Links 3/7/19

Climate change forces Arctic animals to shift feeding habits: study Agence France-Presse

Hero Pilot Orders Pizza For Stranded Plane Passengers Grub Street (J-LS)

Our planet just set a scary new carbon dioxide record Grist

Microplastic pollution revealed ‘absolutely everywhere’ by new research Guardian (David L)

Jibo, the $899 ‘Social Robot’, Tells Owners in Farewell Address That Its VC Overlords Have Remote-Killswitched It Boing Boing

Why Napalm Is a Cautionary Tale for Tech Giants Pursuing Military Contracts New York Times

40% of A.I. start-ups in Europe have almost nothing to do with A.I., research finds CNBC

Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas Quanta Magazine (David L)

Why Do We Need Sleep? Israeli Scientists Solve the Mystery Haaretz (David L)


FBI boss: Never mind Russia and social media, China ransacks US biz for blueprints, secrets at ‘surprisingly’ huge scale The Register (furzy)

Huawei confirms it will sue US government in bid to overturn ban on its gear South China Morning Post

Xi Jinping needs a trade deal just as much as Donald Trump does Financial Times

China faces ’tough economic’ challenges Asia Times

China Won’t Make Big Concessions on Trade Deal, Ex-Minister Says Bloomberg (resilc)


Brexit in 23 days: EU says still ‘no solution’ in negotiations DW

Brexit deal ‘will be defeated by 100 votes’, ministers believe, after talks in Brussels collapse Telegraph

‘This will be a wasteland’: Northern Irish farmers fear Brexit Al Jazeera (resilc)

Brexit: Theresa May suffers humiliating Lords defeat as peers demand UK stays in a customs union Independent (Kevin W). Humiliation has never deterred May.

London overtakes New York as the world’s top city for wealthy people to live as investors brush aside Brexit fears – with almost 5,000 people in the capital worth more than $30m Daily Mail


Venezuela – Guaidó Planned To Use Arms – Frustration Over Stalemate Sets In Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

U.S. journalist reportedly arrested and detained in Venezuela Axios

BREAKING: FULL AUDIO – Elliot Abrams DUPED Into FULL CONFESSION Of U.S War & Theft Plans For Venezuela Fort Russ (Kevin W). I have no idea if this is bona fide, but it sure sounds like it.

New Cold War

Rules of the Cyber Road for America and Russia Joseph Nye, Project Syndicate (David L)


What is HAMAS? Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google Tool Lets Any AI App Learn Without Taking All Your Data CNET. And this is supposed to be reassuring? Your device won’t send your browsing history showing you like opera and porn, it will just report that you like opera and porn.

Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook Will Shift To Emphasize Encrypted Ephemeral Messages The Verge

Trump Transition

Team Trump to Congressional Investigators: Get Bent Vanity Fair (resilc)

GOP wants Trump to back off on emergency The Hill

Source: Leaked Documents Show the U.S. Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database NBC San Diego. Wowsers, but in another way, not surprising.

Trump cancels requirement to report civilian deaths from drone strikes Politico

U.S. judge faults ex-Trump adviser Stone’s book that may violate gag order Reuters (Chuck L)

Tlaib to offer impeachment articles against Trump by end of month The Hill

Smugglers Extort Thousands of Child Migrants Into Prostitution Epoch Times (Lawrence R)

Bernie Sanders defends Ilhan Omar, says we must not ‘equate anti-Semitism’ with ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel’s ‘right-wing’ government Business Insider (resilc)


The Forces Arrayed Against Bernie — Before He Faces Trump DownwithTyranny! (RR)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black man collecting trash from his OWN yard is confronted by at least FIVE cops yelling at him to ‘put down your weapon’ even though he was only carrying a litter-picker Daily Mail

Fake News

Teen who vaccinated himself says anti-vaxx Mom gets misinformation from Facebook USA Today


A thorough defense of Modern Monetary Theory Boing Boing (furzy)

Uber escapes criminal charges for 2018 self-driving death in Arizona ars technica (PlutoniumKun)

Production to cease at Ohio GM plant operating for more than 50 years The Hill (resilc)

Some advertisers are quitting Facebook, chiding the company’s ‘despicable business model’ CNBC

Guillotine Watch

Billionaire diamond trader, 65, dies during penis enlargement surgery at private Paris clinic Daily Mail

Class Warfare

Growth & mobility Stumbling and Mumbling. UserFriendly: “Explains why you might as well just kill yourself after a year of unemployment.”

