Links 10/5/18

Cats Really Hated the Presidential-Alert System Test Slate (Dr. Kevin)

Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden BBC

Weird giant may be the first known alien moon National Geographic

Mysterious Cosmic Rays Shooting from the Ground in Antarctica Could Break Physics

Wind Power Isn’t as Clean as We Thought It Was Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin)

McMaster University researchers testing origins of life theory in new planet simulator Global News (David L)

Turing Test competition winner warned of a world where human language is becoming more bot-like. Quartz (Dr. Kevin)

America’s Clergy Are Teaming Up With Scientists WIRED (Dr. Kevin)

Deep in Human DNA, a Gift From the Neanderthals New York Times (Kevin W)

I’ve Been a Doctor for Over 30 Years. My Profession Must Speak Out on Abortion. Medium (Kevin W)

Vitamin D supplements don’t help bone health, major study concludes Guardian. I’m skeptical. The dose tested was only 10 mg, which is 400 IU, the amount commonly included in multivitamins. You need tables to see exactly how much Vitamin D you get at various latitudes to see how much sun = how much Vitamin D, but I recall reading that 20 mins of full body sun exposure in Africa = 20,000 IU.

Raising the American Weakling Medium (Dr. Kevin). As most readers know, your humble blogger is a big believer in the health benefits of weight training, such as: “Grip strength was a stronger predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality than systolic blood pressure.”


China halts all oil imports from US amid escalating trade war RT (Kevin W)

US Pacific Fleet heads for China MacroBusiness

Mike Pence: Trump’s fight with China just got personal Asia Times (Kevin W)


IL&FS Misses More Debt Payments, Showing Takeover No Instant Fix Bloomberg

Bavaria’s CSU tumbles to record low 1 week before election DW

How Germany’s Little Savings Banks Threaten Big Financial Woes Bloomberg


Irish PM urges May to publish border plan ‘as soon as possible’ Guardian. Maybe I am too wedded to my priors, but despite the lack of a solution on the Irish border, this looks like the EU and UK are talking past each other about “Canada plus plus plus.” For the Tories, it’s another formulation for “give us a super special deal on trade and services” while I read the EU pandering as “we’d be keen to give you a Canada-style FTA along with a national security and foreign policy pact.

How the Electoral Commission turned blind eye to DUP’s shady Brexit cash openDemocracy

Brexiters misunderstand the European project Martin Wolf, Financial Times. Key section, re Jeremy Hunt:

In a serious country, a foreign secretary who made such a remark, at such a moment, about such important, friendly countries would be sacked. Let him follow Boris Johnson on to the backbenches. In a serious governing party, he would have been booed. But Mr Hunt said it because he believed that this sort of malevolent stupidity is popular in the Tory party. That is terrifying.

I’m an ex-Tory minister: only Labour grasps Britain’s desire for change Guardian (PlutoniumKun)

The finance curse: how the outsized power of the City of London makes Britain poorer Nicholas Shaxson, Guardian


Trump Admin Follows Corporate Media Playbook for War With Iran FAIR

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies Bloomberg. Clive: “The lack of a big hoo-haa over this is, I suspect, because the industry is so powerless in the face of it. All data loss prevention is implemented in either the O/S or during boot. What happens below the UEFI layer is in the Here There Be Dragons territory. While pretty much limited to state actors or equivalent, that alone is bad enough.”

Chinese spy chips would be a ‘god-mode’ hack, experts say The Verge. Another reminder why “The Cloud” is a bad idea.

The Big Hack: Statements From Amazon, Apple, Supermicro, and the Chinese Government Bloomberg. The lady doth protest too much.

Very informative tweetstorm, but Lambert has a caveat: “I’m not sure he’s right that you’d target any one entity with a hardware implant. Maybe they’re like sleeper cells or moles; assets deployed for some future as-yet-unknown use.”

Facebook bug prevented users from deleting their accounts Venture Beat

Trump Transition

Collusion bombshell: DNC lawyers met with FBI on Russia allegations before surveillance warrant The Hill

Judge blocks DHS from stripping temporary protected status from Haitians, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Sudanese Washington Post (furzy)

Kavanaugh. This may seem thin on Kavanaugh, but there is a great deal of redundancy in the stories tonight.

The FBI reportedly interviewed only 9 people about the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and ignored his drinking habits Reuters. Not surprised re ignoring the drinking; as I read the scope of the FBI investigation, it was about only the Ford and Ramirez sex abuse allegations. But talking to so few people makes clear this exercise was just a handwave.

Retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, a lifelong Republican, says Brett Kavanaugh’s behavior in last week’s hearing disqualifies him Business Insider (David L)

Senate Democrats Suggest There’s Something Fishy in Kavanaugh’s Past Background Checks Splinter News (furzy)

Scores of Kavanaugh protesters arrested after descending on Senate building The Hill

More Independents in the Senate — Please RealClearPolitics. UserFriendly: “Eyeroll. Interesting bit about the ‘bipartisan problem solvers caucus’ that plans to make sure the minority party has more of a role in the house just as soon as Dems take over.”

O’Rourke not ‘interested’ in Obama endorsement The Hill. UserFriendly: “Interesting, Beto is on the Clinton’s shit list.”

If Dems Lose Again, Obama’s Legacy Is Gone Forever Daily Beast. UserFriendly: “This is the most dilustional thing I have ever read.

AOC Responds to Her Critics Nation

Kill Me Now

Hillary Clinton Is Coming to Broadway. As a Character in a Play. New York Times (Kevin W)

Musk mocks SEC in tweet only days after settling with regulator Financial Times

Chatting With Bernie Sanders About a Looming Financial Crisis Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

The helicopter can drop money, gather bonds or just fly away FT Alphaville (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Democrats, take note: If you want to raise wages, put pressure on employers Matt Bruenig, Washington Post (UserFriendlyO

Amazon eliminates monthly bonuses and stock grants after minimum wage increase The Verge (Kevin W). Subhead: “Some employees claim they will make less money after the wage increase.”

Amazon’s wage hike is ‘not enough,’ says Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball The Hill

Detailed New National Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life New York Times (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus antidote (from BoingBoing via Kevin W):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. el_tel

    re vitamin D: I’d posted to the earlier mental-health-inequality link before this one went up so my comment is probably more relevant here. Bone health is NOT the only “very relevant” outcome when it comes to vitamin D. For instance, find a map on google showing rates of MS by latitude. Hint – the further you live from the equator the higher the prevalence – and it’s NOT diet, since you see it in countries spanning a lot of latitudes like Australia. In fact Aus ditched its “laser focus on skin cancer” and changed its public health campaign to encourage people to get “some” sun, to overcome the emerging “low vitamin D crisis”.

    Vitamin D is also implicated in depression. First thing a new specialist did for me a year ago was test my levels – WAYYY below reference range and he ordered the huge supplements you allude to, which got me back into the reference range. FWIW the current hypothesis concerning vitamin D and MS is that pregnant women far from the equator don’t get enough sun (and hence suffer vitamin D shortage in absence of large supplements – levels you physically CAN’T get from diet). Yes it’s good to know that vitamin D may not be relevant for bone density (though I share Yves’s scepticism concerning amounts) but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    1. el_tel

      Just checked my (thankfully kept) boxes. 50,000 IU per week for SIX weeks was prescribed for me… only just got me into the reference range. Unless you goto Amazon and buy a high dosage (which is formulated in pills that really mess with your GI system) you must take 6 (once daily) vitamin D supplement tablets per day to achieve this in the UK. Plus since NHS authorities are increasingly refusing to prescribe meds that can be bought over the counter (and thus not covered by “prescription pre-payment certificates” etc), keeping your vitamin D levels up turns out to be very expensive (unless you want to be going to the bathroom a lot….!)

      1. kimyo

        here in the states, a 120 count bottle of 5000iu tablets is ~$7. at 50,000iu/week, that would last you for 12 weeks, it’s strange that it’s so much more expensive in the uk.

        in addition to ms and depression low vitamin d levels are linked to an increased risk of flu and colorectal cancer:
        Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data

        Vitamin D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall. Patients who were very vitamin D deficient and those not receiving bolus doses experienced the most benefit.

        Vitamin D Levels Linked to Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk

        The study found that people with deficient serum vitamin D levels according to the NAM definition had a 31% higher risk of colorectal cancer during the length of time they were followed, which was an average of 5 ½ years (the full range was 1-25 years). The lowest colorectal cancer risk was found in people who had circulating vitamin D levels even higher than the NAM recommendation for sufficient concentrations.

        1. el_tel

          Thanks for that. Actually the Amazon cost here for that amount is not significantly different to the US cost – buying the “typical” amount/low dosage over the counter in a shop is what will break the bank. But to be honest, the issue I have is less the cost (Amazon high dose tablets won’t break the bank) – it’s the “other stuff in the tablets giving me diarrhea” that is the issue. An early pioneer in vitamin D research gave a seminar in my academic unit in around 2002 where he revealed the emerging research concerning the evils of low vitamin D and the need for “a bit of sun”. My epidemiology colleagues treated him (IMO) very badly and pigeon-holed him as an “advocate for melanoma”. Very nasty seminar. He pointed out that (at that time), unlike most vitamins, there was NO official maximum dosage of vitamin D….but he was undoubtedly thinking of the formulation I got – ampules of liquid which you swish around your mouth and swallow…twice weekly.

          I suspect companies these days are allowed to bulk up the tablet supplements you’d buy with stuff that messes with your gut, hence the new “maximums” recommended – they’re not based on vitamin D per se, more the “other stuff in all tablet supplements”. Try taking the main Amazon high dose vitamin D tablets for 5 days a week (to equal the dosage I had to have) and see how you go…..I and others have had to constantly be close to bathrooms :-( The liquid ampules seem to be much kinder to your system but good luck getting GPs (family physicians) to prescribe them unless a consultant shouts at them or you have a private prescription (at what cost?)

          1. perpetualWAR

            Again, very odd from NC commenters continue purchasing from Amazon after all the readily available information regarding the Amazon culture. Sad.

            1. Wukchumni

              I shop @ Amazon, it’s convenient and it doesn’t cost me around $15 in gas to drive to the nearest big city and it’s stores that may or may not have what i’m looking for…

              The only department stores here are Wal*Mart or Target, and there’s a Macy’s as well, but that me ain’t me babe.

              And seeing as there are no independent hardware stores here, it boils down to Lowes or Home Depot. (OSH went belly up a few months ago)

              They’re all drive-by monopolies that long ago forced out the little guy, and what’s the difference between them and Amazon?

              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                Im poor af.

                Free shipping online vs tens of $$$ at the USPS

                Plus i dont have to walk a mile to the Post Office.

                Dat Said #FAMAZON

              2. ChiGal in Carolina

                Jeff Bezos.

                I never buy from them. Since they dominate search results I may “shop” there but then go to the website of the company that produces the item to buy it.

                I think it’s good to put your $ where your mouth is but recognize this is in some way a privilege–not everyone can afford to spend scarce dollars on their principles.

              3. todde

                I never have. And hopefully never will.

                I don’t feel like I am fighting the secret organization known as the Man when I do it, it’s just that some people aren’t worthy of my money.

                my kids do tho.

              4. JCC

                Wukchumni, Unfortunately I also use Amazon when necessary for the same reasons. The nearest bookstore with a decent wide selection is over 3 hours away, and wrestling with L.A. traffic, fuel costs, and an otherwise entirely wasted day driving down and back is no fun. It kind of ruins the weekend. For that matter, the nearest town with malls, shopping plazas and real bakeries is 1.5 hours away (at 70 mph). Pretty much another wasted weekend day.

                The chains, like WalMart, Home Depot, Amazon, and others have killed off almost all the small businesses around here. On-line shopping for many items is the only choice, and if Amazon is noticeably cheaper, including shipping, then they get my dollars… although I often purchase from the original source of the product first. Amazon isn’t that much less expensive anymore.

              5. drumlin woodchuckles

                What are the Lowes/Home Depot people payed compared to the Amazon people? Are the working conditions equally unpleasant in Lowes/Home Depot and in Amazon? If not, which place has more unpleasant working conditions?

                Certainly Lowes/Home Depot and Amazon have different sized ultimate goals. Lowes/ Home Depot hope to semi-monopolize the home hardware and supplies bussiness. Amazon hopes to exterminate every non-Amazon retail bussiness of any sort so that stuff-maker/vendors have zero non-Amazon venues left to sell to. Which goal, if achieved, threatens the survival of society more?

            2. dunning kroger

              Virtue signalling helps people get vitamin D how exactly ?

              Do you have to point your virtue directly at a person like a flashlight or do they breathe it in or what?

              1. perpetualWAR

                If we all just blog about how sh*** Amazon is: terrible wages, terrible working conditions, terrible waste of cardboard, but then continue to order from them… we really have the right to that opinion?

                1. lyman alpha blob


                  Put your money where your mouth is. That isn’t virtue signaling. It is possible to survive w/o shopping at Amazon or WalMart or any other big box stores.

                2. Elizabeth Burton

                  Yes, we do, because in addition to Amazon there are thousands of small businesses selling through Amazon who likely couldn’t manage if they had to open an actual store and pay not just thousands in fees but exorbitant rents. The major reason why independent bookstores go out of business isn’t Amazon, contrary to the hype. It is and always has been largely because of two factors: landlords sending rents into the stratosphere and the area where the store is located “changing.” Which often means gentrification and an influx of franchises.

                  And as Wukchumni pointed out, if your only other options are Walmart and Target, what’s the difference? We aren’t going to change Amazon by refusing to shop there en masse. and if we do refuse we’ll likely only be hurting those small businesses I mentioned.

                  Including mine. When small publishers adopted on-demand printing early on as a way to support talented writers there weren’t spaces for with the traditional publishers, the only sales channel was Amazon. Bookstores wouldn’t, and still won’t, touch our books because most of us refuse to adopt the corporate welfare known as returns. You can now get our books at B&N online and BAM ditto, but the author earns more for sales through Amazon.

                  The problem of Amazon is more complicated than most people want to consider, as is the case with a lot of situations where those who don’t deal with them on a regular basis. Like poverty.

                  1. EoH

                    But they don’t have to open brick and mortar stores, only a creative on-line presence. In the end, it would probably give then greater margins.

                3. dunning kroger

                  People can make up their own minds about it and don’t need you scolding them. If you choose to boycott and it works for you fine. Other people might have a budget that won’t allow paying twice as much for something in exchange for a pat on the back from a total stranger.

                  The pats on the back don’t spend very well.

                  1. lyman alpha blob

                    At some point if we want to see any improvement in this country, it is going to take sacrifice and solidarity.

                    What good does it do us as a society if in order to get cheap stuff from Amazon, I need to beggar my neighbor who works in the warehouse for peanuts?

                    What good does it do society if in order to get a door to door ride that’s cheaper than taking the public bus, it means the driver who gave me the ride will be sleeping in her car?

                    No, pats on the back don’t put a lot of $$$ in your wallet. But neither does working for sociopathic skinflints like Jeff Bezos.

                    We need to learn how to make do with less, not have moar that is crapified but cheap.

                    1. Lambert Strether

                      > solidarity

                      Solidarity expressed as a fragmentary consumer boycott probably won’t do very much.

                      Now, solidarity in the workplace, or across the jugular supply chain generally….

                4. WobblyTelomeres

                  You don’t defeat Amazon (or Wal-Mart) without defeating global capitalism. They are the beasts coughed up, inevitably, by economies of scale. It is how it works. You know this.

            3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I haven”t bought from them in months or maybe even years, though I’m tempted right now, as I am shopping for a tapestry hanging rod.

              Tried to get it at Home Depot, but the one they sent to me as for carpet.

        2. Lord Koos

          Forget Amazon… I’ll put in a plug for Swanson Vitamins if you want to order online. They have great prices on all kinds of supplements, fast delivery, and their stuff is fresh. Vitamin D has been helpful for me especially for these dark northern winters.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Puritan’s Pride is also a top source, and often one can get a particular product there that Swanson is either out of or doesn’t carry. Both get the highest ratings from Consumer Labs.

          2. Ellery O'Farrell

            I’ve shopped at the Vitamin Shoppe for probably 30 years. Carry many different lines, post ingredients and other label information, and provide “free” shipping for orders over $25 and frequent sales. Haven’t compared them to other suppliers except GNC, drug stores, and Amazon (all of which I rejected).

