Links 12/9/18

The ‘magical’ moment a photographer spotted a rare white reindeer in the snow National Post

‘Can we still let the cat out of the bag?’: PETA’s anti-animal phrases post gets social media’s goat

Honda, CalTech and NASA’s JPL might have a real alternative to Li-ion batteries Road Show (David L)

How Alaska fixed its earthquake-shattered roads in just days The Verge (JT McPhee)

Researchers Found a Way to Shrink a Supercomputer to the Size of a Laptop Futurism (David L)

‘It’s a sad reality’: a troubling trend sees a 97% decline in monarch butterflies The Guardian. ChiGal: “I knew the numbers were dropping but 97% is shocking and so sad.”

Preparations Begin for the Climate Change Deluge Der Spiegel

Airlines ignoring efficient planes in blow to carbon targets – study Guardian

Waste Watch

How GM invented planned obsolescence TreeHugger

As Noam Chomsky turns 90, a look at how he made the world seem a little less inhuman, and a lot more comprehensible FirstPost


Spare me America’s tears for Jamal Khashoggi – this excuse for Trump-bashing ignores the CIA’s past crimes Independent. Robert Fisk.

Saudi Arabia Sets Up a Scrappy New Year With Trump Bloomberg (The Rev Kev)

Meet the Senators Who Took Saudi Money American Conservative

US-Saudi relationship enters uncharted territory The Hill

New Cold War

In His Own Words: James Comey’s Testimony on Clinton, FBI Probe Bloomberg (furzy)

Class Warfare

Can the Nation’s First Charter School Strike Transform the Industry? TruthOut


Wall Street’s Corruption Runs Deeper Than You Can Fathom TruthDig

After Luxembourg made all public transport free, could the UK do the same? Perhaps – but only on certain days Independent. I leave it to you, dear readers, to shred the logical flaws in this short piece.

Gilets Jaunes

Les Déplorables Demand The Fall Of The Regime Moon of Alabama (The Rev Kev)

The Yellow Vest Rebellion Peter Turchin. UserFriendly: “love the max boot quote.”

‘Yellow Vest’ protests: Nearly 1,400 detained in new day of unrest in France France 24

Can the Yellow Vests Speak? Jacobin (AL)


Theresa May to ‘handbag’ Brussels in frantic bid to save Brexit deal The Times

Theresa May warns her warring MPs ‘back me or get Corbyn and no Brexit’ as she considers delaying crunch vote to return to Brussels for a ‘handbag moment’ to demand more concessions Daily Mail

Splits, handbags and a Remain poll: what the Sunday papers said about Brexit Guardian. Summary of the latest ‘exclusives’. High noise to signal ratio.

Huawei Hullabaloo

Beijing blames Canada for Huawei arrest and threatens ‘grave consequences for hurting feelings of Chinese SCMP

Canadian ambassador summoned over Huawei CFO’s detention Asia Times

Chinese and US executives worry after Huawei CFO’s arrest FT

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Apple releases its first Beddit sleep monitoring device Endgadget. EM: “We’re from Big Data and we’re here to help. You can trust us inside your bedroom.”

Australia passes new law to thwart strong encryption Ars Technica

Facebook Fracas

How the star of Sheryl Sandberg dimmed BBC

Democrats in Disarray

Desperate measures! Bill and Hillary Clinton resort to using Groupon to sell half-price tickets after their 13-stop paid speaking tour fails to draw the crowds Daily Mail. Cancel the tour– this is beyond embarrassing.

Elizabeth Warren Is Tested and Found Wanting National Review. Yes, I know the National Review isn’t a Warren-friendly forum. But still…

Beto O’Rourke Should Not Run for President Jacobin

Federal judge orders additional discovery plan in Hilary Clinton email lawsuit Jurist

Health Care

Prominent Doctors Aren’t Disclosing Their Industry Ties in Medical Journal Studies. And Journals Are Doing Little to Enforce Their Rules ProPublica


Dying in Mine Dust: In Rajasthan, Miners Battle TB and Silicosis The Wire. Another hidden cost of that granite countertop.

Gandhi and the End of Empire Project Syndicate. Shashi Tharoor.

Indian ATM companies warn of cash machine shutdowns FT

Realignment and Legitimacy

Disputed North Carolina race raises prospect of congressional probe The Hill

Trump Transition

The death of George H.W. Bush: making another genocidal American leader great again SCMP (furzy)

For first time, prosecutors connect Trump to a federal crime ABC News Channel 9. And so? People violate campaign finance laws all the time. The typical penalty is a fine.

The Phony US-China Truce Project Syndicate

Kelly exit helps position Trump for 2020 Politico

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Harry

    Beijing are right to be pissed at Justin. Since Mira Ricardel got fired for annoying Melania, there has been a lack of coordination at the NSC. Which partly explains how dumb stuff like this can happen. The arrest warrant was dated in August. Trudeau could have waited to honor it, or made a phone call. But i guess being constantly irritated by Trump has pissed him off

    1. cnchal

      > Beijing are right to be pissed at Justin.

      As opposed to to the US being pissed at Justin were he to have tipped the Chinese off. A dilemma for sure.

      Look at the bright side.

      While China did not specify what action it would take to inflict pains on Canada, the harsh wording suggests that it has plans to retaliate.

      These could range from the freezing of diplomatic exchanges to the suspension of trade and would be likely to be set in motion if Meng is extradited to the US.

      David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, told Reuters on Friday that there will probably be “a deep freeze with the Chinese in high-level visits and exchanges”.

      “The ability to talk about free trade will be put in the ice box for a while. But we’re going to have to live with that. That’s the price of dealing with a country like China,” Mulroney was quoted as saying.

      Ok. China won’t buy Canada’s raw materials, and China won’t send us any more crapola. If the Chinese elite would sell their paid for with loot Vancouver and Toronto houses and go back to China and really crash those housing markets so an average Canadian could actually afford to live there as part of the punishment, that would be a bonus.

        1. Wukchumni

          Yes, how interesting~

          Canada has been trying to dampen down their real estate bubble with slight success, and alienating overseas Chinese owners of houses in the great white north would really get the ball rolling…

    2. Yves Smith

      Your comment makes zero sense.

      The US does not have an extradition treaty with China. so it would have been an absolute zero trying to get Meng extradited from there, even independent of the politics.

      Once she was indicted, the US would send a “red notice” to Interpol. One thing Interpol is very good at is tracking movement of people of interest on flights.

      She was snagged in transit in Canada. We have no idea if she had left China prior to the indictment and had either not gone to countries from which she could be extradited or had been lucky. She’d be subject to seizure in any country that had an extradition treaty with US (significant majority of all countries) AND had imposed sanctions on Iran (you can’t be extradited unless what you did is also a crime in the country from which the extradition attempt is being made).

      1. Procopius

        you can’t be extradited unless what you did is also a crime in the country from which the extradition attempt is being made

        That’s what I always thought, but Britain was perfectly happy to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden when he was not even accused of a crime — he was wanted for questioning in an investigation. Is there some procedure other than extradition? Also, it took ten years to extradite Rakesh Saxena from Canada to Thailand because some High Commissioner failed or refused to sign the final approval. Might something like that happen with Meng?

        1. Yves Smith

          Huh? Please consult Google. Assange was accused of rape. There was Swedish arrest warrant for Assange, which they withdrew only because it could not be enforced. From the BBC:

          Sweden has decided to drop the rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

          Top prosecutor Marianne Ny said his arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice.

          Mr Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012. He fears extradition to Sweden would lead to extradition to the US where he is wanted over leaks.

          Ecuador has called on the UK to allow him safe passage out of the country.

          However, police in London said they would still be obliged to arrest him if he left.

          The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Mr Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine.

          But the UK has not commented on whether it has received an extradition request from the US, where Mr Assange could face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.

          Assange could have been held for 84 hours without the approval of a judge.

          1. The Rev Kev

            There is not a clear chain of events with Assange’s case. He was accused but never charged and I am given to understand that both women wanted the whole thing dropped but were ignored. Swedish prosecutors were invited to interview him in the embassy but they refused. Emails that surfaced this year showed that the Swedes wanted to chuck the whole business way back in 2013 ( but the UK Crown Prosecution Service pressed them to continue.
            In addition, Assange said he would go to Sweden so long as he was not extradited to another country but the Swedes refused. I believe that there is such a thing as the “Doctrine of Speciality” which says “that a state may only prosecute an extradited individual for the offenses agreed to by the sending state.” so I do not see why the Swedes would not agree with this one. Assange would be aware too of the time that Sweden handed over two refugees to CIA agents back in 2001 for transport to Egypt for torture. There is a lot about this whole saga that makes no sense but it will come out in the end.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “‘It’s a sad reality’: a troubling trend sees a 97% decline in monarch butterflies”

    A student in this article blames climate change but I am not so sure. I think that pesticides play a bigger part personally. In reading this article I was wondering how different the countryside is now to the way it was decades ago. Without things such as butterflies, bees, etc. I am thinking that it is a lot more quieter now without the constant humming and droning of insects. I remember going by French fields that were abuzz with the sounds of insects a very long time ago and wonder what it would be like now. There was another thought that came to mind and that was the ground-breaking book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson back in 1962. The title came from a John Keats poem talking about no birds singing but I wonder if Carson was thinking about the insects as well in her choice of the title.

    1. Wukchumni

      We tend to notice Mother Nature’s clients that are missing if they are an irritant, and everybody’s cottoned on to the idea that our windshields are a lot less bug free, despite being an ideal killing ground for winged insects that come into our purview @ 60 mph.

      One thing in that regard, one used to see ‘bug deflectors’ that were affixed to the front of hoods of cars, and you rarely see them anymore, as if the marketplace was trying to tell us something.

      1. Anon

        The aerodynamic shape of a modern sedan allows it to meet current fuel efficiency standards—and allows many insects to pass without splatting. Except, of course, on trucks and SUV’s.

    2. nippersdad

      Another large part of the puzzle of insect decline is the increasing lack of habitat. Reading “Bringing Nature Home” by Douglas Tallamy was a real eye opener.

