Links 10/26/18

Gentle readers,

A brief but heartfelt thanks for all your generous donations during our fundraiser. Not only was it a big relief to have the contributions keep coming in steadily, but it was very gratifying and humbling to get so many notes and comments about how much the Naked Capitalism community means to you. For that, you should all be proud.

For those of you who gave by check, be warned that I process them all at once, which takes more than half a day including the time in front of the teller, and that won’t happen until the weekend after this one (or possibly the week after). So I hope it does not mess up your personal bookkeeping if your check to us does not clear pronto.

For those of you who weren’t able to give while the fundraiser was on, we gladly accept donations all year! So if you want to smooth things out for us with a regular donation or a PayPal subscription, we’ll be grateful. Or if you get a better-than-expected year-end bonus or other financial break, we hope you’ll consider us then. And there are other ways to help: sharing articles with friends, family, and colleagues, whitelisting the site if you use adblockers, commenting, and sending us links, antidotes, and pictures of plants. Even if we don’t use a particular link you sent — we need to keep Links to 45 a day, otherwise it becomes overwhelming to us and readers — rest assured we see them and they do influence our coverage. Thank you so much!


P.S. Because we have so much of the “Recent Items” real estate taken up by the last day of our fundraiser, be sure not to miss Lambert’s latest 2018 midterms update: Worksheet for the 2018 Midterms (If There Is a Blue Wave, What Next for Democrats?).

* * *

Cat described as a ‘fur baby’ starts looking for new owners Daily Mash

The (Imaginary) Numbers at the Edge of Reality Quanta (David L)

Water out of thin air: California couple’s device wins $1.5M TechXplore (Chuck L). Shades of Dune.

AI-Generated Portrait Sells for $432,500 in an Auction First Bloomberg

In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds Say Hacking DRM to Fix Your Electronics Is Legal Motherboard

Facebook confirms it’s building augmented reality glasseser TechCrunch (Kevin W)

Vital Ignored Truths in Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Studies Counterpunch (Chuck L)

The places that escaped the Spanish flu BBC (Bill B)

Cosmonaut brains show space travel causes lasting changes National Geographic (David L)

The Underestimated Cerebellum Gains New Respect From Brain Scientists NPR


Australia’s former foreign minister let slip how casually easy it is for China to tell another country what to do Business Insider

China’s hidden camps BBC (dougd)

Matteo Salvini to Brussels: ‘We are not changing a comma of the budget’ Politico

Desirée Mariottini killing: Migrants held in Italy over girl’s death BBC. Hoo boy.

Angela Merkel braces for second election blow in Hesse DW


UK-EU transport links after Brexit ‘increasingly a cause for concern’ Independent

Dominic Raab warns that Britain will leave the EU without a deal if Brussels takes a ‘deliberately intransigent’ approach to talks Telegraph. The blame game continues.

Brexit Talks on Hold With May’s Team in Disagreement, Sources Say and DUP sceptical of ‘temporary’ Brexit plan Bloomberg. No. 10 is acting that they just need to get through the budget on Monday….

Britain faces trade talks with 20 nations over WTO proposals The Times. Key section:

Britain is preparing for trade negotiations with almost two dozen nations after they objected to the terms it proposed for its World Trade Organisation membership after Brexit.

Liam Fox confirmed yesterday that countries have “expressed reservations” over the draft text put forward by the UK before its departure from the European Union. The trade secretary said that Britain “intends to enter negotiations with relevant partners” over its future rights and obligations at the WTO.

About 20 members are understood to have opposed the country’s initial proposal, dashing hopes of an unchallenged arrival at the Geneva-based body that governs global trade. The WTO has 164 members and was set up in 1995 as a regulator and somewhere for countries to negotiate deals and settle disputes. The UK, which is currently a member through the EU, will require its own independent terms of membership after leaving the bloc.

From Politico’s European newsletter:

REALITY CHECK … WITH REAL BUSINESS OWNERS: “It’s just unbelievable that EU politicians tell us we should prepare for a no-deal scenario,” said Hinrich Mählmann, CEO and managing partner of Otto Fuchs KG, a German metal processing company. “We can’t prepare for no deal,” he said, adding that it is “hard to understand” why a no-deal scenario wasn’t taken off the table completely early in the piece…

Thomas Fischer, chairman of the board of Mann+Hummel, one of the world’s largest filter manufacturers, told me he doesn’t expect carmakers that don’t manufacture motors in the U.K. to stay in the country in the event Britain crashes out of the EU — it’s relatively easy for them to relocate production in the long term, he said. That would mean that Mann+Hummel would probably have to “gradually” close its British plants too, he said, adding that investments the company has already made would be used as long as possible. Read: basically only until they are written off. “If you look at it rationally, we don’t manufacture for the British market in the U.K., but for export,” said Fischer.

BBC has ‘failed’ on equal pay, MPs on culture select committee say BBC (Kevin W)

New Cold War

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty? Asia Times


Khashoggi, Erdogan and the Truth Craig Murray (J-LS)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

With 5G, you won’t just be watching video. It’ll be watching you, too CNET

Every minute for three months, GM secretly gathered data on 90,000 drivers’ radio-listening habits and locations Boing Boing (Chuck L)

The government surveillance state is outsourced to Silicon Valley Fast Company

Imperial Collapse Watch

Air Force Ends Purchase of Pricey Coffee Cups After Senator Complains (chuck419). But not a peep about F-35 helmets.

Army Accidentally Drops Humvee from C-17 over Fort Bragg (chuck419)

Trump Transition

Unity fizzles as president, lawmakers, media point fingers The Hill

Trump Considers Closing Southern Border to Migrants New York Times

U.S. Says ‘Others’ Are Under Scrutiny in Cohen Grand Jury Probe Bloomberg

Long before Trump, governments were murdering their enemies Politico

Kavanaugh accuser and her lawyer referred to DoJ Financial Times

Brian Kemp Leaked Audio About Georgia Voting Concerns Raises Questions Rolling Stone

Final-complaint-Palast-v-Kemp.pdf Greg Palast (Chuck L)

Kill Me Now

Exclusive: Chelsea Clinton would mull political office Lohud (J-LS)

Fake News

YouTube winning race to clamp down on misinformation The Hill

Why the Press Sucks So Bad, Part One: A Look Back Ghion Journal (UserFriendly). Important.

Facebook Fined $645K For Its Role In The “Serious” Cambridge Analytica Data Breach Dateline Hollywood

Google reportedly paid Andy Rubin $90 million after he allegedly coerced sex from employee The Verge

Fed Fires Warning Shot at Wall Street’s Riskier Loan Deals Bloomberg

Simon Wren-Lewis’ warped view of modern macroeconomics Simon Wren-Lewis (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

benevolence only makes things worse delancyplace (Chuck L)

Maine will help you pay off your student loans if you move there Fox (Kevin W)

In the future, companies won’t hire remote employees. They will hire remote teams Quartz (David L)

Tech to blame for ever-growing repair costs, AAA says CNET. Here because rentier capitalism.

How a Subprime Auto Lender Consumed Detroit With Debt and Turned Its Courthouse Into a Collections Agency Jalopnik (Philip P). Important. I somehow missed it from earlier this month.

From Politico’s daily European newsletter:

HAPPINESS BY THE NUMBERS: Seventy-eight percent of the EU’s working population is (very or fairly) satisfied with its work-life balance, according to a new Eurobarometer survey out today, which Playbook has seen. Contentment is highest (at 90 percent) in Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg. The Greeks, Romanians and finally the Spanish are the least content employees (though even there, 66 percent are satisfied).

The survey is a striking tale of how regulation can impact societal change — if, and only if, there’s a functioning labor market, or economic growth. In Greece, 48 percent of respondents say making use of flexible work arrangements is perceived badly by colleagues, while at the other end of the spectrum, only 13 percent of Danes say likewise. At total of 65 percent of Europeans report such arrangements exist in their companies, while 43 percent have used them.

Antidote du jour (MGL):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Interesting article at on 21st century class structure and politics. The author, Guy Standing, identifies an important and relatively new class called the precariat, a term used frequently around here. He asserts that the precariat is a “dangerous class,” capable of swinging toward neo-fascism or progressivism. Here follows Standing’s distinction between this precariat and the old proletariat:

    Unlike the proletariat, which sought labor security, the Progressives in the precariat want a future based on existential security, with a high priority placed on ecology—environmental protection, the “landscape,” and the commons. By contrast, when confronted by a policy choice between environmental degradation and “jobs,” the proletariat, labor unions, and their political representatives have given “jobs” priority.