            Just adding to the list of possibilities…

    2. Wukchumni

      We’ve turned into a bunch of shut-ins largely, the Sun of all our fears.

      Could that be an important factor in the rise in suicides?

      1. el_tel

        Good question. In most of my adult career (when based in the UK), I had two sunshine holidays a year – one in the med in June(ish) and a winter sun holiday in the Canary Islands. Thus I almost certainly never had vitamin D deficiency. Then I had 5 years in Sydney (be on the beach 11 of 12 months a year). But since 2015 I’m back in the gloomy-weather UK with few, if any sunshine holidays.

        Was it sunshine per se that made me feel more positive? Or was is something more intrinsic concerning boosted Vitamin D? I have no idea (though the specialist I mentioned firmly believed it was the latter). I certainly believe that whatever the reason, we need to get out more, walking etc. Obviously taking *some* precautions if you’re red-haired and prone to “burning, never tanning” (like my maternal grandfather who died of melanoma when my mum was 7)…..but I think that like so many MSM articles the temptation is to give black-and-white “stories” which really need a whole bunch of caveats.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Was it sunshine per se that made me feel more positive?

          Certainly it does for me. Probably a reason I like to work outside if possible; a form of self-medication.

      2. Stephen V.

        Shut-ins indeed. And viewers of screens. It seems that D is more of a hormone. As such, it is reasonable to use the term *light netabolism*. Rampant Speculation here: I think artificial light messes with this process…I’ve gotten my D up to 30…woo hoo. Dental issues subsided. I’m in my 60’s.

        1. el_tel

          Not trying to worry you but my General Practice/haematology specialist puts 30 at the very cusp of vit D deficiency…..FYI there are no “national” criteria so 30 might be considered bad/OK/marginal depending on where you lived, if you were in the UK!

    3. PlutoniumKun

      That article annoyed me – it seems typical of a very common source of error in science. Studying impact on variable X, and then extrapolating the conclusions on all other variables. Vitamin D does a lot of things in the body other than helping strenghten bones – its certainly important for immune system strengthening.

      Curiously, while it seems US advice is for adults, advice elsewhere emphasises the need for mothers and babies to take it.

      Incidentally, such studies also ignore the triage theory of nutrients, as put forward by Bruce Ames. There is an interesting interview with him on the website. The theory, in short, argues that the body puts many nutrients in ‘triage’ when absorbed, essentially rationing them out for urgent needs as priority, with other needs (such as longevity) only given priority when there is a surplus. The implication of his theory is that testing vitamins to identify a threshold where you find deficiency symptoms may well be seriously underestimating the real RDA for optimum human health.

      1. el_tel

        Thanks – agreed on all counts. The statement “The vitamin D product used should contain only Vitamin D3 and be in a liquid form suitable for infants” particularly interested me, since it’s clear (from the lecture I mentioned and anecdotal evidence) that the formulation of vitamin D makes a big difference (i.e. pill forms are probably to be avoided in many people.) It also is curious, given the hypothesis that your risk of MS is largely determined by how much vitamin D your mother got when you were an embryo. I think someone needs to look at MS rates relating to “whether your mother had your pregnancy to include the key winter months or not.”

        The Ames stuff also looks interesting and I’ll look it up further. The seminar-lecturer in my dept (IIRC) said something to this effect but was shouted down by “the establishment epidemiologists”. He said “it really doesn’t matter if you overdo it on vitamin D – given in the right form – the body will use it sensibly”.

        1. KB

          In our learning here in Minnesota…with high rates of MS, including my own mother, we were taught if a child left the Northern States and moved south before such and such an age, it significantly reduced the percentage chance of developing MS….I forgot now but I recall a teenage year, 13-17 ?

          1. el_tel

            Interesting. The pre-natal thing is purely a hypothesis at present (so may well be wrong). So I’m certainly not going to say you were taught something wrong…..indeed the totality of evidence certainly points to “MS risk due to lack of sunlight” being something important “early in life”.

            1. KB

              There are certainly new hypothesis….but, we were taught it most likely involved a virus that triggered an auto-immune response in Northern Latitudes….they never said why moving to warmer temperatures reduced this response but was clearly evident.

            2. RubyDog

              Just read the article. I don’t know where the idea that only low doses were tested came from. It was a metaanalysis of over 80 studies of both high and low doses and no evidence of benefit for bone health was found. This is a very specific conclusion and pretty robust as far as these studies go. It does not discuss or conclude anything about other possible benefits of vitamin D, which wasn’t the point of the study in the first place. All the other possible benefits people have mentioned are speculative, anecdotal, and unproven, albeit intriguing possibilities for ongoing research.
              The other aspect of this is that showing that a “supplement” of a specific vitamin does not show any health benefit is not that same as saying the vitamin itself is not important or useful for human health. There have been tons of studies showing lack of benefit for supplements of many types of vitamin, and even some that show harm of larger doses. There is a huge industry that wants us to believe otherwise. My personal belief is there is a big difference in the way our bodies utilize vitamins and nutrients in their natural form vs. extracting them and putting them into pills and capsules. So ditch the pills, get out in the sun and eat your spinach!

              1. kimyo

                get out in the sun and eat your spinach!

                spinach is not a source of vitamin d. also, it is impossible to get vitamin d via sunlight during the fall, winter and spring if you live north of virginia

                Time for more vitamin D

                Except during the summer months, the skin makes little if any vitamin D from the sun at latitudes above 37 degrees north (see link for map including san francisco, denver, st. louis, essentially 60% of the u.s.)

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                The high dose group was only above 800 IU. I widely see recommended doses of 2000 IU and 4000 to 5000 is much more common. I didn’t drill in to see how many studies had doses of 2000 IU or higher, and how many participants they had, and how long they took the supplements.

                I stand by my contention that their idea of high dose isn’t high.

                Mayo warns of possible toxicity at 60,000 IU a day….and then only after several months.

                And the USDA started recommending supplementation in 1938 because the soils are too depleted to get enough nutrients from food.

                1. Lambert Strether

                  > And the USDA started recommending supplementation in 1938 because the soils are too depleted to get enough nutrients from food.

                  Oy. The Jackpot has been coming for some time….

      2. SKM

        Absolutely! Vitamin D has multiple, complex roles in the body and insufficient blood levels in temperate climates is emerging as a major health problem. This has been exacerbated by the absurd advice to flee the sun and, if exposed, to cover yourself in creams containing myriad substances of unknown effects over the long term. The only skin neoplasm that is life-threatening, and seriously so, is malignant melanoma. This cancer occurs also frequently in areas of the body rarely exposed to the sun, so sunlight is unlikely to have a causal role in its genesis. The opposite may in fact be the case. The stupid advice to flee the sun has serious health consequences, involving the immune system, and also probably in cardiovascular health outcomes. For example, the risk of contracting melanoma appears to be actually raised by lack of sunlight:

    4. EoH

      The Guardian has become resolutely establishmentarian in its food and nutrition coverage. It seems generally to prefer the safe terrain of the old school nutrition pyramid, the low-fat, high-carb, no supplement diet that has generated the current epidemic of obesity and other metabolic diseases. Michael Pollan’s eat real food, not too much, mostly greens, seems to be on the fringe of its coverage.

      One item it seems not to process is that most of the nutritional claims for the products in the middle aisles of the grocery store – cereals, pastas, sauces, snacks, bread – are based on adding back to those products the vitamins and minerals lost in processing them. In other words, supplements.

      I think the Guardian is the best general news source out there. But I give its nutritional coverage a wide berth.

      1. el_tel

        Ditto. In fact a large proportion of its science-based reporting is obviously written by arts-graduates who don’t have the faintest idea of the strength/weakness of the evidence they report. Comments “below the line” from people who know are generally far more informative (and frequently amusing).

        1. Summer

          It’s almost like over-hyped bots announcing every study like it’s a game changer.
          Actually they all tend to show that a lot more science needs to be done.

          1. el_tel

            The Guardian and Private Eye both irreparably damaged their reputations when they decided Andrew Wakefield deserved some sort of “fair go” in their coverage of MMR. From that point I decided all their medical reporting was not even worth toilet paper and something only to be read to see the amusing take-downs by people who actually understand science.

            PS Where is Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” column in the Guardian these days? Not there….since around 2011.

          1. el_tel

            Necessary but not sufficient. Been known for donkey’s years, particularly stratified by race – non-whites become vitamin D deficient a fair amount before whites do at high latitudes…..all results from human geographical movement running ahead of Darwin’s selection effects. Basic science.

            Diet alone ain’t enough to keep up your vitamin D levels at high levels unless you’re Popeye….

    5. JohnM

      It’s not just MS, many cancers show the same association between latitude and disease frequency. And it’s not just latitude which impacts vitamin D production, the NE US is very bad due to high cloud cover, cold temps, higher SO4 due to ohio valley pollution, and higher ozone levels found in the NE quadrant of all continental land masses in the northern hemisphere, each of which reduce UVb levels and/or exposure.

      And low vitamin D can also possibly explain higher disease frequency for african americans for things like colon and prostate cancer. For more info about vitamin D, there are some excellent presentations here, here, and here.

  2. tokyodamage

    Who else read the headline “Wind Power Isn’t as Clean as We Thought It Was” and thought, “Oh man, the Archdruid is going to have a field day with this!”?

    Looks like our grand-kids really will be living like 1800s pioneers. Cancel all the history classes since we’re incapable of learning from it anyway, and replace them with classes on how to knit blankets and churn butter by hand.

    Oh, and good morning, everyone!

    1. Linden S.

      I think the Earther writeup on these articles did a better job at capturing the nuance:

      It is good to start thinking about the costs of renewable energy sooner rather than later, though. I think the damage done from mining of rare earths or the cost of covering millions of acres with panels/turbines are more important than local warming, though. Of course, if we fully accounted for the costs of fossil fuels we would have ditched them decades ago (like the ongoing nightmare of coal ash in NC).

      1. tokyodamage

        ah! thanks for the link.Maybe this paper is the fossil fuel’s version of yesterday’s “grievance studies” prank!

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, that article is much better. The issue of localised warming is a red herring. Its long been known that turbines cause microclimactic alterations due to changes in wind strength and turbulance factors, this is just common sense and basic physics. But this is not the same as global warming – its simply localised changes, the same as will happen if you cut (or grow) hedges, change from arable to pasture, allow forests to grow, etc. This is only an issue if the local vegetation is sensitive to that extra heat (as in, for example, semi-arid zones). In other areas it could be beneficial, by reducing spring frosts so allowing for more vegetation growth. I’m very dubious about researchers who claim not to know the difference.

        The study also assumes that future windfarms will have similar impacts than existing ones. In reality, modern turbines will be much larger. This will allow significantly more energy as calculated on a square metre basis, although there will probably be more vertical air mixing, which will alter microclimatic impacts. A lot depends on the overall density of windfarm development – the trend is towards far fewer, more spread out, but much larger turbines.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yes, very valid point.

          1 degree of average local warming sounds quite pleasant.

          1 degree of global warming is destructive and destabilizing.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Wind energy is not likely to scale the entire planet’s surface; otherwise, all those local warming would add up to a new global warming, no?

            1. Linden S.

              I think the main phenomenon here is the same as an idea they use in orchards to prevent frost: small wind turbines above fields of fruit trees will prevent cold air in contact with the ground from continuing to get colder and colder throughout the night. Iff you have small turbines throughout an orchard spinning during a cold night, you are constantly mixing warmer air down to the surface and making sure the air at the surface getting colder doesn’t stay there long enough to drop below freezing.

              This is just rearranging energy within the climate system, not adding new energy to the climate system like extra greenhouse gases do. So it *does* contribute to local warming, but doesn’t directly contribute to ice-cap melting or ocean heating like greenhouse gases do. So the local effects of warming: human health, ecosystem effects, hydrology effects, etc. are amplified, but the global effects are not being amplified.

              Not sure if this is the right way to think of this..

        2. rd

          Wind turbines take energy out of the air, not put energy into the air. This is basic thermodynamics.

          Any localized warming is just local effects. Much bigger is the major change of surface albedo when you pave areas or significantly change vegetation. That completely changes the relationship of how much energy is absorbed or reflected when you develop a region for urban use or farming.

          Re: wind speed – nobody seemed to complain about the reduction in surface roughness when forests were cut down, which then would allow low altitude wind to speed up. Similarly, high rises in downtown areas great alter wind conditions.

          It was just a bizarre little article.

      3. Another Scott

        The various energy sources all have trade-offs. There have been extensive articles about the environmental problems of large-scale hydoelectric plants, but little has been researched or written about wind and solar. Far too many renewable energy advocates simply ignore any potential issues.

        I think this is, in part, because the renewable energy industry has become so closely tied with the tech industry and the cult of progress, wherein new sources of renewable energy are good, older sources are bad, and any potential problems with matching supply and demand can be solved with new software.

        We need to understand the various trade-offs (including environmental ones) before making long-term decisions about investments and which technologies will dominate.

      4. JohnnyGL

        Yes, that write up helped put things in the right perspective.

        I think there is a larger point to be taken from this, which is that no 1 silver bullet will provide endless supplies of energy for us to waste as we’re currently set up to do in our society (in a way that’s basically compulsory). Wind is PART of the answer, solar is PART of the answer. Various biofuels, done properly are going to be PART of the answer. I also think there are passive, localized energy sources and efficiencies that are often underappreciated and could prove to be substantial help.

        And though we definitely need clean sources of energy, But we also need to redesign our society to use a lot less energy because we’re wasting too much. Transport, especially, looks ripe for improvement as the US, in particular, heavily underinvests in public transport, favoring private transport with cars and planes instead of building communities that can access trains and buses.

        The reference to that carbonengineering company in the article is probably key because of the storage problem with renewables, we’ll need to convert energy into liquid, easily storable and transportable forms. It’s just too compelling to use in many scenarios.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Wind power/green energy “realists” have been trying to bring up the exact points in that study for a long time—like the obscene level of acreage needed to power the US on wind or effect on local climate patterns or wildlife.

      But being saying wind isn’t a magic bullet is like saying you’re a luddite who’s “not thinking about the children.”

      The fact is ALL forms of industrial-scale energy (green and not green) have their drawbacks and at current tech levels, there is no magic bullet, except for not using energy in the first place!

      But advocating a Henry David Thoreau lifestyle is not cool. And goes against the green, near propaganda-like, you-can-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too mentality of corporate/mainstream media greenwashing.

      and even being up a theromdynamics/BTU/joules-based argument that nuclear fission might be an lesser of two evils necessity for the near term versus fracking/nat gas-generated electricity goes on deaf, angry, triggered green ears as well.

      Even at 3am in a temperate time of year like September, the US/every developed country uses a ginormous amount of power. Finding green alternatives to fuel all that power needs a Manhattan Project level of commitment from the world. Even in the greenest of EU countries progress isn’t fast enough.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Too bad reduction in energy use (waste?) is not in the mix, for boosters of stuff like nuclear power, “a Manhattan Project level of commitment from the world.” Of course, the Manhattan Project was to develop the weapons that largely dominate the world geopolitics and bid fair, by accident or error, those most persistent principles in the universe, to pretty much put an end to “life as we want to live it.”The “sell’ and the “tell” is the stuff about nukes being the “lesser of two evils” to keep on turning on all those lights and let us not forget about the cost of calculating all those numbers that underly the “blockchain revolution” that is purely one of those “choices for profits and Groaf” thingies. Among other notes from the execrable, angry triggered greens, and those “Luddites” (as people who despise the actual motivations of Ludd and friends always pejoratize…)

        “We of course must be able to continue growth and our enjoyment of the middle class life style. And who gives a toss about the children, or the polar bears and phytoplankton? I’ll have my bit, and be dead before the SHTF!”

        1. Wukchumni

          We did w/o gasoline/oil & nuclear power for around 69,850 years since the first of us emanated out of the ooze, can we go back?

          1. Mark Pontin

            We did w/o gasoline/oil & nuclear power for around 69,850 years since the first of us emanated out of the ooze, can we go back?

            Not without a dieback in the billions.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Seems like that dieback is already “priced and cooked in” to the mix. Maybe for those left, or if anyone in the future cares to reproduce, us current inhabitants having worked out something in the way of a non-wastefully-extractive-and-consumptive lifestyle to model for them, things might not be so bad?

