Links 9/20/18

Dear patient readers,

Sorry for the lack of original posts. A lot of administrativa hit at once.

Reimagining of Schrödinger’s cat breaks quantum mechanics — and stumps physicists Nature

Microplastics can spread via flying insects, research shows Guardian (Kevin W)

Cane toad DNA breakthrough ‘may help stop’ toxic pest BBC (furzy)

Our Richard Smith, a glider himself, was impressed. But the pilot here is shaking from the cold! Gah!

Zaif cryptocurrency exchange loses $60 million in recent hack ZDNet

Public urged to let Bert and Ernie come out in their own time Daily Mash

The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness Huffington Post (UserFriendly)

Humans Simply ‘Hardwired’ For Laziness, Study Says Study Finds.

deeds before words Fredrik deBoer (UserFriendly). This is very well reasoned but…stigmatization for appearance starts WAY before adulthood and becomes internalized. I work very


U.S. Companies Need to Get Tough on China Bloomberg

At EU summit, upbeat mood music on tough issues Politico

European antitrust authorities probe Amazon Axios

Philippa Hetherington · Short Cuts: Canberra’s Coups London Review of Books


Theresa May tells EU27 she won’t delay Brexit despite lack of a deal Guardian

Brexit deadlock: Theresa May urges EU to compromise DW

EU Leaders Still Hoping Brexit Won’t Happen: Summit Update Bloomberg. Vlade flags:

“There is a unanimous — almost unanimous — view around the table that we would like the almost impossible to happen, that the U.K. has another referendum,” Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told BBC Radio on Thursday. “I don’t know what the result would be.”

Even though as vlade points out that sounds like if someone in the UK came in with the referendum, EU would (at least very seriously consider) accommodating the A50 schedule for it to be run. Problem is May had ruled it out and the Tories are not voting themselves out of office.

Pushing the BoE to the limit: what a no-deal Brexit will mean for UK exchange and interest rates LSE

Just say no to a ‘blindfold Brexit’ Politico

Is the “deep state” trying to undermine Corbyn? New Statesman (UserFriendly)

New Cold War

‘The Apprentice’ book excerpt: At CIA’s ‘Russia House,’ growing alarm about 2016 election interference Washington Post (furzy)


Syria – Israel’s Provocation Kills Russian Soldiers – Moscow Will Take Political Revenge Moon of Alabama

Turkey unveils plan to fight currency crisis Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

John Hancock will include fitness tracking in all life insurance policies VentureBeat. Predicted by Matt Stoller here in 2012. I hope this business suffers a speedy and costly death.

Tariff Tantrum

Trump’s latest tariffs are about to hit you where it really hurts Business Insider

Rivals seek to profit from US-China trade war Financial Times

Trump Transition

Justice Dept Likely to Slow-Walk Declassification Consortium News


Anita Hill: How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings RightNew York Times (UserFriendly)

Brett Kavanaugh: Sexual assault accuser ‘needs more time’ BBC.

Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle The Hill

Claire McCaskill says she’s voting ‘no’ on Brett Kavanaugh Springfield News-Leader

Get Ready for an 8-Justice Supreme Court, as Kavanaugh Controversy Persists National Law Journal (J-LS)

High School Classmate Who Remembers ‘Incident’ With Kavanaugh and Ford Says She’s Overwhelmed by Media Requests Alternet

With Supreme Court Decision on Dark Money “We’re About to Know a Lot More About Who Is Funding Our Elections Common Dreams. UserFriendly: “HUGE!!!”

Opioid Crisis Emerges as a Big Campaign Theme Wall Street Journal

data demystified #3: A Deep Dive Into the Distribution of Progressive Ideology Data For Progress (UserFriendly)

Morning Edition’s Think Tank Sources Lean to the Right FAIR. Quelle surprise!

The Racism v. Economics Debate Again Current Affairs (UserFriendly). Political scientist Tom Ferguson is well along on a granular analysis of voters who flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump. The data overwhelmingly show it was economic issues that led to the change.

In case you missed it, the GoFundMe account in question was for $50,000 to treat his cancer. Much derision over HRC not writing a check:

New York inmate’s golf drawings lead to exoneration in murder BBC. Appalling story.

New York Review of Books editor Ian Buruma departs amid outrage over essay Guardian

Death count debates overshadow the real story: Hurricane Maria was partly a human-made disaster Salon

Trump to Nominate Former Fed Economist Nellie Liang for Board Seat Wall Street Journal

Housing: a big miss in permits with important ramifications Angry Bear

SEC: Citigroup Ran a Secret, Unregistered Stock Exchange for More than Three Years Wall Street on Parade (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Mainstream media gangs up on Sanders over ‘Stop BEZOS’ bill RT (Kevin W)

Amazon reportedly planning 3,000 cashier-less Go stores by 2021 The Verge (Kevin W)

Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression. Huffington Post (UserFriendly). Ugly generational war claims….sounds like mistaking older “let them eat training” 10%ers for older people generally.

Between Charity and Justice: Remarks on the Social Construction of Immigration Policy in Rich Democracies Wolfgang Streeck (witters)

Women don’t just face a gender pay gap. They also suffer from a stock options gap. Washington Post (Kevin W)

Why New Zealand was the first country where women won the right to vote The Conversation (J-LS)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “This pup loves sitting with it’s owner while riders in training are advised at the Seahorse Riding Club in Rolling Hills Estates, California. The dog, Bella, a ‘petite Pibble,’ is alert but calm as horses trot within a couple of feet of her—note the nearby hoof.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Why New Zealand was the first country where women won the right to vote The Conversation (J-LS)
    A most interesting prophetic novel from 1889 written by a former NZ PM, is:

    “Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman’s Destiny”

    Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman’s Destiny (1889) is usually regarded as New Zealand’s first science fiction novel. It was written by former Prime Minister of New Zealand Sir Julius Vogel. It anticipated a utopian world where women held many positions of authority, and in fact New Zealand became the first country to give women the vote, and from 1998 to 2008 continuously had a female Prime Minister, while for a short period (2005–2006) all five highest government positions (Queen, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Chief Justice) were simultaneously held by women.,_or,_Woman%27s_Destiny

    Imagine having on your currency, instead of long dead politicians:

    The lowest denomination banknote has Sir Edmund Hillary on it. (issued whilst he was alive, that only typically happens with monarchs)

    The next denomination has Kate Sheppard on it. She was instrumental in getting women the vote in NZ.

    1. Musicismath

      There’s also Edward Tregear’s bizarre theosophical novel, Hedged With Divinities (1895), which may or may not be a satire on Anno Domini 2000 and women’s suffrage in NZ in general.

      The entire male population dies (save one man, who was on some kind of theosophical spiritual retreat in the Islands, and was thus saved), leaving women. How will they perpetuate industrial society? Can they drive trains? Will our hero do his duty and secure the future of the human race?

      Interesting stuff.

    2. ewmayer

      Good on the Kiwis, but the top 2 of those five highest government positions rather put the lie to the ‘self-governing’ part, don’t they?

  2. c_heale

    The news on microplastics is unprecedented in my opinion. There are microplastics in everything we eat drink, breathe, or interact with. I cannot believe they are not having deleterious effects on all the lifeforms of this planet. Maybe this will lead to the extinction of humans, before global warming does.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Mother Nature does Her job though doesn’t She, sperm counts are down 50% in a generation as a result. She’s starting to rebalance, still got a ways to go.

    1. ewmayer

      It is indeed bad – and imagine how much worse a world addicted to those much-touted ‘miracle materials’ made of carbon nanofibers and tubes would (‘will’, says the realist in me) be. Those are incredibly chemically and eletrically ‘interesting’ – whence the miracle physical properties – down at the atomic/molecular level, imagine imbibing a dollop of those with every think you eat or drink.

    1. ewmayer

      New from Wolf Richter today:

      HELOCs in the US & Canada: As “Scarred” Americans Learned Bitter Lesson, Canadians Went Nuts | Wolf Street

      The Canadian per-capita debt numbers are eye-popping:

      In US dollar terms, to make it apples and apples, Canadians owe $225 billion in home equity loans. Americans owe $357 billion. But here is the thing: the US population (326 million) is about nine times larger than the Canadian population (36 million). If Americans owed as much per capita as Canadians, they’d owe collectively 9x $225 billion = $2.04 trillion!

      This mind-blowing $2.04 trillion in home-equity loans would be 235% larger than the amount Americans owed during the peak in June 2009, which collapsed with such great fanfare.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness”

    That is the great thing about loneliness – it is an equal-opportunity phenomenon. You can be straight, gay, male, female, young, old, white, coloured, rich, poor, whatever. Loneliness does not care but will come after everyone that it can. Hey, even pets can get lonely. For loneliness, identity does not come into who it effects but will go after all people equally.

    1. j84ustin

      Many older gay people were banished from their families after coming out, and didn’t procreate, so they have no children either. As a gay millennial I am hyper aware of what old age can look like. I’m fortunate that I have a great family as well as good friends, but we face a particularly difficult time with againg and loneliness.

      1. Frank

        You are fortunate to have a supportive family. Please realize that while being a LGBT minority, can be difficult, it does not damn you to a life of misery. As a gay married man I identify with several of the issues described, yet besides myself, I have known many gays and lesbians who are/have been in relationships from 20 to 50 years and live fulfilling lives. Perhaps I was lucky enough to reside on Long Island and be part of East End Gay Organization in 1980s and 1990s (it’s still in existence). Today I live in a small community in what can be called the bible belt of Florida where both myself and spouse are in leadership positions in several local charities and community organizations.

        1. j84ustin

          and, after reading the article in its entirety, I have shared it with all of my friends.

          I have a good life but I certainly could see myself in many of the anecdotes in the article. Thanks for your perspective.

    2. Jbird

      You’re missing the point of the article. Gay men have a higher incidence of loneliness and suicide, several studies are cited. It’s precisely because of their identity.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Point taken.

        1. We all suffer from that.
        2. One group suffers more, due to their identity.

        It’s still good to point out that we can all be victims of that.

    3. Unna

      So here’s my three cents worth of non expert observation on the issue of gay loneliness and gay minority stress:

      We start out with a society which has as its mytho-poetic basis an anti same sex relationship male single deity that says same sex relationships are evil and participants in them should be killed. Other cultures are not like this. Many indigenous American cultures, for example, make space for these relationships including transgender status and these people are accepted and honoured and are interwoven into the very fabric of these cultures. So these people do not grow up and live alone but are surrounded by other people all the time in reciprocal supportive-dependent social relationships. There are many other cultures around the world which are also like this. I’ve read that homophobia in sub Sahara Africa wasn’t a thing until the christian missionaries came with the effect that they changed the culture. See Samurai homo erotic culture. Homophobia is not even a “Western” thing or a “white” person thing as anyone who has any familiarity with Greco-Roman culture would know. The Greco-Romans in fact “deified” such relationships in that some of their gods and heroes openly engaged in such activities. Eg, the Achilles-Patroclus relationship where Achilles is usually understood to be the younger more beautiful partner in the relationship; which of course didn’t stop him from growing up to become a deadly killer. It’s interesting that Greek legend has it that Achilles as a young adolescent was dressed in girls clothes and hidden away by his mother at a friendly royal court so he could avoid “the draft” into the Trojan War. Historians say that this culture didn’t even have a word for “homosexual”.

