold the presses – Macron was all in on it so maybe it is a disaster. A très vite.

      1. Carolinian

        The rule was changed to only apply to “commercial” sites such as Facebook and Youtube but that also means it will highly restrict sites that most people read. It won’t apply to Wikipedia or (probably?) blogs like this one.

        Here’s what the EU voted in favour of this morning:

        –Upload filters: Everything you post, from short text snippets to stills, audio, video, code, etc will be surveilled by copyright bots run by the big platforms. They’ll compare your posts to databases of “copyrighted works” that will be compiled by allowing anyone to claim copyright on anything, uploading thousands of works at a time. Anything that appears to match the “copyright database” is blocked on sight, and you have to beg the platform’s human moderators to review your case to get your work reinstated
        –Link taxes: You can’t link to a news story if your link text includes more than a single word from the article’s headline. The platform you’re using has to buy a license from the news site, and news sites can refuse licenses, giving them the right to choose who can criticise and debate the news.

        –Sports monopolies: You can’t post any photos or videos from sports events — not a selfie, not a short snippet of a great goal. Only the “organisers” of events have that right. Upload filters will block any attempt to violate the rule.

        Here’s what they voted against:

        –“Right of panorama”: the right to post photos of public places despite the presence of copyrighted works like stock arts in advertisements, public statuary, or t-shirts bearing copyrighted images. Even the facades of buildings need to be cleared with their architects (not with the owners of the buildings).

        –User generated content exemption: the right to use small excerpt from works to make memes and other critical/transformative/parodical/satirical works.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This site is a commercial site. We run ads. And the fixed costs and administrative burden of being a not for profit are way too high for us. We would literally need revenues 10X as high as we have. Setting up a not for profit is cheap, but ongoing compliance is not. For instance, banks require not for profits to keep minimum balance of $10,000 in their checking accounts.

          1. Carolinian

            Apparently the details of what was passed are still vague including to one of its principal sponsors.


            And while articles have quoted advocates of the most recent version as saying they don’t mean for it to apply to “small businesses” or nonprofits–only sites like Google–the end result may indeed apply to sites like this one. Here are a couple of more links on what happened.



            1. Yves Smith Post author

              The reality as I alluded above is no US court would enforce any judgment against a US site, so we don’t have a risk of paying monetary damages. But we would be blocked in the EU. I hope our EU readers are prepared to master the use of VPNs to continue to visit and comment.

          2. John Zelnicker

            @Yves Smith
            September 15, 2018 at 5:20 pm

            I hate to question your statements, Yves, since you are so seldom wrong.

            However, there must be some banks that don’t require such a high minimum balance. I have filed applications for tax-exempt status from the IRS (Form 1023) for a couple of clients and none of those clients were ever going to be able to maintain a minimum balance of $10k. Yet, as far as I know they had no trouble establishing a checking account at a local bank.

            Perhaps this is a function of the size of NYC versus Mobile and the banking competition.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Not in NYC and I need a bank with local branches. And I’d need a board, board meetings, and have to do tons of other filings. All of it would come at the expense of posting and my health.

              Put it another way: remember the Debt Jubilee? They raised nearly $700K which they planned to spend in a year AND had free accounting and legal services. They had visible trouble with compliance and were filing returns and disclosure forms late.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Now the judges agree – the vote for Brexit was clearly tainted”

    No matter how bad the news seems to be coming out about Brexit, there always seems to be something more that comes out that really riles you as they are really talking about the ignored welfare of some 65 million people. The Torys don’t care, the media doesn’t care nor Labour or the elites. None of them care.
    Well I thought to come up with something that can help people express their feelings here. Everybody knows about the Richter magnitude scale, right? Well I have come up with a variation that I call the Brexit magnitude sale but the formatting didn’t come out, thus-

    Magnitude- Description- Intensity- Average Brexit news effects-
    1.0–1.9 Micro 1 Wincing while reading
    2.0–3.9 Minor 1-4 Gritting teeth
    4.0–4.9 Light 4-6 Thumping desk
    5.0–5.9 Moderate 6-8 Slamming keyboard down
    6.0–6.9 Strong 8-10 Hitting monitor
    7.0–8.0 Major 10 Punching holes in walls

    And may I point out that there now only 194 days till Brexit?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its an excellent publication, especially on foreign policy. It seems to a sanctuary for high quality conservative writers who’ve been expelled from mainstream right wing media for being too sensible and reality driven and refusing to follow the Murdoch/Koch line. The ideological core seems to be paleoconservativism.

        1. Big Tap

          TAC is very good site which you may not expect from it’s title. Also carry articles on topics you don’t usually run across on most political sites Even the comments are interesting most times. One site I bookmark.

      2. Angie Neer

        TAC is especially good at covering military interventionism, law enforcement overreach, and civil liberties. And their writers are not all in ideological lock-step. I wouldn’t recommend them for issues of sex and gender, unless you share their rather severe orthodox Christian perspective.

        1. Richard

          Thanks. I don’t know too much about the paleos; I used to read Paul Craig Roberts over at Counterpunch if he counts. His style was a little extreme for me, but he definitely hated the right people.

    1. The Rev Kev

      People here have just got to understand about Serena Williams. It was simply her turn. She was obviously the most qualified player on the court. She was just trying to break the glass ceiling of number of the number of grand slam championships won but it was stolen from her by a foreign source. And just how do we know that Carlos Ramos is actually Portuguese anyway? Maybe Serena can write a book to tell everybody what happened.

