Links 10/23/18

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An Urban Ink Forager Explains How To Paint With All The Colors Of The Alley (David L)

This Weirdly Geometric Iceberg Is Freaking Us Out Gizmodo

In pictures: Rome suffers freak hailstorm and flooding BBC (David L)

Three ‘pretty big’ earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island Edmonton Journal

Oxygen-Rich Liquid Water May Exist on Mars Scientific American

Identifying the source of perytons at the Parkes radio telescope Chuck L: “Read the abstract. The findings are hilarious. Or maybe it’s just my weird sense of humor.”

Scientists have found new evidence that tiny pieces of plastic might be accumulating in your poop Business Insider (David L)

Your Poop Is Probably Full of Plastic Wired (Kevin W)


China seeks framework for November deal with Trump Asia Times

US sails gaily through Taiwan Straits MacroBusiness

Europe’s life insurers fall into the hands of private equity Financial Times


O2 postpones stock market float over Brexit fears, according to report Independent

The Guardian view on the Tories and Brexit: rage against the facts Guardian. I noticed that the hardcore Brexiteer BrexitCentral newsletter seemed rattled during the runup to the October European Council meeting, when it seemed a deal was nigh.

MPs slam ministers for having NO idea how much extra Britain could pay to the EU if it extended Brexit The Sun.

Brexit: Theresa May snubs Brussels over Irish border The Times. The Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney already said Ireland wan’t backing down.

UK will not renege on backstop commitment, says Bradley Irish Times

Back down on Brexit or face revolt, May warned The Times. European Research Group still not happy, but they make this threat so often that it’s getting old.

Brexit deal latest – Theresa May rules out so-called ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit after march through London and insists she WILL honour result of the EU referendum The Sun. Not a surprise.

Full text of Theresa May’s update to MPs on last week’s European Council BrexitCentral

Whitehall prepares to issue direct orders on no-deal Brexit Financial Times

Passing Brexit laws in time is ‘impossible job’ for parliament The Times

Oh, and I know there are already too many Brexit links, but both the ERG and Labour’s mayor of London Sadiq Khan, are talking to Barnier.

Survivor, starring Theresa May Politico

We were actually far more liberal than he is, says Victorian ghost child about Jacob Rees-Mogg Daily Mash

New Cold War

Russia Discusses Big Projects With Exxon As New Sanctions Loom OilPrice


Jamal Khashoggi: Erdogan to reveal ‘truth’ about murder DW

Trump ‘not satisfied’ after talk with Saudi leader MBS The Hill

Surveillance footage shows Saudi ‘body double’ in Khashoggi’s clothesafter he was killed, Turkish source says CNN (Bill B)

Khashoggi Drama – A Deal Is No Longer Possible – Erdogan Demands That MbS Goes Moon of Alabama

Assassins for Hire: US Citizens, Israelis, and Palestinians Kill for Money in Yemen Real News

Blaming Saudis for Corrupting Otherwise Human Rights–Loving US FAIR (UserFriendy)

The Army Ordered an Unvarnished History of the Iraq War-and Hasn’t Released It Wall Street Journal. Bill B: “They dropped the working title: Donald Rumsfeld’s Up in Smoke.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

This AI can search for people by height, gender, and clothing in surveillance videos The Next Web

Now Apps Can Track You Even After You Uninstall Them Bloomberg

China requires blockchain-based information service providers to register users using real names, censor postings and store user data South China Morning Post

Trump Transition

Trump Threatens to Cut Foreign Aid Over Migrant Caravan Wall Street Journal. Wow, you’d think Trump organized this.

Trump’s next ambassador to South Africa happens to be a Mar-a-Lago member ThinkProgress

New York witches aim hex at Supreme Court’s Brett Kavanaugh despite death threats Reuters (EM)

Majority of Republicans supports ‘Medicare for all,’ poll finds The Hill

Five Reasons Republicans Can Hold the House RealClearPolitics (UserFriendly)

Big Dem donors stick to sidelines as 2020 approaches The Hill

Midterms: Poorest states have Republican legislatures USA Today. UserFriendly: “Written by #200 on the Forbes list. My response.”

Explosive Device Found in Mailbox at George Soros’s Westchester County Home New York Times

Judge expected to overturn law that forced customers to pay for failed SC nuclear project Post and Courier

Patagonia Endorses Tester and Rosen Outside. GlennF:

From the article “The company’s current CEO, Rose Marcario, has said she’d like to see the outdoor industry become a political force like the NRA. “We cannot give up an inch of protected land on our watch”

A debate about central-bank independence is overdue – Upsetting the punchbowl Economist (UserFriendly)

The Secret Lives of Central Bankers New York Times (UserFriendly)

Tax Reform and U.S. Effective Profit Taxes: From Low to Lower Liberty Street Economics

Crisis Watch

Bait and Switch Simon Wren-Lewis, London Review of Books. On Adam Tooze’s book. Paywalled, but Lambert sent me the text. Very much worth a read.

Global Equities and Futures Hit by Another Selloff Bloomberg

Class Warfare

How conservatives are turning against one of their core economic principles: efficiency The Week

The Cult of the Form Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Patterns of trade and immigration in historical perspective VoxEU

Another Nonprofit Resists a Fair Labor Measure NonProfit Quarterly

Antidote du jour (John N):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Darius

    The cause of the Iraq War: fragile male egos manipulated by the oil and defense industries. Just like this administration.

    1. tangfwa

      Ok, they were right to delete my lazy, reactive comment telling you to shut up, but my point was that this kind of talk about “fragile male egos” obscures the existence and participation of women in reality. It also obscures materialist explanations which are at the heart of our reality.

    2. Adam Eran

      Iraq has the second largest proven reserves after Saudi Arabia. Greg Palast says the war was at the behest of the oil industry to keep the oil in the ground!… This is the same oil industry which would have several trillion dollars worth of stranded assets if Iraq started producing its cheaper-to-get oil.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Anyone have a link for the Greg Palast claim? Sounds like something I need to read. Makes too much sense (as much of what he reports does).

