Links 3/6/19

See a salamander grow from a single cell National Geographic (guurst)

The Universe’s Ultimate Complexity Revealed by Simple Quantum Games Quanta (David L)

Study: Nuking Asteroids Into Smithereens Harder Than Previously Thought Sputnik (Kevin W)

‘We cannot swim, we cannot eat’: Solomon Islands struggle with nation’s worst oil spill Guardian (David L)

Record-breaking device uses sunlight to produce hydrogen at 15% efficiency New Atlas (David L)

Pacific Northwest Relying On Nuclear Energy During Cold Snap Forbes

How Automated Tools Discriminate Against Black Language OneZero (Dr. Kevin)

Amazon’s Charity Funds Anti-Vaxxers New York Magazine (resilc)

Novel mechanism explains how sleep repairs damaged DNA in the brain New Atlas (David L)

After 40 years in solitary confinement, activist Albert Woodfox tells his story of survival Guardian (resilc)

Fast-Acting Depression Drug, Newly Approved, Could Help Millions New York Times (David L)

North Korea

Bolton Warns North Korea of More Sanctions If It Doesn’t Budge Bloomberg

North Korea rebuilds part of launch site it promised the US it would dismantle Guardian


Stupid, Stupid, Stupid English Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch (resilc)

Ignorance-Inspired Brexit Imperial Nostalgia Triple Crisis


Why a Coup Is Unlikely in Venezuela New Republic

New Cold War

Widening Russia Money Laundering Scandal Hits Europe Bank Shares Bloomberg (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

FBI Director Christopher Wray On Encryption: We Can’t Have an ‘Entirely Unfettered Space Beyond the Reach of Law Enforcement’ CNET. Glad to have that clear.

Disputed N.S.A. Phone Program Is Shut Down, Aide Says New York Times (David L). Bill B points out:

The lack of hue and cry regarding the USA Freedom Act indicates that spies have [secretly] established more effective ways to get the same data. Snowden was largely a public relations crisis for elites: CEOs assumed combative stances, lawmakers proposed empty statutes to “fix” things, and spies went to ground.

If anything, things have gotten worse. The apex predators of our system will need it to keep a lid on things as the economic strip-mining continues.

The Cybersecurity Industry Makes Millions, But Is It Keeping Us Safe? Motherboard (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump signals White House won’t comply with Democratic probes The Hill

More Migrant Families Arrested at Border in Five Months Than Any Previous Full Year Wall Street Journal

T-Mobile spent $195,000 at Trump Hotel in D.C. since merger announcement Reuters (resilc)

Evidence Grows That Trump’s Trade Wars Are Hitting U.S. Economy Bloomberg (resilc)

Tariff-Man Trump to Preside Over $100 Billion Jump in Trade Gap Bloomberg

Polls Show Trump Holding Base And Even Improving Among Voters Jonathan Turley

Space Force or Netflix Farce? American Conservative (resilc)

Omar Mugging

The Zionist Caucus’s Political Lynching of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Ghion Journal. Chuck L: “Representative Omar should go to the well of the House and read Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to her peers.”


Bloomberg will not run for president in 2020 The Hill

Democrats Continue Campaign To Reelect Trump Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

A Clinton-era Centrist Democratic explains why it’s time to give democratic socialists a chance Vox (Gary O, Robert T).

On MSNBC Right Now…As Always, Much More to Say to Say Than I Could Brad DeLong (Robert T)

What Makes Fox News So Dangerous Washington Monthly (resilc)

Silicon Valley lobbies hard to kill off California privacy rules Financial Times (David L)

The Supreme Court gives a mixed message on the separation of church and state Economist (David L)

Fake News

This Viral Video of Ducks Waiting for a Green Light to Cross the Street Is Totally Fake Gizmodo (chuck419). But cute!

Why Only Fools Trust America’s Mainstream ‘News’ Media After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq The Saker (Kevin W)

New data detail soaring costs of California school pensions EdSource (jpr). CalSTRS has had higher returns than CalPERS, but the legislature sets the level of school system annual contribution, and they’ve been too low for too long.

Limits on Wall Street Pay Are Back on Regulators’ Agenda Wall Street Journal


Krugman a Keynesian? No way! Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly)

Memo to Bernie and AOC: Debt and deficits still matter The Age (EM). Mind you, the spat is getting attention in Oz.

Bianchi and Mondragon: Monetary Independence and Rollover Crises Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Research Division. UserFriendly: “How to say MMT was right without eating crow.

Class Warfare

NYC Taxi and Ridehailing App Usage Dashboard Todd W Schneider

JPMorgan Backs Away From Private Prison Finance US News

Disclosing bed bug infestation to potential tenants can save landlords money PhysOrg (Dr. Kevin)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Happy year of the Pig! This is little (?) Princess, my brother and sister-in-law’s ‘child’, my niece.”

And a bonus. This bird cracks me up. If you listen carefully, she is giving more than just f-bombs, like “I warned you”.

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Darius

    Bloomberg must have had someone crunch the numbers and realized he doesn’t have a base outside some overpaid pundits. I actually am impressed if his intellect checked his ego. Unlike that Starbuck’s jackass.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In fairness to Schultz, this took two cycles for Bloomberg, and HRC, the inevitable, was there in 2016. Though my guess is the Sanders rallies indicated more than anti-HRC support and more of larger rejection of the Third Way. Bloomberg as a Republican everyday of the Shrub Administration might appeal to the #resistance leaders such as David Frum and Joe Scarborough.

      A million emails after asking for volunteers. You can’t out spend this. Then the donations. It’s just Sanders too (and Killer Mike), but Sanders support isn’t being delivered by other electeds. And he isn’t a natural cult figure. It’s not accidental support.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is a suspicion. a hypothesis, that Hillary will reluctantly agree to being drafted, in order to unite a divided party, at the convention.

        In that care, perhaps Bloomberg is aware of it. Since he is spending his own money, or likely will, he is too smart to waste it like that.

    2. Morgan Everett

      We escaped Eric Holder too. I’m still holding out for Biden deciding he wants to spend his dotage with his family, rather than running again (though I’m a little worried that the second he does, we’ll go straight to Kamala is the frontrunner).

      1. Grant

        The Biden thing, to me, is just a reflection that there are people in the Democratic Party that supported Clinton last time around that are still there supporting the same old garbage. Biden ran in the past when his party and the political center of gravity was closer to where he was, and he did horribly. He, on policy and worldview, is a dinosaur. So, the idea that even though he crashed and burned last time around, he will not this time around when the political center of gravity and his own party is much farther away from him on policy and ideology seems a bit odd. Given his record and worldview, I think it is likely that he will quickly tank. Bernie being an old white guy isn’t nearly as much of an issue because of the policies he supports, how he has inspired people to run and his record, going back decades. Biden doesn’t have any of that. He is not just old himself, but his ideas and worldview are not very current. Sadly, so are many people that vote in his party’s primaries, so who knows. The Democrats have a gift for making horrible decisions.

    3. Roger Smith

      Who would have though no one gave a hoot about some rich old fool? I mean, “it’s a crowded race.” Yea, let’s go with that.

      2020: like watching a 2 mile track race at a retirement home.

  2. Wukchumni

    Disclosing bed bug infestation to potential tenants can save landlords money PhysOrg
    A couple of motels here have had bedbug issues in the past-as per Trip Adviser reviews, but they seem to have remedied the situation as of late, for when your ex-customers share photos of fresh bug bites all over their arms, it’s a real turn off.

    Coming to see the largest trees on this good orb?

    Don’t stay @ either of these motels, the latter in particular…

    A Trip Adviser review of the Comfort Inn from 2014:

    This place would be fine and get a good review if not for the bed bug infestation. The rooms appeared clean and comfortable. The staff friendly and accommodating. We stayed 2 nights. The first morning we woke up and noticed some old blood stains on the bed linens but thought nothing of it until I killed a bug in the bed and one by the bed on the wall. Both were full of blood and we mistook them for dog ticks. We informed the management and moved to a different room. The following morning we woke up with many bites on our arms, hands and legs. It was not until after we had checked out and done some research online that we realized that the bugs we killed and bites we suffered are indeed from bed bugs!!! I also found 3 other complaints about this motel on the bed bug online registry.

    And the Western Holiday Lodge from 2011:

    I prepaid three nights. We arrived late evening. The room was run down and dirty. It smelled. After putting my son to sleep. I started to unpack and noticed a bug on my bed so I looked on the sheets. I found 4 bed bugs crawling. I pulled the covers off my sons bed and saw 5-6 bed bugs crawling around him. The owner did not even seem surprised. He just offered another room. Which I turned down but his offer protected him from having to refund me; which I did not find out until later. He has had this problem for years and does not care. This I know because we left at 3:00am , came back the next day to get refund at 2:00pm and he had a no Vacancy sign and had rented the room out already. Also found reports of bed bugs at this hotel from dating back to 2006.

