Links 3/22/19

JPMorgan’s Kolanovic Says Bad Liquidity Is Behind Stock Chaos Bloomberg

Flood Damage to Midwestern Levees, Roads, Farms May Run Well into the Billions Weather Underground

Federal judge demands Trump administration reveal how its drilling plans will fuel climate change WaPo (opinion). From the opinion: “Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling.”

Researchers embrace a radical idea: engineering coral to cope with climate change Science

Researchers Develop Process to Remove Oil in Produced Water Interesting Engineering. They’re working on a patent…

After Earlier Assurances Over Air Quality, Benzene From Petrochemical Fire Triggers ‘Shelter in Place’ Order for Texas City Common Dreams

Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras NYT. “You want seat belts and turn signals? It’ll cost ya.”


EU delays Brexit, gives UK new deadlines Politico. “April 12 is the new March 29.” For now, at least.

Chastened May seeks to make amends for ‘cataclysmic’ 24 hours FT

DUP needs legal assurances on backstop to support May’s deal, says MP Belfast Telegraph

Theresa May is taking a hideous Brexit gamble Martin Wolf, FT

How Theresa May Botched Brexit Moon of Alabama. With shout-out to Yves.

Brexit: ‘People just want it all to end’ Irish Times. In Wales.

Failures of Parliament and Government ‘the worst’ of last ‘200 or 300 years’, ex-Tory leader William Hague says ITV

Brexit breakdown: a big day in the north – video Guardian (Richard Smith: “Grim.”)

EU’s Antitrust Enforcer Starts Campaign for One of Bloc’s Top Jobs Bloomberg

Charts that show why Italy wants China’s Belt and Road Initiative FT


Exclusive: U.S. threatens to derail meeting of Latam lender if China bars Venezuela Reuters. More precisely, if China bars the board representative of US-sponsored puppet “interim President” Juan Guaido, Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann. Plot twist: The meeting is being held in China, so Hausmann needs a visa.

US Imposes New Sanctions as Venezuelan Government Denounces Takeover of Diplomatic Offices Venezuelanalysis

Venezuela – Journalists Doubt Guaidó’s Legitimacy – Regime Change Plans Continue Moon of Alabama

America’s Venezuela Strategy: Coup By Sheer Narrative Control Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

Ex-UN Human Rights Expert Blasts ‘Manipulation’ on Venezuela: ‘We Are Swimming in an Ocean of Lies’ The Gray Zone

Progress as Venezuela restores power but 27% remain offline Netblocks. This is from March 13. Remarkably, this seems to be the latest coverage. So as soon as — presumably — power is restored, coverage disappears. There’s not even a story explaining how it was done. Odd.

What a Military Intervention in Venezuela Would Look Like Foreign Affairs


‘We all found out by tweet’: Trump’s Golan Heights surprise McClatchy

Reps. Nadler and Maloney signal support for Golan recognition Jewish Insider

Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Jared Kushner Was “In His Pocket” The Intercept


Working for the weekend: China extends holiday to spur consumers Reuters

Executives in custody as China chemical plant explosion death toll reaches 47, with 640 injured South China Morning Post. Oddly, or not, there seems to be no talk of arresting the executives responsible for the petrochemical fire in Houston.

“We knew we’d be blown up one day”: Chemical plant blast kills dozens CBS

China’s US$7 billion railway link to Laos is almost half done, on schedule to begin service in 2021 South China Morning Post


Animal Spirits Waver in India as Election Uncertainty Takes Hold Bloomberg

Bad news for summer vacation plans: Air fares soar as India’s airlines cut down operations The Scroll (J-LS).

Trump Transition

FBI, DoD IG conducting preliminary investigation into JEDI, procurements Federal News Network. From March 4, still germane. And see also Giant Military Contract Has a Hitch: A Little-Known Entrepreneur NYT

Trump 2020 budget targets feds’ health and retirement benefits Federal Times. Hollowing out the civil service, starting with Thatcher, sure worked out great for the UK, didn’t it? The whole Brexit process was slick as a whistle!

New ABA report: Immigration courts ‘irredeemably dysfunctional’ and on ‘brink of collapse’ NC Policy Watch


Bernie Sanders says it’s better to give birth in Finland than the U.S. He’s right. WaPo. Mirabile dictu, a positive post about Sanders in WaPo!

The Atlantic Accused David Sirota of Secretly Working For Bernie Sanders. But Where’s the Evidence? Paste. Club non-member savaged by club members for doing what club members do. Even if you accept what Sirota’s detractors say!

The true bipartisans:

Another (and Stoller-esque) way to say this is that Sanders and Warren want to govern, and the rest do not.

Have the UBI People Turned to the Dark Side? Benjamin Studebaker

Health Care

Don’t Make Health Care a Purity Test Paul Krugman, NYT. Another demonstration of what I’ve been saying for some time: Preventing #MedicareForAll is the #1 policy goal of liberal Democrats. Here Krugman runs a bait-and-switch operation for Neera Tanden’s “Medicare for Some America,” exactly as the same crowd did in 2009-2010. Time passes. Tens of thousands of excess deaths and billions of dollars later…

Pharma & Insurance Gave $43M to the 129 House Democrats Not Backing Medicare for All Grit Post. With handy list of those Democrats, which includes the entire House leadership. It’s all about the Benjamins ?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Who Should Own Photos of Slaves? The Descendants, not Harvard, a Lawsuit Says NYT

Afro-Pessimism and the (Un)Logic of Anti-Blackness Historical Materialism

Mock Executions? Real Screams and Blood? Just Another School Shooter Drill Rolling Stone. The true curriculum…

‘Change Is Closer Than We Think.’ Inside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Unlikely Rise Time. I just hope AOC’s head can still fit through the door.

Scientists rise up against statistical significance Nature

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote: I think it’s time to look in again on Larry the Cat (via):

Larry seems not to have completely made up his mind…

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Theme of the day: Double down, baby!

    Engineer coral? “Produced water?” U. S. threatens who today? Golan Heights? Trump’s cuts against humanity? Krugman pragmatizin’? Mock executions?

    Our fearless leaders don’t want us to suffer a long, increasingly miserable decline as the American Empire collapses and ecological destruction worsens.

    They apparently intend to get it over with as quickly as possible.

    1. Ignacio

      Everyday I see the links, and select to read about 4 of them, I think of how much and important I do miss. I cannot be grateful enough for the effort made bringing all these!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Thank you both.

          However, for this omnivorous reader, putting together Links is actually fun!

          Adding, we also try to select and order the headlines such that quickly scanning them gives a useful overview of the zeitgeist (caveat that we don’t promise to be exhaustive).

    2. rjs

      on engineering new species of coral, i was curious, so i asked google…

      With growth rates of 0.3 to 2 centimeters per year for massive corals, and up to 10 centimeters per year for branching corals, it can take up to 10,000 years for a coral reef to form from a group of larvae (Barnes, 1987).

      so, 5 times Christianity…

  2. Henry Moon Pie`

    Here’s a little good news via

    Boston City Council Passes Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance“:

    1) Support small and mid-sized agricultural and food processing operations within the local area or region;
    2) Support producers that employ sustainable production systems that reduce or eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers; avoid the use of hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering; conserve soil and water; protect and enhance wildlife habitat and biodiversity; and reduce on-farm energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions;
    3) Protect workers’ rights to freedom of association, to organize a union and collectively bargain in order to better ensure safe and healthy working conditions, fair compensation,and access to health insurance and affordable child care for all food chain workers;
    4) Ensure farmers a fair price for their products that covers the cost of production and fair remuneration for their management and labor;
    5) Provide healthy and humane care for farm animals; and
    6) Promote health and well-being by offering generous portions of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains; reducing salt, added sugars, fats, and oils; and by eliminating artificial additives.

    Similar to the GND, the measure includes a provision promoting racial justice as part of the program.

    I’m going to take this to my city councilman in my Rust Belt city.

    1. Joe Well

      There was an incident a few years ago where the city evicted a nonprofit from a Boston Harbor island where they were growing food to give away as food aid, and then about 1-2 years later, the island was handed over to a fast food chain, B-Good, to grow food for itself. The owner of B-Good is a close personal friend of Boston mayor Marty Walsh.

      I wonder if that had anything to do with this…

  3. el_tel

    Statistical significance: even worse than Nature says. I applaud the Nature article. However, the situation is even worse and in my primary area (health) there is a fundamental problem that is ignored because only one type of trial (the n-of-one trial) can possibly investigate it. This issue is within-person variability.

    We can calculate a mean and variance for (say) BMI, a continuous outcome, for a single human. But for a discrete outcome (die/survive, or cure/not) the mean and variance on the underlying scale (be it “tendency to live” or “tendency to cure”) are perfectly confounded (mixed). I might respond to an anti-inflammatory drug… but only 80% of the time. We can’t observe this 80% in traditional trials (since I don’t have repeat observations). Only an n-of-one trial (where I am randomised to the treatment and a placebo multiple times) can begin to unpack this. Even then, it’s been known in statistics since the mid 1980s that 80% might be achieved via “always 80% in every time span” or “an average of say 100% and 60% in different time-spans”. (You can think of natural variation in terms of multiple-universes if you want to get really fancy but there’s no need to believe in that, it’s only a useful way to explain things.)

    Statistical significance and confidence intervals for DISCRETE outcomes assume EVERYONE has the same variance. All differences are due to a fundamental “response effect” – NOT that you and I might vary in how consistently we respond. For those who know about clustering/multi-level models, we have a whole level of variation that we’ve “aggregated over” and made an assumption about….and which, rather worryingly, when investigated using the right studies, has been found to matter a lot.

    1. Paul Jonker-Hoffrén

      Related to this, and should get wider spread:

      Key section:
      “The world is inherently an uncertain place. Our models of how it works — whether formal or informal, explicit or implicit — are often only crude approximations of reality. Likewise, our data about the world are subject to both random and systematic errors, even when collected with great care. So, our estimates are often highly uncertain; indeed, the p-value itself is uncertain. The bright-line thinking that is emblematic of declaring some results “statistically significant” (p0.05) obscures that uncertainty, and leads us to believe that our findings are on more solid ground than they actually are. We think that the time has come to fully acknowledge these facts and to adjust our statistical thinking accordingly.”

      1. el_tel

        Indeed. So much of statistics involves “signal to noise” modelling. What too few statisticians have realised is that within a single person there is often a signal-to-noise phenomenon. We are not automatons (which is of course something the mainstream economists get wrong too). For example in a political survey Mr Smith says “Democrat”. But in 10 identical universes he might say Democrat 8 times and Republican twice. His wife also says Democrat. But if her underlying “strength” on the left-right (ahem cough cough) scale – the systematic component – is the same but her consistency of voting Democrat differs (the random component), then that’s known as heteroscedasticity.

        For a continuous outcome like BMI, only your standard errors (variances) are mucked up by heteroscedasticity and we usually have good ways to correct them. But in logit/probit models – those models of discrete outcomes (treatment response/voting etc) – your main estimates are biased. Stats 101. But too often forgotten “because we can’t be bothered/don’t have the money to do the proper survey to get a handle on this”.

      2. Nameful

        Key mistake in that section:

        The bright-line thinking that is emblematic of declaring some results “statistically significant” (p0.05) obscures that uncertainty, and leads us to believe that our findings are on more solid ground than they actually are.

        “Statistically significant” does not equal certainty. I can’t believe a statistician would say that. “Reject the null hypothesis at p confidence level” refers to exactly that, a confidence level. What is there to be obscured here? It’s not precisely a zen koan, but it does require thinking about it a wee bit.

        As to post-p-value science, best of luck trying to convince people at CERN that they shouldn’t require a 5-sigma significance level for new particle detection. It would after all require a LOT fewer events to publish something and the quantum world is uncertain par excellence, non?

