Links 12/4/18

Monarch butterflies disappearing from western North America Xerces Society (Chuck L). :-(

Dutch court rejects man’s request to be 20 years younger MPR News. Chuck L: “I think I’ll try that. USA courts might be more amenable.”

‘Awe-inspiring’ cave discovered in Canada’s wilderness BBC (David L)

David Attenborough: collapse of civilisation is on the horizon Guardian (Kevin W)

Climate Change First Became News 30 Years Ago. Why Haven’t We Fixed It? National Geographic (UserFriendly). Inertia.

New Metal-Air Transistor Replaces Semiconductors IEEE Spectrum. Chuck L: “If this pans out it will be huge.”

Book Review: Evolutionary Psychopathology Slate Star Codex (UserFriendly)

Novameat develops 3D-printed meat-free steak from plant-based proteins Dezeen (Chuck L)

A pond-dwelling virus just cured a man’s antibiotic-resistant infection

Stress eats holes in your brain StarTribune


Trump’s Advisers Struggle to Explain Deal He Says He Cut With Xi Bloomberg

The China trade reality show Asia Times

Gilet Jaunes

The People Of France Reject Macron’s Policies – How Long Can He Survive? Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Il a mis son gilet jaune comme les autres! LaDepeche. GoogleTranslate version. This does not bode will for fighting climate change:

Ce n’est pas non plus vraiment pour le prix de l’essence mais on est trop taxés et dire que c’est pour l’écologie, c’est une vaste fumisterie. On nous prend vraiment pour des idiots.

France fuel protests: ‘Yellow vests’ pull out of PM meeting BBC

Why France’s ‘gilets jaunes’ protesters are so angry The Conversation

Macron’s 5 impossible options in the Yellow Jacket crisis Politico

Paris rioting: French government considers state of emergency over ‘gilets jaunes’ protests Guardian

France’s Meltdown, Macron’s Disdain Gatestone Institute (Chuck L)


Brexit: May facing constitutional crisis as Bercow says ‘arguable case’ government guilty of contempt of Parliament over legal advice Independent (Kevin W)

Senior minister could be suspended over Brexit legal advice Guardian

Denmark to send ‘unwanted’ migrants to small island off its coast The Hill (UserFriendly)

Socialists lose ground in Andalusia, extreme right party takes 12 seats: Vox becomes the first such group to win a major success since Spain returned to democracy, and holds the key to forming a government with Ciudadanos, Popular Party El Pais. Very important. Spain has resisted the fascist right until now. As one political scientist said, “Franco is back.” This win will shift the balance of power nationally to the determent of socialists. Note that Andalusia has had a large influx of migrants.


Jamal Khashoggi: private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to his murder CNN (UserFriendly)

Iran: Rumors of War Counterpunch. Resilc: ” Only the gilet jaunes can save us.”

Ukraine ports feel squeeze from tensions with Russia Financial Times

CIA’s Haspel to brief senators on Khashoggi death The Hill (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Truth About Facebook’s Fake Quest to Connect the World Wired (David L)

Trump Transition

Trump thought Yellen was too short to be Fed chair. That’s not how any of this works. Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

Another Criminal Dies Gaius Publius, DownWithTyranny

The Bushes: Fathers and Sons (With Apologies to Turgenev) (resilc)

Bernie Sanders 2020 Presidential Run Takes Shape With Former Staffers Rolling Stone (UserFriendly)

Ocasio-Cortez shreds Mike Huckabee: ‘Leave the false statements’ to your daughter The Hill (UserFriendly)

Economic Analysis of Medicare for All PERI and Full Assessment of PERI’s Economic Analysis of Medicare for All PNHP (Glenn F)

What New Jersey’s Redistricting Amendment Does – And Doesn’t – Do Princeton Election Consortium. UserFriendly: “After winning 11 out of 12 CD’s in NJ with the status quo the feckless Dems try to break NJ’s current anti gerrymandering law.”

No Labels to launch yearlong campaign with town hall in New Hampshire The Hill. UserFriendly: “Kill me.”

Oil Jumps 4% on Expectations of Production Cuts Wall Street Journal

Regulations could allow US homes to be bought and sold through electronic valuations Daily Mail. (Chuck L). As Lambert is wont to say, what could go wrong?

Just Released: A Closer Look at Recent Tightening in Consumer Credit Liberty Street Economics (UserFriendly)

Federal Judge Voices Concerns About Justice Dept. Approval of CVS-Aetna Deal Wall Street Journal

The Flattening Yield Curve Just Produced Its First Inversions Bloomberg

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” by Harlan Easley Sic Semper Tyrannis (Kevin W). On the economy.

Trump Administration Wants To End Subsidies For Electric Cars, Renewables Reuters

Class Warfare

Can The Working Class Speak? Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost Bloomberg. As predicted, particularly by Lambert

Uber’s new rates are designed to make driver payout more consistent, but some say it has decreased their earnings Business Insider (Kevin W)

Robot Janitors Are Coming To Mop Floors At a Walmart Near You Bloomberg

Antidote du jour. Claudia F: “My incredible dog, Luca. I titled this one ‘Hard Day’s Night’. LOL.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Since the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush is in the news, I will steal and modify a headline from the Duffel Blog to say-

    “Last American president to actually win a war has passed away of old age.”

    1. jackiebass

      He won the battle. He didn’t win the war. In fact even after the second attack on Iraq by Bush II, the war is still going on but in a different form. I believe WWII was the last actually war the US has won.

          1. Wukchumni

            If memory serves and it usually does, our semper fi’s procured tourist maps of the island, outside the base in Fort Bragg, as a Baedeker before going to battle.

              1. Elizabeth Burton

                I was thinking much the same thing, but with reference to the Trump impeachment crowd. That they need to be reminded that murdering Julius Caesar didn’t prevent Rome from becoming an empire of war governed by dictators and madmen.

      1. Ook

        The US didn’t win WWII, the USSR did. The US jumped in at the last minute and grabbed a lot of the spoils while dropping atomic weapons on helpless civilian populations.

          1. George Phillies

            As will not be recalled, in the Pacific it was the Japanese that introduced strategic bombing of cities. Darwin.

            The most important feature of the WW2 atomic bomb attacks was that they were cost ineffective. The same damage could have been obtained by conventional means at lower cost.

            1. The Rev Kev

              As for Japanese strategic bombing, they were getting plenty of practice in China before they went after Darwin-


              As for the atomic bombings, they were effective in that they gave the Japanese a face-saving way of surrendering to the Allies. Consider the fact that the Allies wiped out Tokyo in Operation Meetinghouse earlier that year but the Japanese would still not quit and that was their capital.
              For the US it was the biggest bluff of the war. They only had three atom bombs. One was used in testing at Alamogordo. The second at Hiroshima and the third at Nagasaki. The US may have threatened the Japanese with more atom bombings but it would take years to make any more.