      1. Wukchumni

        I deduce that we’re paying more attention to Serena than to the NYT op-ed now, the former having more legs.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Exactly what I was thinking.

        One or two more of these high-profile, overwrought, sore loser tantrums and I’m going to have to start considering the possibility that my gender is simply not mentally prepared for the rigors of prime time, ability and talent notwithstanding.

        I’m hoping that cooler heads prevail, but they need to get on it.

        1. savedbyirony

          This was not due to Serena’s sex, this was down to her personal mentality. The Ice Queen herself, Chris Evert (a remarkably composed on court uber competitor in her day and ever cool when it came to Prime Time) who was calling the match for ESPN saw the game violation coming right after Serena was docked a point for smashing her racket because Evert knew Serena mentally was not going to let the official’s affronts (in Serena’s opinion) go and mentally move on. Evert practically predicted it to the audience.

          I think people are focusing on the wrong call to have a problem with by Ramos. (Personally i did not have a problem with any of the calls. Her box admitted coaching and her game noticeably changed in line with the coaching – another catch made by Evert in the booth in real time as the match was happening). That the US Open Officials could be upset with Ramos for calling a coaching violation against the “home favorite” (she is not mine) in the finals match (instead of issuing a warning, for example) – ok, imo understandable because that call is so inconsistently applied (and everybody knows Serena is a very emotional diva?). But from there on in it was a battle of Serena’s personal will to somehow get Ramos to rescind that call. Whether she consciously knew it or not, she was mentally fighting the chair ump as much as she was playing against Naomi Osaka to the end of the match.

          As the ESPN commentators Evert and Mary Jo Fernandez mentioned a number of times after the game penalty was assessed and after the match was over, they had certainly seen men and women blow up on the court before, and sometimes in their opinions even worse, BUT not when they were facing a THIRD code violation as William’s was. Those players mentally moved on from the earlier penalties. Serena did not and given some of her on court comments during the debacle she also has not come to peace with her past run ins at the U.S. Open. By the end of the match, she was practically throwing out the kitchen sink to justify her rightness in the situation (she does not cheat, the U.S. Open has it in for her, sexism, motherhood, on and on) and the sexism stuck and struck with the media but no one, female or male, should be allowed to behave as she did. And, from my experience of watching tennis for many years, yes i do think males get away with more lip to the chair – but that’s because they do more of it; and probably no one male or female in today’ s tennis (we are not viewing under the rules of the McEnroe days, thank god) would have been allowed to continue with her behavior (because it was clear she was not only not letting up but upping the ante) without a code violation being given (esp. not from that ref). Nor should they. Serena not only, imo, was looking for special treatment as far as that code violation went but she is the one who owes an apology to Naomi Osaka for acting so unprofessionally on the court by way of being so upset that an official of the sport was applying the rules of the game during her match.

            1. bwilli123

              Serena (and her defenders) are arguing that holding women to the rules of the game and being more lenient to men is systemic. Much like Patriarchy, by extension.
              The problem with this argument is that Serena was competing against another woman, and what happens in the Men’s game is irrelevant in this context.
              If anything, applying the rules strictly, would be a benefit to a talented woman such as Serena, particularly if she was still on the way up in her career. It perhaps would be not so much of a benefit if she had already reached her peak and was trying to prevent other talented women from surpassing her.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, another ignored issue in this is that in almost all sports, good referee/umpires apply different interpretations of the rules at different levels. What may be given leeway in the professional game would not be permitted with amateurs – or rough stuff allowed with older competitors is cracked down at junior levels. The same with the male/female games.

                Just last week I was listening on the radio to a discussion about Irish field sports and how referees (following consultations with players and coaches) were instructed to apply rules on physical contact more strictly in the women’s games (the discussion was how this had caused some confusion). There was nothing sexist about this, its just a reflection on how the same sport can be played differently at different levels, and good referees/umpires know this.

      3. Jean

        I have watched at least 100 times that commercial where Serena goes for a morning run and eyeballs a piece of jewelry.
        Then she goes to an ATM and withdraws enough cash to buy it using the advertised money credit card.
        Her value as an athlete is fast drawing to a close as her endorsements will no longer mean much when she’s #2.

        1. Anon

          Serena was ranked #22 in the draw (bracket designation). Osaka had won a recent match against her in a minor tournament.

          Let me make a point about tennis tantrums. The only other major sport where an athlete plays, singularly, against a real live opponent is, I believe, boxing. Singles tennis is an athletic event unlike any other. You win, or lose, by small margins. Having no teammates (or sideline coaches) to intervene between you and the chair umpire allows for tempers to flare. Serena has probably been involved in many poorly officiated matches. She was surely agitated at the chair umpire at the US Open. An astute umpire would have certainly warned about the perceived “coaching” violation (a common violation, often ignored). Serena was obviously offended, since she said “I don’t cheat”. (Some of her venting was “kitchen sink” material (irrelevant).

          However, the chair umpire did not sense the moment correctly and decided to be officious without being perceptive. Knowing how to defuse these sorts of situations should be in every officials training. The spectators paid to see two tennis players compete for the US Open Championship; the chair umpire helped create the Serena eruption that marred the match.