    Isn’t it interesting that here we are in the midst of the insect rapture, and bed bugs which never was an issue when staying @ motels, now is. A modest search of Comfort Inn reviews across the country, nets you plenty of results.

    1. Lee

      In other motel news, the following is from a segment on news comedy quiz radio program Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. One of the panelists happens to be Tom Bodett, longtime spokesperson for Motel 6.


      Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week’s news. Paula, this week, a man in Texas proposed a novel idea for seniors who are considering moving into a retirement home. He calculated they could save a lot of money by doing what instead?


      SAGAL: Hmm.

      POUNDSTONE: Can I have a hint?

      SAGAL: Well, you have to ask the bellboy to bring up all of your belongings.

      POUNDSTONE: Oh, right – by moving into a hotel.

      SAGAL: Specifically a Holiday Inn.


      SAGAL: It’s the Holiday Inn theory. Although any budget motel would do – Days Inn, Days Numbered…


      SAGAL: …Motel 6 Feet Under.


      FAITH SALIE: We’ll turn the light off for you.


      TOM BODETT: End of Days Inn – I just – like, you just…


      BODETT: Once you start, you…


      SAGAL: Yeah, I know.

      POUNDSTONE: They check in, but they don’t check out.

      SAGAL: Pretty much.


      SAGAL: You know, the Holiday Inn – it’s already set up. They’ve got rooms. They’ve got a little dining area. You know, they’ve got cleaning staff. They don’t have to make any changes. They’ll just change that door hanger to do not disturb or resuscitate.


      BODETT: Yes. Yeah.

      SAGAL: When you get down to it, the only difference between this and a nursing home is how quickly they find your body.


      BODETT: Oh, yeah. That one kills.

      SAGAL: Yeah.

    2. cm

      Related, I was doing a cross-state move w/ my cat. We stayed at Motel 6 one night, and for the first and only time in his life, he got fleas. Gross!!!!

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Because no DDT anymore.

      Chicago also has strict requirements and I had $1500 worth of treatment and a very stressful two months between when I found out someone who was helping me pack and spent the night brought in bedbugs and the day I did the walk-through with the tenants I rented my place to when I moved down here.

      Actually the stress didn’t end there since AFTER taking possession when I was already in North Carolina they told me they had put their stuff in storage for a month until a sniffer dog test could be done (since it was too close to the last treatment for the dog when they took possession). Cost me about $2000 sharing their storage costs and paying for the dog.

      Clean bill of health but it was traumatic actually, being in the middle of moving out of my home of 20 years and having to sleep on a mattress on the floor of my bedroom to ensure if they were there they would be drawn out. ?

      The bed itself had to be tossed, totally infested. Luckily they were and remained confined to that room through my hypervigilance. I would go with revulsion to bed and then sure enough after a few days I would see one again. I had to disinfect myself with peppermint oil (couldn’t shower cuz they were retiling the wall around the tub and putting in a new window cuz the old one was water-damaged in anticipation of renting) quick toss my gown in the hot dryer, and go through the grueling process of arguing with the exterminators about the fact that they weren’t gone yet.

      I think I had PTSD after that summer, kept seeing little specks everywhere. It was one of the most horrible things I have been through, mainly because of the pressure of the rental/move. But hallelujah I didn’t bring any down with me and my vigilance prevented them from spreading too.

  3. milesc

    RE “FBI Director Christopher Wray On Encryption: We Can’t Have an ‘Entirely Unfettered Space Beyond the Reach of Law Enforcement’ CNET.”

    The encryption and related sciences genie is out of the bottle. That does not prevent good, old fashioned police work, of course.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      That would take work and time. They want a system where they already have all the information, they just have to sift through it. Too bad the Bill of Rights gets in the way of that sometimes.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    ive been drinking coffee in the car, listening to the san antonio NPR…BBC early, then “Texas Public Radio”.
    I keep thinking about Dmitri Orlov…the propaganda is thick and sticks to everything…Pravda, indeed.
    BBC had a segment about latin american history…to provide “context” to the current BS in Venezuela. they started by talking about Daniel Ortega…how he replaced the “american supported dictator, Samoza…”(so far, so good)…then segued into Ortega’s daughter’s accusation of abuse. the rest of the segment was about how that damned commie was a child molester, and how that defines him, and his movement totally.
    the implication was that “socialism=Communism=rape and pedophilia”, ergo, Venezuela needs us to save it.
    Then,later, TPR had a Jewish woman on(the way she talked gave her Jewishness away) damning Omar with faint praise. apparently, Omar’s words sound different to other people.
    (I heard no “antisemitism”, at all…merely a restating of the obvious)
    then it’s on to reiterating msnbc’s misapprehension of Bernie’s speech as containing insufficient IdPol checkboxes…again, I heard something entirely different,lol.
    I am struck by how different the world looks from within the MSM….and how easily it is to rebut that worldview…and yet, how impossible such a rebuttal is. evidence….even video evidence…is just ignored.
    double down on the painted veil…”this is Reality, Citizen”…
    it’s sickening.
    for all the wailing about trumpian Post-Truth, and “Fake News”, the torrent of purposeful confusion and universal gaslighting is a bipartisan affair.
    Enlightenment eats itself.

    1. zagonostra

      I gave up on NPR and other MSM years ago. Yet, there is still the tendency while in the car to take out the USB and listen to the news on NPR. Invariably the USB goes back in after less than 5 minutes.

      What is curious is that even though most people are skeptical they continue to tune in. I think it is a psychological need to be connected to a shared social environment. I notice this especially with older folks who have the T.V. turned on even when guest come to visit. Often Fox will be on with the sound off, or if you go to a local eatery T.Vs are on in every corner with everyone completely oblivious to what is being broadcast.

      So I don’t think it’s about “Fake News” or “Real News” anymore, it’s about something else…don’t know how to describe it without going off on a tangent on McLuhan, Jean Baudrillard, Boorstein, etc…

      1. amfortas the hippie

        aye. baudrillard, et al have been on my mind for a long while. the Matrix is real.
        i only hear radio in the car… and most of time, the music in my head is sufficient. i get tv when i go to moms.
        being disconnected from the all encompassing Natrative makes it feel all that much more surreal when i do encounter it.
        hotel has free usatoday… shocking simplicty… the outlook from the back of a turnip truck. no wonder everyone is so confused, ignorant and hysterical

        1. marcyincny

          “being disconnected from the all encompassing Natrative makes it feel all that much more surreal when i do encounter it.”

          Oh so true! When we see a clip from an MSM source on Jimmy Dore or The Rational National we feel like we’re watching something from “Laugh In” or SNL.

        2. cuibono

          having had no TV for 14 years when I have mistakenly turned one on in a Hotel room it truly feels like I have fallen down some really twisted rabbit hole.

      2. jrs

        NPR (neoliberal public radio) is thick in the propaganda department. Personally, I’m as inclined to believe people tune in out of sheer boredom in long boring commutes as for any other reason though. Commuting 2 hours every work day as I do gets pretty boring pretty fast, and radio is at least free as in beer, even if it’s that cheap awful beer you want to spit out after a few swigs.

        1. LifelongLib

          You have to distinguish between NPR and your local public radio station though. During the debates over ObamaCare, the public radio station here in Hawaii was running locally-produced programs supporting single payer. Their local music programs are in my opinion better than the ones they get from NPR too. Obviously this will vary from place to place but I wouldn’t write off public radio altogether, even if you don’t like NPR.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            no doubt…in Houston, that’s the Pacifica station, 90.1, kpft.
            at least it is intermittently, over long intervals–I only go maybe twice a year.
            and I contrive that we leave at 5 0r 6 sunday mornings, to catch the blues and jazz programs.(takes a while to cross the greater houston area, even early sunday morning)
            at times, they’ve had black gospel and zydeco.
            other times, they’ve been harried by a certain militant enviro…on the bus, or off the bus.
            npr still has a lot of cool things, but it’s definitely drunk the koolaide.
            I’d rather have more of a free for all on Our Air.
            smaller wattages, and more stations.
            instead of a few big un’s, a bunch of little un’s.

      3. Harry

        Very true. So what can I listen to in the car? What will inform me without revolting me or getting me angry?

        Cos it aint NPR Boston or the BBC.

    2. ChrisS

      Ye gods! I heard the woman on morning edition tut-tuting Rep. Omar. That was just plain awful – it was good to know that according to her being Jewish while white means that one does not have white privilege.

      I also heard the BBC thing. Good to know that Ortega is suddenly a child molester now that the US is threatening “regime change” there now as well.

      I find myself these days listening to a lot more music and a lot less NPR news when driving.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not the way to go, I believe, to talk about people pusing for ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ (I believe there were the exact words).

      Historically, it has been mis-used on people with foreign sounding names, for example.

      1. Phenix

        Many of Omar’s comments lack polish. She says the right things but always leaves herself open to easy counter attacks.