        1. pjay

          I don’t believe the author of the article or the commentators are arguing that ‘statistically significant’ equals certainty. They are arguing (1) researchers sometimes (often?) *act as if* it does, especially when arguing from “expertise” to a less knowledgeable public; and (2) researchers sometimes (often?) manipulate statistical analysis to affect p-values, precisely because p-values have been *fetishized* among many scientists in their training. I’m not qualified to comment on quantum physics, but I do have enough background and experience in “softer” areas to know this is certainly true. Your comments seem a little defensive here.

    2. Phacops

      Exactly. Without understanding and correcting for components of variance statistical conclusions about significance can be useless.

      In the study example with the identical point estimates, the variances differ so greatly that a comparison based on confidence intervals is useless.

      Wonder how much of this is due to the proliferation of canned programs promoting questionable expertise? I’ve seen some that allow operations such as non-orthogonal collapse of a factorial matrix creating illigitimate significance for one or more variables.

    3. tiebie66

      I’m afraid that the authors are trying to change the name of the rose – human nature, being what it is, will most likely ‘game’ the new rules/conventions/suggestions and arrive at much the same point as where we currently are. The less crisp they are, the more opportunity for obfuscation. The same phenomenon, IMO, can be seen with journal impact factors and the way those can be manipulated. Many are also inclined to think that an article must be good because it was published in a high impact factor journal, but it is the article that should be evaluated, irrespective of where it was published.

      The normal distribution has two sides – one side tries to deceive the side that tries not to think.

  4. Victoria

    My family in Venezuela has full electricity–they live in the Caracas area so there may still be affected areas, we can’t tell. We’ve been able to get easy access to them via Internet. Water is still sketchy in certain areas but the government is trucking it in–presumably any damage done to the already clunky system is being fixed as well. Maduro’s government did an amazing job all things considered.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Hi there Victoria,

      Thanks for the brief note. Is the crime situation as horrifying in Venezuela as it is in Brazil? The numbers seem to indicate as such, but I’m curious if it’s as far reaching throughout society as it has been in Brazil.

      My in laws all seem to have their own horrible anecdotes about robbery, violence, etc. The level of desperation seems to have reached a fever-pitch and led to the big swing towards Bolsonaro in the recent election. People are really looking for something/someone different who is going to come up with a solution.

      I’m curious if the same phenomenon is present in Venezuela. I don’t know anyone in Mexico, but it seems like patience with the drug-gang related violence was completely exhausted, giving AMLO a boost.

      Any feedback would be appreciated. Just curious….

  5. allan

    An Amazon Air plane crashed in February, killing all 3 people on board. Weeks earlier, several pilots said they thought an accident was inevitable. [Business Insider]

    The pilots described difficulties in attracting experienced pilots, training they considered shoddy, experience with fatigue, plummeting morale, and pay that’s considerably lower than at other cargo carriers. …

    Hard as it is to believe, the Mechanical Turk model isn’t a good fit for air freight.

    1. Fred

      Northwest Airline Captain Field McConnell began Civil Case 1:08-1600 (RMC) after the illegal airline modifications were revealed to the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) by McConnell on 11 December, 2006. This became part of a $615M settlement Boeing paid USDOJ in June, 2006 and it is believed those illegal modifications are still deployed.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Just wondering where the $615M in cold cash actually goes? I assume it eventually arrives in the hands of some grubby, morality-free, tax-dodging sociopathic billionaire, just curious what the pathway is?

        USA USA USA

    2. cnchal

      Surprise, surprise, surprise.

      “I am concerned anytime that new entrants into aviation particularly carrying packages or goods enter a market where their background has been essentially trying to cut costs to make money,” Jim Hall, who led the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from 1994 to 2001, told Business Insider, referring specifically to Amazon. “Cutting costs in aviation causes deaths and accidents.”


      Twenty, soon to be 30, of ATSG’s 90 aircraft are leased to Amazon. Amazon comprised 27% of ATSG’s revenue in 2018, down from 44% the year before. Amazon is also authorized to increase its ownership of ATSG this year to 39.9% by increasing its warrant rights.

      Both companies’ bottom lines and flying hours have grown since onboarding Amazon as a customer. And it’s helped the C-suite’s take-home pay at ATSG; the four executives’ combined pay more than doubled from 2015 to 2017. (Atlas executives are making slightly less after a massive payout from their nonequity incentive plan.)

      Amazon owns enough of it’s victims to dictate terms. Looking at it optimistically, too much may have been bitten off and it could choke them.

      It could be that cheap labor is the key thing keeping Amazon’s air venture affordable. David Vernon, a Bernstein senior analyst and vice president, wrote in a December note that Amazon pilots’ low wages allowed Amazon to carry goods more cheaply than UPS and FedEx airport to airport.

      But Amazon Air has problems with crew scheduling and operations “dis-synergies.” So Amazon Air’s service is ultimately much more expensive than that of UPS or FedEx when looking door to door

      A near trillion dollar company, according to it’s stawk price, specializing in everything it can commandeer or get its hands on, all the while using the whip hand on everybody it touches. Bubblicious. If it weren’t for government grossly overpaying for AWS, and handing out billions in welfare to the supposedly “richest man in the world” Amazon would be a hole.

    1. Darius

      Trump recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights is an enormous misdeed. As is Netanyahu’s keeping on as Israel’s cross between Moses and FDR. But blah blah go hum.

      1. lupemax

        Netanyahoo is more like Bull Connor or George Wallace – in personality and in treatment of “minorities” and desire to keep apartheid.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I agree ‘the Washingtons’ is more neutral than ‘the Benjanmins,’ perhaps not so much here in this context of money spent to oppose Medicare for All, but the latter is bit too close when it comes to criticize a particular nation (while aiming to separate that criticism from any particular group of people).

      For many groups support that particular country. For example, Evangelical Christians interested in eschatology, or Christian zionists in general.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner


        Its from a rap song from 1990. Ben Franklin is on the $100 bill. But George Washington is on the $1 bill. The idea of painting it as anti-Semitic is representative of how AIPAC operates. There is no need to pretend Omar’s tweet was confused as anti-Semitism. AIPAC knows its not. They just hoped to confuse the issue with old white people who don’t know fairly prominent cultural references and keep Omar’s critiques of U.S. foreign policy out of the limelight.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From a rap song.

          And where was the rap song from?

          Does AIPAC know it’s not? How did we get from that, to another statement (and a subsequent clarification) later, to a list from 2018, in Politico, naming, indiscriminately, and incorrectly, dual citizen politicians?

          At best, it’s confusing (and open to various interpretations), and the better strategy, for anyone interesting to communicating effectively, is to choose another word, say, dollars (instead of Benjamins, or even Washingtons).

          1. Geo

            Oh no, The History Channel is anti-Semitic too!

            From 2013:
            “It’s All About the (New) Benjamin’s”

            Seriously, this has been a slang term for decades (even before the popular P. Diddy song) and can be seen used in tons or writing, media, and music over the years. Only those trying to be divisive are trying to give it a negative connotation now.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thank you both, Geo and NotTimothyGeithner for the information on the song.

              There remains the question of what the term is used in the past, and someone using it not for only that, but more.

              Here, we are dealing what was in the mind of that user, and so far, we have not proof one way or another, without discounting that humans are very creative. In the same way, we have to allow for AIPAC to maintain what they mean it means, unless we have explicit evidence.

              I would say it’s better to say ‘dollars’ or ‘money,’ if one’s interested in communicating effective one’s criticism of an entity or a country. By being loose, not precise, you put yourself in the defensive. Speaking of division, this is where it starts, by being imprecise.

              1. Procopius

                I am not a lexicographer, but I do not think “benjamin” was ever a word that was used to mean “Jew.” Same way, I don’t believe “HEP,” which the pogrom rioters were said to have chanted, was ever actually chanted or that it meant “Heirusalem Est Perdita” (Jerusalem is destroyed). For one thing, that’s lousy Latin syntax.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Again, there is a difference between it was used in the past, and what it can be used now or in the future, and becuase we don’t know what was in the mind of her, or the AIPAC, we leave it at that, unless we have evidence one way or another, knowing that it can be confusing.

              All in all, it would be better to use another word.

              1. nippersmom

                This relatively old white woman knew exactly what the reference was. The ambiguity of meaning is all an invention of those looking for any possible excuse to distort the message and cast aspersions.

                As far as what could be in the mind of AIPAC, or any one else who is deliberately seeking to malign someone else, they will attach whatever meaning they choose to the most innocent language construction you can contrive, no matter how conscientiously one strives to be uncontroversial. I personally don’t think anyone should be expected to jump through those hoops.

                  1. Duck1

                    Well if you look at Wobbly’s comment I think his point is that average people spend money in dollar units, not hundred dollar units.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      I think ‘dollars’ or ‘money’ would cover not just hundred dollar units (and I believe the lobby people’s business is done with checks or electornic tranfers…so, in fact, not hundred dollar bills), but either term will cover millions, if not billions.

                      And thus, either is a better choice of the word to use.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Why, Nippermom refers to her personal opinion, when I write that we don’t know what people think, unless we have evidence.

                      For me, I believe other opinions are possible.

                      Let me also say if I miss something, I am happy to know it.

                      Here, I am assuming, I could be wrong, a point is made about some people spending more money (hundred dollar units), and others spending less. If so, ‘money’ will still do nicely.

              2. Roy G

                Dude, the song is called ‘All about the Benjamins.’ Now if Omar had said ‘All about the Binyamins,’ you may have a shred to cling to, but alas, not. You are down to to mind reading intent and prissy language policing, never a good look, whether it is AIPAC or the DCCC.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I believe I agree with you.

                  We can’t mind-read intent. I wrote that mabye twice already today.

                  If I am not too oblique, my point is another word, ‘dollars,’ or ‘money’ would be a better choice.

                  1. False Solace

                    > my point is another word, ‘dollars,’ or ‘money’ would be a better choice

                    However this would not be a clever pop culture reference, and Twitter is all about clever pop culture references. To connect with the young one must speak in memes.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      You have a point about clever pop culture reference, perhaps.

                      The inclusion of musical notes at the end seems to imply some obscureness (thus the need to add those).

                      Perhaps too clever, if not many would get it (without the the musical notes to connect).

          2. Phil

            Omar ended the tweet in question with an icon representing musical notes. Seems to me she made it pretty clear that she was referencing the song. As a 58-year old white guy, I admit I didn’t get it, but my younger wife quickly set me straight. And anyone at AIPAC who monitors Twitter will be younger than she is, and will have been perfectly aware of the reference. There is simply no question that their cries of antisemitism were a deliberate bad-faith attempt to smear an opponent.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Let’s say they are deliberate, wouldn’t it still have been better to use another word, so the whole attention can be on the sustance of the criticsm itself?

              Why hand over something for the opposition to use, to distract?

              And would it not be better to not add the musical notes at the end…it’s if she knew it could be interpreted as something else, and yet decided to used that word, instead of, say ‘money.’

              1. False Solace

                Under the same logic everyone would have to strip metaphors, similes, literary references, and comical allusions from our language. All to avoid the possibility an organization will smear us — when in reality they’ll simply move on to another excuse for doing so.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  If we want the argument to hit more precisely (if we want to minimize collateral damage, or distraction), that’s something we do sometimes.

              2. wilroncanada

                My prime beef beef
                So, you’re saying? that a progressive politician must be so politically correct that, no matter the history of bad faith of any possible critical listener, there would never be any time in which that bad faith person or group could possible take umbrage. But that only applies to the progressive (I hate the word because it itself is so misused) politician, but not an opponent.
                See what I mean? I can’t possibly use the word “progressive” in any meaningful way because you might take umbrage at my naming this particular woman as “progressive” and if you don’t someone else might.
                AIPAC can sling trash any time they want. Their equivalent in Britain can condemn much of a political party any time they want, but we must not upset them, even by speaking the truth!