      1. polecat

        I seem to recall the Mexicans reducing Monarch habitat via logging forested areas where said butterflies coalesce between migrations …

        1. nippersdad

          I understand that they had done that, but the single largest problem with monarch decline from what I read is the virtual elimination of milkweed in farming areas of North America; getting rid of hedgerows to grow more soybeans, etc. There are actually several generations of monarchs involved in their migration, and if they have no host plants anywhere along the way……….

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Yep. I think you touch on the most significant change; milkweed, though what’s going on in Mexico also plays a part as does habitat loss in general. The Monarchs -and they are hardly alone- are getting it from all sides. Note, I remember this being an issue that was raised back in the early ’90’s (and possibly before though the ’90’s was the first I was aware of it).

        2. rd

          Not all Monarchs over-winter in Mexico. I believe the 97% is the over-wintering population in an area in California.

          Going through many areas in California is pretty depressing from an ecosystem standpoint. Huge swaths are either farmland or subdivisions with little to no native vegetation growing in the linear features that could support it (roadside ditches, levees etc.).

          So these types of losses come from multiple reasons: loss of habitat and food sources for larvae and adults; pesticides; pollution of water bodies causing algae blooms and reducing oxygen; and climate change. The climate change is usually just the final polishing step as a weakened and depleted population in a very fragmented ecosystem has nowhere to go.

          The benefit of the honeybee colony problems (honeybees are non-native but not invasive) is that they are making people, including farmers, much more aware that ecosystems are collapsing.

          Meanwhile, the Trump Administration wants to double-down on ensuring eco-system collapse:

          Not an issue for Trump as golf course turf grasses don’t need ecosystems. Even fertilizer-laden irrigation water is beneficial for his exposure to nature.

          1. Michael McKaskle

            Actually honeybees are horribly invasive. They spread diseases and hoover up nectar and pollen critical to native bees who have narrow seasonal windows to gather in and don’t fly far. Pollination hives kept pumped up with corn syrup to work all spring then summered on wildlands to make ‘mountain’ or ‘wild flower’ honey (‘valley’ honey is produced from pollinating crops) are a great example of a subsidized predator.
            The year before I got my first hives I counted what I thought were 17 different types of bees and wasps on the mint in my yard, though some may have been different sized generations of one type of bumblebee. I had 4 hives my first beekeeping spring and saw only bees, some bumbles, hoverflies and what I think are locally called sweat bees.
            In my heretical beekeeper opinion, honeybee hives should stay on the farms who need them, which requires radically increasing crop diversity and reducing pesticide use, or be kept in smaller yards throughout cities and suburbia but not in rural areas.I probably count as too rural for my standards but reconcile my love of beekeeping by keeping only swarms I catch and giving very little extra juice to them, though that means I get much less honey and they are harder to work since they are more defensive and their comb is less evenly drawn.
            Bee friendly farming would probably help Monarchs too.
            I have seen the Monarchs overwintering in (invasive exotic) Eucalyptus trees in Santa Cruz. A friend of a friend was there when the big 90s earthquake hit and the startled Monarchs darkened the sky!

    3. Linden S.

      I bet you are right that pesticides are more important than climate change, but I wonder if habitat destruction is even more important. Climate change is has definitely hurt Arctic and high-elevation species, but I doubt that a tropical-midlatitude species like Monarchs are mainly hurt by climate change at this point.

      1. Wukchumni

        Monarchs head south to Mexico for the winter, and Florida’s population of them has dropped 80% since 2005, so it’s obvious that combined with California’s 97% drop, they aren’t coming from here or Florida anymore on their trip back up from down under, and yet they still head for warmers climes in Mexico, as they come from Canada mostly.

        California & Florida have extensive tree crops which are sprayed nine ways to Sunday, and there’s your culprit right there, pesticides. And in the case of Florida, it got rid of milkweed, which is why the Monarchs went there in the first place after vacationing in Mexico.

        1. zapster

          When the monarchs finally show up up here in northern Michigan now–it’s too late in the season. The milkweed is toughened up and I think perhaps too hard for the caterpillars to survive on. The season has shifted forward a couple weeks. And sometimes we now only get one at a time. No mates?

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Monarchs do seem to be doing better in the East coast though. Populations have definitely not rebounded here to the levels I’d see as a kid 30-40 years ago, but in the last couple years I’ve seen more monarchs than I have in decades. There seems to be some evidence for this besides just my personal anecdotes:

      So maybe rather than going extinct, the monarchs are adjusting?

      1. Mark Alexander

        Some anecdotal evidence from central Vermont: the monarchs do seem to be adjusting, but I’m still worried about the decline. In the summer of 2012 when we were building our house, monarchs were plentiful, many of them leaving their chrysalises on the house, forcing us to move our work to a different section to avoid harming them. Then in the following years there was a precipitous decline, so that in the summer of 2017 we saw only a couple of monarchs. But this last summer things improved a lot, so that we saw maybe a couple of dozen swarming around just before they migrated south. So I’m cautiously optimistic.

        We have tons of milkweed growing here, and we grow our food organically, so we’re doing the best we can for the monarchs locally. But there’s not much we can do about their habitat destruction in Mexico, or the use by big ag of glyphosate that kills the milkweed.

      2. foghorn longhorn

        Can confirm the lack of insects in my neck of the N.E. Texas Piney Woods.
        When we moved here in the early 90’s, it was common to carry a roll of paper towels and a bottle of windex to clean the bug splats off the windshield.
        The wipers and sprayer couldn’t keep up, now my windshield is bug free for hundreds of miles at a whack.
        As an aside, we use absolutely no pesticides or herbicides here at Half-Fast Acres.

        1. JEHR

          Last winter I had an infestation of Lady Bugs inside my bathroom windows where previously these insects had come in via the basement door to escape the cold. There were easily 50 or more insects. I left them alone all winter and a lot of them died inside and I don’t know how many made it back outdoors in the spring. This year I don’t have even one Lady Bug in the bathroom or in the basement. I am worried that we may not see them anymore.

          1. Wukchumni

            There’s a little used trail, the backdoor if you will into Sequoia NP called the Ladybug Trail, and a 2 mile walk will get you to more Ladybugs than you could ever imagine. There have been times when i’d guess there are millions of them in attendance, usually peaking Jan-Feb.

            There are instances when we have to turn around, as each step forward would kill 50 or 100 on the ground, they are that common.

            It’s also a great trail to see a variety of ages of Giant Sequoia trees, ranging from 150 to 1,500 years old.


          2. Oregoncharles

            Don’t know where you are, but I believe that’s an invasive Asian ladybug that likes to winter over in houses, sometimes in very large numbers. They used to spend the winter in my bedroom, at the south peak of the house. Not sure how they got in or out, but they no longer appear in any numbers; must have found a balance with the local ecology.

            I’ve also seen native ladybugs wintering over in huge masses, as Wukchumni describes, on vegetation in the hills, both here and in Idaho. Not lately, but I haven’t gone and looked, either.

            More generally: our neighborhood is pretty organic and should be a refuge, espcially my rather wild garden. We see lots of bees because our neighbor keeps them, and quite a few native bees on certain flowers (lavender; but it does seem the butterflies and some other insects are scarcer, except for the pests like cabbage butterflies.

      3. Jen

        Early in september as I was headed out to a nearby pond for a swim, I noticed dozens of monarchs cavorting in a neighbors flower bed. Also had a number of insect splats on my windshield this year, compare to 0 in recent years. There is a large farm in a town to the north that used to grow genetically modified corn. Couple of years ago I stopped seeing the tell-tale signs on the side of the road. They started planting cover crops in the winter, and this spring, pumpkins using no-till. Correlation isn’t causation, but it’s a move in the right direction.

      4. rd

        The roadsides in the Northeast have lots of common milkweed as they are generally mowed, not sprayed with herbicides, and wet areas have lots of swamp milkweed (a gorgeous plant that suburban homeowners should be growing in their gardens in moist to wet locations in the same types of areas purple loosestrife does well – some nurseries carry both pink and white cultivars, if you have a sunny wet spot that is a pain to mow, then consider planting a wet meadow with swamp milkweed, blue-eyed grass, hardy hibiscus, buttonbush, New England and New York asters, and turtleheads to make a pretty valuable ecosystem garden).

        I still see Monarchs in my garden regularly and the swamp and common milkweeds growing in my garden have holes in the leaves indicate Monarchs are using them for larval activity. The swamp milkweeds are usually growing later in the season than common milkweed, so make a good successional larval food system. The Monarchs then go to all the plants I listed above for nectar.

    5. JCC

      I agree, pesticides and other chemical pollutants have been far more devastating.

      I compare hiking over Upstate NY Finger Lakes country today compared to 40 years ago and the differences are amazing. Today, frogs leaping into ponds when walking by – non-existent. Crayfish scrambling under rocks in creek beds when wading across – non-existent. Fireflies everywhere in early evening – non-existent. 10 lb Lake Trout common 40 years ago – rare as hen’s teeth today.

      All of the above, and much more, can be directly attributable to massive chemical pollution. And personally, I find it very frightening.

      1. JBird4049

        I think it is the use of the relatively new neonicotinoid pesticides as the steep decline seems to start at about the same time as they came into use.

        The good news is that it only takes 3-4 years for the pesticides to fade away, but now we have to beat all the chemical companies and their lobbyists with their bribes.

    6. rjs

      the problem with the monarchs is loss of habitat, climate change has nothing to do wiith it…how many paches of milkweed do you see anymore? if you want to lay blame, target widespread use of herbicides that kill everything except the crop plants…

  3. William Beyer

    Perhaps GM was just copying GE on planned obsolescence. The international Phoebus Cartel, which included GE, Philips, Osram and others, started in 1925 and was designed to limit the useful life of the light bulb, which lasted way too long for industry profits. The cartel was shut down in 1939.

    1. The Rev Kev

      This idea went back even earlier and I quote “In 1901, the American inventor King Camp Gillette…patented a new variation of safety razor with disposable blades. Gillette realized that a profit could be made by selling an inexpensive razor with disposable blades. This has been called the razor and blades business model, and has become a very common practice for a wide variety of products.”
      I have been told those old safety razors gave a much better shave than a modern disposable one but people chose convenience and the ability to throw away a blunt razor instead so we are to blame for this trend.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>I have been told those old safety razors gave a much better shave than a modern disposable one but people chose convenience and the ability to throw away a blunt razor instead so we are to blame for this trend.<<<

        They do or near enough to make no difference. Since the costs of buying a disposable razor keeps rising faster then inflation, I got really annoyed and decided to do something different; I use a safety razor and it is just about as effective as a modern disposable razor.