    The precariat is a transformative class partly because, as it is not habituated to stable labor, it is less likely than the proletariat to suffer from false consciousness, a belief that the answer to insecurity is more labor, more jobs. In the twentieth century, mainstream commentators believed that putting more people into jobs and for longer was a progressive strategy—that doing so would provide social integration and offered the best route out of poverty. It was a trap into which many on the left fell.

    For hundreds of years, the idea of putting everybody in jobs would have been regarded as strange and contrary to the Enlightenment. The ancient Greeks saw labor as being unworthy of the citizen. Their society was hierarchical and sexist, but their distinctions between labor and work, and between leisure (schole) and recreation, are vital for defining the good life.

    Being in a job is to be in a position of subordination, answering to a boss. That is not a natural human condition nor an emancipatory one. In the nineteenth century, being “in employment” was a badge of shame, often referring to a woman reduced to being a domestic servant. In the early years of the United States, wage laborers were denied the vote on the grounds that they could not be independent if they were not property owners.

    A transformative politics should promote work that is not resource-depleting and encourage leisure in the ancient Greek sense of schole, the pursuit of knowledge and meaning, rather than endless consumption. That points to the need to reconceptualize work, to develop a new politics of time, and to decommodify education so that it revives its original purpose of preparing young adults for citizenship. Most fundamentally, such a politics must promote a new income distribution system because the reimagining of work depends on it.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      One of the only things I ever agreed with Antonin Scalia about was the Right to be Left Alone.
      we shouldn’t be required to be embedded totally in a global authoritarian matrix of complexity and confusion…some way must be found to allow a benedict option; whether for hippies going back to the land, or sheet wearing morons who don’t want to mingle with “mud people”(free thought contains such ugliness).
      How do the Amish manage to keep in good relations with the IRS, etc?
      Considering the current and declining state of the social contract(shoulda got that in writing, I guess)…wherein the uberrich abandon noblisse oblige, while the poors get audited and mercilessly scrutinised, the assumption of Consent is increasingly unworkable.
      I’ve never made enough money to pay income taxes….but I have always cheerfully paid property taxes…so long as I considered them fair(eternal vigilance is required, tax assessor is always a crook, it seems). But for this I get potholed roads in perpetual reconstruction, storm trooper cops and no healthcare unless I live in a cardboard box.
      The FICA i paid with every paycheck I considered the premium for social insurance…and yet attempting to actually use that insurance for its intended purpose only gets me preemptively labeled a fraud, until proven otherwise.
      I go park on the hill overlooking the football field to watch my boys, and am expected to stand in reverence for the raising of the flag…and all I can think about is Lysander Spooner:

      “And yet we have what purports, or professes, or is claimed, to be a contract—the Constitution—made eighty years ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind us, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see.”
      ― Lysander Spooner, No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority

      That’s a fine article, Henry.

    2. L

      I have to disagree with this point about the Greeks. There is a tendency to treat Greek society as uniform but it was not in fact consistent across the penninsula. And a lot of what we read comes from Socrates or others who where in fact from one specific class of citizens and who had their own outlook.

      Both Sparta and Athens had class systems. Sparta’s was undeniably strongest but Athens also maintained (weakening) class distinctions within their citizens. Some such as Plato were still of noble birth and resented the fact that democracy had actually weakened their power hence his posturing about “philosopher kings” but the large majority of Athenian citizens did work. At the height of the Delian league many of those lower-class citizens were employed almost seasonally as rowers while the middle and upper classes were employed as hoplites or captains.

      I Recommend John Hale’s Lords of the Sea. It is an excellent history and punctures a number of the myths of the Greeks that have come down.

      1. witters

        Plato gets caricatured a lot here. He did not “resent” democracy for weakening “aristocratic” power. His philosopher-kings are not traditional Greek aristocrats – something obvious if you read The Republic. They have no family ties (so no hereditary status), they have no private wealth at all, and they live lives of utter transparency. And then look at The Laws, Bk VI – where you find Plato as radical democrat! So please, the poor man is dead, but we can at least respect his work.

    3. Rojo


      I’m not sure I follow on the “Nostalgics”, but I love this:

      Alongside the salariat is a smaller group of proficians, freelance professionals, such as software engineers, stock traders, lawyers, and medical specialists operating independently. They earn high incomes selling themselves frenetically, but risk early burnout and moral corrosion through excessive opportunism. This group will grow and are influential beyond their number, conveying an image of autonomy. But for the health of this untethered, hard-driving group—and society’s—they need social structures to enforce moral codes.

      Here in SF, I know this group all too well.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      High or higher status individuals.

      When we address someone as Dr. X, or Y Esquire, or professor Z, are we affirming their higher status?

      1. Wukchumni

        Sometimes when there’s a wait @ a restaurant, i’ll give my name as “Dr. X” and they’ll often ask how it’s spelled and I just cross my index fingers to make it so.

        1. Lord Koos

          I like to give the name as “Wilde” so I can hear them yell “Wild Party!” when the table is ready.

  2. BobW

    Spanish Flu BBC – just in time for Halloween “US Department of Defense’s Treat Reduction Agency.” Yes, it was spelled like that.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Why the press sucks–

    Good article, but I looked in vain for a reference to the movie made about this devolution of the press. Paddy Chayefsky had this figured out more than 40 years ago. If you don’t believe me, check out this clip from Network which pleads with listeners to remember, “You people are what’s real. We’re [TV] the illusion,” and urges them to “Turn it off.”

    Now it’s so much worse with the 24/7 presence of the smartphone with its clever algorithms learning more and more about us. “All the better to manipulate you, my dear.” Grace Slick had a warning 50 years ago for the Googles and Facebooks:

    Don’t ever change people
    Even if you can.
    Don’t ever change people.
    Your face will hit the fan.

    And she had a word of encouragement for us:

    Don’t change before the Empire falls.
    You’ll laugh so hard you’ll crack the walls.

    Grace Slick, “Greasy Heart” (performed by Jefferson Airplane)

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Army Accidentally Drops Humvee from C-17 over Fort Bragg”

    It’s raining Humvees, hallelujah, it’s raining Humvees, amen
    I’m gonna go out to run and let myself get
    Absolutely crushed flat
    It’s raining Humvees, hallelujah
    It’s raining Humvees, every specimen
    Tan, green, dark and grey
    Rough and tough and strong and mean

    1. Carolinian

      It had parachutes.

      James Gran, 78, lives on Walter Lane where the Humvee touched down. He said his wife was outside, saw the parachutes opening and screamed for him.

      Moments later, Grant heard a loud bang as the Humvee and skid that it was secured to, weighing more than 3 tons, hit the ground with massive force.

      ‘Cause you don’t expect our Airborne troops to go into combat without their ride do ya?

  5. Eclair

    RE: Khashoggi, Erdogan and the Truth.
    Craig Murray tells a sordid tale of brutal assassinations, blackmail, torture, lies, and complicity at the highest national levels. All this amid the fevered subservience of the world’s elite to the obscene Saudi wealth. Just reading it made me want to take a shower.

    But the killings and torture and corruption and lies have now become so blatant that I wonder if these balls of snarling human waste, spitting and biting each other in their desperate grasps for money and power, will not roll out to the ever-more tenuous end of the tree branch.

    1. Lee

      ….these balls of snarling human waste, spitting and biting each other in their desperate grasps for money and power…

      A vivid metaphor of the day candidate if I ever saw one. Well said! If only such creatures could wipe each other out without involving the rest of humanity.

    2. Indrid Cold

      I think that is precisely what we see now. The threabare velvet glove of neoliberalism has finally fallen apart enough to see the iron fist beneath.

      1. knowbuddhau


        30 years ago, back in the days of Reagan and Bush the Elder, we were calling it “friendly fascism.”

        Neil Young even wrote a song about it, Keep On Rocking in the Free World: “A kinder, gentler machine-gun hand.”

        That glove never had any velvet, right on the knuckles, and plenty of us have been seeing it, and feeling it, all these years.

        Khashoggi was former Saudi intel and CIA, about to marry into the Turkish political elite. Think of that: an expat Saudi intel elite, planted by CIA at WaPo, murdered brutally but most importantly, undeniably, by those greatest sponsors of terrorism in the world, the producers of 9/11, our friends, the Saudis, in a NATO ally’s capital.

