Links 10/11/18

Are We Loving French Bulldogs to Death? National Geographic

‘Humongous fungus’ is almost as big as the Mall of America Science. How’s the parking?

Michael Slamming Georgia with Fierce Wind, Torrential Rain Weather Underground

Losses from natural disasters have surged over last 20 years, U.N. says AP

It’s Already Here n+1

The Continuing Dominance of the Dollar Capital Ebbs and Flows

Mr. Market Has a Sad

Global markets tumble; U.S. stock futures point to continued selloff on Wall Street MarketWatch

Wall Street bloodbath spills over to Hong Kong, China stocks South China Morning Post

What is behind the global stock market sell-off FT

Don’t Panic. Yet. Tim Duy’s Fed Watch

IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday defended central bank rate hikes in a veiled rebuke Agence France Presse

Brazil is set to elect a fascist as president, and business is on board Paul Mason, New Statesman

Brexit

‘It’s all kicking off’ BBC

DUP threatening to bring down May’s government if Brexit red lines breached Belfast Telegraph

Theresa May’s Brexit backstop breakthrough The Spectator. Fudge cake?

EU considering dual certification for goods produced in NI RTE

Brexit: grilled pain EU Referendum. Joke: What’s the best kind of pain? Sham pain!

What sort of Brexit do the British people want? (PDF) The Policy Institute at King’s College London. “The value that British people place on the proposals set out in the government’s white paper (‘Chequers’) is difficult to quantify due to its vagueness on key issues.”

Golden visas sold by EU countries open the door to the criminal and corrupt Handelsblatt

Italy’s Builders Add $118 Billion Headache to Banks’ Problems Bloomberg

Syraqistan

US intercepts reportedly show Saudi crown prince ordered detention of journalist Khashoggi CNBC

U.S. Intelligence Had A ‘Duty To Warn’ Khashoggi – Why Didn’t That Happen? Moon of Alabama

They write letters:

Commentary: How Khashoggi’s disappearance could change Middle East politics Reuters

A Google linked exec and a former US politician have dropped out of a Saudi project after journalist’s disappearance Business Insider

Qatar blockade ‘has been a catalyst for change for the entire nation,’ says investment chief CNBC

North Korea

S. Korea walks back on possibly lifting sanctions on North AP

Search called off in Indonesian quake-tsunami: Official Channel News Asia. More and more like Puerto Rico…

China

Chinese spy charged with trying to steal US aviation trade secrets Nikkei Asian Review

China, Aiming to Borrow as Cheaply as Apple and Microsoft, Launches U.S. Dollar Debt Offering WSJ

China finance: why ‘accidental banks’ face a crackdown FT

New Cold War

California man who sold stolen identities sentenced to prison in Russia probe Reuters. Bathos.

Russia dossier author criticizes Trump, slams ‘strange and troubling times’ CNN

Trump Transition

My Private Oval Office Press Conference With Donald Trump, Mike Pence, John Kelly, and Mike Pompeo New York Magazine. They’ve got some good writers over there….

Accounting Authority Finalizes Policy for Withholding Classified Budget Numbers Government Executive

2016 Post Mortem

Obama Had a Secret Plan in Case Trump Rejected 2016 Election Results New York Magazine. Hmm.

Health Care

Medicare-for-All and Public Plan Buy-In Proposals: Overview and Key Issues KFF

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Creating National Biometric System for Patient Matching Will Threaten Privacy and Security CCHF. No kidding.

How to find hidden cameras in your Airbnb rental Digital Trends. News you can use!

Betteridge’s Law

An unusual number of headlines falling under this rubric today:

Alexa, Should We Trust You? The Atlantic

Is higher voter turnout worth the risk of hacking? W.Va pilot program will find out McClatchy. “Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!” – Edsger Dijkstra.

Can Introverts Be Happy in a World That Can’t Stop Talking? Scientific American

Class Warfare

“Rising Inequality” Could Impact America’s AAA Credit Rating Safe Haven

Better-paid workers made Ford wealthier FT

Realities of life as a homeless woman in San Jose Mercury-News

The Red Baron NYRB

Crypto is the Mother of All Scams and (Now Busted) Bubbles While Blockchain Is The Most Over-Hyped Technology Ever, No Better than a Spreadsheet/Database (PDF) Nouriel Roubini, Testimony for the Hearing of the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Community Affairs On “Exploring the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem.” “Ecosystems” are full of innovation and disruption, or so I am told.

Antidote du jour (via):

Leveling up my happy dog game….

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

221 comments

  1. Joe

    Hello, I wanted to reread an article I believe I found on the blog. It was something like The Person you never heard of that drives neoliberal policy or something like that. Does anyone remember the title exactly or have the link saved? I would be eternally grateful. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
      1. Joe

        Thanks but no. It had the individuals name in it if I remember correct. It was a link to an article and talked about an academic/acolyte for neoliberal policy and helped to get these ideas into policy. It had nothing to do with deep state stuff. Think more like if Milton Friedman’s name was unknown but he was active in getting his ideas into policy.

        Reply
  2. cnchal

    > Alexa, Should We Trust You? The Atlantic

    Alexa, after I say the wake word and let out a loud fart, how many boiling cups of water electrical equivalent are used to come up with an answer?

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      That’s an interesting article with lots of movie references but fails to mention the most famous movie talking computer–the Hal 9000 that refused to open those pod bay doors. When Hal finally goes to the great computer cloud in the sky Kubrick had it sing Daisy because that was the song Bell Labs used for the very first speech synthesis.

      Alexa fans should take 2001 as a cautionary tale.

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        One reason is that Amazon and Google are pushing these devices hard, discounting them so heavily during last year’s holiday season that industry observers suspect that the companies lost money on each unit sold. These and other tech corporations have grand ambitions. They want to colonize space. Not interplanetary space. Everyday space: home, office, car. In the near future, everything from your lighting to your air-conditioning to your refrigerator, your coffee maker, and even your toilet could be wired to a system controlled by voice.

        How many kilo joules of electrical energy will flushing toilets consume? What happens when you have a power failure and your crapper won’t flush or will we have a fail safe lever on the side of the tank like the old days? Talk to Alexa. Oh. She’s deaf now and can’t hear you.

        I agree, Alexa fans should take 2001 as a cautionary tale. I see it as colossal waste.

        Alexa, how many of your answers to stupid questions till the planet boils?

        Reply
        1. cyclist

          Isn’t it odd: people are hard to reach on the phone, because they would prefer texting, but think it is cool to be able to verbally control devices that used to have buttons on them?

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth Burton

            I only answer the phone if it’s someone I know or a scheduled call. I prefer to text because I can keep working while I do it, because my iPhone integrates the Messages app across all my Apple stuff. Plus, I tend to get too chatty on the phone.

            That said, my DH offered to buy me an Alexa for my birthday this year and I gave a firm no. I have plenty of remotes, and they’re right where I can reach them, and the emails I get from Amazon trying to sell me stuff I’ve already bought are annoying enough.

            Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I actually got offended when they said that they tried to model it after the Star Trek computer voice. The reason was that it was made clear in those TV series that all voice records were sealed to the person that made it if it was a personal log. In fact, they could only be reviewed by others for medical reasons or if it involved the safety of the ship. Certainly the Star Trek computer was never trying to sell them some cheap Bolian tomatoes or a good deal on a Risan horga’hn statue. Privacy was respected and the computer was there to help the crew – not to analyze them individually for weaknesses that it could exploit. Of course even the Star Trek computer needed fine tuning-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD4EVXkfe0w

      Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    Plans A & B failed miserably in that From Russia With Loathe, and the Kavanaugh chronicles produced exactly bupkis in terms of results for the donkey show and their adherents in the run-up to the election, which leaves one possibility left for them, and that’s to tank to stock market and pin the tale on the Donald.

    The chief executive tried to distance himself from downfall-part 1 yesterday, by blaming the Fed, but the fact is, he owns it but won’t own up to it.

    The average voter doesn’t give 2 shits about Putin or a SCOTUS justice, but mess with their 401k and there’s hell to pay.

    Reply
    1. Skateman

      Sure, sure the Deep State is taking the market down. But why did they make it surge after Trump was elected? Man, these conspiracies sure are hard to keep track of.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        He took the bait of the market going up as his accomplishment, and will vigorously deny any responsibility for the downturn-as is his penchant, but who else could the public blame really?

        Reply
        1. Summer

          At some point it becomes like a billion dollar house. Sounds like a great asset, but, if push came to shove, how many people could you sell it to?
          It then becomes a fantasy to maintain to continue to borrow against.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            There really are houses like that, way below a billion dollars. My grandmother’s house was one: gorgeous house in a very small town, so small that there were only a couple of possible candidates to buy it. Consequently, not worth nearly so much as in a bigger town.

            Reply
      2. TheScream

        DJIA goes up about 20% a year for four years. This is “normal”.
        DJIA goes down 3% for one day. It’s the end of the world and we must cut rates to negative.

        The top richest 10% own 84% of all stocks. So 3% on the Dow or S&P is meaningless to most Americans. Unless we are now back to believing that stock indices represent the real economy and not an end in themselves?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The rich can bail whenever they want, and the writing has been on the wall for a long time now that this was the most bogus run-up ever, anybody with a couple of brain cells to rub together could figure that out.

          Whereas the public will be forced to watch their retirement funds fade away…

          Reply
          1. nippersmom

            A large percentage of “the public” has no retirement funds invested in the stock market, because they have no disposable income to invest.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              p.s.

              Don’t discount the concept of Wall*Street being essentially a national sporting team to the public. Most people hear a few times a day how the market is faring via ‘scores’ even if it means nothing to them.

              Reply
              1. tegnost

                I think n mom’s point is that most people are not affected by wall st at all. I used to pay attention, but mark to model made the numbers meaningless. Your point is true only for the top 10%, but those are the important people. Bezo’s people. The people with empty amazon boxes stacked up behind the house. On a slight tangent, thinking as I go along, I receive many of these amazon boxes, not for myself, as part of my job, and I’m commonly stricken by how light the large boxes commonly are. This brought to mind costco, which company, in order to reduce shipping costs, actually forces suppliers to change the shape of their product to make shipping, which costco actually pays for, cheaper. Amazon has no such need as they are a subsidy bully, you give us a break because we are the borg, how much money do they want for their new headquarters? One a great employer who deals with the physical realities and efficiency, the other terrible employer who shovels as much of their costs onto the public as they possibly can. So this said, if there were a real decline in the market, say 10,000 points, amazon’s customer base will reduce spending more than costco’s, and amazon stock will take a well deserved beating.