        It can be slightly tricky to get the right brand of razor blade for whatever brand of razor you are using. Each brand of razor and of blades are very slightly different in size which can make shaving great or horrible.

        However, it is so much cheaper than using a disposable razor. A good razor can easily costs thirty dollars and it can cost some money up front to buy the razor blades but over a year we are talking pennies a shave rather than dollars. Convenience can quite expensive.

    2. SufferinSuccotash

      Arguably it was the Dutch shipbuilders in the 1590s who invented the practice with the fluyt, a cheaply-built cargo ship. It was constructed of unseasoned green timber which meant that it would begin to fall apart in a few years. But by that time it would have operated long enough to make a profit for the owners and the shipbuilders would get more business. After all, if it was good for them it was good for the Netherlands!

      1. Carolinian

        It probably made sense back then since wooden ships didn’t last that long anyway. Without a doubt it was America–ground zero of capitalism–that really kicked off the zeal for planned or unplanned obsolescence. Even things that used to last forever like major appliances have become shoddier and more disposable. I have a 30 year old washing machine that has just been easily repaired with a new drive belt. New washers have electronic IOT panels that will undoubtedly become obsolete if not broken within a few years. One suspects the current fad of making everything in automobiles electronic has, in part, much the same motive.

        Of course competition can throw a spanner in the works for companies like GM. Back in the 1970s and 80s Japanese cars took off because they were built to last and not fall apart after 100,000 miles. Detroit began to slide until they decided to concentrate on giant pickups and SUVs that the rest of the world didn’t want to make or buy.

        1. BobW

          I have a 3 year old Honda that has a center-dash display that went black. Fortunately still under 35,000 mile warranty. Hate to think what out-of-warranty cost would be. Considering selling it and getting an older, less techie model.

          1. crittermom

            My son bought a newer SUV following one too many close encounters while first on a scooter, then a big motorcycle during his commute to work.

            He said the vehicle is equipped with all the ‘bells & whistles’ (heated seats, etc) & he’s ‘going to enjoy ’em while he can since WHEN they fail’ he doesn’t plan to spend the money to have them fixed.

            It made me realize my 42 yr old son has lived in a ‘throw-away’ society since he was young & accepts that things have been crapified. Wow.

            1. JBird4049

              Crapification along with the increasing cost and short existence of any repairs. Add the fact that the tools and equipment needed to fix a car are both increasingly crapified and overpriced. Also the various programs and access codes needed are “proprietary” because the vehicle manufacturers don’t want you to own it even after it is paid off.

              Bad (for Some us) design, poor quality, and increasingly overpriced junk that often cannot be repaired by the owner or affordably repaired by anyone else.

        2. Off The Street

          Many would consider you lucky to have gotten 100,000 miles out of those cars. Some Americans in that era looked admiringly at a few European makes like Mercedes and Volvo, especially after hearing tales of 250,000 or more miles!

        3. The Rev Kev

          Those old 19th century wooden ships typically had a lifespan of about twenty years. Lloyds would give them a top rating when newly built but over time that rating would go down as they aged. This could be put off if the ship was rebuilt if it was financially worth it. In the end they were typically broken up in shipyards and the timber utilized elsewhere. Of course ships built of teak from the east lasted decades longer and I have records of one such ship lasting over sixty years but they were the exception.

        4. KPC

          One can easily trace this issue back to at least 1750.

          This is not to let Gillette and GM off the hook.

          Even google can help with this one. Von Humboldt, von Goethe, Simon Bolivar then Antoni Gaudi, come to mind.

          Global climate change is a consequence, not a cause. We need precisely zero more computer and similar studies.

    3. Cal

      There’s a lightbulb in a firehouse that has been burning steadily since 1901.

      “Welcome to the homepage of the Centennial Bulb, the Longest burning Light Bulb in history. Now in its 117th year of illumination.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The narcissistic qualities usually necessary to require running for President make ex-Presidents fascinating. Nixon did his Frost interviews, seemingly unaware of how crummy he (Tricky Dick) was. LBJ was aware of his father’s early grave and didn’t live long. Ford didn’t run for President until after being President, and he was a consensus pick anyway as he wasn’t offensive or a threat to be President on his own. Reagan stopped being President in 1982 due to health reasons. 41 had his boys to live vicariously through. He even tried to adopt Bill.

        What is left? Carter. With Carter, he was definitely focused on his personal morality, and his Presidency was lacking. I feel he has the empathy and intelligence to look back and try to make amends. Also, he doesn’t strike me as enjoying the high life.

        I addressed 41. Take 43. He doesn’t make many appearances, but even early on, he was obsessed with being redeemed by history, probably due to his low approval ratings and general obvious buffoonery.

        That leaves us with Bill and Obama, both relatively young when they left office after two terms where neither was a transformative figure from the aspect of the state of the country. The juxtaposition of climate change and Obama’s tutting of Wall Street for not thanking him for increasing U.S. oil production is bizarre, but its rooted in his narcissism. His accomplishment is legitimately awful, but because Obama did it, it must be great.

        I suppose the source is Dick Morris, but Bill Clinton was the first two term Democratic President since FDR. He was also the first President elected with a minority of the popular vote since 1860, and the lowest share of the popular vote since 1860. How about his Presidency? He wound up in a half hour argument with a 23 year old on the campaign trail, trying to justify his crime policies. He has the “economy” argument, but as Governor of Arkansas, he had little to do with the development and infrastructure of the World Wide Web. Reappointing Alan Greenspan? And on and on it goes.

        Despite Bill’s importance in a pop culture Presidency, what makes him not a lesser Reagan or not a villain? Obama ran on “hope and change” while running against Hillary. That slogan wasn’t merely a shot at Shrub, but Hill and Bill.

        Hillary’s presumed coronation made him relevant or part of the national fabric the way a person who runs for President expects to be, but historically, wouldn’t it make more sense to almost lump him in as a member of the DLC and new gilded age Presidents versus a President striving for greatness? School age children are still asked questions about Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase and undeclared naval war and their relation to his political philosophy? And don’t forget slavery.

        After the Gore defeat (close enough to steal against W is an embarrassment) and Kerry, shepherded to defeat by Bill’s inner circle, how does Bill prove his fitness for office and importance to the national fabric? By proving he and his family belong and winning the White House on nothing other than once living with Bill Clinton in the White House. The extreme narcissism inherent to the would be Presidents combined with the Clintons place in the fabric of America means they can never let go. Unlike Carter, Bill lacks the morality to ever reinvent himself.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          When Clinton asked where he ranked, Morris said he had a shot at reaching the “second tier,” if he could accomplish a few big things, like balancing the budget.

          This is from the link. Again Dick Morris is probably the source, but who the eff cares?

          August Caesar boasted he found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble, and Bill Clinton balanced the budget. Wow! I bet it eats at him.

              1. The Rev Kev

                How about that. A politician that promised a public infrastructure program – and delivered!
                Great link by the way. Already bookmarked.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > That leaves us with Bill and Obama, both relatively young when they left office after two terms where neither was a transformative figure from the aspect of the state of the country.

          I disagree. Clinton and Obama might be said to represent the flowering* and decay of the neoliberal era, Clinton with NAFTA (and so forth) and Obama not prosecuting the banks, which opened a post-Neoliberal era of open impunity for looting and law-breaking by the elites (a new, dare I saw it, “norm”).

          NOTE * I date the beginning of the neo-liberal era to the mid- to late-70s; Carter airline deregulation a relatively innocent harbinger of much worse to come. Clinton was elected in 1991, and set about doing for Republicans what Republicans could not do on their own.

          1. Jeff W

            I date the beginning of the neo-liberal era to the mid- to late-70s; Carter airline deregulation a relatively innocent harbinger of much worse to come.

            I date it to exactly that time and that event also.

            It wasn’t so innocent, really. I still recall reading John Newhouse’s The Sporty Game, about the (newly deregulated) airline industry, in June/July, 1982, which, as this retrospective in The Air Current says, “captured nearly all the trends we see in the aviation today.” The trends were hardly positive. Newhouse, for example, wrote 36 years ago that “the seating is becoming denser as airlines try to offset rising operating costs by adding rows of seats. And there is a trend toward slightly narrower and lighter seats, even though people are becoming gradually larger.” And while airline deregulation was supposed to offer—as all neoliberal projects are—the benefits of competition through the wonders of the market, The Air Current says that “more than 80% of passengers fly today on three global mega airlines.”

        3. Big River Bandido

          Not to detract from the rest of your comment, but actually there were several “plurality” Presidents in the 20th century, nearly all of them Democrats. The horrible, odious, disastrous Presidency of Woodrow Wilson was gleaned from not one, but two “underwater” showings — 41.8% and 49.2%, respectively. Very similar to Bill Clinton, in fact, who received 43% and 49.2% in his two campaigns. Harry Truman pulled in 49.6% in 1948; if he’d not had three opponents plus the hatred of the northeastern Democrat bosses, likely he would have been a majority President. Carter himself only received 50.1% of the vote in his successful 1976 campaign. In this context, Obama’s 52.9% in 2008 and 51.1% in 2012 are significant…and they underscore the American peoples’ disillusion with the Democrats.

          The only 20th-century Democrats who succeeded in actually building broad coalitions were Roosevelt and Johnson. Isn’t it a coincidence how both of them put economics front and center?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe what is happening is that their donors have finally pulled the plug on them and we are finally seeing what their real support base looks like. If they wanted to go out with class, maybe they could go around an arena on the back of a flatbed truck singing “The Carnival Is Over” by The Seekers-

      1. dk

        Exactly. This also means that the grift machine surrounding them has to find new meal tickets, see Tanden’s rigorous enthusiasm over Beto (and before that, Harris iirc).

        Donor clout has always bee the Clinton’s source of political power. When making the rounds seeking endorsements, Clinton staffers would always mention “our national donor network,” which could be used as both carrot (“we’ll mention your support to them!”) and stick (“we’ll mention your disinclination to support to them!”).