    1. a different chris

      It’s an Rethug chairwoman taking her book. It’s brazen crapola. But:

      Do notice the difference between the D’s, who are very likely heading towards a near-historic rout, “tamping down expectations” whereas the R’s are keeping a bold face just before probably getting the (family blog) kicked out of them. Winners don’t win all the time, but their attitude is that they do. Losers just lose, turning even the rare win into nothing at all.

      And on that note, after this quite likely rout, Pelosi is going to take everything we care about “off the table” and concentrate on Paygo for chrissakes. So it will all reverse again in 2020 because nobody cares about Paygo except for old-school Republicans of which there are like 10 left in the voting populace. Not 10%, but 10. Nancy and Chuckles Shumer make up 2 of them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have always wondered if projecting winning

        1. Makes your party voters complacent and stay home
        2. Attracts bandwagon voters

        And the same with the projection going the other way.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          I’m inclined to embrace #1. If you keep telling people the game is in the bag, how likely is it they’ll turn out to sit on those hard bleachers and cheer themselves hoarse? What I wonder is whether it’s done deliberately to achieve the goal of keeping people home. After all, you can then decry the loss and blame it on all those unpatriotic layabouts who didn’t vote. Win-win.

          1. RMO

            I see no reason for the Republicans to worry unduly – as a force in U.S. politics they’ve been pronounced dead more often than Jason Vorhees but they just keep coming back and doing more evil.

    1. Summer

      Re: Khoshoggi Drama…Moon of Alabama:
      “All this proves that the spy-craft of the Saudi assassination team was abysmal. All cellphone networks store records of each call. Any foreign official’s phone in Turkey is under surveillance of the country’s intelligence service. Only some throw-away phone with an anonymous prepaid card could have given some protection.”

      I haven’t heard of an operation this transparently bad sincs Watergate. But this is a far worse deed than Watergate.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Hillary on video in the situation room cackling over Qaddafi being anally bludgeoned to death in the streets. An entire country still in chaos. A country which once had free healthcare, free education through college, and a down payment on a house. (Now that’s what I call pay-go).

        That so-called poisoning of a expatriated Russian General and his daughter, who are still not allowed to be seen or heard in public.


        Obama nearly downed the President of Bolivia’s plane over Europe when he thought Assange might have been on it.

        Those old post 9-11 Anthrax tales.

        Disposing of the Honduran President thus turning the entire country into chaos.

        Yemen now.

        Based on lies, destroying Iraq and hanging Saddam after a kangaroo court. I saw the hanging video on youtube. Was up for several hours before google pulled it.

        1. Chromex

          I do not recall the name of the “american citizen”-how the press portrayed him- who walked through Pakistan pulling out his gun and murdering Pakistanis on the street in broad daylight ( IIRC he turned out to be a CIA contractor). However Obama wanted him back after the Pakistan Government had the temerity to jail him and Obama dickered with the Pakistanis until he got him back. Certainly should be added to the above list

      2. Barry

        I doubt Saudi Arabia needed good spy-craft before now. All of recent history told them they have carte blanche to do whatever they want.

        In fact, the impunity of it might have been part of the intended message, along with the cruelty.

        Like poor, poor Harvey Weinstein, how were they to know the rules would suddenly change?

  2. Steve H.

    > Identifying the source of perytons at the Parkes radio telescope Chuck L: “Read the abstract. The findings are hilarious. Or maybe it’s just my weird sense of humor.”

    Good science is hard to do. Things that are hard to do create weird humor. Or so it seems to me, but I live with a nurse.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Good science is hard to do,” all right. At CERN, the European Big Science project, a couple of Big Ego particle physicists were in a race to “discover” some evanescnt particle or other. Lots of funding and points to the winner. One of them kept having problems with his detector apparatus — strange electrical issues, odors, and other stuff. He had his team install a security camera to watch the area and caught the other physicist sneaking in and urinating on his setup. This was related to me by another lesser particle physicist with whom I crewed on the delivery of a sailboat from Hawaii to California in 1985 or so.

      Sarin and Zyklon-B and Roundup! ™ and stuff like that are I believe the products of “science,” which does not as a discipline have any normative drive that I can detect.

      1. Eureka Springs

        I turned down an offer to crew on a delivery, same route around that same time. Wouldn’t have been the Tchoupitoulas by any chance?

          1. Eureka Springs

            Nice. Tchoup was a 48. Had the pleasure of sailing it around the Bay for much of the next ten years though. Great times.

      2. zer0

        That’s crazy, but I guess at those levels they would be lol.

        Abstract, which has been around for a while, reminded me of the NASA thruster experiments, where NASA duplicated some profs experiments after he wrote a paper about electron thrust from some magnetic substance. Turns out, the ‘thrust’ was actually just from the magnetic field caused by a wire that spanned the vacuum chamber.

      3. blennylips

        > “science,” which does not as a discipline have any normative drive that I can detect.

        Au contraire, mon frère.

        profit, & personal enrichment

        One of many examples: Time and Navigation: offer a prize!
        Capitalism at its purest(?)

        Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There
        By Andrew Kenneth Johnston, Roger Connor, Carlene E. Stephens, Paul E. Ceruzzi

        Was that not the craze back then, to offer a munificent prize for techological solutions?

        Which came first, the scientist or the capitalist? Chicken & egg, cannot have one without the other seems to me, but I could be wrong.

  3. blennylips

    > Identifying the source of perytons at the Parkes radio telescope Chuck L: “Read the abstract. The findings are hilarious. Or maybe it’s just my weird sense of humor.”

    Or maybe you’ve been primed to find it funny cause you watched “The Dish (2000)”

    The Dish is a 2000 Australian film that tells a somewhat fictionalised story of the Parkes Observatory’s role in relaying live television of man’s first steps on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. It was the top grossing Australian film in Australia in 2000.

    In Parkes’s own words: The Parkes Observatory’s Support of the Apollo 11 Mission

    A generally warm & humorous movie. Yes, microwaves are involved but not ovens, even though the first countertop microwave oven was introduced in 1967 by Amana.