  2. bwilli123

    Re: combatting anti-biotic resistant infections. More on Phages.
    ….She and her colleagues collected naturally occurring phages from Saudi wastewater plants. They found seven types which, when unleashed on the photoresistant strain of E. coli, readily destroyed it. Three of the seven, moreover, looked particularly suitable for development as weapons against this strain. When offered various bacteria as potential prey, they attacked only it….

    1. Isotope_C14

      This sort of treatment is horrifying to the rent-seeking drug industry.

      I’ve seen reports of Eczema being due to a particular type of staph aureus that people had. If you had a phage to kill that strain, you would never need to sell people creams and cortisone.

      I suspect the lobbyists and their ilk will prevent this from becoming anything but a last-ditch treatment for only the 10%’ers that can afford it.

      Our friends at Gillette I believe, made an odorless deodorant that was mostly bacillus megaterium that had very little odor. It never made it to market, obviously because you’d never have to use more than one stick of it.

      Yay capitalism, such a strange religion.

        1. Jack Parsons

          Late to the party, but… the Soviet Union did this on a mass scale. You went to the drugstore and bought a vial of the latest virus. Really.

    2. Quentin

      A friend of mine recently returned from Tbilisi, Georgia, where he was treated with phages at the Eliava Institute for an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The treatment was successful. This method is not tolerated in the European Union (here the Netherlands); the Eliava Institute cannot send him more phages to him without risking a reprimand/prosecution by the EU. A USA flag flies over the entrance to the main building, evidently the Gates Foundation is giving funds, obviously the money grubbers are keeping an eye on this potentially enormous source of profit. Stay tuned.

    3. Kael

      Congratulations Ben, the lead author on the study in Links! Back in the day, Ben was a postdoc in my lab at University of Utah, and the case report is about a year old now. The main technical difficulty with phage-therapy is that a phage is usually specific for a bacterial strain or even a subpopulation of a strain. Finding the particular phage that will clear a particular infection is hard in the clinic, but when it works it works great.
      We have a friend from (former Soviet) Georgia who has many similar case reports, but not in the Western sci literature. In the Soviet Union, phage therapy research continued under Stalin while it mostly stopped in the West after discovery of sulfa-drugs and a few years later penicillin.

    4. John Wright

      The linked to article has an incorrect closing statement:

      “The tests will need funding, but if Chan can get it, it’ll get us one step closer to fighting back against antibiotic-resistant viruses.”

      It should be “antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

      I’m surprised this has not been fixed since the article is dated March 2018.

  3. allan

    ‘Unqualified’ and ‘dangerous’ Trump appointee set to take over consumer agency [LA Times]

    If all goes according to Republican plan, this is the week a person with no experience in consumer protection will take over the consumer watchdog agency that the party has been steadily weakening to the point of irrelevancy.

    Kathy Kraninger, a White House budget official, received the green light for final approval last week after Republican senators shut down debate on her nomination with a party-line vote of 50 to 49. …

    Kraninger would replace White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who has been leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on an interim basis and fulfilling President Trump’s pledge to make the agency friendlier to the businesses it was intended to crack down on — banks, payday lenders and others.

    Promises made, promises kept. To the hardscrabble working class members of Mar-a-Lago.

  4. Pat

    Luca is irresistible. And I love when a dog pancakes flat to a cool surface to sleep.

    Thank you for sharing

      1. newcatty

        Luca naturally is a master yogi…downward dog. Lots of us could model this, in these trying Times. Just make a human pancake and chill.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’m not ignoring the mounting evidence that Trump has, since forever, surrounded himself with a cast of crooks, shysters, bunko men, unscrupulous toadies, and on and on. Anyone who had followed Trump knew all that before he was a twinkle in MSNBC’s eye, back when he and the Clintons were besties. I’m saying yes. Duh. NYC real estate tycoon and casino mogul is a sleaze? Quelle suprise! These revelations when they come up are almost the opposite of news to me. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be reported but the that the Democratic mainstream press (no use pretending otherwise, it just is in the main) is hard selling it as a narrative journey to you-know-where. My point is that there exists a script, a subtext to the reportage, that there is a shining rapture up ahead, that the narrative inevitably leads to the dominoes finally falling into the Oval Office and the climactic frog walking of Trump from the seat of power. That’s the usually tacit denouement, the happy ending, the blue masses are being teased with to keep their clicks and eyeballs coming to the “daily drama” leading to the deniably promised climax.

      If the evidence trail does, in fact, lead to Trump’s door, fine. He’s a skeezy blowhard who has probably broken many laws and got away with it because rich, powerful people can do that. I’ll even share a bit in the schadenfreude. Then like a hungover partier, I will wake to the cold dawn of a President Pence and look around for ibuprofen and menudo. Politically, it will be more like a step sideways or even backward than forward. I even would prefer that Trump hangs on until 2020 so Bernie Sanders can kick his ass out of the White House the good old-fashioned democratic way — at the ballot box. The polling data fairly screams it, as it has since mid-2015, Trump wouldn’t stand a chance.

      1. Charger01

        You assume that his “party” won’t cheat him again, and he’ll actually make it on the ballot? Stay tuned.

        1. Shonde

          The test case of whether Bernie will be allowed to run and take office, if elected, is in Mexico. If the new Mexican president is not assassinated or removed from office for “trumped up” charges, it could be the 1% has decided the time has come to throw some bread crumbs our way to avoid pitchforks.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          It won’t be easy to keep him from the nomination. He’s seen –we’ve all seen — the cheat sheet now. They had to use it last time for all it was worth and Sanders isn’t naive enough not to have gamed out how to respond each step of the way by now. The moneycrats will have to be creative and intelligent to create new cheats to succeed and that assumes facts not in evidence. I don’t think the DNC-class is bright or clever enough to do that, this is mostly a supremely entitled, comfortable and cosseted group who have never had to really fight for anything in their lives. Lives as docile marionettes for deep pocket donors and playing out scripted, uniparty, kayfabe theater aren’t suitable training for actual battle. Easy money makes people soft, they just coast on it.

          But we’ll see.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            HRC ran up the score In the front loaded Southern states, and many of the super delegates will be under a different scrutiny as the inevitable Titanic sank. How does Sherrod Brown handle questions about HRC dangling the VP slot when people trusted him to make the right decision? After all, Brown cruised to reelection, but his choice for President under performed John Kerry. HRC lost for the same reasons the Clintons always lose.