          It was not Serena who booed at the trophy presentation, but the spectators. Many probably wanted to see once-in-lifetime event (Tying M. Courts 24 championships). Didn’t happen. May never. Osaka is the tennis progeny of Serena; quick footed and powerful. Should be fun to watch her progression on the Tour.

      4. pretzelattack

        ramos sounds russian to me. and i would know, because i’m posting from leningrad, or so i was informed in a guardian article comment section today.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      It is meaningless to compare violations awarded to men vs women without knowing how often the behavior occurs. If men use abusive language 10x as often as women then even if men have, say, 4x the violations of women, this still shows bias against women.

      Lies, damn lies, and statistics…

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That is true, but I don’t think anyone has provided any evidence that men commit violations at such orders of magnitude greater than womens players. That would surely have been noticed. Anyway, those figures are clear evidence that male players don’t get away with those violations.

        Besides, the core accusation was that she was being penalised in a manner that a male player wouldn’t be by that particular umpire, and this has clearly been shown to be untrue. Ramos is a known stickler (and as a professional, Williams should have been aware of this before the match), and its clear that he applied the rules as they stand. Williams was clearly trying to throw Osaka off her game and Ramos rightly wasn’t going to help her do it.

        I can’t think of any sports (including soccer, where abuse of officials is practically de regueur) where accusing an umpire/referee of cheating during and after a match would not result in a fine and ban.

        1. Senator-Elect

          I mostly agree, but as a longtime tennis watcher, it is pretty clear that the men are generally nastier and more vulgar in expressing their frustrations. I think Serena had a point, but it wasn’t relevant to her situation. The question is whether umpires adjust their expectations accordingly and therefore let men blow off more steam while penalizing women for lesser abuses. That would show gender bias.

          The different behaviours of male and female tennis players (and responses to them) under similar conditions at the four major tournaments (same courts, crowds, prize money, etc.) would make a fascinating and revealing topic for formal study of gender norms and biases.

    3. Senator-Elect

      A little harsh, I would say. However, the Williams sisters have clearly managed to rehabilitate their image and win over many of their critics by continuing to play with dedication and professionalism well into their thirties.

    4. bones

      I don’t buy the sexism claim, but the American Conservative polemic has its own problems. The tennis experts being quoted in the media are saying that coaching violations are rarely if ever called. I don’t watch a lot of tennis. Correct me if that’s incorrect. The American Conservative article states, “Most post-match commentary has conveniently omitted the coach’s confession from the record.” That’s nonsense. Everything I read mentioned it. Read E**N, C*N, they all report the confession. What her coach said is that he does it every match, and that Osaka’s coach was doing it too. Everyone does it, he says. Maybe true, maybe not, but the American Conservative writer is spinning this to fit it’s agenda. (I’m not sure he was even watching the game, or whether he knows anything about tennis. The first comment below the article points out that he refers to the umpire as a “linesman.” That’s the kind of mistake someone who watches a sport isn’t going to make.)

      We make a lot of athletes throwing tantrums, but it’s something that athletes do. During a match their adrenaline is firing on all cylinders, and those that are successful tend to have a mentality that losing in unacceptable. I’ve lost my cool playing a park game of basketball. I’d rather not see this sort of behavior, but it’s just human behavior, and no one should get outraged over it.

      1. witters

        If you “lost your cool playing a game of park basketball” it is not excused by saying “it’s just human behaviour,” and “no one should get outraged over it.” There is a point of logic (as well as decency) you are missing here.

  20. Craig H.

    > Crisis Orgy

    On the Fuld wikipedia page it is very nondescript about how things turned out for him. They say he is working for a 15-person hedge fund but he could be raking it in or he could be treading water there is no way to know. The memory that sticks out to me about the crisis is I got my first heads-up that things were seriously hosed reading metafilter, July 17 2007, this post by user asparagirl: A world of Casey Sarins. It would be more than a year before there was an alarm in the corporate news providers.

    In 2008 Ritholz’ website was as good as NC. It is amazing to me that this website has held it together and even improved while the real world has dragged his website and metafilter and many other websites down so far.

    You don’t get paid to rock the boat.

    1. sd

      I’ve wondered about that. Each redesign at Big Picture lead to weaker content. And of course, the commenters are long gone.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Lol check out the the upload date on that ‘Rock the Boat’ music videeaux!

      Sept 8 2008!!!!!!


  21. Rabble

    Speaking of Lehman, everyone should watch this panel at Brookings with Geithner, Paulson, and Bernanke wherein these promoters of policies leading to the crisis bemoan the fact that people across the nation couldn’t understand that billions pumped into financial institutions (which, incidentally, created the crisis) wasn’t about the banks. They’re not villains, they say. They were just working on such a high-intellectual plane that the rabble below misunderstood why they took our tax payments and gave them to the banks.

    1. noonespecial

      Re: Panel at Brookings – I caught a few moments of this chat with the 3 amigos and was dumbfounded when Bernanke offered the following comments related to the Wall Street Journal’s callous attitude towards inequality in the USA. Maybe he has not seen the charts on the gains to the people like members of Tiger 21 club.

      Compare the Brookings clip with an old clip from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to get sense of the former fed chair’s duplicity. The Daily show clip (from around 2010 I think) shows two interviews with Bernanke – one Bernanke saying the fed does not print money, while the other Bernanke admits to the fed’s role as printer of last resort.

      To me, both clips rank up there on the slap-your-face moments.