        Taking the manufactured outrage over the Empire’s losing of one of its own, as an indication of Neoliberalism’s decline, IMO, is a stretch.

        As many have noted, there’s an outrageous war going on in Yemen. Hell, there are outrages everywhere you dare to look. Sanders has tried connecting the issues. But that violates Neolib Rule0: No Connecting the Dots.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It reminds me of how people just simply disappear in the soviet era novel, Master and Margarita.

      And that doesn’t seem to be confined to just one country in a fiction. In Turkey, for example, journalists are being arrested and after the failed 2016 coup, we have media’s purge there.

      There are probably gulags in Saudi Arabia too. Why couldn’t they just throw that guy in there?

      1. Wukchumni

        There are probably gulags in Saudi Arabia too. Why couldn’t they just throw that guy in there?

        Apparently the Ritz-Carlton was fully booked that day…

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Australia’s former foreign minister let slip how casually easy it is for China to tell another country what to do”

    Ummm, that’s what big countries do. Bully smaller ones for their own economic benefit. It’s not right of course and creates its own tensions but that is the way things are done. Just a week ago the German company Siemens lost a $15 billion Iraq power-generation contract to General Electric when the Trump regime came down heavy on the Iraq government and forced it to give the contract to GE instead-

    1. JohnnyGL

      Wow, nice find.

      This is the new style of our approach to imperialism. America’s oligarchs get more of the goodies and don’t share nearly as much with our inner-circle of allies/collaborators.

      With regard to 2020, if Trump pulls off a number of stunts like this, he’ll have really consolidated support in the US-business community in a way he never had going into 2016. The power of incumbency is going to be something to bear in mind, come election time.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Big countries do that all the time.

      Thus, we have to be realistic and know that any new hegemon will not likely to be kinder or gentler.

      And when we work to oppose the current hegemon, there are at least two possibilities:

      1. Those who will oppose the current one, and any future ones.
      2. Those who oppose the current, in order to bring forth a new one.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Three dominating-their-spheres-of-influence hegemons multi-polar world would be better than what we have today.

          Even better is every-nation-is-a-pole multi-polar world. That would be ideal.

          1. Not From Here

            Got that multi-polar world already when it comes to non-reduction in carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. That’s what globalism and free trade were all about, freeing money to avoid any political restrictions from the 99%.

    3. The Yellow Peril Redux

      US threatened Sweden with a trade war if they didn´t implement the NDRE-law (=spy and store every e- or m-communication of all Swedish citizens passing the Swedish border = everything)
      and pushing for the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau on behalf of Hollywood = being a privatized police on Swedish citizens on behalf of Miramax, Pixlar, Disney etc. and sending invoices through ISP to people downloading files over the internet

      but ooooo if China puts pressure and pull the trade card ooooo that is baaaaadddd ooooo because it is completely different or something ooooo ´cos china ooooo

  7. Expat2uruguay

    After reading the article about the vital ignored truths in the obedience to Authority experiments…Interesting to consider where the #Resistance falls in the spectrum of dissent versus disobedience. Confronting powerful politicians in public with shaming and naming would seem to me to be disobedience.
    I have always been anti-authoritarian and before I left the US one way I expressed this was by shoplifting at the grocery store items I thought were overpriced. Just one or two items a trip, symbolically.

    1. Carla

      Once again, NC has sent me to Indiebound, where this morning I ordered a copy of “Resisting Illegitimate Authority” from my favorite independent bookstore. (We have 3 within two miles of our home, an embarrassment of riches.)

      Refusing to order from Amazon is just one teensy, tiny way of resisting illegitimate authority, as is made abundantly clear to anyone who didn’t already know it, in “The government surveillance state is outsourced to Silicon Valley.”

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I always like it when I see comments like this. NC, has an effect…little bit by little bit, educating, convincing, cajoling, changing the individuals that peruse the links bit by bit towards (what I think, anyway) are better choices.

        I often try and convince some of the kids (and adults too) I know to be a bit less proud at their cheap Uber rides, or their ‘free shipping on amazon prime’ accounts, and instead think of the costs to the people that paid of their own labor such that they could receive those ‘freebies’. Not fully successful all the time, but am always gratified when they repeat back in conversation at a later date some of the concepts.

        I’ve explained ‘crapified’, ‘neocon’, ‘precariat’, the gig economy as ‘labor arbitrage’, and the tech ‘disruption’ of an economy combined with the overall neoliberal policies as what it really is….a return to feudalism. Sometimes, more often as they start becoming interested in news and current events themselves…these words are repeated back to me unprompted.

        Best of all is when we drive by a strike, and they lean out the window and wave and give the thumbs up to the picketers.

        Building revolutionaries….if only educationally….one step at a time… :)

        1. CanCyn

          Agreed. I have vegan and vegetarian friends who will weep over an animal and then in the next breath brag about cheap stuff from the Dollar store, Walmart, etc. I remind them, as gently as I can, that people are animals too and that bargain shopping & consumerism have very detrimental affects on many people all over the world. Sometimes I feel like I get somewhere with them. It is as you say Jacobite … baby steps.
          I have learned much from NC over the years and I try as best I can to spread the word.
          Frankly, Yves’ ‘legit’ gig with New York Magazine is a huge win – my friends now realize that the ‘crazy’ blog I’ve been reading and quoting all these years is actually a credible source!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            1. Interesting that to some (or many) people, New York Magazine and others still retain the ‘authority’ to grant credibility.

            There still is a lot of work to reach them.

            2. There is a connection between more climate-change driven caravans in the future, and online/in person shopping at our multinational retail stores.

            It’s not just our installing dictators. Us little people, little guys/gals also are responsible for those caravans (and we may be in one ourselves in the future – such is fate, such is karma).

        2. newcatty

          Worthy work. Think that …”a return to feudalism” can be said to be the tech enabled gloat of feudalism, which from when it first started, has never died.

    2. larry

      In the experiment, there were two dissenters who are important to note: one was a Rabbi and the other was a member of the Hitler Jugend. If I remember rightly, neither of these older men took part in the experiment at all. The Rabbi told off the white coated experimenter — really told him off.

      Roger Brown’s Social Psychology, first edition, has an excellent summary of the research replicating Milgram’s experiment. Some of the replications were less than faithful, which led to differing results. Generally, however, Milgran’s results held up.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Some describe Judaism as a structure of ethics. The noted rabbis and scholars are obviously all across the spectrum, from Meyer Kahane types to the rabbi that told the experimenter off. Sort of proves the rule that ‘we can’t all just get along,” but some of us, whatever our predilections and alliances, can “do righteous deeds” on occasion.

        Too bad the current rulers of Israel have strayed so far from what luminaries like Rabbi Hillel and Maimonides sought to teach, and are all about repeating and extending the “victories” of the notorious “heroes” like Ahab, Joshua and David.

    3. larry

      In this general field, there are two other studies that have achieved the status of classics, just like Milgram’s. They are Solomon Asch’s A Minority of One and Bibb and Latane’s The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help. I will refrain from summarizing them here and just refer those interested to the ‘net. Milgram’s study and these others are classic studies in social psychology, along with a couple of others. Milgram’s and Asch’s experimental studies were designed explicitly in the shadow of the Nazis.

    4. Eclair

      Based on Milgram’s experiments, it seems that dissent alone has little effect in changing behavior. To actually change behavior, one must disobey, publicly. Courage, it seems, is contagious; as is cowardice, unfortunately.

      A caveat here: in a true democracy, dissent works, since the electorate feels that their views are taken into account and acted upon. It is when the regime is an authoritarian one that dissent is marginalized. Although it may be tolerated as a sort of safety valve; let the kids run around and complain and work off some steam.

      On the down side, under an authoritarian regime, disobedience is punished.

      From my own experience, in the past I have participated in direct actions that involved ‘disobedience.’ I am not a physically brave person and, frankly, I was terrified; accelerating heart beat, cold sweat, light-headed. What kept me going was: first, the plan, that was agreed upon by all, ahead of time; second, we knew each other in the group and trusted each other; third, solidarity … each member of the group has my back; fourth, an acceptance of the possible consequences of the disobedience, which were discussed ahead of time.

      Did these various acts of ‘disobedience’ effect ‘change?’ Depends; in some instances, yes. In others, the rule that disobedience is punished, with the status quo reacting by increasing security forces, took effect. And, sometimes you are playing a long game; the action is just one in a series.