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its quite unfortunate Tanden has become attached to O’Rourke. Despite not being fit for the Presidency, he would be a great candidate for state wide office in Texas. Given Tanden’s results to date…losing to Trump…how can anyone ever take them seriously?

          1. Big River Bandido

            I agree with you that he’d make a great candidate. But his record in Congress, the path he pursued to the Senate nomination and the way he treated Sema Hernandez and the issues in that race, indicate he’s just another unprincipled empty suit whose election to anything would only delay or hinder real reform. As a public servant, he’s not only neoliberal, but neoconservative as well.

            This is poison to the Democrats.

      2. Lemmy Caution

        Donations to the Clinton Foundation also tanked after she lost the election to Trump — down 88% from 2016 to 2017. This article includes a graph that tracks donations to the Foundation from 2004 through 2017 and talk about falling off a cliff. Wowsers.

    2. Whoamolly!

      The Clintons Tour link in yesterdays links came right after an entertaining link about Lukefisk.

      Since reading, I cant stop conflating Lukefisk and the Clinton Tour.

      Hill and Bill—The Lukefisk Twins?

      1. roxy

        The Bill & Hill tour: All they have left is their greed, and the millions they’ve already socked away.

        1. JEHR

          The decay has come before the death:

          “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
          Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
          Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
          Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
          The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

      2. Geo

        The fact that in every gather of former presidents they’re all chummy and good pals – except Jimmy Carter – speaks volumes.

        If the Clintons or Obama’s we’re out with Carter building homes or doing other charitable work (without that “charity” being a big money & influence siphon) it would speak well if their true character.

        But, instead of gravitating to Carter they have become close with the Bush’s – a family of establishment power and pinnacle of nefarious greed.

        That is who they relate to because that is what they strive to be. They are not good people even if they are “civil” and “polite” like papa Bush was and unlike the current boar in the White House.

        Trump is a mirror for American power and the establishment doesn’t like what they see. They were happier with the manufactured TV image they always saw of themselves.

          1. Geo

            What he did there was horrible. Have read a good deal about it. Not that there is much I can do about this stuff but feel it’s important to know what’s being done around the world in my name.

            I’ve told many people I’d they want to see the lasting implications of our “good war” just look up “Fallujia Babies” and then brace for the horror.

            But, Saddam was pulling the plugs on infants in Kuwait, so it’s justified, right? Oh, he wasn’t… well, he was still evil. Oh, he was our ally and Reagan/Bush helped him gas the Kurds? Well, Bush was civil and such a good father so all is forgiven!

            1. Procopius

              Helped him gas the Iranians, too. He could say, “Not me! I didn’t gas anybody. I didn’t open the valve on a gas cylinder. I’m innocent!” Saw in a comment over at politico a Trumpist repeating the old lie, “They hate us for what we are, they hate us for our ideas.” Bullpuckey. They hate us for what we have done to them and are doing to them and intend to do to them in the future

        1. David Carl Grimes

          I noticed that too. Everyone ignored Carter, even the media. And he’s had the most admirable post-presidency career among all of them.

  4. Quentin

    The humming and droning of the past have largely been replaced by the whirring, humming and grumbling sounds of machines. The latter hasn’t only replaced the former, it contributed to the former’s demise. Of course Rachel Carson considered all kinds of life

    1. Wukchumni

      When Vegas casinos used to use coins in slot machines, it made one hell of a racket, heck even a payoff of 3 measly Quarters hitting the metal pan below, sounded like a symphony of winning even if it was less than a buck in reality. There was the most interesting cacophony going on…

      Similar to the lack of insects, now everything is computerized and the machines are almost mute, in comparison to before. It’s created a sterile environment that the casinos have tried to replace with recorded music blaring, but it’s nowhere near the same.

      1. KPC

        Well said. Thank you.

        The age of machines or the industrial revelation.

        The very essence of evil.

        Carson spoke well as did Arhendt. The thoughtlessness of evil. The banality of evil.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Read an article about those Fitbits and how some idiots insist uploading the results on the internet automatically just because they can. They use them to record ALL their activities. Read of one guy who came unstuck when his girlfriend noticed the activity pattern of his Fitbit matched that when they were having amorous activities but that she was not present for. Busted!

  5. Old Ari

    The ” Pig in a Poke” scam also gave us, “Don’t Let The Cat Out of th Bag”. instruction to the assistant.

  6. Wukchumni

    The revolution will be yellowvised…

    Been thinking about the ‘color revolutions’, and there’s an interesting precedent in the Philippines in 1986, that similar to the GJ, came out of nowhere…

    It is also referred to as the Yellow Revolution due to the presence of yellow ribbons during demonstrations following the assassination of Filipino senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. in August 1983. It was widely seen as a victory of the people against two decades of totalitarian, repressive rule by Marcos, and made news headlines as “the revolution that surprised the world”.

  7. David

    The MoA article on the gilets jaunes was written before yesterday’s demonstrations, and is misleading about a number of things – the comments (as usual I’m afraid are more so). In particular, some people (mainly in the US I think) assume that in such situations the police would be armed and would use their weapons. This is not so.
    Since the riots of 2005, the police (and gendarmes) have been under strict orders to avoid casualties, and not to engage rioters who were only destroying property. This was the technique tried on 1 December, and it failed badly. The police were defending key sites, and otherwise let the rioters do what they wanted, using tear gas and water cannon to keep them at a distance. This resulted in the rioters (not necessarily GJs) going elsewhere, and destroying shops and restaurants all over the city. It also resulted in a large number of injuries to the police.
    This Saturday, they used different and much more aggressive tactics, locking down the city, searching people trying to enter and sending snatch squads out to pick up individuals who seemed to be looking for a confrontation. As far as possible, they tried to clear and control areas, rather than statically protecting them. This was most evident at around 1700 in the Champs Elysées, when the police recovered control of the street after the GJ had left, and only rioters remained. They unleashed a barrage of water and gas to clear an area in font of them, and then advanced fifty metres at a time, a line of police in riot gear followed by vehicles. In this way, they had regained control of the street in about half an hour, with no casualties on either side.
    It’s not often realised that most European countries have special police and paramilitary forces for public order and crowd control. They are specially trained and equipped, and used to working in teams. Yesterday was a good demonstration of how the system should work: there were very few people hurt by comparison with the week before, and the level of property damage was much lower.
    It’s worth adding that the GJs themselves had appealed for calm, and were not interested in a violent confrontation. That seems to have been the work of a minority of their younger members, as well as outsiders. We don’t yet have the details of who was arrested. But it’s important to note that the demonstration itself was illegal. In France (as in many countries) demonstrations have to be declared three days in advance, and a rough idea of the route supplied. Otherwise, the authorities have the right to disperse them, but only using proportional force. That is essentially what happened yesterday, except that the government had clearly decided not to provoke trouble by going after the GJs themselves – most of the action was against people throwing stones and building barricades.
    None of this, of course, solves Macron’s problems, which are probably insoluble anyway. But at least the way the security forces behaved yesterday hasn’t made them needlessly worse.

    1. flora

      Thanks very much for this update.

      Thanks for the explanation of the European model of policing demonstrations. In the US we’re conditioned to think the arrival of police means police violence against demonstrators.

      I watched a France24 video taken on the Champs Elysées around 3 p.m. ,Paris time. Many GJ’s were there walking peacefully, police on the sidelines, no violence visible. The announcer said troublemakers had been prevented from entering the Champs Elysées boulevard and shunted off to side streets, where there was some trouble. Announcer also said plans were to open tourist sites and shops on the Champs Elysées to shoppers and tourists today, Sunday. Don’t know if that’s happened.

      From what I’ve read on NC it sounds like GJ protests are active across the country, in Genoble and Toulouse and other smaller cities. I think you are right; orderly policing of a protest in Paris does not solve Macron’s (or the EU’s) problems.

    2. Lee

      Watching the live video feed yesterday there were at one time a group of cops conversing with a group of gilets jaunes for some minutes. A very civilized exchange.

      1. SimonGirty

        You would’ve seen the same, at 2009’s G20 & Occupy. Until it’s time to go to work. The 9.9% might be shocked to discover what’s been SEO’d down Google’s memory hole. But ‘bagger & tree hugger do have separate rolls to play, and law enforcement is there for Massa, just like the folks in red MAGA hats, MossyOak® camo and armed, just like the cops?

    3. Off The Street

      Identifying those outsiders would be instructive. That pattern has been observed by many over numerous demonstrations in Europe and elsewhere. My father remarked about some war demonstrations at the local college years agoand noted that the students were peaceful until some outsiders showed up with their own version of pour encourager les autres.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        sending in cops dressed as protesters is SOP… in amurka, at least.
        and the only relatively successful defense against this that I’ve seen is a sort of kettling by the legitimate protesters.
        There’s always gonna be some non-cops out there who are so frustrated and angry that breaking windows and otherwise running amok needs no excuse…hell, the whole punk rock “movement” of the 70’s embodied this.
        But that the PTB have used this relatively small portion of the protester set to provide disparaging video and media coverage, by sending in goons, is something that must be countered, somehow.
        because such agent provocateurism is effective.

        1. JTMcPhee

          That’s the problem with so much of the activities of the Elite to divert and suppress any motion toward a more decent life — those activities are so effective, because the Elites understand human nature, especially the most fundamental and basest aspects of it, and know how to manipulate us mopes. Or kettle or kill or imprison any that display any kind of “effectiveness for goodness.”

          I’m increasingly of the opinion that as a species, we are too flawed to continue. But hoping, of course, that I’m wrong. Too bad the Big Die-off that is increasingly likely won’t be likely to kill off enough of the Elites to keep their genes and skills from transiting the event intact. And there’s the instructive lessons of all the actual “change” facilitated by “modern revolutions,” including of course the Russian and French and British and “American.”

          And of course when one gets down into Nature and looks at all the interactions there, there’s a lot of commensalism, but then again there’s parasites and ant armies and predators and lots of death — maybe it’s just that we mopes mostly lack the awarenesses needed to see and participate in the vibes and the flow, and to try not to be so darn “disruptive” with the “innovations” that the Few of us viralize into the lives and responsibilities of the most of us.

          “Stuff just is. But intentional change is too. For good or ill. However those terms are understood.”