      Daily Show:

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Worry less about our tax payments given to the banks. I believe the money for the massive bailout came via another source although I am too ignorant of all the mechanics of our money system to explain further … MMT and all that.

      I am much more concerned that our banking and financial system were propped up but left in the same shambles of corruption and instability that lead to our first Great Recession. The innocent and relatively innocent were severely punished and those who engineered and most benefited from the depredations which lead to the crisis were richly rewarded and left to continue their efforts at dismantling the foundations of our banking and financial systems. Worse, the crisis served as a tool for prying even more monies from the public coffers to feed profits into Finance and the pockets of the wealthy via several “creative”, “innovative”, and “disruptive” policies of the FED and the free rein offered to further consolidations of Finance while allowing further “creative”, “innovative”, and “disruptive” new financial products to bring fruit in a “free-market” with limited noxious regulation by the Finance Sector’s wholly owned government — delivered to us as “Change we can believe in.”

  22. willf

    “Here’s How Your Unique Behavioral Psychological Profile Is Being Used to Manipulate You”

    An interesting article. The author writes about how Facebook is hovering up your data to build a profile of you (and mentions Google and others doing the same, include Cambridge Analytics). He goes on to say that they can use this info to manipulate people:

    And Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, famously came out, just a few weeks before the election, and announced that Donald Trump was using their services. […] Now, they didn’t just know your political leanings or party affiliation. The app told them who you were psychologically, with suggestions on how to tailor the conversation to the personality types of their target voters. Real, live addressable-ad tech.

    The app told them who you are, not just demographically—psycho-graphically. Trump and Cambridge Analytica knew you better than you knew yourself.

    The demographic river that is flowing toward the Democrats—dammed and rerouted.

    There’s no proof offered that seeing Facebook ads actually changed the way people voted, or that the “demographic river” wasn’t rerouted by the actions of the DNC itself.

    If, as the author states, these sites is just reflecting you back at yourself and “you get your mirror”, then how does that change people’s behavior? Wouldn’t that suggest that they simply reifies one’s beliefs, and consequent behavior, through the resultant ads, rather than changing that behavior?

    The author throws in the obligatory rant about “fake news” and then compares that with what he says is actual journalism:

    You won’t find the New York Times or Washington Post, actual journalism, until page four of your Google search. Buried wayyyyy down at the bottom. Real journalism sunk with an algorithmic Corexit to the bottom of the feed.

    So, “actual journalism” is propaganda from official channels, while “fake news” is alternatively sourced propaganda? He repeats this idea, when talking about the dangers of algo-based information gatekeepers:

    And let me tell you, the truth here is that we did this to us. This was Facebook, this was Google, this was American. And there is nothing that the “Russians bots” did that multinational oil companies haven’t been doing for more than a decade. We created a universe in which your truth is yours only. Steve Bannon, Robert Mercer, Americans.

    You see only what they want you to see, which is what you want you to see. You are perpetually stuck up there at three thousand feet, the oil and toxicity floating on the OCEAN just looks like pretty sunshine lapping at the waves. You can’t see the toxicity.

    “You see only what they want you to see, which is what they want you to see”? That sentence invokes memories of Judith Miller and aluminum tubes, for a start.

    Now they could get your intimate details, group them, advertise to them. It is as if they are following you around. Following millions of people around. Harassing your psyche. Learning your weaknesses, putting you through the wringer. A fear campaign aimed at everyone and everything, the fears that can push the electorate to where they want it to go.

    Again, no proof is offered, beyond the election of Donald Trump, which is conflated with Brexit, Kenya in 2013, and Ukraine in 2014 (I wonder what kind of targeted ads the Azov battalion was getting?) and “Brazil Impeachment” (sic). Apparently it does not occur to the author that the people responsible for impeaching Dilma Rouseff were the same sorts of oligarchs who caused trouble in Kenya, and backed Azov in Ukraine.

    I don’t want to dip into ad hominem territory, but this does seem a bit incoherent. Perhaps someone here can read the article and give me a clearer picture of what the author is trying to say. Where he ends up is not where I had thought the article was originally headed. I agree with the author that giant social media companies sucking up our data and building profiles is worrying, but he ends with this:

    How do you know what’s true? How can you differentiate between a progressive-sounding Russian troll saying, “You’re using Russians to avoid looking at America,” from a progressive-sounding American troll saying, “You’re using Russians to avoid looking at America”?

    This seems to be a cri de coeur for the establishment to keep the author safe from people with whom he disagrees politically. They must be trolls, and cannot have come about their views authentically. Some nefarious algorithm is certainly behind it all.

    1. willf

      Apologies for the length of my comment, I wanted to figure out what the (family blog) the article was about and give a fair depiction of it in my response.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I think you hit the nail on the head – where is the proof that any of this affected anyone enough to make them change their mind about anything?

        Regarding 2016, I definitely don’t remember an election where both major party candidates had been in the public eye to the point where they were household names for at least a quarter century prior to the election. Are we really supposed to believe people hadn’t formed an opinion about these candidates and that social media determined the outcome? You’d really have to have been born yesterday to believe that, and if your were, you wouldn’t be able to vote for 18 more years in the first place.