        Scott Horton, editor is not impressed with her even though he supports her foreign policy views. I believe he called her a flake.

        I have not listened to the freshman class enough but none see impressive in foreign policy.

        If I was on her staff I would have reached out to Phillip Weiss or Adam Horowitz the co-editors of mondoweiss for talking points. She has a chance to destroy AIPAC but she is not prepared to do it. No one on the left has the language. I hope the Paleo-conservatives take this as an opportunity to take AIPAC down a peg.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not just leaving herself to easy counter attacks, but making Japanese Americans (for example) uncomfortable, or reminding them of something imfamous from more than 50 years ago, though none has attacked her (as far as I know).

        2. Olga

          Well, Hillary is polished…. but methinks I’d rather listen to Omar in all her “unpolishness,” but at least she’s honest. (And on NPR, Marko (I know, too lazy to change the station in the car) played her entire statement that has everybody’s knickers in a twist and I could not detect anything untoward in it. She stated the truth. The Israeli rabbi (a woman) accused her of calling I. evil, but there was absolutely nothing along those lines in O’s speech.)

      2. GramSci

        Yes, but AOC was being *specific* when she said

        It’s not the way to go, I believe, to talk about people pusing for ‘allegiance to a foreign country.

        She meant “Israel”, and most people seem to understand that clearly. Yes, there are many peaceful Israeli individuals. Most people get that, too. But AOC was peaking about the “foreign country”, not individual Jews.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeeff

          I think it was Omar, not Ocasio-Cortez.

          And this is what she said:

          I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”.

          I read it to mean any country, Japan, Russia, the Vatican, etc., or can be used as a precedent for any country.

      3. GF

        Does anyone know if Jared Kushner has dual Israeli citizenship? And, how many government “employees” have both Israeli and US citizenship? Isn’t there some law against them being government employees?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          This from nbcnews, 2 days ago:

          House to vote on anti-Semitism measure after Rep. Omar’s Israel …
          2 days ago – Omar said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”.

          Not just government employees pushing for allegiance to a foreign country.

          Private citizens are included.

          1. wellwhadyaknow

            so its OK for private citizens to push congress for allegiance to another country?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It’s more a concern that private citizens are accused of allegiance to a foreign country. (See the Scottish American example below, for one, or Japanese Americans, for an actual example).

      4. The Rev Kev

        ‘Allegiance to a foreign country’ only applies if those very same people, especially politicians, also have a passport or passports to other countries in their possession. Oh wait…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A Scottish American supporting independence for Scotland, for example, would that be allegiance to a foreign country?

          1. Olga

            No, it would not – if that is not already hugely obvious. They are supporting another people’s cause. That is their choice – nothing to do with their home country. “Allegiance to a foreign country” (FC) means that one is promoting FC’s interest to the detriment of the original country. In other words – like the support of some for the Iraq war (and Syria and Iran), mainly to weaken large nation states in the ME area, because it would improve I’s position and let I. to continue to oppress Palestinians. Hope this helps…

  5. milesc

    RE “Disputed N.S.A. Phone Program Is Shut Down, Aide Says”

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the rapid uptake of encryption by default in messaging apps, etc. The phone program is likely not as effective as it once was. Oh and it was illegal, so there’s that.

    Related: “FBI Director Christopher Wray On Encryption: We Can’t Have an ‘Entirely Unfettered Space Beyond the Reach of Law Enforcement’ CNET.”

    1. MRLost

      Regarding the NSA canceling their phone tracking program (and telling us about it) because they’ve got something better (something they are not telling us about.)

      Remember President Jimmie Carter and the B1 bomber? Jimmie canceled the B1 in 1977 and caught hell from all the pundits and defense types. Why, Jimmie was going to cripple American defense. He was selling out to the commies in the USSR. Ronald Reagan even campaigned on the issue – that Pres. Carter was weak on defense and had canceled the B1 in a give-away to the ruskies. What Carter couldn’t tell the American public was the US military didn’t need the B1 because the B2 was in the works and would far surpass the B1 in capabilities. So Jimmie lost the re-election and Ronnie built both the B1 and the B2.

      No way the NSA and similar would cancel a program that had even low value unless they had something much better in their pocket. This announcement of having canceled the existing phone tap program is just another PR exercise.

      1. Bill Smith

        I get your point they likely have something better.

        But the B-2 bomber was “in the works” in only the loosest sense when Carter canceled the B-1A bomber. What would become the F-117 was in the works.

        During the Carter Administration the Have Blue prototypes of what would become the F-117 was constructed. The first of two Have Blue prototypes would first fly in December, 1977. The first F-117 would fly in June, 1981.

        There was something called the “Advanced Technology Bomber” (ATA-B) but that went nowhere for over a decade. It was supposed to replace the F-111. In the end it was shelved due to the desire to produce the ATA-A (F-117). In addition the computing capability didn’t yet exist to model the curved surfaces that they thought they needed. That’s why the F-117 has all those flat angular surfaces.

        The ATA-B was used as somewhat of a starting point on the B-2 in the mid 1980’s.

  6. notabanker

    Yet, Trump remains steady at 46 percent of Americans approving of Trump’s job performance.

    Did they forget a decimal point? How can this be?

    Boy is this depressing. If the bar has gotten that low this country is completely doomed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We should examine each poll individually, though polls are subject to limitations and can be manipulated.

        As well, we are better off not to throw out facts/data/information when they don’t fit our theory.

        The conservative thing to do, the safe thing to do (when one is on the other side) is to assume the support and try to understand why. One of the alternatives to that is to blame it on Russia.

      1. Eureka Springs

        A lot of Americans only compare (TINA) Trump/Republicans to Demos. If I were self-trapped in that box I don’t know what my answer would be. Coin toss.

      2. Olga

        Not to be nit-picky – but for future reference it should be “a criterion.” The word “criteria” is plural of the word “criterion.” This is a very common mistake :))

    1. Johnnygl

      Trump has done two things right on the economy.
      1) He hit the fiscal accelerator. No repub gets re-elected without doing so. Yes, it’s got terrible multipliers and whacked the repub base in blue states and prob cost him the house of reps, but money was pushed into the private sector, so it gave things a boost.
      2) He jaw-boned the Fed into taking it easy on the hikes. Stock market immediately bounced back. If there’s another downdraft, he will probably take a hit to his approval rating.

      These things give his approval rating a kind of buoyancy that he wouldn’t otherwise have. This is how Bill Clinton became such a legend in elite circles of team dem, and with general public to a lesser degree.

      1. jsn

        This and the corporate Democrats obvious intent to restore the Great Recession if given an opportunity: “grand bargain” away SS, “enhance” ACA (while burning M4A with fire) and of course moar wars!

        What’s not to not like?

        1. JohnnyGL

          Additionally, it’s hard to quantify ‘Russia-gate failure’ as a metric which boosts Trump, but the unraveling of a blatantly fabricated story-line has got to be giving him a boost for his martyrdom while lowering team dem credibility.

          Cohen’s testimony of “Yes, Trump committed all kinds of crimes, but there’s not a trace of that one.” is another nail in the coffin of the whole ridiculous episode.

          But, like heroin, you gotta come off delusional conspiracy theories like Russia-gate slowly, in small doses. It’s going to take time.

          1. Lepton1

            It seems to be a talking point among the far right that the Russia investigation has hit a dead end. I guess they’re whistling past the graveyard. If they just say it often enough it will come true. Meanwhile, evidence and indictments keep piling up.

            1. Gary Gray

              More like Mueller is going to conclude the “Trump Campaign” colluded with Russia and relay that to the authorities. I think we all know they did. That is the problem and part of the reason why the “report” is delayed. Maybe it should be delayed until 2021………..

              Just for a note, a big part of the Trump family being a typical NYC “family” that rubbed shoulders with Cohn or Liddenbaum to dealing with future Russian business interest’s was Ivana Trump. She really set that in motion and was the one that really built up “Trump” the name. They expanded that to the KSA and part of the Kushner marriage is the KSA connections, which I think are badly under played in the media. If anyone gave Trump bailout money in 2008 it was the KSA.

              In terms of moving money and peoples across borders, the Trump’s are top notch. They make the Clinton’s look like amateurs.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Anybody else notice that when you take the name Ivana and remove the last letter, that that gives you the name ‘Ivan’! I’m surprised that the Democrats have not came out and said that that was proof of Trump’s long time loyalty to Russia. I wonder if the Democrats ever think of the damage that they are doing to the US through their Russia!Russia!Russia! strategy? And all for the matter of political expediency. That or protecting Hillary’s legacy.

                1. Olga

                  Clever point!
                  You nailed it – we now have the definitive proof of RRR collusion!
                  Off to prison w him – or guillotine.