      1. larry

        In Milgram’s experiments, disobedience changed nothing. That effect was not part of the experimental design. The only such experiment I know of where dissent brought about a cessation of the experiment was Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment. Most of the subjects in that experiment did not dissent either. The primary dissenter was Zimbardo’s girl friend, who was not part of the experiment. As a grad student, he was upset by the turn the experiment had taken but was uncertain what to do. Zimbardo describes the problems with the experiment in his The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

        1. Eclair

          Larry, I may be misreading the article on Milgram, but I think that one of Levine’s points is that dissent differs from disobedience. The subjects in the original experiment ‘dissented’, but apparently no one ‘disobeyed.’ Under authoritarian regimes (as the experiment was designed to replicate), dissent has little or no effect. It may slow down the coming disaster, but it does not stop it.

          In authoritarian regimes, only outright, flagrant disobedience has an effect. That is, one person states, ‘no, this is wrong,’ and refuses to act.

          That one person may be killed, or imprisoned or otherwise silenced. But there were witnesses. And, disobedience is like a virus. It may lie dormant for weeks, or months or, in some cases, for years.

          Best case, one person disobeying will infect others instantly.

          1. larry

            Some did disobey. They never took part in the experiment. There were a good many objections made during the experiment, but the two older guys never took part at all (These two have stuck in my mind.). They were not part of the Yale undergrad experiment. After Yale, Milgram then went to NYC because he was told that Yalies do as they are told and that the results would be different if he took in a broader subject population. Well, the results were the same. Yalies were no different than the average person in this respect. Neither dissent nor disobedience stopped the experiment. The dissenters were manipulated while the disobeyers were let go after being paid. Everyone had a psychological assessment afterwards.

            What struck Milgram and everyone since was how much obedience there was. After all, no punishment followed disobedience. Which everyone knew, but they obeyed anyway.

            Asch’s experient of A Minority of One and Bibb and Latane’s on The Unresponsive Bystander do not support the contention that one person disobeying infects others instantly. A probabilistic relation applies. One disobedient person increases the likelihood that the subject will dissent, while three give a probability of around 50% or more that the subject will not conform. The best case scenario does not occur.

            However, they can’t be isolated from one another for an effect to occur. The influence of isolation from the relevant group is shown in the experiment described in When Prophecy Fails by Festinger, Rieken, and Schachter.

            I do not disagree that dissent differs from disobedience.

            1. Conrad

              I think the general tendency to ‘go along to get along’ is a big factor in these types of results. From infancy we’re trained to not rock the boat in order to fit in with others. This push to obey authority figures is incredibly pervasive. And explains the readiness of people to things they know to be morally dubious when told to do so by bosses.

          1. larry

            A question I would ask here is who was being deceitful. Claims have been made that Zimbardo was being bamboozled. He often wasn’t there and depended on assistants. I don’t know of any reliable claims that Asch or Festinger or Milgram or Bibb and Latane faked their studies.

      2. Jeff W

        Another thing that is not brought up in the classic social psychology “authority/obedience” studies is the possible effect of prior conditions. It’s well-known, for example, that, during WWII, Denmark’s populace resisted the anti-Semitic measures of their Nazi occupiers and saved nearly all of Denmark’s Jews. One review of Bo Lidegaard’s Countrymen which recounts the event, says

        The Danes knew long before the war that their army could not resist a German invasion. Instead of overtly criticising Hitler, the Social Democratic governments of the 1930s sought to inoculate their populations against the racist ideology next door. It was in those ominous years that the shared identity of all Danes as democratic citizens was drummed into the political culture, just in time to render most Danes deeply resistant to the Nazi claim that there existed a “Jewish problem” in Denmark.

        That amounts to some very prescient behavioral priming: when you hear “Jewish problem,” you think “shared identity,” and act accordingly.

        It might be that, as those studies seem to show, without more, most people default to wrongfully obeying authority but it might also be that, like with the presence of other people disobeying, some fairly straightforward change in conditions beforehand—perhaps, something that says, in effect, that the authority need not be listened to—increases the probability of disobedience—which is what most dissenters want to do, anyway—not insubstantially.

        1. larry

          When I hear “Jewish problem”, I think projected shared identity, projected by the sayer. The supposed shared identity is not necessarily seamlessly shared by those presumed to so share it by outsiders. This is I think true of many stereotypes of this sort. How one acts depends on the cultural context in which such a statement is made. Which is supported by your Danish example. The Danes were so bad at rounding up Jews that the Gestapo was sent in to improve their efficiency.

          In Milgram’s experiments, there was only one person doing it at a time. Asch’s experiment used a group while Bibb and Latane’s experiments used both conditions. Bibb and Latane’s experiments assess under what conditions one might follow a social norm or not. No experimenter is present; the norm is the only pressure and its influence fluctuates according to circumstances, as might be expected.

    5. djrichard

      When was the last time we really had civil disobedience? The 70s?

      That said, think we should be separating civil disobedience from disobedience in the work environment. Because it’s there that following orders (which is what Milgram’s experiment was about) apply. In the work place, there’s something called taking a principled stand, “falling on one’s sword”. But even that has an implicit appeal to authority – that management can be won over. Or at the very least, the implicit appeal is that the sacrifice won’t “black ball” your future employment opportunities.

      True disobedience to authority would be the equivalent to a mutiny, I think. That’s what we call career suicide. When’s the last time we really had a mutiny?

      Speaking of the Nazis, they had their mutinies, right? In particular, the plot against Hitler. Effectively an attempt at a coup d’etat. When’s the last time we really had a coup d’etat?

        1. djrichard

          Even better as an example of a mutiny. Not quite in the mode of a “chain of command” mutiny. But I’m sure the powers that be in England saw it that way.

          Edit: it was certainly career suicide for those in congress if the result went the wrong way.

          1. LifelongLib

            Some in England thought it was civil war. There’s a rather desperate letter from Parliament to the Pennsylvania colonial government calling the conflict that, and asking for some reasonable settlement. They felt that the colonies had legitimate grievances that could be resolved without separation.

            1. Big Tap

              Particularly in the 1700’s Pennsylvania and Connecticut were fighting each other over the Wyoming valley in northern Pennsylvania. It was called the Pennamite-Yankee War. When all was said and done the winner was Pennsylvania.

  8. flora

    re: In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds Say Hacking DRM to Fix Your Electronics Is Legal

    Great news. A start in the push-back against the Dictatorship of the Market. There are still many embedded stumbling blocks noted in the article, but the legal right opens the door to more focused effort to find ways forward in the repair community. The “must use certified Apple” or whoever to repair has always been a non-started in the Midwestern states where there could be only one or two certified repair shops in the entire state, located in the cities, and might be a 4 hour drive away from your home in, say western Nebraska.

    1. Carolinian

      Or not so great news.

      A good way to think about this is to consider MacBook Pro repair. As Motherboard reported earlier this month, Apple has a built-in kill switch that can prevent new MacBook Pros from functioning if they have been repaired by anyone who is not authorized to do so by Apple. It uses embedded software to do this, by requiring the computer to connect to Apple’s servers in order to verify that a repair is “authorized.” This decision by the Copyright Office will make it legal to bypass that software lock, but actually doing it is another matter altogether.

      So it’s really just a legal protection for repair shops that may or may not possess a hack to permit repair. Needless to say for individuals using such a hack was never much of an issue anyway.

      1. flora

        Exactly why I’m not buying new MacBook/Apple stuff. I’m keeping my old hardware going as long as possible. I expect there will be a hack to get around the kill-switch eventually.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it like ‘lost in translation?’

      That is, the non-Chinese will not understand what they are doing.

      And they will not understand what they are not doing.

      It’s not yes
      It’s not no.
      It’s not both.
      And it’s not neither.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The current news about Tesla, Musk and the FBI regarding the most recent production numbers – are they looking to see if he did too much to ‘save face’ and to save longs?

        1. ChrisPacific

          Never admit liability. You could see the cultural disconnect playing out when the US military plane was downed over Chinese airspace a few years back.

  9. Wukchumni

    I’ve never been on a backpack trip lasting more than 10 days, nor have I ever walked 20 miles a day for the duration of a trip. 5-10 miles a day is plenty.

    The caravan making it’s way here is about a thousand miles from the border, or around 4 months away from arriving.