  4. Amit Chokshi

    Conservatives have never been about efficiency. They want to gorge on money but just want it to go to defense, ultra wealthy, and corporations with no strings, only ask to be pulled along on their coattails. Dems the same … my comment refers to The Week link.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the rhetorical focus on “efficiency” has always been a lace doiley covering unmitigated greed. There’s still a lingering awareness that greed is ugly, so it’s passed off as a necessary evil in service of the Market God.
      One must ignore numerous “externalities”…and have a laser focus on the Bottom Line(world without end).
      most of my go-to examples are in agriculture…like favoring egg factories, rather than smaller operations. the former lower unit cost(funny how economics is so rife with euphemism), and the ugly life of the chickens involved is seen as a necessary sacrifice to Moloch. With the latter…like me…happy chickens translate into superior eggs. But there’s no funding to empirically determine why this is so (anyone who’s enjoyed a Real Egg knows).
      Freidmann and his ilk did a great disservice to humanity, willfully mistaking the crayon map for the territory, and the Market for a holy mountain.

      1. polecat

        I can certainly vouch for delicious eggs .. from happy chickens, as we have both … well, for at least 7 months of the year (our hens need/get a rest and recharge during those short day-light winter stretches)…
        ‘Efficiently’ mass-produced eggs really suck for taste, once you’ve had a chichen friendly one !

      2. Procopius

        When I first heard about Pareto Efficiency I realized Economics is not a serious subject. If an economy in which no economic outcome can be changed without giving some party less, and some party more, is Pareto Efficient, then it must not be changed. However, every economy has that characteristic, so every economy is Pareto Efficient, so no economy should ever be changed.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          my epiphany was induced by the repeated insistence that there are rational actors, with perfect information, and that the existence of these creatures and their purported qualities could be counted upon as more reliable than chicken entrails.
          It just went downhill from there.

    2. flora

      My own definition of neoliberalism: officially sanctioned (if not explicitly legal) theft-by-deception by the richest financial institutions and players. If the TBTF banks steal thousands of homes in fraudulent foreclosures; if hedge fund owners or PE enrich themselves by destroying companies or looting pensions – no problems. The Fed and SEC might tut-tut, but no existing regulation will be enforced. If laws were broken the govt will look the other way. The excuse used is, “it’s too haaard to prosecute.” Shorter: neoliberalism is govt sanctioned theft by the big players.

      If, however, you or I fraudulently take property from another, it’s off to jail for us.

    3. zer0

      By efficiency, I assume these economists mean the theoretical, bullshit efficiency as observed by a few market metrics that are massaged by various formulas and factors (like the weather factor! new and improved!)

      Real efficiency comes into how vertically integrated a companies process is, how tight of a control they have, the ratio of waste to product, etc. Literally, light years more complex and meaningful.

      Have 20 families control a economy, horribly I might add, by adding layers of bureaucracy and policy to absolve them of any risk, isnt efficiency. Doesnt matter what the market metrics say.

  5. ape

    Finally, a logical answer from an economist on why Saudi’s are our friends, and Iranian are our enemies:

    The Saudis typically have recycled their petrodollar surpluses, investing them in American enterprises. As for the other major regional powers: Turkey doesn’t have the oil, and Iran, with its much larger population, is more likely to invest surplus revenue at home (and furthermore is afraid of confiscation, given its longstanding pariah status). Whether you like it or not, the Saudis are America’s natural business ally.

    In short — with the relatively small Saudi population and the tradition and capacity for exploitation in SA, the SA royalty are willing to royally fuck their people in exchange for personal power/money in the West. In Iran, the Shah couldn’t hold on, and for structural/cultural reasons, it’s almost impossible for lackeys at the level of the SA royalty to hold on long-term. It’s either mullahs or socialists for the Iranians, unless the West can place a totalitarian state there.

    The game actually makes sense — and someone (accidentally?) said it in Bloomberg. Invert a few sentences (pariah status -> confiscation, but reality is confiscation -> pariah status) and it’s the picture of clarity.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Patagonia Endorses Tester and Rosen Outside. GlennF:

    From the article “The company’s current CEO, Rose Marcario, has said she’d like to see the outdoor industry become a political force like the NRA. “We cannot give up an inch of protected land on our watch”

    Patagonia is a Private Benefit Corporation. Unfortunately, I think it would be very difficult for other forms of corporation to do this without huge shareholder/private equity blowback. This is, as Yves would no doubt say, a feature not a bug of the system.

    1. a different chris

      You are right in general, but notice this is a very, very specific threading of the needle. Their business, or at least it’s “aura”, depends on the availability of protected land. Tester is hardly Hillary Clinton in the eyes of the right-wing rabble.

      It’s been shown before that, for example, Ducks Unlimited is a bunch of old white guys that can vote very left (not so much for a given politician but very much so for voter initiatives on environmental protection).

    2. Wukchumni

      FD: I’ve been wearing Patagonia so long, some of my clothing was made in the USA, and i’m wearing a hooded Patagooch windbreaker made in Colombia about 20 years ago, as I type.

      Some has wear and tear from use, little rips that come with stories of how they came to be, the inner lining of a waterproof shell jacket giving up the ghost after 27 years, that sort of thing.

      Americans are widely divided over damn near everything, but when you show them photos of the great outdoors, most melt like butter on salted popcorn, they can’t help themselves to more.

      Aside from outdoor gear companies that sell you stuff you’ll only need to buy once and those companies that cater to their needs en route or coming back from car camping or a week in the back of beyond, there isn’t any money in the outdoors, really.

      This is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve noticed a great uptick of Millennials backpacking. I’d imagine they’re drawn to it in a fashion that repulses them from going golfing (their generation is the one that killed the game, or so the story goes) in that costs are negligible, once you have the gear. And also don’t discount that it’s the one place of unconnecitivity left pretty much.

      If you wanted to get young adults to vote your way, you have to appeal to something they like and here’s one thing that doesn’t involve manna all that much, and kudos to Patagonia for making the effort.

