Links 10/15/18

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9 things you might not know about South Australia’s corpse flower Government of South Australia (EM). With time-lapse video, although visuals are hardly the point.

Sears Goes Bankrupt, Mired in Debt and Deserted by Shoppers Yahoo News. The Bangor Mall Sears was absolutely the most depressing store I’ve ever been in, with a visibly demoralized staff. So much for the “anchor tenant.”

U.S. Households Are Overly Invested In Equities Econintersect. Big if true.

UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That. New York Magazine

Five graphics from Google show how carbon-intensive its data centers really are Ars Technica

Bitcoin must die Slugger O’Toole

Pension risk assessment standards on deck Pensions & Investments

The U.S. Needs to Crack Down on White-Collar Crime Bloomberg. Film at 11.

Angry management: The dark side of Santander’s new boss Financial News


DUP Brexit spokesman says no deal ‘probably inevitable’ Reuters

EU negotiators ignoring Belfast Agreement, says UUP leader Swann Belfast Telegraph

Who is Olly Robbins, the civil servant on whose shoulders Brexit deal rests? Sky News. Like FT Weekend’s earlier story on Robbins, this reads more like a beat sweetener than anything else.

Brexit triggers unlikely civil service renaissance The Mandarin

A false-alarm terrorist attack in London shows how emotion is conquering reality Quartz [musical interlude].

The New Face of the Eurozone Bailout Fund Der Spiegel. But there was a… snag.

Italy’s defiant budget challenges EU’s rule book FT

In Bavaria, Green Could Be King Foreign Policy

Merkel’s Bavarian ally suffers historic loss in state vote Handelsblatt

Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government ITV


Is This the Break With Saudi Arabia We’ve Been Waiting For? The American Conservative

US, European powers threaten Saudi crown prince after Khashoggi murder WSWS

Trump and the boy king: Mohammed bin Salman’s reign is over before it even began Middle East Eye

Reality Breaks Up a (Saudi) Prince Charming’s Media Narrative NYT. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” —Karl Rove

Breakingviews – Cox: Global finance has a Saudi Arabia problem Reuters

They tell jokes:

Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist The Hill. C’mon, Bernie. Who wants that?

Israel fines New Zealand women $18,000 for urging Lorde concert boycott Guardian


Desperate Chinese middle class take big risks to move money, and themselves, overseas South China Morning Post

The World According to China The Diplomat

China DataView: What is behind phone buying in smaller cities? FT

Chasing bees from Bengal to Chhattisgarh People’s Archive of Rural India

Trump Transition

Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, National Capital Region, Special Events and Demonstrations Comments close today.

From climate change to China to Kavanaugh, here’s what Trump told ‘60 Minutes’ MarketWatch

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America LRB. It’s not “Trump’s America,” any more than it was “Obama’s America,” or “Bush’s America,” or would have been “Clinton’s America.” How I hate that locution! Still, despite the headline, the article is worth a read. America is a busy place!

Stormy Daniels Didn’t Want to Be Anybody’s Hero “It was funnier when he wasn’t the president.” The Cut

Move over ‘grassy knoll,’ the Trump-Russia bank tale joins unproven conspiracies list John Solomon, The Hill

Senate Confirms 15 Judges for the Federal Bench Courthouse News. Details on those confirmed.

Little Rock’s dangerous and illegal drug war WaPo. As opposed to the safe and legal drug war.

Health Care

Death or Debt? National Estimates of Financial Toxicity in Persons with Newly-Diagnosed Cancer The American Journal of Medicine. “At year+4, financial insolvency extended to 38.2%, with several consistent socioeconomic, cancer-related, and clinical characteristics remaining significant predictors of complete asset depletion.” Once the organism is sucked dry, the parasite retracts its mandibles, discards the husk, moves on to the next warm body, and the cycle renews.

Cuba has a lung cancer vaccine. Many U.S. patients can’t get it without breaking the law USA Today. From January, still germane.

Imperial Collapse Watch

How saving the liberal world order became harder Wolfgang Münchau, FT. Once, it was unusual to see an FT columnist with their hair on fire, at least since the last crisis.

Unprotected Pro Publica

Maryland’s poor plan for public-prive [sic] partnership toll roads WaPo. Maybe WaPo could rescue some of the copy editors the Times heaved over the side.

Class Warfare

Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change GQ

Billionaire Bureaucrats Jacobin

White Women, Come Get Your People NYT

Stitches in time: The history of the world through the eye of a needle The Specator

Antidote du jour (via):

Leveling up my cat game: “This Photo Of A Cat Wearing Cookie Monster Pyjamas Was Accidentally Emailed Out By The US State Department“:

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.


  1. Wukchumni

    Israel fines New Zealand women $18,000 for urging Lorde concert boycott Guard
    …is that roughly equal to 30 pieces of silver?

    1. DonCoyote

      It remained unclear whether the claimants would be able to collect the cash. Legal experts said the judgement was not automatically enforceable under New Zealand law, and the chance of the women being compelled to pay damages was unlikely as they were not in Israel when they wrote the open letter and did not participate in the court process in any way…
      Our advice from New Zealand legal experts has been clear: Israel has no right to police the political opinions of people across the world,” the statement read.*

      *Warning: Israel does have the right to police the political opinions of people in the U.S.

        1. Wukchumni

          No, more like AIPACkage deal that confronts every candidate for office, take it or leave politics.

      1. Plenue

        The Israeli attempts to undermine BDS are pathetic. You can try to silence people calling for it, but in the end boycotting is a personal decision. Unless the IDF wants to send someone around to put a gun to my head, no one can force me to buy something made in Israel.

        And moves like this just draw attention to how ludicrous the Israel government is being. These are not the actions of a leadership that knows how to rationally respond.

      1. polecat

        I’d be quite embarrassed to be that cat ! No lifeform deserves such humiliating treatment ! …Now where did I put my cuteycat eye bleach …

    1. Lee

      I see murderous intent in that cat’s eyes. But that’s what I always see when gazing into the windows of any cat’s soul. Except for my own sweety calico, of course.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        <blockquoteI see murderous intent in that cat’s eyes

        Likewise. Someone may find an extremely messy hairball in their sheets.

    2. ambrit

      That link is not a mistake. It is part of the “Inside the Beltway Madame President Clique”‘s program to generate a “Furry Blue Wave” this November and in 2020.
      “You put Me in office! Then Me get all the cookies!”

  2. Robert Hahl

    What will Bitcoin’s electricity consumption be after all 21 million of them have been issued? That event will occur on a date certain within the next few years but I have never seen any analysis of it.

    1. a different chris

      Bitcoin seems to me like exactly what I would have believed when I was 12 years old and avidly reading Heinlein.

      (who still cranked out a good story for my age group regardless, btw)

      1. Procopius

        I really loved Glory Road. Still do. That’s the one where the Vietnam Vet hooks up with the Empress of the Universes and it turns out he’s really a Hero. I guess I must have been 30 when that one came out. Damn, gonna have to re-read that one. Maybe re-read Double Star, too.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Don’t forget ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ or ‘Tunnel in the Sky’ or maybe even ‘Farmer in the Sky’ – excellent stories all.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Bitcoin is three-quarters Chinese, this paper from Princeton outlines the risks of that:
      Bitcoin is already 10-year old tech, the next gen (directed acyclic graph, delegated proof-of-stake) require just a fraction of the electricity Bitcoin does.

      1. milesc

        Any level of geographical/jurisdictional concentration is a concern, but the headline stat (74%) relates to hash rate represented by mining *pools* administered in China, not miners in China. Most mining is thought to take place outside China nowadays (which, if you think about it, is in Chinese miners’ and pool admins’ best interests).

        DAGs and DPoS are not battle-tested. I look forward to seeing how they develop, and it’s great to see people experimenting and innovating, but I suspect the security trade-off will not be worth it; requiring “a fraction of the electricity Bitcoin does” should tell you all you need to know.

    3. milesc

      Nobody knows for sure. We can’t analyse it; we can only speculate.

      The last bitcoins will be mined in 2140, but long before that (2032) the block reward (the number of newly created bitcoins per block) will fall below 1 bitcoin. Transaction fees* will be the main (and eventually the only) incentive for miners to mine.

      *Note that fees are variable, not fixed. Electricity consumption is not tied to the *number* of Bitcoin transactions in any meaningful way (and that’s true without even considering transactions taking place “off chain” or on layers built atop Bitcoin).

      What we can say is that Bitcoin will continue to seek a rough equilibrium in terms of cost of mining vs income generated. Income, of course, is determined by the price or tradable value of each satoshi (a satoshi being, currently, the smallest unit of Bitcoin); *demand* for satoshis and the financial sovereignty they enable will determine total electricity consumption…

  3. Wukchumni

    Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, National Capital Region, Special Events and Demonstrations
    The NPS being so ensconced in Humordor always struck me as a little weird, as it’s nothing even close to what one of our National Parks is like in character and looks.

    If I got a dozen people (or say a gross…) together to protest something or another on top of Moro Rock or in Crescent Meadow or next to the Sherman Tree in Sequoia NP, people wouldn’t know what to think really, it’d be so out of kilter.

    There was so much legalize to read in the link, I think I tripped over my tongue a few times in trying to figure out what the lawyers were trying to hide in plain sight, but the gist is, you can bank on Zinke & Co. being behind it somehow.