              But hey, that presumes several things: that the current path does not lead to extinction of this species (among so many others we are killing off), that there is any virtue in having humankind continue, that anyone now gives a rip about what happens on down the road (let alone what might be done now to reduce the carnage) after we current crops of mopes are dead (however mercifully or horribly), That any of all this (like FIRE derivatives GWOT combustoconsumption and the rest) means anything at all in the universe. Looks like “going back” is “the path forward,” if one is not a faithful believer in Technological Just In Time Solutions To The Problems.

              Like a lot of commenters and pundits too are saying about so much of what is afoot, “we shall see, shan’t we…”

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Less (consumption) can be more (rewarding).

          The opposite is like that beer commercial: Less feeling (about Nature, not filling), more waste (nuclear or otherwise, not taste).

        3. John

          We really should be able to greatly reduce individual energy consumption. Better insulation, more efficient lighting and electronics and the ability to switch off power when not needed have all improved dramatically.

      2. Robert Valiant

        I’m 52, and re-reading Walden for the first time since my undergraduate days. It’s as though I remember every word. One single reading at 19 years old made a huge impact on my life and who I came to be. There really is a possible world that’s better, although it’s likely not this world.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Why advocate a Thoreau lifestyle anyway? Thoreauvian voluntary poverty is just a superior morality-stuff-strutting display of Virtue Hairshirting. Very few people are interested in Virtue Hairshirting.

        Rather more people would be interested in a good-enough lifestyle lived on far less energy than is used nowadays. Energy efficiency and efficient use would interest more people than living like Thoreau will ever interest.

    3. adam in seattle

      I think it’s important to note that the lead author of the study in question, David Keith, is major proponent of geoengineering, appearing in TED Talks and The Colbert Report, as well as countless news and magazine articles. Others have already begun pointing out flaws in the study’s reasoning, but it seems noteworthy to me that Keith runs a company, Carbon Engineering, that could be considered a competitor of wind power, at least in terms of investor attention. I’m not naive to the limitations of any energy source, and it’s certainly tempting to hope that Keith and others will find a clever way to remove carbon from our atmosphere, but geoengineering demands a hyper-critical lens because of it’s profound potential consequences. For Bloomberg to only note Keith’s position at Harvard while omitting his business interests seems to me deeply irresponsible.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a good point.

        On the other hand, if someone is a public worker, should that be disclosed, every time he or she comments on more government spending?

      2. Linden S.

        This is super important. His name popping up uncritically in an article is pretty often a good reason to stop reading.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        There is already a clever way to remove carbon from our atmosphere. It is called Carbon Capture Farming. Some people just call it Carbon Farming. It is not widely known about yet, but those one-in-a-hundred ag scientists who are studying it and those 1-in-ten thousand farmers who are practicing it are evangelizing it as hard as they can.

        Ray Archuletta is one of those scientists. Gabe Brown is one of those farmers. There will be others, but maybe too slowly to make a carbon-removal difference in time to matter.

    4. Wukchumni

      Off the subject entirely, but we watched a couple of fabulous movies from the early 1970’s, The Emigrants, and The New Land, with Max Von Sydow & Liv Ullman, all about Swedes coming to America and settling in Minnesota in 1850.

      Each is about 3 hours long, and not a shred of CGI, and so well made.

      2 Thumbs Up!

      1. Summer

        70s movies have a realistic grit that’s gone missing. Now you mainly see sensitive or controversial subjects handled with surrealism, fantasy, or animation. Everything gets softened up in some aspect.

      2. KB

        Uh, um…….you forgot the Norwegians!…that settled Minnesota in same time period….
        good book: “Children’s Blizzard” by David Laskin…

        1. Wukchumni

          Uff da!

          I didn’t forget the Norwegians, but the film was made by Swedes and is entirely about them.

    5. Hepativore

      One thing which people seem to fail to realize is the fact that wind turbines and solar panels make heavy usage of rare Earth metals. They are not all that “rare” per se, just that in many cases, they are not concentrated enough to justify mining them in a location. There is also the fact that the rare Earth mining and refining industry is heavily polluting which is why we have largely relied on China to supply us with them. China has threatened to cut off our access to rare Earths several times in the past, and if this trade war escalates, this is going to be a real problem with many of our energy and electronics related industries.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      Alternative energy ‘solutions’ tend to feed into the existing grid. And ‘solutions’ keep all our beloved gadgets and appliances running — exactly as they were. The grid distribution of electric power is an old solution that better fit a different time. I am skeptical we can or will continue to afford the power losses inherent in large-scale grid power distribution and the costs for its maintenance — to say nothing of the growing risks as it grows ever more fragile. If wind and solar power allow the distribution of electricity generation why stay with an old, decaying, centralized system for electricity generation and a lossy wide-spread and aging power distribution system? Successful transition away from fossil fuels will entail much more than simply replacing the source for the power driving the grid.

      1. Hepativore

        I do think that nuclear energy and the heat that it produces has numerous industrial applications that are being grossly underutilized. The standard light water reactor designs are far from optimal, particularly when it comes to some of the molten salt reactor types and reactors that can be used as breeders for more fuel. France uses nuclear energy for 80% of its needs and Germany buys energy from France for increasing amounts ever since it decided to switch to “renewables” for most of its energy needs. Now it has resulted in Germany building more coal-burning plants to take up the slack of the inherent unreliability of solar and wind power for electricity, and most of them seem to use lignite, which is the most heavily-polluting grade of coal. There is also the fact that renewable infrastructure often has to rely on natural gas-burning generators to meet peak demand or when weather conditions are not optimal.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I am not Hepativore, obviously. But I will hazard the guess that he/she may well feel that he/she is replying obliquely to your comment by recommending nuclear power on the theory that it can provide so much electricity to run all the electric everything in the world that no re-think of grid-based electricity-delivery need ever be performed.

            I will reply ( hopefully) to your comment by saying that the less electricity we use in our lives, the less electricity we will have to try finding or making to shove out along the wires and around the grid. We should explore ways to live better less electrically. At the very least, reserve electricity for things that only electricity can do, like running computers and the computer grid. Learn to carve meat and open wine bottles without electric carving knives and without electric wine bottle openers. And move on from there.

          2. Hepativore

            That was meant to be further up, but because of the outdated version of Safari on our break room computer the page display is a bit wonky, and sometimes the scrollbar moves on its own if the page takes too long to load.

            In any case, yes, our electricity grid does need to be updated as major cities have been having brownouts in recent years due to decaying electrical infrastructure. If I may ask, though, what are you proposing in terms of a decentralized electrical grid? There are losses of efficiency over long distances but at the same time certain things lend themselves to a centralized system because of economies of scale. I am not disagreeing with you, but I am curious to hear your ideas.

            I know in some places, urban centers save energy during cold weather by having a centralized district-heating system. They often use the waste heat produced during power generation and this offsets a major expense and a large useage of energy for people who live in colder climates

  3. Wukchumni

    Raising the American Weakling Medium
    I walk a lot (not recently though, ha) and when i’m in the main part of Sequoia NP, I like to watch us in action, and a couple things:

    1) No matter the age, people tend to have real difficulty negotiating uneven surfaces, as practically none exist in their city lives.

    2) I’ll often see people really winded after a short hike, its as if they gave their all in walking 3/4’s of a mile.

    1. Brindle

      I usually do a couple of short/ medium hikes a week (3-4 miles) in the Wasatch. It is true that the uneven surfaces are a challenge—but one that is enjoyable. Also uneven surfaces are great for the ligaments, tendons and meniscus—as the subtle diferences in each stride work the soft tissue a little differently each time.
      Many Americans avoid walking as much as possible. The number of obese folks using those electric carts in stores is increasing, often they are just in their forties—-sad to see them on the path to a short life.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        My physio maintains that hiking on uneven ground may well be the best exercise of all, precisely because of the strengthening of the joints. I hike irregularly (I prefer cycling and mountain biking), and I really notice how painful it can be the next day after a long hike when I’ve not been doing it regularly. But its probably the most natural movement for the human body. I’ve met regular hikers in their 70’s and 80’s who’s stride and movement would put many 20 year olds to shame.

        1. Wukchumni

          I like to hike off-trail, and unlike a trail where you can daydream as you’re walking w/o paying much attention quite often, the former requires constant diligence with just about every step. I reckon a mile of off-trail is equal to around 3 miles of trail walking.

          Or plop me in a scree field full of boulders underneath a peak that tumbled down from on high, and then bound from one to the next, in making your way across it.

          1. Brindle

            Yes, off-trail is great stuff. I avoid situations where one slip or loose footing could cause a severe fall. In my twenties I did a 14 day solo backpack trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana—now just day hikes are plenty for me.

          2. begob

            I used to do “boulder bounding” on a granite seashore. I never slipped, but it was a risky little game.

            1. Wukchumni

              We were on a 10 day backpack a few decades ago in the High Sierra and had a friend from NJ along, and she’d never seen a scree field, and when we were in the midst of it, I heard so many swear words, some of which were even new to me.

              It sounded like this:

              #$$#^*#%(#^$ scree field %#$#%^&@#^%!

        2. Lord Koos

          Walking on uneven ground is how we evolved — it is not only good for the joints, it is good for the entire nervous system, negotiating balance and so on. Walking itself is good for the brain.

    2. el_tel

      No matter the age, people tend to have real difficulty negotiating uneven surfaces

      Very true…..and doubly so if like me and my siblings (thanks Mum with your genes!) you are double jointed (have excessive flexibility in key joints). Twas a good thing to boast about as a kid (“double jointedness”) – only as an adult, sharing an office with a consultant rheumatologist was I told “you really shouldn’t do that – get to the gym to strengthen the muscles and tendons around ankles/knees etc). I’ve sprained each ankle once in past year just (city) walking – no clinical reason why, except for age and hypermobility. Last sprain was really bad and multiple x-rays required to confirm no fractures. People really need to be taught about proper walking boots and how to walk (unfortunately).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Climbing up or down is like negotiating uneven surfaces.

        The one question I have is, why is it easier to maintain balance (at least for me) climbing up the steps of a pyramid, than to climb down?

        Something about our body – it’s made to fall forward?

        1. el_tel

          I wonder too. My mum has had double knee replacements (NOT really very successful, I might add, but that issue is for another day)….and she is far more scared of going down steps than going up.

        2. WobblyTelomeres

          It is the mechanics. When one is ascending stairs, the leg muscles tense before the rising foot is placed, thrusting up. Therefore the forward knee is under tension.

          When descending stairs, the leading leg is not under tension. Thus the lurch forward when the foot is placed. The only way to avoid this is to lower on the back leg while descending. Far easier on the forward joints, but damn difficult to learn.

          Surprisingly, running downhill is easier on your joints as your rear leg is off the ground before your front leg lands, so your body is already prepared for the impact. Sorta like the difference between a natural gallop and trying to post while trotting. Never learned the latter.

          That’s my two cents worth.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I think its a real issue worldwide. What I find concerning is that I think that while once upon a time most people were moderately fit (or moderately unfit, depending on how you see it), there is increasing evidence of a split in societies – a substantial minority who take exercise all they can, follow dietary advice, etc., and so are increasingly healthy in line with better health advice and availability of options. And a majority who are increasingly sedentary and being fed on a worsening food supply. Its not exclusively a class thing, but in many places it really is one – you can visibly see poorer people being far bigger and less fit than the typical upper middle class type. I think people aren’t often aware of it, because in my experience, if you are fit and outdoorsy or a gym bunny, you tend to hang out and meet other similar people, and you don’t realise just how unfit the true average (or median) person is. Likewise, if you are unfit, you usually just meet people similar to yourself and not realise that such a level of inactivity/physical weakness is just not normal.

      Its particularly bad in Asia and South America I think where there the climate and culture doesn’t encourage outdoors activity (even school sports are optional in many countries, especially for girls). Once upon a time that didn’t matter, as people were ‘active’ and busy in their daily lives. Now they sit in air con buildings, and drive everywhere and eat fast food. A few years back I went to visit a cave in Thailand. To get to the cave you had to climb about 120 stone steps, nothing all that severe. But the guide told me that he is quite shocked sometimes about how many of the visitors from countries like Singapore, China or Japan really struggle – especially, he noted, a lot of younger women. I’ve heard similar things over the years from various outdoors guides.

      I’m not really sure if its been quantified, but so many of the studies I’ve seen are based on self reporting, and the evidence suggests that people almost always overstate their fitness, so it may well be worse than is thought.

      1. neighbor7

        Were the Morlocks fitter, living underground on an all-Eloi diet? On the other hand, the Eloi got plenty of sunlight.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I have to tell you, trying to be fit is not all that it is cracked up to be either. There are lots of bad trainers and training videos out there, as well as dumb fads (I participated in some, like high impact aerobics, which is turned out to be “orthopedic problem futures,” particularly for instructors). I see a lot of young-youngish people doing exercises that if they keep them up, will give them knee or back injuries down the road.

        People used to do sports a lot as a hobby: team sports, basketball, tennis, golf. That seems to be way down in our culture.

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Im afn Beast.

      ~300lbs and a barrel chest. I could prolly lift a small car.

      Time to start running again

      BTW i always admired Boxer in Animal Farm. Beast of Burden.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “If Dems Lose Again, Obama’s Legacy Is Gone Forever”

    Obama’s legacy? He has none – except for giving Trump more Presidential powers by the time he left office and pushing the US into a Cold War 2.0 with Russia. You know, that is the difference between Trump and Obama. Trump is a bully who will kick you in the kneecaps and then threaten to kick you harder if you dare retaliate. Obama is the sort that will talk smooth words, assure you that he is on your side, promises to have your back and then leaves the room at which point you discover that you have a knife blade sticking out from between your shoulder blades.

      1. Joel Friedman

        Aching = painful, correct?? That article was aching to read I gave up a short way in. Delusional is putting it nicely. More like the writer was hallucinating.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Obama’s legacy is Trump.

      Just as Clinton’s BJ and cigar in the Oval Office legacy was W Bush, those philistine ingrates in flyover countries just can’t appreciate the Ivy League technocrats of the DNC. /sarcasm

    2. Skateman

      Trump’s imbecility and the people who voted for him are not responsible for him. It’s all Obama’s fault. Makes sense!

      1. todde

        Who do think we should blame for people not voting for democrats but actual democrat party leaders?

        Do we blame the coach for a poor team performance that leads to decreased ticket sales, or is it the fault of the people not buying the tickets.

        1. Wukchumni

          Do we blame the coach for a poor team performance that leads to decreased ticket sales, or is it the fault of the people not buying the tickets.

          That hit home, I felt sure you were writing about the Bills.

          About a decade ago we were @ the Ralph (not the Kavanaugh kind) and play had stopped on the field, and the crowd started booing en masse, and I couldn’t figure it out, and then it dawned on me that the then coach was doing a United Way commercial on the jumbo tron…

          Tough Crowd!

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Chronologically, it seems to me, it goes like this:

          1. The people voted for Obama (don’t know about Obama’s imbecility) are responsible for Obama. The fault lies with those voters.

          2. Obama is responsible for Trump.

          That is the proposed causal sequence. And we can debate about it, if it is indeed the fault of those voters as the Prime Cause.

          1. Skateman

            2. Is where your whole argument falls apart.

            The Republican Party and Republican voters are responsible for Trump. Period.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That is the point of the debate, I believe.

              Many people believe #2, and many, you for example, do not.

              And that makes for a debate.

            2. Darthbobber

              This would only be true if Republicans always won, or if one could win the presidency with only Republican or only democratic votes.

              I suppose in the narrowest sense, “people who voted for the Republican nominee on that Tuesday in November 2016”, it could be true.

              But why did the republicans, between 2010 and 2016, come to dominate all levels of government to an extent not seen since the 1920s? These things don’t happen without causation. And that causation is what people argue about.

            3. drumlin woodchuckles

              The Clintonite media supported Trump as hard as they could with a billion dollars worth of Free Media . . . as part of the Clintonite Democrat “pied piper strategy”.
              The Clintonites thought Trump would be Hillary’s weakest opponent, so the Clintonite media favored Trump every which way they could.

              And of course the Democratic Party coronation of Clinton itself . . . as widely and hated as the Clinton was/is in much of America . . . probably threw the election to Trump right there. Nominations have consequences.

              And lets not forget those two-time-Obama voters who voted for Trump to escape the menace of Clintonite Free Trade Treason as promised by the Clinton itself when it promised to put its husband in charge of “The Economic Recovery”.
              And lets not forget those black voters in Michigan and Wisconsin who decided to Not Vote after two terms of Obama’s betrayal of their survival interest.