            1. Big Tap

              Many of these Southern states had no paper ballot verification. Cheating by Hillary was easy since there was no way to prove she was doing it.

          2. John k

            Hrc had huge advantages, barely got it done. Now it’s a crowded field… granted, media and elites will jump on ABB, anybody but bernie, but whoever it is – imagine Beto – won’t have all the advantages she had in 2016. Even better if she carries out her threats and runs again, further splitting the non Bernie field.
            Course, his health has to hold. Get a taster…

        3. Massinissa

          If he gets cheated from the nomination, Trump will just make his own equivalent of the Bull Moose party. The Republicans aren’t dumb enough (or smart enough?) to try something that risky

    2. johnnygl

      Presidential pardons have a rich history of enabling abuse of power. Trump would only be continuing this tradition. But in this case, the political class doesn’t like how he’s using the tools of imperial privilege.

      Paul Jay of RealNews has suggested that the political class is worried about trump’s consolidation of power away from the ancien regime (lambert’s 10%ers), the DC elite political class and into a smaller group centered around trump, himself.

      It’s often hard to disentangle this genuine worry from media outrage-profiteering, and genuine Trump Derangement Syndrome, but i think Paul Jay is onto something. This explains the endless defense of Mueller…he’s supposed to help contain Trump.

      1. RUKidding

        I’m inclined to agree with you. It seems to me – based only my very limited observation (because I really avoid most of Trump’s tweets & the “nooz” noise surrounding him) – that Mueller’s role is to control Trump in some ways. There also seems (to me) to be unspecified “others” in the West Wing (or elsewhere) who seem to have some modicum of control over Trump when he wanders around and does whatever speaking he does – other than at his rallies, where, apparently “they” let Trump have his freak flag fly freely (because: why not?).

        I suspect that nothing much will come out of the Mueller investigation in terms of kicking Trump out of office, and I’m still not all that convinced that should be the outcome…. although I remain open to other conclusions depending on evidence.

        Mueller will perhaps bring more criminal charges against the free-form flotilla of crooks, creeps, grifters, con artists and worthless POS that Trump surrounds himself with. Hooray for that, but frankly, it’s just the tippity top of the iceberg of skullduggery, crime, graft and corruption that runs throughout USA’s governments at the federal, state and local levels.

        But yes: Mueller may be playing a rather important role in keeping Trump more or less on some sort of leash and controlling some of his worst impulses.

        One could posit that the “problem” for Trump is that he’s so Out Loud and Out There with his venality, corruption, criminality, etc. Most of Trump’s predecessors in office knew how to be more subtle in their treason and thieving, etc, whilst maintaining a VENEER of respectability. See also the Down with Tyranny post (listed above) about GHW Bush – allegedly the “good” Bush (barf, puke, vomit, etc).

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama came into office with a mandate for change and immediately just rehired Clintonistas and even Republicans, Bob Gates, Ben Bernanke.

          As a result, the hiring and promotion process for Washington has been dominated since 1988 if not earlier by two families in a country of 300 million. Funds flowed to the Clinton Foundation because it was perceived she would become President.

          Trump and Sanders demonstrated the Clinton and Bush family power is over. Obama intervened in a mayoral election to save his buddy Rahm Emmanuel. This is key. Rahm’s value was his connection to a President who could move the electorate. What value is a person aligned with Pappy Bush or Bill Clinton to a donor especially if they didn’t cash out yet? I stress the importance of college education among millennials. There is a huge population quite capable of replacing these people on a moment’s notice. Unlimited celebrity, all the elite endorsements in the world, 25 years of free media, and $2 billion couldn’t drag HRC across the finish line against a clown.

          Control of Trump is less important to the courtier class as much as creating the illusion Trump’s victory was a bizarre hiccup and guys like David Gergen still have value to the donor class. Does Krugman bring the NYT readers? Or does the NYT bring Krugman readers?

          When the GOP primary moved to South Carolina, the msm was agog with excitement about how Bush Country, USA, was going to stop Trump! Trump goes down there trashes the Bush family and John McCain while completely ignoring Lindsey Graham and winds up with a huge win. Kasich will win big in Ohio and lead the…oh right…well..maybe oh right…

          The big selling point on the Clintons is “they know how to win.” Once upon a time, I believed there strategy made sense until I reexamined it. What happens when people realize the Clinton strategy is a losing path? Take the last Presidential election. Who was the candidate to succeed Obama? Obama alums aren’t taking over the country, partially they don’t exist, but it boils down to AOC, a bartender, is now a Congresswoman and Jon Ossoff, a Georgetown alum with a masters in…, has a wikipedia entry that says he won’t seek run to run for Congress in 2018 despite once being the center piece of the #Resistance!

          Its just like in sports. No one gets paid for past performance just expectations.

          Elections aren’t rocket science. Its about making promises and then trying to deliver them if you make it, and its about a daily grind and sticking it to it. It might be a multi-year effort with more than one candidate, but its not complicated. Trump demonstrated this. To beat the inevitable candidate, one has to run against the inevitable candidate. $2 billion on political ads isn’t necessary. Paying Carville to talk about Lousiana isn’t worth it.

          1. oh

            ” Unlimited celebrity, all the elite endorsements in the world, 25 years of free media, and $2 billion couldn’t drag HRC across the finish line against a clown.”


        2. John k

          But maybe in mic view trumps worst impulses are making nice with Russia and withdrawing from Syria. Maybe the point of the horses head is to bring understanding that no change of course from where we were going under Obama is desirable.

      2. LifelongLib

        Well, supposedly Hitler made modern Germany possible by destroying the power of the Junkers and the military, so if Trump reduces the power of the 10%…

    3. flaesq

      It can pretty much pardon whoever the hell he wants to, self (considering the makeup of the SCOTUS) included, and (again considering the makeup of the SCOTUS) extending to state crimes.

      And in doing so the pardonee loses the ability to hide behind the 5th Amendment’s self-incrimination protections. Good times!

      1. John

        He can only pardon federal crimes. The investigations going on in the states (such as NY looking at the Trump family involvement in their foundation) cannot be pardoned by T.

  5. Wukchumni

    Pictures @ a town hall meeting:

    Our lone sheriff here is married to the neighbor’s daughter and i’ve known him for years, nice guy.

    I asked what was happening, and he told me he busted an out of town driver with 16 grams of meth on his person, and I asked: “how’d you know he was carrying?”