                Reply
                1. barefoot charley

                  I’m happy to blame Trump for anything. However, the trigger for this global sell-off really was the Fed bumping up interest rates, systematically for a year now, and not stopping when Mr. Market pitched a fit. Everyone, even Wall Street, understands that cities, counties, states, corporations and nations will not be solvent if interest rates rise to traditional levels. And let’s not even talk about emerging markets, yet. So they all assumed the Fed was bluffing when it threatened to do what it’s there to do: take away the low-interest punchbowl when the party gets howling. When is a Fed party out of control? When we have ‘full employment,’ ie when wages to proles threaten to rise because labor’s hard to find. The deeper problem is that emerging markets get doubly screwed by rising rates, because that strengthens the dollar as well, so they’re the first who can no longer pay their dollar-denominated debts. Panic spreads. I share Mr. Market’s surprise that the Fed would call off their low-interest-capital festival of the last 10 years. Shouldn’t good times last forever?

                  Reply
                  1. Summer

                    The fantasy has to be floated until the storm troopers for the elite have been organized.
                    There couldn’t be another crash this close to 2008 with people still simmering over and proposing change.
                    I noticed the correlation in between the fundamentals defying leaps of the stock market and the entry of the word “socialism” entering more into the mainstream debate.

                    Reply
                2. perpetualWAR

                  And funnier still: Seattleites love Costco. Their headquarters are modest and do not cause massive congestion. Amazon actually quite the opposite: Amazon chose a downtown location. The city responded by actually changing roads and a massive corridor to accommodate that monster. Costco, everyone loves. Amazon, everyone hates.

                  Reply
                3. nippersmom

                  Thank you, tegnost. That was exactly my point.

                  Of the people I know who did have IRAs, many have already “watch(ed) their retirement funds melt away” in the aftermath of the 2008 debacle, as they have had to raid them to avoid losing their homes, or even to keep food on the table.

                  Reply
                4. Annieb

                  “Most people are not affected by Wall Street at all.” I would agree except for retirees. All of my friends have stock market exposure either in pension funds or private funds. These retirees were middle income workers and their savings are barely enough to support themselves throughout retirement, probably not enough.

                  If the stock market loses significant value, the effect on these retirees, who have health issues or are too old to get hired, would be significant. Think about the effects on society if a large proportion of formerly self supporting retirees become suddenly poverty stricken. There are already significant numbers of retirees living in poverty; adding to that number would put great pressure on society.

                  Reply
          2. todde

            That’s was what the 401(k) was there for.

            To tie working class interests with investing class interests.

            Along with creating artificial demand for financial assets.

            {adjusts tin foil hat}

            Reply
            1. barefoot charley

              I recall that was Bush Jr.’s fantasy, “a nation of stockholders” so no one would want progressive taxation anymore, or progressive anything. And Wall Street would manage their money! But he fergot they had to get some first . . .

              Reply
            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              I don’t think framing the 410(k) as a (necessarily failed) attempt to align working class and investing class interests is tinfoil hat to the slightest degree; no doubt plenty of contemporaneous quotes could be dug out when the abomination was passed.

              The tell for all these proposals is that simply paying more into Social Security is never mentioned (assuming for the moment that Federal taxes pay for Federal spending, which privatizers believe). No no, citizens must assume risk, and citizens must pay fees, because markets. Ka-ching.

              Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Had it gone up 25% since last year, and dropped 4% yesterday, the world today would be even gloomier than last Monday, in contrast with going up 20% and going down 3%.

          Because a 4% drop in one day is always more shocking than a 3% drop.

          That’s just basic human psychology.

          Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        I dunno about the Deep State (well, I do know*) but the Fed doesn’t necessarily follow the election returns, and they have angst about too much aggregate demand, and want to do insane things like take away the punch bowl when wages are flat.

        NOTE * The thing I truly hate about the “Deep State” as a concept is that it’s monocausal, and doesn’t concede institutions have relative autonomy when they in fact do. Yes, “it’s called the ruling class because it rules,” but there’s brutal factional infighting among the elites and real clashes of interest, and “Deep State” can’t give an account of any of that. As a concept, “Deep State” is vague without being supple, and omnipresent without being granular.

        Reply
  4. el_tel

    re introversion: “introversion lies simply on the other end of this pole, and is characterized by being more reserved and quiet, and a lower threshold of sensitivity to rewards in the environment” – Yep, totally. Am an introvert but as the academic system changed into one with different rewards (which in the interest of keeping this family-friendly I won’t rant about) it caused my “networking, seemingly outgoing self” to appear to degrade and me become increasingly intolerant of the behaviour I saw: this resonates.

    “My advice: if you can’t change your environment, you can always change how you view yourself. ” – Indeed, and what I’ve been trying to do. I can’t change how my former profession conducts itself so it’s up to me to find new challenges that cause me to change how I view myself. A recent request to “get involved” with an academic issue in well-being/ Sen’s “Capabilities Approach”/happiness that will undoubtedly cause the intellectual equivalent of WW3 made me say “sorry, no, not my problem anymore, should have engaged with me 4 years ago”. Time to move on, difficult though it is at my age (particularly with caring responsibilities).

    Reply
    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      My wife gave me a T-shirt that, ironically, has been a conversation starter at the gym. It reads:

      Books!
      Helping Introverts Avoid Conversation Since 1454

      Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’ve often thought the 9th Century Irish monk who wrote Pangur Ban was a classic introvert, using books (and his cat) to avoid too much conversation:

            I and Pangur Bán my cat,
            ‘Tis a like task we are at:
            Hunting mice is his delight,
            Hunting words I sit all night.

            Better far than praise of men
            ‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
            Pangur bears me no ill-will,
            He too plies his simple skill.

            ‘Tis a merry task to see
            At our tasks how glad are we,
            When at home we sit and find
            Entertainment to our mind.

            Oftentimes a mouse will stray
            In the hero Pangur’s way;
            Oftentimes my keen thought set
            Takes a meaning in its net.

            ‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
            Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
            ‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
            All my little wisdom try.

            When a mouse darts from its den,
            O how glad is Pangur then!
            O what gladness do I prove
            When I solve the doubts I love!

            So in peace our task we ply,
            Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
            In our arts we find our bliss,
            I have mine and he has his.

            Practice every day has made
            Pangur perfect in his trade;
            I get wisdom day and night
            Turning darkness into light.

            Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  Same here. Between PK’s mention of that 9th century Irish poem and that Cat page, that has made my day that.

                  Reply
            1. Craig H.

              Peter Adamson History Philosophy without any gaps did an episode on pangur ban. The thing is this: we know the name of the cat. We do not know the name of the scholar. We are not even sure which century he wrote in. Ninth century is the best estimate.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                That is a rather nice poem. From Wikipedia:

                Pangur, white Pangur, How happy we are
                Alone together, scholar and cat
                Each has his own work to do daily;
                For you it is hunting, for me study.
                Your shining eye watches the wall;
                My feeble eye is fixed on a book.
                You rejoice, when your claws entrap a mouse;
                I rejoice when my mind fathoms a problem.
                Pleased with his own art, neither hinders the other;
                Thus we live ever without tedium and envy.

                Reply
                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Yes, there are many translations, I think that one is W.H. Auden.

                  Robin Flowers’s (thats the one above) is I think the most famous, and maybe the loosest (there aren’t many Old Irish translators our there). I also like Seamus Heaneys attempt:

                  Pangur Bán and I at work,

                  Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:

                  His whole instinct is to hunt,

                  Mine to free the meaning pent.

                  More than loud acclaim, I love

                  Books, silence, thought, my alcove.

                  Happy for me, Pangur Bán

                  Child-plays round some mouse’s den.

                  Truth to tell, just being here,

                  Housed alone, housed together,

                  Adds up to its own reward:

                  Concentration, stealthy art.

                  Next thing an unwary mouse

                  Bares his flank: Pangur pounces.

                  Next thing lines that held and held

                  Meaning back begin to yield.

                  All the while, his round bright eye

                  Fixes on the wall, while I

                  Focus my less piercing gaze

                  On the challenge of the page.

                  With his unsheathed, perfect nails

                  Pangur springs, exults and kills.

                  When the longed-for, difficult

                  Answers come, I too exult.

                  So it goes. To each his own.

                  No vying. No vexation.

                  Taking pleasure, taking pains,

                  Kindred spirits, veterans.

                  Day and night, soft purr, soft pad,

                  Pangur Bán has learned his trade.

                  Day and night, my own hard work

                  Solves the cruxes, makes a mark.

                  Reply
            2. Ellery O'Farrell

              Loved that poem for the many years since I found it in 1970 or so!

              Thank you so much! (BTW, and have you read Ciaran Carlson’s translation of the Táin? What do you think of it?)

              Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Best of luck with making those changes.

      The article resonates with me too. One of the benefits of growing older is in learning not to care so much about other peoples opinion of you, and more accepting of ones own faults. I think this is particularly true for introverts, who are constantly bombarded with well meaning advice. I do think that learning to live with those aspects of yourself that you dislike is a major step on the way – if not to happiness – then at least to less frustration and unhappiness.

      Reply
      1. el_tel

        Many thanks…..on that subject it is ongoing work by me…..my work (IMHO) has implications for human preferences that are as important as MMT. But there is no “MMT like community” to help build a case – thus, quite sensibly, no site like NC should take my sole word on something and I should move on, which I will do. Time to stop caring about a lot of others and simply look out for family/myself. (And just read NC on days when I’m feeling OK and don’t want to feel depressed about the antics going on throughout the world LOL).

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Absolutely, the best thing is to focus on your own wellbeing and that of the people immediately around you. Best wishes with it.

          Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      I’m a textbook INTJ and feel as if i’ve traipsed onto a mindfield here on NC of similar people-which is rare.

      I’d always lived in 2 worlds, one where money ruled and the other one where it meant scant. I would come back from a week in the back of beyond and wonder why the former held such sway?

      The first one was challenging as I was surrounded by tens of millions of people, whereas the world I inhabit now hardly has any, or none if I feel like it, and I enjoy that.