    1. ChristopherJ

      Can’t even get to links, Wuk and Lambert…

      Saturday’s paper is untouched. Only got through a third of Macrobusiness.

      Sunday’s golf was way off. Yet, physically I am in the best shape of the last 15 years or so… Looking for answers and am exhausted from the search and what I’ve concluded.

      Meanwhile and over my way,

      Our interim PM Scott Morrison commented on the IPCC climate science the other week, but was unimpressed with calls that his government should do anything about climate change. There’ll be time to adapt, he said and there was still time to dig all he coal out of the ground before we need to think about sea walls, filters and stuff… /s

      We had a tornado in the rich ag region of SE QLD last week. Lifted homes and big sheds off foundations. Destroyed guava, pineapple, chicken and egg producers. We don’t do tornadoes. We have cyclones but not that far south and not at this time of year.

      This sort of outlier weather has caused big premium increases to get insurance against weather events. Happy to give to fire and theft, perhaps flood. You want abrupt climate change as well? How do you spell that?

      That tornado, your own hurricane season, the wildfires and heat waves – they all fit the definition of Abrupt Climate Change, eh?

      Pretty sure that is what has been dominating my thoughts of late. Not a fear, just a sadness. I hope my senses are wrong.


      Dragged best friend across 8 ks of undulating coastal rain forest on Saturday morning (and the local mountain – we run/climb/walk along the ridge). We’ve been training for months, but not the endurance bit. So bit sore, but the rewards far outweigh the pain and the daily run to maintain things. Your descriptions of nature and the land near you are an inspiration, mate.

      So are the personal stories and anecdotes from many, past and present

      1. HotFlash

        This sort of outlier weather has caused big premium increases to get insurance against weather events.

        This is a huge indicator, the ins co’s are the ones on the hook in the short(er) run, and they’re no fools. They might stay quiet (that is, no press releases), but these guys won’t be climate deniers if it costs them, which it will. I remember something about Zurich Reinsurance (the insurance companies insurer) from years back, thanks, I’m pretty sure, to Yves and Lambert.

        Anybody got more up to date info on what insurance companies are doing WRT climate change risk?

          1. Wukchumni

            Was talking to a couple of cabin owners in the NP that can’t get fire insurance coverage-and oh how they’ve tried, and one avenue of doing it is to combine your farm insurance along with it, but of course you need to have a farm to be able to pull that off.

      2. Wukchumni

        Thanks for the kind words…

        We had a rare sighting (as of late, we used to see them all the time) on the road coming down from Mineral King yesterday, as a bobcat streaked across the road in a hurry giving us but a couple seconds to digest it.

        A bobcat is a domestic cat that goes to the gym and works out, probably lifts weights too. They can be of medium dog size at their maximum, but usually a bit bigger than that moggie in your lap.

        The most distinctive thing is their jheri curls, gives em’ a badass look.

        We had a work weekend in our cabin community in the NP, and a couple of cabin owners related tales of bone bruises they endured in the past, one told of a 5 month, and another of a 9 month recovery time, so i’m going to be taking it easy for awhile, and it’s usually a time of year I lay fallow, so no biggie.

        1. ChristopherJ

          1/2 Yes, when I look to the other continents and see the vast range of truly deadly predators Aussies lucked out. No cats of any sort, go figure. No bears. No wolves.

          Being surrounded by water… that must’ve contributed…

          We did have the Tassie Tiger, but he was no cat and easy to catch and kill. The original settlers brought their UK methods with them, including sheep and other livestock and the sheep were much more valuable than the striped dog, so a bounty was put on his head and, by the turn of the century, the last remaining Tassie Tiger died in Hobart zoo. At least they stuffed him, so we can see what he looked like.

          We do have the salties, particularly up here, the freshies’ll give you a scare too, but they are smaller and more timid.

          Sharks? Yes, they can be a problem, but for most of us, we just have a bit of dip and are watchful, particularly up here. No surf (big reef out there), so not tempted to be out there with a wave board…and next big birthday has a 6 at the beginning, so there’s that, but it usually doesn’t stop me doing anything.

          We have the Dingo, one of whom was accused (77 or so) of taking a baby right out of a tent near Ayer’s Rock. Meryll Streep played Lindy Chamberlain in the film. Lindy was suspected from the outset of staging the disappearance of her baby Azaria. The story was simply huge and everyone had an opinion on it. The original trial found her guilty and she served time. Upon appeal, she was acquitted and, today, she is widely believed and the Dingo was the likely culprit.

    2. Pajarito

      Yes, too much legal to wade through, tho a few things stand out:

      Remove 24 hour “deemed granted” for demonstration applications. Now need minimum wait of 3 days. This clearly restricts demonstrations (over 25 people) responding to uncertain-timed events; say a court confirmation. And would put the demonstration out of the news cycle related.

      “10. Adopt Criteria for Reviewing Permit Applications”: Chief NPS law enforcement can nix permit for broad range of regulations related to safety, health and park resources. So trampling the grass with your demonstration is forbidden, trumps your first amendment right on public square.

      NPS determines if your application fits definition of demonstration or special event. If ‘aggrieved’ is motive, puts you into demonstration. What is to prevent an Alt-right rally from being an event, yet a counter-rally in opposition to it being judged a demonstration (grievance against nazis) and not approved. So NPS can set the agenda favorable to politics.

      There is much not to like, it seems. I bet the back-room drafting includes more than Zinke and co.

    1. fresno dan

      October 15, 2018 at 7:36 am
      thanks – I would have missed that
      If one repeated the exercise, what would one think of a dem pantheon?
      fresno dan’s maxim – every president in my life is getting worse and worse…

      1. The Rev Kev

        I wonder who would be in a Democrat version of the same poster? Or why those particular Republicans were chosen? One thing is for sure. You would never let the Democratic National Committee have a say in which Democrat Presidents were chosen for such a hypothetical print or F. D. Roosevelt would never have a seat at that table.

    2. Amateur Socialist

      I refuse to believe Ike would grin like that sitting next to anybody who calls Nazis “Very Fine People”

      1. Lemmy Caution

        If you check the transcript, you’ll find Trump never called Nazis very fine people. What he said was,

        “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

        This is a small part of a longer exchange beween reporters and Trump, but I chose it because it includes the part that the press rarely mentions — that Trump explicity condemned the Neo-Nazis and white nationalists segment of the protesters.

        1. TheScream

          If you check the transcript wyou will find that Trump DID call some of the Nazi, racist marchers “very fine people”.
          You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” Trump said.

          While you are free to look at nuances, I don’t think I will ever intentionally or willingly march with mullet-headed racists, KKK members and neo-nazis in support of, say, better parking at the local library or improved healthcare.

          The march was racist and disgusting. Attempts to claim that this was about preserving culture and art carry as much weight as the argument that the South fought to preserve states’s rights or their right to fry chicken or some other crap. Until the day after the South surrendered, they wrote and shout from the rooftops that they were defending their right to own slaves. When they lost, they immediately started rewriting their history in connivance with the carpetbaggers and the North, turning the Civil War into some obscure socio-economic conflict in which slavery was a minor issue.

          Trump liked the marchers because they are his voters and he thinks they are very fine people.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s like we have many other people in a bigger group (the whole USA), and it would be absolutely unfairly to have also treated them by lumping every American in there. It is tempting to do that, looking at the whole thing from another country, or another planet.

          In that latter case, the Martians could just assert ‘collective guilt’ on the whole human race.

    3. marym

      If Trump’a a “populist” and his supporters the “real America” , making fun of a bit of sentimental popular art would seem very odd. Actually, as a subscriber to neither of these characterizations, I still find it odd.

      Anyway, here are links to a similar painting of Dems, and an interview with the artist about the Trump painting.

      1. Wukchumni

        But isn’t the bottom line, that schlock along the lines of Thomas Kinkade is on the wall of the oval office?

        1. marym

          No. It’s just a way of mocking something lots of people enjoy. It’s particularly odd in a political commentary environment where arguments are often made about racism, misogyny, xenophobia not being a bottom line for this WH or its supporters, because that would be “virtue signaling,” not a class-based critique.

          At least those would-be bottom lines have some measure of a [possibly flawed] concern for equity and justice. Mocking ordinary popular art, home decor, personal style, or entertainment just seems like classism for its own sake. I’d save that for elements of popular culture that have a corrosive political agenda, like confederate/nazi insignia, or art that mixes US politics with christian dominionist themes, not stuff people just find pretty or amusing or having a touch of history.

  4. Darius

    The Unauthorized Disclosure podcast was playing material from 2016 and I was reminded that Trump said shockingly sane things during the Republican primaries. Including that the Saudis were parasites. Then he makes the Saud family the first people he visits after he’s inaugurated. Another bait and switch.

    1. Edward E

      All the world’s a stage. Saudi’s now own 100% of Motiva, the LARGEST refinery in the United States previously shared with Royal Dutch Shell if my sources are right.

  5. Amateur Socialist

    In other bitcoin related news Nouriel Roubini (aka Dr. Doom) takes on BTC in the guardian. He has also been dealing with a lot of HODLers on his Twitter feed.

  6. Unna

    Today there’s the NYT article, White Women Come get your People, yesterday there was that WaPo article that caused some discussion, but today there’s the Guardian article cited below about the Bolsonaro campaign. All of which reminded me of the following dialogue from the Godfather movie:

    Vito Corleone: My wife is crying upstairs.
    I hear cars coming to the house.
    Consigliere of mine,
    tell your Don what everyone
    seems to know.