          3. integer

            It’s not confusing. If you are confused then you are an outlier, and should do some research on the topic before making 11 (!) comments on it. Also, please provide a link to that Politico article. I doubt it exists. All the “dual citizens in Congress” lists I’ve seen have been published on extremely dubious websites.

    1. Darius

      Krugman used to be more for universal healthcare. One of the bad things Obama did was move the liberals like Krugman to the right.

      1. jsn


        I know so many people who, because they haven’t yet been personally cheated by some part of the massive neoliberal con, continue to be dragged to the right by the two party two step: four paces between the Ds and the Rs, the Ds take two steps to the right to meet the Rs half way and the Rs take two steps to the right and say, “see, the Ds know we were always right, they’ve just adopted our position from four steps ago, they just don’t have the guts to go all the way like we do!”

        Krugman has been and continues to be a shameless part of this.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Krugman’s primary job is to shift the Overton Window and set the extreme left of the debate. When single-player polled at 40%, he was freer to be more progressive. The faux left really expected everyone to shut up about Healthcare for a generation as a result of ACA, but JFK made an observation about obstruction of peaceful change. By not addressing a cruel system, the inevitable result is a a demand to dismantle the system. As for personal gains, the demand for single payer has moved beyond the need for Krugthullu. He and his ilk don’t gain anything from it, and they have theirs which is why those faux universal care groups are trying to scare people about losing employer coverage as if this isn’t baked into the future.

        With the arrival of AOC in the wake of Sanders, there isn’t even glory to be had.

        1. Summer

          “they have theirs which is why those faux universal care groups are trying to scare people about losing employer coverage as if this isn’t baked into the future.”

          This is what isn’t emphsized enough to the “don’t rock the boat” crowd. Every year that passes, like a slow drip so not to arouse them from their tv shows, fewer and fewer people qualify for employer coverage and those plans slowly get worse.

          The employers have to have their insurance subsidized by govt and that is not stressed enough to average person who is not inclined to be political.

          And only the massive companies have a better bargaining position.
          Every small business owner should be for single payer …EVERY SINGLE ONR.
          But this goes back to the “stories we tell ourselves” (Coup By Narrative Control).

          1. jrs

            Do people really assume they will have the same job for all that many years? I’ve calculated my average job tenure, it’s 3-4 years. I want the job stability they are smoking or something. So even if one is lucky enough to always have employer coverage, it’s not going to be the same plan or doctors etc. anyway.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              This is the result of wealth inequality. Older people have experienced a different world, so changes might not be worth their perceived security. The neoliberals are trying to repeat their old play book, but the people who would be open to these arguments are smaller in number.

        2. Marlin

          There is no need for conspiracy theories. Krugman has lots of sound ideas, which he abandons as soon as confronted with the real world, but I really don’t see this as the result of a deliberate “job”. Krugman doesn’t live in a social vacuum. Groupthink in the social environment people like Krugman live, simply makes them Team Blue fanboys, who justify whatever Team Blue does after some time. You can’t constantly be in public conflict with everybody around you. It makes you sick.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Pointing out Krugman’s role as a columnist, his former audience, his current audience represents a conspiracy theory, but your explanation of Krugthullu just wanting to fit isn’t a conspiracy theory. I wish words still had meaning.

          2. Carey

            ” ..I really don’t see this as the result of a deliberate “job”..”

            I do.

            “always be closing.”

      3. Chris Cosmos

        I don’t think you can blame Obama for Krugman. Krugman is primarily interested in Krugman and the ruling class he is part of. I’ve read him for years–he’s a decent writer (unlike Thomas Friedman) and persuasive if you lack the ability to reason clearly. But he’s a NYT columnist and thus a part of government, as I define “government.”

        1. Darius

          Krugman was interesting until about 14 months into Obama. Then he just backed whatever The Awesome One did. And then Hillary. It was like someone showed Krugman the horse’s head in the bed.


      Krugman lost a lot of me with his incessant shilling for Hillary in 2016.
      But I don’t think there’s anything nefarious with this post. I think he’s sincere in arguing that ends are more important than means, and that it would be easier for the US to get to a Netherlands-style system than a British one.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Right…and a British Style system is the NHS, not Medicare for All. Why confuse the issue?

      2. Craig H.

        In a few years we may forget the day after the Trump election when Krugman said the economy was going to collapse and we are all doomed. It must be pretty hilarious when they have one of those economics professional society meetings now and Krugman goes and all these climbers pack around and kiss his ass.

        As long as you are not an economist. All of you have my sympathy. There aren’t too many people who are a disgrace to their entire profession like P.K.

      3. Grant

        ” it would be easier for the US to get to a Netherlands-style system”

        I don’t see how. A system like this is necessarily complex, and in this legal system, with the right wing composition of judges that could pick it apart bit by bit like with the ACA, the idea of going through another round of ACA-like negotiations to set up a complex behemoth gives me the chills. I also think that any multi-payer system is bound to be more inefficient than a single payer system. You have multiple payers, all offering different plans (choice, it’s huge, cause healthcare is a commodity, right?), that leads to system-wide complexity. You then have to set aside resources and money to manage that complexity. If I am not mistaken, even now after some improvements in regards to the ACA, up to a third of spending in the healthcare system goes to managing the complexity. Unless the government steps forward and simplifies the system by another means, like price controls, I don’t see how any multi-payer system can ever be as efficient as single payer. There are also inefficiencies at the institutional level (profits, high executive pay, the costs of marketing and lobbying, large administrative costs at the enterprise level, lawyers fees, etc.) in private systems. Do you really trust politicians to create a complex system that would withstand legal challenges? Seems that simply expanding existing federal programs is far less complex. The problem is who is in government. Single payer is simply the best policy option, and if we can’t get the best option, the focus should be on why we cannot solve our largest problems on issue after issue. The politicians say things are realistic because THEY make it unrealistic by the decisions they are making with the power given to them.

        On my point above:

        …Administrative costs were notably higher in the Netherlands (20%) than in other European nation.

        From a 2010 World Health Organization study on administrative overhead in private and public systems worldwide. PHI is private health insurance systems, SSS is essentially a public system:

        PHI administrative costs are on average nearly three times higher than for SSS. In addition to limited risk and income sharing of PHI, their much higher administrative costs are another disadvantage.

        1. Spring Texan

          yes, migrating to a SIMPLER system would have HUGE advantages . . . the way we keep trying to fix the one we have is like adding more and more epicycles to the Ptolomaic system rather than adopt the Copernican system.

          Imagine the lessened overhead of no co-pays, one insurance (with only one set of rules and reimbursements for providers to keep track of) for everyone, no wallet biopsies . . .

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          It was posted on Twitter this morning by someone who seemed to know their stuff that the average MD in the US pays nearly 4 times as much in administrative costs as their Canadian equivalent—$82,000 vs. $22,000—and spends 8.7 hours a week dealing with the part of said administration requiring their input.

          Considering Big Pharma and the insurance companies apparently shelled out $123 million—or was it $143 million? I get confused when the amounts reach disgusting—to Congress critters with orders to prevent Medicare for All from happening. Ever.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            This is dead simple to verify in the real world, I moved to Australia from the US after Bush was appointed the second time (2005). The doctors I had seen over 45 years in the US all had five or six gals in the back with overflowing filing cabinets, desperately trying to keep up with copay amounts, different plans, different billing, procedure codes (“if we call it a 1.5-inch incision instead we can get reimbursed more from carrier X but carrier Y says it has to be 2 inches”).

            The small doctor clinics I visit here have maybe one gal in the back, her easy job is to take your card number and do the billing. Given we also have a RTGS (realtime gross settlement banking system), the reimbursement is usually already in my bank account before I get home from my doctor visit. And the care I’ve received has always been immediately available and absolutely first-rate.

            Single.Payer. Don’t let Krugman or Warren or Harris or DiFi or any of the other Demo-Corporo-Fascisti convince you otherwise.

        3. Jeff W

          This is a great comment, as always, Grant!

          …if we can’t get the best option, the focus should be on why we cannot solve our largest problems on issue after issue. The politicians say things are [un]realistic because THEY make it unrealistic by the decisions they are making with the power given to them.

          It’s a completely absurd situation—the constraints are almost entirely in the hands of those who are claiming that we are constrained. I’ve been saying when I read words like “realistic” from Paul Krugman (or another favorite “pragmatic”) I translate that as “likely to pass within our corrupt zystem.”

          If Krugman came clean and said “Given the amount of money sloshing around in the system for the people making these decisions, plus people like me who will argue in favor of the decisions these people will want to make, I think something like ‘Medicare for America’ is more likely to pass than ‘Medicare for All,'” rather than portraying the issue as only being between policy options (“There are multiple ways to achieve universal coverage”—how edifying, Paul, how helpful of you to point that out), we’d at least be having some sort of honest debate.

          Now that likelihood might even be a fair assessment given the way things are—although it’s hardly, to me, a foregone conclusion—but I’d prefer not to take, as given, the constraints of our broken, corrupt system. It’s like surrendering without putting up a fight, indeed without even realizing what we’re fighting for or against (and it’s not this or that health care policy—it’s about who decides such things). It’s exactly the terms Krugman wants us to be dealing with this issue on.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > necessarily complex

          Well, complexity means you have to hire a lot of credentialed professionals to deny sick people care and make sure the 1% takes its cut.

          So there’s that.

  6. russell1200

    From the Larry the Cat Link:

    -Cat, What’s Your Opinion on Britain leaving the EU?

    Cat: I think you should repeatedly ask to leave, then when the door opens just sit there and stare at it. That’s what I would do.

    Sounds good to me.

    1. ewmayer

      Cats do seem to have a fondness for “the great in-between-doors”. Hey, I’m just keeping all my options open here!

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Have the UBI People Turned to the Dark Side? Benjamin Studebaker

    This really should be read by anyone tempted to think Yang is on the side of the angels (as many people did following his excellent Joe Rogan interview). Studebaker does sterling work here digging down to what he really means by UBI.

    The Yang campaign is a moment of truth for America’s UBI movement. It has to decide how many poor people it’s willing to step on to get this policy done. It has to decide whether it really thinks our rich people–given everything they’ve done over the last 50 years and beyond–can simply be trusted to make sure our poorest and most vulnerable are okay.

    I feel for activists like Santens. UBI has been his life’s work, and there is now a minor presidential candidate who is willing to support the policy, and he’s excited about that. This presidential candidate has even formed a personal relationship with him, and is reassuring him in private that he’s a good person and can be trusted. It’s easy to be taken in by something like that. Who among us could become personal friends with a presidential candidate and not trust them? But the history of rich people promising to care about poor people eventually is littered with the forgotten corpses of poor people. Santens is doing business with the devil–those who wish to do UBI the right way cannot follow his path.

    As Studebaker says, its a pity – there is a lot to like about the UBI concept, but it seems to have been taken over by the libertarian right as a trojan horse for destroying benefits for the poor.

    1. skippy

      Taken over – ???? – Friedman and Co were proponents yonks ago, before their day in the sun – free money = the EMH market is that way …

      Oh yeah and now that you’ve had a taste …. that thing about democracy …

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yeah, they talked about it, but it was mostly a progressive thing for decades. I was first introduced to it by a now mostly forgotten Henry George influenced economist called Raymond Crotty – the key point of his proposal was that it would be funded from land and other asset based taxes, especially in developing countries.

        The key point about whether a UBI is good or bad for the poor is not how much the UBI is, but how it’s funded.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Using MMT to fund a UBI would mean flooding the economy with huge amounts of cash – this would almost certainly lead to inflation. The MMT solution to excess amounts of money in the system is to remove it…. via taxes. So you come around to the same issue. In an MMT world its just that the taxes are required to remove excess money from the economy, rather than directly paying for whatever it is you want to spend it on.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              There is another option to remove excess money – reducing government deficit spending for, say, the military.

              Even for removing money via additonal taxation, there is a question worth considering: Should we tax idle money or money that is moving with some velocity?