      Reply
      1. ChristopherJ

        I would’ve figured that Wuk. Me too, but can cross over to F space too. There are very few blog sites like NC where I feel comfortable and not too much of an out lier. Humans, we can be very intolerant of difference. ‘You know, why’re you here if you have views like that’

        ———–

        True story. I am a newly commissioned ‘Director’ in a State Govt central agency here in Oz – I am also the youngest man in the group (I was 32). We are on the annual corporate retreat (hey, we’re at a resort) and I am finding my way, trying to listen and learn.

        On the second day, we get a presentation from the MBTI person. Pretty sure it was the CEO who put this session in… that was his style. Anyway, we sit down answer the questions and then the presenter tells us what the results mean.

        From memory, the presenter drew a 16 square picture and said something like, let’s go round the room. So he starts mapping out my colleagues’ and peers’ personality types and, typical of any organisation, the top people in this agency were all clustering around a particular corner.

        It wasn’t my corner, lol.

        Should have gone to drama classes. Silly boy chose to go and play soccer with his mates instead….

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          “Meetings are a great trap. … they are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.”

          John Kenneth Galbraith

          Reply
        2. Chris

          Humans…can be very intolerant of difference

          Being a stoic (or at least trying to be) can help one moderate that intolerance.

          Reply
    4. RMO

      “My advice: if you can’t change your environment, you can always change how you view yourself. ”

      Reminds me of the part in Brave New World when they had a surplus of public transportation capacity to the country: The overlords decided to develop the latest large batch of lower order workers with a desire for spending leisure time in the outdoors… mold the people to fit the system instead of the other way around…

      Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    There’s a plethora of Giant Sequoia groves along the west side of the Sierra Nevada, some of which are incredibly secluded, as in hardly anybody goes there.

    One such grouping of Brobdingnagians is the Eden Grove, which i’ve never been to, although it’s on the list of things to do.

    A lightning strike caused wildfire (1 of 5 that happened along the east fork of the Kaweah River) happened last week, and as the conditions aren’t ripe for conflagrations spreading, more than likely NPS will just let it fester, and seeing as the trees need fire to germinate the seeds to allow new growth, it’s all good.

    Here’s a trip report of somebody that made the journey to the grove last year, and along the way he came across telltale signs of Mexican drug trafficking organizations past gardening efforts. The lengths in which they go to, to grow marijuana in the far reaches of wilderness, astound me.

    https://funhogpress.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/exploring-sequoia-country/

    Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I live on just the other side of paradise, literally. The Paradise Trail that is.

            It’s Sequoias are in the Atwell Grove-my local haunt, and I walk there often. Typically Sequoias grow from around 5-7k, but not in this forest, as that’s where the highest altitude ones are @ 8,800 feet.

            A favorite in the grove is off-trail a bit about 3 miles up from the trailhead, an old fire from eons ago burned through the base of a 15 foot wide-200 foot tall model, and created a hole big enough to drive through, that is if you could get a car up there.

            https://www.trails.com/us/ca/sequoia-national-park/paradise-trail

            Reply
  6. TheScream

    Roubini, whether you agree with him or not, is pretty committed to his opinions! We argued Bitcoin on another thread recently, so let’s ignore that. Block-chain is just another New Shiny Thing which is interesting but not really useful. I hear less about it these days in my work, but a few years ago it was Hot, Hot, Hot. No one was ever able to explain to me why it was useful.

    So, block-chain is, in the end, just another Dot Com. Pets.com. RIP. Blockchain.com. RIP

    Reply
    1. Steve Roberts

      I think blockchain has everyday uses but won’t be a profit center to anyone. It’s a database security program (not so much security as knowing everyone who accessed the database) that is essentially free and very easily expandable. Cryptocurrencies have IMO a usage for laundering money or hiding it but the average Joe has no reason to use it and no reason to own it long term.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        What can I procure with a cryptocurrency that I can’t while using any old credit card?

        Well, essentially anything illegal in some guise: drugs, sex or weaponry, etc.

        When your currency really doesn’t have a platform, who needs it?

        Reply
      2. Plenue

        I’ve observed plenty of veteran database managers and other IT specialists on places like reddit and slashdot discuss blockchain. There’s a definite consensus that blockchain is literally useless: they couldn’t find a single scenario in which it did anything that another, already existing system couldn’t do at least as well, and frequently blockchain was ludicrously worse and inefficient at performing the function. Any number of blockchain implementations have existed for free on github for up to a decade. The rate of adoption among in IT is essentially nonexistent.

        Reply
      3. Bugs Bunny

        Something that becomes incrementally more complex and CPU-consuming with each use is certainly not free?

        Externalities, anyone?

        Reply
    2. Raulb

      Brutal taken down of crypto and blockchain by Roubini. Incredible scholarship leaving little room for ifs and buts. Hope he has time for self driving cars and ‘AI’.

      Another glimpse of the kind of disaster and greed that drives libertarian fantasists and the neofeudal dystopia that awaits the idiots that take them seriously.

      We need similar scholarship in one place to take down Hayek, Friedman, Buchanan, the Swedish Economics Nobel committee and the rest of the fawning apologists for feudalism so no civilized person can credibly propagate such dubious anti-human ideology again.

      Reply
  7. Summer

    Re: Roubini testimony..

    I think more people have a buyer beware attitude about crypto currencies.

    The blockchain hype may be more insidious.

    Reply
    1. urblintz

      Regardless of the ultimate fate of crypto and with all due respect to Roubini’s experience and knowledge, the image of him lecturing our Congressional criminals about financial scoundrels, scammers and thieves is, well… ironic, to say the least.

      Reply
      1. TheScream

        I did like the apologetic footnote explaining to the Senate why he was writing “shit” in an official Senate presentation.

        Reply
    1. David

      This deserves a wider audience – perhaps it could be posted as a separate link tomorrow? The idea of Brexit as an elite power grab is interesting, though the comparison with the French Revolution is a bit overdone. But it is valuable not only for its insight into Brexit mentality in the longer historical context, but also its frank admission of the weaknesses of the EU itself, and some of the reasons why voters may have decided as they did. The biggest irony, of course, is that it was the British who pushed against strong opposition for the enlargement of the EU, not only in search of cheap sources of labour but, in the ghastly phrase current in Whitehall in the years before Maastricht, to “outwiden the deepeners.” ie to make the new EU so large and unwieldy that it would be incapable of agreeing to further significant integration. We know how that turned out.

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for that – I’ve just had time to read the first few pages – its quite funny (in that professional diplomat understated way) and very informative. I wonder what the reaction was from the audience.

      Reply
    3. boz

      Excellent spot. Thanks for posting.

      Ivan Rogers is required reading for Brexit, but I haven’t worked out how to get alerts to his speeches.

      I wonder if the business community would rather no deal, if only to put an end to the uncertainty. Rogers makes the point near the end that transition will deliver nothing in the way of clarity, for a good few years.

      So business investment is inevitably going to be strangled, at the larger commercial and corporate firms. That’s bad news for domestic UK SMEs who rely on the larger supply chains.

      Uncertainty will kill all but the most critical projects. Look for downsizing, pay cuts and increasing desperation as the companies making do scramble to keep the lights on. Costs will be trimmed if the top line (sales) don’t grow.

      Reply
    1. human

      Fuel efficiency standards have been regularly reversed by bipartisan concensus ever since Nixon instituted the national 55mph speed limit in ’74.

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “How to find hidden cameras in your Airbnb rental”

    Maybe not so much news that you can use as news that has been re-used. To see what I mean, punch into Google the search term ‘hotel hidden cameras’ and you will find a boat-load of stories along the same lines but for hotels and vacation rentals. Be a bit embarrassing still if you ended up on PornHub as a result of a stay away.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      I plan to read the article, but I would find it difficult to believe that anyone would wanna look at my sorry old naked azz on porn hub. Then again, they say there’s fetishists for everything. Literally everything. Mind boggles.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        There’s not much of a video market for a quinquagenarian who is tucked into bed @ 8 pm, or say 8:30 if I go a little wild.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      So, airbnb people spy on you, just like hotel corporations.

      I have the same worry that used PC sellers put extra chips on your motherboard, just like corporate computer manufacturers.

      Reply
  9. JTMcPhee

    So are there getting to be cracks in the armor of the Narrative? Here you have a headliner at the British “Independent” seemingly breaking ranks (cautiously) with the BS Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt fake news fog surrounding the missing Skripals and other “victims of noxivok or something or other depending on the day:

    We should be asking for answers about the Skripals and Bellingcat – and not just from Russia
    Bellingcat has grown rather a lot beyond its shoestring origins. It has money – where from? It has been hiring staff. It has transatlantic connections. It has never, so far as I am aware, reached any conclusion that is inconvenient to the UK or US authorities
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/skripals-bellingcat-gru-novichok-anatoly-chepiga-alexander-mishkin-putin-russia-a8577161.html

    I wonder how long befor the author and anyone who dared sign off on this article get called on the carpet and what is the new word, “sanctioned”?

    Interesting word in itself, “sanction” — also means “to authorize, allow,” stuff like that — “The Pope sanctioned indulgences and the Inquisition — the CIA sanctioned the Iran-Contra operation, and sanctioned and operated the Phoenix program in Vietnam… Obama sanctioned the drone killings of hundreds to thousands of civilians in places where the US has no ‘lawful presence…’” and on and on… Maybe out language needs to institute the use of inflection and tonality to indicate the intended message of the speaker of the word, like in Chinese and Vietnamese and other foreign languages…

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Maybe out language needs to institute the use of inflection and tonality to indicate the intended message of the speaker of the word, like in Chinese and Vietnamese and other foreign languages…

      Alexa is working on it (see above).

      And I believe the web, by beavering away against some of these MIC propaganda organs, is having an effect. The White Helmets for example have lost some of their luster.

      Reply
    2. Grebo

      I can’t find it now but the BBC, in reporting the first “identification” of a Skripal suspect, described Bellingcat as “respected”. Not like the BBC then.

      Reply
  10. LaRuse

    I loved the article on introversion. I fully self-embraced my introversion years ago and my life became so much better for it. I am not unhappy. I am not shy. I adore deep conversations and interesting, thought provoking debate, but only with a small group (5 or less is ideal). I cannot stand making small talk, large crowds cause me anxiety, and I can hang at a loud, energetic party for only so long before I run out of energy and then I run out of patience.
    I tend to attach myself to extroverts; I am perfectly content to let my husband drive conversations or be the “life of the party” when we entertain. I also cannot stand uncomfortable silences in a group and I am happy to kickstart a group conversation; I just don’t want to be the key moderator.