        3. Skateman

          Interesting way to look at it. So what you’re saying, to use an extreme example, is that the people who brought Hitler to power weren’t responsible for their actions. Rather, it was all the fault of the prior leaders/opposition parties. Frankly, in this era of not taking responsibility for our own actions, I guess that kind of theory makes perfect sense.

          1. todde

            Interesting way to look at it.

            It’s the only way to look at it if you want to win elections.

            Hillary had one job, and she couldn’t do it.

            Who do you blame for Democrats losing elections?

            If it’s the people who vote republican you may be confused on how this works.

            1. Darthbobber

              Yes, I suppose one could technically say that the fall of France in 1940 was all down to the damn Germans, in that if they hadn’t attacked it wouldn’t have mattered how bad French strategic and tactical doctrine were, or how bad Gamelin’s plan of operation and leadership were.

              Or one could say that the debacle at Dienbienphu was purely attributable to the Vietminh for the same reason.

              But normally, when leaders contrive to lose winnable campaigns or voluntarily engage in clearly nonwinnable ones, people tend to feel that criticism of the leadership might be in order.

              1. Wukchumni

                “Strange Defeat” by Marc Bloch, is a great book on why the French fell so quickly to the Germans.

                One heck of a read!

                1. Darthbobber

                  The Historian’s Craft by Bloch was mandatory undergrad reading for me, and I’ve reread it several times since.

          2. todde

            Two pizza joints competing side by side. Dems and Repug

            Dems is losing business to the Repug Pizza joint.

            So the Dems develop a marketing strategy to blame the customers of the Repugs for their failing business.

            Maybe, just maybe, try to make a better pizza.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              There are eateries like that.

              “You are not refined enough to appreciate our gourmet food…molecular cuisine…”

            2. pretzelattack

              not to mention blaming their own former customers for not buying their increasingly crappy pizza.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            Dear Mr. Skateman,

            Your party should understand that if it nominates another piece of Clintonite filth to run for President in 2020, your party will be throwing another election to Trump in 2020.

            ” What price Clintonism?”

            1. Skateman

              I don’t disagree. Of course, Trumpite filth/stupidity is at least as appalling. But Republicans don’t seem to care very much about that.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                You are correct about core Trumpite filth/stupidity. But the core Militant Stupidite Stormtrumpers were merely the base to be built on. They were not the final fringe of 2-Time-Obama voters and Black election boycotters whose small numbers made the difference that made the difference in the crucial states of Michigan and Wisconsin. And those relatively few makers of the final difference were not Militant Stupidite Stormtrumper Republicans. They were disaffected and disgusted Democrats.

                And they are the people who will re-elect Trump by default at the margins all over again if the Clintonite-Sh*tobamacrats are able once again to coronate one of their own as the DemPrez Nominee for 2020.

      2. Lord Koos

        Trump is the culmination of a decades-long trend abandoning the interests of the middle class/working class and the poor for the benefit of the wealthy. Since the 1970s this trend has continued uninterrupted regardless of who is in the white house or which party is nominally in power.

    3. Big Tap

      Obama’s legacy was as a liberal Republican president period. The Left got little to nothing for eight years but corporate America did really well. No public option that he campaigned for or helping people with upside down mortgages. Even signed PRO GMO legislation and made permanent most of the ‘Bush’ (now Obama) tax cuts. ‘Peace’ candidate who went from 2 to 7 wars and not a day of peace in those eight years.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The legacy Obama cares most about is the hundreds of millions of dollars he hopes to be able to leave his daughters when he dies. Maybe even more than he cares about his fame and the applause of his worshipful fan base.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And not by accident either. By design.

          The design for which Obama expects to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars for his role in applying it and carrying it out.

  5. Jim A.

    Re: Kavanaugh
    There was a story that Trump was attempting to solidify wavering Republicans by saying that he would not nominate a replacement if they failed to confirm Kavanaugh. I haven’t heard any more of is so I suspcet that it was just a random bit of pique from Trump

      1. Wukchumni

        I don’t know about that, but there was a humorous moment yesterday, when it appeared that perhaps a 2-ply page of the Constitution was stuck to the bottom of Galligula’s shoe, when boarding AF1.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        No kidding. Supposedly kavanaugh has written a wsj op-ed, published today, as last ditch self-defense in advance of the vote. He apparently admits to having “said some things he shouldn’t have” during his senate hearing.

        Anyone who’s ever parented a teenager recognizes this “evolution.”

        When first confronted with an accusation of wrongdoing, the kid flatly denies it. Something along the lines of its being “ridiculous.” “How could you even think such a thing?”

        Failing that, the response progresses to some combination of defiant belligerence and wounded blubbering, intended to convey the absolute “injustice” of such a calling to account.

        If the parent remains unmoved, the kid resorts to amelioration by accepting responsibility for some negligible misfeasance, and vowing never to “do it again” (although not generally on the wsj platform.)

        I suggest that what we are seeing here is a case of arrested development. This is what happens when a generation of overly coddled “boofers” and “ralphers,” and this applies to girls too, “mature” into adulthood without any semblance of the requisite “skills.”

        “So, what are you trying to say? Everybody doesn’t deserve a trophy?”

  6. Darius

    What is the Obama legacy, other than his own awesome awesomeness? Not much to show for eight years. His accomplishments would have been footnotes in an actually successful administration. To be fair, he did know his marks, managerial class liberals, well. Obama practiced the Booker T. Washington philosophy that the most important thing was for people to see an African American at the top of society rather than the WEB DuBois advocacy of grabbing the reigns and kicking ass. For Obama the presidency was something to be not to do. Except he did a lot for the powerful.

    1. bassmule

      “For Obama the presidency was something to be not to do.”

      Thank you! By the end of his first year in office, I was of the opinion that he was the first person ever to run for President because he thought it would look good on his résumé.

        1. Enquiring Mind

          Best parts Millard Fillmore:
          1. Fillmore West
          2. Fillmore East
          3. all those streets named Fillmore
          4. ?

          1. Wukchumni

            My better half was born @ Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, but in her defense, she had no choice in the matter.

      1. Jomo

        Dear Obama haters: Obama’s legacy will be that he was the first black president. He had to play it safe the entire time he was president because he was the first black president. He presided over the recovery of the nation from the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes, unless you were around for the depression. Admittedly imperfect. He expanded the health coverage system. Admittedly imperfect. He was constantly obstructed by the Republicans who are now in control and are implementing a damaging agenda. He got Bin Laden. Obama is now the most popular ex-president. He managed not to engage in incredibly offensively behavior at every occasion, observed national norms, and he was not pathologically self focused and self promoting. Jeesh!

        1. Wukchumni

          When I first read of Obama in the New Yorker around 2003 or 2004, I thought this guy is for me, my age and well spoken.

          Had some friends over for the inauguration and one funny moment came when a friend’s 7 year old thought that they were firing the cannons @ the Chief Executive, ah the things kids see.

          I wanted him to change the path of where we were going, and instill a sense of direction & purpose, the country was practically begging for him to be FDR part deux, and be bold and set us on a course, righting the ship of state.

          He did nothing whatsoever of the sort, when Geithner was appointed, a huge lump in my throat told me something was very cancerous, and the biopsy 8 years later proved that we are inoperable, adrift @ best, a calamity @ worst.

          1. Olga

            I did not take him seriously, until his “race” speech. It demonstrated a certain nuanced view that was welcome. Knowing the limited powers a prez has, I wanted only two things from him: decent SC appointments and no war with Iran. He did ok on those two things, although not fighting for the last appointment was beyond shameful (he had nothing to lose at that point and could have at least stirred a fuss).
            (He also allowed for the destruction of Libya, special ops in Syria, and green-lighted the Saudi war against Yemen (it seemed like it was a gift to Saudis in exchange for the Iran deal.))
            Rumours about Geithner and Summers even before inauguration confirmed his true masters and shattered any bits of illusions. During his time in office, it often seemed like his main concern was to survive (physically). He allowed many Americans to feel good about their country because it elected a black guy. I guess that is something.
            His more lasting damage, though, is that he managed to work up an enormous amount of enthusiasm, only to fall flat in the long run, leading to extensive disillusionment and skepticism. Complete loss of trust in the political process… he also squandered the first 2 yrs, when there was a Dem majority in the Congress (but who knows, maybe Dems weren’t that eager to help him… not that he asked publicly).
            Overall, he seemed erudite, suave, and handsome. His 2009 speech in Egypt was to be remembered … but also comparing it with the later years, showed how he was gradually sucked in by the blob (separate from W Street). Oh well, we have the leaders we deserve…

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              His Egypt speech? The symbolism is there, and turning the page from W. to Obama is important. The rhetoric is just what it is. He wept a bit about being in Afghanistan where we still are.

              When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race — out of every race.

              You said Obama “allowed for the destruction of Libya.” This makes it seem like he was a passive figure. He was not a passive figure. He didn’t have to hold a vote of his advisors. The could have voted against him, and the decision would still have been his.

              “Knowing the limited powers the Prez has”

              What on Earth are you talking about? The President is a modern day Caesar. Wow, Senator X is causing problems. If Obama wanted something from a Democrat, all he had to do was go to his home state and thank the Senator for supporting the President and ask everyone to applaud the formerly reluctant President. What Senator would have disagreed in front of a crowd of 100,000? The answer is not one. Yes, its not congenial, but once Obama demonstrated his own weakness, everyone knew he was just a place holder.

              1. Olga

                “Knowing the limited powers the Prez has” – What on Earth are you talking about?
                Only one acronym – JFK
                I thought it was quite clear that BHO played it safe – to the detriment of us all.
                But he lived to tell the tale…

                1. pretzelattack

                  and yet fdr lived through 3 terms and into a 4th. the guy the intel services seem to have it in for is still in office. cheney and bush lived after outing valerie plame.

            2. bruce wilder

              Knowing the limited powers a prez has . . .

              I love that narrative trope. It contradicts practically all the historical evidence of Presidents wielding vast and sometimes previously unsuspected power, but, hey, who doesn’t love low expectations as a setup?

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                The Obama dead enders loved that trope.

                My personal favorite was how he “inherited” so many problems as if he was born into the line of succession and the primary and election of 2008 didn’t happen.

                1. Olga

                  Exactly… we can (perhaps) all easily trace the trail of coercion crumbs…
                  Not to mention that DT is a symptom. not the cause.

              2. RandyM

                Republican presidents have never let the “limited powers” of the presidency stand in their way.

        2. The Rev Kev

          The first black president? Who cares. What is important if he was a good one or not and the truth is that he was a bit of a shocker. I’ll refute your points. He presided over the recovery of the billionaires, not the economy, and let Main Street get flushed down the toilet. He stole Romney care which was a Republican substitute for single-payer health and botched the delivery; he had the numbers the first term and never used them; he had Obama murdered so that there was no testimony on his part on the days from when he was on the CIA payroll up till 9/11; and to cap it off, who cares about his behaviour as he is proven to have been into killing and torture and has the blood of tens of thousands on his hands. That is just not my opinion but a matter of public record. By the end of his second term many blacks just sat out the 2016 election because of him as things had gotten worse for blacks in his eight years. Personally I do not hate the man. It is just that I have no respect for him whatsoever.

          1. TheScream

            I think it is hard to argue that Obama was a bad president, at least as measured against other presidents. He was no saint and no savior and was as beholden to the various powers as any other. He was, however, a dignified figure, polite and well-spoken. He represented the nation as a figurehead with charm and skill.

            I don’t agree with many of his policies but also concede that he was, to be polite, hampered by a Republican Congress.

            As for being the first black president, I think that in itself is a great achievement. His candidacy and tenure brought out blatant racism both in the streets and in the halls of power. The whole birth certificate thing was a thinly veiled attack on the legitimacy of being president if you are black. Blacks in America are hardly equal, but they have been free for only a few decades, so Obama’s accomplishment is miraculous in itself.

            As for your accusations of murder, torture, mayhem, etc., I would ask you to point to any president of the US who is not a torturer, murderer, assassin or thief. Why do you hold Obama up to higher standards? Should the “house nigger” behave better than the master? That is what your comments sound like to me.

            Bush was a buffoon and, by some accounts, a alcoholic who fell off the wagon. Clinton was devious and corrupt. Trump…well, do we need to go there? So who was better than Obama? Nixon? Reagan? Kennedy? How far back do we need to go to find a more honest, moral president?

            1. todde

              Ahhh. I agree, we were suckers for the hope and change motto.

              It should have been “Same as it ever was….now in black!”

              Of course when those disillusion voters didn’t show up for HRC, who do we blame for that?

            2. Adam

              Every other President’s tenure was been a string of massive failures and idiotic ideas. Maybe Obama was the closest to getting a passing grade, but Presidents surely shouldn’t be graded on a scaled curve. That’s just another way to enforce what the establishment wants.

            3. marym

              free for only a few decades

              What in the world are you talking about?

              There have been free black people in what is now the US since colonial times. Slavery was abolished in 1865. It’s not “miraculous” that Obama was elected. It was the result of centuries of hard work, sacrifice, organizing, and advocacy by black people and others committed to democracy, freedom, and rights for all. Obama had a responsibility to that legacy which he failed to achieve.

              1. TheScream

                I politely suggest reading into black history in America. First, Southern Blacks have been officially free since the 60’s and integration. This was followed by integration in the North. Black school districts are intentionally underfunded in the South, so it’s a form of economic and social slavery rather than legal slavery. In the North, Blacks were pushed into ghettos and remained there largely until the 1980’s.

                So, while you are correct that slavery was abolished in 1865, it is childish and, frankly, irritating to suggest that the happy, free niggras should have just pulled up their sleeves and joined the American Dream in 1865!

                1. marym

                  Please don’t accuse me of saying something shameful that I most certainly did not. It was not a miracle that Obama was elected. It was the fruit of hundreds of years of struggle against slavery, the systemic injustices and personal prejudices to which you refer, and those that continue to exist today. He owed a debt to that struggle which he failed to repay.

            4. Yves Smith Post author

              He got rid of habeas corpus, a right enshrined since the Magna Carta and presided over the expansion of the surveillance state and 9 million foreclosures.

              About the only good thing I can point to is his moderating the hawks in the Middle East, but then again, he appointed Hillary, who was their biggest inside ally.

            5. RandyM

              The democrats controlled Congress when Obama was sworn in, the republicans where in a weaker position and Wall Street was desperate. That was the new President’s golden moment for getting something important, like national healthcare passed. He squandered the opportunity. Or maybe it was never his intention to be anything more than an empty suit.

            6. Darthbobber

              “He was, however, a dignified figure, polite and well-spoken.”

              For a butler, that would be fine. But he was ostensibly the President.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Basically, he was polite. Technically, Navy Seals got Bin Laden. We didn’t leave Iraq or Afghanistan. ACA was a Republican healthcare plan which sucks and wasn’t even remotely what was possible. He ignored the environment. The rich are richer. Everyone else is poorer, and the economy sucked in 2007 which is largely the reason he became President. It wasn’t the crash in 2008.

          I’m sure he always said, “thank you.”

          The worst part is he might have been half way decent if people such as yourself pressured him and Democrats instead of making excuses. Look at his actions on DADT. When a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional, embarrassing Obama, he finally moved to get rid of it despite arguing for it in the same federal court.

        4. Roger Smith

          Is this a preview of the Obama Library pamphlets? I’m surprised the word “folks” didn’t appear. Perhaps you could add, “Sorry about your rents folks!” somewhere in there?

        5. Henry Moon Pie

          He had to play it safe the entire time he was president because he was the first black president.

          I heard this defense over and over again at DKos during the eight years of the Obama presidency. Does that mean that electing “firsts” to the White House in critical times is a bad idea? The country really needed someone better than FDR, but we got someone who had to play it cautious because he was the first black President according to Obama’s defenders.

          Will the first female President have to start a war to prove that women CiCs are as tough as men?

            1. Wukchumni

              My conscience is clean, as I figured if the country really wanted a game show host to be President, why not get a good one, and I cast my vote for Wink Martindale.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Technically obama was HALF black–and HALF white, a fact that could have been very powerful in changing the dynamic around race and class in this country. He definitely had the persuasive skills to pull it off had he chosen to do so.

            Instead he, and his owners, chose to exploit his phenotype to squash criticism and justify his equivocations and betrayals.

            And, yes, in the current environment “firsts” are, and will continue to be, “protected” from scrutiny due to their historical status. The alarming thing is that, as the population continues to be divided into more and more specific niches by the politics of identity, the parade of “firsts” is pretty much endless.