          1. flora

            an aside:

            Yesterday, there was alos a ‘Green Vests’ march/protest in Paris.


            from the story:

            “Social justice is needed for climate conditions to improve. The two battles mustn’t be separated, contrary to what people would want us to believe”, a yellow-vest-clad protester called Alissa told Reuters. “This morning I was at the Saint-Lazare train station alongside railworkers. We were all together. We paper over our differences in the name of more social equality,” the 44-year-old artist added.

            “Everyone can be in favour of the climate, yellow vest or not”, said Emma, a 20-year-old student in sustainable development. “If the Yellow Vests want to march for the climate, that’s even better and we welcome them with pleasure. Without social change, we won’t have climate change. The two battles converge,” she added. “There are people who have an environmental conscience but who, halfway through the month, have nothing left and who tell themselves ‘the important thing is survival and not to protect the climate’.”

            1. JTMcPhee

              One might add, “More of this, please!” That recognition that it really is a very big “us” against a very few “them,” who have manipulated our manufactured wants into the corner we mopes are in. While they live large and fat and unconcerned, because they, like all the “Elites” of the past, understand in their bones the concept “Apres nous le deluge.”

              More of this. With a prayer that it is not too late.

              1. cnchal

                > With a prayer that it is not too late.

                Prayer is all we got left it seems. Consider that a Boeing 747 fully loaded with fuel weighs nearly a million pounds at takeoff, and during a twelve hour flight halfway around the world will leave in it’s wake nearly a million pounds of CO2 and land at roughly a bit more than six hundred thousand pounds.

                From Wolfstreet today.

                The airline business has orders for over a trillion dollars worth of jets.

                Air transport throughout Asia has been growing at a tumultuous pace for years now: the number of passengers carried in Indonesia grew from 27.4 million in 2009 to 110.3 million in 2017; over the same time frame, the number of passengers carried in India grew from 64.4 million to 139.8 million, and in Vietnam from 14.4 million to 42.6 million.
                This has been great for air travelers, as fares have been savagely slashed: This Christmas, one can travel from Kuala Lumpur to Bali in business class for less than the equivalent of $100 per leg, all inclusive, and economy seats on internal routes in Indonesia and Malaysia can be bought for as little as $30 per leg, all inclusive.

                These low prices are the prime reason why passenger numbers have been growing at such blistering pace. As competition increases the downward pressure on ticket prices increases. Part of the reason Jet Airways experienced such a large loss is because they could pass only a small part of increased fuel costs on to customers: they had to eat higher fuel costs to avoid customers going over to cheaper competitors.

                Actually, forget prayer. Consume like there is no tomorrow. If you don’t do it someone else will.

                Globalization is a disaster, no matter where one cares to look.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  “Consume like there is no tomorrow.” Hey, I believe that is the locust model, no? Seems to work out for that species, though they operate on a very different plan, maybe, or maybe not? “Growth, overgrowth, eat everything, die back.” As a species, they seem wise enough to leave those egg sacs in their foam-plugged holes, to start the “locust-plague” consumption and decimation cycle over and over again.

                  Are humans as well devised?

                  I recall a sci-fi story in Analog, generations ago. Don’t recall all the details, but somehow the neocon equivalents of that piece managed to set off a nuclear war. A couple of them, a nasty pair, male and female, who had previously fought over which would hold dominion in the world they had jointly set on fire, are trapped in the deep bunker their sort had hidden out in, to battlespace-manage and supposedly survive the destruction. They are in an office when the pumps removing groundwater from the bunker fail. And water starts to fill the room where they are trapped, “logs” of water shooting in through the air vent as slugs of air escape. They know they are dead, so what do they do? Get up on the tops of the filing cabinets, strip down, and copulate, adding to the experience by strangling each other as they climax, she with “her long-fingered, strong-fingered strangler’s hands.” The phrase struck and stuck with me. And at the time I found the story to be unrealistic, found it impossible to believe, at that callow age, that humans could be so horrible.

                  With age comes perception…

                  I hope those of us who like our global and local tourism experiences, complete with justifications in mind that our little contributions “don’t matter, they are so small, and besides, we are entitled to our experiences, all we can afford,” go out with a smile on their faces and not a hint of regret.

                  1. Amfortas the hippie

                    I’ve tried hard not to see it as a sign or portent, that trump’s first two years have been years of heavy…biblical…grasshopper infestations around here.
                    billions of the damned things.
                    and acting weirdly, too…eating garlic right down into the ground.(garlic tea is the go-to organic remedy/deterrent), and stripping the bark off the apple trees.
                    hard to have a garden, like this, to say the least.
                    so….we grow a bunch of guinneas, now.
                    more on the way come spring.
                    I’ve fried hoppers up as fritters, with molasses…pretty nutritious, it turns out…and the boys’ buddies get a kick out of it.
                    My visions under the Big Oak, both summers, consisted of a stone idol in prehistoric African savannah of a grasshopper god who is fed firstborn children and garlic cloves.
                    seems appropriate for end stage neoliberal rapine.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      There’s very little in the way of public transport in rural California and the distances are vast. Pretty much everybody drives a car.

                      There used to be an electric/diesel train system from 1908 to 1990 that got reasonably close to us, and what made it unusual is that the early system utilized hydroelectricity garnered from one of the first hydro projects in the state here in Mineral King, which is still in operation.


                  2. Wukchumni

                    …we’ve flown twice domestically since 9/11

                    Anybody on here fly less than that in the last 17 years?

                    1. JTMcPhee

                      A general garment is displayed, and one claims that it fits…

                      I can’t virtue-signal, I’ve flown at least 3 times since then.

                      Mopes of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your supply chains, and everything to lose by failing to do so.

                      But it’s hard for humans, as we all know, to “just get along.” Even when they are nominally “on the same side.”

                    2. Wukchumni

                      I’ve driven my jalopy probably 5 days a week on average in the last 17 years, which is probably the same as all of you…

                      …that’s the real problem

                    3. ambrit

                      I’ve flown once in that period. Pre-TSA no less. The skies, and attendant vestibules, were indeed ‘friendly’ back then.
                      A virtual virtue signal it is not. I just didn’t need to go further than a day’s drive on any other occasion. (The only virtue I can see for air travel is speed of travel. If you are in a hurry….)

                    4. KPC

                      I do not vaguely drive the Citroen daily or, when I do, nearly as far.

                      You people need to get a grip in this very area.

                      Merely virtue signaling?

                2. KPC

                  Thank you.

                  This is one of the things that needs to be stopped now. I am exhausted from “vacation” and tourism and real estate rackets.

                  Will you please just stay home. Including scientists who seem to think they need to have meetings throughout the world. Attorneys who do the same. We have to have social gatherings all over the place with respect to news feeds?

        2. lambert strether

          > sending in cops dressed as protesters is SOP… in amurka, at least.

          Ever see the block bloc destroying CCTV’s before they bring on the revolution by smashing a Starbucks? No? What does that tell you?

    4. KPC

      Thank you.

      We have been doing the same to good result, I think.

      This does drive many North Americans and a few Central and South wet cat crazy… . But does reduce the loss of capital and labor.

      Tis interesting when the external funding becomes a little too obvious… .

      I would think a 12 year old could do better with photoshop as well… .

      Oddly enough, this actually helps sell cheap junk from WallMart and North America albeit the iPhone gig is looking more fun all the time. When 20 year old off rather well male university students have figured out how to…all bets are off. Apple and their operating system are toast.

      A small touch of this attorney and they could not stop laughing at how Donald Trump trumped me on international tax planning and legal avoidance when he told Apple to fabricate the stupid things in USA. On the other hand, it takes big time stupid to ask US$1,300 for the “new one”. We do clip a few fees as the solution is simple and easily acquired for US560. And I cannot imagine why those boyz or I would ever even want WiFi…

      1. KPC

        Sorry. The solution is IBM which China bought for about US$4 billion paid in cash. You can see this in the SEC filings.

        Please do not misread. I am certainly NOT celebrating the dimise of Apple…quite the contrary.

  8. flora

    Re: Theresa May to ‘handbag’ Brussels in frantic bid to save Brexit deal The Times

    Why does she think the EU’s answer this time will be different from all the other times?

    May and Corbyn failing to grasp the moment opens the door to other elements, imo.

    …and… here comes the first clown car….

    From another story in today’s Times:

    ‘Politics is ‘broken’ over Brexit . . . so here comes Nigel Farage’

    A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times has found that the Brexit crisis has fractured public trust in the political class, with 44% of voters saying the response of MPs has damaged their view of politicians.

    The findings come as Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, today confirms that he is working on a new ‘leave’ campaign that could morph into a new party on the right if MPs water down Brexit.

    I could laugh this if Brexit wasn’t so serious.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Large pro-Brexit demonstartion in London today, massive, massive police presence. I randomly ran into it coming out of Hyde Park near the Buckingham Palace, and ran into it again near Parliament. Smaller counter-protest in Trafalgar Square. They closed down Whitehall between Trafalgar and Parliament to keep the demonstrations separated.

      This all started when I, out of curiosity, took the tube to Knightsbridge to check out the security perimeter around the Ecuadorian Embassy. Non-existant as far as I could tell. I think Assange could duck into a waiting car and be lost in traffic before the authorities could react. Walked back through Hyde Park to take photos of the roses still blooming in the Rose Garden there and saw police everywhere, followed by bagpipes and a noisy throng of UKIPpers. Took photos and video of it all, quite the scene. Looked like an absolutely full police deployment, if Assange wanted to take a flyer, today was his best chance. Every cop in Greater London must have been on the protest detail; hundreds of riot vans poured in, all full of police. Saw no violence or mayhem at all, all very civil. A good number of the pro-Brexit protestors were wearing gilets jaunes. So were the police too. A couple of days ago i saw a pair of teachers leading a group of kids along the South Bank on a school outing. They too were all wearing gilet jaunes. I made one of the teachers laugh by remarking on it.

  9. JTMcPhee

    Re death of the biosphere: “Yes, my people, the world as we know it is ending.” So we are authoritatively told.

    With age comes “benign senescent forgetfulness,” if not dementia. I can’t find it now, but there was a NYT article I ran across yesterday, forgot to flag it, the gravamen of which seems to be that yes, humanity has f**ked itself, that there really is nothing “we” can do, individually or collectively, to avoid the collapse of the biosphere. And there’s a similar piece in the WaPo,, and others either repeated from these sources, or “new content.”