      2. Gary Gray

        The problem is, I don’t see any real “growth” results of that “fiscal accelerator”. All I see is corporations after Yellen announced rate hikes would resume in September of 2016, is debt expansion. Corps after a frothy period of debt between 2011-2014, resumed debt expansion and now have to bear the interest this year and next of increasing interest payments on real earnings. I fear by the 3rd quarter, people will, much like the mortgage crisis by the 3rd quarter of 2007, begin to question the AAA ratings and think many of a corporate balance sheets are not so good. Globally the housing bubble is popping. Debt exhaustion and thus lower sales is already starting.

        I view polls like these as ad hoc nothings. Nor do they mean much going forward.

        1. Harry

          Its the accumulation of BBB debt that bothers me. But hey, Im in it for the lolz. Having half of the US corporate sector go bust, so that the ex-managers who looted those corporations (by tax exempt incentive pay) get to buy the debt for pennies on the dollar and asset strip mine the remains, just strikes me as the American way.

          So I should really just learn to love the ways of modern Crapitalism. Why do I let stuff bother me?

    2. Charger01

      Trump is fortunate to have the Dems as political opposition. You can’t beat something with nothing.

      1. Oh

        They’re his political opposition? I thought they’re on the same side while playing Kabuki to make people think they’re not.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      On the good side of this is the fact that large portions of the American people do not take the news and entertainment industry that seriously. Any person with a little common sense knows that the media bullshits about everything. And, though I don’t support Trump, they have bullshitted us about him and his associates with their breathless coverage of a series of nothingburgers and tempests in teapots. Trump blusters on unconcerned by the mosquitos biting him.

      So with a clearly idiotic media having lost a lot of credibility new ideas coming in have a unique chance to flourish at this time.

  7. voteforno6

    Re: John Harvey on MMT

    Interesting column, particularly how his quotation from Keynes:

    The ideas which are here expressed so laboriously are extremely simple and should be obvious. The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.

    Being a non-economist, I found the ideas behind MMT to be very easy to understand. The hard part was the paradigm shift that had to happen that allowed me to understand MMT. I suspect that the same is true for many people.

    1. Robert Valiant

      I get what you’re saying, but I think all economic models are to some extent secular stand-ins for religion, and therefore not really understandable outside of faith. I feel pretty suspicious of priests these days, and I was until recently a practicing Catholic.

      Epistemology is a challenging branch of philosophy.

      1. JBird4049

        Economic models can be used as stand-ins, and too often are treated just like a religion, but are really used as a means of explaining; just as science is a way of discovering and explaining, but too many people ignore its limitations and rather than use it as a tool for clarity, make it a means of ignorance.

        What is annoying to me is when the inaccuracies of an explanation for a fact or theory is used to claim that a fact or a scientific theory is wrong. Evolution is one such. Marxian thought is another. Life is complex, confusing and humanity’s attempts at exploration and explanation is incomplete.

        Even if a religion, or philosophy, was “true” is still would not explain all of reality to us as we can’t understand it all, but only a part of it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To progress, to be a progressive, one must always question the existing system.

      As MMT describes the current system, it will be replaced when we change or reform the system. And lookning at the world today, with ever more military MMT money, a new system is needed, and a new theory as well.

      MMT will then become an old idea.

      1. JEHR

        My understanding is that MMT describes the way money works, not the way a system works. The word theory in the name is a misnomer as the description is accurate based on the way a balance sheet works.

        1. Wukchumni

          MMT proponents seem to be asking:

          “Hey, why can’t we have all of that money conjured out of thin air just like the military does?”

          …is that a fair assessment?

          1. Plenue

            The core point of MMT is that that’s already how the system works, and has worked for decades. All money is ultimately fiat.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have read it describes the current monetary system. Perhaps that covers both how the way money works, and the way the system works.

          1. GimmeEcclesPlease

            MMT is a general macroeconomic theory. Its an alternative to things like Austrian, Chicago or Keynesian economics. MMT is actually an evolved form of Chartalism which also influenced Keynes.

            In no way does MMT describe the current system in the US or any other specific currency although it can be useful to evaluate and optimize monetary policy to hypothetically produce a more efficient economy. MMT suggests the reason the USD, EURO, YEN, etc monetary systems haven’t been producing the results their societies want has less to do with not being able to afford things and more to do with inefficient currency management.

            In a world dominated by sprawling multinational corporations, policy makers tend to have a hard time understanding the differences between running a balance sheet for a business versus a currency which creates a lot of inefficiencies.

            MMT is not religion, orthodoxy or progressive, its just a way to describe economies using accounting identities that tends to focus on tangible substantive outcomes over relative monetary gains.

            1. Plenue

              “In no way does MMT describe the current system in the US or any other specific currency”

              That’s literally exactly what it does though.

              A huge part of the MMT literature is hammering the specifics of real world operations, over and over again. MMT describes a bunch of things that verifiably already exist (which is one of the reasons it’s so frustrating when morons like Krugman come along and say things like “okay, but according to loanable funds theory…”. Loanable funds literally, objectively doesn’t exist, Krugman you insufferable effing dumbass).

        3. AJ

          MMT describes the way money works in under a fiat system where individual nations have a monopoly on money creation. Obviously it works differently if your currency is backed by gold or tied to another nation’s currency.

          MMT’s usefulness (IMHO) is that it identifies which rules are a true function of the system (issues like inflation, and real resource constraints) and which rules are imposed on the system by us (such as needed to issue debt to fund deficits). It clearly delineates the “have-tos” from the “choose-tos” and as such opens up much more debate for policy discussions. Chief among its contributions is that it completly kills the idea that “we can’t do this because we don’t have the money.” It forces people to debate policy on actual outcomes, which is why it’s key opposition comes from conservatives.

    3. Summer

      There is still not enough discussion about the role of the Fed in all of this.
      Outside of Congressional budget priorities, couldn’t that be the fly in the ointment?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        When the very founding principle of an institution is flawed then it should be no surprise then that the institution itself in action is flawed.

        The Fed is founded on the belief that the behavior of an infinitely complex system (the economy) can be modeled and predicted in advance. The track record of their predictions shows the absolute impossibility of their mission: they are correct exactly 0.0% of the time.

        We guffaw at the stupidity of price-fixing and of Soviet-style top-down command-and-control of prices in an economy. It’s no longer an argument: they don’t work. But for some reason we completely suspend this disbelief when it comes to the most important price of all: the price of money.

        So the priests at the Fed (and the BOJ, BOE, PBOC etc) read the chicken entrails, consult their venerable textbooks and formulae, do a few incantations, and decide the future quantity and price of money. And we all get flung around like marionettes on a string. Money is free this week/month/year? OK great I’ll inject gasses and fluids into bedrock and see if some oil comes out. OK great I’ll make a massive online business that makes no profit. Profit? Why should I care since the money is free?

        1. Plenue

          “We guffaw at the stupidity of price-fixing and of Soviet-style top-down command-and-control of prices in an economy. It’s no longer an argument: they don’t work.”

          Our host Smith maintains that the Soviet model in fact did work, at least for the first fifteen or so years, until bad information infested the system.

    4. Goyo Marquez

      With respect to MMT I think it’s helpful to ask who benefits from a decreased supply of money and who benefits from an increased supply of money. I think that helps one to understand the reason for a lot of opposition to MMT.

  8. pjay

    Re: ‘What Makes Fox News So Dangerous’

    This is really just an advertisement for Jane Mayer’s long New Yorker piece on the subject, which has been linked to everywhere in the mainstream media (I don’t recall seeing it here — if I’m correct, then thanks). The information in Mayer’s article is not false, but it is also not new; we’ve known most of this stuff for a long time. That Hannity is a shill for Trump, or that Fox killed some stories that made Trump look bad, will surprise exactly no one.

    The problem, of course, is the implication that Fox is uniquely dangerous while the mainstream media (including the New Yorker) represents the last bastion of Truth. Mayer actually begins her article by citing a Virginia assistant professor (Nichole Hemmer) claiming that Fox News is “the closest we’ve come to having state TV”. It goes on from there…

    I’m not going to link to Mayer’s article. As I’ve said before, she was once one of my favorite investigative reporters. Then she caught the Derangement, writing a ridiculous puff-piece on on pee dossier author Christopher Steele and then an even worse article “proving” the devastating effects of Russian interference with our election. Fox News is Fox News; it is NOT the most dangerous source of information today.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      First, a confession: I watch NCAAM basketball with some frequency this time of year.
      That was on the menu for last night, but it was 10 minutes until game time. Curiosity got the better of me, and I switched to MSDNC and our second-favorite RUSSIA!RUSSIA!RUSSIA! “reporter,” Ari Melber, holding forth on the threat to our wonderful democracy. The guy, who used to be not so bad considering he worked for MSDNC, now seems to think he’s the reincarnation of Roy Cohn right down to a new hairstyle.