  23. fresno dan

    Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. You have to give them somewhere to go. Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if loneliness is the outcome.
    There is another reason bad ideas continue to live on, which is that people continue to talk about them.
    Silence is death for any idea…. They can only be believed when they are repeated.
    I have already pointed out that people repeat ideas to signal they are part of the same social group. But here’s a crucial point most people miss:
    People also repeat bad ideas when they complain about them…. You end up repeating the ideas you’re hoping people will forget—but, of course, people can’t forget them because you keep talking about them. The more you repeat a bad idea, the more likely people are to believe it.
    If CNN just talked about draft laws, regulation, and policies, the pros and cons, proposed by the “administration” without naming Trump, how important would Trump be? Of course, how many people would be watching CNN? How many people watch “real” wrestling as opposed to professional wrestling…
    Does Trump have any ideas…other than the idea of Trump?

  24. Wukchumni


    Elon Musk reveals plan to build a medieval watchtower for the Boring Company headquarters constructed entirely with ‘lifesize LEGO-like bricks’ made from leftover dirt from its underground tunnels

    1. anon

      Thanks for that.

      Let alone the lukewarm to cold food, possibly imbued with the taste of cheap plastic wrap tightened over once very hot (as in cheap plastic melting?) food — the term Dark Kitchens immediately reminded me of food poisoning events just waiting to happen. Seems very odd that the piece never mentioned the inherent food safety issues of Dark Kitchens™. Can’t think of anyone with sense who would willingly want to prepare food in — or eat food prepared from — something titled a Dark Kitchen.

      And how do the presumed restaurateurs/restauranters/chefs oversee the preparation of their brands™ — by anonymous, likely minimum wage (or less) worker bees working: with uncovered (unrefrigerated sometimes?) steel bins of condiments, vegetables, sauces; gloveless and likely not allotted much time, if any, for frequent hand washing (see the article photo ) — in Dark Kitchens?

      The world has gone insane and deadly, under Capitalism.

  25. Wukchumni

    Found out what happened in N.M.

    Galligula levied a tariff on imports from the Sun, and in retaliation said orb hacked us by sending a virus laden sunspot.

  26. Tracie Hall

    Nice catch on the photographers part of that beautiful lizard! I’m going with a “male plumed basilisk” (AKA, “green basilisk, the double crested basilisk, or the Jesus Christ lizard” according to Wikipedia–the later due to its ability to walk on water.)

  27. barrisj

    Did read the NYT this a.m. on “falling behind”, which continues the Times’ policy of reporting with great diffidence the huge inequality gap in the US…always couched in terms such as “seems”, or “apparently”, or “a possibility”, and the like. Grey Lady types just too far removed from the lumpen to honor explicitly people’s existential angst.

    1. Julia Versau

      I agree. That was the most nothingburger-y article I have read this week. Fortunate I don’t depend on NYT or WP or any of “the usual suspects” when it comes to insightful commentary and analysis. But I do read between the lines with their drivel: “Ignore the (rich) man behind the curtain. Just keep sucking up the misery. It looks like you deserve it.”

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “BPA-Free Plastics Are Just as Toxic as BPA-Laden Ones, Study Says. Here’s Why”
    The new study linked to within this link: “Replacement Bisphenols Adversely Affect Mouse Gametogenesis with Consequences for Subsequent Generations” [] is one of the more accessible journal articles I’ve read in quite a while. I found the section “Brave New World” near the tail of the article most illuminating [from that section]:
    “Remarkable technical advances allow us to synthesize molecules and create subtle variations in them. Innovation, however, has outpaced our ability to understand the implications of the release of rapidly generated families of structurally similar chemicals into our environment.”
    “Further, as replacement bisphenols illustrate, it is easier and more cost effective under current chemical regulations to replace a chemical of concern with structural analogs rather than determine the attributes that make it hazardous.”
    A quick look at figures 2 and 3 of that article [near the top] is sobering. Two compounds with similar structures can have very different effects in a human body but many compounds with similar structures — structural analogs — very often have similar effects on a human body … something made advantage of in searches for new drugs [and patents].

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I forgot to include some further pregnant conclusions from that article and the section “Brave New World isn’t just at the tail but is the conclusion discussion.
      “Because we study environmental effects, we are vigilant about controlling the animal environment and testing contact materials. Thus, repeated inadvertent contamination in the course of our studies is an indicator of the sheer number of contaminants and their ubiquitous presence in daily life. This represents a hazard not only to human health, but also to the ability of scientists to conduct sound and meaningful studies.”

    1. fresno dan

      September 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      So at 15:00 minutes Woodward talks about the “end of truth” and than he goes on and says (Freudian slip or just misspoke) “…you can’t run this complex country on truth” at 15:13
      Now, I’m sure Woodward meant to say lies, but I found it very amusing….and that Costa didn’t catch it or didn’t want to note the gaffe (indeed, a Michael Kinsley gaffe, i.e., when a notable inadvertently speaks the truth)

      1. JCC

        “…you can’t run this complex country on truth”

        No offense meant, and you may want to double check. I clearly heard Woodward say “…you can’t run this complex country on untruth”

          1. JCC

            Of course, Woodward was referring to Mr. Trump and not Mr.’s Clinton, Bush, or Obama, or Mr. Jean-Claude “When it becomes serious, you have to lie” Junker or our local celebrity Ms. Frost… or Jack Nicholson’s Colonel Nathan R. Jessup.