    I find my joy in books, knitting, running, and other quieter activities and when I have to flex my miniscule extroverted muscles, I take steps to ensure I have a quiet space where I can recharge after such an occasion.
    AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY OF THAT.
    And I have been reading Susan Cain’s book recently, though I have been bogged down in the last third (it is starting to feel repetitive), but I did find it very validating and reassuring that I am not just an odd duck and that my self-awareness has done a lot to improve and enhance my social skills.
    Introverts UNITE – in our own individual corners. :-)

    Reply
    1. perpetualWAR

      I am a strange mixture of extrovert/introvert. I am a salesperson for work by choice. However, because I have to be so *on* during the day, I find that on my own time, I am very much the introvert. I, too, love books, solitary walks and swimming. I have not a huge array of friends, but a treasured few. I used to think my solitude was queer since I truly do love to talk to people through work, but now I know that all because of all that energy expenditure during the day, I require solitude and a lot of silence to rejuvenate.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “My Private Oval Office Press Conference With Donald Trump, Mike Pence, John Kelly, and Mike Pompeo”

    You could try to read between the lines to work out the power relationships like an old-time Kremlin watcher but I wonder what would be the point. The White House is in a constant state of flux as seen this week by the departure of Nikki Halley so it would probably be a waste of time. This all reminds me of when the FBI were following the top Mafia figures back in the 80 and 90s. As no-one in the Mafia was talking, the FBI agents were reduced to trying to work out the power relationships between the big boys by watching, when their cars were arriving at places like restaurants, to see who was opening up the car doors for who.

    Reply
  12. milesc

    Roubini makes some genuinely valid points (ICOs, blockchain hype, shitcoins) but he paints with far too broad a brush and his good points are mostly lost in a sea of hyperbole. His testimony is littered with odd inaccuracies and half-truths and throwaway statements like, “very few women or minorities are allowed in the blockchain space”. What? Are they calculated, purposefully phrased and intended to manipulate, Kavanaugh style? Or is he trying to inject some comedy into the proceedings? I can’t quite tell.

    There are, of course, two witnesses appearing before the committee today. It’s very unfortunate that only one witness statement is linked to here.

    Reply
    1. KFritz

      That’s one ostensible inaccuracy/half-truth/throwaway. If he didn’t footnote/reference it, by the same token I missed yours. He points out that it’s a libertarian based phenomenon, and approximately 70% of libertarians are men (widely known fact). It’s plausible that men dominate cryptocurrencies. Perhaps he confused causation and correlation. Who’s the other witness, please? Roubini may be trying to get back into the limelight, but has any of his work been discredited?

      Reply
  13. TheScream

    New York Magazine article about Oval Office:
    I laughed, I cried. Mostly I laughed but then I cried when I realized why I was laughing.

    Reply
    1. Hameloose Cannon

      I see Trump is going with the multi-camera sitcom format this season. One of the story arcs is that the President doesn’t know how to fire Chief of Staff John Kelly, Rosencrantz to Gen Mattis’s Guildenstern. Who does he call? Can he use twitter to do it? Will it be a very special episode? Is Kanye available to lay down a diss track? –Kelly refers to the departed staff as “bad actors”. But they can only work with what they’ve been given, material-wise.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Re. New York Magazine “My Private Oval Office Press Conference” article — I couldn’t help but laugh, because what comes across more than anything else is what a shameless huckster Trump is, and it’s not like he doesn’t know it himself. It’s simply who he is, he clearly thinks of himself as being the huckster-in-chief, making deals and doing one wunnerful fabulous positive great deal after another. But why would anyone expect otherwise, i.e. that being president would change his persona? It’s just the same brash, crass, big-talking NYC real-estate wheeler dealer, now doing it for the biggest deals imaginable – national and global economies and war and peace, often in a dizzying mix of both – at the same time he is working on a potential breakthrough peace initiative on the Korean peninsula, Trump unilaterally breaks one of Obama’s undeniably positive accomplishments, the Iran deal.

      So I’m experiencing the cognitive dissonance which arises from knowing just how toxic a lot of the ‘accomplishments’ are while at the same time perversely appreciating that unlike most of his predecessors, DJT is not pretending to be something he is not. Whatever else one may think about it, it’s certainly the most *interesting* presidency most of us have ever experienced. As I told a Hillaryite friend during his post-2016-election bout of despair, “hey, look at the bright side – it’s gonna be relentlessly entertaining.” I wonder now if a lot of the people who voted for Trump did it more for that prospect than anything else?

      Reply
      1. John k

        He’s always fought tooth and nail for the dem party ideals.
        Maybe you don’t know what they are. Pelosi and Schumer have them down pat…
        $

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          naw the new deal like fdr installed and bernie wants to go back to. the only way to do that is to get rid of the pelosi’s and schumers and clintons, but that is at best a long shot.
          but that won’t be enough either, wish fdr was around to tackle climate change.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Maybe we should be crafting and launching words and phrases for the kind of Democrats we would like to see and be . . . SanderSocial Democrats, New Deal Reactionaries, New Deal Restorationists, New Deal Revivalists, so many other possible words and phrases.

            Keep launching them and see if any are freely uptaken and used by many people.

            As to Holder and such, the goals and values they DO fight for ARE the values of today’s mainstream Dem Party. It will stay that way until every last Hillarhoid has been driven out of the Party. Every last cell of Malignant Metastatic Clintonoma. Every last Yersiniobama pestis disease germ.

            Reply
    1. todde

      When they go low, we kick them. And that’s what this new Democratic Party is about

      he must be talking about the DSA, not Republicans….

      Reply
      1. RUKidding

        Search me. I have no clue. I’m amazed that Holder even knew how to string those words together. I thought he only knew how to say — “BigD: I got MINE, EFF you.”

        Learn something new every day.

        But

        Won’t get fooled again.

        Reply
      2. polecat

        “what would those be?”

        1.) Hurling guilt unto the masses

        2.) $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

        3.) ‘Projection’

        4.) Domination

        Not necessarily in that order ….

        Reply
      3. Whoa Molly!

        Democratic ideals…

        1. Summer in Hamptons.
        2. Hang out with celebrities.
        3. Protect the super rich.
        4. Gaslight the mopes.
        5. Get yours.

        Fixed it for ya.

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Oh brother.

      Not one criminal banker, mortgage fraudster, war criminal, torturer, corporate monopolist, corporate opioid pusher, pharma profiteer, tax inverter/evader, employee abuser, voter list purger or stock manipulator even called out, let alone prosecuted.

      Note to Georgia democrats–“low” may not mean what you think it means. Not unlike perennial favorites “hope,” “change” and “new” (as in “new” democrat party.)

      Reply
    3. perpetualWAR

      Yes, that is exactly what Holder did to the homeowners. When the homeowners were at their lowest, Holder’s DOJ kicked us in the teeth.

      He is reprehensible.

      Reply
    4. nippersmom

      I got an email from Holder today via the Charlie Bailey (candidate for Georgia Attorney General). I’ve liked a lot of what Bailey has to say, but that email from Holder is almost enough to make me not vote for him.

      These progressive candidates need to start considering that some of these endorsements may be doing them more harm than good.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If you decide to vote against Bailey strictly because of the Holder endorsement, it might be good to write or email Bailey’s people about that fact. How can the Baileys of the world know that the Holder endorsements of the world are Kisses of Death if not enough people tell them that specifically?

        Reply
      2. anonymouse

        I got a Cory Booker email from Iowa Dems. Immediately unsubscribed, with a note mentioning that hanging with a neoliberal pharma-shill like Booker loses them credibility and email list entries.

        Reply
    5. Wukchumni

      I’d guess the donkey show will have paid operatives that carefully place “Kick Me” signs on the back of the pachyderms when they aren’t looking.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Is higher voter turnout worth the risk of hacking? W.Va pilot program will find out”

    Seriously? Casting ballots for the 2018 midterms using a smartphone app? Who was the boofhead that thought up that one. OK. Lets run with it. If this is such a great idea, then how about for the 2020 US Presidential elections we extend this idea. I can see it now-

    “Alexa, cast my vote for Bernie Sanders”

    “Casting one ballot for Donald Trump, right?”

    “No! No! No! I said cast my vote for Bernie Sanders!”

    “Casting one ballot for Hillary Clinton, right?”

    “No! No! Wrong election! I said cast my vote for Bernie Sanders!”

    “Casting one ballot for Jill Stein, right?”

    “Yeah, close enough!”

    Reply
  15. Carolinian

    The Red Baron–another interesting article from today’s Links.

    Michael Young, who died in 2002 at the age of eighty-six, saw what was happening. “Education has put its seal of approval on a minority,” he wrote, “and its seal of disapproval on the many who fail to shine from the time they are relegated to the bottom streams at the age of seven or before.” What should have been mechanisms of mobility had become fortresses of privilege. He saw an emerging cohort of mercantile meritocrats who

    can be insufferably smug, much more so than the people who knew they had achieved advancement not on their own merit but because they were, as somebody’s son or daughter, the beneficiaries of nepotism. The newcomers can actually believe they have morality on their side. So assured have the elite become that there is almost no block on the rewards they arrogate to themselves.

    The carapace of “merit,” Young argued, had only inoculated the winners from shame and reproach.

    The article says that Young coined the term “meritocracy” in 1958 and he seems to have been quite prescient–just as in the Orwell versus Huxley debate one increasingly picks Huxley whose future as a test tube engineered meritocracy of “alphas” and worker bee non intellectuals is closer to the mark than Orwell’s improbable warnings of a future 20th cent style fascism on steroids. Huxley thought a drugged and distracted society with a rigid class structure wouldn’t need a Big Brother.

    At any rate thanks for the link.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      Yes, thank you for posting the link. I read The Rise of Meritocracy many years ago when I was on my own climb from modest origins through the educational process. It took me a while to fully recognize its main lesson, however. Not only is the book politically relevant today (see Frank’s Listen Liberal — or any number of NC discussions), but it is personally meaningful for me. A nice review by Appiah, and in NYRB.– another source I now look at with extreme skepticism.

      I had heard of Young’s son, but did not realize the connection. As far as the fate of the Open University, very sad, but not surprising. It seems that every promising institution is eventually swallowed up in “the icy waters of egoistic calculation.”