      Most of these Establishment Democrats act like they’re itching to bring back McCarthyism or at least the House Un-American Activities Committee, a Democratic Party creation. They would love to pin the “traitor” label on any who dispute elite narratives from Trump to Bernie to Omar. While they enjoy shaming the Deplorables for various IdPol infractions, that’s small potatoes compared to accusing someone of TREASON.

      They’re going there because their billionaire-assigned task–divide and confuse the proles while pretending to “fight for them”–is getting tougher and tougher, so they feel compelled to up the rhetorical ante.

      So now we have at least two mainstream cable outlets streaming fascist crap 24/7.

      1. Summer

        They have to be desperate too.
        If they fail, they will be replaced by other telegenic propagandists.

    2. Carolinian

      Indeed the MSM went from scorning “fair and balanced” Fox News in the beginning to imitating it with CNN and MSNBC. Meanwhile gosh only knows what happened to the New Yorker, a once great magazine.

      Murdoch and Fox should be condemned for setting the bad precedent but that was years ago. Nobody forced the rest of the media to toss their own standards, such as they were.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I disagree about FoxNews. Like Trump, its an end stage. It’s part of the symptom established by Clear Channel and CNN already. They were less obvious, but Bernie Shaw’s “if you’re family” question along with media portrayals of Republican and Democrats was lampooned in “The Simpsons” episode “Sideshow Bob Roberts” which aired over two years before FoxNews started and included a two year production schedule.

        It wasn’t a prediction but a statement about the state of the media. Wolf Blitzer was a 700 Club alum. Night line. ..there were no standards. Geraldo. It was 2004, but the NYT didn’t sit on the Bush wireless wiretapping story because of Fox.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes Ted Turner gets more than his share of the blame and even before CNN there was Sidney Lumets’ Network (now back as a Broadway show) which predicted all of this. But arguably what standards the NYT or WaPo and the TV networks used to have are now completely gone. They threw in the towel after Fox and then the perceived threat of the internet.

          1. The Beeman

            Always thought of Network more as a warning than a prediction – change course or this is how things could turn out.

            Saw it in the theatre during it’s theatrical release (is that expression used anymore?) –

            it made a huge impression on me.

            1. Carolinian

              Then there was Lou Grant always lecturing Mary about being a serious journalist. Our anchors are all Ted Baxters these days.

              1. RMO

                If only… no one took Baxter seriously. We’ve got a news force of Les Nessmans and Ted Baxters these days and they ARE taken seriously, unfortunately.

            2. Wukchumni

              Network was on the telly last week and I hadn’t watched it in decades, and the frightening thing was it seemed if anything, tame.

      2. Eureka Springs

        I’m sure it’s been bad for much longer but I will always credit ABC News Nightline springing up during Carter – Iran hostage crisis as the big change in TV media as the future model for FOX and the the rest.

      3. James Graham

        “Meanwhile gosh only knows what happened to the New Yorker, a once great magazine.”

        It hasn’t printed a funny cartoon in years.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      More elites than you realize are simply stupid. Matt Stiller had a thread describing his shock at how many Democrats on the hill worried about what FoxNews would say and were under the impression the audience wasn’t completely in the bag for the GOP except for FoxNews lies.

      1. pjay

        I dunno. I do realize that a whole lot of elites *are* stupid. Are you saying that even more than *that* are stupid? Now I am worried!

        1. Carolinian

          Ignorant might be a better word. They often don’t seem to know much outside their particular bubble.

          1. pjay

            Yes. My response was actually intended as mild sarcasm, but your point is well-taken, since we know that many Ivy-League credentialed elites are “smart” in a certain narrow sense. We also know that such “smart” people are even more resistant to facts that counter strongly held beliefs (from inside various bubbles) than those who are less educated.

            1. JEHR

              I sometimes get the feeling that there is a direct correlation between wealth and stupidity, but I could be wrong.

              1. LifelongLib

                When you’re wealthy all you really have to do is protect your wealth, and there are lawyers for that. Everything else is just a hobby. You don’t have to work or participate in the world the way the less well-off are forced to. A surefire recipe for laziness and indifference.

      2. Lee Too

        I think anymore that our elites — especially those in the Democratic Party — are not EVEN stupid. Their rationality itself is somehow not optimized, like an engine not firing on all cylinders. And this is for me a new dimension of political disillusionment — a despair if you will. For example, to infer “anti-semitism” from a criticism of the Israeli government and its influence on ours is simply a non sequitur. There’s a piston not firing there. And I am coming to believe that Pelosi, et. al. are simply not capable of seeing that. That is, beyond whatever the limitations imposed by their ideology and obligations to donors. Similarly with the jump from “where’s the evidence?” to “so you’re a Putin stooge?”.

        I say especially the Democrats because the Republicans actually seem more calculating and self-aware in their inconsistencies and hypocrisies.

    4. jefemt Ball

      Agreed. The blade has many edges

      The veiled or overt lack of honest unbiased reporting and equal time during the Sanders/Clinton contested 2016 pre-convention run-up by NPR and PBS still sticks in my craw. The only benefit is that I have turned them off as I do Faux, or when they are on, my ears have a new set of filters. An ability to see the world with The Matrix-like clarity somehow has been activated. Very depressing new reality to exit with….

      1. polecat

        What !! You mean you don’t appreciate the soothing, caring, concern-trolling voices of all those wonky female N • P • R HEATHERS !!! What’s wrong with you ?? /s

      2. Chris Cosmos

        I don’t like cable news but if I have a choice I would rather watch Fox. They have the only smart commentator on American cable, Tucker Carlson and have had, in the past, had higher production values than the other channels at least in election coverage. The only place you can get decent coverage of the news on cable is RT which actually produces a wide variety of points of view completely beyond the range of views seen on all the cable shows combined.

    5. Wukchumni

      I know half a dozen 60-70 year old males that are for lack of a better descriptor, “Fox Zombies”.

      2 of them are my brother-in-laws, completely captured by the Bernays Sauce, and oblivious to it. All of their talking points come from Fox, and like any addictive drug, it’s on all the time.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You should wind them up by claiming that Rachel Maddow is actually a secret Russian agent. How? By coming out with stupid stories like Russia is going to freeze Americans to death and the like, people will stop taking the Russian threat seriously. Sort of like the little Rhodes Scholar who cried wolf. Since they follow Fox instead of MSNBC they might just fall for it.

    6. Chris Cosmos

      Each media outlet caters to two things: first, they are mouthpieces for various factions within the power-elite to some extent; second, they aim their “voice” to particular demographics–thus NPR aims at upper-middle class (and wannabees) sensibilities and tailors their war-mongering, pro-corporate, anti-working-class views in the correct accents and sensibilities. The same is true of other outlets–MSNBC aims a bit lower and is a little more déclassé than NPR. It’s much hipper listening to radio while doing something than sitting passively staring at the current version of Father Coughlin, Rachel Maddow.

    7. Donald

      That piece about the devastating effects of Russian interference was the final straw for me–I stopped subscribing to the New Yorker because of it. (My wife went along because she never got around to reading it anyway.)

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Bolton Warns North Korea of More Sanctions If It Doesn’t Budge”

    The full story has not come out yet about the summit between Trump and Kim but I read that the US came up with additional demands on North Korea that were totally unannounced. Either Trump saw this as a tactic to get the North Koreans to make more concessions to his demands or else he wanted to short-circuit the summit and shove an agreement with North Korea down the track while he sorted out other matters such as Venezuela.
    The only way that I can see North Korea giving up its nukes and depending on the US to keep its side of the agreement is to agree to have military bases set up with troops from such countries as China and Russia as a trip-wire defense in North Korea itself. Otherwise, no. In any case, Bolton may want more sanctions but other countries see little advantage in following them as in these negotiations, Trump has proven to be a bad faith partner for other nations. I am guessing that any sort of resolution to the North Korea problem has been pushed to the far side of the November 2020 election at this stage.

    1. Wukchumni

      If John Bolton was really serious, nonstop 24/7 recordings of Michael Bolton screeched into NK would bring them on their knees quicker than Hank Paulson laying prostate in front of Nancy Pelosi begging for TARP.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      There were obvious problems as soon as the last summit was over. The US and NK had agreed on a joint statement. It was an outline of what the two sides supposedly wanted to happen next. It did require NK to give up its nukes but only after other things had happened first.

      The US team gets home and immediately starts demanding disarmament actions w/o having done any of the earlier steps.

      As the Russians say, “Not agreement capable.”

  10. allan

    McConnell preps new nuclear option to speed Trump judges [Politico]

    President Donald Trump’s stream of judges is about to become a torrent.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his GOP caucus have long prioritized confirming conservative judges to lifetime appointments. But they’re about to accelerate their ability to unilaterally approve many nominees in dramatic fashion.