  29. will_f

    RE: “BPA-Free Plastics Are Just as Toxic as BPA-Laden Ones, Study Says. Here’s Why”

    Funny how the headline makes one think that all plastics are as bad as “BPA laden ones”, rather than `BPA plastics are worse than plastics that have no bisphenol content whatsoever’.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Funny, I didn’t read the headline quite that way. The “BPA-Free Plastics” in the headline were heavily advertised in food, particularly beverage packaging pushing the idea that they were safe to use unlike BPA-Laden plastics.

      I am not knowledgeable about plastics [some NC commenters definitely are and should correct me if I err] but as I recall BPA is added to plastics to alter their flow characteristics for various shaping processes. The common substitutes for BPA — the article in Current Biology refers to BPS, BPF, and BPAF — come from a family of compounds the article refers to as bisphenols which the article claims have proven toxic much the same as BPA.

      Please explain further. What kind of plastics “have no bisphenol content whatsoever” and can or could they be used for “safe” food containers? And how do you know the containers would be safe?

      1. willf

        I believe that plastics marked with the numbers 2, 4 and 5 (also marked LDPE or HDPE) are supposed to be food safe.

        Polypropylene, and LDPE and HDPE (low-density poly-ethylene and high-density polyethylene) contain no BPA or BPS or similar bisphenol compounds.

        I do agree with your comment above:
        “Further, as replacement bisphenols illustrate, it is easier and more cost effective under current chemical regulations to replace a chemical of concern with structural analogs rather than determine the attributes that make it hazardous.”

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I’ll take your word for it. It’s growing increasingly difficult to escape using plastic food containers but occasionally there are choices between the types of plastic used. I far prefer glass and often purchase an item as much for the contents as for the glass container it comes in. Of course the rubber seals in the lids aren’t supposed to be all that safe. I don’t remember what they’re supposed to have in them. I even asked one place about silicone lid seals and the researcher who responded wasn’t sure even they were free of noxious exudation as they aged.

  30. False Solace

    Re: Serena Williams idpol / Trump commits to war and the media commits to R^3 / Billionaires conspire to screw education and act like royalty

    Insulin’s steep price leads to deadly rationing

    Nicole Smith-Holt lost her son to diabetic ketoacidosis, three days before his payday, because he couldn’t afford his insulin. …

    The price of insulin in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2012 alone. …

    Alec’s yearly salary as a restaurant manager was about $35,000. Too high to qualify for Medicaid, and, Smith-Holt said, too high to qualify for significant subsidies in Minnesota’s Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace. The plan they found had a $450 premium each month and an annual deductible of $7,600. …

    He died less than one month after going off of his mother’s insurance [at age 26]. His family thinks he was rationing his insulin — using less than he needed — to try to make it last until he could afford to buy more.

    [Family blog] everything about this. Third World USA.

  31. Wukchumni

    The Great Hurricane of 1780, also known as Huracán San Calixto, the Great Hurricane of the Antilles, and the 1780 Disaster, is the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Between 20,000 and 22,000 people died throughout the Lesser Antilles when the storm passed through them from October 10–16. Specifics on the hurricane’s track and strength are unknown because the official Atlantic hurricane database goes back only to 1851.

    The hurricane struck Barbados with winds possibly exceeding 320 km/h (200 mph) before moving past Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Sint Eustatius and causing thousands of deaths on those islands. Coming in the midst of the American Revolution, the storm caused heavy losses to British fleet contesting for control of the area, largely weakening British control over the Atlantic.

    Among the ships lost from Rodney’s fleet were the frigates HMS Phoenix, which wrecked on the Cuban coast, and HMS Blanche, which disappeared without a trace. The sixth rate frigates HMS Andromeda and HMS Laurel were wrecked on Martinique with heavy loss of life. By far the worst losses in the British fleet, however, were under the command of Vice Admiral Peter Parker and Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley. At the time of the hurricane, Rowley was off the coast of New York with a portion of the fleet, including HMS Sandwich. Parker was in Port Royal, Jamaica. Many of their ships, however, were in the hurricane’s path. Among the losses were HMS Thunderer, HMS Stirling Castle, HMS Scarborough, HMS Barbados, HMS Deal Castle, HMS Victor, and HMS Endeavour. Almost all of their crews died. Seven additional ships were dismasted.

  32. Synoia

    People wearing virtual reality headsets have worse balance and increased mental exertion

    The VR headsets are effectively blindfolds.

    What’s the difference between blindfolded and VR headsets?

    I emphatically call bullshit on this study.

  33. Unna

    “Whatever one may think of its aesthetic
    values, America’s mass culture exercises a magnetic appeal, espe-
    cially on the world’s youth. Its attraction may be derived from the
    hedonistic quality of the lifestyle it projects, but its global appeal is undeniable.” Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard

    From AP article on Russian youth: “Young people don’t like the anti-Western rhetoric and an embrace of traditional values as far as youth culture, fashion, sexual behaviour and morals are concerned.”

    This seems to be the line Western media are pushing.

    Alexei Navalny appears to be the West’s latest great Russian hope “opposition” leader. But he has a somewhat checkered past. Overlooking his criminal convictions, which can always be dismissed as state persecution, the real question mark about him for Russians seems to be his long association with Russian ultra nationalist and racist groups. Here’s an Atlantic article from way back in 2013

    Here’s a more recent Newsweek article. After 19 paragraphs of glowing praise for Navalny, they finally slip this in: “Up until 2012, Navalny was a regular at the Russian March, an annual gathering of nationalists and ultra-right radicals in Moscow. In 2013, he publicly backed protesters calling for the expulsion of Chechens from a southern Russian town, and he has also used insulting expressions about people from Russia’s North Caucasus and central Asia.” The article then goes on to explain how Navalny has reinvented himself as an anti corruption person, but that few Russians, even Russian liberals, would actually vote for him given his questionable past and ultra nationalist opinions.