    So maybe we are coming to “On The Beach meets Soylent Green via Mad Max” by something other than nuclear war? And the message is, of course, that the carbon extraction and combusto-consumption should just go on and continue, because like those movies where the asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, why do anything different now? Have a big frickin’ orgy of excesses, let the SOBs who own everything already just go full on, titillating their pleasure centers without any consequences or retribution (many of the ones who helped drive us into this deadly corner have already lived their special lives and died, comfortably, this beyond any recourse, and the current crop that hold the power in our species’ “dominion over” this God-given world are busily softening the ground for their own riding out, to its end point, of this futility.

    Or maybe the rich folks are just pouring some Bernays sauce on us, to drown us in that manufactured sense of futility that will let them keep on doing what they so love to do, getting ever “richer” and enjoying ever-“larger” lives.

    So hard to know ANYthing, in this world where so much is so obscured by so many for the advantage of so few…

    1. Geo

      While I agree wth you on much of this I personally think it’s more comparable to how most of us treat our health. Ask almost any doctor and you’ll hear “preventative medicine” is the most effective: healthy eating, exercise, etc. But, it’s also the hardest because no one knows it’s working. How do we know something is being prevented? We only know it’s there when it’s already happened and then we want a “cure” for it.

      Too many think there’s a “cure” coming and too few are willing to make the “lifestyle” changes our planet needs to continue providing a healthy life for us.

      Example: Why stop eating cheeseburgers and start going for daily walks when I haven’t had a heart attack yet? Oh, I might have one… ok, I’ll eat some carrots once in a while and get a treadmill that I’ll leave in the garage and never use. I’m sure they’ll have a medicine or something soon to make it go away.

      Same as: why change our energy and consumption habits now when our coasts are fine and the weather isn’t that bad? Oh, there’s more natural disasters and some islands are disappearing? Ok, I guess we can tell people to recycle and propose some changes that aim for change 20 years from now but don’t have any teeth so nothing much will happen. By that time I’m sure bioengineering or something will make the problem go away.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You can’t fix the roof when it’s raining (actually, I’ve tried, but it doesn’t work very well); and when it isn’t raining, it doesn’t leak.

        It’s an old joke.

    2. Tom Bradford

      JTM wrote:

      “With age comes “benign senescent forgetfulness,” if not dementia.”

      Seen on a spare-wheel cover on an SUV in town today:

      “Adventure before Dementia”

      I guess if you’re going to go down, you might as well go down laughing.

      1. KPC


        Classic excuse to party on while the rest of us work? Just classic lazy trash attitude.

        Do you people ever drop back and actually listen to what is being said? Buy the class in your profile? How does this play to our children? How students? Dare I suggest a few colleagues albeit apparently not many? A bunch of immature cry babies. A few of us are really absolutely sick of it.

        There is a risk to you with respect to those of us who see this, you know? We will simply stop defending. Nothing more, nothing less.

        1. kareninca

          I wonder what your comment means. I’ve read it three times and can’t figure it out. But you do seem to be upset.

    3. KPC

      Well said but this is really rather simple and is in no way limited to relative wealth.

      At this point, the poor as beyond corrupt as the so-called rich.

      So, this is just an excuse to do nothing which, of course, requires each of us to change our behavior and no one ic or can be an exception… .

      Even Greer went wet cat crazy at the mere thought of having to give up plastic drinking straws… . My aching back.

      There remain solutions.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > So hard to know ANYthing

      I would love to see a post about local, visible indicators. Many of us remember all the bug splats on windshields back when we were, well, young. That’s not happening any more. This is extremely bad, because where did they go? (I have a horrible feeling that the insect die-off is pesticide-driven, not heat driven, but will have massive effects on biomass, carbon, the food-chain, etc. And the models would not reflect this.)

      “10 Signs of Global Warming* You Can See in Your Back Yard or Your Home” — something like that. Something a little more concrete than models

      NOTE * See parenthetical above; maybe this is completely the wrong frame; “The Jackpot” is a more generic term for collapse.

  10. Wukchumni

    Wall Street’s Corruption Runs Deeper Than You Can Fathom TruthDig

    I’d kind of forgotten about Carmen Segarra, and there is a really good interview with her in the link, that spells out the criminal syndicates plying their traits on Wall*Street, not that anybody here probably isn’t conversant with the $kulduggery that comes with money grubbing @ all costs.

    There’s an interesting tell in regards to Goldman Sachs, currently in play…

    If the gold standard had one thing going for it, that would be in it’s inherent honesty. There was no collateralized bullion obligations for metal that didn’t exist, or other tomfoolery that the titans of money in Manhattan have come up in the past few decades. It had it’s limits which were bound by reality.

    For a long time now, physical gold has been heading to the far east almost exclusively, not picked up on anybody’s financial radar for the most part, who cares about the barbarous relic anyway, it doesn’t pay interest and is prohibitive in storage costs (true & false)
    and there’s no churn potential. Wall*Street came up with a gold ETF, that might as well have punters wagering on a couple of winged goldbug insects climbing up or down a wall in lieu of the real thing as just a mere directional move based only on the spot price, it’s meaningless, and yet the transactions are easy, and we like easy.

    Lloyd Blankfein is such an interesting last name for a fellow who earned his financial stripes being a precious metals trader for a firm that was acquired by GS in 1994, roughly translated it means a pure blank, and what’s a blank you might ask?

    A blank is what a coin is in it’s basal state before being minted with an image on both sides by a coining press, they look like metal washers, for lack of a better descriptor. He couldn’t have had a better name for being a bullion trader, and ‘fein’ usually in the case of gold bullion means that it is .9999 pure, as in 1/10,000th not pure, as good as 24k gets.

    So, what’s tell tale sign?

    Goldman Sachs has been the largest buyer of physical gold in recent times on the Comex, which is out of character completely for them and the marketplace, as it’s all been going to China mostly heretofore.

    Nobody wants to go back to the gold standard of yore, as it was strictly limiting compared to the fiat world we now know, where disguise is the limit.

    The idea that GS is doing this, means the endgame of fiat finance as we knew it, must be approaching…

      1. Wukchumni

        In the face or quite obvious dishonesty, deceit and dishonor on the part of Wall*Street, everybody with a dissenting view of their ‘business practices’ has been ‘wrong’ for a long time…

        …things change

        1. Wukchumni


          The last time Wall*Street made a killing on all that glitters was in 1933-34…

          Here’s how it went down:

          FDR takes us off the gold standard and raises the spot price from $20 to $35 an ounce, and sitting in vaults are a veritable shitlode of USA gold coins that are no longer in circulation, the largest of which was the $20 gold coins that have about 97/100’s of a troy ounce in content.

          The Banksters get their mitts on these @ face value, and ship as many as they can to Europe to cash in on the arbitrage potential, netting a sweet 66.6% return (I took slight liberties with that percentage in order to cast them in the light of fire) per coin.

          After WW2, Europe was the happy hunting ground for these coins, and until sources more or less finally started running out in the old country a decade or 2 ago, that’s where they all were.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Of course some Europeans found a new source for gold. They had their slaves pry the gold fillings and bridgework from the mouths of corpses that came out of the gas chambers and nooses and 9 mm Luger bullets to the back of the head…

            Gold is such a wonderfully beautiful and useful metal, no? Though of course (so far, pending collapse) so much more wealth can be obtained, stored and transacted via evanescent paper, or even more evanescent organizations of electrons…

            1. Wukchumni

              It was one of the few things the Nazis had to use in order to finance their operations, for some reason other countries weren’t interested in 3rd Reichsmarks.

              It’s Mother Nature money, the most common rare item on the planet, and enough above ground to satisfy a population of +/- 1 billion people from an economic sense, which makes sense, as that was the population before we almost octupled it, which is a lessen unto itself, of how far we have to fall, population wise, in order to regain balance.

              1. JTMcPhee

                One senses an element of gold standardry in there: Mother Nature money, most common rare item, enough gold to satisfy a billion of us, not enough to satisfy an octobillion, balance regained by reduction to +/- one billion.

                Query whether even among the one billion there was “satisfaction” with the amount of gold that was above ground? The Fuggers, the Rothschilds, the Spanish and British and French Empires, East Indian lords, the South American aboriginal empires, Americans in the 1840s and before and beyond? One does want a stable or declining state of inventory, or ever increasing demand, if one holds quantities of specie as a “store of value…”

                1. Wukchumni

                  Unlike oil which has a short shelf life once brought up from the bowels of the earth and must be used almost immediately, ne plus ultra never goes away, just changes form occasionally as a finished product.

                  Nobody wants to go back to the gold standard, it’ll have to be forced on the world when fiat fails.

                  All of the chess pieces are in place, just waiting to reprise their role, as per the many thousands of years of usage before the hiccup of 85 years ago.

                  The most interesting aspect in the fiatspora will be India, where ownership of all that glitters, is almost cult-like. They’ll be very powerful as a country whence that happens.

    1. Yves Smith


      There were CDOs in the 1920s under the gold standard. See Frank Partnoy’s The Match King. And other leverage on leverage (trusts of trusts of trusts).

      Derivatives date back to before 1700 BC. Also syndicated loans and venture capital.

    2. KPC

      Nobody? A bit presumptuous on your part.

      On the other hand, the issue is limitations, appropriate limitations. This is the flaw or risk, if you will, in MMT if we can ever actually discuss this issue in its entirety on this web site where those who operate it, no different than me, have a responsibility or limitation.

      Your correct observation of the movement of GLD to Asia and Russia belies my point which is in no way denouncing nor endorcing either. This is a simple factual observation.

      All things are connected and nothing in life is free.

    3. Oregoncharles

      About the gold: somebody’s getting very nervous. Prices haven’t changed much, though.

      If you were trying to time your investments for the next crash and recession…

      1. Wukchumni

        Funny enough, the spot price is almost the same as when the current occupant took the oath of office. One of the few things that’s more or less remained static in a financial vein.