    The Senate is on track to confirm the 34th Circuit Court judge of Trump’s presidency in the next week and the GOP has three more ready for floor action; that would give Trump roughly 20 percent of the Circuit Court seats in the country after just two years in office. At this rate, McConnell and Trump could leave few, if any, vacancies there for a potential Democratic president in 2021. …

    Though Trump and McConnell have set an impressive pace at the Circuit Court level, they’ve lagged on District Court vacancies. But that is likely to change as Republicans prepare to sideline Democrats and shave debate time from 30 hours to just two hours for those judges and lower-level executive branch nominees. …

    Have no fear – if the Senate majority flips in 2020, you can be sure the old rules will be restored.

    1. Another Scott

      Republicans have long prioritized judges, understanding that few pay attention to them and that their impact is often far greater than that of the legislature. They are re-writing our rights, taking away those that harm big business, while Democrats, especially Schumer and his ilk, probably actually like many of the corporatist rulings, which might explain why they care so little, except on social issues. If they were actually concerned about protecting people, they would have filled all vacancies during the Obama administration and even tried to create new seats to ensure a long-term majority.

      The Warren Court is next.

      Where was this outrage when Establishment Democrats and Establishment media were coalescing around a singularly unelectable candidate in 2016? What did they expect would happen?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Trump signals White House won’t comply with Democratic probes”

    Those probes would never have been suggested unless Mueller had come up with nothing in his long-awaited report as in zip, nada, zilch, bupkis, sod all, sweet fa – not a cracker! Maybe the Democrats are hoping to find something in his past in order to do a Kavanagh on him. A man like Trump would have all sorts of skeletons in his closet. Thing is, suppose a Democrat gets into power next November. Would not the Republicans do to that Democrat President what has been done to Trump in his term of office and also launch all sorts of probes as well? In other words, I fear that the circus that people have seen played out over the past two years with a sitting President is now set to become the new ‘norm’.

      1. The Rev Kev

        What you say is quite true but neither of them was accused of treason for meeting with the President of Russia during their terms of office. Does this mean that no future President will be ever able to meet a Russian President again without being accused of treason like Trump was by the media and fellow politicians? How long until no President will be able to meet with the head of China without being accused of treason as well? It could happen you know.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There was also the 25th amendment idea to remove him.

          Qutie a few never-before-seen events out there in plain view.

    1. Roger Smith

      On what authority can these crustaceans even authorize such an investigation? It is such bologna and fireworks show. Who sees this and says “Yea, it’s about time the government continues to do more of nothing while these career grifters line their pockets!”

    2. Summer

      “A man like Trump would have all sorts of skeletons in his closet.”

      He might even trot them out of the closet and hold a Miss Skeleton pageant.
      And still win the election.

      1. Prodigalson

        Pretty much this. We already know he’s a sex predator that grabs women by the genitals. The outrage well is dry. The old guard democrats are some of the dumbest creatures on earth.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It is universally true, for every single person, that the more years one has logged in this world, the more mistakes one has made.

        Not so universally true, though, is that every mistake is hidden to the world. More or less, everyone has some skeletons in the closet (with perhpas some exceptions).

        The question then becomes, for those who believe this matters, who has fewer.

        In that case, it’s likely the younger you, the fewer you have in your closet. Though that is a delusion (see above, about accumulating mistakes, possibly or even probably hidden from the world, throughout life).

  12. dearieme

    Stupid, Stupid, Stupid English Patrick Cockburn: how very racist of him.

    Ignorance-Inspired Brexit Imperial Nostalgia Triple Crisis: I’m fascinated by this trope. I’ve met plenty of Brexiteers and not one – literally not one – has evinced any nostalgia for the Imperial era. I suspect the trope of being simply a lie.

    1. Summer

      Mostly, that nostalgia would be from people from families that ran the former empire and gained the most from it.

    2. Lee

      UK productions in which nostalgia for the old British empire, particularly as portrayed from the point of view royals, aristocrats, and the privileged now dominate America’s PBS prime time TV. This and other crap targeting older folks looking for the fountain of youth such as how to keep your skin smooth, your brain young, and the spiritual rules for success have crowded out better Brit programming that I now find elsewhere.

    3. David

      I’m not sure it’s a lie, but it is wrong. In all my time in government, I never encountered any nostalgia for the Empire. The residues of Empire were regarded as irritating and expensive distractions from other issues, and especially the relationship with the US, which is what British strategic policy has been based on since the 1950s. There were a few hopeless nostalgics around, but their influence was very small. And indeed for most of its history the Empire was unpopular with the Treasury (too expensive) the Foreign Office (potential rivalry) and the Army (finding troops for garrisons). It’s time this meme was painlessly killed.

  13. Summer

    Re: Democrats Continue Campaign To Re-Elect Trump…Moon Over Alabama

    “Instead of focusing on what Trump currently does with deregulating whatever he can, by filling the courts with young conservative judges and by his mismanaging of foreign policy, the Democrats will draw the public attention towards issues in the past that have no relevance for what happens to their electorate right now and in the future.”

    There is another aspect to drawing attention to Trump and Co’s past issues financial and otherwise.
    Trump would have done none of this maleficence alone. It only emphasizes to the functioning brain how corrupt the country has been and for how long. It emphasizes how much bigger than Trump all the problems have become.

    1. Grant

      Thanks for the link. It’s a good read. Now, because of that link, I have even more reading to do. I couldn’t agree more with the assumptions in the models that economists use. When I read articles by people like Krugman, and he used the term “wonkish” somewhere, I think, “Great, more neoclassical bullshit where Krugman argues something without clearly stating the assumptions of the models he is using.”

    2. Susan the Other

      JP, I just read the link. Very encouraging because right off the top they admit that “neoliberal economics” has failed. It was a good open discussion. Wide ranging really. The bit about taxing international corporations where they earn their profits is also an idea (I think) that Richard Murphy proposes. Makes sense. The idea is always to have an equal society. So compare this with the nonsense linked above for our amusement: The Age. “Debt and Deficits Still Matter” – But exactly how do they matter…? These guys are hilarious. Almost like intellectual bait and switch and it is exactly why we need to have a serious discussion on the reality of “value”. We don’t even know what we are talking about and the topic always gets turned upside down. (sorry, raving here)… Playing a zero-sum game over deficits and debt is the wrong venue – the game should be played over the stability and health of a society so that the terms deficit and debt do not refer to an arbitrary value out of left field that is superimposed on a currency. Value should be a direct reference to goods and services so that deficit and debt is balanced by goods and services. That’s the only way it can zero out. Otherwise its exponential oranges versus exponential apples and perpetual confusion. And etc.

    3. ChristopherJ

      Yes, inclusive prosperity… utopian – but their intent seems pure enough. Thanks for link…

      The group is hard to get into, not just economist, must be in academia and you must submit an original policy proposal which is then blind peer reviewed by three members…

      Guess I won’t be joining then

      1. JP

        Also too rare for the air I breathe but it is good to remember that outside of govt. the main employ of academic economists seems to be providing support for cockamamie social engineering schemes for politicians to run on. If some of these papers can inspire some sort of higher understanding amongst the polity I will help spread the word.

    4. Donald

      I often read links without commenting about it, especially if it is in an area (like economics) where my comments probably wouldn’t be worth very much. But I appreciate links on such subjects.

  14. Grant

    That article by Stephen Bartholomeusz is a train wreck. People like him don’t even try to understand MMT, or at least intentionally mislead their readers. For one, the core of MMT isn’t that a government that “borrows” its own currency faces no constraints, provided particular situations remain as is. The core is that the US government is a sovereign issuer of its currency, it doesn’t have to actually borrow in order to spend at all. It does not need to borrow or tax in order to spend, and we don’t use bonds to borrow in the way he seems to think. Who among MMT economists thinks or argues that the government can solve all of our problems simply by printing money? As if tomorrow it just gave everyone a billion dollars that everything would be fine. All MMT says at its core is that the government like the US faces no constraints if it wants to spend on something. It is entirely possible that too much money can lead to inflation, but how much an economy is producing or can produce is just as important. If the government were to increase spending and the spending resulted in more goods and services being created, it is entirely possible that inflation wouldn’t increase, it could be modest, it could hypothetically even go down. Production is based on expectations of future effective demand, right? Those expectations could lead the increase in production to actually go up by a greater proportion than the proportional increase in the money supply. Even if too much money was created anyway, that money can be used to buy imports, it can be used by executives to buy stocks in their own companies, it can be hoarded, etc. Even if lots of money is created, it doesn’t mean that money will circulate the economy and cause lots of inflation. Then, there is the fact that most money is created by banks and not the state. I won’t get into him mentioning the German hyperinflation.

    How, also, does that author treat the fact that the environmental crisis involves things that lack market values? I mean, the GND would result in trillions of dollars in public spending, which would lead to lots of goods and services being provided and taxes being paid, but the negative impacts it is trying to prevent largely don’t have market values, and there are many things that bring positive benefits to society and ecosystems that don’t have market values. Carbon sequestration by trees and soils, for example.