L.A. settles pivotal homeless rights case, limiting the city’s ability to clear streets of property and camps Los Angeles Times. Recall that LA has had outbreaks of Hepatitis A.

Money laundering through REITs causes high rents CZEdwards (Paul R). Interesting theory but private equity is a bigger factor.

Americans Blame Wall Street for Making American Dream Harder to Achieve Bloomberg

Antidote du jour (martha r, from @AmericanIndian8): “Polar bear & field of fireweed at sunset Northern Canada’s Hudson Bay.”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Huawei slaps US government with lawsuit in bid to overturn federal ban on its gear”

    I think that I can condense this story into a Newspeak-like contraction-

    “GGGGG VS iiiii”

    If you are unsure of the meaning, it says 5G versus the Five Eyes and that is what it is all about – control of the new technology.
    Great Antidote du jour by the way, martha r

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It reminds of TPP, TransPacific Partnership.

      Under that, Huawei can also take the US government to an international court.

  2. Roger Smith

    RE: Bernie Sanders defends Ilhan Omar, says we must not ‘equate anti-Semitism’ with ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel’s ‘right-wing’ government Business Insider

    I am very satisfied with this statement. I am glad he said something regarding this CF situation.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Harris also defended Omar. This may be just the time that the power of AIPAC/Mossad in Washington may be on the wane. Even coming in the neighborhood of criticizing Israel has been largely forbidden in the gov’t and media world (they are one and the same) of Washington. I think we are beginning, in general, to see an opening up of public discourse in this country just at the time it is urgently needed.

      1. johnnygl

        It was really an epic level of block-headed overreach from AIPAC and the associated donor class (adelson, haim saban, etc). It’s not clear to me if they’re really tone-deaf to how they’re perceived, or are really rattled and insecure that they’re losing control of the narrative in DC.

        The juan vargas tweet really stood out as idiotic.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          Their essential power has not been touched–US policy is still Israel uber alles and will remain so in the next Democratic Administration no matter who wins. However, I think the Israel lobby has to be very careful from now on and keep a lower profile. It has grown very arrogant since the total domination of US foreign policy by the neoconservatives after 2001.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It is typical human nature for people, any people, in this situation, to double down, even while being careful and keeping a lower profile.

            That’s my conservative, or playing it safe and not under-estimating anyone, take.

            1. Roger Smith

              Ooo, I did not see this one yet. I liked Greenwald’s article on it. I have to say too that, from the Water Cooler today, I am glad to see AOC get some pushback on her borderline non-response as well. I thought it was weak.

      2. Phenix

        “We all have a responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry, especially as we see a spike in hate crimes in America. But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk,” said Harris in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

        I am not sure if I call this a defense of Omar. It’s similar to the line used by AOC.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I read someone, or some people, in that meeting yesterday (or the day before) spoke up, saying since Omar was censured once before, that should cover this, and there was no need for a second one.

          To me, that’s not defending, really, but rather, an admission of being wrong.

          With that effort, and others, the vote was delayed.

      3. notabanker

        Very interesting that Harris stepped in here and aligned with the Congressional Black Caucus in her statement. One has to wonder if Pelosi and Co were really wearing clown shoes or if this was an opportunity to manufacture some anti-establishment sympathy. A two state middle east solution is a pipedream, pretty easy issue to fail at and shift the blame to a myriad of causes. “House leadership” burns some political capital to spark some hopey changey enthusiasm.

          1. Cal2

            What’s Congressional Black Caucus Harris’ position on discrimination against Ethiopian Jews in Israel?

            She has claimed weed blowing kinship with the Jamaican Rastafarians after all, so there must be a connection.

            “Rastafari is a young, Africa-centred religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, following the coronation of Haile Selassie I as King of Ethiopia in 1930.
            Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is God, and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile as the result of colonization and the slave trade.”