    He told me, you just get a feel for tweakers…

    The meeting was one of the best i’ve attended, about 1/20th of the town was there, with the onus on starting a Fire Safe Council & the fire department discussed all the grant money they’ve been given by the state to create evacuation corridors and clearance of dead trees near residences. Tulare County has almost 30 million of the 129 million that have died in the state since the drought and bark beetles combined to lay waste to the forest. In 2nd place is Fresno County with only a crummy little 8 million dead trees…

    You could almost feel the motivation to get things rolling, as everybody is acutely aware of last month’s conflagrations and the waste they laid to communities. Our footprint is over twice as large as Paradise and at a similar elevation, but with 1/10th of the population.

    In its ten years of grant making, CFSC has funded over 850 grants totaling over $81 million for projects to reduce hazardous fuels, provide wildfire prevention education, and create risk assessments and Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

    1. Quentin

      This gross deceit opened my eyes to the treachery of the ruling class. The young woman, pretending to be a nurse while in fact being part of one of the wealthiest and most privileged of families on earth at that time, never a nurse, feigned tears, before a US Senate hearing, while describing how Iraqi soldiers tossed babies out of incubators on to the floor to send the incubators back to Iraq. The whole story—literally story—was concocted and produced by a PR firm. Most of this propaganda has probably gone down to the memory hole long ago, so I repeat some details here. I remember how horrified and disgusted I was when hearing the report on the BBC, how incensed when I learned of the scam. Leveraging outrage at nonexistent crimes: babies thrown out of incubators/Julian Assange raping two women, one of them in their ‘sleep’/inventing poison gas attacks in Syria.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Here’s a few questions. I remember that occasion well and the packed room that she gave her testimony in. How many of the people in that room knew exactly who she was? How many of the Senators and the like came across her on the Ambassadorial social circuit? How many of the media recognized her?

    2. johnnygl

      Dick Cheney needed a dry run to refine his propaganda creation and consent manufacturing skills.

      By the time Bush II grabbed the reigns of power, Cheney was ready for primetime!!!

    3. RUKidding

      GHW Bush was always a corrupt murderer. Make no mistake. He’s not the “good Bush” as is being played out, apparently, across the usual suspects in the media.

      It’s times like these – when one of our venal former POTUS’s die – that make me mightily happy that I don’t own a tv and mostly avoid the radio like the plague. I’ll leave the hagiography for others to consume.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Re: …”I’ll leave the hagiography for others to consume.”

        Agree, Think that instead, I’ll choose to consider this as a quiet day of national mourning in a broader context and to remember different public figures: U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Paul Wellstone, the Kennedy brothers, and a few others; and to consider possibility… what might have been and what could still be.

    1. curlydan

      yes, this is throwing [bleep] at a wall and seeing what sticks. Two weeks ago, Manafort and Assange are buddies working in cahoots. Since that report was debunked, Manafort is willing to screw Assange working with Ecuador to get him to the U.S.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        And relies on the equally debunked earlier story there was a plot to smuggle Assange out of the embassy and send him to hide in Russia.

        Apparently, using fairy tales to support fairy tales is now what passes for “journalism” in some quarters.

    2. Big Tap

      So the same village idiots used as sources by the Guardian and now NYT sources. The media is getting desperate to implicate Assange for something illegal to extradite him to the U.S. The usual pro-government media has a job to do and they won’t stop till Assange is arrested.

  6. Off The Street

    Re Yellen and alternative explanation:

    Trump didn’t want Powell to do various things or not do others. He thinks that he has the answers to questions that others don’t ask, at least not the way he wants.

    Here is a way to look at that figuratively instead of the typical literal approach.

    You are too short for this ride.

    Isn’t everyone these days?

    1. ewmayer

      Another distracto-propaganda piece from WaPo – whatever Trump may or may not have said re. Yellen, and whether what he said actually reflected his real thoughts as opposed to being Trumpian trolling-the-media, the bottom line is that Powell is the first Fed chair since Volcker who is actually serious about curbing the market craziness he inherited, and as such is one of Trump’s few genuine quality appointments. I mean, how seriously can one take an article which opens with an HRC-esque most-qualified-evah howler, and then pretends that Yellen’s current noising about ‘curbing bubbles’ is in any way reflective of her stay-the-bubble-course as Fed chair:

      “Janet L. Yellen was the most qualified Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had and maybe the most successful Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had.

      … [boo hoo, Trump replaced her ’cause she’s short] …

      That’s not to criticize current Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell. He’s done a good job, and in fact probably hasn’t acted much, if any, differently than Yellen would have in his place.”

      Well, Yellen *was* in his place and *did* act very differently, you WaPo weenies.

      1. flora

        Article at Wolfstreet about Powell concerned too much debt is destablizing.

        ““The increased use of leverage by hedge funds exposes their counterparties to risks [that would include banks and broker-dealers] and raises the possibility that adverse shocks would result in forced asset sales by hedge funds that could exacerbate price declines.”

        But here is why they won’t get bailed out: “That said, hedge funds do not play the same central role in the financial system as banks or other institutions.”

        Hello, CalPERS? Are you paying attention.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine ports feel squeeze from tensions with Russia”

    I guess that this is a case of where no matter how much the Russians had the law on their side, the usual suspects i.e. Germany, France, the UK and the US, were always going to side with the Ukrainians no matter what they did. That being the case I would squeeze the Ukrainians as well to get this business of ship-seizing by the Ukrainians ended once and for all and to hell with the consequences. What’s that old expression? Oh, yeah – “One might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb”.

  8. Alex V

    Regarding: “Book Review: Evolutionary Psychopathology ”

    My anecdata to support the hypothesis: An ex had borderline personality disorder, and it was most likely caused/brought out by childhood abuse. I could see an evolutionary purpose to the psyche adapting to such conditions by favoring aggression as the coping strategy for survival in future relationships. Vulnerability would be too risky an approach, as the psyche was taught early on that it will not be permitted.

    1. Carolinian

      That’s a very interesting article and highly recommended. One may feel the division of human personality into various early environment fueled “reproductive strategies” is too reductive, but there’s a lot more science here than in Freud’s cocaine influenced dives into Greek myth. Whether one accepts the premises of “evolutionary psychology” or not, some of us believe they are at least headed in the right direction.

    2. Steve H.

      Evolutionary psychology is like economics: it’s not a science, it’s a philosophy.

      Adler: “a philosophical book appeals to no facts or observations that lie outside the experience of the ordinary man.” Evolution as a science is based on the material (fossil) record, and more recently some very limited experiments. Psychology deals with intangible behaviors, that can be interpreted as facts, and facts can be generated by experiment. But there’s no material record of verbs to show trial-and-error paths, like fossils. Evolution tautologically operates across generations, so human experiments are costly, entirely outside of ethics. Non-falsifiable on multiple fronts.