    If they’d only had the political decency to start their trek 1/3rd of a year earlier, it could have been an issue this election.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “YouTube winning race to clamp down on misinformation”

    I think that someone made a mistake when they wrote out the title. Here, I’ll give a hand-

    ‘YouTube winning race to clamp down on information’

    There – all fixed now. YouTube has become aligned with the censoring of the internet with such corporation as Facebook and Twitter. Jimmy Dore talks about how some of his videos will be demonetized because YouTube does not like what is said in them. People that subscribe to his channel will find that they have been unsubscribed which explains why they never get notifications of new videos. More sinister is how people report that they have been subscribed to MSNBC or CNN without their knowledge which may explain those companies ‘popularity’ on YouTube in recent years. SyrianGirlpartisan was shut down for awhile when she posted a video of Kurds stuffing ballot boxes during the referendum in Iraq and so it goes on. Here is Jimmy Dore talking about how YouTube admits not notifying subscribers & screwing with algorithms including a talk by YouTube wonks admitting what they do (language alert)-

    Note they get stuck into Apple products too.

  11. Lee

    Wheel chair dogs at play

    Thanks for upping your dog game. One of my dogs, a 14 year old Airedale, has arthritis of the hips, is partially blind and deaf, and has cancer that is so far not causing him pain. Still, he’s up and around, is eager for his mile a day walk and even playful at times. Admittedly, he wobbles a bit when he walks and he bumps into things a lot but he is fully and cheerfully committed to forward progress. At his last veterinary check up the doctor noted that he had developed a seriously irregular heartbeat, adding that the heart condition might mercifully take him in his sleep thus relieving him of likely future suffering and me of having to make the final call. She shook her head, in wonder at how a dog so ill could still be so happy and functioning so well. “Well, it is the terrier way”, she concluded.

    1. Eclair

      ” …. he wobbles a bit when he walks and he bumps into things a lot but he is fully and cheerfully committed to forward progress.”

      Oh, Lee, that could describe me!

      1. Lee

        Me too. My Airedale is the canine equivalent of a 90 year old person, almost two decades older than me. I’ve got some debilitating but non-fatal ailments and am now looking upon my dog as a role model for cultivating my own inner terrier.

        1. newcatty

          Lovely ode to your dog, Lee. Your Airedale can be an inspiration to us all. Especially as we get to be older humans. I will think of him as i wobble a bit when making my way slowly on a short walk in my hills surrounding my home. Cultivating your inner terrier is an ongoing process, I think. I will think of my older cat…she is still a sweet and gentle soul, gives her love every moment of the day. Enjoys being close to us and tolerates the antics of her younger feline companion with patience, but is also no push over (Ha, mean that literally).

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Water out of thin air: California couple’s device wins $1.5M”

    Does this mean that we should start to understand the binary language of moisture vaporators? It is supposed to be very similar to the programming of binary load lifters.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Well he’d better have those units on the south ridge repaired by midday, or there’ll be hell to pay.

  13. todde


    So now one of Kavanaugh’s accusers is saying she didn’t say what the statement given to her by Avenatti to sign said she said.

    For ‘going to all the best schools’ and knowing ‘all the right people’ these guys just aren’t that bright. Not one of them.

    Not the woman here, Avenatti or Kavanaugh.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And you can’t trust anyone (not engaging in any false flag operations, like sending dangerous stuff to well know people just before an election).

      Could be the D’s. Could be the R’s. Could be anyone.

      I think someone commented yesterday that this (or that) was beneath the D’s.

      1. jonhoops

        I think the comment was that the Pearl Clutching D’s don’t have the balls to do something like a False Flag.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        As most likely already know, the suspect is, to no surprise, a backwoods nitwit for whom Trump is the Second Coming. So, thanks to the incessant focus on the media at both sides of the spectrum on how said Trump is inciting his disciples to violence, this disciple went ahead and done it. With, given his level of sophistication, predictable results.

        Made loads of money for the MSM, though, and they’ll likely milk it right up to Election Day, thus arousing the Disciples of Trump to change their mind and go vote. Great way to kill that Blue Wave.

  14. Will Eizlini

    i’m proud to have been able to donate just a little towards your fine work. While my default browser page is my gmail account, if i had to pick a second it would be your site. I find your work deeply comforting to me. Your work and the community of thoughtful readers that you’ve gathered is pure gold to me and worth every penny a thousandfold. i only wish i could donate more, but next time! Your work makes me feel less lonely, and i am deeply grateful for this

    1. tangfwa

      Terrific comment, and I second. Thank you for conveying the emotional aspect of the value this blog brings!

  15. larry

    The Guardian in 2005 had an article by Marc Abrahams of the Ig Nobel Prize titled “A Simple Choice”. There he describes a study by Caprara, Barbaranelli, and Zimbardo entitled “Politicians’ Uniquely Simple Personalties”. Celebrities’ personality traits are assessed by means of five factors while politicans are assessed by means only of two. They carried out this study in Italy and the US. The results were similar.

    Near the end of the article, Abrahams says, “Of course, no explanation is wanted or needed for the occasional case where a candidate is simply a simpleton.”. Occasional. Really? According to Aeron Davis’s Reckless Opportunists, stupid politicians are becoming more numerous. The comment by Todde above generalizes this observation.

    1. pjay

      Yes!. The author is “a professor of economics at the University of Houston, Texas, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a research fellow at the German Institute for Economic Research.” In case you are wondering, the last line of the article is “… there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

      I sure glad I didn’t have any economics professors like this when I… oh wait, I did! Thank you Yves and NC for doing battle with these people all these years. My first reaction was LOL. But then when I thought about people I know, and people who have posted here, who have suffered from our travesty of a health care system, for this guy to state that “Medicare for all is as scary as it gets” is outrageous beyond words.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Much of the public attention on HR676 has focused on its cost, which could run in the tens of trillions, but I am less worried by the costs than by what it will do to my own health insurance and health care.

      And there you have it.

  16. allan

    Most Americans say their finances have not improved since the 2016 election [Marketwatch]

    GDP is up 3.5% last quarter, so who are you going to believe, me or your lying wallet?

    … Only 38% of Americans say their finances have improved since the 2016 election, according to a study released Thursday by finance website Bankrate, while 17% say they have gotten worse, and 45% say they are about the same. This comes as the economy remains the key issue in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. …

    BTW, that last sentence is false, since polls consistently show that healthcare
    is the #1 issue in the 2018 elections for the most voters. But narratives must be narrated.

    1. allan

      Speaking of the 3.5% GDP number: at least .5% is from increased federal spending.
      Nice chart of the data since 2005 shows the utter stupidity of
      fiscally responsible sensible centrists placating the bond vigilantes from 2010 to 2015.
      Weirdly, or not, one doesn’t hear about bond vigilantes much these days.
      Heckuva job, Larry.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It would probably involving breaking up giant corporations.

      And if Trump wants to begin with Amazon, that’d be a good start.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How a Subprime Auto Lender Consumed Detroit With Debt and Turned Its Courthouse Into a Collections Agency Jalopnik (Philip P)

    Making auto repossession easy for lenders, Mayer said, “takes away some of their incentive to screen borrowers and only lend to those who can really afford the loan.”

    The standard line from the subprime lending world is that low-credit buyers receive financing with high-interest rates to compensate for the purported risk they pose. But the higher the rate, the higher chance of default, and so critics have taken to assert the system is wholly designed to set up consumers for failure.

    Mortgages, student loans, “healthcare,” and junk car loans. These “investors” are going to have to start advocating for a $15 minimum wage. They’re going to run out of wages to garnish, and it could be a significant “headwind” to “forward earnings.”

    I never went to business school, but it would seem axiomatic that thievery is only profitable if there’s something to steal.

  18. Anthony K Wikrent

    Chuck L’s benevolence only makes things worse [delancyplace] is an excerpt from a biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, which underscores my argument that the USA economy has gone off the tracks because USA elites abandoned the principles of political economy established by Alexander Hamilton and adopted the principles of political economy of the British empire and oligarchy.

    It was in 1817 that a group of prominent New York merchants and professionals (many once having been the principal supports of such institutions as the New York Hospital and other worthy causes) officially and publicly began to rethink their charitable habits. Such previously generous philanthropists as DeWitt Clinton (now governor of the state), Thomas Eddy, and John Griscom took their cue in this from British reformers. In so doing, they succumbed to the rhetoric of several hard-nosed British social thinkers, most notably Thomas Robert Malthus, Jeremy Bentham, and the Scottish conservative Patrick Colquhoun.