      An opening I see for Christianity are the new interpretations by some bible scholars of the story of Jesus and the Roman Centurion (see Wikipedia for a start) and the centurion’s servant or “boy” in a sexual sense with an etymological analysis of the words used in the story indicating that the Centurion was engaged in a same sex relationship with his “pais”. It will be interesting to see where the experts take this.

      I think the article was excellent in describing the issues for young gay men in our society. And also courageous in describing the social negatives in the creation of a “segregated” so to speak gay male culture. On top of this, there’s the social atomizing and isolating economic brutality of neo liberal economics which affects everybody. I have no suggestions as to what to do but I think that its important to understand that homophobia is not normative human cultural behaviour and that another reality is possible.

        1. Susan the other

          Frauchiger and Renner just put Hammeroff, Penrose and Susskind in a box. Each creating their own elaborations because their tools are not sophisticated enough to create consistency? Why is consistency believed to be without contradiction? The ability to make reasonably accurate predictions should be enough. The one consistent thing science learns is that we should never discount the infinitesimal as just some little thing. Contradiction might be the glue that makes it all happen. Or something. Were Neanderthals any less realistic than we are?

      1. knowbuddhau

        And as we are It, we too both are and are not.

        I think a lesson is, observers are involved in observing. We’re not other than what we’re observing. We just think we are.

        You know what this means, right?


    1. rd

      In the case of Schrodinger’s Financier, the prosecutors would find a guilt financier if they opened the box after the financial crisis, so they just re-imagined the problem and left the box closed.

  4. el_tel

    re: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness
    Whilst I emotionally relate to so much here, a couple of comments reinforced a feeling I have that the problem is much deeper and related to the (recently discussed) issues of individualism, loneliness, and the malign effects of neoliberalism on relationships generally. The “gay effects” identified here are “merely” more obvious, manifestations, by being linkable to large-scale policy-changes.

    Even relatively small stressors in this period have an outsized effect—not because they’re directly traumatic, but because we start to expect them.

    Equally true (and acknowledged by psychiatrists I’ve seen) for people of any sexual orientation in this age range….it is contributing to the explosion in certain mental health disorders, particularly certain personality disorders and generalised anxiety disorder.

    gay men are shitty to each other because, basically, we’re men

    Yep….whilst I have seen just how horrid women can be to each other in the workplace – in academia a former female friend once said she preferred men because at least they’ll stab you in the front and not in the back, like women do – the sheer levels of aggression in the hostility among many men is sometimes quite horrific to see. So women might “be as bad but do it passive aggressively”? (I don’t know, I’m just paraphrasing what some female straight women have said to me) – well personally I feel better able to cope with that…maybe the huge new high profile GLAD study will shed some light on the associations between genetic profiles and susceptibility to mental health disorders and people’s reactions to environmental triggers via epigenetics.

    1. Big River Bandido

      While reading that article, one thought struck me: the writer postulates that “social media” has increased alienation among gay men who use it, and then cites a number of men who talk about their long line of texts greeting other users which are never answered. There’s no recognition in the article for the likelihood that more than half of those profiles you see on “social media” are fake. What better way to increase social isolation (along with your company’s numbers) than to inflate your user base with bots and phony profiles?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are we being conditioned to accept companion robots?

        “No more loneliness. Choose the perfect model that suits you, for a monthly due that is only 50% of your Social Security.”

  5. Clive

    Re: Brexit, Salzburg, Referendum, etc.

    While I should really know better and Ignore anything and everything to do with the endless chatter (and that’s all it is, despite the volume of the noise so generated) about a referendum, a point I’d like to bring up is that — from my media observations and spoken as a generalisation after soaking in as much of it as I can tolerate — it, unwittingly perhaps, exhibits precisely the same flaws which led to Remain losing the first referendum.

    Which is: an unspoken-but-prevalent London-centric media bubble that can’t see beyond its own naval-gazing blithely assuming that all that needs to happen is another referendum and, hey-presto, “everyone” would realise their “mistake” and vote “sensibly” for “the right thing”.

    For a start, polling (which isn’t completely trustworthy and tends to under-record the Leave vote) is still showing it as too-close-to-call (within standard polling margin of errors).

    Secondly, even if a second referendum was held, that referendum voted (I’ll skim over the vexed topic of what the question might be and what people would end up voting “for”) in some way or other which created an impetus to revoke A50, this would still (as a result of some Leave shenanigans in Parliament by Leave MPs that means any change to the A50 effective date needs a new Act) need a vote in Parliament. There is nothing whatsoever which says that would be inevitable. At its most basic, unless cats start sleeping with dogs and Labour votes in a Confidence Motion to support the Conservative government, there’s enough Brexit Ultra Conservative MPs (alongside Labour and the SNP, and even probably without the SNP if they abstained) to carry a no-confidence vote in their own government. This means a snap General Election.

    What the resultant Parliament would then look like (UKIP would no doubt end up risen from the crypt, gawd help us, but it is fairly predicable) is anyone’s guess.

    You could quite easily see us — and the EU27 — still sitting here in July or August 2019 still trying to figure out what was going to happen next.

    As has rightly been remarked here before, while on some levels and in some parts of their minds the EU27 would prefer the UK to Remain, they have other matters to attend to. Eventually, everyone just wants shot of the whole distraction. A lot of not-especially-politically-engaged people in the UK have long ago reached this point, a fact that many of us politics-junkies (and most of the second referendum agitators) sometimes forget.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I totally agree with this. Its quite remarkable how little UK public opinion has changed on Brexit over the last few years. Any new referendum would be very tight, complicated by the manner in which so many people have zoned out, sick to death of the discussions, or just thinking ‘lets just get it over and done with’.

      I can’t find a link at the moment, but there was a recent report indicating that stockpiling by companies is actually boosting the British economy for now,covering over the drop in investment. So this, among other factors, means that the early crisis which I think the Remainers were banking on simply won’t appear in time. This time last year I was convinced there would be a strong recession by now in the UK driven by companies and individuals pulling back with expenditure – as with so many of my economics predictions, I’ve obviously been wrong. But that doesn’t mean that all the circumstances are not aligning for a very sharp downturn in the new year as the uncertainty leads to a major drop in spending.

      While its not a good idea to waste too much energy on the day to day chatter coming from the negotiations, the noises from the UK side seems to be that there will be no significant compromise on the backstop, and the EU is simply running out of patience. I don’t see any evidence of the sort of co-ordinated compromises that would be a necessary foreshadowing of a big deal to be announced in November. It seems to me that a lot of the major power players are just as sick of the whole thing as the general public, which leads me to think that there is a growing desire to ‘just get it over and done with’. i.e. just forget any sort of deal. This will, of course, lead to the very worst form of Brexit, a rancorous completely unco-ordinated fall-out.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Clive and PK.

        In my past month in France, Brexit was mentioned three times in the news, totalling no more than 5 minutes. It’s seen as a UK problem, although not without some short-term risks for parts of France / the French economy.

        Despite the BS from Katya Adler on Tuesday’s Today programme, i.e. the German car industry needs the UK market and the EU needs the UK’s defence capability, the latter “grosse crote” was laughed off so quickly by a former French chief of staff and admiral, Edouard Guillaud, last week-end that the interviewer had to hastily move on and think of another question.

      2. Clive

        I’ve read several “spotty” examples of reporting on a pre-Hard Brexit boost, too. The problem I think in trying to ascertain if this is real or imagined is that it’s a) very sector-specific and b) unavoidably niche reporting as a result which lead to the inevitable c) our shockingly, shockingly bad mainstream media here can’t get beyond Janet-and-John-Have-a-Brexit-Picnic level of coverage.

        Drug stockpiling is widely rumoured and would, I suppose, actually be quite sensible such as here (and interestingly, where UK manufacturing is a single-source supply line, this leads to both domestic UK purchases and exporting).

        And certainly one which I can corroborate in my TBTF from the commercial side is the steady stream of consulting shops selling their wares on how to prepare for Brexit (and the harder the Brexit and the more likeliness of it happening, the greater the demand) which is resulting in additional financing for relocation of some logistics functions into the EU27 and a refocussing of other investment (especially freight forwarding where goods will be held pending customs paperwork being processed by the shipper) into UK domestic facilities — this has really picked up. You can’t now, for example, get IATA customs processing trained people for anything other than nosebleed salaries here in the South East. As an aside, why people pay for the UK consulting shops to tell them how to run their businesses I’ll never know, the Republic seems, way, way ahead on that score e.g.

        On the areas of industry outside my loathsome big finance and marginally less loathsome big IT that I follow, there’s also some not-immediately-obvious implications which are boosting purchasing that the mainstream media wouldn’t even begin to understand. One is refrigerants, especially those in phase-down. Anecdotally, a heck of a lot of high GWP products in runoff (where as a result a lot of manufacturing is slowing bigtime or even ceasing) are being replaced (as a result of leakages found in routine servicing or system damage) with illegal counterfeit products supplied via a very leaky (no pun intended) east European black market As these products are easily transportable, virtually undetectable in normal customs or border checks (and these checks wouldn’t happen anyway if coming from a Single Market EU27 country) and a white van stuffed full of a few dozen cylinders of propane+R12/R11+goodness-knows-what-else masquerading as R134a would be worth probably £20-30,000 this would make a perfect target for fraudsters. Well, it was nice while it lasted, but come March 29th and everything gets picked over at a new hard border between the UK and mainland Europe, it might not last much longer. So suddenly everything is going “legit” — higher prices for the genuine article products but an increase in VAT receipts and sales for the non-black market wholesalers and distributors. I struggle to believe this is the only segment that has a large-ish element of, ah-hem, alternate unofficial supply which is subject to such motivational factors to change the underlying business model to something a little less underhand.

        I’ve always viewed the Brexit won’t have really serious short-term impacts, outside a few months maybe of disruption. The real cost and the most inimical and deleterious downsides will be in the medium and the long term. The UK will, for the EU27, simply be viewed as too much of a PITA to deal with. Yes, we can always import butter from New Zealand rather than the Denmark or Republic. But this is in no way as competitive as brining it in from across the channel or from Ireland — and you get collateral damage to the UK through loss of a cost-effective value-add opportunity to take the base product and do higher processing on it to make something else. You end up also taking the value-added product from the country which makes the base product because they have local competitiveness as a result of proximity to the source of supply of the base products. Same with car parts imported from Thailand, bulk chemicals from Mexico, dry grains from the US (etc. etc. etc.) — it becomes cheaper to stop importing the bulkier base products to the UK to perform the value-added process on if you move the process to where the base products are sourced. A subtle argument — hence no real exploration of it in what passes for journalism in the UK — but a pernicious one.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          On the point about Ireland being well ahead in preparedness – I think this is true, and it relates quite simply to Ireland being one of the most open economies in the world, so nearly all businesses bigger than you can fit in a minivan are acutely aware of how vulnerable they are to distruptions in international trade. Irish ag and food companies were particularly quick off the mark as they realised very quickly the damage that could be done. Even the Irish construction industry (which relies heavily on UK product inputs) was very quick to see the implications. As one example I’m aware of, most Irish pre-cast products are made in NI – often from southern Irish concrete. Its a relatively straightforward matter to redesign a concrete structure from pre-cast to in-situ casting, and thats precisely what many are doing right now in order to reduce possible delays in construction.