    Tom Hagen: I didn’t tell Mama anything.
    I was about to come up and wake you
    and tell you.

    Vito Corleone: But you needed a drink first.

    Tom Hagen: Yeah.

    Vito Corleone: Well, now you’ve had your drink.

    Tom Hagen: They’re going to elect Bolsonaro in Brazil.
    And lot’s of women are voting for him.

    According to this Guardian article lot’s of women in Brazil are voting for Bolsonaro. According to the article, “The latest poll for the runoff election says he (Bolsonaro) has roughly 42% of the female electorate.”

    So now that we’ve all had our drink,maybe we ought to do some serious analysis about why this is happening. 53% of white women in America voted for Trump in 2016, about 42% overall. But according to Pew Research the percentage of women voting for Trump was merely typical of the percentage of women voting Republican the last few presidential elections.

    If you read the Guardian article, however, you’ll see how the Bolsonaro campaign is culturally targeting feminism. That seems to be something new and different. The election in Brazil is still more than a week away and anything can happen. But if Bolsonaro gets a large vote from women, given everything we know about him, after having a second drink,some sober analysis will need to be done. And a concrete strategy will have to be imagined. Simply having a third drink is not an option, and will merely be an indication of the same weakness shown by Tom Hagen in the movie

    Also, I note the new Republican election theme of “Mob-acracy” and “you can’t trust them with power” complete with video.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not really sure why people are surprised by these things. There seems a general assumption among the left of centre that women vote more progressively than men. In some situations this is true, but there are plenty of counterexamples. I can recall as a young student in Ireland in the 1980’s when there were (failed) attempts at constitutional amendments on abortion and divorce to liberalised the law I was pouring over some polling data with a few others involved in the campaigns. After doing this, the grim joke among us was that the best way to liberalise the Irish constitution was to ban women from voting (although the more recent polling data I’ve seen indicates that this may have reversed).

      You may be right that an overt anti-feminist message from mainstream politicians is a new thing (although I doubt you could say this about Trumps election), but you need only look at the very high female readership in the UK for such aggressively anti-feminist leaning newspapers like the Daily Mail and Daily Express that its nothing new or unusual. But then again, it depends on what you mean by ‘feminism’. From the interviews in that Guardian article it seems clear that at least some of those Bolsonaro supporters are successful, go-getting women – what they object to is an ideological identity warrior style of feminism. I can’t recall her name, but there is a very popular Canadian podcaster on youtube who promotes a sort of alt-right pro woman but anti feminist ideology. I’ve had several women I know refer to her approvingly.

      1. pjay

        Could it also be that progressives who are more secular tend to underestimate the social and cultural effects of religion (in this case both conservative and evangelical Christianity)? I don’t know enough about the specifics of the Brazilian case, but I know that we do this in discussing U.S. politics.

      2. a different chris

        Also are we making a mountain out of, well, the normal landscape contours?

        40% of people polled would vote for their own incarceration if the question was posed carefully. And even with a non-misleading phrasing, 40% of everybody votes weird. Remember Obama was considered a landslide winner over Romney and he did not get anywhere near 60%. Although I think our political prognosticators are mostly wack, in this particular instance they were right. Anything over 53% is quite a victory nowadays. That’s because we just have to ignore about 40% on each side, they are basically idiots who cancel each other out.

    2. Jessica

      The Brazilian election is primarily about class and race. So it is not surprising that many middle-class Brazilian women are supporting the candidate who promises to put the poor back in their place.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its certainly true to say (from my very distant view) that class and race are huge issues in the election – but the question is, why now? Bolsonaro has been around a long time as a fringe character, the sort who you get in most countries – someone extreme with a small but loud following but considered a bit of a joke among the majority. Why is he suddenly now able to get close to a majority of the population supporting him? The evangelicals certainly have a role in this, as has the self-immolation of the mainstream centre and right parties.

    3. Unna

      I am truly perplexed by this (Bolsonaro) thing – all of it . Didn’t Brazil elect a female socialist last time, and a male socialist before that?

      OK, for a bit of fun, I threw in the Godfather dialogue. At least within the artistic premises of a mythologized mafia Sicilian culture, the movie portrayed Tom Hagen, stricken by his brother’s murder, as needing to wallow in his drink to calm himself before he could tell his adopted father about the death. This was seen as weakness by Vito. Hagen should have immediately told his father and as Consigliere given advice: what happened, why it happened, and a recommendation as to what to do now. Hagen lost his nerve at a critical moment and so, even though he was smart and brave, he was no “War Time” Consigliere.

      The articles from the NYT and the WaPo seem to be similar to wallowing in a drink. Emotional, grieving, they lash out at men in general including their husbands and sons, other women who didn’t vote as they”should have” and so on. This alienates people and just makes things worse. The authors barely know what happened, except that it was “bad”, they have no idea why it happened, and can make no serious recommendations as to what to do now.

      Sometimes movie makers can be great creators of contemporary Myth. In time of crisis, we need opinion makers and politicians who are up to “War Time” standards of decision making. We should tolerate nothing less. Myths reaffirm cultural truths.

      I don’t know whether or not this new twist of Republican demonizing the Dems as a “mob” will work next month, or Bolsonaro’s “KulturKampf” against what he portrays as feminism will work, but it does seem to be an ominous development. If it works, there will be a lot more of it coming down the road.

      1. kgw

        Perhaps it wasn’t Kissinger this time, but I’m almost sure the U.S. government has a hand in deep…

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Sears Goes Bankrupt, Mired in Debt and Deserted by Shoppers Yahoo News.

    The retailer, for years called Sears, Roebuck & Co. and famous for its massive catalog, boomed in the decades after World War II along with a growing middle class……

    Sears, which sold everything from Craftsman tools to Kenmore appliances, lost its footing in the 1980s with expansions into financial products such as banking, mortgages, insurance and credit cards. Walmart Inc. supplanted Sears as the biggest retailer in the early 1990s.

    I know it was just a “chain store,” but I can’t be the only one who sees Sears as a metaphor for or a mirror of this entire country–a respected, trusted, rock solid edifice until it “lost its footing” and slipped ignominiously away.

    “The Bangor Mall Sears was absolutely the most depressing store I’ve ever been in, with a visibly demoralized staff.”

    I’d say “demoralized” sums the situation up accurately.

    1. cnchal

      Hope springs eternal. They have stretched themselves so thin, Amazon might go poof with the next market meltdown.

      1. Whoa Molly!

        A tiny Sign that Amazon could go the way of Sears?

        Last two times I ordered from Amazon they *****d up the shipping.

        When I went to the Amazon site to correct the situation I was directed to a list of phone numbers for their ‘contracted carriers’ and various voice mail hell(s). In other words, ‘fix it yourself, mope’.

        I am making extra effort now to avoid any purchase there again.

        PS: Aint monopoly great!

    2. Stephen V.

      Julius Rosenwald (August 12, 1862 – January 6, 1932) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He is best known as a part-owner and leader of Sears, Roebuck and Company, and for establishing the Rosenwald Fund, which donated millions in matching funds to support the education of African American children in the rural South, as well as other philanthropic causes in the first half of the 20th century. He was also the principal founder and backer for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, to which he gave more than $5 million and served as President from 1927 to 1932.
      The above FROM WIKIPEDIA. He may not be *rolling in his grave* but Sears bk does sadden me.

    3. flora

      Sears didn’t die, it was killed by a lousy CEO. He last year blamed ‘the media for Sears’ performance (*1). This year swell-guy CEO Eddie Lampert is blaming Sears retirees and their pensions for the financial problems. (*2)
      Right. Drain/loot the company to enrich yourself, then blame workers – and especially the retirees for the financial debacle. Declare bankruptcy. And now those Sears retirees’ pensions may go into default. Nice for Lampert to put in the digs to make it look like retirees “deserve” that fate while he’s on his very well-paid way out the door. (insert unprintable words of your choice here.)


      *2 –

  8. diptherio

    Kill me now. From the “White Women” column in NYT:

    We’re talking about white women. The same 53 percent who put their racial privilege ahead of their second-class gender status in 2016 by voting to uphold a system that values only their whiteness, just as they have for decades.

    What astute and perceptive political analysis…[/sarc]

    1. Doug Hillman

      C’mon. ID politics is all the DP has left to distinguish itself from the gun-toting, racist, homophobic misogynists of the other Wall Street mass-murder party.

      Also from the article: “These are the kind of women who think that being falsely accused of rape is almost as bad as being raped.”

      What is the typical sentence for a rape conviction? And how common is sodomy-rape in prison?

    2. integer

      Here’s the World Socialist Web Site’s take on the article:

      The New York Times’ Alexis Grenell denounces white women for upholding the “patriarchy” WSWS

      Grenell is a journalist, a Democratic Party supporter and as a co-founder of Pythia Public Affairs, a public relations firm in New York, a consultant to politicians and corporations. That is, she is a political propagandist by trade and writes like one…

      Grenell, as noted above, is a Democrat, a highly paid consultant and a journalist—and an unabashed defender of wealth and privilege. In a New York Daily News opinion piece in June 2016 (“How Hillary Clinton earns men’s scorn: Women aren’t supposed to be brazen in pursuit of wealth”), for example, Grenell took Senator Bernie Sanders to task for repeatedly challenging “Hillary Clinton to release her Goldman Sachs transcripts, stirring intrigue about three speeches for which she earned a total of $675,000. Although Sanders’ point is that Clinton is too compromised to fairly regulate Wall Street, his unstated accusation is that she’s also rich and greedy.”