      1. Lee

        I have similarly long lasting clothing, mostly from REI and the like. I’ve got some Titanium brand T-shirts that I wear often and must be 20 years old now, a Patagonia jacket bought in 1994, and a Sierra Designs down sleeping bag made in 1968. I don’t use the latter anymore but my son does. It has required a bit of patching and refill over the years but it still serves. Stuff like this keeps my waning faith in humanity alive.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I’m lucky enough to live near a Patagonia outlet store (sadly, its turning into a regular priced store now). So I’m always rumaging through the baskets for myself and Christmas presents for family – its a standing joke in my family that due to me everyone has a favourite Patagonia jacket.

        Their kit really is outstanding – the quality of construction is excellent, it just lasts forever (it should of course, given how expensive it is). And its nice to know they are at least a little better than the other brands on ethical issues. I just wish they’d design waterproofs for Atlantic conditions – they design them under the assumption rain comes from the sky. Around here, rain comes from every angle at once.

        1. Savita

          Thanks for the comments about Patagonia. Not so big here in Australia.
          What do you think about Kathmandu brand? They, being from New Zealand, are well established here. I have found them to be quite boutique, overpriced, appealing to trendy travel fashion, and selling a lot of stuff as ‘essential’ that any veteran traveller knows is unnecessary. Aside from that they apparently do a lot of great stuff for the environment, and are very ethical in all the other ways it counts (Apart from fleecing customers on fleece)
          Quality of products is mostly good.

    3. Lynne

      Out here in the middle of South Dakota, the “outdoor industry” means guys driving around in pickups, drinking beer, and shooting out the windows at anything that moves, from plastic bags flapping in the wind to my dog. The response from the state and “conservation groups” to concerns from those of us who actually live here is that we just shouldn’t think we can go for walks during the last 4 months of every year.

      A few years ago, we were visiting while waiting for a jury to come back with a verdict, and federal agents and state cops laughed uproariously about my story of a guy driving down the road when the back window of his vehicle disappeared because some out-of-state “hunter” got so excited when he saw a deer that he didn’t notice a road in the background. One of the US Marshals commented with great condescension that you had to accept some tradeoffs if you wanted to live in the country. They didn’t think it was so funny when I told them that the road in the background was Interstate 90 and the driver was a tourist from Wisconsin, here to spend money.

      In my experience, all the “outdoor industry” cares about is $$$$$$$ for themselves. Meanwhile, the BLM does not maintain the land they already have.

    4. zer0

      Nothing like a polymer weaver to come out in support of environmentalism.

      History will look back and say “WTF was everyone thinking”.

      Patagonia only cares as much to improve their image. Like Al Gore. If they cared, they wouldnt be peddling their polymer science, made entirely, by oil byproducts mind you.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s next ambassador to South Africa happens to be a Mar-a-Lago member”

    Big deal! Obama made the “The Bold and The Beautiful” soapie producer Colleen Bell ambassador to Hungary back in 2014. To get the job as Ambassador, you just have to be a successful bundler for your political party or the like.
    Meanwhile, other countries have professionals as Ambassadors that have worked their way up through the system gaining both experience and contacts. That, for example, is how Russia got Sergey Lavrov ( as Foreign Minister.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      From the 1970s, when MAD Magazine ably filled the satirical niche now occupied by the Onion:

      Taffy was a rich man,
      Taffy was connected,
      Taffy gave a hundred grand
      To get his man elected

      Taffy’s now Ambassador
      And struts around with pride,
      Why don’t you give a hundred grand?
      Then you’ll be qualified!

    2. Procopius

      America has professional Foreign Service officers for countries that are considered important but not prestigious. We’ve had excellent ambassadors here in Thailand. I guess all the Richie Riches associate Thailand with Patpong Road and don’t want it enough to make the kind of donations that would be necessary. Lucky for us.

  8. Eudora Welty

    Considering this is fundraiser week (I’ve given twice so far), all this confusing news about the dead guy in Saudi Arabia/ Turkey reminds me that the impenetrability of the crisis with hurt children in Syria & pressure on Obama to do something militarily in 2012/13 is what led me to find NC .i recall that there were 300+ comments, and I kept excitedly refreshing to read more thoughts of the commentariat. Exactly what I was looking for!

    I’m so much more inforned than I was prior to finding this site. Thank you.

  9. Summer

    Re: The Cult of Form
    “If I have to work, and all of the employers want me to forfeit all of my rights as a condition of working, then unless I want to go without work I have to forfeit my rights.”

    That craving for slavery always rears its head.
    Greed is desparation, too, as cool as the greedy like to appear.

    1. ape

      Not starving is greed? Wanting to have a family is somehow a craving for slavery?

      The Cult of Form brings up a very serious and important question about the nature of freedom under unequal conditions. It seems very clear that libertarianism without equality is a false freedom just as much as egalitarianism without consent is a false freedom. I wouldn’t sneer at that.

      Yes — if I have to work, and most employers require me to “consent” to slavery, then unless I’m willing to surrender the basic conditions of a satisfying life and revert to a dangerous, unstable life on the margins, I must acquiesce to slavery.

      Or fight, I guess. But “they” have most of the weapons, and a whole lot of people who will fight for a meal. Let’s be realistic! Let’s start by facing reality instead of ideology!

      1. Summer

        I was talking about the desperation of the powerful with the demands.
        But so many are not used to thinking of the powerful as desperate, so I understand your confusion.

      2. Summer

        I’m referring to the powerful making the demands as desperate and greedy.
        But most people aren’t used to thinking of the powerful as desperate, so I understand your confusion.

      3. Barry

        I would suggest that libertarianism is not concerned with ‘freedom’, but with ‘liberty’. And ‘liberty’ is about property. As in: other people, especially the government, shouldn’t be able to take my stuff or tell me what to do with it.

        In this model, the amount of liberty you have (and deserve) is directly proportional to the amount of property you have. Of course wage-earners can get pushed around by employers: they come up short in the liberty ledger.

  10. marym

    fwiw on the organizing of the caravan and some history


    The caravan is largely made up of young men and women with children fleeing Central America’s violence, poverty and corruption. Most are from Honduras, but hundreds have also joined from El Salvador and Guatemala.