          As to whether Brexit will be short or medium term, I think the big short term threat is not from trade disruption directly, but the macroeconomic impacts of nearly everyone deciding to keep cash in their pockets rather than spend/invest, simultaneously. That might not be a problem if you had a government and BoE determined to use every monetary and fiscal tool available, but ideologically of course this won’t happen. I think the possibility of a very sharp contraction causing a systemic crisis through the economy via personal and corporate debt failures is very high indeed, although its very hard to predict exactly what would happen.

          1. Richard Kline

            I agree that the possibilities of a systemic financial crisis in Britain in the event of Brexit, let alone a crashout, are very, very high. Pressure on the pound can be expected to be intense, and that alone will have major ripple effects on spending. Many businesses simply can’t survive the kinds of disruptions which ensue. Add in an almost desperate government focus on macroeconomic and supply chain issues to the exclusion of normal economic functioning, and the impact of job and business loss due to corporate withdrawal post-Brexit, and the situation is ugly and risks escaping any containment. Yes, any one or two of these problems might be solvable. All of them at once, in the chaos of economic transformation? Don’t bet your beer money on it. And there will be no economic backstop for ‘go it alone’ Britain—except the IMF.

            This isn’t a recipe for national insolvency, but it is a condition for massive business failure and economic contraction. Consider the economic contractions in Russia post-USSR. The down shift might not be quite at that level in Britain, but then again the UK has a far more complex (and frangible) financial system. We won’t really know where the weak links are in that until they blow out. The BoE may be competent to plan an intervention, but the government certainly won’t be, and firepower of the BoE alone is at least questionable. Britain won’t go broke, but a lot of people are going to lose a lot of money they hadn’t been expecting to be in jeopardy; that is my view.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          and you get collateral damage to the UK through loss of a cost-effective value-add opportunity to take the base product and do higher processing on it to make something else.

          I about choked when I read this. What a beautifully old-fashioned notion. Does anyone in the UK actually do this any more? Don’t you know outsourcing raises productivity? And there is no logic to the idea that domestic manufacturing presents disproportionate opportunities for value-added? I think you might need economics re-education bootcamp.

    2. jsn

      Watching from across the pond where we have our own deeply engrained media biases/narratives befuddling both common sense and any attention to obvious systemic effects, No Deal looks to be baked in at this point.

      That said, the LSE piece on what BOE thinks it can and can’t do, it seems to me, creates a good baseline to start tracking future economic probabilities for the Anglophone world. In this framing, Brexit will be a dry run for the de-dollarization of the world economy that appears to be the only thing the Blob and Barron Harkonnen in the White House completely agree on.

      I don’t have any insights into China, but Trump appears to be a gift for Xi if he really wants to “rebalance” China away from mercantilism and create a real domestic market. Combine that with the absurd weaponization of “the exorbitant privilege” since the Clinton years and a process, dedollarization, that could have been protracted across decades looks likely to advance as rapidly as the non-english speaking world can get its act together.

      1. Richard Kline

        China HAS a real domestic market now, and it is far larger than China’s trade with the US. This is the thing that Trump and his rump of advisors don’t get. China also has extensive non-US trade volumes which are not impacted by tariff diktat from the Oval Oriface where Donnie the Tweet sits.

        Trump’s tariffs will devesate least-cost producers in China—which are exactly the firms which China in a macroeconomic sense needs to creatively destruct. Higer value producers are going to be too necessary to supply chains for US manufacturers/importers to abandon them, so higher costs will be passed on or have already been exempted. As long as China’s financial regulators avoid any banking system cascade from weak suppliers folding, they can weather this over there. And politically, the process strengthens Xi’s hand domestically. This is something imposed on China’s workers, not a fault of the political adepts at the top, so those won’t be blamed.

        China has also needed to de-dollarize, or more accurately down-dollarize, for a long time. As jsn says, this is a golden opportunity to do that, with the pain involved something which can be blamed on the American madman. It’s all about looking strong for the midterms anyway, but the consequences are likely to be longer term and harder to unwind. Damned little of China’s lost lowest cost production will come back to the US, as opposed to Vietnam, Bangladesh, and perhaps India too, not that Trump cares a jot or even a tittle where the jobs go so long as he demagogues up his votes (which won’t be nearly as many as he thinks).

        Stupidity tends to be a slow burn before base matter flash point is reached. Prez Rumpus will keep throwing lit cigarettes in the warehouses of the world until we find out where that point is, if he stays in office that long.

  6. Wukchumni

    Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression. Huffington Post

    Interesting generational rant. Like many boomers, I credit my timing
    in my coming out party during the first year of the last frontier as being instrumental to my success in business. If I was a 26 year old today, i’d be stymied in my then approach to making money, in nearly every juncture.

    Millennials have been served a shit sandwich, sans bread or meat. You can sense the umbrage in this lengthy screed, which doesn’t advance generational understanding one whit, but tries to exacerbate our differences.

    In one of the most infuriating conversations I had for this article, my father breezily informed me that he bought his first house at 29. It was 1973, he had just moved to Seattle and his job as a university professor paid him (adjusted for inflation) around $76,000 a year. The house cost $124,000 — again, in today’s dollars. I am six years older now than my dad was then. I earn less than he did and the median home price in Seattle is around $730,000. My father’s first house cost him 20 months of his salary. My first house will cost more than 10 years of mine.


    The dogged pursuit of used domiciles always struck me as a little weird, in that they’re essentially collectibles, albeit with the added bonus of being able to rent them out to other enthusiasts.

    Most every collectible field is experiencing falls in value as Baby Boomers need to sell, but Millennials could care less about owning ‘stuff’, so who’s gonna pick up the slack?

    The housing bubble doesn’t have a generational leg to stand on, and that $730k home in Seattle looks to overvalued on a Millennial’s salary by 5-1, so in order to bring back some semblance of past values, the used home will be worth around $150k in order to allow younger adults to participate in owning homes.

    When the worm turns, conversations @ parties where everybody talked about how well they’ve done in real estate, will instead be denying you ever took part, as its gonna be ugly.

    1. prx

      I’m a 26 year-old today. Yeah we have. Particularly on housing and our ability to get an education without incurring debt (something I fortunately avoided) or start a business (still working on that).

      FWIW, I don’t think collectibles have really taken a hit yet. It’s harder to get data on the lower end of the market, but fine art and other vanity assets are in a bubble along with everything else following QE, housing included. It’s interesting to think about what happens with housing. I hope you’re right, and the older generations sell into a massive down market, but I think financial giants will be there to stop the drop and make up for it by extracting rent from my generation.

      Blackstone is now the biggest landlord in the country, having acquired millions of single-family and multi-family units. Economic opportunity is increasingly concentrated in cities like Seattle, SF, and NYC where NIMBY policies have prevented new housing from coming online. The increased demand for static supply combined with huge pools of capital waiting to snap up vacant homes and charge a paycheck or more on rent could prevent my generation from ever saving. Taken to its logical extreme, the working class will both rent from and be paid by the property-owning class and the system will only keep extracting wealth from young adults, not adjust property prices so they can accumulate it.

      We’ll see. There could be a radical regime change that redistributes wealth to households or makes tons of housing available (through building or remote work or what have you) or bars concentration of capital. But the current trend doesn’t bode well for us.

      1. Wukchumni

        Worry not, the unthinkable happens all the time and the debt fuse is merely in search of a spark to set it off, completely upsetting the known knowns of the way it’s set up now, to punish the young by never letting them get ahead.

        On a sad note, it’s going to effect me even worse than you in some respects, in that i’m still 6 years away from my 1st SS check, and i’d imagine the funds I put in dutifully won’t be coming back my way, or if so, it’ll mean that a couple grandidos a month will buy me an oil change and a hot dog, if the dollar goes to hell via hyperinflation and/or not being the world’s reserve currency any longer.

        To the outsider that only hears of a $70 million 1963 car setting a record price for a Ferrari, it sounds as if everything is peaky, but only in ‘ego collectibles’ on the high end.

        The medium-upper and all strata below in collectibles are falling apart across all fields. Antique furniture is in freefall, some of it so cheap, it’s almost more reasonable than particle board garbage from Ikea.

        1. Plenue

          The status of the dollar as the global reserve currency, or lack thereof, has no impact on the US government’s ability to pay its domestic obgliations. Also, hyperinflation fearmongering? Puhleez.

          1. Wukchumni

            The USA has hyperinflated twice in it’s history, and there’s around 100 instances of it worldwide in the last century, some going on as I type.

            What makes us immune?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              You are using terms incorrectly. High inflation is not hyperinflation. There are only two examples in the last century, Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe. Some historians now contend that the German government set out to create the hyperinflation as a way to undermine the extremely punitive reparations set forth in the Versailles treaty (see Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace for details).

              See this classic post from Ed Harrison, What are the preconditions for Hyperinflation? A key point is the loss of the ability to tax is central in hyperinflation.

              His concluding section describes how “hyperinflation has very specific preconditions that are not apparent in the U.S.”

              1. Wukchumni

                I would posit we’re in a completely different time and epoch, where the proper term is more akin to Cyberinflation. You’re assuming the old rules of play, and there were oh so many episodes of hyperinflation in disparate lands including China, Greece, Israel, Russia, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Hungary, and the majority of African countries. These historical financial skidmarks are generally available for a few bucks on eBay.

                You need a host, and paper money filled the void for about a century, and every country to the south of us experienced hyperinflation, save Panama-as they were using US $.

                The host is this contraption now, and how it gets manipulated, tweaked or spindled into something that looks an awful lot like good old time hyperinflation, is up to those that know computers, not my bailiwick.

                Judging from the way it worked with banknotes, an episode might last a year or 2 (Weimar) or a punishing 12 years (Mexico 1980’s-90’s) but like everything computers do, the process will be much sped up in the brave new world of debauching.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  Your response is the equivalent of putting finger in your ears and saying “nyah nyah nyah”. You have either not read the Harrison post or are unwilling to engage in a good faith discussion of it. That is a violation of our written Policies.

                  And Harrison wrote his post in 2012, so it’s not a “different time and place” as far as monetary arrangements are concerned.