    3. Roger Smith

      ‘Democrat-Liberal’ Schemers: “Say! Which faction of the voting population can we abuse and jettison next, another one that we need in order to meet the one measure of legitimacy necessary to have power and influence? White Woman! Great thinking Steven, that is why it’s great to have unpaid interns like you. Alright boys run the headline, send out the mailers: “White Women, you are stupid and inept, racist and sexism enablers, vote for us, donate today!” Someone get Pelosi and Schumer on the phone.”

      1. Skip Intro

        Suburban Soccer Moms – Trump’s shock troops for the instantaneous fascism of Nov. 2016… and the Dem’s targeted voting demographic. Never underestimate the power of cognitive dissonance…

      2. Carey

        A two-fer (at least) from Dem elite perspective:

        -Divide the citizenry

        -Make certain that the party has no collective power to improve the 90%’s lives.

        What’s not to like? /s

    4. Whoa Molly!

      How the hell did we get to the place where Anyone who disagrees with the PTB of the DP is called (among other names):



      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Um because a substantive exposition of any actual policy positions would reveal that D’s are actually R’s in blackface? (Racist term used here solely for effect)

        And recall that for Dems, losing IS winning. You get to declaim about your bona fides with lots of sound and fury but nobody breaks your rice bowl.

        We don’t need a third party, we need a second one.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The question then being . . . do we get a second party by disinfecting, declintaminating and fumigating the Democratic Party of today . . . or do we try to grow a Second Party in the teeth of Establishment suppression of our efforts?

          There must be enough people who want a Second Party in this country that even if they divided in two, half wanting to conquer and occupy the DemParty and half wanting to start a new Party; there could be millions of people working for each of them. And whichever was more successful could attract more millions from the other Theory Action Group.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        You left out “Trump voter”, “right-wing conspiracist” and “Fox News addict”. Oh, and “idiot”. All of which I was called just this past weekend by people whose opinions I had the temerity to oppose. Apparently, the real sin these days is to have one’s own opinion, based on research and critical thinking, if said opinion differs from those of self-appointed experts.

        Interesting that the same person who declared the only problems we have in the US are racism, sexism and the willful denial of facts (their exact words) has no problem applying a word that’s a slur against the developmentally disabled. They also stated calling people names because they disagree with you isn’t what’s dividing the country.

        They also refused to answer my question: “How would you feel if someone called you an idiot because of your opinion?” Danced all around it then totally changed the topic. SOP.

        1. Whoa Molly!

          I am a 50 year straight D voter. These eejits have turned me off D completely.

          I have no idea who these people are, or where they came from. But they aint my people.

        2. TheScream

          I don’t think the problem is simply the right to an opinion. It is the right to an informed, intelligent opinion. Fox News channel, to use one of your examples, carries very little news. Fox is an entertainment and political advocacy channel first and foremost. It is sparse with facts, heavily biased, full of vitriol and not immune to dispensing outright lies and propaganda to push the right-wing agenda (feel free to pick a left-wing media provider and say the same things; it doesn’t justify Fox).
          Idiot, moron, dummy, fool, etc. all have at least two definitions so if we are going to quibble about vocabulary, then it’s a poor argument. I suspect that in thirty years we will be slinging all the PC expressions at each other as epithets and coming up with newer, more PC words for blindness, mental retardation, etc.
          If your opinions are researched and subject to critical thinking, then you are entitled to them assuming your research is valid and your thinking logical. The problem with partisan opinions is that they are rarely properly researched or logical. Of course, the partisan rarely recognizes this.
          I don’t like someone calling me an idiot for my opinion but it either means my opinion is ill-founded or that the person doing the name calling is an idiot, which makes his opinion of my opinion worthless.

  9. zagonostra

    Debt or Death? – “As large financial burdens have been found to adversely affect access to care and outcomes, the active development of approaches to mitigate these effects among already vulnerable groups remains of key importance.”

    A “key importance” to whom may I ask? This “organism” i.e., capitalism controlled by the “iron heel.” is functioning at optimal performance. But, it does not simply discard the “husks” it re-cycles them into prisons, mental institutions, leaving the ones with a heartbeat of life to the churches and other institutions that minister to the discarded.

    When those pompous Senator’s were officiating over the SCOTUS hearing, I don’t think you saw in their false face the capacity for seeing/feeling any sense of “key importance” over this issue; their myopic, self-interested, self-aggrandizing consciousness is limited to getting and maintaining power.

  10. fresno dan

    “The vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European but “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor” six to 10 generations ago, according to Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor who analyzed the results.
    despite my blue eyes and burning in the sun after about 45 seconds, absolutely critical to my lineage and of which I am extremely proud is my African ancestors….

    1. Louis Fyne

      Sen. Warren just opened the door to a troll war of tweets from outwardly European-descent GOPers with 1/16+ Hispanic-Native American, Native American, African DNA who’ll ask for their affirmative action/diversity benefits. And (comparatively 1/16 > 1/32 to 1/512) have a better claim as than Warren.

      Warren should’ve let gaffes lie and focus on real issues.

      just bein’ a realist and disappointed how elected Democrats are constantly distracted from the issues by stupid non-sense like Warren’s DNA.

    2. Roger Smith

      This means she could be 1/32nd Native American, or just 1/512th Native American if the ancestor is 10 generations back, Bustamante said.

      Well if that isn’t some hard evidence I don’t know what is! Man, that old coot Trump sure looks like a fool now!

      “Trump can say whatever he wants about me, but mocking Native Americans or any group in order to try and get at me ― that’s not what America stands for…

      He is mocking your exploitation of the group, not the group.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How does that 1/1,024 ancestry percentage compare with the claim that Asians and Europeans have about 1%-2% Neanderthal DNA in them?

          1. Wukchumni

            I dunno, but to be a member of a local casino tribe raking in the dough, you need to be of 25% blood, but if you can fake the rest, you’re in like flynn.

          2. a different chris

            Don’t we all have 98% in common with chimpanzees, much to the chimps shame no doubt?

            This underlies the entire stupid premise of the Dem’s “identity” politics. If you make it about identity, then people who – at least believe :) – are white european descendants aren’t going to let go. If you tell everybody they are pretty much the same despite ancestry, then you can point to whoever is screwing them and get somewhere.

            1. Skip Intro

              This is all irrelevant. Race, gender, sexual orientation… they are all what you feel. Ask Rachel Dolezal or Caitlyn Jenner.

            2. fresno dan

              a different chris
              October 15, 2018 at 12:57 pm

              My great, great, great, and so on, grandfather was an orangutan of sterling character, and would have taken great umbrage at being equated with a human. As he was reputed to have shrieked and gesticulated, a mere 2% separates us from the savages, but therein, lies all the difference.

          3. TheScream

            I don’t seem to recall any politicians running around claiming Neanderthal heritage. I would think Trump would proudly claim 75% Neanderthal, but that’s just me.

        2. Lee

          Doesn’t this assume the unlikely possibility that her ancestral lines never crossed? It’s a pretty safe bet that most of us are descended from many pairs that themselves were not that distantly related. thus maintaining a higher percentage of any given genetic heritage. Also, given the “one drop of blood” hypothesis, even at 1/1024, she would certainly have quite a few drops of Native American blood. But the big question is, can she legitimately wear Native American garb for Halloween? I’m going as a grumpy old man. A disguise I wear 24/7 these days.

      1. EricT

        It’s the freaking John Kerry purple heart bs game plan that the republicans love to use. No substance, no policy, just adolescent bullying, that’s all you get from them. And I hate bullies just like I hate republicans.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Super-rich, known 100% white guy ‘mocks’ middle class political opponent for having used her (now documented) ancestry as a way to get into an Ivy League school. Despite the fact that his family money and east coast prep school training bought him a place at a similar institution (Penn), in a similar time period.

        Yeah. He didn’t mock Native Americans there. Her characterization was false. Annnndd………. the Pocahontas jibe is a scumbag one, irrespective of Warren’s history or her response. Her hackneyed, politically correct gamesmanship does not magically de-scumify Trump’s mouth, or his attitude.

        1. Wukchumni

          Lizzy Warren took attacks
          From an evil pompous lying hack
          And when she saw what he’d done
          She went and had a DNA test run

    3. apberusdisvet

      The legal justification for membership in one of the tribes operating casinos (and thus a share of the profits) is 1/16th or better. Nothing further removed would entitle anyone for the benefits. The 10 times grandfather, if true, of Liz Warren surely would not qualify.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Desperate Chinese middle class take big risks to move money, and themselves, overseas South China Morning Post

    In contrast, an increasing number of Chinese citizens are motivated by fear and frustration. Fear that their quality of life is deteriorating and frustration that there are so few investment opportunities at home. They want much of their money out of the country where they feel it will be “safe” and where they can find a less fraught life for themselves and their families.

    The biggest problem for these upper middle-class citizens is that the government severely restricts capital flows out of the country. Beijing wants money earned in China to stay in China to help fund further development, regardless of the financial consequences this might have for individuals.