    …Unlike past caravans that were organized mostly in Mexico, this one started spontaneously in Honduras with about 160 people leaving from the gang-plagued city of San Pedro Sula.

    The caravan earlier this year shrank significantly as it moved through Mexico, and only a tiny fraction — about 200 of the 1,200 in the group — reached the California border.

    Also a Guardian fact check of some of the Russia!!Russia…er ISIS!!ISIS etc. claims from Fox-Trump.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, I’m sure it’s organic. Honduras is a mess. I’m just saying that Trump must be pleased as punch that this particular caravan gives him the opportunity to play Mr. Tough on Those Nasty Immigrants right before the midterms.

      1. Synoia

        With absolutely no discussion of the root cause of the mess in Honduras, which was not triggered by US “Election Interference.” /s

        1. JohnnyGL

          Here’s Cenk Uygur vs. Tucker Carlson….mostly debating/discussing immigration.

          Any debate about immigration/refugees/caravans HAS to get to the root of the issue as quickly as possible. Cenk’s (and Tucker’s) failure to do so means the debate was seriously lacking.

          A full discussion must bring in the history of the coup in 2009 and the repeated election rigging that’s happened since then. It’s been violently imposed martial law since then and the country’s had so much violence they’ve vaulted to the top of the world rankings in murder rate per capita.

          Without this context, the framing of both Uygur and Carlson is that America is a beacon of success in a sea of poverty, suffering and abject failure.

          That framing is wrong.

          America is actively CREATING that failure around itself as a matter of policy as a means of sucking all the wealth towards its elite.

          You want to fix the refugee/immigration problem? Impose sanctions on Honduras and cut off military/law enforcement assistance until they have free, fair elections and a legitimate government with a democratic mandate, higher min wages, and stop the state-sponsored and state-enabled violence that gets people running north in a desperate attempt to save their lives.

          1. a different chris

            I’m with you* except for the “impose sanctions” part? Unless you are talking about not allowing them to import caviar, imposing sanctions just means the bottom half of the population gets it in the shorts.

            *Well, I’m a little leery of us dictating “free fair elections” and all that to anybody at this point, also.

            1. wilroncanada

              Further re the caravan:
              I suspect, like Yves, that the caravan is mostly organic.
              But, I can’t be fully confident, because I would not be surprised at the Democrat Party, or wealthy supporters, hiring a hit-man type team of mercenaries to take control of a small caravan, massively increase its size, and get it to the US border just in time for the mid terms, and watch many hundreds being shot by hyped up border guards.
              I also can’t be fully confident because I would not be surprised at the Republican Party, or wealthy supporters, hiring a hit-man type team of mercenaries to take control of a small caravan, massively increase its size, and send it toward the US border just in time for political opportunism by Republican candidates, and especially creating a ’cause celebre’ for the President.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and other good and bad guys…

      It would be dereliction of duty on their part to not study how one wave after another can penetrate the southern US border, if not to do it themselves, at least to plan for their own defense, should the situation arises.

      Syrian refugees, for example, could choose to go to Russia in bigger numbers, and skip Germany.

      The poor, for another example, in Nepal or Myanmar could similarly decide it’s better to go to China.

      1. oh

        It’s not easy to go to China for the refugees, especially if they can’t speak the language. Even if they get in they’ll be found and arrested and jailed. There’s a sizable population of Korean people who have roots in China close to the North Korean border and the ones who come there and have no papers nor speak the language are soon found and taken care of.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The Cult of the Form”

    I checked online and found the following from an American law site-

    In all states, the age requirement to sign a contract is 18 years of age. A child under the age of 18 is considered a minor and is unable to sign a contract unless it is for essential items. Essential items include medicines, food, and medical services. Otherwise, the minor child must have a parent or guardian consent to the contract in order for it to be legally binding.

    I mention this because that article did not make that clear. And yet they had a 5 year-old sign that contract. If that so-called contract has effect in law, then American law is becoming seriously degraded.
    I remember reading an Australian article once and the writer said something that could apply to any country. He said that if you want to know how a country wants to treat it’s citizens, then see how that country treats those with the least protection such as illegal emigrants.

    1. a different chris

      This is unbelievable:

      “s unable to sign a contract unless it is for essential items. Essential items include medicines, food, and medical services. ”

      What kind of place – yeah, I know I live in it – would expect anybody in need, child or otherwise, to have to sign a contract for food or medicine?

      1. hunkerdown

        A paralegal friend explained this to me long ago. The providers of those essential items are thus encouraged to provide them to the child, because parents/guardians could eventually be held to account for those charges.

      2. HotFlash

        This provision in law allowed minors to, for instance, charge groceries at the local store or rent a shelter. Not all minors have/had guardians, not all live/lived with their parents. Back in the old days, many minors had jobs and were financially responsible for themselves, perhaps for younger siblings, and even for their own spouses or children (the age of consent for marriage was pretty darned low in some states). This would also allow a widow or widower to send a child to the store, where credit was the rule — remember, cash-and-carry was an innovation of the 20th century and in many states women could not contract at all.

        That said, making a 5 year old sign a form that s/he does not understand, I would consider wrong on the face, but should also be illegal and voidable: Duress.

        1. Jean

          How about making an adult sign a hospital admission form with no prices on it to only receive a bill for $250,000 a few weeks later. If both parties are not privy to the details, the contract is void in most commercial law. How does “medicine” get away with it?

    2. zer0

      Ive signed rent agreements that had the most perverse legalise Ive yet recorded. Literally, almost everything up to ‘your next child is ours’ type of shit.

      None of it holds up in court. Imagine trying to explain to a judge why you told the contractee, sorry victim, to just sign on the dotted line and disregard the other 60 pages of 9pt font. I find software and app contracts to be the same: ultimately unfathomable to the average person. I know Google has tried immensely to shore up their user agreements and make them more readable. Still, my blood boils when I go download an app for work, and it says they need access to every single file and folder on my phone.

      I predict a lot more lawsuits surrounding contract law in the coming years, as more of the population will rent and software becomes more integral to our way of life.