                  I did studies for McKinsey in Mexico during that time. The inflation level there was 20-40% a year. That is not hyperinflation. In fact, Brazil, which had similar levels of inflation, got to be very good at inflation accounting, which made it vastly better for businesses to understand their true economics, which are hard to evaluate in high inflation and thus deters investment.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    I read Harrison, and sadly it’s a little light when it comes to understanding just how common hyperinflations were in that he only mentions Weimar & Zimbabwe, 2 well known episodes.

                    The preconditions really do vary, and typically war (both U.S. incidents) is involved (the Yugoslavia hyperinflation was something else, it might’ve out-Weimar’d 1923) but not always.

                    I dealt in physical foreign exchange for many years, and was in the thick of it. Countries go bankrupt via hyperinflation all the time, usually small potato 3rd world types, but it’s constant.

                    The Mexican Peso went from 12.5 to the dollar, to well over 10,000 in the space of a dozen years, which really is what the catalyst was for so many Mexicans coming here to work, why toil for a pittance @ home?

                    Seems a bit higher inflation than 20-40% a year.

                    The interesting part for me was watching Mexican merchants forever changing prices on retail items, they were hard pressed to keep up, and think of it on the other end if anything they were selling was imported and had to be purchased with Pesos losing value constantly.

                    It wasn’t classic wham-bam Weimar hyperinflation, but the amount was punishing enough to bankrupt every Mexican that had savings, as in done.

                    Brazil has had a number of hyperinflations, and in desperation they renamed their national currency twice, to perhaps make the citizenry forget?

                    Same thing happened with a host of South American countries when hyperinflation made a mockery of their old school 19th century national currencies late in the 20th century, Peruvian Sols became Intis, Argentine Pesos became Australs and then morphed back into Pesos. There’s a few more I could dredge up from remembering the train wreck that was a surprising amount of currencies.

                    1. Wukchumni


                      To put the Mexican hyperinflation in perspective, lets turn things around and have the same experience happen to us over a dozen years, and the Dollar would be worth 1/800th as much when measured against all other currencies.

                      Let’s say you have $250k in the bank today, FDIC insured and all that, and in 2030, it has the buying power of less than fifty bucks.

                      That’s how ruinous it was for any Mexicans with savings, utterly wiped out, via slow economic torture.

                    2. Wukchumni

                      Do you have a source for the 10,000 Mexican pesos to the dollar assertion?


                      MEXICO CITY — Americans headed to the border this New Year’s weekend are in for a surprise: The money has changed.

                      A new peso–representing the government’s decision to drop three zeros from the currency–debuts today. What was once 1,000 pesos (worth about 33 cents) is now a single peso (still about 33 cents).

                      Dropping the zeros is supposed to be the coup de grace for the hyperinflation of the 1980s that drove the peso’s value from 12 per dollar down to 3,000 per dollar. After a decade-long struggle, Mexico has reduced inflation to about 12% a year from a peak of 159%, and the new peso is to symbolize the nation’s return to a solid currency.


                      It appears memory isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be and I ought to be ashamed and all that, and i’ve given myself 30 lashes with the power cord from my laptop…

                      …but in my defense

                      The new Peso kept on devaluing against the Dollar starting from 3.3 in 1993, now @ 18.91, so in essence it takes 18,910 old Pesos to make a buck.

                      To put things in perspective, the Peso and Dollar were of equal value in 1900.

                      But yeah, I was wrong.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        With collectibles, there is a bit of a cycle. The parasite class is still making money, but with stocks so high, the money has to go somewhere. They are gobbling up dumb stuff that seems cheap.

      3. False Solace

        Things rich people want will maintain value. Things middle class people used to want will fall in value. Good for high end antiques and expensive art, not so much for Aunt Marsha’s china set or dining room table.

    2. Dr. Roberts

      That’s where the Wall Street money comes in… They’ll bail out the big banks so they can sweep in with direct investment to keep the housing bubble inflated.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The bailouts almost didn’t happen in 2008, and the election outcomes were already set in stone in 2008. We talk about the foreclosure victims, but there were people who were saved. The problem is those who were saved are 10 years older and are probably now looking to downsize or cash flow because the incomes don’t match the housing prices. We now live in the world of Trump. 43 did a great deal of the heavy lifting in 2008. We now have 10 years worth of a younger population that has been on the receiving end of an economy for the parasites.

        Promises were made. That distracted people for a time. Promises were broken. This is why HRC is not President. The GOP really has no business winning the White House anymore. For more bailouts, Donald Trump is going to have to get the old gang of Pelosi, Schumer, and McConnell to pass a bailout again. The people with $400 in savings don’t care about stocks or property values, and their number has grown.

    3. UserFriendly

      I wanted to highlight that article because it is far and away the most accurate description of why my life isn’t worth living anymore.

      What is different about us as individuals compared to previous generations is minor. What is different about the world around us is profound. Salaries have stagnated and entire sectors have cratered. At the same time, the cost of every prerequisite of a secure existence—education, housing and health care—has inflated into the stratosphere. From job security to the social safety net, all the structures that insulate us from ruin are eroding

      Eight, 10 people in suits, a circle of folding chairs, a chirpy HR rep with a clipboard. Each applicant telling her, one by one, in front of all the others, why he’s the right candidate for this $11-an-hour job as a bank teller.

      It was 2010, and Scott had just graduated from college with a bachelor’s in economics, a minor in business and $30,000 in student debt. At some of the interviews he was by far the least qualified person in the room. The other applicants described their corporate jobs and listed off graduate degrees. Some looked like they were in their 50s. “One time the HR rep told us she did these three times a week,” Scott says. “And I just knew I was never going to get a job.”

      After six months of applying and interviewing and never hearing back, Scott returned to his high school job at The Old Spaghetti Factory. After that he bounced around—selling suits at a Nordstrom outlet, cleaning carpets, waiting tables—until he learned that city bus drivers earn $22 an hour and get full benefits. He’s been doing that for a year now. It’s the most money he’s ever made. He still lives at home, chipping in a few hundred bucks every month to help his mom pay the rent.

      In theory, Scott could apply for banking jobs again. But his degree is almost eight years old and he has no relevant experience. He sometimes considers getting a master’s, but that would mean walking away from his salary and benefits for two years and taking on another five digits of debt—just to snag an entry-level position, at the age of 30, that would pay less than he makes driving a bus. At his current job, he’ll be able to move out in six months. And pay off his student loans in 20 years.

      There are millions of Scotts in the modern economy. “A lot of workers were just 18 at the wrong time,” says William Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and an assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor in the Obama administration. “Employers didn’t say, ‘Oops, we missed a generation. In 2008 we weren’t hiring graduates, let’s hire all the people we passed over.’ No, they hired the class of 2012.”

      You can even see this in the statistics, a divot from 2008 to 2012 where millions of jobs and billions in earnings should be. In 2007, more than 50 percent of college graduates had a job offer lined up. For the class of 2009, fewer than 20 percent of them did. According to a 2010 study, every 1 percent uptick in the unemployment rate the year you graduate college means a 6 to 8 percent drop in your starting salary—a disadvantage that can linger for decades. The same study found that workers who graduated during the 1981 recession were still making less than their counterparts who graduated 10 years later. “Every recession,” Spriggs says, “creates these cohorts that never recover.”

      By now, those unlucky millennials who graduated at the wrong time have cascaded downward through the economy. Some estimates show that 48 percent of workers with bachelor’s degrees are employed in jobs for which they’re overqualified. A university diploma has practically become a prerequisite for even the lowest-paying positions, just another piece of paper to flash in front of the hiring manager at Quiznos.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        You will, I hope, see Sorry to Bother You.

        *SPOILER: The allegorically named Cassius Green interviews for a low-level job and is discovered to have faked his credentials and experience, but it’s all good cuz lying is an excellent qualification for telemarketing: he gets the job.

        ‘Course it only pays commission, and no bennies.

      2. Annieb

        Re: Why Millennials Face the Scariest Future . . .

        What struck me about some anecdotes about the current job market was that I as a 69 yr old have encountered the same types of experiences repeatedly over my years of employment. For example, the god awful group interviews (a bunch of current employees interviewing the applicant) have been common since the late 70s. I also remember several group interviews in the early 70s when an employer interviewed a bunch of applicants as as screening technique. In addition, companies contracting out employees began in the 90s in my experience, could have been earlier though. It seems that all these awful characteristics of the job market and late stage capitalism, which have been in existence for decades, have now multiplied and come together full force against millennials. No wonder they despair.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      father born in the 30s, mother born in the 40s, I was born in the 80s

      there’s no way either of them would be able to hack it now. they don’t even know what they don’t know

      1. LifelongLib

        My parents (both born in the 1920s) just shake their heads at the hours their kids work and how tough it’s been for their grandkids to get started. “We had the best of America. I’m glad I’m already old.” my mom told me.

    5. Amfortas the Hippie

      That extended rant should be nailed to the foreheads of every elected creature.
      I’m genx but totally sympathize…I saw the larval form of this mess beginning in the late 80s…bankers gone wild, sneaky resume industry, “networking” more important than content of college, and the naked emperor ism all around us that we were all supposed to ignore: stagnant wages, food and rent and tuition inflation and so on…
      Fees and the shredded net.
      Nobody ever asked me if I was ok with killing the new deal…and nobody listened when I said so anyway.
      None of this will end well.
      And may the mob find the culprits quickly

    6. rd

      I am a bit more sanguine. 1968-1982 was no picnic for boomers but the late 80s, 90s, and 2010s largely made up for that. The ones who put away financial stores during those periods are doing ok now.

      Pretty soon, the boomers will have largely moved out of the work force and the generational divot between boomers and millenials will be in their 50s. I think that period will be like the 80s and 90s once the lead millenials are in their 40s.

  7. norm de plume

    The summary of the bloodletting in Oz politics was a good overview, but omits one freight-laden word: Murdoch.

    And there might be a third PM who could plausibly cite The Digger as a key member of the firing squad.

    This must be seen in the context of the extreme concentration of ownership of Australian major media, with newspapers dominated by News Corp at 70% plus, then Fairfax, which in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age provided a counterweight to News since Murdoch’s ascent in the early 70s. Fairfax has just been purchased by Channel 9, now owned by private equity.

    But so long as the ABC still lives, or rather limps along under constant siege, none of the above matters as much as it would in countries without such a trusted public broadcasting institution, with a long history of holding official feet to the fire – the banking Royal Commission being just the latest example. Its approval ratings would dwarf those of any politician in memory, because of that trust.

    Which is why there are no prizes for guessing the identity of the ringleader of a sizeable rump of right wing hatred for our Aunty.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Companies Need to Get Tough on China”

    I don’t see what the problem is. Nobody’s putting a gun to US company’s heads and saying you have to go to China. Remember too, when it’s the other kid’s bat & ball, they get to set the rules. Reading between the lines, it seems that the main complaint of US companies is that they want China to make its businesses to run by the same rules as they have in the US. That way, they can do to China what they have been doing to America for the past forty years.
    Trump also wants the Chinese to haul back on their research & development so that the US can keep a competitive edge. For some reason, China does not think that all this is a good idea. A long time ago China was forced at gunpoint to let the west set the rules in China and that did not work out so well for China. They may compromise but they will not surrender. Not this time.