    For years I’ve been saying that the first signs of a major reversal in China’s economic growth would be a sudden outflow from China – not of capital – but fairly wealthy people bailing to their investments in the US or Oz or London. My sense is that the upper orders in China keep a very close eye on the political wind and are acutely aware that in a crisis or reversal, the CCP will (as it has in the past) scapegoat some element of the better off levels of society if they feel it is necessary to strengthen their own position.

    The article isn’t about an outflow of the very rich – more the deep concerns of the ‘better than average’ who have won a bit of wealth but are deeply insecure. It does look as if those who don’t yet have their nestegg outside of China are beginning to panic a little. If they are trying hard to bail out, that strongly indicates that things in the Middle Kingdom may not be as rosy as they appear from outside.

      1. J7915

        Hyperinflation can have looong coattails. Germans still seem very alergic to carrying debt. Per a cousin in the old country, no cash, no buying unless it is very necessary. And she, like me is late 1940s age group.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hyperinflation is the closest thing to a jubilee you’ll see, yeah everybody’s debts get wiped out pretty much, but it also wipes out wealth.

            1. Wukchumni

              It wipes out money wealth.

              Go read “When Money Dies” in the link above…

              The ones that came out smelling like a rose in the Weimar hyperinflation were the farmers, whose wealth was in something other than Marks and when city people were hungry they’d trade pianos for food, etc., or read about Ernest Hemingway valiantly trying to spend 1 American Dollar in 1923 in the Fatherland with a coterie of chums, but he ends up with billions of Marks left over, after a day of wild spending.

              1. Duck1

                Oh please, get off your hobby horse. The rentenmark replaced one billion imperial mark in 23, and converted to the reich mark in 24. In general, people of property retained their property, no matter which mark.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How big is the Chinese middle class?

      50 million, out of 1.4 billion?

      That’d be about 3.5 to 4%.

      Can New York handle, say, 1/5 of that 50 million (for example)?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Multiply that by at least 10. Or at least, thats ‘middle class’ in terms of Chinese incomes. The figures I’ve seen indicate that around 5% of the population of China control the biggest chunk of the nations wealth – thats around 70 million. I recall seeing a figure that there are around 2 million ‘dollar millionaires’ in China.

        The complication with this of course is that most statistics are based on ‘official’ incomes. A huge chunk of wealth in China is not official, and is based on capital (i.e. property appreciation) rather than steady income. As one example, a Chinese family I know here in Dublin funded their move with a modest Shanghai apartment they recieved as public servants in the early 1990’s reforms, which then rose massively in value, allowing them to retire abroad on the proceeds. I also know at least one Chinese family in London that I would guess got their considerable income from corruption, and are officially not wealthy at all (but somehow seem to have afforded two large apartments in London for their daughter).

      2. JeffC

        Close to 10 years ago I read somewhere that it was already 300 billion, way more than the US has in its middle class. FWIW.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes the number cited 10 years ago was 300 million, the number cited today is 470 million. I was in Beijing a month ago and can report that yes, it seems there is an unbelievably large cohort that a generation ago was sleeping on the mud floor next to the pig but now own a car and a TV.

  12. Amfortas the hippie

    on the Cancer causes financial ruin study:
    Wife has no insurance.
    Every year, at the start of the school year, school sends a large pile of paperwork, from which we are supposed to choose our coverage.
    I’m a frelling genius…and I can’t make heads or tails out of the great majority of it.
    There’s nobody at the school or elsewhere to help wade through the jargon(Rick Perry made “Navigators” all but illegal in Texas).
    Near as I could tell, even minor “coverage” would take half her check…so not doable.
    especially considering that I could find no clear assurances that anything at all would be “covered”.
    So now we’re a month into Stage 4 Colon Cancer diagnosis…3 weeks in the hospital to divert her gut, avoiding potential rupture and sepsis…before we even get to trying to treat the actual cancer(tomorrow, inpatient, 130 miles away)
    I haven’t got the bill from the hospital yet…but anecdotal insights say that I can expect a third of a million bucks.
    Medicaid/Disability is in process…since there’s no choice.
    My own experience with that makes me cynical and pessimistic….those systems are designed to discourage, preemptively deny, and keep you desperate and on tenterhooks.
    The only silver lining…which in itself is a remarkable testament to the cruel ridiculousness of American Healthcare…is that we don’t technically own anything besides my beat up truck and a full of holes trailer house.
    House and other car belong to my mom.
    Wandering around the hospital on smoke breaks for 3 weeks…observing the other humans there for various tragedies…I note their dress, their cars, etc.
    the conclusion arrived at from these observations gels with the percentage of Texans who don’t have meaningful health insurance.
    Inability to pay is baked into the system, it seems…and I don’t even know what it will mean to me to be a million dollars in debt.

    1. mrsyk

      Amfortas, So sorry to hear about your wife. I greatly enjoy your posts here at NC. My wife and I have been dealing with two cancer occurrences in our family (both of the “treatable” breast variety). Our main takeaway from these experiences is that the healthcare industry is designed to suck every dollar it can out of its patients.
      The world is a vampire….

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        just parts of it.
        most of the doctors, surgeons,and all of the nurses, aides and cleaning staff don’t give a damn that we have no money or insurance.
        Social Worker looks as if she’s gonna burst into tears at any moment…even when i observe her by herself across the cafeteria.
        I wouldn’t want her job, in Texas, for anything.
        There is great compassion evident everywhere down there at the hospital.
        I even rode the elevator with a few suits a few times…grasping my hand in that grandmotherly way of evengelicals…”I’ll PRAY for her…”
        It’s the System…whatever the hell that is…that is the problem and the Vampire.
        Bodiless, everywhere and nowhere.
        like some Nyarlothep crawling chaos come from Beyond, that we are all compelled to worship and sacrifice to.
        I doubt that this is what Zarathustra had in mind upon discovery of God’s corpse.

        1. mrsyk

          Agreed, good point and worth consideration. I haven’t yet lost hope in people as individuals, but the ability for us to exercise some control over our futures is another thing.

    2. JEHR

      No one on the earth should have to go through the cruelty of not having adequate, or any, health insurance. Health insurance is a human right and not having it is a crime against humanity on an individual basis.

    3. fresno dan

      Amfortas the hippie
      October 15, 2018 at 9:05 am
      There is nothing I can say or do, but I am heartbroken at your situation

    4. Janie

      I gathered something was seriously wrong, but I missed a couple of weeks of NC. I am so, so sorry to read of your situation. Yes, we live in the worst country in the developed/semi-developed world for health care. My heart goes out to you.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Thanks for that….to all of you.
        It matters to me.

        Meanwhile, I’m sitting in my living room at 2am….in the rain.
        Leaks galore!
        8” of torrential rain since Monday morning….on top of around 30 in the last month and a half.
        We won’t be able to leave our place to drive 130 miles to sanantone for first chemo experience( oncologist says a day late won’t matter)… because the dirt road is impassible.
        Im gonna need to redo the roof, if the rain ever stops( May, according to climate prediction center).
        So I’m up drinking coffee,toking,keeping the wood stoves going, and emptying pots and pans.
        And thinking about Job.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The World According to China”

    Personally I am not a fan of the way that China does things and I do have suspicions about how they would act as the premier power. However, I do respect what they have been able to accomplish the past half-century and I can see the drive to erase the humiliations that China was forced to endure from the mid-19th century on present in what they do. Trying to bottle this particular genie up along their coastline is no longer a possibility and instead of making a place for them at the international table, an effort is underway to sabotage their development and to keep them in an inferior position re the west. Yeah, not gunna happen. How about we reconsider this article by The Diplomat. By that, I mean let us rewrite this article with the following revised title to understand how China may actually see things so instead of the following-

    “The World According to China
    Understanding the world China seeks to create by 2049, when the PRC turns 100.

    You have this instead-

    “The World According to Washington DC
    Understanding the world Washington DC seeks to create by 2039, when the Washington Consensus turns 50.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Make a place for them at the international table…

      1. Does Beijing want the whole table?
      2. Does it give the impression it wants the whole table, even though it doesn’t?

      Life is full of challenging questions .

      Humiliations since the mid-19th century…

      Two schools of thought in Asia, known for patience and long term thinking:

      1. Erase them now.
      2. Be patient.

      Xi and his followers are of the first school.

      Others may think that Rome was not built in one day…and Hollywood movies are still very powerful…something the Democrats fail to acknowledge, as they seek to clobber troglodyte Republicans, instead of rooting out gender-sim in all movies, old and new.

      One day, when people, everywhere, can easily access Chinese made films about the Opium Wars, that is when you know.

      Today, good luck trying to find any movies about imperialist events in 19th century China – for example, about how Tsarist Russia got her port in Vladivostok, right there in the homeland of Manchu emperors who did not allow Han settlers in Manchuria until they realized the Russians and the Japanese might send in their own settlers.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Gotta look how the other side sees things. As an example, let us take the history of the United States. Just supposing that when the US was weak and divided back in the late 1850s and early 1860s that fleets from Britain, France and Spain had appeared off the American coastline and demanded that ports like Boston, Savannah and New Orleans be turned over to them as Treaty Ports.
        That this would have allowed these countries to set up their own facilities, enjoyed legal extraterritoriality rights, be able to station their own military forces there, etc or else these fleets would open fire and level those cities. And that eventually 80 ports in the United States became Treaty Ports until the US was able to get rid of them in the early 20th century after bitter struggles.
        Now you tell me how that would have affected the history of the United States after that point and what the foreign policy of the present US would look like. You gotta see how the other fella sees things.