      So the criteria of evaluation seems to be ‘makes sense to me’ by biased organisms. That’s also the way economics has (mostly) proceeded, as a philosophy and not a science.

      A leading tangential question I’ve been pondering: in trying to reconcile energetic economics (including Soddy, Odum, now some Keen) with ‘what is money,’ could it be as simple as, money has a debit column of its own? I don’t fully understand MMT, but that’s a path I’m exploring.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “CIA’s Haspel to brief senators on Khashoggi death”

    Well this could get awkward. Can you imagine the questions that may be raised about what exactly she heard? What if those Senators demand to hear the original tape? Trump refused to listen to the tape. Tough guy John Bolton refused to listen to the tape. And Gina Haspel? Going by her reputation, she probably uses highlights of that tape as her ring tone.

      1. RUKidding

        Good guess. Quite likely.

        If nothing else, Haspel was undoubtedly impressed by and jealous of MSB’s bone-sawing “success.”

  10. Ignacio

    Socialists lose ground in Andalusia, extreme right party takes 12 seats: Vox becomes the first such group to win a major success since Spain returned to democracy, and holds the key to forming a government with Ciudadanos, Popular Party

    These were terrible news this sunday. I was too tired after Valencia Marathon race to send a link. Particularly the rise of xenophobe extreme rigth VOX has been disturbing. I doubt this party would obtain similar results in general elections but it is big news. The other piece of big bad news is that conservatives are so anxious to take power in Andalucía they will almost certainly integrate the extreme rigth in next andalusian government. Yet, they claim themselves as center-rigth ho-ho-ho. Awful. Nevertheless the context of andalusian elections is quite different from most other regions in Spain. PSOE has been governing here for decades without interruption. It looks like Andalucía is, politically, one step beyond or one step behind the rest of Spain. My guess is behind.

  11. Wukchumni

    It has the same sort of feel for #41, as when Emperor Franz Joseph I kicked the bucket in the middle of WW1 of old age.

    Watch the video in the link, oh so much pomp & circumstance, and you gotta dig the ridiculous headgear, the military almost looks like shaggy proto-Beatles.

    The Habsburg Empire was just a couple years from going away…

    Franz Joseph I lived on in an odd fashion. Somehow Switzerland ended up with quite the lode of gold after WW2 despite having no new gold mines in the country open for business during the war, and how to ‘clean’ it up?

    The Swiss came up with a great idea, they would mint gold coins that were dated before WW2 started, namely 1935 20 Franc coins, but they needed another out, and enter Austria into the proceedings…

    5 different sized coins were struck with more than likely ex-Nazi gold, all dated 1915, and all have the portrait of Franz Joseph I on them, and these were minted in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    They also had a great selling point as far as the American market was concerned. Americans could own gold coins dated before 1933 legally (it was illegal to own it in either post 1933 dated coins & any form of ingots until 1975) and it was like killing 2 birds with one stone.

    1. Lord Koos

      Interesting. I see plenty of those coins are for sale on ebay, although with little or no mention that they were actually minted after WWII.

      1. Wukchumni

        They’re all in brand new condition-as not one of them ever circulated, which is your first clue that something is amiss.

  12. flora

    Here’s another link about rising economic inequality and the rise of right wing parties in response.
    From 2 weeks ago:

    Income inequality, financial crisis and the rise of Europe’s far right

    Income inequality has increased in nearly all regions of the world over the past four decades, according to the World Inequality Report 2018. Since 1980, the global top 1 percent of earners has experienced twice as much of the global growth as have the poorest 50 percent.

    Such acute economic imbalances can lead to “political, economic, and social catastrophes” if they are not “properly monitored and addressed”, the report’s authors warned.

    Ultimately, the surge in far-right populism is “mainly about relative stagnation at the bottom [and] in the middle” of wealth distribution, exacerbated by “large gains at the top”, Moritz Schularick, one of the article’s authors, told FRANCE 24.

    Governments “need to do more to keep society fair”, he said. “Public services, taxation, social safety nets – all of these have a role to play.”

    This is a long article well worth reading.

    1. In the Land of Farmers

      Evil or idiots, I cannot make sense of the current crop of leaders.

      But they are typical neoliberals and assume that people will not notice that the crushing pressure they feel on their neck is from the thumb of the invisible hand.

      1. Wukchumni

        Heard the invisible hand had a tryst with Schrödinger’s cat, but they aren’t seeing each other anymore.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Evil or idiots”

        Empathy breeds a desire to learn. Lex Luthor doesn’t exist. Luthor is foiled due to overlooking a minor issue, but the real problem is the lack of sufficient care to give a damn about what goes on. ACA is a wonderful example, but its almost inconceivable the website rollout and how that went down. But with all of the focus on ACA, Obama never checked. Obama echoing the New Coke executives said (paraphrasing) “we aren’t stupid enough to say it will be like buying something on kayak (which I believe is a third party pricing site) if we thought it wasn’t going to work.” This might be true, but he is ignorant and uncaring enough not to check. The truth is he didn’t do much else domestically, so he should have had time. Where were the Democrats with fortunes dependent on a good roll out? They didn’t care enough to check either.

        Its also important to remember the current crop of neoliberals are the second generation of a group thats been around for a while.

        Spock wasn’t Captain for a reason despite outclassing Kirk in almost every measurable capacity. I find it amusing Obama sought leadership when he declared Spock to be his idol.

        1. In the Land of Farmers

          I have always seen the Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy triangle as a subliminal reference to Taoism. Spock is the Yang, McCoy is the Yin and Kirk being the balanced mixture of the two which is why he is captain.

  13. PhilK

    No Labels to launch yearlong campaign

    Jacobson said the effort will culminate in November 2019 with a 2,000-person convention that will seek to bring together presidential candidates that align themselves with the group’s guidelines, such as vowing to assemble a bipartisan Cabinet if they win the White House.

    In an interview on Monday, Shaich spoke of a “silent majority” of Americans who do not align with “extreme views” on either side of the political spectrum and said he wanted to listen to their concerns.

    LOL! In other words, America is already great, and these attacks on our gravy train must stop!

    NC should have a new section heading: On nous prend vraiment pour des idiots

    1. ewmayer

      My favorite snip from the story:

      [No Labels founder and CEO Nancy Jacobson] said she expects to draw a crowd of as many as 300 people, whom she described as “the real citizens of New Hampshire — people that we’ve worked with over the years that are believers” in No Labels’s mission, including local activists and volunteers.