    In my very humble opinion it is no surprise that the West would chose to back a now somewhat cleaned up Russian ultra nationalist as it’s preferred political instrument. The Russian Federation is a multi lingual, multi racial, multi religious, multi ethnic collection of populations. The easiest way to break up Russia would be to promote Great Russian ultra nationalism. See this interesting Aljazzera article on Putin’s crackdown on Russian ultra nationalists which mentions Navalny a few times.

    A little research on this guy would yield much more. Undoubtedly Putin needs to clean up corruption in high places. And very much so. His keeping corrupt neo liberals like Medvedev as “prime minister” along with Medvedev’s economic crew was controversial and widely condemned on many blogs. Putin’s upping the retirement age certainly did him no good.

    Finally, there seems to be a raft of “Russian youth hate Putin love Navalny” articles recently when not so long ago it was the opposite; MSM articles were patiently explaining why “deluded” Russian young people were supporting Putin. Reliable information about subjects like this are hard to get in English, but I wonder whether these articles are meant more for Western consumption and opinion making rather than as an accurate description of current Russian political opinion.

  34. Octopii

    I wish this blog would quit linking to unz review. That site has a real anti-Semitic tilt, like way, way over the line. I support BDS, but it’s wrong to lump all Jews in the same group.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That is ad homimen and has nothing to do with the merits of the article in question. The anti-Semitic charge also seems overblown given that Unz is Jewish. Unz also worked with Jamie Galbraith on a failed ballot initiative in California to increase the minimum wage from $10 to $12. And we have linked to Unz perhaps twice in the last year, so your beefing is disproportionate. We also link once in a great while to right wing pubs on those rare occasions when they have fairly-reported stories with important information.

    2. YankeeFrank

      I take issue with your characterization of Unz as anti-semitic. First of all, as Yves points out, the publisher and main writer is Jewish (as am I). When Unz does publish writings about Orthodox (sometimes called “Hasidic”) Judaism, it actually looks at fundamentalist Judaism honestly rather than trying to provide a false veneer. If we look at fundamentalist sects of ANY religion, without fail what we find is extreme, exclusionary totalitarian power groups, be they the Westboro Baptist Church, Wahabi Islam or Hasidic Judaism. And the work on recent fundamentalist Jewish sects as well as the history of medieval Orthodox Judaism at Unz consists of unsparing but also historically accurate studies from renowned Jewish historians and Jewish political writers.

      Extreme sensitivity to portrayal of anything negative in Jewish political history after the Holocaust is understandable but also short-sighted. We do the world and our fellows Jews no favors by pretending we are a perfect people with no flaws. The fever pitch of propaganda against Glenn Greenwald, Norman Finkelstein, Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate of late has been obscene. The lies published with no opportunity for rebuttal, denunciations and just outright bad and dishonest journalism is beyond anything I can recall. Let’s not add Unz Review to the list.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve read of some soybean farmers plowing under their crop, as they’ve got soy lent green from the government, who stepped in to be the People’s Republic this fall.

  35. Wukchumni

    Massachusetts Police Tweeted a Screenshot—and Accidentally Revealed They’re Watching Left-Wing Activist Groups Slate (David L)

    Not too surprising, law enforcement skews quite a bit to the conservative side, and where’s the fun in surveiling somebody similar to you?

  36. EoH

    The AP article, without byline, on Marcie Frost reads like a news release from CalPERS.

    It quotes Frost saying she will eventually get her degree, but being head of CalPERS is more important right now. It’s something she would like to do some day, but not now. Naturally, given the $387K she made last year, which the article also cites. That’s an unusual income for a high school graduate.

    It says that five board members knew Frost had no degree when she was hired. That handily avoids the issue of whether Frost lied on her government forms, the ones that say she submitted the information on penalty of perjury (or its equivalent). If the claim is true that those board members knew facts not submitted on Frost’s forms, among the many questions it begs is why were Frost’s forms not updated. Why the obvious discrepancy, the lack of process, for such a senior position?

    The article helpfully isolates board member Margaret Brown as, “the only board member of the fund demanding some kind of action following [Susan] Webber’s reporting on Frost.”

    What’s the name of Ms. Frost’s director of communications again?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s not how the people in Sacramento are taking it. They are telling me the board is losing cred big time for having hired a high school grad. The headline alone is damaging. So yes, this is CalPERS spin, but it is backfiring.

      And there are 13 board members of CalPERS, so for people in the know (most CalPERS beneficiaries and a lot of people in the state capitol), that “5 knew” factoid is also damaging.

  37. Earl Erland

    About an hour ago I looked into the comment section to see if anyone had grabbed an obvious link to Yve’s Lehman lament. I’m loathe to post this, understanding that underpants is one helluva metaphor for the failure to have an original idea.

    “Fast growing pockets of debt, as in the last time around, look like potential sources of problems.”

    The NYT then bold faces Student Debt, Companies loading up on debt, increased lender arbitrage(risk shifting) behavior and 2nd or 3rd world financial rape.