    “Twenty years earlier, all three of those gentleman had been instrumental in the founding of the London Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor. Despite the burden of its long-winded name, the London Society did not distribute charity but specialized in cutting off funds for social welfare. Malthus, Bentham, and Colquhoun believed that a distinct line must be drawn between the ‘deserving poor’ (those facing hard times as a result of unfortunate histories) and ‘undeserving paupers,’ namely, the drunk, the lazy, and the whorish members of society for whom aid was considered a reprehensible act of facilitation.

    See my American School economist Henry C. Carey from June 2017.

  19. Wukchumni

    Residents in nearby areas seem excited about the F-35 program’s placement in the Central Valley, Bock said.

    “I have seen more people posting (on social media) saying they are delighted we are here and that they are delighted we are doing the training here,” she added. “I think they are excited this historical milestone is happening right in their own backyard.”

    “It makes sense to bring Joint Strike Fighter to the location where they can train with the same people they are going to war with,” Bock said. “Lemoore is great for the F-35 and the F-35 is great for Lemoore.”

    Nowhere in this puff piece to beat all puff pieces, does it mention that all F-35’s have been grounded this month, but there’s oodles of delightment!

    And what’s all this going to war against Lemoore, stuff?

    1. Carolinian

      Why should South Carolina have all the F-35 training crashes? I’m sure that was their thinking.

  20. JTMcPhee

    Why do Bolton and Pompeo and LeMay and Teller and others, behave the way they do?

    There have been a few scientific looks at the possible effects of parasites of the brain on human behavior. Here’s one of them: “Common Parasite Linked To Personality Changes,” Related to infection by toxoplasmosis, commonly found in cat feces and other vectors.

    Seems clear that there are indeed some effects, and maybe susceptible individuals might display much more marked effects, like the drive to nuke the Rooshians, with obvious negative consequences. Since despite Bolton’s assurance that he is a “cockroach,” another animal whose nervous system can be hijacked by parasites, he’s not likely to survive the kind of mass conflagration that he is willing to force on the rest of us. Maybe CEOs would also test very positive for toxoplasmosis infestation. My suggestion is that we should borrow the Saudi bone saw, remove the tops of these guys’ skulls, section the brain matter and look for “unusual structures.” I wonder, at a macro scale, if the medical records of these creatures include MRIs of their brains that might at least identify gross abnormalities, and would their lab results include testosterone levels?

    There was a pulp fiction book by Harry Harrison, “Planet of the Damned,” from 1962 or so, originally in “Analog” magazine as “Sense of Obligation.” The plot revolved around a ruling bunch of amoral “magters,” ready to start an interplanetary war that will result in the burning of their whole planet for shall we say obscure reasons. Removing the top of the skull revealed a parasite that had displaced most of the neocortex — it conveyed the drive to power and improved “success” chances for the infected person, by also displacing empathy and short-circuiting uncertainty in favor of action, especially violent murderous action, and conferred another “benefit” as I recall of shorter reaction time. Obvious allegory to illustrate the insanity of the geopolitics of the time, based on MADness, with RAND advising US rulers that they have to be actually and visibly and demonstrably insane, perceived as such by “the enemy,” for the MAD-Massive Retaliation-striving for first strike capability schtick to actually work. Available free here: It’s a quick read.

    I particularly was struck by a couple of concepts in this book that turn on the symbioses that made life on the desert planet Dis even possible for humans. In the local language, relationships that supported life were called “medvirk,” and those that led to death or perversion were “u-medvirk.”

    In context, from the book:

    As if in answer to the question, Ulv’s voice drowned him out, the harsh Disan words slashing the silence of the room.

    “Kill you, the enemy!” he said. “Kill you umedvirk!”

    He shouted the last word and his hand flashed to his belt. In a single swift motion he lifted his blowgun and placed it to his lips. A tiny dart quivered in the already dead flesh of the creature in the magter’s skull. The action had all the symbolism of a broken lance, the declaration of war.

    “Ulv understands it a lot better than you might think,” Lea said. “He knows things about symbiosis and mutualism that would get him a job as a lecturer in any university on Earth. He knows just what the brain-symbiote is and what it does. They even have a word for it, one that never appeared in our Disan language lessons. A life form that you can live with or cooperate with is called medvirk. One that works to destroy you is umedvirk. He also understands that life forms can change, and be medvirk or umedvirk at different times. He has just decided that the brain symbiote is umedvirk and he is out to kill it. So will the rest of the Disans as soon as he can show them the evidence and explain.”

    “You’re sure of this?” Brion asked, interested in spite of himself.

    “Positive. The Disans have an absolute attitude towards survival; you should realize that. Not the same as the magter, but not much different in the results. They will kill the brain-symbiotes, even if it means killing every magter who harbors one.”

    1. Alex Cox

      Harry Harrison was an exceptional science fiction writer. A human skull popping open to reveal an alien creature within reappears in his 1965 novel BILL, THE GALACTIC HERO.

      “Eager” Beager, the desperately friendly Galactic Trooper who polishes his buddies’ space boots, is revealed to be a robot, with a tiny Chinger – six inch, six legged lizards who are the designated Evil Empire – sitting at the controls inside the head, beside a tiny water cooler…

      Naked Capitalists might enjoy BILL, which Harry wrote as a riposte to Heinlein’s STARSHIP TROOPERS.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Have you seen the movie “Independence Day,” the first one? Here’s the first part of the synopsis from Wiki:

        Plot Edit

        On July 2, 1996, an enormous alien mothership, that has one fourth the mass of the Moon, enters orbit around Earth, deploying assault fortress saucers, each fifteen miles wide, that take positions over some of Earth’s major cities. David Levinson, an MIT-trained satellite technician, decodes a signal embedded in global satellite transmissions that he determines is a timer counting down to a coordinated attack. With the help of his former wife, White House Communications Director Constance Spano, David, and his father Julius, gain access to the Oval Office and warn President Thomas J. Whitmore that the aliens are hostile. Whitmore orders large-scale evacuations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., but it is too late; the timer reaches zero and the saucers activate devastating directed-energy weapons, killing millions. Whitmore, the Levinsons, and a few others narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as the capital is destroyed, along with the other locations over which the saucers are positioned.

        Goes on to describe how “the President’ gets a psychic vision of how the aliens operate — flying from planet to planet, looting all the resources and killing all the indigens. Seems not too many of us note that this behavior, here on our own planet, is exactly what we ourselves are up to. And now some of us are planning to lift off and go start the process of making ourselves into an interplanetary and interstellar plague, just like the aliens we deplore and fear in that silly but “high-grossing” movie — a bit of cultural mythology for our times.

        Makes one wonder whether the Borg Panopticon has a timer running too, counting down to when all the “alien attack ships” are in place and the destruction and crushing of the indigens to facilitate the looting can commence… Naw, silly of me to even think such a thing. Never happen. Not possible. Unthinkable.

        Though I remember the runup to WW I as described in “The Guns of August…” Schlieffen Plan, Plan XVII, and today we live and die based on off-the-shelf war plans like the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) and its current version OPLAN 8010-12… And of course there is that other off-the-shelf manual, “Operation Garden Plot,”, and what is called REX 84, The Wiki Garden Plot entry has shrunk considerably in recent years, I believe.

        And it omits the episode in which I was caught up as a Trooper in the Second Armored Division (“Hell On Wheels”)at Fort Hood, TX, where us Troops were ordered under an “activation’ of Garden Plot to saddle up with, battle gear and live ammo, to go on up to Chicago and “put down the insurrection at the 1968 Democratic Convention.” Many of said Troops, largely Black conscripts and many Vietnam vets, refused to do any such thing, that being a violation of our Soldier’s Oaths to “protect and defend the Constitution” and of course an order to use “riot control tactics” to beat down their own people in Chicago.

        Hey, it can’t happen here, now. Can it.

    1. Roger Smith

      I think it was an account operated by a friend or volunteer simply to link content from his site. Nevertheless… so glad I am not part of that crap site anymore (or any of the others).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Will this start a fashionable trend?

        “This is Spartacus. Take down my account.”

        “I am Spartacus. Remove mine.”

        “Me three. Spartacus.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Strange that. A fan maybe? Of course there is a Naked Capitalism page too on Facebook that I found using Google but I doubt that it is legit either.

  21. Wukchumni

    The USDA estimated in a recent report that California will produce 690,000 tons of walnuts this year — up 10 percent from last year.

    That means you’ll save money at the grocery store. California walnut farmers, however, won’t be as fortunate.