      1. blennylips

        > sign on the dotted line and disregard the other 60 pages of 9pt font. I find software and app contracts to be the same

        memory finally jogged of this ole tool, long in my e-quiver: EULAlyzer

        Automatically analyze license agreements for interesting words and phrases. Protect yourself.

        I’ve used the free version for years. Great way to zero in on the weasel words et clauses. Nicely done, no nag for upgrades.

  12. frosty zoom

    if the palestinians, both christian and muslim, converted to judaism, would they be allowed to be settlers on their own land?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well the Israelis and the Palestinians both have substantial genetic overlap so the answer is course they would not be allowed to be settlers. They would probably be put on the same level as American jews in relation to Israeli jews.

      1. a different chris

        As my American Jew friend once said after his first trip to Israel – “they just want you to shut up and give them your money”.

        1. Wukchumni

          A number of secular Jewish American friends treat Israel like that relative in jail that nobody discusses much or wants to visit.

          1. Synoia

            My experience is some the the America Jews are more extreme, or hard line, than the Israeli Jews.

            I became extremely unpopular when I stated the Holocaust was supposed to be a demonstration not to be repeated, ever, and not a set of instructions.

            1. Adam

              This is why anecdotal evidence isn’t necessarily strong. The majority of American Jews support a 2 state solution and support the Iran deal. It just sounds like you know hardliners.

              1. zer0

                You sure about that? I read the Pew research, and it was worded in a way to give a very false impression.

                The question posed was, paraphrasing, “Do you think a 2 state solution would work?”

                Very different from “Do you support a 2 state solution”.

                Also, best part of the poll was the dichotomy of American Jews thinking that the largest issue of Israeli jews was violence, while Israeli Jews sited economic and housing issues as #1, and violence as #3 or 4.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People have speculated on Holy Grail and Holy Blood, and on the Temptations of Jesus.

      Do his or his brothers’ genes flow in those Palestinians, speculating all the way to today?

  13. Doug


    The gentleman who wrote the article is not using the right data. The correct data would be to use The Supplementary Poverty Measure which is compiled by the US Census Bureau. It takes into account the cost of living in an area and especially takes into account the cost of rents. It is considered the true measure of poverty. By the correct measure the California comes out with a 23% poverty rate, the highest in the nation. New York comes out at 18%. If you break it down by metropolitan areas then it is even worse. Democrats rule over the areas of highest real poverty.I am surprised that he wrote that article. Most Democrats carefully avoid that subject because the statistics are not in their favor.

  14. Wukchumni

    The quaking aspens, black cottonwood trees, and all other sorts of Mother Nature’s well grounded constituents are turning yellow, gold, red and oh so many variations of green, in a fall color show that looks like this one:

    No need for Californians to head back east for fall colors, it’s going on right now.

    It’s a great time of year to be here, days are sunny and 60, nights are chilly and around 35-40. Cold Springs car campground is open until October 30th, and to avoid possible freezing of the pipes, all water is turned off, so you’ll have to bring your own. Take the Cold Springs Nature trail for a mile through the color show, and then turn around and come back and see it from a different perspective.

    The 2 gates of entry to Mineral King are locked shut on Halloween, and that’s that-the season is over.

      1. Wukchumni

        Only really from mid-May to early November for the most part.

        We come up once in awhile in the winter, and it’s a 6-10 mile ski into the cabin…

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The Army Stymied Its Own Study of the Iraq War”

    Years ago I was reading how the US military was not capturing the lessons learned while fighting in Iraq which I found very strange as I knew the US Army has the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) to do exactly that. I guess that the higher ranking officers there did not want them looking over their shoulders and noting their mistakes.
    If higher ranked officers do not want their dirty laundry aired in public, then perhaps it might be better for the military to distribute booklets with anecdotes by veterans that have invaluable tips and advice embedded in those stories. All name would be omitted so that no officer need be embarrassed by their mistakes and the booklets can be organized by subject matter.
    Then again, there is nothing to say that that Iraq War Study would ever be used – ever. During the Vietnam war, the Pentagon had in its library translations of French publications talking extensively about their combat experiences in Vietnam. When the war was going full bore, a combat officer looking for material on the French experience found these publications and was shocked to discover that they had never been examined or used. In it all the tactics that the French described he had seen himself used when he was in Vietnam.

    1. a different chris

      >If higher ranked officers do not want their dirty laundry aired in public, then perhaps it might be better

      Ah, you misunderstand. Today’s “higher ranked officers” deny any dirty laundry exists. We’ve been in Afghanistan for 17 years because of Colin Kapernick, end of story.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Apparently, Colin Kaepernik is a Russian agent. Or stooge. Or useful idiot. The kneeling thing is all the result of Russian infiltration. Or something.

        Does anyone, at this point, really not believe the entire Russia! Russia! Russia! hysteria was and is anything but a way to mute any anti-establishment protest or criticism of the status quo? Because I sure don’t.

    2. Craig H.

      You don’t really need to study much tactics when your strategy is kill everything that moves. You just go in and blast.

      I was recently reading about the defoliation missions. They called it ‘Operation Ranchland’. On their mission patches they had “only we can prevent forests”. Agent Orange is one of the most horrible weapons deployed anywhere ever.

      This book is pretty amazing although not easy to stomach:

      The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam; Douglas Valentine.

      1. pjay

        Regarding The Rev Kev’s original point about “lessons learned,” it is interesting that Valentine draws a direct line from the Phoenix Program to the various “Salvador Options” instituted in Latin America to the counter-insurgency strategies (i.e. systematized terror/death squad/torture/psyops) used in Iraq. I.e. Phoenix as the model for later CI strategies — and also (disturbingly) Homeland Security and its regional ‘fusion centers.’ Interesting to contemplate what lessons were learned and applied.

        Valentine’s book The Phoenix Program is excellent and meticulously documented, but it is dense. His more recent book, The CIA as Organized Crime, is a collection of articles that provides a nice overview to his very important life’s work on the CIA for those who want an introduction.