              Does idle money cause inflation?

              Does money that is used to buy products and services, especially rapidly, cause inflation?

              In no for the first, and yes for the second, it would suggest we don’t tax welathy people’s idle money but working people’s money (used to buy products and services).

              And that would be wrong.

              But if we do the opposite, and tax idle money that is not causing inflation, we are not fighting inflation much (perhaps idle money is lent, but it could just be sitting doing nothing).

              1. notabanker

                Hey Calpers, you need a 7% return on a 20 year investment? Here’s you’re brand new customized t-bill that does exactly that. No overhead, no management fees, no risk. No CEO, CIO, Investment regime. Give us the money and when you need it, we’ll write some checks.

                Nationalize all these pension funds. They are already a half a trillion short and who is going to pickup that tab anyway?
                Keep the administrators that are tracking what payments go to who and bin the rest. Eliminate the source of capital. Put all the assets on the Feds balance sheet and decide which markets you want to flood with excess supply. Personally, I’d start with fracking junk bonds followed quickly by tech and pharma stocks. That would probably get some attention from the titans of finance.

                I am notabanker and I have approved this message.

                1. skippy

                  Capital Idea … especially J-bonds used for buyback bonus stocking stuff’ers. Which then bid up the price on luxury goods, idle around in some tax haven, or create havoc as some capital inflow for a quick buck …

            2. nihil obstet

              There is apparently a huge difference between addressing poverty through higher minimum wages that would go to the working poor and a UBI which would go to the working poor. One is flooding the economy with funds that supposedly could be taxed back from corporate profits and the other is a cost that would shift funds from corporate profits to the working poor.

              I get the way right-wingers fetishize the source of funds: government bad, private good. I don’t understand why anyone who wants a decently structured economy does it.

              1. jrs

                I suspect higher wages will also at least partly eaten up by rents (and often mostly literal rent). Hey now that’s classical economics. But if there is a housing shortage higher literal rent doesn’t sound too far fetched. Most of the gains of the “recovery” such as it is, seem to have gone into that.

            3. ChristopherJ

              You are assuming that the landlords and supermarkets would just hoover up the ubi by increasing prices. ie ignoring the competitive nature of markets.

              Those extra dollars will be spent into the economy. Retail, hospitality all doing better, Amazon, freight, tourism, leading to increased employment. It’s when the economy cannot absorb the extra dollars where you come into problems.

              And who has said: ‘The MMT solution to excess amounts of money in the system is to remove it’?

              Are you not confusing the MMT solution to excess wealth is to tax it?

                1. ChristopherJ

                  Thank you, Carey. A lot of markets do not have what economists would describe as perfect competition (Amazon, Facebook, Google).

                  That is, where the suppliers of goods and services are just making normal returns on their capital, where buyers are price sensitive, there are alternatives, no big barriers to entry and so on.
                  In the real world, we see competition in tourism, hospitality and retail. On the internets, not so competitive.
                  The biggest expenditures for many are rents and, where rental markets are tight (everywhere with airbnb), and in the absence of govt intervention, landlords would be free to extract as much of a lessee’s ubi as they can.
                  This is where the govt can and should step in to freeze prices. Those landlords are getting their ubi as well, remember…

        1. notabanker

          This is 100% the ‘tell’ on Yang. His UBI is going to be paid for by:
          1. Subtracting existing govt subsides. Oh, you get $700 in EBT, you’re UBI is now $300 instead of $1000
          2. Economic growth ‘boosts’ from new money in the economy
          3. A 10% VAT

          To make matters worse, he is using obsfucation on Americans that have no clue what a VAT really is by prefacing it with Tech companies are experts at not paying income tax. Every other major industrialized countries have this magical thing called a VAT. Therefore VAT. No one has ever confronted him with the fact that VAT is a levy on consumers, not producers. In fact he paints just the opposite picture.

          “I’ve met with CEO’s who are skeptical about paying for it…..” then goes through a long soliloquy about why this is beneficial to them as well.

          Imo, his VAT proposal is his Achilles heel. It will be interesting to see if anyone calls him out on it. So far all the chatter has been about UBI.

          1. jrs

            He does seem to have a suspicious amount of conservative support. Mind you working less might well be part of any type of more sustainable society (debatable maybe, but it seems likely to me, as I’m not sure there is enough work to do saving the world to offset the work that would end if we stopped destroying it! So much of what we do is just destructive and most jobs are not particularly rewarding personally either. Right now almost everyone’s job sucks and a decent number of them contribute in some way to global extinction or are just pointless paper pushing).

            And pure income *IF* it did not mean a corresponding drop in ANY government programs would do a lot of good to those on the edge. I’m not saying sustain a decent lifestyle, on 1k a month, uh no, I mean get people on the streets onto slightly better. And we need to do that, guaranteed housing would also work for this of course! The safety net is failing many many people, which does not mean it’s worthless, just there are holes big enough to drive a big rig through. Our streets wouldn’t be full of homeless if it was all it was cracked up to me, but that doesn’t mean we should trash it.

        2. skippy

          So were right back to structural un-under employment for those that want jobs, not to mention deleveraging all the power accumulated by industries in the political sphere.

    2. Higgs Boson

      I Used to Argue for UBI, Then I Gave a Talk at Uber

      “Under the guise of compassion, UBI really just turns us from stakeholders or even citizens to mere consumers. Once the ability to create or exchange value is stripped from us, all we can do with every consumptive act is deliver more power to people who can finally, without any exaggeration, be called our corporate overlords.

      No, income is nothing but a booby prize. If we’re going to get a handout, we should demand not an allowance but assets. That’s right: an ownership stake.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For a monetary sovereign, Universal Income for all citizens can be unlimited. One can argue, Universal Basic Income is different from Universal Income, because one doesn’t need that much to fill one’s basic needs. So, perhaps we move on from UBI to UI.

        Theoretically, it is the same as government spending can be unlimited, for a monetary sovereign.

        With unliimited UI, people can purchase assets (instead of UBI filing mere needs for survival).

      2. jrs

        The average person knows that consumption is more free than the job market, that whatever theoretical slavery some detached intellectual might see in consumption, doesn’t match the lived reality of the slavery of the job market. It’s why the masses have a soft spot for consumption really and it is how to sell capitalism to them (not saying it’s right, I’m really anti-consumerist, but at least people enjoy consumption and feel like they have some choices there, unlike in their work lives – so ask them about their real chains).

        I’m definitely pro-ownership stake though, worker co-ops are a great idea, too bad they seem mostly to not have gone anywhere at all on any large scale.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      This is the new Democratic Party attack on UBI and it’s bullsh*t propaganda. Remember the Democratic Party, on the whole, is and has been since Clinton a truly “conservative” party. The Republicans are, in contrast, reactionaries and on the extreme right.

      One thing “the left” (if it can be called that) neglects is that it is often significant parts of the alt-right who oppose the Imperial Wars most “leftists” seem to favor. It is the alt-right that opposes the most important anti-leftist political movement in my lifetime, the rise of identity politics and political correctness two things that deliberately alienate the broader working class and necessity for class-conflict rather than the elevation of identity politics as the end-all be-all of the Democratic Party. It is an insurance policy to make sure the ruling oligarchy is always in place.

      UBI is the best and most logical idea coming out of this election. It preserves capitalism with a socialist face, i.e., a caring for human beings. We not only are in a political crisis but a cultural crisis. With a bit of extra income people can feel freer to quit their bullshit jobs (see Graeber’s last book) or their oppressive jobs or maybe drop the second or third partime job (that’s where the labor market is going and has been going for some time) and give people a little breathing space to be able to create the new economy to meet human needs that is being suppressed by the current system (both economic and cultural) that glorifies meaningless work. We are faced with crises, particularly environmental, that demand flexibility and innovation, something that has been on the decline in recent years at least in the areas of actually making life more convivial.

      UBI, is a threat to the left/right phony conflict because it threatens the thing most leftists fear the most, an alliance with segments of the alt-right who are also anti-authoritarian, anti-war, pro-working class, and pro-humanity. Instead this group wants to demonize “them” as a them and not have any conversation with them because they are “white supremacists” which is a lie manufactured by the media. Look how prostitutes like S. Colbert used it (white supremacy) to bang on Tulsi Gabbard who is mixed race, and other “leftists” bang on Andrew Yang (who is Asian) in the same way.

      There may be flaws in UBI but let’s discuss it on the merits–and BTW, if you want to see Yangs bona fides, go look at his website and see that he is almost the only candidate with a deep and substantive list of proposals based on logic and data–check it out.

      1. jsn

        For UBI to work it would need to provide a respectable living income AND have government imposed controls on all market entities to prevent the rent extraction such entities always seek. The alt right is not a likely supporter of this second requirement.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Would giving money to too-busy-to-do-anyting-but-trying-to-stay-alive people better enpower them to fight that rent extraction?

          I don’t know, but if that is the case, then a reason for no becomes a reason for yes.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Would you say, giving the government itself UBI to spend, or to put it in another way, giving the goverhment the power to spend free money into existence (what MMT describes, and is the reality currently, but that doesn’t have to be so, that is, it can be changed..we can have another arrangement), has ended up a failure? Has that money been rent-extracted by, say, the Military Industrial Complex?

              1. jsn

                I’m a chartalist, I believe money is a creature of the state. It is one of the innumerable costs of civilization in terms of individual liberty.

                Commodity money is loot that holds its value in the absence of civilization and there are a number of proto civilizations I’m aware of where standards of living are higher than those in civilization without the costs to individual liberty. The Algonquin federation for example, which examples underpin Greaber’s anarchistic take on money in “Debt, the first 5000 Years”.

                I also believe that modern industrial civilization will not allow such a society to exist anymore, so I’ve made my peace with fiat.

                1. jsn

                  And yes, the neoliberal era has seen rent extraction by every economic power freed of regulation, but this is an issue of governance, not monetary systems to my mind.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    We agree on the issue of governance, and thus, the need to work out problems with both the government having UBI free money to spend, and the people having UBI free money to spend. Both can fail, or succeed.

                    1. skippy

                      Powell, ALEC, et al were ideologically driven agendas to shape society as a – few – saw fit, monetary systems are administered accordingly regardless of perceptions of quantities.

                      I mean how can you have mainstream econ operating for decades without functional knowlage of such a base system feature and then chose to use a preference – deemed* rational [tm].

                      Any long time NC reader should have no problem discerning how we got to this junction, the MMT thingy just exposes the neoliberal falsehoods for what they are [TINA] and that there are options.

                      Stabilizing society, fixing errors with legacy dramas, and preparing for the future is more an ideological issue than one of money … take the money excuse off the table and then talk about policy choices and how they are arrived at …

      2. tegnost

        “It preserves capitalism with a socialist face, i.e., a caring for human beings”

        Capitalism with a facade of caring is exactly what it is. Job Guarantee is way better. UBI is just”let’s pay them a stipend so nothing needs to change”. Also as commonly noted it will lead to the holy grail of social spending cuts.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Just saw this comment from another thread:

          Joe Well on Costly Confusion: Patients Caught by Medicare Not Covering Annual Physical Exams
          The entire medical profession is, structurally, rent-seeking. A…

          If the entire medical profession is structually rent-seeking, should the government not only pay for health care for all (here, the government pays, and not the patients, though it’s similar to the idea of UBI, in that structurally, we still have private clinics, hospitals,etc,), but put all health care workers under federal employment (a move away from capitalism, toward communism)?

      3. John

        How about UBI and/or a job guarantee so there is some choice? Income for self starters and job for those wanting structure and training.

      4. jrs

        oh but the Dem debates are going to be a cluster, a din noone will be able to hear over or make sense of, complete information overload and intellectual breakdown.

        Everyone is going to be up there arguing their little piece of something like the anecdotal blind men feeling an elephant. Wang with UBI, Warren with her pet issues, Tulsi with war, Bernie should be pretty solid with the usual shtick.