        6. Carolinian

          not pathologically self focused

          Sure about that? I’d say his vanity could give Trump’s a run for its money.

          And as some of us have opined before, he did boost the status of African Americans in corners of America like the one where I live. That will be part of his legacy.

          But if we are indeed going to be “colorblind,” as MLK said, then Obama was a pretty terrible president from his salvation of Wall Street to his destruction of Libya to his cold blooded use of drones.

        7. Louis Fyne

          Obama’s ‘playing it safe’ gave birth to Trump and a burning Mid-East.

          ‘Playing it safe’ = not enforcing securities law and giving Wall Street an infinite get of jail card. = wars in Libya and Syria, a refugee crisis, and a 2016 Democratic nominee almost giddy about the idea of a Syrian no-fly zone and shooting at Russians.

          It’s not insane to say that actual peace and breaking up Citigroup and daily perp. walks starting with Angelo Mozillo and Jon Corzine would have kept the Great Lakes states voting Democrat. And Trump would be spending his time playing golf, opening hotels, and making TV shows.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            No, Obama was playing it safe because as President he was really under pressure for that next job where he could do real good if he only could get through being President.

            His Netflix series is really going to make some positive change. I bet it will undo appointing dimwit hacks like Kaine and DWS to run the DNC.

        8. NotTimothyGeithner

          “He had to play it safe the entire time he was president because he was the first black president.”

          This is a problem with how Obama should be viewed. He wasn’t the “first black President.” He’s the first President of the United States who happened to be black. He didn’t “inherit” the job. He beat Hillary Clinton and then beat the brains of Saint McCain. Obama was Caesar and chose to be a petty Sulla.

          Of course, he played it safe to attack Social Security in his second term and work on TPP all that time? Why was he playing it safe? The city of Chicago is ripping up a park for his mausoleum…”library.”

        9. todde

          Except for Libya and Syria apparently.

          When it came to paying jihadi mercenaries to burn down ex-Soviet client states in the Mid East, he should have played it a little more safe.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Also he is the exception that proves the rule: his ancestors were never enslaved. He is a true African American, culturally distinct (following the Black Socialists) from the group of people who suffered through the horrors of slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow, etc.

            What a facile redemption for the nation, electing him president.

            And what a low bar, that he “managed not to engage in in incredibly offensive behavior at every occasion”–Sheesh indeed.

            1. todde

              I was there when he announced his run for President. Had high hopes until he appointed the head of the NY federal reserve to head the FED.

              M daughter had high hopes for Bernie, I had to tell here not to put her faith in the democrats.

                1. gepay

                  If he had been elected as a moderate Republican, to be followed by a real democrat with the welfare of the general public as his/her first priority., he wouldn’t have seemed too bad. The deal with Iran was ok barring the fact there shouldn’t have been sanctions on Iran in the first place. As president he could have done much more. So we got Trump, On the other hand if he had gone too far those people who really run things would have made known how vulnerable his children were .(remember John Bolton saying to the head of the OPCW when they didn’t like what he was doing -“We know where your kids live.” so he shortly resigned. of course “they” wouldn’t say it publicly about a President’s kids). Every President remembers JFK getting his head blown out and that “they” got away with it. There is a reason the military budget is not talked about by major politicians – why the US is more militaristic each passing year – why what the US is good at is turning functioning states into rubble – why the bill of rights is ignored – why the US feels more and more like a surveillance police state – why torture is just alright oh yeah – why millions of Yemeni children and civilians are starving or dying from cholera or…but ,you know, most of USians still live in the good times. Relative to most of the world I do.

          2. perpetualWAR

            It’s seriously amazing how 18 million Americans’ homes were stolen using fabricated and forged documentation, yet no one remembers our struggle.

            This “thorough” list is an example. The foreclosure victims are always forgotten.

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              You’re right. They mention defrauding investors in garbage mortgage-backed derivatives and that no banksters were held to account but NOT specifically all the people who lost their homes.

              Which was and remains an outrage second to none imho. Sorry about that, pW :-(

        10. JohnnyGL

          “He was constantly obstructed by the Republicans who are now in control and are implementing a damaging agenda.”

          Yeah, remember when he fought them with everything he had? When he campaigned in their districts and said he wouldn’t stop until they were run out of office for obstructing good legislation that would help people like spending billions on jobs programs when the economy was slow to recover? Remember how he stopped millions of foreclosures by forcing banks to take losses and modify mortgages and stabilized huge neighborhoods before they were left to rot? Remember when he personally got involved to get the water in Flint cleaned up? Remember when he got the hookworms out of Lownes County, AL where African American, descendants of slaves, were stuck living with raw sewage in their yards?

          Oh, you don’t? That’s because he didn’t do any of those things because he DID NOT CARE!!!

          After 2010, Obama spent all his time pushing budget cuts, especially trying (and failing) to cut Social Security and Medicare and trying to pass TPP. His only frustration was that Republicans wouldn’t sign on to help him do EITHER OF THOSE!

          Alter himself admits Obama didn’t fight for lots of important things. Well, maybe we should elect a fighter….I hear that Bernie Sanders guy is interested. He seems up for a brawl with Republicans.

          1. Todde

            I know. If it wasnt for those obstructionist Republicans we’d have social security cuts right now

            1. pretzelattack

              if only the democrats had controlled congress when he got elected! he would have accomplished great things!

          2. B Topp

            Wasn’t Obama talking about being bipartisan when his party largely controlled Congress? Do you see Trump doing that today in a similar circumstance?

            Also regarding the 60 vote myth. Forgot about Joe Lieberman? He renounced being a Democrat years earlier and even campaigned for McCain in 2008. When the Public Option died and a replacement idea was floated called ‘Medicare 55’ guess who killed it? Yep, Joe Lieberman one of the Democrats 60 Senate votes or so I been told.


        11. Mo's Bike Shop

          Dear Obama haters

          I voted for him twice, the correct term is loathing.

          It’s good to hear your confirmation of exactly what Identity Politics is all about: Get your preferred flavor of TINA and shut up about results.

          A lot of readers here left DKos precisely because of this pablum. Maybe you should try the ‘Presidency is inherently weak’ one instead. With some glossies of him and the dog.

        1. LifelongLib

          Lots of immoral/unjust things are legal. Focusing on illegality lets our system off too easily.

    2. Ford Prefect

      Obama’s primary legacy was it was proof that a black man can be elected President. I view him as a generally middle-of -the-road president. His big blunder was not prosecuting financial crimes, but that is not as big a blunder as invading Iraq or Vietnam. Obamacare was a nice try but is definitely a Rube Goldberg device.

      1. Darthbobber

        A fairly middling president in a situation where that was by no means sufficient.

        Rather like Herbert Hoover, who would have been seen as perfectly adequate earlier in the 1920s, or during the gilded age. But who proved pathetically inadequate for the post-1929 crisis.

    3. Summer

      I see his legacy in AOC.
      That celebrity profile in the Nation gave me dejavu. Oh, so familiar…

      Cynicism the greatest barrier to progressive movements? Wow, I would have sworn that money in politics had that trumped. And when talking about “accountability,” that is code for all the problems that arise with big and dark money in politics.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Obama’s legacy is actually quite significant. Cheney-Bush’s bold experiments in anti-constitutional governance were immunized, impunified and routinized by Obama. Banker ( and other) financial criminality was immunised and impunified, and retro-legalized into the future with non-prosecution agreements. Obama conspired with the Republicans to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent. Obama poisoned the health-care-reform well for decades to come. Obama helped restart a genuine Cold War with Russia. Obama destroyed all hope of hope for millions of people.

      Obama created the Despair Vacuum in which Donald Trump is now running amok.

      Obama’s achievements were very real, significant and lasting. We just have to admit to ourselves what those accomplishments really are.

  7. Darius

    The problem solvers caucus will be perfect for the Democrats because it will be a convenient excuse for inaction, since they don’t have an agenda.

    1. Eureka Springs

      No doubt brought to us by the likes of the DLC/Third Way peeps.

      I guess calling it the navel gazers caucus would have been problematic. OMG we’ve got gout!

    2. JohnnyGL

      Just like ‘defending norms’

      Just like ‘restoring filibuster’

      Just like ‘pay go rules’

      They’re getting ready to put potholes all over the place to make sure any lefties who might gain power will trip and break ankles.

  8. zagonostra

    AOC: Nation

    “Ocasio-Cortez also seems visibly frustrated by the recent criticisms coming from her own side. Responding to the angry reactions on Twitter over a few perceived missteps, she denounces “cynicism” as “the greatest enemy of the progressive left.”

    No, these weren’t “perceived” they where real F-ups, and no the enemy is not “cynicism” it is the damn power elites that control and wield the machinery of State/MSM for their own personal interest and not that of the common good (often have arguments about this notion of “common good” with a philosopher friend who insist their is no common good, just the “good”)

    It is revealing that the Nation (who endorsed HRC) did not mention Jimmy Dore (who scathingly, and in my view justly ,criticized AOC and has caused something of a stir in the YouTube alternate progressive universe.

    1. Wukchumni

      A tale of 2 endorsements:

      AOC foolishly accepted Clinton’s, while Beto declined Obama’s benediction.

      That’s all you need to know, the former is looking backwards @ failure, and the latter is thinking of a future that eclipses it.

      1. perpetualWAR

        I did not hear AOC accepted an endorsement from Clinton!?! Is she (AOC) tone deaf? Or has her own star-power gone to her head?

        Power corrupts.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps she was driven by fear of what a vengeful Clinton Political Mafia Family would do to her if she dared to decline Clinton’s endorsement. Perhaps Clinton made her an Endorsement Offer she Couldn’t Refuse.

          ” Nice little campaign youse got there. Too bad if something was to happen to it.”

    2. Big River Bandido

      Oh gear Dog. A politician accepts an endorsement from another politician, or rejects it? A politician says something nice about a politician who just died? All this between the primaries and the general election? These comments lack any type of perspective whatsoever. They represent the ultimate elevation of “style”, “optics” and “debate points” over policy and substance.

      The comment about Beto O’Rourke is a real guffaw. It’s hard to find a single thing about O’Rourke’s positions on policy issues because he’s so vague and tight-lipped — you know, the typical establishment Democrat. But according to VoteSmart, Beto O’Rourke favors lowering taxes for corporations, does not favor raising anyone’s taxes, and will not say anything about whether the US should increase its military presence in the Middle East — which any thinking person will interpret to mean he favors it but is too cowardly to say so in public. And on health “coverage”? Well, he won’t support HR 676, but he has pitched a four-step plan to get there — that’s twice as long as the Texas Two-Step. And guess what? Step 3 is the unicorn fairytale “public option”. This is the profile of a “Democrat” who Just. Isn’t. Serious. You’re setting *him* up as an example of what AOC should be doing???

      The acceptance or rejection of endorsements given just before an election is based purely on political calculation — “what will play with the voters of my state/district?” O’Rourke (like several others) pre-emptively rejects an Obama endorsement not because he’s a leftist who views Obama as milquetoast. He rejects Obama’s endorsement because he’s running hard for stage right. He’s calculated that he cannot win in Texas unless he runs as a Blue Dog. Nice job there.

      With AOC, those politics are turned on their heads. Obama and his policies aren’t popular in NY-14, but attacking him directly is completely counterproductive in a district like NY-14. As for Jimmy Dore: I watch his show from time to time, and when it comes to criticizing policy and highlighting corruption, he’s spot-on. But electoral politics? Dude is completely out of his depth.

      If these comments really represent the “mindset” of the American left, then it is simply not ready to govern. In a way, we’re lucky that after this election we’ll only have a small cadre of true leftists at lower levels of government — city government, state legislatures, and 2 members of Congress. Should give them some breathing room to learn their new jobs and force a little solidarity on the left. And if it doesn’t? If the left cannot learn to keep its eyes on the prize, and allows itself to be continually distracted with BS “? We’ll have the same kind of dysfunctional government we have now — and we will deserve it.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m not even running for dogcatcher’s apprentice so what do I know, but to dislodge the incumbent in a state so vividly red, takes a different tack. Yes, he’s vague as all getup because he has to be, sadly.

        I’ll take vague over all hat and no Canada, 8 days a week.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I’m for dislodging bad incumbents.

          Throwing out Ted Cruz is a win.

          I’m also fine with Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin and other blue-dog centrists losing. If they are voting to confirm people like Gorsuch (those 3 did), let alone Kavanaugh, then they’re not worth keeping. In fact, it’s a two-fer because those are pro-Schumer votes for him as Minority Leader and we need to throw Schumer out of that job ASAP.

        2. pretzelattack

          so he declined obama endorsement because the state is red, but otherwise would have accepted it i guess.

          1. Wukchumni

            Bluffing isn’t only for poker, and sending Ted back to the privacy of his dungeon would warm the cockles of my heart.

    3. JohnnyGL

      I think you’re on the right track here. The stuff that was brought up by the writer was kind of fluff-stuff that isn’t really important.

      The only thing she’s done that bugged me was the off-hand remark supporting Cuomo. Jimmy was over the top in completely losing his $h!t over it, but he was right on the substance. She shouldn’t have done it. I could be wrong, but she’s been quiet about it, since then.

      AOC is right that cynicism is a problem, but you’re much more right that it’s a secondary problem to the establishment elites and their awfulness. In fact, I’d argue that much cynicism is derived directly FROM the awfulness of the elites.

      1. Code Name D

        Cynicism isn’t the “problem”, it’s the consequence of neo-liberal style campaigning. There is a long history of candidates running as progressives, but ending up governing as neo-liberal corporate hacks. So, when AOC indorses a corporatist, what am I supposed to think? If I take her at her word – than she indorses and wants me to vote for the very neo-liberal, corporate Democrats she is being sent to congress to stand up too. This isn’t cynicism – this is taking her at her at her god dammed word! This is what she said! And keep in mind this was AFTER a massive voter purge from the primary.

        Of course, if this was all taking place on its own, I would be more inclined to agree with you that this is an over-reaction. But you have Gilliam flip-flopping on single payer, suddenly adopting pro-Obama care language and even getting a campaign cameo from Hillary Clinton herself.

        This is worse than you think. Both AOC and Gilliam were indorsed by Our Revolution and the Justice Democrats. They were supposed to have been vetted BEFORE they were endorsed. But as critics have noted before, the vetting process is nothing more than a short verbal interview on a few policy matters. Which means it’s likely that it’s likely that the Revolution ticket is full of closeted neo-liberals. And once they win their primaries, they come out as neo-liberals, confident that Our revolution will tell the voters to vote for them any way “because they have no choice.”

        Our Revolution has failed! It was both predictable – and predicted.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          That may be true for those two organizations, but it is not true for Howie Klein’s Blue America, which endorsed and continues to endorse all three: Gillum, AOC and Beto. Sadly, that may be in part because they’ve indicated they would support impeaching TRUMP!!!, because Klein is obsessed with getting rid of the man and has swallowed Russia! Russia! Russia! completely. However, any candidate Blue America endorses has undergone an in-depth review.

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and there’s no need to repeat the rejection comments—let’s not be redundant. If the goal is to be elected, then a candidate has no choice but to at least appear to play the game. Which, sadly, includes accepting endorsements from people one would rather stayed away and saying polite things about detestable people.

          Just read back over the comments that mention TRUMP!!! in today’s responses. Even those who are fed up with the mess can’t refrain from mentioning what a rude, crude horror he is. If progressive candidates acted the way some demand, they would not only have to fight to get their message before the public but would also have to fight the establishment, which will not hesitate to besiege them as rude and crude and, therefore, incapable.

          I don’t know how or if any of the progressives running will stay that way. The common wisdom is they won’t because they can’t—the entrenched machinists are too powerful and too numerous. And even if the Democrats—Third Way or socialist—do get majorities in both houses, how will they get the required numbers to overthrow the inevitable vetoes from the CEO?

          If anyone really and truly expects a miraculous change in the status quo in the next six months, I can tell them right now they are doomed to severe disappointment and recommend learning about long-range planning.