        1. wilroncanada

          Douglas Valentine’s ‘Phoenix Program’ was a cogent analysis of the invasion of Vietnam. His main point was that the US has learned nothing from the adventure. Alfred McCoy wrote about some of the same plans and tactics, terror campaigns etc., had been employed as the US “adopted and democratized” the poor orphan Philippines after 1898.
          There is nothing new under the sun, or the Jack Boot.

          1. pjay

            Agreed. We learned nothing about winning “hearts and minds,” or countering a popular insurgency. My comment about lessons learned was meant somewhat sarcastically: we honed our skills at utilizing terror through proxies and our own special forces; and we modeled our system of Homeland surveillance and security/law enforcement integration after Phoenix. I also agree that McCoy’s books are invaluable.

    3. knowbuddhau

      Seems to me the framing is wrong.

      The point of our being in Afghanistan is not to “win,” WTF that might look like 17 bloody years later; it’s to occupy it as a foothold to frustrate the emergence in Eurasia of any powers that might challenge our full-spectrum dominance* of its vast energy reserves.

      They can’t release a report that shows we’re not there to win without showing up higher ups.

      Now we’ve invaded and are occupying a portion of Syria. What would winning there look like? How long before we see reports bemoaning the military’s “failure”?

      Why are we in South Korea? Why haven’t we “won” yet? /s

      No wait, there is a way to win. We call it “winning” if we can remote-control the country through dependable proxies. It’s still occupation, we’ll still keep troops there, but it helps with the cover story to put a local face on it.

      Also, leaving means losing all that opium money, and that would put a serious hole in the Black Budget. Wouldn’t be prudent.

      *Assumes facts not in evidence, I know, but that really is our official defense posture.

    1. JEHR

      I am truly amazed that the GFC can still be described without using the words “fraud” and “corruption.” I am just fed up with all the futuristic whitewashing of banks that goes on in reviews of books like Adam Tooze’s.

      1. flora

        Well, yes. But until a bank or banks are convicted of fraud in a criminal trial, using the word ‘fraud’ could open the author to libel/defamation lawsuits. Ironic that the author must adhere to the existing law to protect himself from financial harm while the tbtf banks and Wall St. ignored the law, imo, and walked away richer and without any real penalty. See WellsFargo, e.g.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Cheers for the link.

      As we stand on the long deferred brink of GFC Phase 2, much rides on the truth or falsity of this paragraph….

      In 2009, China was the chief counterweight to global recession. Did these actions lead China into financial ruin, as many in the West argued fiscal stimulus was bound to do? Ten years later the Chinese economy is still strong. The Chinese panic of 2015-16 that Tooze describes was a stock market bubble rather than a government debt crisis.

      Did the stimulus impose a huge burden on future generations of Chinese? Since the money was used to build infrastructure, with associated technological spin-offs, it did the opposite. One of the projects funded by the fiscal expansion was a high-speed rail network, which has made China a global leader in railway technology and construction.

      As shown in the savage American depressions of the 1930s and 1880s, a manyfold overbuild of infrastructure, whether telephones or railroads, does not save you from the consequences of spending on capacity isn’t usable, even if it comes in handy a decade or more later.

      I would also question how much real incremental economic value is created now by high speed rail, or by forests of luxury high rises. It seems to me that China has largely plucked the low hanging fruit of infra development for now. They should focus on rule of law, public health and pollution, not shiny showcase projects for their 1%.

      One expat’s view….

  16. ChiGal in Carolina

    Minor point of fact: this is not NC fundraising week. It began 10/11 and as of today, 10/23, continues.

    What’s the harm in calling it an annual fundraising drive (and advising readers the better the response the less likely you will need to start having BIANNUAL drives!)?

  17. Wukchumni

    We’re at an interesting point, McConnell was almost accosted last week awaiting tucker in yet another restaurant encounter video ambush, and now Soros has a little gift placed in his mailbox. Was listening to L.A. news radio this morning, and a number of Dodger players homes have been robbed while they were playing, and LAPD is offering up some assistance while the boys in blue are away on business in Boston…

    If people in the public eye are afraid to go out into public or conversely be wary of being away from home, is when the going gets weird.

    It’s never been a better time to be a nobody.

    1. Carolinian

      Biggest takeaway is that Soros has a mailbox. Is it the old timey type with “Soros” painted on the side? How twee is Westchester?

      1. wilroncanada

        An exploding device in Soros’ mailbox?
        I didn’t think Donald Trump would fit in a mailbox.

  18. Wukchumni

    Women stood up and marched on Versailles in 1789, when confronted with the specter of climate change vis a vis the price of bread, their actions of which emerged the French Revolution.

    Remember, remember, the Fifth of October
    The March on Versailles plot
    I see no reason why determined women
    Should ever be forgot

    The uprising this time would have to be in regards to how much bread we blow on war.

  19. Chas

    How about if we crowd fund a squadron of mercenaries to go to Yemen and fight for the rebels? Apparently, from the above, it wouldn’t be illegal.

  20. Prison Hipster

    Hahaha the hexing article says that people turn to the supernatural when they are “frustrated by democracy.” Was there a people’s vote for Kavanaugh that I’m not aware of?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Vexing, magic, spells, etc.

      They are all simpler forms of science.

      In areas where scientists deem unworthy to investigate, or too intractable, they are often the current best explanations.

      Often than not, there are rough hypotheses and results that are accepted as successful can range from 1% to 100%.

      Hypothesis: A vex can harm the bad guy.
      Test: Put it on him.
      Result: Hey, it works this time!

      Published paper: This is a good ‘best explanation’ for now.

      So, the framework is there…just that the humans practicing the Scientific Method can be, well, creative.

    2. ewmayer

      The “democracy” thing is a canard – poor newly-minted SCOTUS member Brett K. is experiencing a bit of Halloween-appropriate payback in the form of ‘hexual harassment’, is all.

      (Cue “how do you know she is a witch?” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail … “she turned me into a newt!”)

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Scientists have found new evidence that tiny pieces of plastic might be accumulating in your poop Business Insider (David L)

    I wonder if one can get it from the laptop touchpad? What is that made of?

    Working with that and eating with one’s fingers (french fries, for example) is probably not a good idea.