      Reply
    1. Summer

      More people discover the housing market is cyclical.
      People think it’s great to treat housing as a speculative investment as long as it’s on the up side. Then if things head even slightly down they cry bloody murder.
      If you agreed that housing was fine and dandy as a speculative investment, this is the kind of crap that happens.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Most Chinese have never experienced a property value reversal. An additional complication is that financial repression has meant that ordinary Chinese with some assets have had little option but to use property as a form of savings and pension investment. This is why its a particular tinderbox in China – the government will do all it can to stop a major property drop.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          It’s pretty much the same scenario in the CANZ housing bubble, sure there have been regional bubbles in the past of little consequence, but nothing like what went down with this one.

          I’ve tried to convince a few Kiwi friends of the potential for a giant downswing, but they have nothing to compare it to locally as it’s the new normal and everybody won big by the virtue of merely owning a home for some time, so why mess with a good thing?

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Most Chinese have never experienced a property value reversal. An additional complication is that financial repression has meant that ordinary Chinese with some assets have had little option but to use property as a form of savings and pension investment. This is why its a particular tinderbox in China

          So imagine how the factory workers who can’t send money back to the village feel…. Xi may need a war. That would be bad.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            It would be particularly bad for the Taiwanese. If China needs a patriotic war to take peoples minds off their domestic troubles, Taiwan is target number 1.

            Reply
  16. Expat2uruguay

    The Brazil article urges the left and the liberal Elite to join forces against the fascists. I do not agree with this prescription. The liberal Elite do not make good partners for leftists, hasn’t this been shown already? I agree that The fight against fascism is facing a wake-up call moment, but that should lead the Left to reject the fake help of the liberal Elite. For that is the only serious Way Forward

    Reply
    1. todde

      google “Spartacus Uprising Germany” to see how good the Liberal Elite and leftists make as partners.

      it was the Socialist who had the Fascists kill the Communist in the streets of Germany

      Reply
    2. Harold

      Parliamentarian Adolphe Thiers ordered the massacre that ended the Paris Commune. Exact number of casualties hard to determine. In the thousands, certainly. (Determining the numbers of people killed in massacres is very fraught, Lenin thought 20,000 and said it showed the Bourgeoisie would stop at nothing, many modern historians put figure around six thousand. Still ….

      Reply
  17. Harry

    “More and more like Puerto Rico”.

    Lambert, I think you have nailed something important here. Decline isnt characterised by spontaneous collapse of the center till the very last stages. Collapse is a failure of resiliency – the inability to bounce back and repair damage.

    I remember reading about Rome’s aqueduct system. The system was built to last and was extremely resilient. So resilient in fact that long after the plumbing the public baths failed, the aquaducts were still bringing huge quantities of water to Rome. This resulted in low lying areas of the City becoming a swap as there was no system of drainage to deal with the water.

    As the western empire declined, the periphery was slowly abandoned reflecting the centers inability to maintain the infrastructure and defense. Peripheral areas like the UK was abandoned first – resulting in those who remained loyal to Rome in areas like Wales writing plaintiff letters begging for assistance in dealing with barbarian invaders.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly dispersed” or whatever the exact quote is. But everybody who uses that phrase seems to be referring to supposed cutting edge iPhone X urbanites compared to backwards deplorables.

      But PR seems to be the future at this point. We’ll see how Michael sorts itself out. We know the racism has been sold (and is not untrue) as the problem with Puerto Rico, but I think we are going to discover that we just don’t have the resources to even fix up white people’s property.

      Ah well, we can always send an F35 up there (once the weather is completely clear) to waggle it’s wings at the newest set of proles. That’ll cheer them up.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > We’ll see how Michael sorts itself out

        Something to watch for, certainly. Not sure how Houston turned out.

        We can’t send an F-35, though. The whole fleet’s been grounded. Something about tubes.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, scraping an area with mo’ betta’ storms over and over . . . with less time between each storm than what it takes to fully repair the damage from the storm before . . . could certainly strain and deplete an area down to un-repairable and un-maintanable status, at least at the level of “complex civilization”.

        Perhaps an approach to survival in these mo’ betta’ storm zones would be to plan on surviving at a semi-peasant semi-subsistence level.

        My youngest brother was in the Peace Corps many years ago for a Three Year Stretch in Batanes Province, Phillipines. Batanes had long been in a “hurricane alley”. The traditional way to build houses there was with three-foot-thick stone walls and sacrificial grass-thatch roofs. The hurricanes blew away roof-after-cheap-replaceable-roof which would be replaced with another grass thatch roof. But the 3-foot-thick stone walls would stay undisturbed. His description made me think that Batanes might be one of these ” Fourth World” peasant subsistence paradise areas. There was no hunger on Batanes as far as he could tell. But there was not a lot of “things to do” for young people seeking excitement. There was a problem with young people leaving Batanes and seeking excitement and advancement in Manila and other urban centers. How many of them ended up in the poverty slums? “Always room to start at the bottom and stay there”.

        Perhaps an option for people hoping to survive the near-term/mid-term future would be to seek to create ” their own private Batanes . . . Sardinia . . . Pitcairn Island . . .” Perhaps enough peasant-minded people could cluster up in one overlooked-periphery place as to create a whole ” Private Peasant Paradise” survival community together, accepting the unavoidable downside of shorter lifespan due to higher death rates from accidents, disease, etc. Those risks could be lowered and mitigated by accepting slower smaller lives of greater boredom in exchange for less disease and accident risk.

        Reply
  18. fresno dan

    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/903204#vp_2

    The patients were given 6 hours of training on diabetes and nutrition and specific instructions for fasting. They ate only dinner and consumed unlimited very low-calorie fluids on fasting days, and ate both lunch and dinner on nonfasting days. Low-carbohydrate meals were recommended when eating meals.
    ….
    He said he found the fasting “easy,” that his carbohydrate cravings had disappeared, and that his energy levels were higher.
    ==============================================
    I don’t know if I call just eating dinner “fasting.” I pretty much do that every day (my breakfast is coffee with a glass of milk to take my medicine). I still have to take some diabetic medicine, but the diet has reduced my cholesterol, triglycerides, and I’m about 15 pounds lighter. The big difference is the HUNGER that made me want to eat is gone – its like all the eating just….fed…. the desire to eat more.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its been a revelation to me to find that what we call ‘hunger’ is very often just carb cravings. I’ve been experimenting the last year with variations on time restricted eating, fasting, and keto diets to see what suits me. What surprised me most was how little I wanted to eat after fasting days. I’ve had to remind myself sometimes to eat. I’m on day 4 now of a 5 day fast and I feel fine, not hungry at all.

      I’d particularly recommend anyone to try reducing the number of meals to two a day, while reducing refined carbs and sugars. Its surprisingly easy once your body adjusts and so long as you make sure your food is very nutrition dense it does wonders for health and weight loss.

      Reply
      1. David

        Couldn’t agree more. I’d add that good results have been obtained by simply eating all of your meals in a period of ten hours. Thus, breakfast at 8 or 9, dinner at 6 or 7. Essentially, 14 hours without food counts as fasting, and has measurable positive effects. Even taking all your meals within a twelve hour period has been shown to be effective. The easiest way to do this (I do it frequently) is just not to have breakfast. You quickly find that hunger is largely psychological, and that if you don’t eat, your body will quickly forget that you haven’t eaten. I can’t claim the same dedication as PK – I seldom fast for more than 24 hours – but I would thoroughly recommend the process. In addition, cutting out sugars and refined carbohydrates, including bread and pasta, does wonders for your weight and general health, as well as combating inflammation.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I’ve found eating in a c.10 hour window to be surprisingly easy (after a bit of adjustment) and very effective. I just eat more for breakfast and lunch and stop eating (or drinking coffee or tea) after 5pm on work days. The research I’ve read indicates you just need to do it 5 days out of 7, so it doesn’t preclude going a bit wild with whatever you like on the weekend. I’m just experimenting now with longer fasting after reading up a bit on the subject – some researchers think there are definite benefits over shorter term fasting, but they probably apply more to people with existing health problems.

          The problem is though that there are lots of competing claims out there, many of them based on pretty good science. They don’t all work for everyone. So its useful to just try things out and see if they work for your own lifestyle/body.

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            David
            October 11, 2018 at 11:32 am
            &
            PlutoniumKun
            October 11, 2018 at 11:59 am

            Satiety is one of those things that doesn’t seem to get studied much because there isn’t a definitive correlate between any biochemical measurement and “hunger.”
            Yet, I couldn’t lose weight if I was hungry – the compulsion to eat is almost as powerful as the compulsion to breathe.
            At one time, the idea that cigarette companies manipulated nicotine was thought outlandish. Putting on my double Reynolds tinfoil neural protection shield, do processed and snack food manufactures understand how to decrease satiety….???

            Reply
            1. blennylips

              > do processed and snack food manufactures understand how to decrease satiety….???

              In a word, yes.
              In two words, bliss point.

              In way too many words:
              The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

              I first met Moskowitz on a crisp day in the spring of 2010 at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. As we talked, he made clear that while he has worked on numerous projects aimed at creating more healthful foods and insists the industry could be doing far more to curb obesity, he had no qualms about his own pioneering work on discovering what industry insiders now regularly refer to as “the bliss point” or any of the other systems that helped food companies create the greatest amount of crave. “There’s no moral issue for me,” he said. “I did the best science I could. I was struggling to survive and didn’t have the luxury of being a moral creature. As a researcher, I was ahead of my time.”

              This contradiction is known as “sensory-specific satiety.” In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.

              Reply
            2. David

              As you say, satiety doesn’t get studied much. But there has been a lot of work done on blood sugar levels, since the feeling of “hunger” that you get when these levels go down (really sugar cravings) is what most people experience when they feel hungry. A feeling of satiety can be produced by staying away from sugar (including fruit juice) and carbohydrates such as wheat which are rapidly metabolised and turned to sugar. This is why, after a standard western breakfast of coffee/tea with sugar and bread of some sort you feel “hungry” a few hours later. There’s a lot of expert advice now on what to eat (including slow-metabolising carbohydrates) that will keep you feeling “full” for longer. Whilst its true that appetite suppressants, or Very Low Calorie diets can make you lose weight, experts are a lot less sure than they were twenty years ago that calories, as such, really matter. After all, the body has no way of knowing how many calories it’s taking in. That’s a human invention. It seems to be possible to gain weight whilst reducing the number of calories you eat, and vice versa. In the end, it depends on what you eat and when, not how much. In general, the advice is to stay away from processed foods of any kind, not least because many of them contain sugar. If you eat something like a “fruit bar” (even organic) made from “healthy grains” with lots of dried fruit in it, you’re going to feel hungry again soon after.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                Thats a pretty good summary from my reading (as a non specialist). How our bodies process food is very complex, its far, far away from the ‘calories in, calories out’ model so many people talk about.