    It seems that with things like MMT or single payer, those that critique it do so by lying and misrepresenting what those things are. They do this because, if they were honest about what things they disagree with are, they couldn’t win any debates with proponents of those ideas.

    1. JBird4049

      It seems that with things like MMT or single payer, those that critique it do so by lying and misrepresenting what those things are. They do this because, if they were honest about what things they disagree with are, they couldn’t win any debates with proponents of those ideas.

      I think their stomach plays a part.

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
      —-Upton Sinclair

      1. Grant

        True as true can be. I don’t expect class conflicts to be a one sided affair. Working people and the left are battling the owners of society, this political system and the media. They aren’t going to just move to the side without a fight. It is just frustrating because their arguments are so bad, and their tactics so underhanded and manipulative. However, if my own class interest required me to argue that gravity didn’t exist and I made that argument, I too would sound absurd.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      All MMT says at its core is that the government like the US faces no constraints if it wants to spend on something. It is entirely possible that too much money can lead to inflation, but how much an economy is producing or can produce is just as important.

      Precisely so. And the trick is to make sure that the amount of money in circulation has some correlation to how many goods and services the economy produces To do that we basically just need to agree on how much labor is worth, as all costs come from that.

      In other words, if as a society we agree that it costs $100 to produce a widget from the harvesting of the necessary resources to putting it on a shelf for sale, we need to make sure there is roughly $100 in circulation in order for everyone involved in the widget producing process to be paid and go about their lives. Put $99 or $101 in circulation and it probably won’t be the end of the world. Put $1,000 in circulation and there will be some big problems.

    3. ChristopherJ

      Thanks Grant, yes Germany hyperinflation usually pointed to as the outcome from all this MMT madness.

      It now seems that we are attacked no longer (heterodox economists) as, increasingly, politicians are forced to address how spending could be unwed from taxes and borrowing from markets.

      Whenever I pay tax to the Feds, I feel like my money is being confiscated for no purpose. And it’s not as though money is easy to get for the majority. The continued lies and corruption, the adoption of right wing policies and power projections, show that we are at war. And, it is a class war, with the political classes, the MSM, the elites, the defense agencies and personnel, senior civil servants and the corporations, all of them not on our side and working against our interests at every level.

      Make no mistake, every regular commenter her on NC is on a watch list

  15. Tyrannocaster

    The article on home hydrogen generation is interesting, but there are some cogent comments, although I wish there were more of them. It’s truly a complex issue from my perspective.

    1. Louis Fyne

      one problem with hydrogen is that it’s not energy dense. my thermodynamics is rusty but my foggy recollection is that a typical first world home needs a lot more hydrogen that the figure quoted in the article—if the goal is to be largely independent from the power grid.

      But obviously any basic research on renewable energy is good basic research.

  16. Wukchumni

    Couldn’t call it flooding as it hasn’t done any damage, but the river is a raging and it’s the swiftest current i’ve seen in our 15 years here and quite dirty, as the torrent has acquired new real estate holdings on side deals previously unobtainable. The fury is such that I heard ‘thunder’ under blue-ish skies this morning and it was actually a couple of large-ish boulders underwater clanking against one another.

    1. JP

      We live next to the river in the Yandanchi drainage just to the south of you. The highest water comes when a warm rain hits a good snow pack. That is when we see flooding with bridge abutments washed out. We haven’t had really high water since about 1997. When that happens the big rocks start to move. You can’t possibly hear it over the roar of the river but in bed at night we feel the thump and shake.

      I just went to the bridge and the top of the water was about 9 feet under the bottom of the bridge and flowing less then 20 feet per second. In 1997, when the big boys were moving, the water was within 2 feet of the bottom of the bridge and was moving between 30 and 35 feet per second. The bridge was vibrating and we got the hell out of there.

      1. Susan the Other

        So, please be cautious you two. I hope you know how you are gonna get out of the way of the mud slide.

        1. Wukchumni

          The river has already come back a few feet, and I spotted a couple of mallards willingly getting into the frenzy of the main channel in a no harm-no fowl gig. A human bean would be dead in seconds if they pulled the same stunt.

      2. JP

        Oh, and you might want to check this out if you can find the right place to stand after dark. When the bigger rocks move they make sparks under the water.

      3. ewmayer

        Right, this latest pair of storms – I live in Marin – were both cold, i.e. resulted in net snow gain in the Sierras. Looks like we’re getting 2-3 days’ break before the next one, but it sure has been a good – in these sense of some localized flooding but overall positive in terms of snowpack and recharging the reservoirs and aquifers – wet winter.

        1. Wukchumni

          We’ve got more storms lined up, but this last one was the largest expected in the skein, and the happy end result was a perfect fleet enema for the river, with the edge debris of small pieces of wood flotsam being stranded 8 feet out from the usual haunt of the water, hung out to dry.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Jesus Christ! Reading through this thread, what sort of place do you live in that has such things as underwater boulders thudding and shaking and maybe even sparking underwater as well as all those rough storms and raging rivers. We get weather here but you seem to get your weather in technicolor!

            1. Wukchumni

              The headwaters of the 4 rivers here start @ around 11,000 feet and have one of the steepest rates of drop in altitude in getting here as they pass through, and this storm was a pineapple express, with rain up to around 8,000 feet, which made a few inches in the foothills treble in amount. Makes for drama in that the majority of rain came overnight, so it’s akin to a present you open in the morning.

              It’s a game of inches though, another couple would’ve caused flood damage around town.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Cybersecurity Industry Makes Millions, But Is It Keeping Us Safe? Motherboard (resilc)


    I am interested in what others have to say. It should be educational for me, as I have always learned a lot.

    1. Craig H.

      See Bruce Schneier, security theater.

      It’s 500 dollar hammers, 2000 dollar coffee pots all over the place as far as your eyes can see.

  18. patD

    EdSource CalSTRS story link is a deadend. Search for title on site and via google also no go.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Looks like the site pulled down the article. There’s a note which gives the impression that there were problems with the data.

  19. Wukchumni

    There’s a lot of homeless in Visalia, nothing compared to SD/OC/LA/SF from what i’ve seen, but i’ll always see a couple dozen without trying too hard on forays into town. It’s not close to the scene in Fresno, where last week, i’d guestimate that you’d see homeless people for miles on 2 out of 4 corners of nearly every intersection on Blackstone, the main drag.

    Visalia has no shortage of empty storefronts.

    K-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Fallas: Each retailer has closed its doors or moved over the past year, leaving behind large vacancies across the city.

    More than 150 people turned out to the latest 210 Connect panel on Feb. 11, where community leaders and residents gathered to discuss innovative, humane solutions to Visalia’s growing homeless problem.

    When an audience member suggested the city convert one of its unoccupied commercial spaces into a homeless shelter, Vice Mayor Steve Nelsen responded that he was looking at three such sites.

    Several audience members volunteered the vacant K-Mart building on Noble Avenue, which shuttered earlier this year following parent company Sears Holdings bankruptcy late last year.

    But the K-Mart building, like many former business establishments, is bound to face hurdles in the form of neighboring homes and existing nearby businesses, who say they are already disproportionately affected by the city’s homeless.

    1. Susan the Other

      We drove thru Visalia almost 30 years ago. It was uber agricultural. And the air was so thick with dust we began coughing. Really. I’m assuming something here: That altho’ we do a big deal with China to buy our wheat and soybeans, we do not try to coerce them to buy warmer climate produce. They can probably do that stuff. So the market for Visalia is diminished? Or the climate has really messed with it – meaning it’s now too unpredictable for a good harvest? Or both?

      1. Wukchumni

        For whatever reason, Visalia is chock full of walnut tree orchards, the nuts of which are worth 1/3rd as much on the marketplace as just a few years ago. Where they end up, I have no idea, but you don’t see a lot of young walnut trees, they’re mostly older.

        Everybody is planting almond trees now, the glamour crop.

        A cacophony of funky farm smells, dust and more is part of the price of living on the Central Valley floor, a powerful dissuasion to living there.

        1. susan the Other

          for what its worth, walnuts are more nutritious than almonds; walnut oil is especially good for us.

    2. JBird4049

      But the K-Mart building, like many former business establishments, is bound to face hurdles in the form of neighboring homes and existing nearby businesses, who say they are already disproportionately affected by the city’s homeless.

      So? As oppose to the homeless people being on the street being exposed to God, the weather, and everything? Just how is that helping anyone?

      Heartless, pointless, and stupid.

  20. Situation Normal

    If you despise Amazon like I do, you will enjoy reading this deluge of negative reviews of Whole Foods on Consumer Affairs. These are only anecdotes but they suggest that the acquisition has not gone so well for Amazon. Indeed, data from Amazon’s recent annual report suggest that sales at Whole Foods are basically flat.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Haha, we were one of the few skeptics about that deal. We didn’t see WF as a platform for expansion (the only way would be if Amazon acquired more high end health food grocers like Sprouts). And we noted Amazon was being mean to staff and good employees were leaving.