    2. L

      Keep in mind how China “accomplished” what they did. American and European executives sought to keep their labor costs low and to undercut the working class. China offered itself up as a haven of cheap docile workers and thus the marriage was made. The Communists didn’t “accomplish” anything in a vacum they took advantage of neoliberalism. Now they are trying to bottle it up by “sinicizing” it to be more mercantilist.

      Having been to China multiple times I have to say that the article is spot on in some ways. The communist party does view total control as the mechanism for “peace” just as the emperors did before them. That worldview is reflected both in their messaging about OBOR and other events, and in their recent reorganization that put the United Front Work Department in charge of increasing parts of the country.

      Whether China can be bottled up, or whether their ambitions are thwarted by their own social and economic contradictions is another question.

      (e.g. the restored wall murals showing the people of the world gladly paying tribute to the emperor) and their more day to day propaganda (i.e. big production value films showing the chaos of the opium wars)

      If you look at what the Communists are investing in, it clearly points to that worldview. They have taken great pains to restore relics of their dominance including one mural I recall that showed the people of the world “gladly” giving tribute to the emperor

      1. Olga

        At least China – for all the skeptical reporting – does not plan to dominate the world through perpetual war. Give them that… (And it’s like folks forget that there is information war going on, as well.)

  14. s.n.

    Brian Whitaker on the Kashoggi murder:
    Oil, money and murder: Britain’s friends in the Gulf


    The political rhetoric surrounding this is increasingly absurd. While the EU is characterised as a dictatorship, the real dictators in the Gulf are characterised as friends. Last week, for instance, in the midst of the Khashoggi affair, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke of Britain’s “shared values” with Saudi Arabia – in contrast, presumably, to the nasty EU which his predecessor, Boris Johnson, has described as pursuing similar goals to Adolf Hitler.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they should work out a deal. The US can withhold military assistance in Yemen to “punish” Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia would give a token form of punishment to Trump but the real clincher is that it would give MBA a reason to call victory in Yemen and go home. The cost of that campaign must be a heavy load on the Saudi budget and this may be an opportune way to get out of the place. Won’t happen as Trump is already blaming mythical “rogue killers” to protect the Saudis which will sooner or later turn out to be Russian or Iranians.

  15. Roger Smith

    I got a text from Bernie’s… staff I guess (not a campaign anymore) yesterday afternoon informing me that he is coming to stump for Gretchen Whitmer, that is Gretchen “Blue Cross, Blue Shield” Whitmer, another insurance racket lackey who will make fixing healthcare worse. Um, yea no thanks. Sanders is a complete fool. How and why do people keep squaring these utterly tone deaf and straight antithetical decisions to justify this guy’s integrity? It was shameful to watch him squander the influence and momentum he had post primary 2016 but it is even more painful now watching the complete and utter regression of “progressive” politics (for lack of better terms) in the wake of that mistake.

    Related Reading:

    Blue Cross has given more cash to Whitmer than any MI gov candidate in past decade

    Blue Cross execs help Whitmer raise cash for gov run

    1. brook trout

      If I am not mistaken, Ms. Whitmer’s father was CEO of Michigan Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I too got the invite from Bernie’s office. No thanks. We in Michigan are faced with a governor’s race between a scion of the Dow fortune, Silver Spoon Schuette, and the aforementioned Ms. Whitmer. Joy of joys, the same old same old.

      1. Roger Smith

        I am watching the past debate right now (never heard about it) and it is incredible watching these two flounder to out shame the other. I am at a point now where an almost literal transcription would be.

        Schuette: Your friends are anti-semities!
        Whitmer: Nu-uh your friends are the real anti-semites!

        The debate as a whole is the two yelling at each other calmly while facing the camera and smiling. Very awkward.

    2. KB

      Yep, Bernie’s gone over to the dark side…Rep. Jayapal’s plans to rewrite HR 676 to match Bernie’s health care bill, and not to rewrite Bernie’s bill to match HR676..
      Kip Sullivan will be a speaker tomorrow night at HOPE’s (Health Care over Profit for Everyone) conference call to speak to the deficiency’s of Jayapal’s intentions, specifically, Section 611(b) in Bernie’s bill……he just keeps getting worse and worse..what the heck happened to him? or was it always going to be this way….

    3. oh

      IMNECTHO (In My Not Even Close to Humbe Opinion)
      After getting betrayed time and time again, I wonder if voters will ever learn not to trust any of the politician scum. People live in hope and they come up with excuses and alibis for the person they think will save the bad political situation in one fell swoop. After the massive about face by BO you’d think that they could begin to understand that “money talks and everything else walks”.

      1. blennylips

        Consent Factory cranked out a relevant goodie today:

        Please Remember Not to Vote!

        Look at the leading photo and tell me that is not good advice!

        I spent so much time publicly protesting, I felt I had to vote for McGovern in ’72 – first time I was eligible – never again I swore: it only encourages them and dirties me.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        Not as long as we live in a culture where superheroes always manage to save the world no matter how powerful and evil the enemy. We have been trained in the US to believe we are powerless as individuals, even when joined with others of like mind, because those in power are too entrenched and can never be ousted just by our efforts. We require a LEADER!!! who will swoop in on his white stallion and drive all the villains out.

        That was how the majority of those who came out for Sanders in the primary, unfortunately, wanted him to act. They cheered for him because they assumed once he was elected he’d do all the work and they could just go back to whatever they were doing before. I see the same mindset here, not just about Bernie but about every effort to change the status quo. If it can’t happen right now then clearly there’s no hope.

        Just out of curiosity, does HR 676 have the same level of financial analysis as the Sanders bill? I’m asking sincerely, since I’ve not done any in-depth research on it. And don’t tell me that MMT means the financial basis isn’t important. True as that may be, the bulk of the voting public still doesn’t understand MMT, which means they won’t be convinced we can afford universal health care unless they can see how it will be done.

        It’s human nature to believe that what’s painfully obvious to ourselves has to be so for everyone else. It’s also wrong. We have sixty years or more of misinformation and disinformation that has to be overcome, and in the meantime we need to get people who are at least halfway persuaded they can get by without corporate money elected. It’s ironic that so many people talk about how the Israeli lobby is so powerful then insist any real progressive would speak out against them, even if it meant losing what could be enough voters to let them win. And that doesn’t even consider how the corporate media are ready, willing and able to go for their throats at the least instigation.

        1. knowbuddhau

          Very well said, all of it. You’re 1st paragraph is the reason for my moniker.

          I also go by knowBoudicaU when the mood strikes. ;-}

  16. nv

    Regarding ‘the Khashoggi affair’, Juan Cole’s recent essay (also to be found at Truthdig), reviews the widely differing coverage in the Arab press, from Egypt to Lebanon to Iran. Worth the three minute read.

  17. jsn

    Bavaria’s Greens were instrumental in the moral posturing that rationalize bombing Yugoslavia to justify the previous re-annexation of Slovenia and Croatia to Catholic Europe.

    Hand in glove with the Vatican they stitched back another couple of principalities to HRE 2.0 (EU).

    See Diana Johnstone’s “Fools Crusade”: this was the prototype for R2P which has led to the Permanent War.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Israel fines New Zealand women $18,000 for urging Lorde concert boycott”

    Right! If that’s the way that they want to play it. Then I intend taking Israel to an Australian Court. I want a fine of 47,000 Shekels paid on the grounds that every time that I sit down to watch the news on the TV, I am forced to endure watching the latest batch of killing and maiming inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli’s ‘Butterfly’ exploding bullets. This is causing injury to my “meditative welfare” and I demand compensation for that in return. I am sure that an Australian Court would have exactly the same amount of jurisdiction in Israel as an Israeli Court would have in New Zealand. After all, what is 16,281 kilometers between friends?

  19. AdamCoppola

    Sears by my old stomping grounds was two floors and never staffed more than two people at a time. If you need help, good luck finding anyone. A buddy of mine would walk in, grab what he came for, and walk out without seeing another human. He thought it was radical; I thought it was progressive at best. It helped he was white and of nonthreatening posture.

  20. TheScream

    re: Kashoggi
    According to Captain Bonespurs, it could have been “rogue killers”. Does that mean illegal Mexican immigrants are sneaking into Turkey? Or was Trump watching a nature program about rogue waves and thought “rogue” sounded cool. Maybe he meant the black teens who did NOT attack Trisha Meili in Central Park. Perhaps, given his recent comments, it was Mattis and other “Democrats” in the White House who did it. Or, finally, it was Sarah Palin who, after too many “real NY pizzas” with The Donald, finally did go rogue.
    One things for sure, it won’t, can’t be Saudi Arabia because Donald wants to build hotels there.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For a spy movie thriller, the plot would be rogue Saudi intelligence agents plotting with the Deep State in the US, for the termination with extreme prejudice, in order to undermine the crown prince and Trump.

      I think that could be a blockbuster film.

      1. TheScream

        It’s gonna be a movie. All these things become movies. And whatever the movie version is will pass into posterity as the truth.

  21. Carolinian

    Trump on 60 Minutes debating the often boneheaded Lesley–TV star versus TV star

    When asked about NATO, Trump disputed Stahl’s statement that the organization has “kept the peace for 70 years.”[…]

    Trump appeared rambling and testy at times, and at one point, as he and Stahl sparred over his views on the media, the president ended the argument by saying: “In the meantime, I’m president — and you’re not.”