                Certainly the core of reducing excess eating is to cut down on simple carbs and sugars. I’ve always eaten reasonably healthy, but I was also a pasta fiend. I’ve found that by dramatically reducing those carbs (no need to be obsessive about it, but if you do eat them, eat with fibre) I’ve lots more energy and my concentration is much more level through the day. And i just don’t get nearly as many hunger cravings.

                Ultimately, its hard to beat Michael Pollen’s ‘eat food, mostly plants’ advice. Avoid all processed food when possible (even so-called ‘healthy’ snacks’), and centre your main meals on lots of nuts, beans, grains, vegetables and fruit. Occasionally fast. And thats really all you need to know.

                Reply
          2. el_tel

            Think a reply of mine was eaten by skynet…..suffice to say if you wanna classify yourself as v depressed and get an MAOI there are ones that are MAJOR appetite suppressants (like losing 25KG+ in 6 months to make yourself fitter and more energetic/productive than ever before in your life)….but big pharma who sells SSRIs/SNRIs (which make you fat generally) don’t like you to know that!

            Reply
  19. noonespecial

    Compensation blues

    Two articles from today’s bloomberg’s site that caught my eye.

    One prints this under the title: “Stable earnings are increasingly a thing of the past. Income swings are hard on everyone, but especially the poor.” A recognition of the not so rosy picture out there is provided by one of the concluding statements: “And it may also be useful to encourage the creation of new kinds of work contracts that offer more long-term stability.” Ya’ think?
    (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-10-11/american-anxiety-rises-with-bigger-swings-in-paychecks?srnd=premium)

    The second article is entitled: Stop Griping About Wall Street Compensation. The author wags his finger at those who criticize bankers’ incomes by stating: “So before we start vilifying bankers and bringing up old arguments about how they haven’t felt enough pain for contributing to the financial crisis, take a tour of the typical trading floor in Manhattan. What you’ll find is more gallows humor than animal spirits, primarily due to increased regulation and automation that has led to tremendous jobs cuts and downsizing over the last decade.” Oh, don’t cry for me Wall Street. You people choose and commit to demanding work schedules for handsome sums. And while the author speaks to the bailout (“…all the TARP money has been repaid and the banks are theoretically on their own…”), the article does not mention years of QE. Creative editorial that ignores years of socialism for rich bankers.
    (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-10-11/wall-street-pay-is-misunderstood?srnd=premium)

    In the second volume of Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”, the narrator of the story observes the following during his summer holiday at Balbec about the fishermen and tradesmen’s families who watch the luxurious life of the privileged from behind a glass wall: “whether the glass wall will always protect the banquets of these weird and wonderful creatures, or whether the obscure folk who watch them hungrily out of the night will not break in some day to gather them from their aquarium and devour them.” Of course 100 years after Proust’s novel, the US is a garrison state with all manner of protections for the monied class.

    Reply
  20. JohnnyGL

    Seems like Pope Francis is hitting back at the internal dissenters who want to induce his resignation?https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/11/salvadoran-priest-oscar-romero-saint-pope-francis-canonisation

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-election-poll/brazils-far-right-presidential-candidate-seen-winning-run-off-poll-idUSKCN1MK2UY
    Bolsonaro showing a big lead in polls. He’s ducking debates for now. I wonder if that might be helping/hurting him for the moment. I’m not sure which.

    Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    “Rising Inequality” Could Impact America’s AAA Credit Rating

    Never, ever going to happen. These agencies work for the government and downgrade countries sometimes not by their economic prospects but by whether they are in Washington’s good books or not. Want to know what would happen if Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s or the Fitch Group downgraded America’s credit rating? After a typical Trump rant, there would be FBI investigations into the affairs of the heads of those agencies. They would be called up before Senate Committees for public humiliation and berating. They would come under more intense scrutiny than after the 2007 crash. Maybe calls for “reform” if not sanctions. They would be literally be left swinging in the wind. Nope. Not going to happen. Ever!

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      you have described literally the only scenario I can imagine where there would be consequences for any of the ratings agencies’ actions

      it’s like 2007-2009 never even happened

      Reply
  22. perpetualWAR

    Okay, I couldn’t even finish reading the French Bulldog story. Not only was I horrified by the respiratory distress of the poor inbred pups, but the article lapses into an anecdote about a woman in WY who took not one, but two, dogs to Germany for state-of-the-art operation to open their airwaves.

    I have been a dog lover for all of my 56 years. I have owned my own dogs since I moved out at 17. However, I have always, always, always gotten mixed breed (mutts) rescues because not only do they NEED homes, but mutts have much better health.

    Yet, this woman takes two “pure” bred dogs to Germany for a state-of-the-art operation when most Americans cannot afford yearly checkups. There is something really wrong with our breed: the human.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      No kidding.

      I love doggies and kitties but don’t have any bc I’m on the go a lot and would not be a good pet owner.

      That said, the way people in the USA spend spend spend on their pets, but then don’t want to provide for their fellow/sister humans in dire need, is sickening to me.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s hard to say much there.

        Many people adores cats, but not humans much, for example.

        An antidote du jour feline picture brightens up the day, for many, but so far, not one single antidote du jour picture of the human animal, yet.

        Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “Losses from natural disasters have surged over last 20 years, U.N. says”

    So what would happen if there was ever a mega-disaster that there was no way that the insurance companies could ever cover for all the damage or losses. With the surging of disasters over the past twenty years, somebody must have given thought to this. Suppose it was a real colossal disaster. Suppose Japan sank!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeJ6Cftc-E8

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      Harvey, Maria, Florence, Michael, Sandy and so on are just the training exercises for the mega mess coming. We will finally understand our lack of capacity to deal with a mega mess when the Big One hits northern or southern CA (or both at once) or the Casscadia Subduction Zone breaks loose. I deploy with one of the disaster relief organizations regularly (just got back from North Carolina, did Houston, and undoubtedly will end up in FL/GA soon) and it has been a long time since we had the capability to actually fix the damage from these events. What we do is partially mitigate the immediate suffering and return as many folks back to a semblance of their former lives as is possible in the time between events. When the next one comes we move in mass to it and so on. Behind us there is permanent loss as there is no one with the resources to fix it. But most of this is hidden from the general public as the news media quickly moves on to the next ratings pumper and the previous events fade into the black. New Orleans was never rebuilt after Katrina, nor will Houston, PR, NC or FL/GA be fully rebuilt. When the West Coast goes, and it will, then there will be no hiding the true state of affairs.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        …and sorrows for those dispossessed, but as a Floridian who watches the weather like the rat watches the cobra, knowing that I might become one myself, isn’t it maybe better and more realistic that these places that are so very vulnerable do not get “rebuilt?” I’m sure the insurance companies prefer that, and they have a lot of say in political circles. And too bad that we miserable humans are unlikely to develop the resilience and decency and absorptive capacities in our political economies and personal selves to accommodate the dispossessed, to share and share alike and all that. Walls and guns are far more likely, and of course most here likely believe in their hearts that in fact there is “excess population,” though the big die-offs and losses are to be deplored… Most of us here, I would guess, of course not all and I include myself, are positioned to keep on with our lives and lifestyles up to a fairly high level of Cataclysm. After that? “Road Warrior,” or fade to black?

        Reply
  24. Summer

    Re: Losses from natural disasters over 20 yrs

    Reads more like a littany of human-related disasters than climate-related disasters.

    Reply
  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Continuing Dominance of the Dollar Capital Ebbs and Flows

    —-

    Some unique feature of our global monetary system, given the MMT fiat dollar as the reserve currency.

    1. It can access resources and products globally
    2. hyperinflation only when the global production network is severely damage, only just one country, even the issuing country, however big it is.
    3. the creatio ex nihilo money flows first through the elites (mostly on Wall Street), then other global elites, then Americans, and finally, sometimes, if ever, the mopes in the rest of the world (but only if they work hard).

    When faced with any financial chaos, the first reaction, for anyone in world, is to get more (dollar) money to shore up any problems, and that of course, means going to Washington DC and, without any discernible delay, New York, in a way like emperor Barbarossa going to meet the Pope.

    And the Dollar continues to dominate, in this system.

    Speaking of the Holy Romans, after the Romans left the stage, it was their (Romans’) culture that persisted, for close to two thousand years. Thus, in the Dark Ages, knowledge passed down via Latin. Their money survived, in some ways, too…but the coins were often and repeatedly debased. It did not do as well as Latin.

    Will people still be loving Hollywood movies and speaking American English in the most remote corners of the world, two, three hundred years after Global Warming?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The English Penny is merely an updated Roman Denarius, and from the 8th to 17th Century France, it was called a Denier. (not of the climate change type)

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          it’s going on 500 years now since Count Schlick came up with the idea of what is now called a Dollar.

          The name thaler was used as an abbreviation of Joachimsthaler, a coin type from the town of Joachimsthal in the Kingdom of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), where there were silver mines and the first such coins were minted in 1518. This original Bohemian thaler carried a lion, from the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bohemia, on its reverse side.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaler

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From silver to mostly paper, which is a more recent idea.

            Originally, paper money where paper was invented (China) was called fly-money, as in, its worth will fly away…and vanish.

            Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The first paper money was issued around 1,000 years ago.

                Almost twice the 500 year history of thaler.

                Reply
  26. tricia

    Our “public servants.”

    https://qz.com/1190595/the-typical-us-congress-member-is-12-times-richer-than-the-typical-american-household/

    I like the graph on their median net worth by party, where they become intertwined. Seems so symbolic.

    And I was so shocked by this: “…points to evidence that lawmakers use their position to enhance their wealth through influence peddling and privileged information to make better investments.”