      1. newcatty

        In our small Northern AZ city it was a great thing to have a small Whole Foods in our town. Though we had a Trader’s and a Sprouts not too far away, there were a couple of items we could only find at Whole Foods and gave them our business for those things. The store was conveniently a quick stop from doing other shopping or errands. There is a small natural food’s store that benefited from the closing, but not the selection of those special items and mostly higher prices on things. We also liked the mellow and friendly employees at the little Whole Foods. Lots of hip young and older people worked there. Smiling and always attentive to business. When the store closed there was going out of business fire sale. We braved the crush of bargain hunters…Didn’t take long to see shelves empty like magic. We scored some basic stuff like organic coffee, teas, body soaps, bulk items and a candle. Talked with employees talking about being offered transfers to stores in state. Meaning mostly Tucson and Phoenix monstrosity. Not a single employee looked happy with the choices. And the ones with kids and /or partners were bummed. Didn’t want to give up a job they liked and disrupt their lives. Sprouts opened another store in town and some moved to that job. Sounds like the ones who opted out of transfer to another Whole Foods were lucky.

    2. jrs

      Amazon is using the brand to get into the grocery business, they are trashing the WF brand somewhat in the process (removing some products, less organics, smaller produce section, poorer quality prepared food etc.), but don’t care, as they are soon going to open up Amazon branded (not Whole Foods branded) grocery stores.

      So it’s all a big experiment to them, remove products that weren’t top sellers, and having less selection, all in the real live “what if analysis” for running a grocery store. See how many people Amazon prime discounts will bring it etc..

      Their real target market is probably not prior WF shoppers and in fact the demographics have changed (more diverse since Amazon sad to say – I mean yes the ultimate exploiter that is Bezo and not a piddling penny ante one who at least kind of cared about the healthy food mission that was Makey is what apparently brings in a more diverse crowd, for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense as PRICES have NOT gone down at all, at least not for NON prime members. But perhaps it is entirely due to the savings prime members can get).

      So I’ve heard business is up locally, but the annual report speaks for itself I guess.

  21. ewmayer

    o “Fast-Acting Depression Drug, Newly Approved, Could Help Millions | New York Times (David L)” — Wow, is the NYT really so desperate that they don’t even charge the Big Pharma firms peddling these drugs for advertising-copy-disguised-as-news? Hey NYT, ya really wanna fight depression? Stop promoting Imperial Slaughter and neoliberal elite looting! But that don’t pay the bills, it seems.

    o “Evidence Grows That Trump’s Trade Wars Are Hitting U.S. Economy | Bloomberg (resilc)” — As opposed to, say, 4 decades of neoliberal jobs offshoring, which were just great for the U.S. Economy.

    o “Study: Nuking Asteroids Into Smithereens Harder Than Previously Thought | Sputnik (Kevin W)” — Don’t try to shatter them, just nudge them. There is a natural selection bias working in our favor there – the larger the killer asteroid, the earlier we need to intercept it and give it a poke, but the larger the size the earlier it is likely to get discovered. We do need improved estimates of how much nukage is needed for nudging a (say) 100-1000m-diameter object and some investment in repurposing our nuke stockpiles by way of suitable delivery systems, though.

    o “Amazon’s Charity Funds Anti-Vaxxers | New York Magazine (resilc)” — Starting last weekend the food-court tables at the local Whole Foods have all been sporting triangular-folded brochures showing an rural Indian peasant woman in a red sari sitting next to a horned cow, here is the spiel:

    Whole Planet Foundation works in 73 countries to alleviate global poverty

    “Kiran is currently managing her second microloan of approximately $465 USD from Whole Planet Foundation’s microfinance partner CASHPOR in India. She used the capital to buy two gaots and a cow. Since the investment, six baby goats have been born. Each goat can produce about half a liter of milk per day, which Kiran can sell for a profit.”


    Your donation to Whole Planet Foundation
    [next 4 pictured as a virtuous circle]
    → 100% of donations fund microloans
    → Microloans created. Avg. 1st loan: $179
    → 89% of businesses created by entrepreneurs are owned by women
    → 97% of funds are repaid
    → Defaulters have legs broken, property seized and children sold off for medical experiments
    [ok, I admit I made that last bit up]

    MARCH 1-14: We’ll donate 2% of your purchase up to $1,000,000 to Whole Planet Foundation when you use the Amazon Rewards Visa Card at Whole Foods Market.

    IOW, it’s an Amazon-Visa-card promotion disguised as a 3rd-world-betterment microloan program. I mean, The Bezos could take that million bucks out of petty cash, it’s less than one-one-thousandth of 1% of his net worth. If your net worth were $1 million, it would be like you donating $10. I do like framing of Kiran owning a few goats and a cow and living just above subsistence level as a result – and note no mention of grazing-land or water requirements for that herd, or sustainability of a billion-and-rapidly-growing rural population all owning such – as a “business created by a woman entrepreneur”. When is the IPO? I gotta get in on this one!

    Snark aside, anyone here familiar with CASHPOR?

    1. Skip Intro

      You really think the NYT or its editors didn’t get paid for printing pharmaganda as news?

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Democrats Continue Campaign To Reelect Trump”

    Do you think that’s a joke?

  23. newcatty

    No. If wishes, for it not to be, were horses than I would have a ranch in Montana…or on the Big Island. I could grow organic hay or nuts, too. Maybe, a bit too old to do much of the real work, but I could be a job creator, too. I would have to be hyper aware though to avoid some of the existing “ranchers and farmers”, who have their get-a ways (hide outs and after the storm refuges). Keep a low profile… that would do it.

  24. Plenue

    >After 40 years in solitary confinement, activist Albert Woodfox tells his story of survival Guardian

    Solitary needs to be illegal. Especially this kind of absurdly long-term confinement. It would literally be more humane to just shoot them than to keep them alone in cells for years on end.

  25. Craig H.

    > Fast-Acting Depression Drug, Newly Approved, Could Help Millions

    The New York Times is not the first place I would look for accurate pharmaceutical journalism.

    Ketamine is one of those drugs that if you have ever seen a person under the influence you might wonder why in the hell would anybody ever take that.

    Erowid ketamine FAQ

    (They have two eskatamine field reports.)

    1. Anders K

      I just got confused when I read that article headline “why are they creating drugs to make us depressed?”

      Then I remembered marketing and us humans not processing “not” or “anti” words very well (or at all) and got a bit depressed (so I guess it worked).

  26. Plenue

    >Space Force or Netflix Farce? American Conservative

    Can someone explain to me exactly why the idea of a Space Force is supposed to be inherently absurd? Putting aside the considerable fact that space exploration was always at core a military program, I’m not at all seeing why the concept of a military branch dedicated to space warfare is supposed to be a ridiculous concept.

    I’m not saying we should do it, we shouldn’t, but there is logic to it. There’s some evidence that Russia already has weapons satellites, and China has successfully destroyed at least one satellite with a ground launched missile.

    ‘Space Force’ may be a somewhat silly name, but I think the mockery has far more to do with Trump being the one who proposed it than any genuine intellectual opposition to the concept. The same is true with so much of the fake resistance against Trump; it’s all surface level, shallow thinking. People’s lizard brains kick in the second they hear ‘Trump’. If anyone could lose to him twice in a row, it’ll be this crowd. We are so screwed.

    1. polecat

      Once a few more satellites become the Kessler version of ‘personas-non-grata’ .. then Space ‘forces’ will have a whole new meaning ..

  27. Plenue

    >On MSNBC Right Now…As Always, Much More to Say to Say Than I Could Brad DeLong

    Wow, this is abysmal. It seems to have taken him this long to finally realize there’s no such thing as a moderate Republican, and that trying to please the GOP gets you absolutely nothing. And Krugman and Reich can apparently ‘brag’ that they figured out these blatantly obvious facts years before DeLong.

    Is this seriously what represents radical thinking inside the bubble?

    1. The Rev Kev

      MSNBC is really going off the deep end. Rachel Maddow went off and straight out lied to her listeners in her reporting. She also said the following according to Caitlin Johnston-

      “Now I will warn you,” Maddow said with a laugh, “if you are an interested news consumer who is interested in following this part of the story, I will warn you: just about everything that pertains to WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Roger Stone is basically un-Googleable. All the online trash that relates to these characters, put your virus protection on.

      So if you go to Google to find this stuff yourself, you’ll get a virus on your computer. You can’t make this stuff up-

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘We shall fight the truth in the studios, we shall fight the truth on the air-waves, we shall fight the truth in people’s homes and on their car radios, we shall fight the truth in the courts. MSNBC shall never tell people the truth.’

          With apologies to Winston Churchill

  28. skippy

    Kelton’s twitter account is a cornucopia of teeth gnashing and hair pulling from mainstream econ … Noah was a gimme …

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