    Kind of sums it all up doesn’t it? It’s a reality show world and we’re just living in it but the press still hasn’t quite come to terms with the fact that the improbable Trump is, in fact, president.

    1. Louis Fyne

      >>When asked about NATO, Trump disputed Stahl’s statement that the organization has “kept the peace for 70 years.”

      I’m on board with Trump on that point, Nato should’ve been disbanded in the 90’s. Nato gave us the Libyan failed state.

      Says a lot that of Stahl + Fake News shilling for Nato. There’s your “liberal” press in all of its imperial kow-towing, identity politics glory.

      1. Steve H.

        I was on the steps of the Supreme Court for United States v. Nixon and asked Stahl how much money she made.

        That night, the local news had a chuckle about a girl asking a reporter how much they made. I was a long-haired 14-year old boy, I called the station and told them the real.

        They did not issue a correction. My first inkling of the verisimilitude of the msm.

  22. frosty zoom

    to surreal and beyond:

    rather fitting, it seems, that one of the most rational american voices offered to the outside world (if such a place exists!), is that of a “porn star”.

    “Trump was not the president, he was just an idiot at a golf tournament.”

  23. Geo

    U.S. Households Are Overly Invested In Equities Econintersect. Big if true.

    This one was out of my depth. As a borderline investment illiterate (still hoping to one day “invest” in health insurance and personal savings and my “retirement plan” is based on hopes and dreams so haven’t had any experience with a 401K or equities).

    If anyone feels in the mood to explain what makes this “big of true” I’m definitely curious to better understand because what little sense I could make of it seemed to impact many people I know… just didn’t grasp the potential problem(s) in a way I would be able to discuss at all.

    Thanks in advance for any kind soul willing to share their wisdom with this illiterate. :)

    1. rd

      What I find most fascinating about the various charts that get shown in these articles is that the charts look an awful lot like a balanced portfolio that only gets rebalanced every decade or so. If you portfolio is 60% stocks and the stock market drops 50%-60% and lo and behold, your portfolio is now only 30% stocks, which looks a lot like 2007-2009. As the stock market recovers, the stock percentage increases over time until it gets back to about 50%-60%.

      So, these charts showing that stocks are over-valued because households own 50%+ stocks may be reversing the correlation. Households end up down at 30% stocks at the lows because the stock market was over-valued and plunged.

      In the 1980s, it would have made sense for older investors to have less than 50% in stocks since bonds had double-digit yields and capital gains which is what the percentages in the charts show.

      I think the growth of 401ks and Target Date funds coupled with an aging population likely to hold less stocks will mean that we will see this pattern dampen a little bit because the TD funds will rebalance faster than the humans have historically done but the average stock holding will likely decline over the next decade or so as baby boomers age. As millenials make more money and get into their 40s, then the stock percentages will likely increase again as they will still be 20 years from retirement.

      The financial sector folks always focus on the investor behavior gap because that is what they can sell services to fix. However, many of the households’ biggest investing challenges are investing costs and lack of income growth that limits how much they can save and invest.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      Overinvested in equities means peeps have too many shares of stock and not enough bonds. this means a stock market correction (10% decline) or bear market (20% decline) will hammer them harder than if they had a more diversified portfolio. That is, more bonds, more treasuries, and less stock means a drop in the stock market won’t leave them destitute. Unlike all those who bet everything on the housing market rising forever. We all remember what happened to all those who were highly leveraged on their houses in 2008… Diversify, diversify, diversify. Fairly standard modern portfolio theory (although it has been 40 years since I took a portfolio theory course so I have no clue how “modern” my understanding is).

      With everyone investing in stocks, that means the price of stocks is perhaps higher than it would be in a less frothy market. I think this is debatable as too much cheap money and low taxes has corporations buying their own stock back to (a) drive up the price of the stocks so that (b) the executive’s stock options are worth more moola; executives giving themselves raises buy borrowing money (or through repatriated money if they get their way, again).

      1. a different chris

        Yeah but… (says the coward who backed well out of the stock market mid-last year)

        If the bond market grows 2%/yr, and the stock market grows 6%/yr for 5 years, how much can the stock market tank in the 6th year before it does any worse than even with the bond market? The answer is eye-opening.

        Doing a simply yearly compounding:
        (1+0.2)^5 = 1.10
        (1+0.6)^5 = 1.34

        And everybody would panic when the stock market falls 24%, but really…

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Good point. I, too, am out of stocks (Orangezilla has me terrified). Haven’t started burying ammo and gold coins in the back yard, though.

          Has your question been answered, Geo?

    3. DonCoyote

      Not an expert, not even a journeyman. But a little fodder for discussion:

      I am currently working for a company that uses TIAA-CREF for retirement. They have these funds that I think you are supposed to pick and stick with based on when you think you’ll retire. For example, I have some money in their Lifecycle-2030 fund, because someone (not me) thought I’d be retiring in 2030 or thereabouts.

      The 2030 fund is 2/3 stocks, 1/4 bonds. That seems pretty heavily weighted toward stocks. The 2020 fund (for people retiring in two or less years) is still 50% stocks, 44% bonds. (The 2040 fund is 84% stocks, 14.5% bonds). So they are definitely shifting the makeup–but I wonder if, as speculated, that rule was made when bonds were worth something, and fund managers have gone more stock-heavy because that’s where the money has been for a while now.

  24. nippersmom

    I just got an email invitation to a training webcast entitled “Overcoming Three Root Causes of Resistance to Change”. They list the causes as:
    * Thought-based resistance
    * Fear-based resistance
    * Capacity-based resistance

    This is a program geared towards people who work at academic institutions (although not necessarily academics), but I think they are missing one big cause– economically induced resistance.

    1. ambrit

      “Economically based resistance” describes present day political organizing, (or lack thereof) by Neoliberal Organizations.
      On another note, ‘economically based resistance’ could be seen to be a combination of factors One and Two.

    2. Louis Fyne

      It’s a feature not a bug.

      Economic-induced resistance = starve the beast……consume less, spend less, don’t go into debt to buy stuff unless you really have to.

      Academic institutions live/die on peddling their product to people who go into debt to buy it….no different than any other inspirational consumer goods company.

      just being cynical before my first cup.

  25. Tom Moody

    I’ve mentioned before that attributing the “we’re an empire now” quote to Rove is speculative.
    Ron Suskind said it was an “unnamed Administration official” (in the Bush II era). The Wikiquote page Lambert links to doesn’t list it as a Rove quote but further down the page it has a source saying it was “widely known” to be Rove. In other words, a rumor. Personally I’ve always thought it was Scooter “the aspens turn in clusters” Libby. It has the same note of high pretentiousness.

  26. Lee

    UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That. New York Magazine

    Now I’m wondering if 37.7652° N is too close to the equator, if 32 feet above sea level is high enough, and if the natural air conditioning provided to shoreline dwellers in the sf bay area will continue its moderating effect on temperatures. Even though I’m a bit old for the endeavor, the idea of pulling up stakes and moving to the woodsy north is becoming ever more appealing. Except for the fires, of course.

    1. Wukchumni

      Who can say really?

      Part of the reason we’re here, is historically that’s where the Native Americans lived for time immemorial, or for a few thousand years if you will.

      They endured 2 very lengthy droughts in that time span, one of them lasting over 2 centuries.

      Historically there were 2,000 Wukchumni, now there’s around 2,000 of us here.

      Not many places where the native population and current one held steady.

      1. Lee

        Well, with the collapse of what passes for civilization in this country, the indigenous peoples may get their land back, and wolves and grizzlies can repopulate their former ranges. As a wildlife fan, this is a pleasant thought, if one doesn’t take into account the horrors that would likely precede such an eventuality. How many of us would manage to survive the breakdown of our complex systems for delivering the material necessities? These systems now seem puny in light of the forces of nature we are presently unleashing upon ourselves.

        1. Wukchumni

          Without a doubt you are correct, all the indians had to worry about was all of white man’s diseases, not the breakdown of white man’s entitlement system.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sears Goes Bankrupt, Mired in Debt and Deserted by Shoppers Yahoo News. The Bangor Mall Sears was absolutely the most depressing store I’ve ever been in, with a visibly demoralized staff. So much for the “anchor tenant.”


    With stores like that, and with internet shopping, would the West have been able to lure East Germans to climb over the Berlin Wall and defeated the evil USSR back in the 80s?

    1. Wukchumni

      Last time we shopped @ Sears, we were buying a ping pong table for our nephews, and they had 5 different kinds, and I thought to myself, that’s a bit much, as if anybody really plays table tennis anymore. But that’s what they had for a niche market.

      The same thing with K-Mart. About 15 years ago my wife’s Big Corpse Co. had a bowling league and the only place I could find bowling shoes was @ K-mart, their niche market. Twas the oddest league you ever saw, full of engineers and so on. The league average was around 132, IQ points that is.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Speaking of bowling, the same ball is likely to knock down more pins, if, instead of 10, more pins are placed, say, 20 or 30.

        That’s similar to (or one of the reasons) how a same category hurricane can cause more damage today than say, 50 years ago – just more pins there.

  28. Steve Kachur

    Eisenhower’s CIA director Allen Dulles and his Secretary of State John Dulles helped several high ranking Nazis escape trial, elevating one, Reinhard Gehlen, to head of the west German security agency. They also imported a lot of other Nazis in Operation Paperclip. No US president after Ike did anything about this.