      IOW, you’re only “a real citizen” if you’re With Her – nonbelievers don’t count. Does that elitist tribalist hubris remind you of anyone?

  14. marym

    Two of the six GOP senators remove their hold on Irish visa bill

    Two of six senators, all Republican, on Monday, released their hold on the E3 visa bill which would mean 5,000 work visas a year to Ireland. Four senators still maintained a hold.

    The White House has also become involved with a letter to the outstanding hold-outs making it clear that President Trump backs E3s for Ireland.

    White House leaders of the effort include Chief of Staff John Kelly and Mick Mulvaney, head of Management and Budget.

    “open borders”

    1. RUKidding

      I’m given to understand that, at one time, Irish were considered to be “black.” But now they’re white. And so….

      1. JCC

        I’m reminded of storefront signs in photos my grandmother showed me when I was a kid.

        The signs were simple

        Help Wanted

        NINA – meaning “No Irish Need Apply”

  15. David

    Google translate doesn’t get the sense of the comment in the Depeche story about the gilets jaunes (note plurals). What the speaker was saying is that for them the issue isn’t primarily the petrol tax increase, but the level of taxation (including social security contributions) that has been imposed on the less well-off. Whilst the government pretends (he says) that these increases are for reasons of ecology, that’s just a joke. They must really think we’re idiots.
    The government and some of the media have been trying to spin the issue this way, and the moratorium itself as an opportunity for a thoughtful on-the-one-hand on-the-other discussion of the relative importance of ecology and safeguarding living standards. But this is indeed just a joke: if the government wanted to use the tax system to cut car usage there are many better ways of doing it. It’s a cynical money-raising exercise to finance tax cuts for the rich.

    1. Ignacio

      And the fact is that they are quite rigth in part. It is like, for instance, the “health care cent” that regional authorities tried to implement in certain regions in Spain. Indirect taxes are quite regressive. These impact the most on those who struggle. Of course it has a, let’s say, an “ecological effect” but there is still the problem in an unequal society that the wealthiest are the ones that consume the most and their consumption is not affected by such tax increases. So the problem is how do we make the wealthiest to become more “ecologic”. Less regressive policies are necessary if we want most of the people on board against climate change.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One less regressive option – a new speed limit of 55 MPH.

        According to Speed Limits in France, Wikipedia, in rural areas, it’s 130 km/h. which, googling, is like 81 MPH.

        Years, when we had the speed at 55 MPH here in the US, it was said that that would be more fuel efficient.

        1. Ignacio

          Forbid SUVs and other vehicles except for special purposes. Large families, for instance.
          I tipically see only the driver in SUVs, too much car for so little transportation necessity.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            These are good ideas.

            Here in the progressive, we-wanna-be-more-like-Europe Golden State, our (state, that is, excluding federal) gas and diesel tax rates of around 40 cent per gallon are much less than those in France, even without the recently postponed increases.

            Will the new governor consider increasing them?

            “We still have room to go to catch up with the Europeans.”

          2. JTMcPhee

            Lots of SUVs around where I live, and a lot of them are what I call “thugmobiles,” these heavy-duty things with dark glass, bullet-resistant tires, and all kinds of antennas and lenses on them, along with the large words “SHERIFF” or “POLICE” appliqued on the sides. Armed and armored. Eight mpg, I would guess. “FORD TOUGH!”

            There’s a huge parking lot near the airport that is just full of them. Plus, there are a number of auto repair and body shops around where I live, and all of them have cop SUVs in the shops or parked outside waiting to be knocked back into shape. “We serve and protect…”

            There’s a special purpose for you.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Cut car usage…

      If plastic straws can be made illegal, a similar approach would be to make cars illegal, or less severely, make fuel-inefficient cars illegal.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I like Ignacio’s idea above about forbiding SUVs, except for large families and other special purposes.

          The idea is not less appealing that at this moment, I am thinking about plastic straws here in California.

          1. Wukchumni

            Your act would’ve played well in Boston circa 1850 to 1950, where if anything gave them any grief, was promptly banned.

            1. JTMcPhee

              What’s yours? Made in China, transported across the Pacific in CO2-belching container ships, then loaded on diesel trucks for distribution throughout this wonderful Free Country of “ours?”

              1. Wukchumni

                It’s clearly unsustainable in the long run, but as it is right now, China makes almost everything we use (and for the rest of the developed world as well) in a consumer vein, as we’ve abdicated manufacturing.

                What do you want me do about it?

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Nothing, of course, just go on about your life like most of the rest of us. Sounds like yours is pretty nice. And it’s easy enough to rationalize excluding our personal minuscule choices, in the great scheme of things.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I would like those umbrellas to be edible. Hopefully complementing the fruity drink.

              What is your position on SUVs? Do you drive one? I have one that my late father used to drive. I’m thinking of donating it, as I don’t drive it.

  16. Wukchumni

    Heard from a friend yesterday after way too long of a gap and we caught up on things. Her son enlisted in the army 3 years ago and was sent to the ‘stan box-where he acquired quite the heroin addiction, which led to no good when he came back stateside, and one thing led to another and now he’s in prison in Arizona for the next 4 years, and she told me his cellmate is a former master sgt, whose in the hoosegow for the same reason…

    1. ambrit

      Did they get the addiction as a result of treatment for wounds, (‘G.I. Monkey on your back,) or as the result of terminal boredom, leading to a slow motion suicide attempt, (neo-cafard?)
      Both are long standing results of Imperialism.

      1. Wukchumni

        I think boredom did him in, and his mom told me saw some truly horrible things go down there, which may have set him on a course down the road to perdition a piece.

        He’ll be my very first prison pen pal, and I haven’t seen him in 6 or 7 years, we were last on a backpack trip together with other friends.

        1. RUKidding

          My cynicism aside, I’m sorry about your friend’s son predicament. It’s truly a sad and awful thing for him to deal with and a horrible way for him to end his “service to our country.”

          Good for you for being his pen pal. I hope you can help him out in some ways small or large.

          Best to all concerned.

          1. Wukchumni

            We keep sending barely adults into the meat grinder for no good reason, other than to perpetuate profit.

            I’ll share tidbits of his letters on here, in the future…

            1. JTMcPhee

              Maybe be sure he is ok with your sharing his tidbits, of course. Not all damaged GIs like to be bruited about.

    2. RUKidding

      Didn’t the CIA thank him for his money that poured into their dark money coffers? Woulda been the least they coulda done. After all, one of the driving reasons for Team USA to head into Afghanistan was to get that opium poppy operation back up ‘n running.