    With steep pricing declines and record-high supply, the industry is already in store for some short-term struggles. And as countries like China raise tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports in response to the Trump administration’s escalating trade war, farmers worry more pain is on the horizon.
    The article mentions a steep decline in the wholesale price of walnuts, so I looked it up, and indeed, it’s down around 40% from last year.

    And i’d guess every last walnut farmer voted for the agent of their economic destruction, funny that.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And I believe someone here has noted how much water it takes to grow a walnut, and did not that agent just offer a nice package deal to Ag interests in CA, to assist them in sucking more water from the commons?

      1. Wukchumni

        The real issue is, farmers are heavily dependent upon groundwater unlike any other industry in the state, and the race to the bottom in sinking ever deeper wells is not only extremely costly, but you also reach a point of diminishing returns, as the farmer next to you is doing the same damned thing and so on, right down the line.

        1. ambrit

          And eventually you start bringing up brine. Voila! Pre salted nuts! (Don’t tell the farmers in Georgia about the idea.)

  22. noonespecial

    Imperial Business – F-35

    To help out Lockheed round out those gains for 2018, the government of Belgium announced that after, “concluding a competition between the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon,” this country has decided to purchase nearly three dozen F-35s. And this choice is, uh, interesting in spite of evidence of less-than-optimal performance. Maybe the Belgians are buying helmets from another source. The article includes a quote from Forbes: “It [the F35] is the only plane in the competition equipped to carry the tactical nuclear weapons that deter aggression from the East.”

    Stephen F. Cohen (Russian history professor) in an RT op-ed on 10/4/2018 writes this about the situation in Kiev: Trump is being pressured to supply Kiev [in the Sea of Azov] with naval and other weapons to wage this evolving war, yet another potential tripwire.

    Seems like the MIC is laying tripwires all over the place.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So Belgium can use the F-35s to carry nukes that it does not have in the same way that Iranian missiles can be launched to carry nukes that they do not have. Kinda poetic that.

  23. Eureka Springs

    Paul Craig Roberts banned from twitter? @PaulCraigRobert man their must be some really thin-skinned, paranoid, knee-jerk reactors in charge of banning over there.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Kind of reinforces my point that the “Aliens” in “Independence Day” who we fear and deplore, as a species that goes from planet to planet, killling living things to facilitate looting the resources they crave and thus letting them go on to still other planets to loot and kill, are really Walt Kelley’s “we have met the enemy and they is us.”

      CPR calls it, like many others are starting to do, “ecocide.”

      Stupid f@cking humans. Maybe we are just ensuring that we get what we deserve?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And there will be more caravans due to climate change.

      That will be significant than the tin pot dictators we have install anywhere.

      We will see caravans from, say, Florida towards somewhere cooler and higher in elevation. We will caravans from maybe even California towards Mexico.

      And the culprits – they include those who fly to vacation, stay in air-conditioned homes/buildings, consume energy to stay warm in winter, etc.

        1. Carolinian

          Wondering who is behind the “outrage.”

          Caitlin Johnstone according to ZH. The account contained PCR quotes so apparently she and others didn’t realize it wasn’t him.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Maybe there was a fear that Roberts would take a witheringly analytical look at these bomb “threats” to our democracy and that all the “insouciants” on twitter might read it and smell something.

      Apparently, Alex Jones, on whose program Roberts has periodically appeared, has been predicting a “false flag” in advance of the midterms for months. More recently, there have been questions raised around the interwebs about the lack of postmarks, inadequacy of the postage, predictable failures of delivery and, well, any detonation among, other things.

      It appears someone in Florida has just been arrested in this case. He apparently drives a van with bumper stickers supporting Trump all over it which has been construed as both “motive” and proof-positive of guilt by “news” commentators. Presumably a “trial” will uphold this media “conviction,” as happened with the Boston Marathon bombers.

      Meanwhile, the postmarks are still at large.

      Interestingly enough, I mailed a heavily embellished birthday card yesterday at the local post office. Included with the card was advice that extra postage was required and that it be “hand canceled.” The clerk didn’t bat an eye. Not only did she hand cancel the envelope, she stamped it with “Do Not Machine.”

      Just sayin’.

      1. Jonhoops

        The case of the Missing Postmarks. Apparently this is common if someone places a stamped envelope in the metered mail drop. The mail just goes thru without the stamps being cancelled as if it was metered or precancelled.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      It would appear that Mr. Roberts never had a Twitter account to begin with. He discovered that someone else had invented a Twitter account “under” his name and he asked Twitter to take it down. Because it was a fake “Roberts” account.

      It would appear that Yves Smith made note of that fact 17 minutes before this comment was posted . . . just upthread from this comment.

      ( I read somewhere that someone-or-other once said that the only reason to join Facebook if you haven’t already is that there is a “you-shaped” hole on Facebook waiting for somebody else to fill it “under” your name if you don’t fill it yourself. Perhaps the same thing is true for Twitter. Even given that possibility, I will still not join either Twitter or Facebook. I will just have to hope that no one else ever discovers the “me-shaped” hole waiting to be filled on either of those platforms).

  24. Craig H.

    > Google reportedly paid Andy Rubin $90 million after he allegedly coerced sex from employee

    This is an amazing story. As near as I can gather the allegations come from Rubin’s divorce proceedings.

    These false allegations are part of a smear campaign by my ex-wife to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle.

    (from the New York Times)

    The most salacious stuff is on the reddit / slatestarcodex / culture war thread where Rubin is described as public and proud about his polyamory on google employee discussion boards while he was a big shot manager there. They had excerpts from an e-mail (unclear whether this was company or private e-mail) where he was giving instructions to one of his sex slaves. Truly hysterical unless you work for google in which case it can only be described as profoundly embarrassing at the very least.

    Key word is custody. Can you imagine explaining this to your kid?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Good chance the kid is like Kavanaugh, bred in the lap(s) of luxury, headed for a life among the Privilieged. Explaining to such kids is more in the nature of “Socialization” and as a primer for “how to go about being one of us.”

      I don’t recall any of the Greek myths, regaling us with the randy and arbitrary and outrageous behaviors of the Gods, ever showing their Gods manifesting shame or apologizing for anything…

      Power and lust, sex and death.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Greek gods…randy, arbitrary and outrageous. “You Greek people, live with it.”

        US elites…randy, arbitrary and outrageous. Put in books, movies, songs. Then, people will get used to it, and learn to ‘live with it.’

        Coincidental? Maybe not.

        “Our gods are like that.”

        “Our elites are like that. Let’s go to Delphi and hear what one of them has to say. Maybe we will become famous.”

        1. Wukchumni

          For whatever reason, many Greek Gods have been relegated to being named after perfumes & colognes. Still powerful, but in an odorous way.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            May either pray to those Greek gods, or seek Trojan protection against a thousand ships.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. Gives us a good idea as to how this circle of fiends views the “rest of us.”
        Like mixing carborundum powder in the KY.

          1. ambrit

            Thanks. We’re actually doing decently right now.
            Sometimes I look at myself, metaphorically, and ask: “Is that all you are?”
            Then I remind myself that I like to put the ‘arc’ back in sarcasm.
            Beginning, middle and end. In the Beginning were words. Then the Centre couldn’t hold. Thus, the End is silence.
            I recommend that all commenters, of any stripe, anywhere, read Benjamin Franklin’s fable, “The Ephemera.”
            It pulls me back to earth.

  25. Wukchumni

    Tech to blame for ever-growing repair costs, AAA says CNET.
    When I was young, shade tree mechanics could change the oil or spark plugs or a host of other things on their own with no specialized equipment and everything was easy enough to get to…

    A friend has a 2013 Ford Mustang that’s in pretty much the same body style as a 1970 Boss Mustang, although when you open the hood and look at everything that practically screams “DON’T TOUCH!”, there really ought to be a warning sound that bellows: “Back away from the engine, and take it to a car dealership for service!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      The way that I heard it, after the debacle of the 2012 elections Karl Rove got a job as a weatherman in Ohio as it was all that he could get. Wasn’t great for him as he constantly fought with his fellow weatherman whom he despised as being ‘reality-based’ in their predictions. Didn’t help that in spite of how his predictions were at odds with what the weather was, he refused to even look out the window to see what was actually happening.
      One time a tornado flattened a bunch of towns but he refused to believe it so as he predicted sunny weather. When confronted with the results, he had his bosses march down to a room full of analysts to sort out what was actually happening. Very sad that. Never learned a thing-

  26. djrichard

    Related to “disobedience to authority”, I’m in the middle of reading “The Gift”, by Marcel Mauss. Basically a study of the potlatch. What’s interesting about it is the fundamental premise of “I give so that you give”. And this wasn’t just between individuals and people, but also between individuals and their gods. So the way I interpret it is, “I sacrifice so that you may sacrifice”. In a way, very quid pro quo. But I don’t think it’s as pragmatic as that either, in that it’s very metaphysical for them as well, which seems to have a side effect of even an greater pragmatic outcome: sacrificing as a means to achieving trust and balance in their relationships. Still in the middle of the book, but that seems to be what is suggested.