  11. JTMcPhee

    Re “gilets jaune:” my guess is that no one person knows or can explicate what-all is going on in France at the moment, but the author if this article from the Saker seems to have caught a lot of the context, from what I as a distant mostly uninformed observer of things French can gather: “France’s Yellow Vests: It’s just 1 protest…which has lasted 8 years,” by Ramin Mahazeri,

    One wonders if, out of all of whatever is happening in France, an organizing principle leading to comity and decency and sustainability might emerge. Maybe there is some wisdom in “la foule?” Or maybe we the perceptive class should just continue accumulating the many indicia of collapse and despair, so at least we can say “I see what you are doing and have done — you didn’t put one over on me! Though I’m slipping down the Hiway to Hell with everyone else…”

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Gilets Jaunes”

    Hmm. It seems that troubles like these are one of your irregular verbs as in I am a protester, you are a rioter, he is a revolutionary. It all depends on which country that you are talking about. With that in mind, here is the news from an alternate Quantum reality…

    Western leaders, media and commentators such as Bernard-Henri Lévy advocate the swift overthrow of the French government describing French protesters as revolutionaries, not rioters. Le “Blanc Casques” volunteers deploy to all major trouble centers and start releasing a series of provocative videos claiming the French Government is using chemical warfare with its excessive use of tear gas as well as the use of snipers against protestors. Demands Western intervention. A high quality viral video comes out called “I Am French” with a girl explaining the protester’s side. Professional rioters are recruited, trained & equipped from all around Europe and transported to the French borders
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad calls on Macron to exercise restraint and ensure that the freedom of expression and demonstration are respected in France. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, warns against using force against protesters and talks about taking France to the UN Security Council. US and UK warships deploy off French coastline armed with Tomahawk missiles if needed. The west freezes the bank accounts & assets of Macron, his family and his Cabinet until they agree to step down.
    The US Assistant Secretary of State for European & Eurasian Affairs and US Ambassador to France are seen handing out croissants along the Champs-Élysées. About 97% of the population of Corsica vote to leave the French Republic and join the Italian Republic instead. Brittany and Normandy decide they want to become the Atlantic Republics and not be a part of the French Republic either. Rumours and accusations of German troops in Alsace-Lorraine abound. YouTube videos appear proving the later but they turn out to have been taken in Saxony several years previously. Civil war threatens.

  13. Wukchumni

    Interesting article on the downfall of the Las Vegas showgirl…

    LAS VEGAS — It cost a lot of money to dress a topless woman.

    A showgirl costume could rival the price of a Kia, and dancers changed attire eight or nine times a night. “Jubilee,” the last of this city’s last pull-out-all-the-stops showgirl spectaculars, packed up its feathers and Swarovski-crystal-encrusted G-strings in February 2016 after a 34-year run — a victim of financial excess and changing tastes that currently favor epic Ibiza-style pool parties, EDM-convulsing clubs and so much Cirque du Soleil.

    “They’ve Cirqued us to death,” Lisa Malouf Medford says of Vegas’s six neo-circus extravaganzas. She misses the old days, the 1950s and ’60s, when she sashayed in the Tropicana’s “Les Folies Bergere,” in the golden age of the showgirl.

    “I loved the mob,” she says. “I loved those days. They protected you.” (You hear this a lot in Vegas.) “Folies” closed in 2009, several months shy of its 50th anniversary.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: For first time, prosecutors connect Trump to a federal crime ABC News Channel 9. And so?

    Exactly – still a nothingburger. In all the hysteria of this Stormy Daniels nonsense (I would be a lot more surprised if Trump wasn’t screwing porn stars – seems to be SOP for guys like that) people seem to have lost sight of the fact that Daniels went public about this affair years before Trump ever thought of running for president. Seems like all Trump has to do here is claim he paid Daniels to avoid any embarrassment to his wife. Why he hasn’t said that from the beginning of this “scandal” is beyond me. If I had to guess though it’s because he knows what gets good ratings and the corrupt MSM is more than happy to play along. Judging by Daniels’ lawyer’s phony flirtation with a presidential run, they all understand the game quite well.

    1. JCC

      Amazing, isn’t it? I listened to an NPR piece this morning promoting the “fact” that this is worse than anything Clinton ever did and Trump is far more deserving of Impeachment.

      The corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. Govt., Banking System, and Mainstream Media is so deep it’s almost impossible to describe.

      1. JTMcPhee

        You call it corruption. Maybe a realist , however defined, would just call it “the way things are.” Since the mopes who might want something different appear unable to neither articulate what that something different might be, nor organize effectively to “make it so.”

        The universe appears to be pretty indifferent to any of this.

    2. Lambert Strether

      If Bill Clinton had done the gentlemanly thing, like Trump, and paid off those he regarded as his service providers, instead of smearing them (with the help of his enabling wife), I’d have a lot more respect for him.

  15. Lee

    Fire-Resistant Is Not Fire-Proof, California Homeowners Discover

    Ten years ago, the state passed strict new standards for homes built in high fire-risk areas.

    But even homes built to those standards were destroyed in last year’s massive Thomas Fire. Now, those burned out homes are being rebuilt in the same places, under the same codes.

    …since 2008, all homes built in these zones have had to meet strict building codes designed to prevent them from catching on fire. They must have fire resistant roofs and siding; fine mesh screen on attic vents to keep embers out; decks and patios made of non-flammable material, and heat-resistant windows.

    Built in 2016, the houses on Andorra Lane had all of those things. They were supposed to have a better chance of surviving a wildfire than older homes that didn’t have those protective features.

    To the first three rules of real estate: location, location, location, there should be added a fourth: location.

    1. KPC

      Ever hear of zoning rules or building codes. You know, those odd common sense princxiples of limitations meaning ya do not get everything ya want chico, including the rich jerks and poor ones as well? About age 2 using BF Skinner.

      Money does not grow on trees. Albeit at one time broken sticks were used as token rather than gold. Rather well done as I understand the story and history.

      Beats electrons.

  16. dk

    One-chart explainer for the Gilets Jaunes gas tax position:

    Neera Tanden Verified account @neeratanden – Dec 8
    I don’t understand why any progressive is cheering French protesters who are amassing against a carbon tax.
    1,241 replies 682 retweets 3,951 likes

    ? ??Joshua ?? ? @FaithfulGarden Replying to @neeratanden
    I think it has something to do with the fact that these taxes are aimed at the poor when the big users of CO2 emissions are the rich.

    1. Geo

      Thank you. This is a perfect reply even if it will merely ricochet off the brick that is Tanden’s brain.

      1. KPC

        One has to dip down to BF Skinner here. Spoiled brats.

        Limitations and no the poor do not get to do it nor do the rich. Done.

        Sorta like the Latin American niece who thought this uncle did not understand “but they all do it” in connection with an unchaperoned sky trip at what age?

        The maturity level of my niece was a good deal higher but the question was asked. Said niece is big time lawyer today.

        Nonetheless, the pointis this is a little more serious subject and there is vast evidence of this behavior from those on this web site as well.

  17. Down2Long

    Hi Wakchumi. What do Las Vegans mean by “The mob protected you.”

    I ask because when an Obama judge let Chase forclose on a building on which I was current (and which they had gotten for free from the WaMu collapse) I thought to myself “If I owed money to the Mob, and I kept my payments current, the last thing they would do is take my building. They might, um, even make sure competition against me was, how shall we say, somewhat subdued?

    I will say the lawyers in the room were shocked when the judge ruled the way she did and followed me into the lobby to offer condolences/options. Appeal to the Ninth. Yeah, I have that kind of money. Ha.

    There is no homerta on Wall Street, and very little left in the U.S. in general

    1. remmer

      The Las Vegas ex-show girl might have meant that the Mafia protected the dancers in the places they owned. Many years ago in NYC I knew a woman who lost her job and became a topless dancer. After working in a few dives where the pay was bad and the customers bothered her, she got a job in a more expensive place that was run by the Mafia. The mob guys who ran the place didn’t harass her and they protected her from the customers. She told me she felt safe there.

    2. Geo

      The Feds got rid of the mafia by making their businesses legal and thereby eradicating their ability to wield power.

      Instead of the mafia that had a vested interest in keeping their communities safe (people forgave them their dirty deeds because they kept them relatively safe) now there are payday lenders and banks that have no interest in local communities because the Feds have their back. As long as the powerful remain safe the neo-mafia (bankers) don’t have to worry about being held to account for their dirty deeds.

    3. Wukchumni

      The only real thing the old school Vegas Mafia had any power publicly in was unions, and we all know how unions have fared…

      …whereas the Wall*Street Mafia has ‘made’ a huge chunk of American public, vis a vis 401k’s

      1. JTMcPhee

        Hmm, I read in Wiki that the Mafia had a lot more influence in Vegas than over just the unions. It’s just Wiki, of course, which I think I read in NC has itself gotten assaulted and corrupted by the “interests” that want to control every aspect of Narrative input into the eyes and earholes of the species. Like this bit about Google /YouTube wanting, from its $100-billion-plus pile of money and huge power, to increase or maybe repair its image via leverage off the volunteer global asset known as Wikipedia: “Don’t. Do Evil.” Stupid rotten effing humans, especially the googleplex…

        Looks like the more recent and yuppie-dressed types of organized criminals have kind of displaced the “aged-out” old guard, the Lansky-Siegel-Spilotro set, but organized criminal activity sure seems to be an inevitable feature of ‘the city that never sleeps.’ Ward to avoid corruption and looting and violence in any kind of organized human behavior, especially where endorphins and hormones are involved…

    4. KPC

      Dude, nothing is life is free.

      I liquidate bigger deals than WaMu. While understand your point of view up to a point and your reality is ugly, the other side of this gig is capital often in the form of pension plans for those who are often not vaguely rich explicitly including those in China and explicity referencing the ongoing Fannie and Freddie insolvency proceedings.

      You people need to start paying a little more attention. You are in no way special.

      Crime is the issue albeit I might use even stronger language.

  18. Down2Long

    It’s worth noting this judge was new but in the league of a former judge who the bakruptcy bar petitioned the Ninth to remove because of her obvious and malign bias against debtors. She was so loathed she did not get picked up by any bankruptcy firms after the Ninth removed her. Usually Bk judges don’t serve their full thirteen year terms. They make a lot of bank friendly rulings and and end up in creditor BK law firms, or are more subservient to the law, and thus seen as “debtor” friendly and go to debtor firms or academia.