    1. Alex morfesis

      China didn’t surrender back then…it never “surrendered”… American gunboats on Chinese rivers 100 years ago…to a country with the unmitigated gall to have a continuous history of thousands of years…a century was only yesterday.

      We live in a hilarious world…where only yesterday corporate interests were demanding something be done with those baby boomer slackers getting high in hateAshberry and walking around with that little red book from Mao…and today…IPO of pot company on NYSE and wall Street Demanding we find a way to work with China…

      Almost as bad as no one in the legacy media describing Browders’ grandpa…you know…the one who led the Communist party in the USA and was the fodder for one Roy Cohn and Joseph McCarthy…

      And now that same steepdate is crowing we need to protect that same Browder family from the bad bad Russians…

      Maybe I am just a butterfly with a vivid imagination and this is all an illusion…


      1. Wukchumni

        Watched a great film from 1966, The Sand Pebbles-with Steve McQueen a few months back, and it’s set in the mid 20’s on a US Navy gunboat plying Chinese rivers, and the majority of the sailors & crew do nothing on board, as they have Chinese to cater to their every whim and needed job on the ship, and a revolution comes along and all of the coolies split, leaving the Americans in charge of taking care of the vessel, which becomes a real mess now that the ones that took care of everything were gone…

        An interesting corollary for the American-Chinese relationship presently~

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks for that link, which includes this:

            On 30 July 1949 Amethyst slipped her chain and headed downriver in the dark, beginning a 104-mile (167 km) dash for freedom running the gauntlet of guns on both banks of the river. She followed the passenger ship Kiang Ling Liberation in the hope that the observers ashore would be confused and not see Amethyst in the dark. When the battery opened fire, the fire was directed at the Kiang Lin Liberation which was sunk by the gun fire, with heavy civilian casualties.

            It’s like, similar or it reminds of the recent incident involving a Russian plane what got shot down in Syria…a bigger radar cross-section…

            Were they Chinese civilians or Western?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The one outstanding feature of that movie is the cultural hegemonists who went to make Chinese more ‘cultured.’

          It’s still the same today with Western tourists and travelers in China (or other countries).

          “You allow polygamy, concubines or veils here?”

    2. cnchal

      The clue to what the trade war is actually about is right at the top.

      In a new charm offensive, Chinese leaders hastily convened a group of high-powered Wall Street executives in Beijing on Sunday and Monday for talks with top officials. The meetings were part of a larger shift in tactics, whereby Chinese policymakers have sought to reassure foreign businesses that their investments in the country are welcome and safe. With the economy slowing, Chinese leaders understandably want to make sure foreign capital keeps flowing. Presumably, the bankers who rushed to Beijing this week used the opportunity to press for wider access to China’s large but still tightly controlled financial sector.

      As always, the Wall Street criminals don’t give a rats ass about the peasants, whether they be dying of overdoses or choking on dirty air. To end the trade war, all that the Chinese need to do is accept the Wall Street banksters continuing their crime spree in China.

      Note who wasn’t called to attend the charm offensive. American companies actually getting stuff made by Chinese slaves. It was banksters invite only. Charming, no?

    3. John k

      China received exceptions to WTO rules when it joined based being a developing economy that needed to protect its manufacturers from competition. Some think that time is long past.

  9. ChiGal in Carolina

    Unfortunately the link above re race vs class in the 2016 election is from a year and a half ago. I was so annoyed just yesterday to see the below at the Intercept, touting new studies and drawing conclusions diametrically opposed to the article above.

    The studies don’t seem to me to carry the weight being put on them and the author is sooo dismissive in tone.

    I know the Intercept posts opposing viewpoints, but it’s discouraging this kind of stuff continues to be published.

    1. pretzelattack

      i think that’s like the intercept viewpoint at this stage, you seem to get more posts like this, and russiarussiarussia articles from risen and mackey, than greenwald articles.

      1. johnnygl

        To state that trump’s wing of the GOP is racist is fairly uncontroversial.

        To state that that’s the specific reason that they win is a very different one. I know plenty of conservatives, many are real die hards. Most are huge fans of the race baiting and support hin in SPITE of it, not because of it.

        Trump’s appeal during the campaign was rooted in a break with GOP consensus on trade and immigration. If he gets re-elected, it will be because he hit the fiscal accelerator (in the worst way) and made the job market pick up a bit of steam. HRC wouldn’t have hit the gas.

        Those are the substantive differences right now.

      2. pretzelattack

        are people denying it? at least on the left, or “left”, i’ve only seen people denying that economic insecurity played a role at all, not denying that racism played a role.

        1. bronco

          The left should stop patting themselves on the back over supposedly not being racist, the ridiculous PC culture they wallow in is basically the same thing , just not based on skin color.

    2. fresno dan

      ChiGal in Carolina
      September 20, 2018 at 8:47 am

      First, if race is such a determinant, how is it that Obama got elected twice to begin with?
      SECOND, any honest, dispassionate analysis would show that our duopoly had not only a THIRD term of Bush’s policies with Obama, but a FOURTH as well!
      Near 50 years of BOTH parties sticking it to anyone not in the top 10%. Adamant, obstinate refusal of the media to question neoliberal orthodoxy. But of course – the monopoly media is run and owned by the rich
      Bringing up class oppression in “classless” America is politically incorrect and is VERBOTEN!!!

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Thank you Fresno Dan

        The Democratic party loves to stomp the poor while pretending to want to help them (though it only ever ends up being “fighting for” them, never winning anything) and then call them racists when they don’t vote for decades of failure.

        It’s almost like they should just try to FIX THEIR PROBLEMS

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Didn’t “Moderate suburban Republicans” use to be called “white flight?” I know the Clintons love them, but its interesting despite high approval from “white flight” (moderate suburban) Republicans they never seemed to vote for “our first black President.” Obama’s margins in states that mattered tended to be in urban areas with higher minority populations.

        The Democratic voter decline was based on economics, but the white flight Republicans moved to the suburbs (not rural America; where the “deplorables” live) because they wanted a new set of neighbors. The inability to pick up Republican votes was because “White Flight” Republicans don’t like a multicultural society. They don’t wear bed sheets anymore, but they still are the same people.

        The problem we have is reconciling the Democratic voting population with the Democratic elite. After all, Bill Clinton told Ted Kennedy (notice the surnames; I would bet the Irish Catholic guy having a protestant with an english name bringing that up) that Barack Obama was the kind of guy who use to serve them drinks. Biden said Obama was the first clean african american candidate.

        Wealthy Republicans despite being coveted by the Clintons continued to vote Republican because they don’t want anything to do with minorities. The elites pretend they weren’t the sort who had grandfathers who dressed up as ghosts, but they still are those people. They’ll be taken care of by a Clinton or a Republican, so why not give into their druthers. Bill and Hill just want to join them.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          We (not me or probably you) pretend racism is endemic to poor whites (the deplorables), but its always been alive and well at the country clubs. After all, who was sponsoring race science? They didn’t become woke because MLK had a dream. They know not to say certain words anymore, so they speak in code because genuine people power changed that.

          1. JBird

            Oh, yes. This is berserk button for me. All those proper people explaining how it is the Deplorables and other Bad People’s fault for everything including racism. In fairness, our society does a wonderful job of erasing from memory anything that doesn’t fit the approved current narrative. Most people realize that the KKK was extremely powerful outside the South in the first three decades of the Twentieth century or that the Northwest was a white supremicist enclave with Oregon banning all blacks into the early twentieth century.

            So the sponsors of race “science” or more broadly eugenics are names that would be recognized today. If you look at PBS or NPR sponsorship list, you will be seeing many, maybe the majority, of the large establish ones. To that, add some Ivy League schools, and individual support from the 1% of the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries.

            Let’s note that although the greater focus was on nonwhites, what was considered white generally did not include Southern, sometimes Eastern Europeans, especially Italians and Sicilians, and the Irish until roughly the mid twentieth century. The poor, the mentally ill, convicts, and sometimes the physically disabled, especially the deaf, were all considered and studied as genetically inferior, or suspect, and certainly as “other.”

            In the United States, all of above were subjected to sterilization with blacks, poor whites, and institutionalized given extra attention for it, and often never told that they had been sterilized. Get a root canal or some other surgery and get snipped as a bonus. This also happened at county/community hospitals and clinics. There were even cases of the police just grabbing poor whites and taking them in for an “exam.”

            And before anyone starts with “it happened long ago” bull****, the last state programs officially ended in the 1970s (hello California!) and unofficially I know that the California prison system had something going for women into roughly 2000 although it truly was not officially sanctioned, nor funded.

            Also, the earliest race studies started in Great Britain, flourished in the United States with both giving strong academic support in the 1920s, including money, to the Germans. So if you ever wondered how the Nazis first got their ideas from, now you know. The growing impetus in the West for race science, or especially eugenics, died around 1945 for some reason. Probably soon after one of my relatives in the American army wondered into one of the “work” camps in Czechoslovakia.

        2. bronco

          Did Bill Clinton molest any women of color? Being a serial offender , the law of averages would indicate a black, hispanic , or asian victim should be in there somewhere.

          Unless maybe he is racist?

        3. flora

          The problem we have is reconciling the Democratic voting population with the Democratic elite.

          I think that’s largely true. You had a great comment about the 1960’s WWII generation enlarging the groups perceived (by themselves and others) as belonging to the ‘responsible for the country’ set of citizens. I think the aspiration of the country has long been one of melting-pot and “e pluribus unum”, and it was more fully realized following 1960.

          Since the Clintons’ takeover of the Dem party, however, we’ve gotten “identity politics” which is a sort of “e pluribus pluribus”.

          Which I think is a distraction from the bottom half of the economy losing substancial ground while the top 1% rakes it in. And the Dem estab ignores the material conditions of its voters in the lower half of the economy while lecturing us on the bad morals of the other party.

        4. flora

          The problem we have is reconciling the Democratic voting population with the Democratic elite.

          I think that’s largely true. You had a great comment about the 1960’s WWII generation enlarging the groups perceived (by themselves and others) as belonging to the ‘responsible for the country’ set of citizens. I think the aspiration of the country has long been one of melting-pot and “e pluribus unum”, and it was more fully realized following 1960.

          Since the Clintons’ takeover of the Dem party, however, we’ve gotten “identity politics” which is a sort of “e pluribus pluribus”.

          Which I think is a distraction from the bottom half of the economy losing substancial ground while the top 1% rakes it in. And the Dem estab ignores the material conditions of its voters in the lower half of the economy while lecturing us on the bad morals of the other party. The people who are going to vote GOP no matter what for whatever reason haven’t increased, I don’t think. The question is why people who voted Dem in recent past elections stopped voting Dem. Maybe it’s because they don’t think they’ve been getting their vote’s worth.