    1. zer0

      No the plastic has to degrade enough to unlink. If you left that laptop in the sun then maybe, but most of the plastic used on computers is UV grade and very heat resistant, like nylons, various ABS/PC blends. And for structural components, it would be filled with glass or carbon fiber. Touchpads will have some PET coatings for friction.

      That being said, I dont know why this isnt common knowledge, but do not use household cleaners on plastic. The chemicals in them degrade the olefins and cause cracking and surface defects (which could lead to microplastic chunks rubbing off). Best is some white vinegar and limocene.

      All in all, plastic is thankfully fairly un-reactive, so I think the major danger is more buildup in the body than toxicity.

      1. HotFlash

        My dear zer0, thanks for this, but please, sir/madam, whatever is limocene? I searched and got only “limo scenes”. Apparently there are a lot of those.

      2. blennylips

        > All in all, plastic is thankfully fairly un-reactive

        bzzzzt … wishful thinking does not equal facts on the ground.

        googleVerbatim(dupont pfoa pfos)

        People also ask
        >>How does PFOA affect human health?
        >>>> PFOA is not metabolized in the body; it is not lipophilic. PFOA is not directly genotoxic; animal data indicate that it can cause several types of tumors and neonatal death and may have toxic effects on the immune, liver, and endocrine systems. Data on the human health effects of PFOA are sparse.
        >>What is PFOA and PFOS used for?
        >>>>The chemicals PFOA and PFOS were widely used to make carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food and other materials that are resistant to water, grease or stains. They were also used for firefighting at airfields and in a number of industrial processes.

        Oooh! almost forgot the C8 molecule, sister the PFOs, in all the news a year or so ago, used to make kevlar.

        UPDATE: DuPont, Chemours seek dismissal over C8 contamination lawsuit

        1. blennylips

          same as it ever was

          Toxic textiles: the lethal history of Rayon
          Posted on October 24, 2018 by energyskeptic

          Preface. This is a book review from Science magazine of Paul David Blanc’s 2016 book “Fake Silk The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon”, Yale University Press. I’ve shortened the review and changed some of the text.

          This book exposes how rayon, aka viscose, and especially the compound within it — carbon disulfide is very toxic, and has destroyed the bodies and minds of factory workers for over a century.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the article “The company’s current CEO, Rose Marcario, has said she’d like to see the outdoor industry become a political force like the NRA. “We cannot give up an inch of protected land on our watch”

    Do we work on all issues at the same time or prioritize?

    Protecting land is a good cause. So is not giving up an inch to protect homeowners from banks, or to protect the homeless, for example.

  23. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Army Ordered an Unvarnished History of the Iraq War-and Hasn’t Released It

    Their hesitation to release the report publicly probably means they won’t learn anything from the experience. There isn’t anything new in it from the sounds of things. The Bush administration and Congress were already warned by General Shinseki before the war that they wouldn’t have enough troops to secure the country in the aftermath of the invasion. I also had a good laugh that the authors thought that the US didn’t do enough to deter neighboring countries from supporting the insurgents in Iraq.

    The US government did everything in it’s power to incentivize those countries to covertly support the insurgency. There wasn’t any reason for the Syrian government in Damascus to not provide arms and facilitate the flow of jihadists to Iraq after Congress passed legislation that accused Assad of possessing WMDs and supporting terrorism. Which was the same exact rationale for the Iraqi invasion. Bernie voted for it and it’s sad to see the schism that led to the demise of the Second International is live and well among socialists.

    So many of the mistakes the US military made in Iraq were the same failures they blundered into before over their history. They never learned from them and probably never will. The criticism that this study is merely being used to whitewash the so-called “Surge” is yet another example of this refusal to learn. It should make for an incredibly depressing read at any rate. We already know the ending to that story as the rise of the Islamic State comprises the unwritten epilogue of the report.

    I still maintain that the US military is just another failed institution in this decaying country. Unfortunately, it’ll probably take an undeniably brutal beatdown by a country that doesn’t treat military strategy as an abstract buzzword for everybody else to see it.

    1. pjay

      This article is pay-walled so I have not been able to read it yet. But I have read a number of post-hoc evaluations of our Iraq performance based on this or that insider/military perspective. Mainstream analyses usually seem to accept the Shinseki assumption that a quick, overwhelming military victory followed by political and social stabilization was our primary goal. Our many “failures” in this regard are now well known. I’m sure they will become part of our military curriculum (I assume they have already). But for the neocons who pushed the Iraq invasion, and a faction of the intelligence community, chaos, sectarian conflict, and Balkanization *was* the goal. If we can’t secure a cooperative dictator (as in SA), then this is the next best way to either exert control or keep our geopolitical competitors from doing so. From this perspective: mission accomplished. Consider the strikingly similar outcomes in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan (17 years!), Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria (almost, though it’s not over yet), and now perhaps Iran. So many “failures.” We stubbornly refuse to learn our lessons. Hmm. I wonder how this element will be dealt with in future “official” histories?

  24. Oregoncharles

    Just for giggles – anyone else see an ad for bankruptcy services? Or is there something going on I should know about?

    (Yes, I know NC doesn’t choose the ads. Some of the results are amusing.)

  25. The Rev Kev

    “US sails gaily through Taiwan Straits”

    Nothing more than a stunt. Those straights are only about 180 kilometers/110 miles wide so well within Chinese missile range. Maybe the Chinese kept missile lock on them to send a message. The day may come when Chinese fighters buzz future ships in those Straights like the Russians do to US ships getting too close to their borders.
    The interesting thing to watch is when the Chinese Navy develops a true blue water capability and decide to sail through a few international waters with missile cruisers themselves. Anybody know if the Gulf of California counts as international waters? How about the Straits of Florida?

    1. Oregoncharles

      The Straits of Florida do, because it’s an international border and a fairly important passageway – almost comparable with the Formosa Straits.

      Gulf of California: probably not, as it’s Mexico on both sides. Not sure how wide it is.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Do the 2600 Chinese “supertrawlers” which have caused 90% of pelagic fish populations to collapse over the past decade count?

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