        I hope Islee gets enough donations that we have someone up there prioritizing climate change (he’s in it to talk that issue more than to win and I’d like him to get his minute to do so as it is ultimately the most important issue. With 50 candidates they’ll each have like a minute).

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Tulsi won’t be there unless she collects the $65,000 from 25 different states that is now the fee for inclusion. She’s creeping up on it, but anyone wanting her onstage should chip in before the end of the month.

          1. Carey

            I could be wrong, but I think she needs donations from 65k individual donors-persons. I sent her a few bucks (by check, BTW).

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        > With a bit of extra income people can feel freer to quit their bullshit jobs

        If you want to empower the working class, you give them more control over the workplace, hence more control over capital. The JG does this. The UBI does not, which is why it garners neoliberal support across the edge from liberal to conservative.

    4. Raulb

      Beware of strangers bearing gifts! The SV ecosystem is libertarian, amoral and entirely unfamiliar with the concept of ‘the other’.

      Their initial response to UBI was predictable mocking of ‘lazy poor people’ with calvinism logic. But over the last 3 years progressive activism and resistance to the gig economy has seen them ‘warming’ to UBI as the best way to subsidize their impoverishing business models.

      US ‘libertarians’ are extremely right wing and are now essentially the alt right, their approach to UBI is coming from a place of dystopian dis-empowerment of labour that they eagerly look forward to, with them at the top of the food chain thanks to delusional hype about self driving cars and ai that will soon meet the same fate as crypto.

      No progressive is going mix up UBI with basic social services or propose something as fatuous as VAT to fund UBI which makes the championing Yang as a progressive extremely troubling.

      And this championing and his sudden visibility with armies of enthusiastic supporters all over the internet dripping with the same fake sincerity for Bernie Sanders but now him because Bernie has no ‘real policies’, the same superficial engagement in discussion asserting misunderstanding like Peterson’s supporters suggest a trolling operation in progress.

  8. jfleni

    RE: Federal judge demands Trump administration reveal how its drilling plans will fuel climate change.

    At least the judge cannot possibly trust the scam daddies of Trumpkins to tell
    the real truth about the situation, and the judge knows it!

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras”

    So I was reading this appalling article and I thought that next thing that you know, if there was a cockpit emergency the Boeing jet computer would demand credit card details before deploying oxygen masks for the pilot. I then came across the following in that article – “Gol Airlines, a Brazilian carrier, paid $6,700 extra for oxygen masks for its crew”. It was at that point that I felt like punching holes in a wall. Boeing then was removing vital and standard emergency equipment from their airliners and only putting them back if the airlines paid them big bucks to do so. B*******! And because of this business strategy, there are now about 350 people dead. Do they even realize what they have done?

    1. Carolinian

      From the NYT.

      In the software update that Boeing says is coming soon, MCAS will be modified to take readings from both sensors. If there is a meaningful disagreement between the readings, MCAS will be disabled.

      So in other words the MCAS is a backup feature that isn’t really necessary to fly the plane. One has to wonder if it wasn’t included solely to give Boeing an “it fly’s alike” marketing claim rather than for safety.

      Some years ago it was said that the real decline of General Motors started when the executive positions began to be filled with business graduates rather than engineers.

      1. JBird4049

        “They’re critical, and cost almost nothing for the airlines to install,” said Bjorn Fehrm, an analyst at the aviation consultancy Leeham. “Boeing charges for them because it can. But they’re vital for safety.”


        When it was rolled out, MCAS took readings from only one sensor on any given flight, leaving the system vulnerable to a single point of failure. One theory in the Lion Air crash is that MCAS was receiving faulty data from one of the sensors, prompting an unrecoverable nose dive.

        In the software update that Boeing says is coming soon, MCAS will be modified to take readings from both sensors. If there is a meaningful disagreement between the readings, MCAS will be disabled.

        I think this is going beyond greed, corruption, capitalism, neoliberalism, or even stupidity.

        Between the NYT article and 737 Pilot’s comments, I have to ask if some people in Boeing trying to destroy the company? If merely changing some fricking code that no one were never going to know about likely to save hundreds of lives, keep sales going, and make profit for the company, why would they not do so? Indeed, why only take readings from just one of two sensors?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It’s even weirder. Boeing took readings from both sensors, but it alternated the readings ; Sensor A on Monday, Sensor B on Tuesday, and so on.

          The other idea I heard was why not calibrate the sensors at ground level, when the plane is more or less level, and issue a warning if they disagree or give bad readings?

    2. notabanker

      Let’s not forget Verizon throttling data on firefighters cell phones during the CA wildfires because they didn’t purchase the data plan upgrades. Features, not bugs.

    3. wilroncanada

      The Rev Kev
      Optional extras on planes…Whodathunkit?
      I can just imagine the same happening with self-driving cars. A STEERING wheel? What the h—do you need that for? What part of the term “self-driving” do you not understand? It’s all explained in the 9th edition of the passive passenger manual. Oh, you only have the 8th edition and it isn’t in there? That’s your fault , stupid! It doesn’t matter that we kept the publication of the 9th edition secret. It came out right after the 4925-car accident on the I-90, a year ago. I’m sure there was a footnote on the news reports that we were going to publish another manual. The brakes? That was in the latest manual too. We put a hole in the floor on the later models; what else do you want? Just wear heavier shoes!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I can just imagine the same happening with self-driving cars

        I can’t see that happening. Unlike Boeing, Uber and Google will have honest MBAs. Oh, wait….

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Scientists rise up against statistical significance Nature

    The movement to kill off p-values seems to be growing – there is a good article on it in RetractionWatch too. And very welcome it is too – in my personal experience there are a lot of researchers who can ‘do’ statistics but don’t actually ‘understand’ statistics. This seems to be the basis for a lot of bad science, and there is far too much of that out there.

    Unfortunately, the false belief that crossing the threshold of statistical significance is enough to show that a result is ‘real’ has led scientists and journal editors to privilege such results, thereby distorting the literature. Statistically significant estimates are biased upwards in magnitude and potentially to a large degree, whereas statistically non-significant estimates are biased downwards in magnitude. Consequently, any discussion that focuses on estimates chosen for their significance will be biased. On top of this, the rigid focus on statistical significance encourages researchers to choose data and methods that yield statistical significance for some desired (or simply publishable) result, or that yield statistical non-significance for an undesired result, such as potential side effects of drugs — thereby invalidating conclusions.

    A few years ago EO Wilson wrote that in his view statistics is such a complex topic that non-specialists should avoid it (he said that many excellent people in his field – biology – had dropped out because they simply couldn’t do the maths). In effect, just about every paper should have a proper statistician do the figures and interpret them. There is a lot to be said for this approach.

    It will however mean that interpreting scientific papers will become much harder – the casual reader can no longer just accept that the results are ‘significant’ or ‘non-significant’. Sometimes we need to welcome the uncertainty.

    1. Jeff

      Just read this wikipedia entry and you’ll never again look at the statistics the same way. At least you’ll understand why “understanding” matters as much – or even more – than statistics.

    2. Nameful

      The movement to kill off p-values seems to be growing – there is a good article on it in RetractionWatch too. And very welcome it is too – in my personal experience there are a lot of researchers who can ‘do’ statistics but don’t actually ‘understand’ statistics. This seems to be the basis for a lot of bad science, and there is far too much of that out there.

      This is a very confused paragraph. There is indeed a lot of bad science and bad Statistics being published, particularly in the soft sciences. However, your opinion that killing off p-values will help with that is sadly mistaken. I would very much like to understand the mechanism through which you think removing p-values would discourage (as opposed to encourage) people from doing junk science. You know, once they don’t even have to go through the effort of hacking some arbitrary measure of uncertainty.

      It will however mean that interpreting scientific papers will become much harder – the casual reader can no longer just accept that the results are ‘significant’ or ‘non-significant’.

      Uh, you have no idea. Removing any sort of barrier to publishing junk science (p-values are supposed to be used as a minimum requirement for consideration, not a test of truth) will let it bloom like algae. And just like an algal bloom they are likely to reinforce each other and kill off a lot of legitimate science in the process. If only by sucking out resources and decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio that (honest) scientists need to filter – which in turn limits their time for actually doing research. So nevermind the casual reader, peer reviewed papers are supposed to have facts, not stories, on which further research can be based. If you think the current reproducibility crisis is bad, just wait to see how it would look without any sort of checks that ensure that the published results are not just something someone dreamed after an evening of pot smoking.

      To put it in more Economics-related terms, there is a misalignment of incentives here. Stringent publishing conditions limit the number of papers, which is contrary to the interest of the publishers. So you’ll see publishers bemoaning the p-value constraints. Some scientists, under the publish or perish pressure, will also be inclined to speak against publishing constraints. Let invalidating the bad result be someone else’s problem, in the meantime the published counter increases. Besides, doing research correctly is hard. In the opposite corner, from the point of view of advancing scientific knowledge (so to speak), type I errors (false positives) are worse than type II errors (false negatives), since it’s very difficult (human nature and all) to un-accept an ‘accepted’ truth. And for choosing a balance between type I and II errors p-values or something with a similar function are required.

      Sometimes we need to welcome the uncertainty.

      Define ‘sometimes’, please. When discussing science accuracy of terms is important. You know, just in case someone mistakenly associates you with some other people who welcome uncertainty (or ‘teaching controversy’) like creationists, anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers and so on. Besides, p-values do not remove uncertainty, merely give it a certain amount of quantitative measure. So you should be cheering for killing off the misuse of uncertainty measures, not their removal altogether. Throwing the baby with the bathwater and all that.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        All the points you raise are answered far better than I could in the two linked articles.

        1. Nameful

          I’m sorry, but no, they’re not answered at all. The article merely criticizes with anecdotal evidence of misuse (of which there is plenty anyway). But it does not offer any solutions. To keep with the times, it’s eerily like the part of Brexit discourse in the UK about the Irish border – unspecified ‘technological measures’ that would replace a hard border. Oh, the article is careful to say that abuses may happen and “monitoring the literature for statistical abuses should be an ongoing priority for the scientific community.” Right, that’ll work, seeing that we already have a significant deficiency of scientists that actually understand the correct use of statistics. Besides, how would they even check? As it is, there’s no requirement to make available the actual data for published articles, so currently monitoring of abuse refers to inconsistencies between the aggregate values and their computed statistical measures. Handwave these away and there’s precious little left to monitor.

          As the saying goes, beware simple solutions to complex problems. Especially when whoever peddles the solution will not be responsible for it being implemented and functional.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            The Nature article in Links does not suggest “killing off p values.”

            We are not calling for a ban on P values. Nor are we saying they cannot be used as a decision criterion in certain specialized applications (such as determining whether a manufacturing process meets some quality-control standard). And we are also not advocating for an anything-goes situation, in which weak evidence suddenly becomes credible. Rather, and in line with many others over the decades, we are calling for a stop to the use of P values in the conventional, dichotomous way — to decide whether a result refutes or supports a scientific hypothesis.

            It does recommend renaming “confidence intervals” as “compatibility intervals.” But the main point is killing the notion of “statistical significance,” specifically because it is typically interpreted dichotomously, and focusing on the betas (point estimates) in the context of the p values. They have a good example of two studies yielding the exact same beta but with different confidence intervals, leading one to be interpreted as “having an effect” and the other as “not having an effect” simply because zero was within the confidence interval of one study and not the other.

      2. ChrisS

        I second PK’s reply – especially since the argument in the Nature article isn’t about killing off p-values per se, but rather about getting rid of statistical significance thresholds. I’d hazard that these thresholds encourage inappropriate binary thinking about results and draw attention away from other important features of a study, like the quality of measurement.

        Not to mention that p-values are contingent on many, many analytic choices made by researchers – choices that generally aren’t factored into the interpretation of the p-value itself (cf. Andrew Gelman’s work on this: So setting a statistical significance threshold based on a number with a muddy interpretation seems like a bad idea.