        5. fresno dan

          September 20, 2018 at 11:46 am

          Bubba in Appalachia with a confederate flag on his pick-up has less to do with black and/or poor oppression than Jaime on Wall street…but somehow, people who oppress the poor/middle class are somehow given kudos for not being racists….instead of being despised for keeping the poor down.

      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        Yup, O is the exception that proves the rule, not Black culturally in the sense of being a descendant of slaves. He was half Anglo and half African. It’s a completely different kettle of fish

      4. Lambert Strether

        > First, if race is such a determinant, how is it that Obama got elected twice to begin with?

        Further, as I show here, the counties that gave the election to Trump flipped from Obama to Trump. Of course, voting for Obama is a pretty coarse indicator for the absence of racism, since racism is systemic, but it’s certainly prima facie evidence the voter isn’t a white supremacist, for example.

    3. Robert Valiant

      I saw that article too, and had a similar reaction. Weren’t all the respondents in the studies cited by the author confined to Clinton and Trump voters? Seems to me, the something more than 40% of all eligible voters who didn’t vote for either T or C had their reasons; I know I did.

      I wonder if the polemic tone of the article was intentional. I don’t like being manipulated that way.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Same on my vote. Yeah, it was obnoxious. I think I will never listen to his podcast, though I love Jeremy Scahill’s.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Philippa Hetherington · Short Cuts: Canberra’s Coups”

    I think that I can see Philippa Hetherington’s mistake. She ‘still calls Canberra home’ but she seems to be under the impression that it is a part of Australia. Quite understandable that mistake. Happens all the time. Sort of like saying that they will know all about what Americans are like by going to Washington DC or getting a handle on what the British are like by going to London. How about I try to correct a few other mistaken statements in that article. Other Aussies may disagree with all this of course.
    Section 44 of the constitution does say that you cannot be a dual citizen if running for Parliament. So what. You are not excluded – you just have to commit to this country and give up the citizenship of other countries. Is that such a big ask? The US has dual Israeli-American citizens serving at the highest levels of the government. Can you put your hand on your heart and say who they really work for? No, I don’t think so.
    The biggest dissatisfaction here is that when this became an issue two years ago, one quick clean-out would have put this issue to bed but instead the political establishment has refused to do so with the result that there has been explosion after explosion as Parliamentarians have been revealed to be dual citizens. That Peter Dutton that tried to get the top job? Turns out his status is in some dispute along with charges of corruption from his past acts.
    Is voting compulsory? Damn right it is. That means that you have skin in the game when you vote. I am not sure of the maths but I believe that in the US, which has a population of 335 million, the results of a Presidential election can come down to the votes of a few hundred thousand people that were not excluded and did turn up to vote. What if everybody had to vote.
    ‘Governmental terms last only three years. We like it that way as when you have a bad leader like a Tony Abbott, that limits the amount of damage that they can do in that time. The politicians keep asking in referendums for longer terms but keep on getting rejected. Can Prime Ministers be dumped between elections? Again true as has been seen time and again (imagine if the US had this possibility for its Presidents. I’m looking at you Donald.).
    This has been abused over the past few years but it is a truism that parties that do this get heavily punished at the polls when they do so as the present government will be reminded of in the next several months. It is also a truism in Australian politics that political parties that can’t get their act together get hammered at the next election. One Prime Minister came out and said that if you can’t govern yourselves, you can’t govern the country.
    ‘Finally, I liked the bit where she mentioned that the “British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn are nervous of a similar split between the parliamentary party and the members”. As in average voters finally had a chance to put the boot into neocon Blairites who ran rough-shod over the wishes of the people. I believe that the technical term for this development is ‘democratic’.

    1. Wukchumni

      I read recently that for the first time in forever, that there are more Aussies immigrating to NZ than vice versa.

      The Lucky Country filling in for us, and Canada for the Kiwis, in political parlance, essentially.

      When donkey show backers here lose the Presidency to the pachyderm party, they often threaten to go to Canada (but never do) whereas when the latter loses, they rally round the flag a wee bit more, and do home improvement projects.

    2. Carey

      That voters around the world chose (should that be “chose”?)
      Dubya, Harper, Abbott, and Sarkozy around the same time
      has long been a curiousity to me. Mmm.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I suspect a bit of coordination on this one and no, this is not a conspiracy theory. There are annual (?) conferences held by conservatives around the world to swap note and coordinate actions. This means Republicans from the US, Conservatives from the UK, Coalition from Australia, etc. You wonder what gets said at these conferences. I too noted this wave of conservative leaders from around the same time and thought it noteworthy.

      1. JBird4049

        How lovely.

        Too many want to blame others for their lack of responsibility although being a (child) rapist is one Hell of a very active lack of responsibility. I do wonder how liberalism is the supposed cause of their actions. A mind controlling cabal?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      How could Donald Trump have nominated Mark Judge to be a supreme court justice?

      Oh wait. He didn’t. Let’s trash him anywayzzzzz. He was friends with the guy who WAS nominated.

      1. prx

        I understand it might be politically uncomfortable for you to read that, but do you really think it’s irrelevant to the K hearings?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I do.

          It just adds more mud to waters that are muddy enough already, and it has absolutely nothing to do with getting to the “truth” of the matter at hand, something that is supposed to be the point of this entire hysterical exercise.

          He’s not going to corroborate her story. No amount of twitter shaming is going to change that.

          1. prx

            I guess I don’t understand the mud metaphor. Seems like a pertinent fact, not noise.

            I don’t think the goal is to twitter-shame him, but rather to discredit him and expose him as a DC-prep-school-republican-ghoul

          2. rd

            I disagree. Judge has said he can’t remember. Kavanaugh says it never happened. If the culture was as booze-soaked as reported, then Judge’s comment may be more accurate than Kavanaugh’s. If they were as drunk as the accuser says, then not remembering the next day would be a common symptom.

            BTW – FoxNews has an interesting opinion piece. The most interesting part of this one is that it is published on FoxNews. The editor must have been asleep or felt he needed at least a minor counter-weight to Sean Hannity.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              What Judge said isn’t precisely the same as what you said he. It is not that he can’t remember but does not remember anything like what Ford alleged:

              “I have no memory of this alleged incident,” Judge states in the letter sent by his lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder.

              “Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”


        2. Lambert Strether

          I think golfers should be barred from high office. Others think the same about assh*les. It’s not clear to me how any of all this can translates operationally. It’s also not clear to me why liberal Democrats feel they have any standing whatever to speak on issues of morality, on any topic whatever. Gina Haspel, a torturer — although, to be fair, a woman, so she had to torture twice as hard as any man — is head of the CIA, and liberal Democrats played a key role in enabling that (Obama: “We tortured some folks.”) So given torture’s OK, what’s so very wrong with putting an assh*le, or somebody assh*le-adjacent, on the Supreme Court?

          I understand why it might be politically uncomfortable for you to imagine that the Kavanaugh fight is a bad faith effort by Democrats to appeal to suburban women in the midterms, but do you really think the completely tactical and principle-free nature of the “fight” isn’t glaringly obvious?

          1. prx

            I can disagree with Haspel’s appointment and also think that K shouldn’t get a lifetime appointment to be a Supreme, where he will join with another illegitimate judge and another sexual harasser to hinder women’s rights, confer more personhood on corporations, and entrench Presidential power. Who said torture is OK?

            Politics is a tactical game. The end doesn’t justify the means, but exposing someone who is an asshole as an asshole isn’t objectionable means.

          2. Annieb

            Thank you for the intelligent analysis, Lambert. I agree totally. I think it’s difficult for those who are engulfed in political partisanship to take a step back and view this controversy objectively. Parisans with short term thinking are hoping to use the unproven accusations to undo Kavanaugh but they fail to see that the same techniques can exponentially be used to slander their own candidates. And, furthermore, if slander is accepted as an effective political technique, it will further ruin the civility of our political discourse. I know, what “civility?”

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      AMDG mfs!!!!

      FWIW at the Jesuit i went to in New Orleans (97-02) the Priests taught me Latin n Greek while the wrestling/football coaches beat the students who in turn took it out on me.

      I dont say this often but i have mad respect for the Jesuits for teaching us to have an open mind.

    1. Edward E

      Exposure to the son prevents burning…

      In the Ozarks, if you are dressing up it means that you have to put on some damn clothes

      Spotless sun is a hottie with coronal holes and more wind
      Normally I’d try to use that to debate global warming but this is such a tough crowd

  11. a different chris

    >Brett Kavanaugh: Sexual assault accuser ‘needs more time’ BBC.

    This is why I hate the BBC formatting – first those single quotes around everything everywhere is a visual distraction not adding anything to my understanding. Now this…. I really thought that Kavanaugh himself had a moment of reasonableness. WTF (in this case, the W stands for “who”) thought this was a good way to title the story?

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thanks for actually giving a short summary of the YouTube.

      That said, please don’t whinge about commenting. Not only is it against site policy, it encourages whinging in others, so moderators have to rip out a thread.

  12. fresno dan

    President Donald Trump said the decision to launch attacks on the Middle East was the “worst single” error in U.S. history.
    “And by the way the worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country — going into the Middle East, by President Bush. Obama may have gotten ’em out wrong, but going in is to me the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country,” Trump said.

    “We spent $7 trillion dollars in the Middle East,” he continued. “Now if you wanna fix a window some place they say, “oh gee, let’s not do it. Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ’cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives.
    I despise Trump. But I read that and I remember why people voted for him. And I wonder about how dems and the media now are rehabilitating Bush/Obama (B/O and really, they are the same) and all the B/O “slam dunk” and “enhanced interrogation CIA guys.

    I’m thinking World War 1 was the worst mistake, and some could argue bailing out the banks have immiserated tens of millions or the “Patriot Act” (i.e., the NON Patriot Act) that pretty much put a nail in the Constitution of the United States (OH yeah, the Patriot Act that shows that our duopoly doesn’t really offer any alternatives and our media that thinks the CIA is full of noble people).

    The media goes on and on and on about how no repub will oppose Trump. How many repubs really tell it like it is with regard to Bush….and why don’t dems tell it like it is with Obama…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I will go with a ‘Trump is right on this’ here.

      And I will add that often, to retreat or to extract oneself, one has to continue fighting for a while…though, I think there could be some instant, non-violent ways of exiting that I don’t recall immediately just now.

      1. Schrödinger's Baudrillard

        Trump “being right” is somewhat like a stopped clock being right twice a day, but even more like a clock whose hands randomly move forward and back, so it might be “right” 100 times a day but also “wrong” 700 times a day; but perhaps (nudge from Nietzsche) Beyond Right and Wrong, or more probably NOT EVEN right or wrong.

        1. John k

          War, or not war, is arguably more important than many other issues. Trump wanted better relations with Russia and out of Syria but torpedoed by msm and cia, did get a dialog going with NK that seems to be paying off… while dems can only talk about how Russia kept Hillary out of office and therefore we should confront them everywhere.
          Plus he’s continuing to battle globalism, of great interest to many states he won. Easy for me to understand why his voters stand by him.
          Still waiting for dems to offer any real material benefits for workers.