      Wut? You thought it was to keep USA citizens “safe” from terrrrrrists??? ha ha fooled you more than twice.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Proposed new regulations would allow homes to be bought and sold through electronic valuations rather than human appraisers”

    This is a really bad idea taking away human assessors. Reminds me of the story of how an international corporation purchased a forest of trees from a bunch of speculators as it being good for timber production eventually. When head office sent out someone after the sale went through to do a proper assessment, they found that the forest consisted of saplings about a foot high or so. Caveat emptor.
    Know what this reminds me of? Does anybody remember the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) scheme? Read about it here years ago and could barely believe what I was reading. This new idea strikes me as more of the same. I do wonder though. Once a database of all these properties exists, will it then be eligible to be monetized with loans leveraged off of it? Can it be listed on the stock market? Inquiring minds wish to know.

    1. Wukchumni

      One thing i’ve always found interesting in regards to Zillow et al, is they don’t really seem to differentiate between complete shathole homes and turnkey ones. Everything is based on dimensions.

      It’d be like valuing a 1955 T-Bird in concours condition the same as one held together by baling wire…

      1. pretzelattack

        the baling wire is an extra, available at a low low increase in price. they’ll throw in the duct tape on the windows as an inducement, though.

    2. crittermom

      “Does anybody remember the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) scheme?”

      Yes. For over 9 million of us who lost our homes, we will never, ever forget.
      This appears to be more of the same. What a crock.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That Lustig guy was funny.

      Too bad I don’t see any films made about him (no reference to that in the Wikipedia page – also no mention of films about Ponzi). Films about them would be very educational, I believe.

  18. KB

    The Current Affairs article “Can the working class speak” is so well written…thanks much UserFriendly..

  19. Stephen Cavaliere

    re pond dwelling virus, at the same site ( is this article. “Sierra Leone Just Held the World’s First Blockchain-Powered Election.” Not sure if that news has been featured here at NC before, but just in case it wasn’t I wanted to alert youz all to it. Seems it involves hand-counting ballots, which I think is talked about here.

  20. rjs

    S&P Global Platts Analytics is holding a North American Gas Winter Outlook Webinar on December 18; 9AM CST; you should be able to read about it with my invitation to submit a question here:

    the following is what i sent into them:

    during the winter of 2013 – 2014, 3,010 billion cubic feet of natural gas were pulled out of storage between the November peak and the March 28 nadir…

    in that winter, natural gas supplies began the heating season at 3,834 billion cubic feet in storage on November 8th and had seen 59 billion cubic feet withdrawn over the first two weeks…

    this year we started the heating season with 3,247 billion cubic feet of natural gas supplies in storage on November 9th and have already withdrawn 193 billion cubic feet over two weeks, including the largest early November withdrawal on record..

    that withdrawal, plus other withdrawals during the winter of 2017, seem to indicate that greater quantities of natural gas are needed from storage for an equivalent number of population weighted heating degree days now than were needed in prior years..

    if we merely match the withdrawals of 2014 from here on, our natural gas supplies would fall to below 200 billion cubic feet by the end of the heating season, and they could possibly go to zero should this coming winter be as cold or colder..

    so my question for the webinar is:

    are there any contingency plans to ration natural gas if such a scenario should develop, and if so, how would the limited supplies be allocated between residential, industrial, utility and export demand

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Just a question here, I’m not sure if you’d know – in Europe, especially in areas with smaller supply grids for gas or electricity, its common practice in supply contracts for major industrial power users to have supply contracts conditional on the possibility of unilateral withdrawal of power in the event of the supply grid being under strain. In other words, the supplier can say ‘sorry, but we are cutting you off for X days, you’ll have to shut down’ without penalty if its necessary to maintain supply to domestic users.

      This gives the suppliers a lot more flexibility during periods of extreme high demand or if there are supply constraints. Is this common in the US? It would seem to me that if it was, this would mean that suppliers have a little more control over power demand than may seem apparent.

      1. rjs

        i don’t know of any such contracts in the US, but i’m not in a position to know…generally, the big users of natural gas contract for delivery of their expected gas consumption through the futures market, locking in the price they’ll be paying in the months when they need delivery…if their demand exceeds what they have contracts for, they have to buy in the spot market, which is where things get crazy; ie, New England spot prices rose to over $100 per mmBTU last January, while contract prices were stil at $3..

        this year, contract prices for the winter months have already risen 50% over the past several weeks…i imagine if they get much higher, we’ll see some utilities that shifted from coal to what was lower priced gas generation over the past year shift back to coal…

        fwiw, i also sent roughly the same outline to Sherrod Brown, under the headline of “need to develop a contingency plan to ration natural gas”

      2. rjs

        by the way, there is plenty of natural gas coming out of the ground in the oil fields of west Texas and North Dakota, but few pipelines to take it to markets…since it’s cheap compared to the oil they’re after, they’re just flaring it off…

  21. petal

    Joe Biden “hinting”.

    “I’ll be as straight with you as I can. I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president,” Biden said at a stop for his book tour in Missoula, Montana. “The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I’ve worked on my whole life.”

    “No one should run for the job unless they believe that they would be qualified doing the job. I’ve been doing this my whole adult life, and the issues that are the most consequential relating to the plight of the middle class and our foreign policy are things that I have – even my critics would acknowledge, I may not be right but I know a great deal about it,” he added.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I wonder how little the Clinton loyalists think of Tim Kaine in retrospect as he’s the only do of us that hasn’t been trotted out.

    2. Carolinian

      Shorter Biden: I know where all the bodies are buried. Didn’t Hillary run on her great knowledge and experience? Here’s suggesting we hold a random lottery of all Americans for next president. “Experience” is doing us in.

    3. Scoaliera

      “There is no problem the world faces today that I have not contributed to in some measure. Now put me in charge.”

      1. RMO

        “I may not be right but I know a great deal about it” he added… so lots of knowledge and still wrong? Sounds qualified for the White House to me! His apparent inability to string together a coherent thought when questioned is impressive too.

  22. Craig H.


    There is no way to read this. Reading Scott is like listening to a communist party secretary giving a four hour speech to the politburo. But you maybe want to have a look at his table where he correlates Fisher’s Albion Seed Colonial America tribes with Hogwarts’ houses.

    When you can fake sincerity you have got it made.

    1. Carolinian

      In other words you disagree with his premise and therefore don’t find it interesting. Why not just say that?

    1. ewmayer

      I like how Mr. 4th-generation-white-Irish O’Rourke is leveraging his Telenova-style Latinx-friendly nickname to get on board the diversity bandwagon.