    That’s before the revolving door…

    Reply
    1. How is it legal

      California sends 20 millionaires to Congress. Here’s what we know about their fortunes

      Thinking about that heart rending piece about the homeless San Jose [Silicon Valley] women linked above, six of those twenty millionaires, all Democrats, are located in and near San Francisco, and in Silicon Valley, two of the most stark areas of inequality and unsheltered homeless in the country:

      2. Dianne Feinstein $58.5 million minimum net worth
      4. Ro Khanna $27 million minimum net worth
      5. Nancy Pelosi $16 million minimum net worth
      7. Jackie Spiers $4.5 million minimum net worth
      12. Anna Eshoo $2 million minimum net worth
      17. Zoe Lofgren $1.6 million minimum net worth

      From 2016 disclosures. Clicking on each name at that link shows Rentiers among them (Vote Yes on Prop10!), some who didn’t report their home residences (and lord knows what else, such as Feinstein’s recent Facebook stock omission), and it’s not clear as to whether those who did used Market Value, or their property tax basis, so they’re likely far wealthier.

      As to the letter by the homeless women, it will be getting far worse as all of the just under retirement age renters find they can’t make enough to rent, due to age discrimination, yet insanely make too much to qualify for affordable Senior Housing; and even if they qualified, the waiting lists are around an average 5 years.

      The Fourth Estate must be totally aware of this nightmare, but they ignore it. They discuss housing for the homeless, while never discussing that the homeless in their 60’s will be increasing exponentially. I have nothing but contempt for the Fourth Estate, at this point.

      Reply
      1. How is this Legal

        oops “woman,” not “women” (under much duress currently, being horrifyingly abused by a hospital, of all entities). Although, given the historic female wage and job discrimination gap, particularly in Silicon Valley, the majority likely will be single, and divorced older women, who can never afford to retire unless they’re willing to be homeless for a while to qualify, and then wait five years to get into, senior housing.

        Reply
        1. How is it legal

          and yeah, elite females can’t be bothered with the nightmares and unwarranted, deadly horrors of their biological, FAR, FAR YOUNGER, peers.

          Dianne Feinstein
          Nancy Pelosi
          Jackie Speier (spelled it wrong above)
          Anna Eshoo
          Zoe Lofgren

          Reply
          1. gepay

            Jackie Speier was a Congressional Aide to Congressman Ryan. He was killed and she was seriously wounded when they were at the airport trying to leave after their visit to Jonestown. I imagine that a congressional aide was not a multi-millionaire. I don’t have the means to learn how she became relatively rich by being a Congresswoman. it would be interesting to learn the details.

            Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                Ouch! I don’t really know how you come up with so many zingers like that. I have always thought (and I mean this totally in a good way), that if wit was s***, you would never go for need of castor oil.

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  Lifted that one from somebody else eons ago, it’s a classic.

                  I find that if you torture the words enough, they’ll say anything…

                  …and i’m my very own Torquemada in that regard

                  The goods are odd, but odds are good they’ll cooperate

                  Reply
          2. polecat

            For these fine up$tanding fems, the glass ceiling is not a barrier — it is a place of sparkling and bright affluence, with never a care … whereas it’s the iron tent for their poverty stricken connedstituents.

            Reply
        2. crittermom

          What many don’t realize about senior housing is that once you’re in, it’s difficult to get out (financially).
          I’m experiencing this myself, having been forced into senior subsidized housing following my cancer diagnosis. (I could no longer reside where I did & go thru surgeries leaving me unable to continue to cut & split my own wood for the only heat source, in addition to the long stays near the cancer center which would’ve left the residence without any heat during those winter mths).

          When SS gave a COLA, our rent increased by exactly that amount so we saw none of it.

          I’m about to begin a part-time job & my rent will increase accordingly to take exactly one-third of everything I earn.

          It feels like I’m caught in a whirlpool, but I’ve always been a good swimmer so I refuse to drown here!

          Reply
          1. How is it legal

            If I ever win on a lottery ticket I infrequently buy, I’m going to attempt to find you, crittermom, and share abundantly. Facing homelessness myself, I – at least somewhat – feel your despair, and deserved outrage. I am so sorry, saddened, and outraged about your whirlpool.

            I recently discovered how criminally, Senior Housing can charge 30% of all Net Social Security and income – with no cap on it – to the point where two people (in my circumstance) who wanted to stay together (and also one person) can end up spending a criminal amount for a 300 square foot studio apartment. They can also possibly be nailed with $400 Mandatory Meal™ charges – $200 per person – even though they would prefer to buy and prepare their own food, and never paid $400 a month for meals between them.

            At the one Mandatory Meal™ place I visited, planning to get on the soon to open (oddly on a Sunday) waiting list (though ultimately opting out in despair, after the lies and omissions on the telephone, compared to the reality I was informed of after the 50 mile trip there; thanks for keeping an eye out predators, HUD™), the Mandatory Meals™ consist of a Continental Breakfast, no lunch, and a dinner menu which is most likely hostile to many medical issues one may have. The meals are served at very specific times – too bad if something comes up, and you’re even a few minutes late.

            And then there’s the applications for that Senior Housing. When one attempts to get on the five year waiting list (when, if ever, the waiting list ‘opens,’ Senior Housing scams are not required to tell you how many hundreds are on that waiting list) they’re required to compete with one another to fill out the applications handed out, as there is no tracking of who arrived first (at 4:30 AM, or earlier). The (many times unscrupulous) managers ask for very vital information (Social Security and bank account numbers) on those applications (the scrupulous ones will tell you don’t need to fill those numbers out until your name comes up on that five year waiting list), and offer no copies of the application you just signed – which, silly me, thought was illegal, but the US Government is amoral and lacking of any moral compass when it comes to human beings (particularly the vulnerable ones) having a roof over their head.

            A most horrid trap is, once you income qualify to get into a place, and attain an apartment, they inform you that you can make far more than you were able to make to income qualify; but if you do, they can legally take 30% of all of it, net of Healthcare premiums, no matter how insanely high the rent comes out to (as you’ve noted, crittermom). Generally, this is how these predators make their money – in both Family, and Senior, Housing.

            Thanks to our ghastly Fourth Estate, and equally ghastly Professional Politicians, barely anyone who might care – and just ‘doing okay’ – is aware of these horrors. Horrors which are surely approaching a century old; as to Family, and Senior, Housing. Horrors which are exponentially magnified via an utterly unspoken to, rampant age, and historic gender discrimination (99% of a the waiting line I waited in, were single females, I’d suggest an UsToo movement, if I thought it wouldn’t be usurped by the same amoral elite who abuse, monetize and degrade every, otherwise humane, outrage they can get their hands on).

            Reply
            1. crittermom

              You have MY sympathies!
              Tho’ I thought my many 40 hour weeks on the phone in search of an apt were stressful, what you’ve endured sounds much worse.

              While I remain very grateful for a decent roof over my head, I have no intention of allowing someone to hit ‘flush’ while I swim in this whirlpool. I don’t like taking two steps forward & one step back when trying to better this new life I find myself in.
              I’m always working/plotting on something better. Like millions of others, I remain in shock over my situation after owning a home all my life.

              I’m actually very fortunate, as I was able to find housing run by the Good Samaritan Society. The mgr is a decent guy & cares about the tenants.
              It’s actually a nice place for being assisted housing, as compared to photos & stories I’d seen regarding such in some other cities.

              However, I’m a senior but younger than most everyone who lives here (more than just chronologically), so it can be depressing when those around me no longer have dreams or aspirations & are content to live out a resigned life.

              For now, I try to tell myself I’ve landed here to help others as I’m in better physical shape than the rest.

              Last week one tenant left something cooking on the stove while she left with her daughter.
              I heard a fire alarm coming from the other wing & went to investigate.

              I found other tenants standing around acknowledging the alarm–but taking no action, so after pounding on her locked door & getting no response I bolted out a side door & ran around the back of the bldg to peer in her window.

              The kitchen was filling with smoke but no visible flames yet & she didn’t appear to be home (feared I’d see her lying on the floor) so I called the mgr at home.
              He arrived minutes later & opened her door, turned off the stove, & the two of us opened windows & entrance doors to clear the smoke.

              I’m still shaking my head at witnessing the other tenants just standing around, however…

              I’ve never heard of Mandatory Meals. Mandatory?!!! *gasp*
              Aw, hell no. (Meals on Wheels delivers to many here).

              I appreciate your concern for me (& right back at ya!) Thanks.

              If you haven’t already, may I suggest you check out your local Good Samaritan Society for housing?
              Same basic rules as HUD, but in my limited experience, they’re nicer to deal with & I’m not sure they show up on housing lists agencies supply you with so the competition may be less.

              PS-I can make up to $30,000 yr living here & currently my rent wouldn’t exceed $655, which is the market rate for an apt in this poor town (‘city’).
              More than that & I’d be forced out.

              Reply
              1. How is it legal

                Thanks for the sympathies, and the Good Samaritan Society reference! Unfortunately there aren’t any California locations, per this map, but the link may be useful to someone else.

                Re being younger in Senior Housing, I know what you mean, not in my wildest dreams did I expect to be looking for Senior Housing under retirement age, when I had an education and profession. It’s criminal, and insane, the Age Discrimination that’s ever increasing in the US. Horrifyingly, I even see it rampant at Hospitals. One would think something would be done to address it, if not for the humanity of it (which we can’t expect from an amoral political class), but the costs associated with impoverishing so many people before retirement age. The fact that so many Professional Politicians are over (many well over) retirement age, such as (finally retiring, only to be replaced with another populace betraying horror, Newsom) Governor Jerry Brown, born in 1938, and all of the 5 women noted above:

                Diane Feinstein, born 1933
                Nancy Pelosi, born 1940
                Anna Eshoo, born 1942
                Zoe Lofgren, born 1947
                Jackie Speier, born 1950

                makes it a damning betrayal and impoverishing of the populace. This is particularly so where I live, in Silicon Valley, where renters in most areas now far outweigh those who own the home they live in (but unfortunately the huge numbers of H-1B renters can’t vote on Proposition 10). Those in their late twenties are feeling like they’re in their fifties, teenagers are stressed to the max, and those older renters under retirement age are petrified by insane rent increases and being treated like they’re in their nineties.

                Worse, REITS, etcetera are tracking migrators (those who still have the resources to migrate) like insects, and jacking up rents everywhere they thought they were escaping to (e.g. Sacramento, Stockton, Las Vegas), I can’t even imagine, given how enormously expensive, stressful, and traumatizing moving is when it’s an escape move (which, so many times it is for renters), how it might feel to have made that move and then discover their new ‘home’ has rapidly become unaffordable.