        1. KLG

          TMI, but I remember a paper from my research in which the authors were forced to state that a 2-fold (100%) increase in a specific protein level during maladaptive heart remodeling associated with heart failure is “insignificant” because the p-value didn’t meet the 0.05 standard. Actually, no. Turned out it was very significant despite the “statistics.” Lord Rutherford, it has been alleged, told Max Planck “if you have to use statistics, you should have designed a better experiment.” Well, no, when it comes to the quantum. Everything else, there is a ring of truth…

  11. John A

    Apropos Trump recognising the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel:
    The Golan Heights were seized by force 50 years ago and remain in the eyes of all but the US and Israel, illegally occupied territory. Amost immediately Israel began to settle the area and most of the Syrian population fled for their lives. Even so, no referendum of the local population has been offered let alone proposed.
    Russian military forces already legally occupied Crimea in 2014. Nobody was killed. A referendum of the local population overwhelmingly voted to return to Russia (as they had wanted to in 1991).
    US leads the world in condemning the ‘annexation of Crimea’ and is imposing sanctions on Russia “until Crimea is returned”.
    US hypocracy is legion. Yesterday, Trump totally pulled the rug under his own feet when it comes to recognising the Golan Heights as Israel territory and continuing to sanction Russia for Crimea.
    Has no MSM raised objections to this, or is it business as first when it comes to US behaviour?

    1. Roger Smith

      I find it hilarious. Israel doesn’t even belong in its own country, let alone Syrian property it stole. Israeli Fonz is over there jumping sharks in the Mediterranean off the Gaza strip. “Oyyy!”

      Trump is a colossal fool for staffing people like Bolton and Pompeo. I truly think someone like Sanders can win this election as long as they play it carefully and thoughtfully.

      1. Plenue

        Sanders will eat Trump alive. The only obstacle is the Democrats, not the GOP in the general.

      2. Wukchumni

        It’s a Faustian Bargain, you have this 25% evang vote in your hip pocket, and they tell two friends that haven’t voted for him before, and then they tell two friends, and so on.

        The hard dogma right is the only cohesive political bloc party, and to watch the pandering going both ways, wow. Agenda lists are being ticked off.

        Meanwhile, we of the 75% feel a lot left out afield.

        1. Lee

          Maybe Nero had the right idea about the apocalypse loving Christians.

          Actually, it wasn’t his idea. He was responding to popular demand. The Roman people made him do it. Perhaps there’s a lesson for our time in this. Just kidding…..sort of.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’d made mention of that the locked case ammo section of my Wal*Mart had more inventory than their fledgling book selection, and when I spied 5 different Joel Osteen books for sale, why you would think he’s a best seller?

            We have mega-mini-maga evang churches in Visalia that hold 1,000-2,000, a bunch of them.

            1. Lee

              Gunz ‘n Bibles: maybe there should be background checks for both. Or maybe you can have one or the other but not both.

              1. Wukchumni

                Just about every other GOP candidate in California was beaten in the election, and then there’s Devin Nunes, who wins easily by 5 points, thanks to his christituancy of mega-mini-maga.

            2. Copeland

              Do you really have no other convenient places to shop other than Wal*Mart? Every time you mention them I feel so fortunate that we never have to go in one! Where we live, we would pass two dozen other food/stuff stores on the drive to the nearest Wal*Mart.

              Of course, a hike in the Mountains means escaping The Metropolis along with 3000 people who had exactly the same idea!

              1. Wukchumni

                Wal*Mart sells a few things I can only get there, and offers an interesting peek at the low end of big box capitalism.

            3. chuck roast

              Weird! I live in an colonial seacoast town. Over a period of 200 or so years they built a church on every block. Many of them are now simply homes in residential areas. One in my neighborhood still operates on the sabbath. It was started this olde black guy who appears to have been a mechanic. Somehow, the new post-industrial bourgeousie got hooked into him and built he and his congregation this beautiful, big sandstone chapel/church. It has wicked-ass oak and oak carvings all over the interior. Of course the white guys took over the church post-haste.

              It’s like we live on different planets.

    2. barrisj

      NOT from The Onion:

      Pompeo suggests God sent Trump to save Israel
      “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” the secretary of state said when asked whether the president had an explicitly divine mission.

      Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested in a televised interview Thursday that God may have sent President Donald Trump to Earth to protect Israel.
      When the interview turned to Iranian aggression in the Middle East, Pompeo was asked whether he thought “President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.”

      “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Pompeo responded.

      What chance does a UN Resolution or national sovereignty have against the power of The Lord and his Emissary on Earth, I ask you.

      1. Harry

        “I certainly believe thats possible”.

        As someone who has read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I believe with an infinite probability drive and appropriate quantum conditions anything is possible. Pompeo appears to be the same, although maybe he is just considering running for office.

  12. Wukchumni

    Re: Mock Executions

    Could we resurrect 50’s ‘duck & cover’ drills and update them to include both a mass murderer in the classroom, and/or nuclear strike scenarios?

    1. Lee

      Alas, a desk, while it might shield you from a distant nuke, it provides little protection against a high velocity rifle round fired at close range.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: U.S. threatens to derail meeting of Latam lender if China bars Venezuela”

    If China buckles to US demands they will be total idiots. It’s not like Trump will be grateful to China for doing so. They should have already found out by now that Trump’s gratitude and two bits won’t even buy you a cup of coffee. And with this act China can kiss their billions invested in Venezuela goodbye if they go along with it. This is not the only place that Trump is trying to pull this crap. In two months the presidency of a key U.N. disarmament body comes up for grabs and the Venezuelans are due to take over. The US wants one of Greedo’s people to take up this presidency and so have a UN body recognize Greedo himself-

    1. Wukchumni

      Was a reprise of the 1861-62 type long playing atmospheric river flooding event to happen again, it would wipe out every last orchard on the Central Valley floor pretty much, as it had turned into one big 300 mile long lake extending far & wide.

      To attain perfect storm status in the Sierra, you need a veritable shitlode stored up top in the First National Snowbank, and then this happens…

      The event was capped by a warm intense storm that melted the high snow load. The resulting snow-melt flooded valleys, inundated or swept away towns, mills, dams, flumes, houses, fences, and domestic animals, and ruined fields. It has been described as the worst disaster ever to strike California.

      From what i’m reading and seeing in Midwest flooding, albeit exacerbated by large dam collapses that didn’t exist in 1862, they seem similar in devastation.

  14. Wukchumni

    Ancient Kauri trees are so interesting, the oldest workable wood by a wide margin compared to anything else, and this recently unearthed girth comes with a story.

    A massive swamp kauri log unearthed near Kaikohe is around 40,500 years old and could shed new light on a mysterious global event which may have dramatically influenced the Earth’s climate.

    The log, which is 16m long and weighs 60 tonnes, was found during excavation for a new geothermal power station near Ngāwhā Springs.

    The find has also sparked great excitement among scientists hoping to gain a better understanding of the ancient climate.

    Alan Hogg, director of the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory at Waikato University, dated the tree to 40,500 years plus or minus 400 years.

    That made it of great interest to scientists studying the Laschamp Event, a ”magnetic reversal” in which the Earth’s north and south magnetic poles switched places.

    It was not known exactly when the reversal occurred but it was thought to have been about 41,000 years ago.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > That made it of great interest to scientists studying the Laschamp Event, a ”magnetic reversal” in which the Earth’s north and south magnetic poles switched places.

      Last time the aliens checked in before setting up the quarantine, no doubt.

      *** click ***

  15. 737 Pilot

    Re Boeing 737 MAX optional “AOA indicator” and “AOA disagree light”

    The 737 MAX uses several large video displays to present flight and navigation information to the pilots. See: link

    There is no separate instrument that displays AOA information. It is merely an additional graphic on the Primary Flight Display (PFD).

    PFD without AOA indicator

    PFD with AOA indicator (the small round graphic top right corner)

    The “AOA Disagree” warning is simply the text “AOA Disagree” displayed at the top of the PFD (sorry, couldn’t find an image for this one).

    All of the sensor inputs are already available because the data is used for other aircraft systems. Thus the only things required for this display is either a software or firmware update to present the data to the pilots.

    One other issue should be noted in this discussion. While all pilots should have a basic understanding of AOA and its relationship to an aerodynamic stall, very few pilots actually have an actual AOA display as part of their primary flight instruments, nor do most pilots receive training in the regular use of AOA during flight. High performance jet aircraft (military fighter/attack aircraft) routinely use AOA because they are pressing the edges of the flight envelope. Commercial aircraft are supposed to be operated well away from the stall region, so AOA is not particular useful in normal operations. That being said, AOA data can be crucial in certain abnormal situations.

    1. Carolinian

      Don’t these jetliners all have systems to give verbal stall warnings as well as an artificial horizon on the instrument panel since, like, forever?

      1. 737 Pilot

        Yes, there are all sorts of stall warnings, and that was actually part of the problem. We don’t have all the info on the Ethiopian plane, but the Lion Air aircraft was NOT close to a stall but the crew was receiving active stall warnings due to a malfunction of an AOA input. This created a major distraction as the MCAS activated to stabilizer in the nose down direction. The hardest part of this scenario for the crew is to identify what was really going on with the aircraft since they were being presented with false information.

        1. RMO

          The way the MCAS developed reminds me somewhat of the designs and failure state assumptions that went into the 767 thrust-reverser safety system problem that led to the loss of that Lauda Air flight. If you remember they decided that an auto-restow was all that was needed as they found that asymmetric reverser deployment was controllable at the low speeds they considered to be the most critical case for that sort of failure and it didn’t occur to them to test what might happen at high thrust settings. It seems the MCAS was first designed with a fairly small range of travel, the travel was increased during testing and development without this being fed back through the original engineers and finally the system ended up being implemented in a manner that allowed it to reset to “zero” repeatedly leading to the MCAS having in effect the ability to run the full range of elevator trim. After the first accident I couldn’t for the life of me understand why they would make this system dependent upon a single AOA sensor with no redundancy or cross-checking (for example to the attitude gyros or the other ADC inputs). The engineers who designed it did so under the assumption it would only be able to alter the trim a modest amount so they decided that the single AOA sensor was enough. It seems like no one considered that the runaway MCAS would also present the pilots with a very different set of symptoms than a “normal” runaway trim which would make it difficult to recognize the problem.

          The best can say for Boeing here is that at least this isn’t the worst possible way for something such as this to happen – that would be if the problems had been foreseen, the higher ups were warned and then they decided to go ahead anyways because of cost reasons.

          If it’s true that the other AOA sensor can be connected to the MCAS with a software update though, that is really infuriating. I mean, if it required additional hardware to give some redundancy it would still seem stupid not to go about installing it by default but lack of redundancy due to a lack of a few lines of code?

            1. 737 Pilot

              A simulator is not a real aircraft operating in the real world. It is just a big fancy computer that will simulate what it is programmed to simulate. If you don’t know what the characteristics of a malfunction looks like, you can’t program it.

    2. Acacia

      All of the sensor inputs are already available because the data is used for other aircraft systems.

      I thought the “AOA Disagree” condition occurs when there are two sensors and they are not in agreement, but a second sensor is an optional item that, for example, Ethiopian Air didn’t buy for their 737 MAX — is that correct?

      1. 737 Pilot

        To the best of my knowledge, all 737’s come with two AOA sensors. Actual presentation of the AOA data to the pilots is what appears to be optional.