        2. Ford Prefect

          Actually, it is more like the infamous millions of monkeys randomly hitting typewriter keys and reproducing Shakespeare. At some point in time, Trump’s tweets and pronouncement would randomly come up with a rational thought.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Public urged to let Bert and Ernie come out in their own time”

    Really don’t like where this is all headed with all this assumed baggage. Having two guys living together seems to be cause of suspicion if they are gay or not. This is sort of like how you are supposed to find friends in your own generation and having friends from older or younger generations can be cause for comment. And Bert and Ernie? Well, sometimes a Muppet is just a Muppet.

    1. Wukchumni

      You almost always see 2 young Mormon men when on a mission from God, is there anything to be worried about in this pairing?

      1. Quentin

        Two Mormon guys in their white magic underwear are a big draw! on gay porno sites, often led on by a priest. So maybe there’s something to it after all.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Hahahaha sooooo not interested in that!

          Mormon Group OTOH._.._

          I like how we talk about porn so matter of factly. Like im sure NC browsing habits are off the Chizzain because we arent so fn repressed.

    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      September 20, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Having two guys living together seems to be cause of suspicion if they are gay or not.

      Look at the clothes they are wearing! And that CARMAN MIRANDA hat! I don’t think its being roommates…

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What about men’s wrestling?

      Is that suspect too, involving lots of touching, holding, and various, well, let”s be frank, unnatural positions?

  14. Julia Versau

    RE “With Supreme Court Decision on Dark Money “We’re About to Know a Lot More About Who Is Funding Our Elections” [FAIR] … I see this:

    “Effective immediately, any group or individual making more than $250 in express advocacy ads — ads that tell viewers who to vote for or against — must now disclose the identities of all contributors who gave more than $200 in a year.”

    I now anticipate conservative groups and uber-rich donors will be setting up a gazillion “organizations” (how many times can you use Freedom, Eagle, Liberty, etc. in names? A lot.) so that they can distribute their filthy millions drip, drip, drip … $200 at a time.

    There is always a way to get around the letter of the law if you disdain the spirit of the law.

    1. Jean

      What kind of ad can you buy for less than $250? 3 A.M. on an infomercial channel?
      Does this apply to ballot issues, like California propositions, or just candidates?

    2. Pat

      I don’t see the media dropping their ad rates enough to really make that worthwhile. If each iteration can only buy two or three ads at most, is it really cost effective to do this? Admittedly if they can gather together 2000 or 3000 friends and family who are willing to back each new entity under the circumstances where each one will need a different staff and individual bills for both accountants and legal advisors you may be right but it is still going to take a butt load of folks doling out $200 every which way.

      And ultimately, because you know it will be a shared space thing, if someone has the will to stop it they will be able to shut them down because it will be easy to prove these are clearly an attempt to avoid complying with the law. Not that I expect any one to find that will.

    3. DonCoyote

      I often revisit this clip from Jon Stewart’s final Daily Show:

      But then there’s the more pernicious bulls**t. Your premeditated, institutional bulls**t, designed to obscure and distract. Designed by whom? The bulls**tocracy.

      It comes in three basic flavors. One: making bad things sound like good things. Organic, all-natural cupcakes. Because factory-made sugar-oatmeal balls doesn’t sell. Patriot Act. Because “Are you scared enough to let me look at *all* your phone records” doesn’t sell. So whenever somethings been titled “Freedom Family Fairness Health America”, take a good long sniff. Chances are it’s been manufactured in a facility that may contain traces of bulls**t.

  15. Livius Drusus

    Re: Why Millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.

    Millennials have it really bad but the process of disintegration started decades ago. De-industrialization started in the 1970s (contrary to the article plenty of Boomers definitely noticed these changes) and really went into overdrive in 2000. Since 2000 we have lost 5 million manufacturing jobs. I suspect that this is why it is middle-aged whites without college degrees who have been the ones to suffer the most from deaths of despair like drug overdoses and suicides. They may have started out better than the Millennials but they had their livelihoods destroyed mid-career. These were the people who were told to “learn to code” even though age discrimination is rampant so that even if you managed to retrain in computer science or some other hot field your chances of getting hired were fairly low. Why hire a 45-year old with all kinds of “baggage” and demands when there is a huge bumper crop of newly minted 20-soomethings to hire?

    But in any event, generational analysis completely obscures class differences.To counter anecdotes about 30-year old Millennials still working entry-level jobs and living at home with massive student loan debt over their heads I can name some Millennials I know who came from affluent families that paid for their education, from elite private high schools all the way to medical school and law school, and were also able to pay for expensive private tutors and test prep courses. These Millennials I know are doing great. Of course there are significantly more Millennials in the “screwed” category than the “doing great” category but elites are almost always small in number.

    1. anon

      I really should clarify my above comment by noting that I believe that the vast increase in people attempting slow and fast suicides has everything to do with not being able to economically afford to live without profound suffering — whether it be mostly physical suffering, or, mostly psychological suffering, both of which always entail the other, to my decades long witnessing — when one is not amoral and cruel to others.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Please do not theorize about our moderation. I am sorry for your personal distress and I am sure other readers are too, but many comments go into moderation and some of our filters are designed to capture complaints about it, so complaining actually makes matters worse.

        In addition, all of your comments are going into moderation because you are using a fake e-mail address. When you use a real one, it goes into moderation only the first time.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Any reason to think this YouTube link is credible? I don’t have time to click through, and I don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, or make a transcript to add value to the comments section by making it a discussable topic.

  16. fresno dan

    High School Classmate Who Remembers ‘Incident’ With Kavanaugh and Ford Says She’s Overwhelmed by Media Requests Alternet
    A former classmate of Christine Blasey Ford tells NPR that she does not know if an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took place as she first suggested on social media.
    “That it happened or not, I have no idea,” Cristina King Miranda told NPR’s Nina Totenberg. “I can’t say that it did or didn’t.”
    Being too in the moment is a danger of our present electronic instantaneous world, which on both sides makes everything a matter of morals and right and wrong instead of sober reflection. Being dispassionate and just the facts is Boring!
    I am quite passionate about police shootings, and I know I have said things and made assertions that later were not in accord with the facts but I was emotionally overwrought.
    So, the fact that Miranda said things really has no bearing on Ford. But it should give pause to those who would say “I believe the woman” – maybe belief should be based on facts and dispassionate analysis instead of someone being a woman
    I would never say I believe the religious, white, middle aged republican man based on him simply being a religious, white, middle aged republican man or any ONE of those attributes – I mean, that sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?

    AND I can understand repubs being worried that could actually lose the senate – its not unpossible. But say there was an FBI investigation (based on what the accuser said about no one being aware of the incident, I find it hard to believe the FBI could find anything noteworthy – but who knows what can be found if they dig around) – if I was Kavanaugh and sure of my innocence, I would want the investigation. If repubs lose the senate, and the FBI finds nothing on Kavanaugh, how could most dems honestly vote against Kavanaugh???….unless some truthiness plague infected dems and they said they are never going to vote for someone who is anti abortion (oops! pro life) And maybe the repubs would say they are never going to vote for someone pro abortion (oops! there I go again – pro choice….euphemisms, making life so much better)

  17. Jean

    Cashierless stores.
    I would consider patronizing these if they offer steep discounts of say 33 to 50% on prices for the same items sold in brick and mortar stores reflecting the savings they make.

    Checked into a hotel recently and the desk clerk pivoted a keyboard and monitor around to face me and asked me to type in my personal details, car model etc.

    “I will glad to that if you give me an additional ten percent off my room…otherwise you do it, that’s what I’m paying for. How about that discount?

    She typed it in. People should adamantly refuse to do the jobs that employees do–unless there is a nice discount.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In too many (for comfort? for laziness?) cases, when some database is hacked or with a software problem, the customers (you and me) are asked to do the repair or damage-control job ourselves (without getting paid).

      As for typing in the information, the least they can do is to clean the keyboard first. Not getting any discount is bad enough, but to catch some contagious disease…

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I would boycott such a store no matter what the discount. People should not help put other people put yet other people out of work.

    3. cnchal

      Why would you ever consider having every calorie you ingest or item you buy be recorded into a database to be used against you in the future?

      If they don’t take cash, I don’t buy.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump’s latest tariffs are about to hit you where it really hurts Business Insider


    1. It’s easy to be gung-ho when others are doing the suffering
    2. Life is about cost-benefit analysis.

    So, it’s ‘on one hand,’ and also ‘on the other hand.’

    Just writing about hits doesn’t inform readers about the rest of the whole picture. Are there long term goals or longstanding issues here?

    1. GF

      IIRC Trump wants interest rates to stay low for the sake of the financial “industry”. Applying tariffs to consumer goods will increase inflation thus allowing cover for the FED to lower interest rates. Trump and his cronies could care less if the 99% will have to pay more for their goodies. He is focused on the banksters and their interests.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Humans Simply ‘Hardwired’ For Laziness, Study Says Study Finds.

    I hereby apologize to my former cats, sorry, lords of the house, whom I had wrongly accused of infecting me with their laziness sickness.

    The truth is that I am hardwired to be that way.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Women don’t just face a gender pay gap. They also suffer from a stock options gap. Washington Post (Kevin W)


    Let’s not forget the 99.9% suffering from that stock options gap as well.

    Not a few of them work in patented cages inside warehouses bigger than football fields.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mainstream media gangs up on Sanders over ‘Stop BEZOS’ bill RT (Kevin W)


    It would be productive for Trump to come to Sanders’ defense here, just as it would be when, for example, they print fake news about Trump or when Bannon talks about breaking up monopolistic corporations.

    To me, that would be ‘tactical maneuvering,’ more so than say endorsing Cuom or Hillary.

    1. UserFriendly

      On the subject of AOC endorsing Cuomo which I didn’t read until too late to comment…..
      (not direct at MLTPB specifically, this is a general response to this whole set of comments.)

      It is beyond frustrating to me that people are now demanding counterproductive, ineffective virtue signaling from politicians. I find it perplexing that so many of you are capable of shredding bad arguments all the time but don’t understand this.

      Did AOC endorsing Cuomo, (who will get elected either way) after the primary mean that she agree’s with him on anything substantial? Did she change her mind on a JG? Maybe now she doesn’t support Medicare for All? Outside of temper tantrums from people who demand purity in everything she says tell me just one concession that endorsement cost her.

      Or did AOC endorsing Cuomo at least offer a fig leaf to the two-bit mob boss who runs New York, and has it entirely within his power to throw up enumerable road blocks for anything that she might want to accomplish in NY for her constituents? Is there about a million other ways Cuomo could make her life in congress harder and stifle goals she has for her constituents?

      You need to get over your preference for moral victories at the expense of actual gains.

      1. witters

        “You need to get over your preference for moral victories at the expense of actual gains.”

        And get into 11 dimensional chess!