    In my life, when I took out a small amount of student loans and paid for tuition with a combination of a summer job working in Chicago getting jobs through Local 4 of the Labor Union, or bringing shingles up a ladder for a roofer in Indiana who I swear could sweep his hand through a 40lb box of roofing nails and shingle faster than a pneumatic roofing gun, did I ever think one was like the rest. Of course, maybe I am blind. I’ve spent time in Grand Rapids, where you drive down Van Andel Lane and hope to take a right on DeVos Heaven Place.

  38. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook Condemned for Empowering Right-Wing Magazine to “Drive Liberal News Outlets Into the Ground” Common Dreams. Lambert: “The Weekly Standard as a fact-checker? Really?”

    So, ThinkProgress has found itself censored by Facebook’s ‘fact checkers,’ just weeks after calling on Facebook to censor right-winger Alex Jones. What goes around comes around I guess. Would you believe that Facebook also uses the Atlantic Council to deem what is true or not? And that means that Eliot “Bellingcat” Higgins also has a say on what Facebook users get to see.
    The censorship reign is really getting underway now. Just the past week YouTube took down Syrian government channels – SANA (TV), the Ministry of Defence, and the Syrian Presidency – so that the people in the west will not be allowed to hear what the other side has to say. RT is being banned in a lot of places too. This is what happens when left-wingers support right-wing methods ‘for the greater good’. Speaking for myself, I will use an Australian meme to let my feelings be known on this question of the new digital censorship in play – Not happy, Jan!

  39. anon

    The number of people without power in North Carolina is approaching one million, and it is likely to take weeks to restore electricity in some parts

    Yet another situation — and what to say about the inhumanity regarding the ongoing Puerto Rico catastrophe — where circumstances will most certainly verify the need for NON DIGITAL RELIANT: cash currency; copper landlines, highway call boxes, public phone booths; and social services/human assistance, not reliant on internet access. But, it will not be reported on in any significant and (increasingly) desperately needed manner.

    I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen when a major — not at all unexpected — Carrington Event reoccurs. The thought is horrifying. It’s as if the concepts of humanity and foresight never existed, and a bunch of sick, pampered, amoral, wealthy cretins have hypnotized once sane people into moving fast and breaking everything, of use and human worth, in sight.

  40. freedomny

    Re-Lehman anniversary – One of my beloved nieces works in NYC at a “boutique” consulting company. Last week one of the partners of the firm revealed that a bunch of his buddies were going to have a “party” tonight as a “celebration” (?). Most of the people attending are ex-Lehman/Barclays/Bear Sterns folks who landed back on their feet.

    How sick is that….

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Meanwhile, a palace revolt is underway among the mandarins in the global banking division of HSBC (link paywalled).

      I’ve also seen the memo and it’s quite comical.

      Mandarins? I note that while I-bankers are drawn from elite schools, they are also rarely the brilliant kids or the natural social leaders. They tick the boxes, sure, but also seem to self select for polished, well organized ‘belongers.’ The mad geniuses go to trading or analytics, while the most charismatic types move on to sales or private advisory.

  41. Wukchumni

    A friend that runs sightseeing tours in the National Park was over for snappy cocktails yesterday, and we were comparing bear notes.

    Most encounters come on the road, probably 2/3rds i’d say. All of mine this summer were on the road. I’m not really seeing much scat on or off-trail, nor are others i’ve talked to. That ain’t right-as shit happens.

    He’s on the Generals Highway in the main part of Sequoia NP 5 days a week for 6 hours a day, and a good amount of success comes by merely being there, and as a consequence he’s up to 42 bruins seen this summer, while i’m in single digits @ 9.

    We were comparing the plummet in population, and he saw 104 in 2015-when I glimpsed 42, and then only 10 for him-and 3 for me in 2016.

      1. Wukchumni

        We trained larger blue belly lizards to be ad hoc waiters when they aren’t doing push ups, and once in awhile you really got to watch your hand when taking a beverage from them, just saying.

  42. Miguel Sopena

    re: Brexit

    It may not be so crazy for Labour to want a general election in the UK and given the current civil war in the Tory party it may just happen.

    The UK has nothing to gain from a disorderly Brexit, but neither has the EU. And the EU is not exactly a democracy. Rather, it is like Oceania in 1984. In the EU there is no law, only the will of the Troika.

    Labour’s official position is that they will be against any deal that will be worse for the country than full EU membership. That doesn’t leave many options. If Labour gave the EU a understanding that they will deliver BINO (Brexit In Name Only), why wouldn’t the EU give them a helping hand? They could grant an extension with some fuzzy wording. Of course this is just kicking the can down the road, but what does the EU have to lose?? As you rightly note, the most likely prospect right now is a disastrous outcome in six months that no one, no one, would benefit from.

    It makes sense to me that Labour would decide that their first priority is to get into power, whatever happens next. What other choice do they have?? To call for a referendum, which would alienate Labour voters who voted Leave (and the outcome of which is completely unclear, according to the polls)?? To vote for Theresa May’s meaningless plan (and leave the political initiative to the Tories)??

    Labour’s position may seem cynical, but, in the circumstances, it seems understandable.

    (And this comes from an incredibly p*ss*d-off EU national in the UK whose life has been turned upside down by Brexit and who utterly despises May, Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Farage, and everything they stand for in spite of the fact that the EU is obviously a dictatorship of European capital. Like I said, no easy choices here.)

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