    1. Harold

      According to wikipedia, the reliance on Gehlen began much earlier than that: “In late 1945, at the start of the Cold War, the U.S. military (G-2 Intelligence) recruited him [Gehlen] to establish the Gehlen Organisation, an espionage network against the Soviet Union, which employed former military officers of the Wehrmacht and former members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD).”

      Gehlen had anticipated the German defeat and microfilmed all the military intelligence section of the Nazi General Staff holdings on the Soviet Union and had “placed the data in steel drum, and buried them in the Austrian Alps” before surrendering himself and his files to American Counter Intelligence officers. At that time the US had virtually no intelligence on the Soviets in its files. Thus Gehen came to play a disproportionate role in shaping US perceptions of Soviet military policy. According to historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, Reinhard Gehlen lived on the primacy of the Cold War and on the favor of those American and German governments which believed in the primacy of the Cold War.” The Truman administration used Gehlen’s exaggerated estimates of Soviet power and motives to justify allocating money for rearmament to congress. –Peter McGuire, Law and War: International Law & American History (2000, revised 2010) McGuire is the grandson of one of he judges in the Nuremberg Trials.

      1. Duck1

        For those making venn diagrams out there, Gehlen was a high level Army (Werhmacht) intelligence officer. SD was the security or intelligence subset of the SS, which was party organization. Interestingly it seems that Himmler, leader of SS, which included Gestapo, had the illusion that he would be the natural hire to be police chief of occupied Germany. Didn’t work out for him, but lesser stars still had a role in the dark recesses of post-war Europe.

  29. tokyodamage

    re: saudi arabia and turkey
    I’ve got a serious question this time:
    Were Turkey and Saudi Arabia beefing recently? What reasons would Erdogan have to lie?
    Because much as I want to see the House of Saud humiliated, I don’t trust Erdogan either!

    P.S. how long is it gonna take Saudi propaganda to go from “We’re the most civilized, futuristic, reform-minded country in the middle east!” to, “If MbS falls, 8 billion jihadis will be unleashed and the world will be plunged into chaos!” ? I’m betting inside of 2 months.

    1. jrkrideau

      Were Turkey and Saudi Arabia beefing recently?
      Yes. Turkey is supporting Qatar, and its military support may have been the only reason Saudi and the Emirates have not invaded.

      Saudi and the US have been supporting the Iraqi Kurds whom Turkey consider to be a branch of the Kurdish separatist in Turkey.

      Turkey is not all that enamoured of Iran but it is working with Iran & Russia to defeat the jihadis in Syria whom Saudi supports.

      So yes, there are a few beefs there.

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist The Hill. C’mon, Bernie. Who wants that?

    We should also get out of Syria, and various other places (for example, Okinawa, maybe).

    But how?

    If I recall correctly, Trump wanted out of Syria, but the generals said no.

    And what would Bernie (I have to bide my time) Sanders have done?

    1. a different chris

      That is jaw-dropping. If you killed a single 1%-ter journalist, omg. But if not, feel free to continue blowing up school buses full of nobody children.

      And I’m not even commenting on the fact that the single killing had at least the respect of face-to-face, instead of just some random missile carelessly launched in their direction.

      1. John k

        Kids dying in buses hasn’t been getting any traction. Surprisingly, murder in the consulate is. Bernie’s operating on the never waste a crisis theory.

    2. John k

      A much better job of getting better people running the agencies and departments, and the worst actors purged, before taking on the deep state.
      Recall trump spoke of massive changes, including friends w Russia and sending cia into the field, even before taking office.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That is the reason why it’s harder to actually get out of Syria or Yemen than to say we should exit those places.

        Getting one’s people, be they Sanders’ people or Trump replacing Rosenstein, Comey, career State Department employees, etc., can be thorny. You have to get senate confirmation.

        Can Sanders get generals who are confirmed by the senate who will go along when he says we should get out of Syria?

        1. John k

          Trump appointed Rosenstein in the first place… my premise is that Bernie would do a better job with team selection. Essentially, trump knew nobody in dc when he won… Bernie knows everybody.
          It’s not traditional to appoint generals to high civvy positions. Presidents usually gets their selections conformed, especially when first elected and in the honeymoon period. I expect Bernie to win big because 40% indies, with coattails, which will give him more power than most get. Maybe fireside chats will come back.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In Bavaria, Green Could Be King (Foreign Policy)


    1. ‘King’ is feudal
    2. Why not ‘Queen?’ Another strike…misogynist.

  32. Phemfrog

    Regarding the GQ article on ‘Billionaires’ being responsible for climate change, i have one thing to point out. When i first read the article, i felt relief that i could feel a bit less guilty about my consumer lifestyle, because it mostly wasn’t my fault. I could blame it on the billionaires! But then i read the report that the article is based on:

    If you read carefully, the top 100 companies on that list are all energy companies. The table on page 14 shows how much of their emissions are from their own industrial processes, and how many are from the use of their products. The total cumulative was ~634,000 GHG, but only 58,000 GHG (9%) comes directly from those companies. The other 91% of emissions comes from USE of their energy products. So really we are NOT free of blame, and we do need to use less.

    I’m not absolving the billionaires here, just pointing out that this article should not absolve you of any climate guilt you may have.

  33. pjay

    Re ‘Reality Breaks Up…’ (NYT)

    The hypocrisy condemned in the article is nothing new to NC readers, but I recommend it anyway for those needing their daily dose of outrage. Interesting to me: Morgan “war with Russia” Freeman at Murdoch’s Bel Air blowout for MBS (aka “Mister Bone Saw”). Also, maybe I missed it, but of all the hypocrites mentioned, I don’t think I saw the names of any of the NYTs “journalist” cheerleaders for MBS.

    1. Carolinian

      Louis B. Mayer made Andy Hardy movies about virginal small town love while running an active casting couch in his MGM office. The prob with H’wood as moral preacher has always been that their closet is full of skeletons. The Weinstein scandal makes the point.

    2. pjay

      Oops! I stand corrected. Regarding MBS’s brave decision to open theaters and allow women to drive:

      “I never dreamed I would see that — these are huge deals,’’ said The Times columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote a column praising Crown Prince Mohammad last year, but has also warned that his autocratic side would undercut his efforts if left unchecked.

      Tom did praise him, but he also warned us! If only we would have listened…

  34. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

    The piece on White-Collar crime quotes Sally Yates:

    “In 2015, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explained why prosecutors struggle to hold individuals accountable. ‘In modern corporations, where responsibility is often diffuse, it can be extremely difficult to identify the single person or group of people who possessed the knowledge or criminal intent necessary to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt,’ she said. ‘This is particularly true of high-level executives, who are often insulated from the day-to-day activity in which the misconduct occurs.'”

    I’m no expert, or scholar, but isn’t this what Sarbanes-Oxley was intended to address, at least in part?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are even more people in a government than in a corporation, and post WWII, even then, trials could be brought against, for example, people in the Imperial Japanese government.

    2. The Beeman

      in plain terms – we have a tough job and we aren’t up for the task at all – those corporate types are much too clever for us – we need something obviously illegal for us to get off our backsides and do something.

  35. Jessica

    About “Billionaire Bureaucrats” from Jacobin.
    TLDR: We are working our way toward the mother of all legitimacy crises.
    The state remains primarily the state of the directing class. It once had some autonomy from specific parts of the directing class to the extent that it represented the interests of that class as a whole, as distinct from the interests of specific parts of the class.
    However, the directing class having become obsolete, it no longer has any interest other than raw survival. Thus, there is no longer any coherent overall directing class interest (again, other than pure survival) to keep the fragments of the directing class in line. This can be seen in the contrast between FDR’s reforms to protect the long-term survival of the directing class versus Obama’s successful blocking of such reforms.
    This is why the state has been handed over more directly to control by specific fragments of the directing class. Those fragments use the state for the own specific plunder, even at the expense of the directing class as a whole.

  36. Wukchumni

    As treacherous and turbulent times cause trial & tribulation, nothing trains you for it in a fashion as being a long suffering Bills fan. We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the usual method yesterday, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. Edward E

      What’s the difference between a Buffalo Bills fan and a razorback hawg? The razorback hawg will stop squealing after awhile ?❄❄❄❄❄ the phone company wants to change the area code to 2&14

      1. Wukchumni

        “Nathan Peterman added another deep, dismal, ignominious layer to his legend of Buffalo Bills infamy on Sunday.

        Bills leadership keeps giving the NFL interception machine chances to disappoint, and damned if he doesn’t do it, every single time.

        No player this century, or perhaps even in Bills history, has jammed so many daggers into the souls of the team’s fans with so few opportunities. And that’s saying something”.

        Toronto Star

        1. Edward E

          Wonder how they’d do against college football’s version of the death star? I fell silly in love with a gorgeous ‘bama gal once.

  37. Edward E

    Here’s a little better video of a corpse flower. Some won’t bloom for more than ten years, reportedly even forty years and stay open 4 days. I don’t know about that, quite rare and interesting.
    Time-lapse video: Amorphophallus titanum 2014 bloom

  38. Cripes


    “economically induced resistance.”


    Or, as I tell my doctor when she complains about patients who smoke cigarettes or don’t take their pills or not compliant in some way, that poverty is the biggest comorbidity there is.

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