        1. UserFriendly

          I am far from calling her a hero, I am annoyed as hell at the way she fumbles MMT concepts. She does not have to face a competitive election for the foreseeable future, making her the ideal spokesperson for it. I have absolutely no problem criticizing her when she messes up. I will absolutely fault her for making mistakes that have actual consequences. I will not fault her for making a meaningless endorsement after the primary because it is important to at least not antagonize someone as petty and vindictive as cuomo. And if you don’t think that staying on Cuomo’s bad side unnecessarily has consequences for her and every last person she represents than you don’t understand anything about Cuomo.

          1. pretzelattack

            if she does what she needs to do, she will inevitably become his enemy. she supports change, he supports the status quo, his power, wealth and identity are inextricably tied to the status quo, and she is a threat to that. i’ve seen decades of keeping the powder dry and strategic retreats, and it is hard not to see this as part of that pattern; i admit i don’t know what pressures she is subjected to behind the scenes, but then that argument is also invoked to defend obama. maybe the ones that look like they need reeducating are shown a movie, with never before seen footage of wellstone’s plane crash. maybe tinfoil hat territory, but i think our overlords will be absolutely ruthless in maintaining their hold on power, and the militarized police forces are already in place, complete with contempt for leftists. if they’ve decided to be proactive about meeting future problems, the normal rules of politics go out the window.

            the illusion of democracy has been a useful fiction for a long time, but we’re in a prisoner’s dilemna imo, and we already know the other prisoner isn’t into pursuing win win strategies.

  22. JEHR

    Re: New York Review of Books editor Ian Buruma departs amid outrage over essay Guardian

    I followed the Ghomeshi trial and some observers have said that because the trial was an adversarial one, the victims were treated badly. I have no doubt that Ghomeshi deserved his shaming because he even admits to his bad behaviour but as The Star stated:

    Whatever happens on March 24, whatever the ruling, this trial should be seen as a cautionary tale for all Canadians. The accused is innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof rests with the Crown. The defence cares less about the truth and more about an acquittal. The Crown cares less about a conviction and more about the truth. This is the adversarial framework.

    Under these conditions, women do not stand a chance of being believed. We need a different framework when dealing with sexual assault or sexual harassment because of the lack of proof for either the accused or the victim. I wonder how long it will take to revise our justice system so that women will be believed when they tell the truth.

    As an aside, I often wonder what role the easy access to violent porn has in the bad treatment of women especially when they stand up for themselves.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Porn of all sorts has been regularly blamed for violence against women (and, one assumes, those of other preferences where such porn is available). I recall reading a biography of Charlie Manson where heavy emphasis was placed on his having read porn as a teenager. I assume I needed point out how senseless that is? What teenage boy hasn’t read porn, and probably as much as he could lay hands on?

      What I’ve failed to find is definitive scientific evidence supporting this contention, which arose out of the neo-feminist movement of the ’60s and ’70s. If anyone has sources for this, please do post them, because I’m getting rather tired of seeing that used instead of the likely real reason, which is the patriarchal culture that implies men are superior even when it doesn’t outright say so. Over everyone and everything—women, children, pets, the planet…

  23. Andrew Watts

    RE: Syria – Israel’s Provocation Kills Russian Soldiers – Moscow Will Take Political Revenge

    Not likely. The most plausible and obvious explanation of the incident was provided by an unnamed Russian diplomat in an Al-Monitor article.

    “We should have seen it coming,” a Russian diplomat speaking not for attribution told Al-Monitor, adding, “When you have that many forces that close to one another the risk of an accidental mistake is high. You think the war is coming to its end but parties are acting in an even more uncompromised way and we, sadly, may end up seeing more of such incidents.”

    Of course, this answer won’t satisfy people acting as cheerleaders for Team Russia, or conspiracy theorists, but they’ve had a pretty tough week. The prediction of an “imminent” attack on Idlib earlier this week turned out to be wrong leaving them looking like fools. Anybody predicting an end to the war in Syria should be well advised to consider the last part of that statement.

    1. Plenue

      Doesn’t make them look like fools at all. Keeping up with the war on a daily basis clearly showed a massive transfer of SAA forces to staging positions around the Idlib border, and a massive uptick in preparatory air and artillery strikes. The ‘rebels’ themselves certainly expected an assault, bragging about forming unified commands and building extensive new defence lines. And the Turks moved extensive forces down to protect their observation posts. Clearly they too expected something to happen.

      On top of that the Russian navy reinforced its flotilla off the coast so as to be able to intercept any western cruise missile strikes or other attempts to disrupt the offensive. It’s very clear an offensive was planned. My guess is that behind the scenes talks resulted in Turkey being given one last chance to do something about separating out the ‘moderates’. When this fails to happen, I expect the offensive will go ahead.

      1. Andrew Watts

        And the Turks moved extensive forces down to protect their observation posts. Clearly they too expected something to happen.

        With all due respect you literally just spelled out the reason why it didn’t happen. Unlike the situation in Daraa or Eastern Ghouta the Syrian Arab Army and friends didn’t have a green light to attack. The Turkish military began positioning troops at the Syrian-Turkish border that would be able to provide indirect fire support and/or directly intervene. Additionally, they were mustering their jihadist-rebel proxies to attack the SDF in Tel Rifaat which overlooks the northern approach to the city of Aleppo.

        Somebody blinked and it wasn’t Erdogan.

    2. Darthbobber

      Pretty clear that neither the Russians nor the Israelis want to make a cause of this. It’s all “mistakes were made, must avoid that in future.”

      They get along pretty well, which causes the relationship to be minimized by those for whom opposition to all things Russian and apologetics for all things Israeli are both mandatory.

      1. Plenue

        So at best the IDF are simply incompetent. Not surprising, fits in line with the rest of their record going back decades.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Not so. The Israelis were bombing in a region loaded with Russians which was never a good idea. But the Israelis have admitted to having their F-16s hide behind the Russian plane when it was on approach for landing. They shot their missiles off and then took off for home.
      To repeat a comment of mine yesterday, this is like waiting for a cop car to come down your street, ducking over to your neighbour’s house, letting off several shots at the police through his window and letting them see where the shooting is coming from, ducking back to your own house and watching the SWAT team go into your neighbours. Afterwards you blame your neighbour for what happened and send your condolences to the surviving family at the funeral and express your sorrow.
      And if the Syrian Army has not taken out Idlib and its Al-Quada and ISIS Jihadists, it is because they are being protected by the US and other western powers who do not want to see them eliminated but for the war to go on. Tough luck if you actually lived in Syria.

      1. Plenue

        I’m not clear on the chain of events. I’m not sure they went in intending to use the Russian plane as cover/a decoy. I’m leaning toward it genuinely just having the misfortune to be in the area when they launched their strike. The Israeli pilots simply made an on the spot decision to use the Russian plane to their advantage.

        If so, I’m not clear what the Israeli plan was if it hadn’t been there. Hope the Syrians didn’t shoot back? Or just maneuver and pump flares?

        The way Netanyahu scrambled to directly talk with Putin, I think someone somewhere screwed up big time, and this wasn’t planned.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that this was a case of the Israelis trying to be too smart by half. Remember, non-Israeli lives mean nothing to them (e.g. USS Liberty) and it may be that they wanted to send a “message” of some sort to Russia. It was a set up in the same way that that Russian fighter that got shot down by the Turks was the result of an intricate plan.
          I will concede that it may not be the Israeli government itself but a portion of it acting off its own bat. Remember how Obama and Putin came to an agreement that the Pentagon did not like so they killed over a hundred Syrian soldiers at Deir ez-Zor that nearly caused that city to fall to ISIS? Same sort of thing. Right now the Israilis have sent a special delegation to Moscow as they have some splaining to do.

  24. Dug

    Morning Edition’s Think Tank Sources Lean to the Right FAIR.

    It would be interesting to see this over a longer period. Feb through July of a single year seems like an odd time period, so it perks up my concern of cherry picking.

    1. Grebo

      Can you name a thinktank that we would consider left? (Hint: it must, at least, not be a member of the Atlas network.)

      And, if you can, has it been on Morning Edition (whatever that is)?

      1. Dug

        Well, in the article, they name a few, including Prison Policy Initiative and Center on Global Energy Policy, which they consider left leaning, Women’s Refugee Commission and the MLK Research and Education Institute, which they label progressive.

  25. Westcoastdeplorable

    This John Hancock “new method” I predict will go down in flames. Life insurance isn’t something to be reminded of on a daily basis; I think most people DON’T think about it until it’s time to pay the premium. This is akin to the auto insurance (I think Progressive) companies requiring you to plug a device into your car’s diagnostic port so they can monitor your driving habits and adjust your rate accordingly.
    These tactics are intrusive and unwarranted. If they want to write a policy, write it, but don’t expect daily active participation in their snooping.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Back in the summer of 2009, my aunt and I went to a Bernie Sanders town hall in Peacham, VT.

      During that event, someone remarked on federal employee health insurance, and how wonderful it must be to have such insurance. To that, Bernie said, “I have the same insurance as my secretary. It ain’t that great.”

      So, color me not surprised over Tyrone Gale’s predicament.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I wonder how much of the insurance situation shaped the ACA development in Congress. In the Washington metro area, housing prices simply don’t match incomes. The primary selling point is someone will always want the house, so these glorified tract houses have hideous prices for what they are. Old town Alexandria prices aren’t that bad in comparison especially when comparing similar neighborhoods in a place like Boston.

        How much was simply Congressional staffers and Democratic strategists trying to make sure their inadequate healthcare was protected. I think one of HRC’s selling points to Republicans in Northern Virginia was that she was less likely to disrupt federal spending whether Trump cut or more likely moved Federal spending the housing prices are a direct to the house poor up there. They are house poor up there.

  26. SerenityNow

    Re Millenials Are Screwed

    I’m so glad this article points out the role that zoning plays in making house less affordable—It is one of the few things that is a very straightforward (but not necessarily easy) fix and eminently controllable at the local level. If every municipality in the US reduced non-evidenced-based zoning restrictions tomorrow I think we would see vast changes in the housing market within maybe only 5 years.

    Never trust anyone who talks about a need/desire for “affordable” housing for others while simultaneously owning single family home that they also expect to profit from. Zoning is value insurance–it is the municipality’s police power deployed in the name of propping up a particular segment of the market. I am not saying this is good or bad, but rather we should recognize that some of our greatest problems stem from how we have enshrined a few particular values.

  27. Anon

    RE: NPR citing Think Tanks

    NPR decided to quote CIS director Mark Krikorian (3/5/18), who has made numerous racist claims throughout his career, including his assertion that Haiti is “screwed up” because it “wasn’t colonized long enough.”

    Well, the opposite of that assertion is actually the truth. Take a look at Haiti on Google Earth. It shares the the island of Santo Domingo with the Dominican Republic. The DR is a rather verdant landscape, where Haiti is less so from years of colonial mono-cropping sugar cane (for French profit). The eroded topsoil have left peasant Haiti farmers with little resource.

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