      2. Big River Bandido

        The Cuomo endorsement is completely tied up with internal New York State politics. Specifically, the NYS Democrats are a corrupt machine under the iron-fisted control of Cuomo. In the 2016 primary, he used his control of the voting apparatus to kneecap the Sanders campaign (one example: 200,000 Brooklyn voters mysteriously disappear from the rolls). In the 2018 state primary, he used the same against Nixon, Williams and Teachout; and used his power over the party to run a sheepdog candidate to draw votes away from Teachout, who would have won otherwise. (One of the Nixon/Teachout supporters whose registration was purged was a DNC member and its harshest critic Nomiki Konst!) The implication here is simple: don’t cross Ratface, or you’ll likely lose election. With Joe Crowley still on the ballot in NY-14 (“Working Families” line), Cuomo could easily steal the election, and such an attempt would be completely in character for him. So, you’re an insurgent candidate whose policy positions are a real threat to the leader of your own party, and you have a choice: endorse the party leader and take the power that comes with your election, or lose your election?

        I don’t think there’s any question which choice better serves policy ends. I also noted a few things about that “endorsement”, the significance of which have been completely ignored. First, it was as general as one could possibly get — of the we-have-to-elect-all-Democrats variety. This is not the least bit unusual — this is how partisan politics runs in the period between the primaries and the general election. Second, her exact words were “including the governor”. There’s an awful lot of significance in that phrasing. The word “including” suggests that somehow, the governor is not worth re-election, but we should still do it anyway, in spite of his massive flaws. There’s no other reason for that clause to be in there. And furthermore, she didn’t even mention his name — she could have just as easily said “including Ratface”, and possibly she wanted to. But again, is it really worth losing your election over something so trivial as an “endorsement”?

        Is it sensible for people on the left to make a big deal out of a pro forma endorsement, made in a general election campaign, that doesn’t even mention the endorsee’s name? Is it really worth throwing out a potential voice for single-payer health care and the needs of working class people — all because she accepted an endorsement from someone who could otherwise have ruined her chance for election? I think the entire line of argument is incredibly short-sighted, and self-defeating.

        1. Darthbobber

          AOC sensibly refrains from making personal enemies out of opponents on policy. This is what I generally expect from electoral politicians as distinct from activists.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “How Germany’s Little Savings Banks Threaten Big Financial Woes”

    Count on Bloomberg to be having a whinge about Germany’s Sparkasses. I saw them everywhere when I was in Germany and they looked like a good setup. I can guess what Bloomberg is thinking. Combine all 385 savings Banks into one huge To Big To Fail Mega-Bank with its €1.2 trillion (c. US$ 1.4 trillion) in assets, merge all their IT ops into one IT op (just like TSBs) that might even possibly work together, sack most of the staff and use the savings to award massive bonuses to the mega-bank executives, close most of the branches (especially the ones in the country) and then replace them with ATMs & mobile apps – all the while cutting out tens of billions in consultancy fees and management fees. Then, instead of all that money being invested into public coffers, invest it instead in stuff like Bitcoins on Mars via the Cayman Islands or Jersey Island. The Bloomberg article itself suggested that they be “encouraged” (aka threatened) to merge and bring in outside investors aka “hot money” from either Wall Street or Saudi Arabia so I do not think that I am too far off the mark with my predictions. Did I miss out much?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Bloomberg article itself suggested that they be “encouraged” (aka threatened) to merge and bring in outside investors aka “hot money” from either Wall Street or Saudi Arabia so I do not think that I am too far off the mark with my predictions.


      The part about needing Wall Street or Saudi money is a bit puzzling, for if they were truly the elites of elites of Germany, and of the European Central Bank, they would not need anyone from outside.

  10. fresno dan

    We’re (Americans) loud, brash, coarse, rude, vulgar, and of course one must not forget loud. We’re crass, clueless, blustering, and hamfisted, without the least trace of subtlety, sensitivity, or tact—oh, and did I mention that we’re loud? …… —and worst of all, despite all the vices and follies I’ve just enumerated, we’re successful. Insufferably, infuriatingly, incomprehensibly successful.

    That is to say, what people in other countries see when they look at Americans is precisely what you see when you look at Donald Trump.
    Has Trump said and done things that many Americans dislike and oppose? Of course—but it’s easy to show that plenty of other presidential administrations in the last half century, including some on the Democratic side of the aisle, have done far more of these same things, and not come in for anything like the same degree of venom. Thus I’ve come to think that what infuriates a great many of Trump’s most frantic opponents more than anything else is simply that he takes a thing about themselves that they find intolerable***—their own cultural identity as Americans—and wallows in it.
    *** for all the yammering about Trump authoritarianism …who passed and EXPANDED the Patriot Act, a LAW….

    1. JEHR

      Thank you for the answer to a previous question of mine:

      Is Trump the embodiment of what American stands for?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What people in other countries would welcome Americans as tourists, much less as immigrants?

      “Sorry, your Yankee yacht is not welcome. Please turn around. You will be deported if you try.”

  11. Tom Stone

    I don’t understand why people are upset at the FBI’s handling of the Kavanugh investion.
    It’s as apolitical as the investigations into Hillary’s emails or “Russiagate” were…

  12. fresno dan

    I’ve figured it out: Donald Trump is the leader of the resistance inside his own administration.

    The 45th president exudes more defiance from one of his short, little fingers than all the liberal yodelers of the Democratic Party and entire armies of pink pussy-hat-wearing protesters put together. When not contravening the libs, Trump opposes the traditional Republican establishment that he is supposed to command. They demand additional sanctions on the Russians; he schemes to lighten them. They want free trade; he imposes punitive tariffs. They dig NATO; he calls it obsolete and works to weaken it. They desire immigration “reform”; he insists on deportation, fewer refugees, no Muslims and the building of a wall. They want to stay in Afghanistan and Syria; he wants out.
    Anonymous is right about the “quiet resistance,” but he got it backward: He and his co-conspirators represent the Republican status quo and the foreign policy establishment that has gone largely unchallenged for more than a half-century. *** Meanwhile, Trump opposes the political status quo and establishment, compares U.S. intelligence agencies to “Nazis” and calls his own Department of Justice and FBI “completely out to lunch.”
    *** Uh, there’s no good reason to leave the Dems out of that sentence – saying “Republican” just restates the illusion that our 2 parties disagree on matters of substance

  13. Eureka Springs

    This is one of those times I’m going to indulge in an – I told y’all so. Back in ’06-’07 ish when 15.00 was suggested as a min wage worth fighting for I said it was not enough. Even out here less than forty miles as the crow flies from Dog Patch, USA it was a joke. All these years later with much inflation and much greater disparity… I told y’all so.

    I doubt few if any Amazon workers will be moving from underneath bridges or out of campgrounds into a mobile home. They certainly wont be getting any dental work done or eating fresh produce on a regular basis.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s interesting how you can plot how wages went to shit in our country, soon after the fall of communism. It took a little while to assert itself, but by the late 90’s, it was in earnest.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Forest/trees. The assault on wages began in the ’70s when corporations began stonewalling workers on benefits. The ’76 tire industry strike was over better medical and dental (never got dental). Once benefits started eroding, then they went after wages. Over the course of my working life, the suits have been at war with labor nonstop and wages is only part of that.

        Workers in debt are easier to control. No option to move, hard to switch jobs. Every job will be like working in an Amazon warehouse by the time they’re done.

        1. Wukchumni

          My job in the late 1980’s working for a firm of about 40 people, had full medical and dental, and the receptionist got the same perks.

          Seems so far away now…

    2. Edward E

      20 miles from Dogpatch I cannot get anyone to chop kudzu crowns for $20/hr. Must be the uneven ground.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Guess you ought to take lesson from the old days. Turn that kudzi into spirits by distillation or a theme park – Kudzu Universe. Sell tickets and let the customer wage war on it. Get paid rather than fork it out…)

        1. Wukchumni

          Friends have a 75 year old apple orchard in Julian, and they can either get 50 cents a pound for the apples if they pick them and wholesale them off, or allow people to pick their own @ $2 a pound, not a hard choice to make.

        2. Edward E

          Thats a good ideer… Need to master how to be a pretend zillionaire, can’t be that hard. My Dodge Rookiemaster just graduated into Promaster. So thanks for the break, been wanting an opportunity to try out an eating kudzu joke inspired by Oregon Charles, so here goes, let me know if it’s any good… to use

          Donald Trump’s riding in a limo in the motorcade around Charlotte, NC when he sees a couple of men on the shoulder of the road eating kudzu leaves. He tells all the drivers to ‘woah, stop it, woah.
          He opens the window and says, “Hey, what, why are you guys eating kudzu?”
          The first guy says, “Because we don’t have any money for food.”
          Trump says, “Now, both of you, get in the car now and come with me.”
          The guy says, “But, sir, I have a wife and a child with one on the way.”
          The second guy says, “I have a wife and five children.”
          DT says, “Great, awesome, you men don’t worry yourselves, we’ll pick them up.”
          They get in the car, and right after he gives the limo driver the directions to his home, the second guy says, “You know Mr President Donald Trump, you are truly great, compassionate and kind. Thank you so very much!”
          Trump says, “No problem. Hey, we bigly need some help controlling a yuge kudzu problem at Trump National Golf Club” ?

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Nevertheless, $15 is almost twice as much as the current minimum, and it’s an easy number to alliterate, which is important in a political campaign. “Fight for $15” works a whole lot better than “Fight for $21.65”. It’s also less threatening, and after 70 years of being told what we can’t afford because “budget” and “deficit”, baby steps are better than falling on one’s face.

      The case also has to be made for the psychological effect of things like Amazon paying $15/hr. Even if, on the whole, it won’t make a lot of difference, the very fact so many establishment mouthpieces are working as hard as they are to find negatives about it says a great deal, if you’re paying attention. It’s not the fact of the raise that matters as much as the impact that raise has on the general psyche.

      Finally, and perhaps most important, the corporate media couldn’t ignore it, as they’ve done for all of the smaller fights-for-fifteen that have succeeded. Had they tried to pretend it wasn’t important, they’d have revealed the bias those of us who are awake know they have. I suspect Bernie Sanders knew that, which is why he went for Amazon rather than Walmart or one of the other behemoths.

      Unless people begin to think like PR flacks and understand how our current media-saturated world works, and then act accordingly, the current effort for change will go the way of all the previous ones because everything will be taken literally rather than as the theater is mostly is.

      1. r helder

        e.b., i believe you are correct. union leaders and socialists had argued and fought and struck for living wages and the forty-hour week since the 1880s, to little avail. then, in order to solve a huge turnover problem, henry ford offered the $5 day and saturday afternoon off, and became a worldwide sensation. suddenly, it was no longer just a concept, but was actually being done! when it succeeded in almost eliminating employee turnover, it had to be taken seriously. it wasn’t long before most other competitors had to follow suit.

        “fight for fifteen” is not only humane, it actually works. it doesn’t take long to become the new norm.

  14. hemeantwell

    The author of the AOC Nation article, Raina Lipsitz, smudges over the central question raised by AOC’s waffle on Palestine and apparent wish to become Bomber McCain’s pallbearer: is she going to be yet another leftish Dem who aligns with the US foreign policy establishment while pursuing a “humanitarian” (in the terms of the epoch) domestic agenda? Instead of recognizing this disastrous, decades-old rut — one formed by well-established institutional forces — as one that AOC’s supporters have reason to be concerned about, Lipsitz frames the criticisms as perfectionist whining by people who don’t really understand the real AOC, whom Lipsitz reveals with a collection of close-up vignettes that are completely irrelevant to the central issue.

    Even if you accept the point that AOC, despite having a 99% likelihood of winning in November, has to be a tad careful about setting off a blast from Israel firsters, that still does not explain her incredible whitewashing of McCain. She could have easily said nothing . Instead she participated in a ritual of forgetting/forgiving/idealization and, as a political leader, invited others to do so. That should not be, indeed cannot be, part of the left’s approach to politics. Being on the left requires a steady insistence on dragging reality out from under the shroud of ideology and “modeling” how that is done to embolden others. I worry that AOC doesn’t see what is at stake here. As for the Nation, I know they don’t.

  15. Wukchumni

    Hillary Clinton Is Coming to Broadway. As a Character in a Play. New York Times (Kevin W)
    Hopefully it’ll be a Distaffian version of Death Of A Salesman, and it includes slick Willy Loman, so it’s a natural.

      1. Wukchumni

        Is this a nomination which I see before me,
        The polls leaning toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
        I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
        Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
        To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
        A nomination of the mind, a false creation,
        Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
        I see thee yet, in form as palpable
        As this which now I draw.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Laurie Metcalf is a terrific, hilarious actress.

      If she checks her edge at the door for Hillary, I will be so bummed!

  16. fresno dan

    ….Koppel makes some blunt points about how the media has changed from what it was 40-50 years ago and how, as a result of the blending of news and commentary, the public now believes everyone on TV has an agenda.
    Koppel said that while guests try to appear non-partisan, there is no way to maintain that pose while appearing on Morning Joe every day, “where quite clearly the agenda is anti-Trump from start to finish.” If you appear on that program day after day, Koppel concluded, “the public is going to identify you as being anti-Trump.”

    The ratings are up—it means that you can’t do without Donald Trump,” Koppel replied, adding “You would be lost without Donald Trump.”
    “Ted you know that’s not true,” Stelter objected.
    “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump,” Koppel said. As Stelter objected again, Koppel calmly asked, “What were the ratings before Trump and what are the ratings now?
    Stelter admitted the network might be up 20-40% but then said, “If we go back down 40% that’s okay too.”***
    *** That guy isn’t the boss. You can bet your a$$ that CNN would do something to make sure the advertising bucks kept rolling in…. (surely there is so much evil in Russia, Iran, or Korea to merit a war???)
    I caught a snippet of CNN last night, Don Lemon talking with a couple of female reporter/commentators. One of them was from NPR, not exactly a pro Trump outfit, and she NON DELUSIONALY pointed out that Kavanaugh has been acceptably in the legal field for quite some time. Talk about bullying – you would have thought she was pointing out Satan’s good points. Really, not even the pretense of equanimity

    1. Carolinian

      The reporter was told by the Times’ executive editor Abe Rosenthal that he could go on Koppel’s show, but if he did he couldn’t return to the Times. “His point being two-fold. One, you work for the Times and that’s all I want you to do. And two, Koppel’s going to ask you a lot of provocative questions and I don’t want my NY Times reporters expressing opinions.”

      Boy that is ancient history. Seymour Hersh talks about this as well and says the ever blurring line between fact and opinion is one of our biggest media problems.

      Facts are old hat. Now it’s all about narrative.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      And right now on CNN breathless talking heads acting like the outcome of tomorrow’s vote is in question. Someone said here a few days ago they will calibrate it so the number of Republican and Democratic defectors cancel each other out.

      On the procedural vote, Murkowski voted No and Manchin voted Yes. Otherwise, party line.

      But if the media can do the job of convincing enough “mopes” this is an actual nail-biter, maybe they vent enough outrage out of the nation.

      Though interestingly, just as I was entering this comment, one talking head hypothesized that Murkowski’s vote could signal the Republicans are confident enough they told her it was okay for her to vote her conscience without fear of hurting the party.

      1. fresno dan

        ChiGal in Carolina
        October 5, 2018 at 11:39 am

        I tell ya one thing ChiGal….whatever happens, if its reported on CNN, its historic
        so good to be alive in historic times ;)

  17. ChristopherJ

    re poking the bear.

    Don’t know how the bear has been able to continue to be civil.

    Don’t think I have been as apprehensive as I am now in my 57 years.

    There is a confluence of seemingly unrelated events. I hope I am wrong

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m just a year behind you, and waiting for a flood near the nexus of the confluence, where most of us live.

      If you had asked anybody in say 1939 what the next 6 years would look like, nobody would have guessed what went down, and it has a similar feel here, the great unknown.

    2. Olga

      You’re not wrong. My own sense of why the bear remains civil is because of several factors:
      (a) not being civil would end in war (the bear tries to avoid that at all cost);
      (b) in spite of all, the bear does believe in diplomacy (and has a long tradition in it);
      (c) the bear has better weapons (although it does not want to use them);
      (d) the bear believes it has righteousness on its side (as Alexander Nevsky said “God is in the truth, not in strength”);
      (e) by talking to all, the bear knows that most of the world’s countries support him (or her), even if they only dare to say it in private; and – finally –
      (f) the bear (and the dragon) have a VERY long-term view (which allows them to ride the distasteful ups-and-downs).
      There was a very telling moment in Oliver Stone’s long interview with VVP (the latest manifestation of the bear). VVP chastised Stone over some negative comments about the US. He then explained that he simply cannot allow himself to feel negativity about the US because “I have to deal with them every day.” Something along the lines of “if I had a negative view, I could not work with them … and we must work together.” A good representation of the sense of responsibility towards the entire world and true statesmanship.