                It sickened me when I did a search a few months back on the stress of moving, and saw way too many pieces implying that the age old wisdom that moving can be one of the most stressful events, was way overblown. Sickening articles with perfect timing as to more and more US residents becoming permanently transient.

                At any rate, crittermom, thanks again for the kindness, and the link. I wish you the very best, glad you’re hanging in.

                Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Malaysia too has decided to abolish the death penalty just today. That will be about 1,200 people that will be breathing a sigh of relief.

      Reply
  27. David

    Two brief comments on today’s Brexit bundle, since no-one else has yet sparked.
    I wouldn’t get too excited about the DUP bringing the government down. They can’t actually do that anyway: all they can do is formally tear up the arrangement and leave the Tories without a majority. This would not necessarily lead to a general election (we have had minority governments before, in the 1970s) and pretty much ever other party would have to combine with them to defeat the Tories on a confidence motion. I leave it to the Ireland experts to say whether the DUP really wants an election now, anyway.
    The other thing is that I think Barnier himself may be about to be sidelined, and so one should not exhaustively try to parse everything he says. He is, after all, a negotiator with a mandate, and as long as there seemed to be actual negotiations, he was the point man, left to get on with a job that few of the 27 took much interest in. Now that it’s obvious, as some of us have been saying for a while, that negotiations in the sense they were conceived in 2016 won’t happen, and that we are in crisis mode, his position necessarily becomes less important. The only two options now seem to be a major international crisis or a heroic piece of political fudging designed to prevent that crisis. Now that other EU nations are waking up to the potential impact of Brexit on them, especially if it all goes horribly wrong, I think the normal rules of politics are about to apply, and Barnier will be shifted sideways as some of the heavyweight EU members start to take a real interest.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I agree that its very unlikely the DUP would try to take the government down. They know well this could lead to an election which could deliver them a Corbyn government which, in their eyes would be a vision of hell. But having said that, they are not the smartest bunch and could be manipulated by other Brexiters into precipitating something if someone wants to make a move on May (I doubt this would happen, but its possible).

      I agree Barnier will become less important as ‘politics’ kicks in, although I wonder whether any EU leaders want to put their heads above the parapet on this. Barnier is a useful shield.

      Reply
  28. Wukchumni

    Outreach workers went tent to tent early Wednesday with offers of homeless services as the city launched a crackdown on encampments around a new shelter in downtown Los Angeles’ El Pueblo historic district.

    The city plans five-day-a-week cleanups and increased police presence in “special enforcement zones” around a network of 15 shelters it hopes to build by the middle of next year.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-tents-camps-lawsuits-20181010-story.html

    Homeless are essentially our ‘untouchables’ and how do you threaten people that have nothing other than an overly laden shopping cart-vis a vis law enforcement, and what’s with the maid service?

    Reply
  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China, Aiming to Borrow as Cheaply as Apple and Microsoft, Launches U.S. Dollar Debt Offering WSJ

    It could be good and it could be not so good.

    Better to buy in RMB.

    Reply
  30. tegnost

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/puget-sound-energy-asks-customers-to-conserve-power-after-canadian-natural-gas-pipeline-ruptures/

    in amongst a bafflegab of corporapologetics was this gem…
    “PSE asked its customers in a tweet Wednesday to lower their thermostats and limit the use of hot water. In addition to seeking out other energy sources, the company is trying to make up for the shortfall in natural-gas supplies by reducing consumption by 15 percent, Henderson said.”

    Apparently the only reason to reduce the thermostat is because they can’t get the gas to sell you

    Reply
  31. Synoia

    Humongous fungus’ is almost as big as the Mall of America

    Pales in comparison to the size and scope of Trump’s ego.

    Letter from Bernie

    Do we continue with a one-party, right-wing government in Washington led by a pathological liar with strong authoritarian tendencies?

    Obama’s back? Or is he discussing Clinton?

    Reply
  32. Oregoncharles

    “An unusual number of headlines falling under this rubric today” (Betteridge’s Law) The Wikipedia link equates it with Murphy’s Law, but Murphy is actually true, a confluence of entropy (things never get better, they only get worse) with the statistical definition of “possible:” by “possible,” we actually mean that given long enough, it WILL happen.

    Betteridge’s Law is just standard practice – it could perfectly well be the other way around, although the Law may reflect human psychology. And of course, there are exceptions, which Lambert occasionally highlights. There are no exceptions to Murphy’s Law, given long enough. And in the human case, not so long.

    Reply
  33. ewmayer

    Re. “Obama Had a Secret Plan in Case Trump Rejected 2016 Election Results | New York Magazine” — Funny how that whole “Mr. Trump, will you respect the election results?” MSM handwringing-fest worked out, isn’t it? Now that it’s “the good guys” not respecting the election results, it’s no problem, because hey, near-daily calls for impeachment and a Deep State coup are healthy in a functioning democracy, dontchaknow.

    Reply
  34. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: It’s Already Here — The PNAS paper “Hot House Earth” [http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2018/07/31/1810141115.full.pdf] seemed more speculative than most scientific papers. It built a useful framework for thinking about Climate Disruption but I’m not sure how much it added to the climate ‘debate’. [I thought Hansen’s papers made a case that 2ºC is a very dangerous ‘limit’ to target.] I found the following statements from PNAS HotHouse p. 5 especially disturbing:
    “… the Stabilized Earth pathway could be conceptualized as a regime of the Earth System in which humanity plays an active planetary stewardship role in maintaining a state intermediate between the glacial–interglacial limit cycle of the Late Quaternary and a Hothouse Earth. We emphasize that Stabilized Earth is not an intrinsic state of the Earth System but rather, one in which humanity commits to a pathway of ongoing management of its relationship with the rest of the Earth System.”
    The link article and the PNAS paper both suggest big changes to the way human society is organized are critical to a Stabilized Earth pathway. BUT there’s another scary conclusion easy to reach from words like ‘stewardship’ and ‘management’ when applied to the Earth’s climate — geoengineering is an alternative ‘solution’ that fits nicely within the present human society as it is currently ‘organized’. If the PNAS paper faithfully represents the current state of our knowledge about the operation of the Earth’s climate systems I believe any consideration of geoengineering — the third stage of the Neoliberal approach to Climate Disruption — is completely insane.

    The site realclimate.org has an interesting discussion of the recent IPCC report [http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/10/ipcc-special-report-on-1-5oc] including some observations on the constraints which limit giving a direct answer to the question: “Can we avoid going through 1.5ºC?” Comment 21 by Mike MacCracken: “What worries me much more than the exact temperature change is the potential equilibrium sea level rise. Drawing from paleoclimatic reconstructions, global sea level … at the Eemian, perhaps 1ºC over preindustrial for several thousand years, sea level was up 4-8 m or so… ” As the Futurama character Bender might put it: “We’re bone.”

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  35. Unna

    “Modern man is so confused.” Col. Chaiko from the movie White Knights (1985).

    And so is Paul Mason in this confusing New Statesman article. What is Paul saying and what exactly does he want? He’s upset with the spectre of Bolsonaro and who isn’t? Bolsonaro, whom he “dignifies” with the title fascist, rather than just calling him what he is, a simple authoritarian military thug in service to neoliberal plutocracy. To defend against Bolsonaro Paul seems to be in favour of a 21st century version of the 1930’s Popular Front when he cites that “beautiful friendship” between Rick Blaine and Captain Renault in the movie Casablanca:

    “In Casablanca, when the Spanish Civil War veteran Rick Blaine walks off into the fog to fight fascism with a former Vichy policeman, the entire choreography is that of the Popular Front.”

    In the France of today, wouldn’t that kind of Popular Front be an alliance between “Vichyist” Le Pen and leftist Rick Blaine style progressive Melenchon in order to preserve the French social system from the jackbooted invaders of neoliberal market “totalitarianism” represented by Macron, who is, as we all know, actually a stooge of Major Strasser, I mean Mutti Merkel, to impose Teutonic political and economic “Herrshaft” over La Belle France and the rest of the contenent?

    Paul goes on: “But as we found in the 1930s, to have any kind of anti-fascist alliance with the liberal section of the business elite, there has to be one.” So going with the Casablanca narrative, doesn’t making an alliance with the business elite meant an alliance between Rick Blaine and night club owner Signor Ferrari, aka Sydney Greenstreet, who in a later incarnation now happily serves on the board of Goldman Sachs?

    “The problem is”, Paul says, “under stress, liberal centrism tends to lose its bearings, rapidly followed by losing its will to govern. Beyond Emanuel Macron, no politician of the centre has understood how to create a liberal populism, and even with Macron it is likely to end in tears.” “Liberal populism”? Is that a neologism or merely a conceptual oxymoron?

    And to bring everything back around full circle Paul states: “The left…has to decide (ie, get it’s mind right) which is the bigger enemy: neoliberal corporations or neofascist movements….For clarity, if Tommy Robinson and Gerard Batten are a real danger…I will make common cause with the board of Goldman Sachs against them, should the latter wish to join the struggle.” But are they the real danger and I bet he would join with GS. Paul’s specific recommendations: Media censorship, political unity of the radical centre, and more use of the intelligence and security services. So Paul Mason’s 21st Century Popular Front looks something like President Macron, John Brennan, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sydney Greenstreet, aka Goldman Sachs, all walking off together into the fog…and then what?

    But I want to know one thing, Paul, so who gets to shoot Major Strasser? In Paul Mason’s world, I bet you nobody. And that’s because Major Strasser is really big friends with Sidney Greenstreet, and now that Capt. Renault and Rick Blaine have left town, Strasser and Greenstreet get to divide up all the night club business in Casablanca between themselves, no competition. They promptly raise booze prices, and good luck to Sam in getting Sydney Greenstreet to honour that new employment contract Rick negotiated for him.

    My bet: Bolsonaro eventually gets hired anyway to keep the very unhappy residents Casablanca in line.

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  36. jjmacjohnson

    “literally every human being I met between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2017 asked me first if they should buy them.”

    What circles does Roubini live in?

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  37. Daryl

    > Commentary: How Khashoggi’s disappearance could change Middle East politics Reuters

    It seems unlikely to me that the international standing of a country that executes people for such crimes as being gay and atheist is likely to be much effected by killing a journalist.

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