            Of course, her father Professor Donald Harris called her identity politicization of her ancestry “a travesty.”

            I would love to see the identitarian flowchart that she must have on the wall behind her desk at campaign headquarters in Baltimore.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I don’t see any wins for Team Blue in this mess. The Dem Leadership put its nature on display and is being called worthless so soon after the Clap. Dimwits like Vargas raised their profile but have now attached themselves to racist stances.

          They rushed out to do AIPAC’s bidding expecting no one to care. The sea change was the use of a fraudulent identity politics to bludgeon the left in recent years backfired when they targeted a black, muslim woman (a threefer). Team Blue was so gross even Geraldo pushed back.

          Team Blue elites are so stupid they probably believe the Bernie Bro myth they created and thought this would be popular with the left.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Salamander Gingrich got to say “Pelosi has lost control of the House” and it’s hard to argue with that perception.

            To beat Trump the Dems first have to figure out a way to stop beating themselves

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The overlooked issue is “wealth inequality.” Team Blue is simply resorting to an old playbook which worked for a time when things were better or actors could promise future material gains (ACA will work in 1/2 of a Friedman Unit). Gains in society since the start of the Obama era didn’t come from Democratic elites but from outside groups demanding and forcing the issue. Pelosi had the usual suspects tout her “clap”, but they are trying to call Republican voters losers when 90% of the population has lost during Pelosi’s leadership.

          Seeing elite Democrats go after a black, muslim woman for voicing legitimate concerns while those same elite Democrats ignore every issue except the fictional “OMG Russia” is not going to play well. And Obama used much of the potential good will that was out there. The good will lasted a long time, but its become played out.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Well, Omar has three strikes against her. She is black, Muslim and a woman. Identitarian politics will only go so far when you are not the right sort of identity. Refusing to play the there-is-no-daylight-between-US-and-Israel card was just too far for the elite and their donors and trying to bully her on behalf of Israel just ended opening up huge rifts in the Democrat party. This is coming on top of the move to cripple the First Amendment when it comes to Israel but Americans tend to be fond of that amendment. It is, after all, at the top of the hit list as it is the First Amendment. The Republicans must be having a good laugh about this but at least it did not take place in 2020 during the Presidential runs.

    2. Carolinian

      I agree although

      We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel.

      is typically Bernie-esque in that he makes it all about Netanyahu whereas Bibi’s opponent in the upcoming election has boasted about leading the bloody attack on Gaza several years ago. The settlements started under Labor governments–before the right came to dominate–and therefore any criticism should acknowledge that a “partner for peace” may be absent within Israel itself.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        This may open the door to examine just what Israeli culture has actually turned into–to be blunt, the culture not just the state is deeply fascistic and brutal. Yes, there are humanists still within Israel but they are now a minority.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Should we equate legitimate support of a left-wing Israeli government with ‘allegiance to a foreign country?’

        Frankly, I still don’t feel comfortable with what Omar said.

        1. Wukchumni

          You don’t view it as a foreign entanglement writ large…

          Wasn’t that something the guy on the Dollar bill warned about?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            When the Red Army threatened Prague or Hungary, we still had to speak up, foreign entanglement or not.

            And people who spoke up should not be assumed to have ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ automatically, no?

            1. Olga

              MLTPB, the red army never threatened Prague or Hungary. Pls do not peddle fake news. Events in 1956 and 1968 (and I was there) were much more complicated than your comment would imply. There is enough disinformation in the world, without your contributing to it.
              This was my response to your question on support for the Scottish independence cause from y-day (which perhaps you did not see):
              Question: A Scottish American supporting independence for Scotland, for example, would that be allegiance to a foreign country?
              Response: “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…”

              1. Olga

                The main point – this support for foreign wars of choice greatly weakened and damaged the home country (i.e., USA). The full extent of this damage is yet to be appreciated.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I will be happy to learn how the Red Army never threatened Prague.

                As for ‘allegiance to a foreign country,’ it could mean a few things, and that is the problem.