      1. ChristopherJ

        thank you Olga and Wuk. Hard to converse in this space given time issues. I think Putin has shown amazing restraint.


        We are fortunate to live about 250m from the bush, so still a lot of diversity in our garden. We are probably around 30 to 40m above sea.

        I think I have about 1 hour (before H comes and gets me) and then its a 900 m hike up the hill to the ridge line and then we’ll set out for a 2.5k trek along the ridge line to Mount Whitfield ( where we’ll have one of the best views of the Coral Sea at 364m.

        Running back’s the best part. But I will be uneasy for days due to the ‘darkness’ I feel from the spirits which still occupy the coastal rainforest on the ridge line.

        Before we go, I’ve organised a tradie soon to quote on doing our Morton Bay Fig floor boards (they have the white sap wood in the same plank.) They were laid down in 1962 (year after me), on top of Silky Oak floor joists and then covered up with Lino until we bought the place. The first guy came in and said the timber in our house was worth more than the house! The only new hardwoods that go into houses these days come from Asia, rest is concrete, steel, plastic, chipboard and perhaps some pine.

        Great Saturday everyone and thank you to everyone who comments here and contributes, particularly S and L

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        An insightful comment — the restraint and sobriety evidenced in the bear’s actions make many of us in the land of eagles wonder what became of our nation’s leadership — and not just that of the Trump.

    1. DJG

      voteforno6: An excellent article. He diagnoses the problem, names names, and gives ideas about how to bring a resolution.

    2. Judith

      The Nicholas Shaxson piece The Finance Curse is also well worth it, though it is a long read:

      “A growing body of economic research confirms that once a financial sector grows above an optimal size and beyond its useful roles, it begins to harm the country that hosts it. The most obvious source of damage comes in the form of financial crises – including the one we are still recovering from a decade after the fact. But the problem is in fact older, and bigger. Long ago, our oversized financial sector began turning away from supporting the creation of wealth, and towards extracting it from other parts of the economy. To achieve this, it shapes laws, rules, thinktanks and even our culture so that they support it. The outcomes include lower economic growth, steeper inequality, distorted markets, spreading crime, deeper corruption, the hollowing-out of alternative economic sectors and more.”

    3. fresno dan

      October 5, 2018 at 9:43 am
      When the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.
      thanks for that voteforno6
      I posted something about Skilling getting out a couple of weeks ago. I was surprised it didn’t engender more comment.
      I think young people now a days look at imprisoning CEO’s like Marty McFly (Back to the Future) looks at that 1950’s gas station where they pump your gas, check the oil, and wash your windshield as something they did back in the old days but has been relegated to the dustbin of history….

  18. Bridget

    Accrording to the WSJ, Blasey Ford lifelong friend, Leland Keyser, was pressured by Blassey Ford ally Monica McLean to change her statement that she did not remember the party and doesn’t know Kavanaugh:

    McLean is the former FBI agent who was allegedly coached by Blasey Ford on how to take a polygraph, despite Blasey Ford’s testimony that she had never helped anyone prepare for a polygraph.

    According to what I have read, Blasey Ford lifelong BFF McLean lives in Rehoboth Beach, whence the letter to Feinstein was drafted according to Blasey Ford’s testimony.

    Beach friend McLean is now represented by David Laufman, former DOJ counterintelligence official who oversaw the laughable Clinton email probe.

    It’s looking more and more to be like Blasey Ford is a big fat liar.

    1. Hameloose Cannon

      If you weren’t assaulted that night, the party probably wasn’t all that memorable. This would have been an episode of juvenilia horribilis had BK at least acknowledged the possibility he offended Ford in some way. But I believe BK is within the sociopath spectrum and is incapable of feeling authentic remorse. That is why he has been groomed for this position: believing the Founders believed whatever is expedient for his tribe, Bret Kavanaugh can draft cold harmful policy without a stain on his conscience. He’s as self-reflective as an overhead transparency.

      1. Carolinian

        If you weren’t assaulted that night, the party probably wasn’t all that memorable.

        On the other hand if you were assaulted then presumably you’d remember more than Ford’s somewhat vague accounts of where and when.

        Of course one could say that after 37 years then precise memory by all the parties is suspect and that would be right.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Do you personally believe (leaving aside the punctilios of hesaidshesaid) that Kavanaugh is an appropriate person to join the other reactionaries and pro-business and anti-individual-rights people up there on the bench of “the highest court in the land?” Doing “judicial review” of all the law and policy that these folks have accumulated the power to legitimize or demolish? Given the rest of his unassailable documented history on matters of substance? Just trying to figure out the genesis and import of the insistence on focusing on and demolishing the one thing with legs that is drawing all the lawyerly debate energy in this situation.

          1. Carolinian

            I’m sure he will be a terrible SC justice but I don’t agree that this attempt to derail is helpful even if it succeeds (which was probably never in the cards). As Lambert has been hinting around in Water Cooler, it may just inspire the rightwing portion of the electorate to come out and vote next month.

            So in other words it’s bad as justice–Kavanaugh may be innocent of the accusation–and it’s bad politics since it is “preaching to the converted.” If middle of the road voters haven’t already been turned off by Trump’s sexual antics then they are unlikely to feel that way about what Kavanaugh is only accused of doing.

            Finally if the real issue is Kavanaugh’s authoritarian judicial ideology then that’s what we should be talking about since a rejection vote would only bring on another Trump nominee with the same views. I’m not a lawyer (I believe you are) but the above is my altogether amateur take.

      2. Bridget

        The point isn’t that Leland Keyser has no memory of the party, the point is that Keyser was pressured by Monica McLean to CHANGE her statement to that effect. And it very much appears to me that McLean, who may have once been coached by Blasey Ford in the finer points of polygraphs, was at the very least involved in composing/concocting the letter to Feinstein.
        This whole thing is beginning to smell very fishy to me.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I agree that that is the point here.

          Pressuring someone to change statement..ex FBI…

        2. marym

          Notes on evaluating credibility

          Reporting from The Hill of Ford’s friend being pressured references

          The Wall Street Journal report [that] says Kavanaugh, too, reached out to former classmates in an effort to bolster his denials of accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him by three women.

          As previously posted in comments here recently, from @SenatorLeahy

          THREADS AHEAD: Here are POINT-BY-POINT breakdowns, accompanied by exhibits and organized by topic, explaining numerous instances where Judge Kavanaugh misled the Senate under oath.

          THREAD #1: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about the Manny Miranda email theft scandal.

          THREAD #2: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on Judge Pryor’s nomination.

          THREAD #3: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on Judge Pickering’s nomination.

          THREAD #4: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on a controversial wireless wiretapping program.

          THREAD #5: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on a Bush administration detention and interrogation policies.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Reaching out is different from pressuring.

            The question is if the ex-FBI person in fact pressured, or was he/she reaching out?

            And the same question goes for Mr. K – was he reaching out, or pressuring?

            To me, reaching out is expected, understandable and OK, if you are calling to see if they know anything…which is not the same as pressuring.

            So, it’s back to, did anyone pressure another person?

            1. marym

              Who has more leverage when trying to change someone’s mind – a private citizen or a federal judge??

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                As I said, the question is, is anyone pressuring people, and is anyone just reaching out.

                If the federal judge is pressuring, we will hear about it. So far, reaching out is what is described.

                The former FBI person is reported to be pressuring.

                That’s where we are now. Maybe there will be more news to add or change this.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                Tell me how an federal appeals court judge, who always rules with at least 2 other judges and only in cases in his district, has power over an individual?

                1. marym

                  I assume he would “reach out” to people he thought likely to be impressed by their buddy the soon-to-be SC judge, whether directly in terms of his rulings, or his likely general support for their class interest, or his network in influential circles, in addition to whatever influence a personal friendship would have on whether a person were willing to speak out.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Look, I piss people off who are supposedly in power all the time.

                    It’s a widely promoted myth that they can or will do something. Eric Schneiderman even told someone he’d get me in a way clearly designed to reach me. I knew the threat was ridiculous. And the AG of my own state in theory has a hell of a lot more power than Kavanaugh as an appellate judge has. On top of that, judges more so than anyone class of people in public life are not supposed to use their position to get their way. It’s seen as particularly unseemly and could force him to recuse himself from cases.

                    This sort of urban legend is what keeps people in line. A bad credit report will do you more harm that The Ire of Brett Kavanaugh, unless maybe you want to belong to his country club or if you are an attorney whose firm might wind up pleading a case before him. But, say, a doctor? A bus driver? Someone working at a bank, in any position from teller to very senior? Come on! The circle of influence of someone like Kavanaugh is much smaller than you think. And it is completely tied up with his current job. I’ve seen plenty of people retire or get pushed out of big name jobs (often for no fault of their own) and guess what? All sorts of people in their rolodex will not longer take their calls. “Friends” in those circles are not friends, they are professional contacts.

                    People like that lose cred and have to spend chips to exercise an vendetta. And a lot of people won’t cooperate (as in they’ll at best feign cooperation).

                    1. marym

                      OK – unlike your experience, mine is zero as far as knowing whether that kind of pressure would have a practical impact, so no further argument from me there.

                      If an attempt to influence testimony, in itself, diminishes credibility, as suggested by the original comment, regardless of its likely effectiveness, that would still seem to apply for both Ford and associates and Kavanaugh and associates.

                      This from NBC now claiming texts messages among K’s former classmates “raising questions about whether Kavanaugh tried to squash the New Yorker story that made Ramirez’s accusations public.”

            2. Darthbobber

              Almost every
              Georgetown Prep alum who’s said anything regarding the house party culture of those years also mentions having received calls from fellow alumni they haven’t had contact with for many years to remind them that loose lips sink ships.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                That would be likely.

                Some solid evidence connecting to K or his camp, or to Ms. Ford or her ex-FBI acquaintance on this front would advance the conversation.

                1. Darthbobber

                  I first ran into it on an nbc news piece that largely focused on discussions generated among the alumni of the female prep schools. The mention of the guys was there but peripheral. I don’t find it still up on the main site, but I might have a dig later.

        3. Lambert Strether

          It’s interesting to change our perspective from a single, individual witness, to a witness as a node within/representative of a network. (This is Third World thinking about politics, but that’s where we are, isn’t it?)

          If the “Future is Female” liberal Democrat faction was going to chose a #BelieveWomen hill to die on, you’d think they could find an accuser better than Ford, for whom we don’t have a date, a place, confirming witnesses, or any physical evidence (nor are we likely to find any, after so many years). Or perhaps the very weakness is the point, this is to be the new baseline.

          NOTE Of course, “Dr. Christine Blasey Ford” absolutely screams 10%-er — from the professional credentials to the double-barreled name. So maybe it’s #BelieveProfessionalWomen. That seems to be the pattern so far, at least.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “…….a big fat liar.”

      C’mon. If there’s one thing we all should be able to agree on, it’s that we’ll NEVER know what REALLY happened, and the word “liar” is as useless as it is facile.

      If any “good” is to come of this sorry situation, it’s that all parents of adolescents need to establish a “talk” when their children come “of age,” similar to “the talk” that we’ve heard black families have with their children regarding behavior when encountering police.

      Should they find themselves in this situation (or any other that seems wrong at the time, including into adulthood) and, for whatever reason, feel unwilling to report it, WRITE IT DOWN. All the details–names, dates, times, locations–every single thing you can think of. Write it down–ON PAPER–and save it.

      No one stays a teenager forever. Circumstances change. Memories dim. You can’t predict the future. You just never know when you’ll need to remember what happened in the past, and when someone demands “evidence,” firm ground is where you’ll want to be standing.

      This shit happens, and society has plenty of incentive to pretend it doesn’t and to discredit those who say it does. Don’t get sucked in to thinking that the likes of grassley and hatch and feinstein will run the place forever.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Should they find themselves in this situation (or any other that seems wrong at the time, including into adulthood) and, for whatever reason, feel unwilling to report it, WRITE IT DOWN. All the details–names, dates, times, locations–every single thing you can think of. Write it down–ON PAPER–and save it.

        That sounds like very good advice. And is a step forward on developing a way to adjudicate sexual assault claims with some level of dignity.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I assume that the stuff being written down would also be dated. If so, should the young or young-ish person writing it down be advised to have it notarized or otherwise proof-applied-at-the-time that it was written when the date says it was written? To head off accusations years or decades later that it is a fake memoir written with an agenda and then fake back-dated?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And use a real photochemical-emulsion film camera, with real photochemical-emulsion film.

            That way, no one can claim the photo was “photoshopped”. And also, that way, no “dark and sinister forces” can sneak into your computer and retro-photoshop your stored digital photograph to suit their interests and needs. Or simply erase your digital stored photos of your notes altogether.

            I think the digital revolution will finally spark a small but real analog counter-revolution.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “US Pacific Fleet heading for China?”

    I know that is is about 12 years too late for the centenary but maybe Trump might consider sending out another “Great White Fleet” ( to demonstrate American naval power. Sailing a fleet to China to wind it up is too limited. Go for broke and show the whole world what you have. Teddy Roosevelt would have been proud. Has Trump heard of Teddy Roosevelt? Of course the likely effect of sailing a fleet at China will just convince the Chinese to build a true blue water navy even faster and all their ships are much newer. Won’t matter to Trump at all that as he will be out of office by then.

    1. Wukchumni

      “We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”

      “it is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals — not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening.”

      Teddy Roosevelt

  20. flora

    Re: retired SC Justice Stevens speaks out

    Retired SC justices do not speak about pending matters before the Court, or the nominees to the Court. For Justice Stevens to speak out is a giant departure from tradition and an enormous signal about Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve. I expect the Senate to ignore Justice Stevens’ warning.

    an aside: I read several thoughtful editorial on various topics in the past few weeks that conclude in some dismay “there are no lines anymore” (to be crossed or not crossed).
    Well, after 30 years of saying the market is infallible and regulations are bad and unnecessary, elite financial criminals should not be held accountable, and the govt job is to bailout the elite financial frauds and too bad for all the little people that got flattened (oops, so sorry, nothing we can do)…. of course there are no lines left. It’s ‘liberty hall’ for the well-connected elite and financial disaster for the rest of us. The dotcom crash could be put down to market swings. The 2008 financial disaster was sponsored corruption backstopped by the politicians, imo.

    The columnists can go on puzzling why there aren’t any lines and why the 80% are rumbling but the columnists never question market greed, no regulation or regulation enforcement, or political corruption. It’s all a mystery to the columnists.

  21. allan

    Joe’s with us on everything but the war SCOTUS.

    Showing that we can work across the aisle. Surely this earns him another million from the DSCC.

  22. JEHR

    “a giant departure from tradition”

    It seems to me that there are not many norms or traditions being observed by the administration right now.

    1. flora

      or the previous admin, or the one before that.
      That’s my point about the pernicious effects of neoliberalism, which has descended into nihilism, imo.

      “I feel that the dormant goodwill in people needs to be stirred. People need to hear that it makes sense to behave decently or to help others, to place common interests above their own, to respect the elementary rules of human coexistence.”
      ― Vaclav Havel

      This is what we have lost.

  23. JTMcPhee

    On Bloomberg’s hit piece on Germany’s Sparkasse local banks and “systemic risk” from supposed incompetence and corruption: One might recall a certain giant TBTF (not) and corrupt and corrupting “bank” from my Chicago days, “Continental Illinois NATIONAL Bank and Trust Company,” which advertised itself as “The big bank, with the little bank inside,” and failed spectacularly along with many other Great Institutions due to all the stuff documented here at NC. Some history:

    So yes, let the consolidations roll, roll up the deposits of those “frugal German citizens” into the “competent hands” (for some definition of “competence,” related to another fine concept in Bigness, “expertise” — also undefined, but bearing a sheen of presumed goodness) of those large German banks that have bled places like Greece and Italy and Spain. That’s going to prove very “smart,” eh? Since buried in the piece is the acknowledgment that those Little Bankers seem to have weathered the GFC with most of their (as not yet looted) little people’s deposits and local banking services intact. Why, they mostly did not even participate in “investing” (read “exposing themselves to market risk”) in those tranched-up derivative products built on lies about liars’ loans… Obviously neither “competent” nor “expert.”