    3. tegnost

      “High performance jet aircraft (military fighter/attack aircraft) routinely use AOA because they are pressing the edges of the flight envelope”

      DIdn’t the redesign “press the edges of the flight envelope”, requiring info that was not necessary pre re design? engines flat on the bottom and round on top creating lift that the predecessor 737 didn’t have. Wasn’t the MCAS a new system designed to make up for this problem? The redesign pushed up the nose so MCAS was the solution. Looks like it needs some work. To your final sentence there’s the old saw, he jumped off the empire state building and was fine, until he hit the ground. Situation normal…

      1. 737 Pilot

        I would say that the MAX variant was pushing the edges of the design envelope as far as what could be squeezed out of the original aircraft layout, but all commercial aircraft are operated well within the flight envelope, i.e. it should never get near an actual stall condition in normal operations.

      2. tegnost

        anyway, regardless of the technical aspect, some are voting with their wallets…
        FTA…”Ikhsan Rosan, a spokesman for Garuda Indonesia, told The Washington Post the decision to cancel the order was due to “consumers’ low confidence” in the airplanes following the crashes. The order was first announced in October 2014.”

      1. 737 Pilot

        Highly speculative, not not completely uninformed.

        Blowback of hydraulic flight controls is an issue on some aircraft, but I’ve never heard of it applying to the 737 with the exception of the speedbrakes (panels on the wind used to increase drag) on a specific subset of 737 models. However, in this case the blowback effect is intentional to prevent excessive forces at certain weights and speeds.

        That being said, application of full nose up elevator with full nose down trim in a high-speed dive is an extremely unusual situation. I could imagine a number of unforeseen effects (bindings of the stab trim jackscrew, stalling of the stab itself, etc). I assume that the accident investigation will look into these possibilities.

        The most important point, however, is to never get into this situation in the first place.

    4. JEHR

      737 Pilot: thanks for taking the time to explain the workings of the 737 MAX. I think that there should be some heads rolling on this one. Eighteen Canadians lost their lives on the Indonesian airline one of whom was a very important woodsman from Fredericton, NB, where I live. A terrible waste of life that should not have happened. Too much crapification going on.

      1. 737 Pilot

        I tend to agree, however we should let the accident investigation run its course before passing judgement. There are indications of multiple lapses involving not only design and certification, but also airline culture, maintenance practices, and pilot training. Aircraft accidents are rarely the result of a single cause.

  16. Wukchumni

    It’s interesting how the USA is paralleling Atlas Shrugged in some ways, i’ve made mention of passages before that are an indictment of such acolytes of Ayn, i.e. Paul Ryan. A scathing rebuke.

    I haven’t read it since before snowboarding came along, but remember the basic plot line was stuff kept falling apart ala 737 MAX.

    It’s schmaltzy and then some and a slog to get through, with the wrong message at the end, that the Galt’s Gulch gang of .0001%’ers make the best remnant, ye gads.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know, but a usual sign of humility is a person responding ‘I haven’t done much yet,’ or ‘I have much more to do.’

      Then, there is the saying, ‘humans have one mouth and two ears (or two eyes, two hands),’ meaning, I believe, quietly learning (by watching and listening) or accomplishing (doing hands-on). We can think of it as belonging to ‘convention wisdom.’ As we know, it is not always true, especially in a fast moving, rapidly changing world. More so, for many young people (I know I was that way, though I can’t speak for all).

  17. Plenue

    To answer a question MyLessThanPrimeBeef had yesterday, regular Japanese police do have access to guns. But most of them use a downright quaint looking .38 caliber revolver which just in and of itself says a lot about how often they need their guns, and their mindset. No “we need to be able to rapidly empty dozens of rounds into a target” Glock policing like in the US.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Perhaps not quite relevant, but last week I watched Akira Kurosawa’s fantastic detective story Stray Dog, from 1949. The story revolved around a detectives stolen colt. So certainly back then Japanese police carried small concealable firearms.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Great catch, PK! That’s one of my favorite Kurosawa movies and ranks on my all-time favorite movie list. The depiction of post-war Tokyo and the grittiness of the cinematography is one of the best I’ve seen. Mifune and Shimura are at the top of their game. Any fan of Kurosawa, film noir, or just great filmmaking should put Stray Dog on their watchlist.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Also for post-war Japan, especially for occupied Japan, I suggest two films:

          1. Brando’s The Teahouse of August Moon
          2. Pigs and Battleships.

          Perhpas also “House of Bamboo.’

          Don’t recall any or much post war American presence in Stray Dog.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            There are no Americans shown directly in Stray Dog, but there are numerous references to the US presence culturally. There is one scene showing some US soldiers in a jeep racing through a residential area.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In contrast with say, Pigs and Battleships.

              Right off, the title connects US warships to pigs, though not differnt from other animals, are often portrayed negatively.

              Then, the film goes on about the corrupting influence on the natives as they tried to raise pigs with inside help from people in the US military base.

              That’s taking on post-war Japan and its occupation head on.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            There are any number of terrific films showing life in post war Japan – several Kurosawa ones (Drunken Angel, Scandal, One Wonderful Sunday, No Regrets for our Youth, Ikiru), and wonderful Ozu ones such as The Record of a Tenement Gentleman and Late Spring. Also set (and filmed) in the period, I’d recommend Mikio Naruses’ Repast and Mizoguchi’s The Lady of Musashino.

            This wasn’t known as the Golden Age of Japanese cinema for nothing – they were producing masterpieces every year, and under Occupation censorship were particularly good at making sly but unmistakable commentaries on Japans relationship to the US.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That censorship perahps explains the lack of movies from that time about the Hibakusha.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Thats true of course, although if you look carefully in the films there are often hints thrown in at un named traumas. This is particularly so in Ozu’s films where the war trauma of civilians is often a great ‘unspoken’ behind the characters motivations.

            2. Baby Gerald

              Thanks for all the recommendations, MLTPB and PK. Was going to mention House Of Bamboo, with Robert Stack and Robert Ryan. That one, if I recall correctly, was the first Hollywood movie filmed in Japan in its entirety. It’s a pretty solid gangster movie with excellent color cinematography and lots of pachinko parlors, but not quite at the level of Stray Dog.

              I have also seen the brilliant Ikiru and Scandal, as well as the somewhat later High And Low. Yasujirô Ozu is a relatively new discovery for me. Thanks to a short run of his work on TCM’s Sunday night foreign film block, I’ve seen Record Of A Tenement Gentleman and have Tokyo Story, and Tokyo Twilight saved on my DVR, along with Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel.

              I’ve yet to see Teahouse but have heard good things and haven’t heard of Pigs and Battleships but with the quality level of the films mentioned will definitely add them to my queue.

              This thread has me itching to watch them all this weekend. Thanks again!

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                You’re welcome, Gerald. I, myself, have learned a lot here from other posters.

                All Ozo films (or most) are good, in my opinion. There isn’t one I don’t like, and personally, I like his movies more than Akira’s. (Sorry, Kurosawa fans). He made Floating Weeds twice, once in the 30’s and once in 1959. Both are good…and the title Floating Weeds (Ukigusa) evokes the more known word “Ukiyo” (or Floating/Fleeting/Transient World).

                You might also like Twenty Four Eyes (directed by Kinoshita)…kind of like Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Ozu’s films are truly wonderful – I particularly love Late Spring and Tokyo Story, there are unfathomable depths to those two seemingly simple tales. Both Floating Weeds are great, I love the later colour one in particular.

                  I must admit I disliked 24 Eyes (which was enormously popular in Japan) as for me it descends into unearned sentimentality. Kinoshita lacked the toughness of vision of Ozu or Kurosawa in my opinion.

      2. Lee

        That’s a Kurosawa film I’ve not seen. So far, it looks like Amazon is the only possibility for my seeing it here on the left coast of the U.S. It looks like Mr. Bezos will insert himself between every consumer and every provider on earth before he’s done. He will have surpassed concentration, achieved ubiquity, and become a living god.

        1. voteforno6

          Not necessarily…if you’re interested in physical media, you can get it from the Criterion Collection. They’re also starting up their own streaming service in a couple weeks, so you might be able to find it there as well. Also, it doesn’t hurt to check in on TCM every now and then – they do show a fair number of foreign classics.

          1. LO

            The Criterion Channel does look like it will b a very good and cost effective possibility for streaming items like Stray Dog when it starts up April 8. When their films were available on the late, lamented Filmstruck it made a lot of otherwise hard to find but valuable movies very accessible. See

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Sadly, most Kurosawa films (and other great Japanese films) are very hard to get to see unless you want to invest in the expensive (but very high quality) Criterion dvd’s, or BFI in Region 2.

          I’m not sure the precise reason they are so hard to get, but I think its less to do with Amazon than the determination of various historic rights holders to squeeze money from their assets. Its very disappointing that the growth of streaming hasn’t always led to more classic older films being made available – if anything its gotten worse now that specialist DVD rental libraries are going out of business.

          1. Alex

            Up to you obviously but since Kurosawa and most of others who created these films are long dead I don’t have much qualms about watching them without paying copyright holders.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Yes, there are lots of alternative ways of viewing, but its worth pointing out that Criterion put a lot of resources into restoration work. There is a huge quality difference between their DVD’s and most streams. Its often a revelation to see a properly cleaned up version, the cinematography of some of those movies is often wonderful.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks again.

      Perhaps the UK is the only place with gunless (regular) police?

      I also wonder if this Japanes policy evolved from the Edo (or earlier) period, with sword-carrying samurai-police.

        1. barrisj

          Interestingly enough, many Scandinavian crime dramas and police procedurals (available in US via MHZ Choice) always have the coppers carrying, without the necessity of first signing out from a weapons room…perhaps this just “artistic license”, but we’ve seen enough Glocks and Berettas in use to suggest this is a sanctioned practice in Sweden or Norway, or so the film-makers would have us believe.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I can’t remember how many times the young detective sergeant Morse chased down gun-toting bad guys around Oxford in the series, Endeavour, unarmed.

    1. Lee

      Yes, confining wild populations to unconnected archipelagos, or gulags if you will, is a prescription for extirpation and extinction.

    2. JEHR

      Thanks for this link. I live in Canada and I knew there were many projects for helping animals cross highways (BC) and I knew there were mountain cariboo in BC that were having a hard time surviving, but I am really impressed with the work of the people from the US to Yukon taking on such a big project. It is the best thing I have heard about today!

  18. Wukchumni

    In moderation
    We trust all others pay cash*
    How are you doing?

    *this haiku is in no way connected to the pay to comment scandal not yet currently known, but expected in lieu of recent college admission pay to stays, or as I term them:


    1. Wukchumni

      We were in Prague about 20 years ago, 5 of us in this little Spanish car that barely held us all, in search of a restaurant the location of beguiled our hapless hackney, and this is at night, and we drove on the sidewalk for about 1/4 mile-which was a first and hopefully last, followed by the taxi driver coming an abrupt halt in the middle of the road when a rabbit showed up as if on cue in our ride through the looking glass of the windows.

    1. Lee

      Is that a BFD or am I being overly optimistic? I don’t know how large the L.A. county market for this product is, but it would seem to have serious symbolic value. Then there’s this from the article:

      California court awarded plaintiff Dewayne Johnson $289 million last August, ruling the popular herbicide also caused his non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The payout was later reduced to $78 million, but it opened the floodgates for upwards of 9,300 similar lawsuits against Bayer.

      I’m sure a lot of people at Bayer are taking two aspirin, going to bed, and wondering who they should call in the morning.

      1. Carey

        Seems like a big deal to me. Damn sure hope so.

        “We’re a supra-national Corporation, and we have a right to kill you for profit.”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Researchers embrace a radical idea: engineering coral to cope with climate change”

    Creating breeds of coral that can withstand underwater heat waves sounds a very interesting idea. But will the rising sea levels be a factor here? This would mean that those coral reefs would find themselves in deeper water than they would be accustomed to so would that be a factor?

    To a lot of people, that image of all those bunnies in today’s Antidote du jour would look cute but not necessarily so in Oz. Where is a good BLU-82B “Daisy Cutter” when you need one?

  20. notabanker

    $840 million in crop and livestock losses in Nebraska.
    US farming contributes $136.7 B to GDP.