                For example, this from question number 28, of the loyalty test, given to Japanese Americans at the camps (From Smithsonian National Museum American History):

                Question 28 was even more complex:

                “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States… and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign government, power or organization?”

                Many internees feared this question was a trap. Would a “yes” answer indicate that they had once sworn allegiance to Japan? Some refused to answer, or answered “no” to both questions, as a matter of principle. For Issei, who had been denied U.S. citizenship on the basis of race, the issue was even more complex, because either response could conceivably make them stateless.

                Here, the word allegiance was used to set up a trap, and some became ‘disloyal’ consequently, doing nothing detrimental.

            2. The Rev Kev

              And people who spoke up should not be assumed to have ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ automatically, no?

              Only is those members of the Senate and House also happened to have had Czechoslovakian and Hungarian passports in addition to their American passports. Then you’re getting into dodgy territory.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Perhaps, but ‘allegiance’ has been asked of ciitzens, in the past, in more than just one country.

                And Omar was not clear nor specific (see comment below about, for example, about the Pollard case).

        2. Skip Intro

          yes, Omar seems to be neglecting the massive influence of Saudi Arabia entirely… I would be more comfortable if she would follow the Simpsons lead and refer to the 51st state, Saudi Israelia.

            1. Skip Intro

              Exactly! Just focussing on human rights abuses… everyone does that, especially after they hacked up intelligence operative turned WaPoo hack Khashoggi.

              1. marym

                OK, but at least she’s talking about AIPAC influence and BDS-SA. Pelosi & Co. are turning it into a particularly meaningless identity politics moment.

                1. Skip Intro

                  I agree 100%! I was just trying to mock a commenter who ‘didn’t feel comfortable’ with her phrasing. I have little patience for idpol tone police.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      It’s not about that.

                      I believe I have a point of view that hopefully will be considered.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Netanyahu has been a villain for decades now. The return of Netanyahu to power is fairly damning when it was clear he was a monster in the 90’s, and the deference he’s been shown in this country is appalling.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The guy won’t just shut up and stop causing trouble. He just said that the Israeli Navy is ready to block Iranian oil exports in transit i.e. ready to stop, board and possibly attack Iranian oil tankers. As the Israeli Navy has only 3 corvettes, 8 missile boats and 5 submarines in its fleet, this would mean that countries like the US, UK, France, etc would have to do all of this on behalf of Netanyahu with all the risks attendant.

      4. Roger Smith

        While normally, as you may know, I tend to have no optimism for Sanders’ ‘politically correct’ statements, I thought this one was very well measured but without sacrificing the core issue, as I feel he often does with other compromising statements he makes. I agree, I just think this statement is more open to expansion into honest talk about reality than some others.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      Ironic that the reaction of the majority of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, acted reflexively in a manner that demonstrated the validity of Omar’s complaints. AIPAC has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams. Most Americans today do seem to conflate Zionism (My Israel right or wrong) with being Jewish. Any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Meanwhile, deplorable acts of anti-Semitism right here in the USA; murders, vandalism, and assaults on American Jews and Judaism are skyrocketing. Congress is dithering perhaps because of the hot-button conflation problem.

      Omar is not off base questioning divided loyalties. Most headline espionage scandals since WW II have involved Jewish Americans feeding defense secrets to Israel. Elsberg, Pollard, Rosen & Weissman in the Franklin AIPAC scandal, to name a few. However, I think Omar was referring to Congress Congress making Israel and its behavior out-of-bounds for serious debate. We are currently seeing Bibi under indictment while Trumpianly dismissing it as a Fake News or boasting that he is politically untouchable – which might be the case – we’ll soon see.

      It is important today more than ever to debate Israel defense support in light of remarks and behaviors that signal an ardent desire to attack Iran. The implications for the US of such a move by Israel are not limited to an escalation of the eternal war. AIPAC has also succeeded in Zion/Jewish conflation internationally. Invasion of Iran could cause irreparable damage to US international diplomatic, military and trade relations with some of our staunchest allies.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The question of divided loyalities, or of allegiance to a foreign country is best raised, I believe, by being specific with regards to the acts, the persons and nation involved (which you did, naming the cae of Pollard, for example), given the history of that subject.