    Remembering what “expertise” has brought the mopery via the GFC, and in the Battlespace Managers’ “management” of the Forever War across the planet, and, oh, how about that drilling platform out in the Gulf of Mexico, and here’s hoping we all enjoy our daily ration of chlorpyrifos and Roundup ™ in our breakfast cereal and other seed products… All thanks to “expertise” (and to my shame apparently this latest Roundup “use” got started in Scotland, from whence “competent experts” “cleared” my forbears to Ireland to be serfs, and then with the potato famine, off they went to Nova Scotia.

  24. TheScream

    Christians and Scientists? I suppose this is evolution. Even the Catholic Church has accepted that the earth turns around the sun. It is the inexorable progression in the belief in the God of the Gaps. For believers with some sort of higher cerebral function, god is pushed into the dark corners of understanding and knowledge until a scientist shines a light in there. Then god moves into the next shadow.

    That said, I do prefer this kind of believer to other kinds. At least this kind will not burn you at the stake for getting an education.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Burning at the stake for getting an education — has been outsourced. The Education Industrial Complex handles that function through debt creation backed by extensive debt collection agencies.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      For believers with some sort of higher cerebral function, god is pushed into the dark corners of understanding and knowledge until a scientist shines a light in there.

      So science has found the dark matter? The dark energy? Have scientists come up with a solution for when the bank steals your family farm?

      I am an a-theist, so Science is off for me as a savior as well. Meanwhile these baggy spiritual traditions have a lot of tools for just coping. Especially having fellow congregants. Evangelical Atheism needs fill those gaps, or it will remain the Dvorak Keyboard of Spirituality.

      1. TheScream

        Why not mention molecules, atoms, light, sound, flight? All things which were God’s domain until science explained them. As I said, dark matter and energy are in the shadows…for now. So if God is lurking there, he better start checking the classified for new digs.
        And while scientists can’t help with the family farm, I would point out it’s not their job. It does, though, appear to be God’s job by many definitions. He is, after all, omniscient and omnipotent. So if he does nothing to stop the bank stealing the farm, then it must be His Will that the farm be taken.
        I don’t know of any studies on atheism and depression, so I can’t say whether or not having a congregation helps. It seems to me that much of christian congregating revolves around telling each other you will burn in hell for eternity for this or that, so I am not sure how that helps cope with every day life. I am an atheist and don’t believe in eternal life. Life is meaningless in any religious sense. This doesn’t bother me. Does it bother YOU that you did not exist for 14 billion years prior to your birth? Probably not. So why all the angst about death? And no, I don’t need Giant Father God in the Sky to make me feel better, especially since it would be His fault I was sad, mad, etc. in the first place! But that’s just me.

  25. EoH

    The Guardian seems surprised that UK house prices are declining, and that fewer houses are on the market, perhaps owing to “the political uncertainty of Brexit.”

    Prices fell 1.4% in September, but are still up 2.5% from September last year. “City forecasters,” had predicted a 0.2% rise. Prices apparently fell in London but were higher elsewhere.

    The wonder to me is that prices have not fallen further. But let’s see what next month and the fourth quarter bring, as the UK inches closer to its apparently desired “no deal” Brexit.

    Meanwhile, in a rearguard holding action, British institutional investors forced Unilever, the joint Anglo-Dutch company, to abandon its Dutch chairman’s plan to “simplify” the company’s organization. He had planned to reform it into a solely Dutch company and to downsize its joint London-Rotterdam HQ into a single HQ in Rotterdam.

    The largely symbolic move would have involved about 60 head office employees in London and 40 in Rotterdam (out of 169,000 worldwide, including 7500 in the UK and 3000 in the Netherlands), and was set to take place after Brexit. The company denied a connection.

    The reorganization also would have meant dropping Unilever from the FTSE 100. Mrs. May apparently took the proposal personally. But it’s not clear whether large British shareholders scotched the plan for nationalistic reasons or because they disagree with the chairman’s broader long-term plans.

    1. Wukchumni

      From what i’ve been reading, an interesting thing is occurring that has never happened, in that all of the housing bubbles around the world, are mostly retreating-the CANZ one in particular, but here in the states, inventory is expanding, for FOMO on selling your garage mahal while there’s still a chance to get out.

      I think it’s too soon and not sudden enough in terms of loss of value, to have an effect on the November election.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mike Pence: Trump’s fight with China just got personal Asia Times (Kevin W)

    Going after Chinese oligarchs would make it very personal for some people.

    1. Wukchumni

      You know it goes, Pence accuses the Chinese of something, and 20 minutes later is hungry to do it again.

            1. Wukchumni

              Ok, here’s the joke in usual form for you:

              The worst thing about eating Chinese food is 20 minutes later, you’re hungry again.

              Have you never heard it before?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Thanks for the break down.

                Does it not follow that if you’re hungry, you might order again?

                Again and again = more practice…makes perfect? Go after those oligarchs again (Russian or in this case, Chinese)

                Perhaps I free associated too much?

              2. Edward E

                My dad says the same thing whenever I suggest Chinese food. Once at a motel manager he complained, “You call this a continental breakfast? Is this all you can find on this continent, huh?” He’s doing the same thing at the VA medical foster care home. ‘if we had some bacon, we would have some bacon & eggs… if we had some eggs’ gotta watch this, I even bought some groceries

                This gravel hauln’ spread n’getting too exhausting, going to the swimming hole. Oh, wait, this is 10-5 10-5 10-5 not 10-4 gotta run to Mizzourah, my thunkolator is truly messed up…

              3. c_heale

                The reason for this may be that most foods from East Asia are now served with white rice, which is digested very fast – since it is pure carbohydrate. Before the end of the 19th century most East Asians ate wholegrain rice which is digested more slowly and is full of nutrients. However at the end of the 19th century industrial rice processors managed to remove the bran from rice which could then be sold as rice oil. The new white rice was first marketed to the nobles and richer members of society and since East Asian societies were in general very hierarchical, white rice permeated these societies as a signifier of social statues.

                1. Mo's Bike Shop

                  Wow. So now I actually know what this has to do with the price of rice in China. Happy Friday.

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  It could also be a matter of adjusting to it.

                  Not many Asians on refined rice diet resort to eating 4 or 5 times a day, and it is unlikely the joke originated from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore or other Asian nations with sizable population of Chinese (ethnicity, not nationality in particular).

                3. Lambert Strether

                  I’m not sure it’s that simple or recent. From Annals of Botany:

                  Early landraces are red; however, modern cultivars are almost universally white. While red-grained varieties are still preferred in some places due to traditional or medicinal reasons, white rice has been under strong selection for thousands of years. Unlike shattering, which is clearly a polygenic trait, only one locus, Rc, has been reported to affect a change from red pericarp to white.

                  (I think the pericarp is what you get after you peel off the hull.) Then, as you say:

                  The story would stop there were it not for the technological “modernization,” starting about a century and a half ago, of corporations developing technology to refine rice (and other grains) further. In the case of rice, milling technology created the possibility of peeling the bran off the grain and polishing what is left into shiny, white rice.

                  But even then it’s not so simple:

                  Why then, do most Filipinos—outside of the organic farmers and those who have taken their doctors’ advice—eat unhealthy rice three times a day? We ask a number of our non-farmer friends across the Philippines, people whom we respect. “White rice tastes better” is the most common answer. “Our children find white rice easier to digest,” several tell us. Or, “it is hard to find unpolished brown rice.” Some point out, accurately, that it takes longer to cook brown rice, thus requiring more fuel. And a few mention that brown rice sitting in containers in your kitchen can invite more insects, which are attracted to all the same nutrients that make brown rice so healthy.

                  (This is from an article about the Philippines; ““American rice,” we have heard it [“white rice”} called, so the mechanisms varied by country.)

                  And then there’s arsenic in the hull and bran. Since rice cultivation is normally very water-intensive, there could be arsenic uptake if groundwater levels fall (which I’d speculate can happen in heavily agricultural areas.)

                  I imagine that, on the whole and on the average, brown rice is healthier than white race. Still, if you’re poor — very time-pressed, always conscious of money — there are good reasons to eat white rice, given the givens.

              4. Darthbobber

                Then there’s the german-Chinese fusion cuisine. Tastes great but 20 minutes later you’re hungry for power.

                1. Wukchumni

                  One of the best Chinese restaurants I ever ate @ was in Vienna, not far from St. Stephens Cathedral. It’d been there a long time, with beautiful artwork on the walls, and Chinese waiters barking out orders in German to the kitchen.

                  1. Edward E

                    Hongry now, absolutely the best puttin’ on the feed bag Chinese food is a New China down yonder a ways Rassellville, Awk they even have frog laigs w/ grits n’ black strap molasses, maters n sweet taters, shrimps n crab laigs, smoked crawdads, catfish n collard greens, funyuns, etc

    1. fresno dan

      Back track
      October 5, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      It is my MO to post the most interesting portion of a referenced post….but(t) posting merely a portion does not do it justice…
      I had always been of the mind that what goes up, must come down, and what can go in, can come out. But(t) apparently not…..
      still, news you…..r friends, of friends, of friends of your cousin’s college roommate can perhaps use.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        the true figure of sex toy retention was likely even higher than the study suggests

        Thanks, I had just skimmed. My inner sophomore is happy. Kinky Mommy State :)

  27. rd

    Re: Spy Chips

    I have been utterly baffled for 25 years regarding the offshoring of nearly all electronics production. It was obvious that it meant this type of opportunity was built into the production system.

    The US should make it a strategic objective to bring a significant production capacity back on-shore for chips and other devices. That would be a really good use of all those abandoned industrial areas in the Rust Belt and give workers something to do other than take opiates. This is a national security imperative, as well as an economic imperative.

  28. rd

    Re: Presidential test alert

    I was on a plane in the middle of boarding and everybody’s cell phone went nuts simultaneously. It was interesting.

  29. Westcoastdeplorable

    Re: Kavanaugh
    C’mon guys, let’s be real about the “handwave” comment; this was his 7th FBI background check and was triggered by a very dubious person who had memory problems. I for one also question her vision with those “coke-bottle” lenses. Nonetheless, she was taken seriously and the investigation by the Liberal-heralded FBI turned up nothing new. Therefore as per their playbook, the Left now has flipped against the FBI.
    I think this is getting tiresome with many voters and expect push-back in the form of a RED WAVE in the upcoming erection….er ah, election.

    1. flora

      The interesting thing, to me, about the FBI – (which is under the DoJ, which is under the Admin and so a part of the Executive Branch)- is that it begins to look more and more like the FBI acts too often as a Praetorian Guard for the President, regardless of party. See DNC meeting with FBI to investigate Trump while Obama was president, and now FBI running a Trump-circumscribed investigation on Trump’s nominee. For me, FBI investigations that involve the Executive Branch have just about lost all credibility.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      FBI vs. Senate investigating.

      I believe I read something about that Arizona prosecutor, referring to her as partisan (in the sense, I suppose, she was appointed by a Republican controlled committee).

      A senate investigation, by a Republican controlled senate, is likely to be labeled, using the same logic, as partisan.

      So, we are back to nowhere.

      On the hand, the FBI could be partisan, or we could still have impartial public servants in the agency, and in fact, they are professionals at doing this, notwithstanding the stories about their mistakes, intentional or otherwise.

      On this question alone, I think the FBI is the one to investigate, not the senate.

    3. Wukchumni

      I always look at people that wear glasses as questionable, why couldn’t they just inherit better vision from their parents?

      1. newcatty

        Ha, my husband wore coke bottle glasses when I met him Many Years ago. Hmmm…guess I was able to overlook that “flaw” in his looks and saw the good looking guy he was ,and is, anyway. Now, has very cool glasses. He still a good looking guy.

        Reminds me of yesterday’s comments on “soft” and over weight people. I thought some of it smacked of another way to put down people, just as overtly criticizing a person who is, let’s say, not as able bodied as you, or your friends or admired one’s. Rather selective. Blaming the victim is alive and well for many of us here in an ivory tower of good circumstances. It is relatively speaking, I think: My good circumstances are not what some might name as “good.” We have fresh, healthy food daily. Our small home is comfortable and, wonderfully, in a beautiful setting geographically. I have access to medical care, if choose to use it. Our old car still gets around town. Many of the soft and over weight people do not have these, from most perspectives, access to healthy and fresh food. Food deserts exist. Many work long hours and are truly tired at ends of shifts. Moving all day in “work situations”is not the same as enjoying “hikes or walks” in nature. It is easy to mock the tired mom or dad, who picks up a pizza or tacos for family’s dinner. Geez what kind of parent are you? Oh, and you don’t have enough cash left to stock up your cupboard and refrigerator with all organic , non processed food? I am not arguing that it’s good or healthy to be greatly overweight or out of breath when walking short distances. I am saying that snobbery can come in various disguises. OK, can’t resist:
        “Until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes…”

    4. Lambert Strether

      > I for one also question her vision with those “coke-bottle” lenses.

      Er, are you sure she was wearing those glasses at age 15?

      > Nonetheless, she was taken seriously and the investigation by the Liberal-heralded FBI turned up nothing new. Therefore as per their playbook, the Left now has flipped against the FBI.

      Liberals (sentence one) and the left (sentence two) are not the same. However, I agree on the hilarious inconsistency and lack of principle by liberal Democrats; up until a few days ago, the FBI was a Bulwark Against Tyranny because RussiaRussiaRussia, which we’re not hearing a lot about these days.

  30. Synoia

    The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

    First: Hardware and ICs

    The size of a IC package is determined by the number of pins the device needs, not the chip size. For a capacitor, there are two connections. Typically ground and a signal of some manner.

    For an “intelligent” circuit, more:
    1 Power
    2 Ground
    3 Output
    4. Input or control

    If memory is accessed there the has to be one pin for each line on the memory bus.

    16 but bus 16 pins
    32 bit bus 32 pins

    I’d be really curious on the number of pins on these added devices, and an exploration of the destination of the signal lines.

    The greater issue is that all the PCs on the planet are “pre-hacked” or “hack enabled”.

    Here’s how: These is a designed interface in UEFI to install software invisible to the OS. Here is the reference.

    1. Duck1

      The article had a photo of a very small “chip”, size of the tip of a pencil. My thought was wouldn’t it need a sort of spider web of connections fanning out connecting it to the device which would be much more obvious as a changed design?

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      What happens when our back door crashes their back door?

      I’ve got to put more time into thinking about what I couldn’t do without in book form.

  31. christy

    With the China hack, all the more reason WHY we need to reshore these jobs and these factories back in the USA

  32. Tomonthebeach

    NYT Poverty Map is NOT breakthrough science. It’s junk science.

    It does not require a PhD to notice that the offspring of poor people fare less well on average than those of rich people. The fatal fall of logic is linking earning potential to geography which requires assuming a static situation running for decades. News Flash – people move and neighborhoods gentrify and deteriorate – often.

    Thanks to Google, I guess, the article opened the map for my area. The average income potential of a poor person in my town is in the low 30s. How does that jibe with the fact that the average house in my neighborhood sells for over $500K and the average home price in our town is over $300K? We have about a 2-block area of apartments for young singles. The simple answer is that there are very few poor people from which to estimate. A fluke? Apparently not. Just north of us, the children of the poor supposedly will make about $4K more than in our upscale locale, despite the fact that the area looks like post-recession Detroit with acres of bulldozed empty lots.

    Clearly moderator variables such as relative percentage of poor, as well as time when data were collected seem to have been ignored. Even if the data were valid, it is hard to pinpoint what breakthrough knowledge could be gained from the maps.

  33. Synoia

    Chinese spy chips would be a ‘god-mode’ hack, experts say The Verge.

    We have a bigger fundamental problem,” Williams says, “which is that this stuff is wicked hard to detect and we don’t have tools to do that.

    1, Monitor outgoing connections. Most servers have a preponderance of incoming connections.
    2. Compare actual outgoing connection IP addresses and Port numbers with those the Operating System reports.

    Investigate the anomalies.

  34. gepay

    most varieties of white rice can be stored indefinitely, uncooked brown rice only has a shelf life of six to eight months in the pantry. This is because of the higher oil content in the bran (the outer shell), which has been polished off on white rice. The oil in the bran becomes rancid as above. Rancid oils are unhealthy and should be avoided.
    In the past, famines were common. Stored white rice could be a life saver. On the other hand it is obvious that fresh brown rice is more nutritious.. Too much unfortified white rice (the B vitamins removed with the bran are added back in white rice these days) in the diet did cause disease such as beriberi. .

Comments are closed.