    Anyways, all very different to how we “sacrifice” in today’s society. Instead of sacrificing to get something in return, almost a contract if you will (which is how Mauss thought of it), it’s flipped on its head. We sacrifice because authority asks us to, it’s part of the contract of pledging our selves to the authority. Which I think comes from our judeochristian teaching. God loves us, yes. But do we sacrifice to God because we’re hoping for something in return? Or do we sacrifice to God because we feel it’s our responsibility – how we respond to God? I.e. how we respond to authority. It doesn’t take too much to transpose that to the work environment – the burden has been placed on us to figure out how to respond to authority in the work environment. I think the potlatch societies would find this to be bizarre.

    1. Wukchumni

      I used the potlatch, to convince my sisters to stop with the gift giving extravaganza @ xmas. When we told our family about a dozen years ago that we were done with giving or receiving gifts to/from adults as a compulsory exercise, it was as if I had plunged a sharpened shiv into Santa’s belly, the umbrage was on their faces and it was as if I was the guy that told them he wasn’t real when they were 8.

      Explaining how stupid it was to give each other junk that neither needed or appreciated all that much in the guise of a potlatch did the trick, and we’ve had gift-free holidays for over a decade now. (rest easy-kids still get theirs)

    2. JTMcPhee

      Xtian “prosperity theology” (sic — it’s really just a scam played by Megachurchers and televangelists) tells the idiot believer the following:

      Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success or seed faith)[A] is a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.[1] Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.[2]

      There was a related fad for a while, indulged in by many, surrounding the “Prayer of Jabez,” a snippet from the Old Testament that got turned into an NYT Best Seller:

      Living a sacrificial life (for some definition of sacrificial, related to sending money to TV preachers maybe) was gonna make you RICH, RICH, RICH! Or at least make people like Joel Osteen and Jimmy Swaggart and the Very Reverend Tedd “that buff young man in my retinue was just carrying my bag” Haggard and Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker very rich… and of course, by grace and the gullibility of their “fleecable flocks,” forgiven for their sins against God and their neighbors…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The thing about those Xtians, that we can learn from, is that without much disobedience when sent to the Colosseum, but instead turned the other cheek, meekly, they eventually took over an authoritarian regime, and set up their own organization taking advantage of many of its institutions.

        The lesson maybe, ‘Don’t hate those Republicans (or Democrats). Don’t say they are evil. Instead love them. And one day, you can take over their party.”

      2. djrichard

        I get the sense in reading Mauss’s book that the end game wasn’t to hoard prosperity. There’s a whole metaphysical dimension to it that I had no idea of. At first blush to me, it comes comes across almost like playing hot potato with the valuable totems. But it also seems like there’s a genius to it, that instead of valuable totems creating a barrier between individuals, they did something more subversive – they removed their own personal identity and attachment to the totems by passing them around. Instead their identity came from each other, through the reciprocation. [I could be off on this, but that’s where I’m at.] To the point that in some of the cultures, the valuable totems were willingly destroyed (a great way to get of surplus – their form of creative destruction?).

        Anyways, even ignoring the virtues of the potlatch that Mauss is trying to get at, let’s assume the goals is prosperity for its own sake. So looking at the Xtians that engage “God” that way, it would be interesting to know their attitude towards authority. Would these contractual Xtians be more “responsive” to Godly and worldly authority in contrast to less-contractual Xtians? I’m guessing contractual Xtians would be less responsive/responsible to authority. And I’m thinking that that’s probably healthier.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Probably not the case. The Xtians (“Christians,” who pretty much blow off the reported teachings of Jesus Christ in favor of the Old Testament crap) are the Fundamentalists, not exactly Libertarians. And also the Rapturists, like the ones who cheerfully work at the Pantex plant in Amarillo, TX that maintains the US nuclear weapons and who look forward to being zapped up just before their products detonate. Andlet us not forget the Evangelicals who work with the Likudniks in Israel and the Air Force generals and lower orders who are all lined up to bring about the End Times via the “prophecies” supposedly contained in that randomly included part of the Bible labeled “the Revelation of St. John the Divine.”

          Pretty much aligned all up and down with authoritarianism. The God they contract with is a Jealous God, and a violent and destructive one too (see Noah’s Flood, and what happened to Babel and Sodom and Gomorrah and a bunch of other places that got crosswise with Him or in the way of His Great Plan for His Chosen People.)

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Evocative comment. I’ve been thinking about how I grew up in a small town under 800. Until my family decided to head to FL when I was twelve, I figured that I would have to get along with most everyone I knew for the rest of my life. (You know how the Waltons lived on Walton Mountain? There was that kind of thing for the locals. I was just born there.) I’m still a bumpkin in that I keep forgetting that is not that common of an experience for most USonians.

      Did not look at the article (I’m still resentful about 60 Minutes report on this during the children’s hour. In the 70s. As a children I found it inappropriate.) but the title did set me to thinking about how being a goldbrick brown-nose, if one wishes to do that with their time, is such a career accelerant over an approach that involves doing your job, do it well, and pick work that makes 1 and 2 enjoyable. I love Marx for the crazy things like “you gotta reproduce the means of production.” I guess we’re producing aristocrats now.

      And also too, I recently saw that Wikipedia had ventured a page on

      And ate that right up. One critical approach that stuck with me was understanding how cheap words are. As opposed to the cry of a baby for example. If I write that I stepped on the dog’s toe, many readers will relive the authentic sound that I’m implying. But putting random chirps together and expecting everyone to understand requires a lot of communal commitment. So tricks with perceptions and expectations are nothing like realizing, ‘This is a real branding iron.’ And I don’t want any further Federal funding for that sort of thing.

      As far as how I react to the Milgram Meme: I’m still in the ‘humans are terrible at creating systems’ level of misanthropy, rather than the ‘humans are terrible’ assessment. Or perhaps, for some contingent reason, we’re set up to create inherently unstable control systems. Like the Constitution, blah, blah. Everything does eventually fall apart, may as well prepare early.

      I guess it was a good title.

    4. knowbuddhau

      Very interesting, thanks.

      In many mythologies, deities are depicted looking down on earth, weeping bittersweet tears of sorrowful joy. If they hadn’t created anything, there’d be no suffering, but they did, and there is, o how there is, and now, if they don’t know that and weep, there’ll be no rain, and even more suffering.

      You’ve got to make it rain, yes. But with compassion.

      Potlatching for pride only ends in tears.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will this set Sanders up for ‘Greek meddling in 2020′ charge?’

      Maybe even ‘Roman meddling.’

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Bernie Sanders will team up with…

      I want to believe that Sanders could outdo Trump if invited to the WWF. So I’ve lost track with this comment. He’s probably already done a zillion lawn chair drill teams back in the 90s.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “The places that escaped the Spanish flu”

    Looks like the only places that survived intact were those that isolated themselves. In effect, quarantined themselves. I read that you had the same in Africa. If you got an infectious disease, they put you in a hut with food and water until you either walked out cured or else die in which case they burned the hut down. In Europe I read accounts of how people with infectious diseases in medieval times were boarded up in their houses to either survive and live or else you just died. They even posted a guard in front in case you tried to do a runner.
    The lesson is that in case of a pandemic, stock up on food and see out the worst in your own homes. I read once that the flu pandemic of 1918 followed a typical pattern. There was the initial wave, then the far more deadly wave that killed the most people, then the final wave that was a weaker version. Australia was lucky in 1918 in that when the flu came, it was mostly the third wave flu that hit here. Still, I live near a small rural town and in the history books it says that the main car park for this town was the site of a canvas hospital for flu victims but of course people here have forgotten that bit of history.

  28. Charlie

    Maine helps you pay off your student loans:

    The article keeps mentioning the young, but I can’t help but wonder if it will help older students too.

    I have family there, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to adjust.

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