    I think this judge -Sandra Klein – will also be out in the street. She once made a bank foreclose on a building even after the debtor and bank had reached a settlement, and the bank agreed to payments and chose not to foreclose. Klein ruled the bank had to take the building. The bank objected to taking the building and Klein is said to have said sharply “There is no way this debtor gets to keep the building.”

    To those of you who have not been through the nightmare of a Chapter 11, you spend a year (or God forbid, years) negotiating with avaricious creditors and (generally) a hostile court. I spent days every month filling out paperwork while also finishibg construction projects so I could rent the units and show the all important “cash flow” while all the renters were as broke as I was

    At least as an individual in Chapter 11 there is a clear court bias possibly becauae we arw rare – there are only 700 or so individual Chapter 11 filings a year in the U.S. There is jusidicial deference to corporation in Chapter 11 with their phalanxes of lawyers showing up in court. The judges (especially the new ones like I had) roll over quick as a wink.

    It is also worth noting that Klein was recommended and championed by disgraced former Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski who praised her “varied experience at bar, when in fact she had served 10 years as a bankruptcy trustee investigator on the debtor side. Yes, in that role by definition she encountered debtor fraud, but she used her bench to punish debtors. Punishment, as my attorney pointed out, is not what Bankruptcy is about. It is thw closest thing we have to a British Court of Equity where the point is to make the best the best of a terrible situation for all involved. And it is done mostly by agreement of all (secured) parties involved.

    Finally, it must be said that this case was a.reopened bankruptcy case three year after my reorganization plan had been approved. I had already paid off my unsecured creditors and would normally be headed for BK discharge, but Ocwen and Wells Fargo had refused my court ordered payments and. i was two days from a foreclosure when I had to reopen my case to instigate a stay.

    Instead of sanctioning the banks for defying a court order, Klein wanted a “trial” in both cases. This despite the fact I had presented all the retuned checks, which were evidence in themselves of defiance of the court ruling.

    Anyhow, thanks for letting me vent. Wall Street and our courts make me long for the Mob is the bottom line.

    1. PhilK

      Just a few days ago, I was thinking about the astounding judicial corruption that I had read about back in 2006, 2007 and 2008. As just one small part of it, the state of Florida set up a special set of courts intended specifically to clear the immense backlog of foreclosures that had accumulated during the housing collapse of the time. These courts proceded very efficiently: whatever a bank claimed, the court upheld. Did home-owners have proof of paying off their mortgages? Sorry, no time for trivialities like that. Move along. Bang! Next case!

      Friday night, I spent several hours going through the archives at the CalculatedRisk blog, thinking that might be where I had read about these courts, but didn’t find anything in the posts from late 2006 and early 2007, not even a mention of MERS, the totally fraudulent bankster scam that helped banks to steal people’s homes, and not incidently, to deprive county governments of real estate title registration fees.

      And the fool I was in those days imagined that surely Obama would set these things straight.

  19. Craig H.

    > As Noam Chomsky turns 90, a look at how he made the world seem a little less inhuman, and a lot more comprehensible

    Not bad. Happy birthday to Noam Chomsky! My favorite take on Chomsky was provided by an internet commenter you never heard of in the mid ’90’s who described him as America’s pet radical who is taken about as seriously as the old court jester. Every six months the New York Times takes him out of the closet and dusts him off and they give him an op-ed space and then they put him back in the closet.

    But this isn’t quite right. It might be more accurate that he maps out one edge of what is acceptable to say. Beyond Chomsky = kook is more like it. If you have never watched him and Buckley argue Vietnam that is a great video. Also this book is one that everyone (who reads books) ought to read:

    Manufacturing Consent

    In the documentary version there is a great bit where they compare media coverage of Cambodian atrocities and East Timor. The former is the length of a football field and the latter got seven column inches the week between Christmas and New Years. Noam Chomsky might be the most prominent man in modern America who has ever said boo to Israel.

    1. Cal

      Chomsky is meant to be listened to not read.
      His speech flows and it makes sense, reading the same material is torture.

  20. Philip

    RE: Kelly exit helps position Trump for 2020 Politico

    didn’t read the Politico piece but a little beltway intrigue on a gloomy Sunday in December might be fun. Note the players: Mattis; Kelly; Abedine; Graham. And the set: John McCain’s funeral. Did Huma slip something into Lindsey’s pocket? Did Mattis tip off Kelly? Or are these just innocent parlor games? WTF is going on here?

    h/t Jackrabbit @MoA | Dec 7, 2018 10:11:19 PM | 61

  21. Unna

    “Bring home the Bagels.”

    Just another typical but horrifying example of Urban Presumptionism perpetrated by the PETA people. If you live in the “ex-rural” BC Interior, then there are no bagels to bring home other than tasteless rounds of dry bread fake bagels masquerading as the real thing. Bacon: that you can bring home! But not bagels unless you are willing to drive hundreds of miles one way to the coast, and even then, who knows?

    Such PETA sponsored bi coastal cultural imperialism carried out by seemly small acts of careless micro aggression against those living in situations of actual material bagel deprivation are unconscionable and must end.

  22. Heraclitus

    I live just south of NC’s ninth district.

    Pittenger lost to Harris in the primary by about the same number of votes McCready did in the general. About half the margin may be shown to be fraudulent, but not enough to sway the outcome unless something else turns up. So this balking at seating Harris is a Hail Mary by the Democrats.

    I’m sure Pittenger would have contested the results of the primary if that had been likely to lead to a win.

  23. Summer

    Re: Sandberg / Facebook…BBC

    After saying he is only protected by his shareholder status, the real zinger was reserved for Zuckerberg:

    “And the public long ago wrote him off as a robot, characterised by an uncomfortable amalgam of confidence and awkwardness.”

    1. Geo

      They’re also shifting blame for the millions of fake comments supporting the end of net neutrality sent to the FCC from domestic actors to Russian bots.

      Apparently there is no corruption in America. It’s all Russia’s fault all the time.

      “To the primitive mind all evil comes from outside.” – J. G. Frazier

      1. Monty

        Speaking of the FTC…

        I helped my mum set up a new cellphone account in UK this weekend. $13 a month for unlimited calls, texts and 4gb data, plus free international roaming.

        We have a family plan on Verizon in the US and it has 4 lines and similar allowances. It costs $300 a month. 6x the price on a pet line basis.

        Cartels FTW!

    2. voteforno6

      I asked a family member who lives in France about those protests. She mentioned a lot of the same factors as has been discussed on this site. Russia never came up, though.

  24. allan

    2018 Minnesota Tax Returns Will Be A Bigger Pain Than Usual [CBS] (auto-launch video warning)

    Filing Minnesota state income tax returns for 2018 is going to be more of a pain than usual.

    That’s because lawmakers and the governor left a crucial piece of legislation unfinished last session. It would have synched Minnesota’s income tax rules with the 2017 federal tax overhaul. And it’s too late to fix it for the upcoming tax season.

    While legislative leaders say they want to pass a long-term solution soon, taxpayers are still stuck with the rules that now exist.

    White Bear Lake accountant Elizabeth Bystrom says just about every Minnesotan who files an income tax return will be affected. She says that preparing tax forms will be very complicated due to the differences between the state and federal rules, and in some cases it will be a nightmare.

    Both the Senate and House in MN are controlled by the Party of You Can File Your Taxes on a Postcard™,
    so how this happened is a real headscratcher.

    Add to this the nationwide problem that the revised tax withholding schedules the administration circulated
    at the start of 2018 in order to goose the economy in an election year
    have led to many people having their taxes grossly underwithheld for the year.
    For some, doing their 2018 taxes will involve unexpected headaches, tax preparer charges,
    back taxes and fines

    Pass the popcorn.

  25. JEHR

    Quote of the Day:

    “+ The dirty secret of “Russia-gate” appears to be that the “collusion” was never about winning the election. The campaign was a smokescreen to pursue contracts, deals, loans, money laundering. Trump getting accidentally elected, pretty much blew all of that up.” (from Counterpunch)

    1. Summer

      “Trunp getting accidentally elected pretty much blew all of that up.”

      In a round-a-about way, voters may have attempted govt reform jujitsu? If anybody was an obvious con man…

      Campaigning via the swamp is full of such deals that go ignored because candidates load up on the feel-good platitudes.

    1. JEHR

      If you read NC regularly, you will find in the comments many books recommended by commenters. I don’t think we have ever received an entry about books to read although there have been many books on heterodox economics mentioned in posts and comments.

  26. ewmayer

    o “Researchers Found a Way to Shrink a Supercomputer to the Size of a Laptop | Futurism” — Interesting, but way overhypes the tech. Pretends modern compute hardware is still single-processor when even humble tablets are now being run using 4 and 8-cores, grossly misrepresents quantum computing as being a miracle “spooky speedup” solution to all manner of problems rather than a very limited subset, and ignores both the messy-biological-substances and slow-switching-speed issues with the bio-computer. I see this as being a potentially useful niche solution for biologically-oriented problems like drug development, but as geneal-purpose compute devices? Not a chance.

    o “Beijing blames Canada for Huawei arrest and threatens ‘grave consequences for hurting feelings of Chinese | SCMP” — Hurt feely-weelies, really? This is the sort of petulant 5-year-old response that seems to equate to “we have no substantive objections in law, thus resort to national-pride-based approaches.”

  27. anon in so cal

    Re: India, Dying in Mine Dust….Granite Countertops

    Have you ever visited a fabrication shop, here, stateside?

    We went to fabrication shops clustered in an industrial wasteland in the eastern San Fernando Valley, searching for a granite remnant. It was “fun” to peruse the 1000s of slabs and remnants in the fabrication yards, but shocking to witness the toxic conditions the fabricators toiled under. 100% immigrant workers, no masks, clouds of toxic dust….

    Separately and unsurprisingly, and speaking of our throwaway society, worldwide sources of granite, marble and quartzite are apparently depleting.

        1. meeps

          Yes, immature in any case. I’ll look again. Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks famously give amateur birders (like me) a fair challenge.

  28. Oregoncharles

    My first thought was: “How does US law even apply to her?” – or to Assange, for another example.

    Classic imperial overreach. Of course, the Chinese should know about that.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Meaning Meng’s arrest – Yves gives a partial explanation up top o fthe comments. I think this was supposed to be a reply.

Comments are closed.