      He does seem more genuinely progressive than a typical DNC stooge, but his With-Her vote as a 2016 Dem-convention superdelegate and wholehearted embrace of RussiaRussiaRussia – he’s on record as saying Trump meeting with Putin in Finland was an impeachable crime of some kind – raise red flags. Still light years better than creepy Joe Biden or neoliberal IdPol dream queen Kamala Harris, though.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        And never forget his unabashed declaration of love for Israel and opposition to BDS. The fact is the Dems who won in Texas were about half progressives and half Blue Dogs, and I never put Beto into the first category. He talked a good “we have to make changes” line, but he hung everything on “I don’t take PAC money,” which is meaningless.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Stephanie Kelton

    The right way to budget for a #GreenNewDeal is the way JM Keynes approached the question in his “How to Pay for the War.” i.e. national resource planning. It wasn’t about where to get the money. It was about how to manage the transition to a war economy.

    6:22 AM – Dec 3, 2018


    Do I worry too much that this ‘it was about how to manage the transition to a war economy’ could be used, not for the object of our desire, but for more war?

    ‘We’re already there,” 2018

    “We’re already there,” 2017

    “We’re already there,’ 2016…wait, I thought Trump becoming president was going to be bad, but how could that be if we were already there? Can we be already there, and be even more there?

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Climate Change First Became News 30 Years Ago. Why Haven’t We Fixed It? National Geographic (UserFriendly). Inertia.

    Not surprising since wealthy inequality first became known 2,000, 3,000, or more years ago.

    Or overpoulation which was known since at least 50 years ago.

    Why haven’t we fixed it?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      We haven’t fixed it because the merchants of fossil carbon made and make more money keeping it broken, and breaking it worse.

      They get in the way of fixing it, and we will probably have to break them in order to stop them from stopping us from fixing it.

  25. ambrit

    I’ve been keeping an eye on the 10-2 year Treasuries yield figures. Now Bloomberg has noticed. When some of the ‘big dogs’ begin to mention the hole in this Titanic’s hull, trouble ahead. As usual, not enough lifeboats to go around.
    This eternally cynical and strangely optimistic geezer is beginning to notice some grace notes indicating History preparing to rhyme yet again. A pro business Republican President oversees the facilitation of an economic disaster. A “progressive” Non-Republican contender off in the wings making ‘reform’ noises. Now, a Major Recession, with bungling mal-adaptive responses from the present Reactionary Republican elites, aided and abetted by the ‘usual Democrat suspects,’ leading to a vast public outcry for relief.
    FDR was 51 when he became President. He did not live out his full terms. The job is Stress in a nutshell. Sanders will be 80. His choice of Vice President is thus extremely important. That person could well become President through the natural course of events. No conspiracy needed. Mother Nature takes care of the details.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dutch court rejects man’s request to be 20 years younger MPR News. Chuck L: “I think I’ll try that. USA courts might be more amenable.”

    I rememer a time when I wanted to be 2 years older (so I could be 18).

    It would be dicrimination against young people to only let older people to be 20 years younger (which applies only to those over 20…theoretically…if you are only 19, what does it mean to be 20 years young?), and not let those under 20 to be able to claim an older legal age.

    1. wilroncanada

      70 and want to be 50? OK, pay back the ten years of Canada Pension we’ve paid you. And since you’re getting a tidy sum all at once, You’ll be paying a tax premium on it, less what we’ve deducted in the smaller payments you’ve received.

      19 want to be 20 years younger? Wheee! but no womb-mates there; mom in now 60.

  27. Ranger Rick

    Not sure whether to be frustrated or sad reading that Bloomberg article, and it’s clear the authors aren’t either. What did people expect was going to happen after #metoo (and #metoo’s collateral damage)? “Don’t be a jerk,” they say, and you won’t be accused of harassment. But all it takes is one counterexample and the trust is gone.

    Even worse:

    There’s a danger, too, for companies that fail to squash the isolating backlash and don’t take steps to have top managers be open about the issue and make it safe for everyone to discuss it, said Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison.

    “If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment,” he said, “those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”

    The ethical and moral calculus at work here is mind-boggling.

    1. Charles Lemmon

      This is not new. When Anita Hill testified concerning Clarence Thomas, the men stopped joking around with the women. The women continued to make sexually suggestive jokes among themselves in mixed company. The men listened but did not participate. A colleague of mine was accused of sexual harassment for organizing a men’s softball team at work. A woman felt descriminated against because she couldn’t join the team (Don’t know how that turned out).

      1. RMO

        Isn’t the obvious way to avoid a discrimination lawsuit to apply the policy equally? Don’t work or travel with anyone alone or mentor anyone regardless of gender. If you’re really concerned about a harassment accusation and the effects it could have that would seem to be the obvious course of action.

  28. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding the Bloomberg article about the inability of Trump’s senior advisers to explain the trade deal Trump said he cut with XI over dinner at the G20, it is likely that this is because there was no deal. The absence of a joint statement or China’s confirmation of Trump’s representations supports this view. But hopefully their dinner was a shared moment of mutual respect and goodwill by both men that will enable negotiations to reconcile specific trade issues and differences in national interests to proceed.

    1. wilroncanada

      The toilet tissue he wrote it on was smeared…both sides.

      Don’t shake hands with that man.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost”

    Saw this mentioned on RT this morning too. Trouble is that you only need a few women to go all precious on people to ruin it for all women on Wall Street. That RT article had a classic example-

    “Andy C. Ngo

    I remember when a woman I was friendly/kind with perceived me as someone who wanted “more.” She wrote me a message about how she was uncomfortable. I’m gay.

  30. anarcheops

    “Regulations could allow US homes to be bought and sold through electronic valuations Daily Mail. (Chuck L). As Lambert is wont to say, what could go wrong?”

    A certain Canadian province tried to do property tax assessments last year using a similar combination of of satellite imagery scanning and untested algorithm to grab the sizes of house roofs and guess at changes. (Search “cbc property tax nb” w/o quotes for lots of articles). Pushed ahead by incompetent managers & politicians without appropriate testing, it went about as well as you can guess.

    Governments and those in charge of procurement just love a whizz-bang software tool that will allow them to fire experienced staff… and then the end up having to hire a bunch more people to clean up the ensuing mess anyway. I wonder if it’s the same company pushing it in this article…?

  31. The Rev Kev

    In the news today-

    “Saudi Arabia invites Qatar to Gulf summit on December 9th”

    Qatar seen to be looking very nervous and considers asking US Navy Seals to act as a chaperone.

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