    Land area for farming has decreased 3.7% since 2000.

    90% of $10B FL citrus crop infected with citrus greening virus.

    Net cash farm income down 10% in 2018. NOAA estimated that from January to December, California’s acres showing signs of drought increased 48 percent.

    NC Hurricane Florence damage $1.1B in 2018.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In his desire to improve the economic climate, Clinton during the past decade has used tax breaks, development grants and at times lenient environmental regulations to turn the state into a comfort zone for industry, including some heavy polluters.

      Guess who likes Tyson’s chicken!?!?

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Personally, having read up on Tyson decades ago, I wouldn’t eat anything they produced if I were starving to death.

    1. barrisj

      I nominate Larry Kudlow, hands-down, and currently El Caudillo’s chief economic adviser.

  21. prodigalson

    Trump’s civil workforce changes are suicidal going into an election year. For better or worse a lot of swing and red states have local economies that will literally go bankrupt en-mass if these changes go through. The COLA change alone would do a 10k or more pay decrease almost across the board and overnight, likely a lot more for expensive cities. Even deep red states like Texas would feel a lot of pain around every military base it has. Likewise if he think the deepstate doesn’t like him now, he’d have the entirety of literally everyone in DoJ, FBI, CIA, ATF, border patrol, DHS, actively gunning for him, to include his former supporters since the COLA changes plus the retirement and health insurance changes = bankruptcy and foreclosure for pretty much everyone at every single govt agency, whether DoD, NASA, etc across the entire country. This would be on par with when the USSR went belly up and stopped funding its large state admins.

    As an example the only thing keeping the Ohio corridor afloat from Columbus to Cincinatti are tens of thousands of govt jobs around wright-patt AFB in Dayton. These pay changes would cause a wave of bakruptcies and foreclosures on par with the financial crisis that would sink the entire region outside of these cities. As a swing state, that entire region, which voted for Trump in large part, will vote against him out of self defense. (R) candidates in Ohio like Rob Portman and Steve Chabot would have to fight tooth and claw against Trump or face electoral suicide if they voted for these changes in the budget. (D) Sherod Brown would win re-election in the future with zero effort. Mike DeWine the (R) governor would be toast.

    Trump is the reverse midas touch. He’s seems deeply invested in making sure *everyone* wants him in jail once he leaves office and no longer has the legal protections afforded to the president while he’s in office.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “What a Military Intervention in Venezuela Would Look Like”

    It’s late here so I will just wing my comment here. This is just nuts. Has the author of this piece considered the logistics of putting together an invasion force? No country is going to host an invasion force as that would invite years long retaliation by Venezuelan forces in a guerrilla war in that country. And supposing they did. How long did it take the US to assemble an invasion force for Iraq? Was it 6 months or was it 12 months? Venezuela would not just sit back and watch this happening but would take all sorts of countermeasures. And if the US tries to invade by sea, is there any guarantee that the Venezuelans don’t have missiles that might sink a transport or two? And how any fighters would stream in from all over South America to get a chance to gain combat experience fighting the yanquis?
    And supposing the US did invade. Remember that the US is having all sorts of trouble trying to get allies – or anyone – to take part. Know what the Venezuelan strategy would likely be? To make the US pay a price. How would they do that? Like the Iraqi resistance. By killing as many American soldiers as possible at every opportunity. And what happens if before the US sends in forces that the Russians and Chinese send in their forces to help out. Would even Bolton risk attacking troops from these countries. Would the US be able to ship out any oil at all with constant attacks? How safe would any American be if sent by their corporations to take over. The US has spent the past twenty years fighting in deserts. Are they ready to go back to the jungle again Vietnam-style? When the author says “But in this case, the social, economic, and security costs of intervening far outweigh the benefits.” they should give him a rifle and tin hat and say “OK buddy – you first.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Like the Iraqi resistance.

      Unlike the Iraqi resistance:

      -there won’t be Baathist defections where they expect the U.S. to leave with a Marshal Plan left behind. Iraq, Libya, and now Syria put this fantasy to rest.
      -even if the U.S. breaks the organized Venezuelan regular army which I doubt. Any Resistance will be much more organized. Iragi insurgents routinely took on insane targets in half hazard fashion.
      Are they ready to go back to the jungle again Vietnam-style? The potential for this is huge.

      My suspicion is the neocons decided to blame Paul Bremer for mismanagement because if the problem with Iraq was the decision to invade Iraq then many of these guys should be in the Hague.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Colombia has already tacitly volunteered to be an invasion base, as they have been trying to foment guerrilla warfare in Venezuela since they sold out to the US a while back. You’ll have noticed that, except for the planeload of weapons from Miami, where a large congregation of right-wing ex-pats is ensconced, all of the activity to date has originated in Colombia.

      I understand that, in preparation for this, and not incidentally to address the black market between the two countries, Maduro has been beefing up border security.

      And then, of course, there’s Brazil, whose president just conveniently visited the US to much acclaim. Simultaneous incursions from both directions would force Maduro into fighting on two fronts, which as we know rarely works out well.

      As for the aquatic scenario, I believe the Russians have a few boats junketing about; not sure about the Chinese. However, I’m less sanguine the US would back off from challenging those two, as I’ve seen mutterings about “Cuban missile crisis” more than once. And given there’s a Democrat-sponsored bill in the House that would prohibit the US from ever accepting the annexation of the Crimea, poking the Bear with a sharp stick doesn’t seem to bother our enlightened politicians.

  23. Wukchumni

    If you’re in the ‘hood, the most famous man in town will be having a this is your life session tomorrow @ 11 am @ the Three Rivers cemetery, in that a historical account will be given of an adventurer’s adventurer, who squeezed half a dozen lifetimes into 1.

    “I know Burnham. He is a scout and a hunter of courage and ability, a man totally without fear, a sure shot, and a fighter. He is the ideal scout, and when enlisted in the military service of any country he is bound to be of the greatest benefit.”
    —President Theodore Roosevelt, 1901

    Sir H. Rider Haggard, inventor of the lost world literary genre, was heavily influenced by the larger than life adventures of his friend Burnham as he penned his fictional hero Allan Quatermain. There are many similarities between these two African explorers: both sought and discovered ancient treasures and civilizations, both battled large wild animals and native peoples, both were renowned for their ability to track, even at night, and both had similar nicknames: Quatermain was dubbed “Watcher-by-Night”, while Burnham was called “He-who-sees-in-the-dark”

  24. Summer

    Re: Venezuela / Coup by narrative control

    While that has always been a part of the coup playbook, if this is the first coup to be done totally by narrative it’s also partly a test.
    If it fails, expect swift and big changes to internet access.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bernie Sanders says it’s better to give birth in Finland than the U.S. He’s right. WaPo. Mirabile dictu, a positive post about Sanders in WaPo!

    Question from yesterday’s happiest nations article: Why aren’t there more American immigrants in Finland?

    And will Sanders inspire birth tourism in Finland for USians?

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Executives in custody as China chemical plant explosion death toll reaches 47, with 640 injured South China Morning Post. Oddly, or not, there seems to be no talk of arresting the executives responsible for the petrochemical fire in Houston.


    I think it’s an issue of trust.

    Do we trust that they have evidence in Jiansu for those arrests?

    Or maybe we suspect people are presumed guilty in China, if there is no trust that evidence exists at this time.

    Do we trust that the police in Houston don’t have any evidence, currently, to arrest anyone? Assuming, here, the presumption of innocence.

    1. djrichard

      Wonder why the Fed Reserve doesn’t just unload more from their store of treasuries into all this demand, to drive yields on the long end of the curve back up.

  27. allan

    Treasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers [The Hill]

    The Treasury Department announced Friday that it will provide penalty relief to more taxpayers who didn’t have enough taxes withheld from their paychecks in 2018 after pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to do so.

    The department announced that it will waive penalties for people who paid at least 80 percent of their tax liability during the year through withholding or estimated tax payments.

    The usual threshold is 90 percent. The IRS said in January that it would lower the threshold to 85 percent and is now lowering it even further. …

    Some Democrats have alleged that Treasury in early 2018 manipulated the withholding tables for political purposes, so that people would see bigger paychecks ahead of the midterm elections even if they then had a balance due to the IRS when they filed their taxes this spring. …

    Correction, Hill journalist: Some outside tax experts alleged at the time that Treasury manipulated the withholding tables for political purposes. Anyone who was following this knew what was going on, and what has unfolded this fling season was completely predictable.

  28. James Graham

    That federal judge might “demand” people explain the effects of drilling on climate change but anyone with an ounce of two of common sense knows that such projections would not be worth the paper they’re printed on.

    Hint #1: climate is very, very complicated.

    hint #2: any imaginable drilling program’s effect on climate would be insignificant.

  29. crittermom

    >Health Care: “Pharma & Insurance Gave 43M…”

    My rep is on the list.
    I’m not surprised. I had the opportunity to meet her last Fall when she visited our city during her campaign.

    She’s pretty, personable & polished. I was anxious for my assessment in person & disappointed to leave with a feeling of her being ‘too polished’ for my taste despite her portrayed appearance of a ‘homegrown regular person’.

    When I told her I was for M4A & asked her views, she said I wouldn’t like her answer. She wants a slower transition & expansion of the ACA regarding medical coverage, so doesn’t support it.

    She seemed anxious to move on to greeting others (more agreeable?) so my questions were abruptly ended.
    She then eyed me warily as I proceeded to follow her around a while taking photos of her.

    She still got my vote as she was remained far, far more appealing than her opponent, but I wasn’t surprised (only saddened) to see her on the list.

    LOTE once again? *heavy sigh*

  30. Matthew G. Saroff

    That liquidity comment from the JP Morgan bloke sounds like he has a solution that he wants to sell us.

  31. a different chris

    So Steve Bannon has weighed in on the “two most dangerous” candidates for Trump to face. Yup, you got it: O’Rourke and Kamela.

    There is something said about “letting your enemy make a mistake” that applies here, but Bannon I guess thinks he can help a bit. The takeaway is that Bannon apparently isn’t mad enough at Trump to wish a real opponent on him. Anyway, I either ol’ Steve isn’t as smart as we think he is, as this should set off alarm bells as per the above across the entire Dem establishment, or unfortunately more likely the Dem establishment is stupider than could ever be imagined and actually think Bannon is right.

    Oh god.

    1. Carey

      Yeah, I think Bannon was having some fun there. As was mentioned here yesterday,
      can you imagine an I’m a lightweight!O’Rourke v Trump “debate”?

      no labels bring people together


  32. Stratos

    RE: Afro-Pessimism and the (Un)Logic of Anti-Blackness by Annie Olaloku-Teriba

    Afro-Pessimism and the Logic of anti-Blackness are quite understandable.

    If a group of people have been kicked around long enough by everyone else, including by their putative African cousins, they will eventually respond with pessimism and a degree of insularity. Their pessimism and insularity has been deepened by a series of traumatic shocks such as:

    * losing millions of jobs and homes after the 2008 Financial Meltdown that have not been recovered.

    * enduring massive theft by Civil Asset Forfeiture and other shakedown schemes by State actors.

    * constant cultural and linguistic appropriation by the same groups that criticize and label Black people as ‘lazy’, ‘stupid’ or refer to them as “Akata“, Yoruba (Nigerian) for wild cat.

    * reversal of key elements of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the Voting Rights Act.

    * realizing that other groups expect (no, demand) solidarity from Black people when they are in the hot seat, but fail to lend solidarity when Black people face travails (otherwise known as, if you want to have a friend, be a friend).

    * the utter impunity of State Violence workers when they are caught on video killing Black people.

    *I could go on….

    While Afro-Pessimism may seem illogical to Olaloku-Teriba, it is very logical to the people who have been affected by anti-Blackness since 1676.

  33. Carey

    Larry the cat-antidote: “annoyedly pensive”? I’m sure someone can do better than that take, but it’s a start.

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