        Omar did not do that, and we have to guess with statements like ‘I think Omar was referring to…”

  3. Pookah Harvey

    From the DW story on the Brexit backstop negotiations:

    British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told Sky News television talks that both sides “exchanged robust strong views and we’re now facing the real discussions” after the UK put forward some “very reasonable proposals.”

    Then this from the Guardian:

    My POLITICO colleague Jacopo Barigazzi emails from Brussels after multiple conversations with EU diplomats who explained the opposition to the UK’s proposals. “The UK wants this [arbitration] panel to be able to declare the backstop ‘nil,’” one diplomat tells Jacopo. “Walking out by the UK is not an option for the EU. Backstop is not a backstop if one can unilaterally walk out of it.” This, fundamentally, remains the problem for the EU side, just as it has been all along. Another diplomat is somewhat blunter about Britain’s approach. “The requests were insane,” the official says.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its hard to catch up with dissident groups, they are the classic example of the Life of Brian’s Peoples Liberation Front for Judea. Its no particular secret that when the Good Friday Agreement was signed the IRA knew some groups would split and so engineered lots of loyal operatives to go with them to ensure they knew exactly what they would do, and ensured that the PSNI and Gardaí were kept well informed. Every time they looked like they might be effective (as the Real IRA threatened at one time), they were well and truly broken up by fair or foul means. Some are just criminal gangs who like the vibe of the IRA name, others are just two men and a dog type set-ups. Some are very clearly manipulated by intelligence services (the ones used to try to undermine Sinn Fein).

      I’ve had several people who live in border areas tell me that many Republicans individually voted for Brexit, precisely because they saw it would be a disaster for the Union. It was an open secret before the vote that a Brexit vote was the best thing that could happen for Republicanism. Sinn Fein know this, but have been keeping ‘on message’ for political reasons. The dissidents are less circumspect. Sinn Fein clearly think its come a little too early for them – the last thing they want is a border poll called precipitously (they think it will take 10 years for the dynamics to be right to ensure a victory), so they are trying to cool things down. They are also enjoying the spectacle of Fine Gael politicians being forced to put the knife into Tories, while Fianna Fail flail around trying to find a role for themselves. Sinn Fein are also enjoying that their main left wing opponents – the various Trotskyist micro-parties – are being ‘outed’ as Lexiters, which is political suicide for them on both sides of the border.

      The dissidents will do everything they can to stoke things up on the border, but I think Sinn Fein is far too strong and canny for them. Sinn Fein will make sure they are in front of whatever parade advances on the border areas, and the Irish government won’t fight this too hard, as they prefer ‘the devil they know’. The revival of the IRA is a useful threat for Sinn Fein, but unless things go seriously wrong, there is no appetite for this, they know that things are going their way politically, and they are very long term thinkers. Their dream is to be in elected government in both north and south at the same time, although I suspect that the Assembly is now well and truly dead. But this suits Sinn Fein too, as they’d rather deal with London than the DUP.

      Probably the worst case scenario is not that dissidents get momentum from Brexit, but that it forces a breakup and split within Sinn Fein – this is always a potential issue (as the old Irish political joke goes, the first item on the agenda for any new party is ‘the split’). One part of the split could return to the old ways. Its unlikely, but it is possible if the border situation got really nasty and neither government protected border communities from a revival of Loyalist killings.

    2. Clive

      They’re nationalist, but not as well-known as Sinn Féin.

      For a while, it looked like Brexit would be able to refrain from getting dragged down into the usual mire of green\orange mutual myopia (after which, no sense will be gotten out of anyone). Sinn Féin initially — and wisely — concentrated on cross-community consensus whereby the economic impacts of No Deal especially and even May’s deal would be felt regardless of whether one is a loyalist or republican.

      But then somehow Sinn Féin took a couple of miss-steps and made Brexit a United Ireland impediment. Which it is, but there’s a lot more to it than that so letting the Brexit political space be crowded out by nationalist tropes narrowed the narrative and once you narrow the narrative in NI to these two old embedded silos, there’s no getting it back into the land of the political living again, it’s just zombie politics.

      Frankly, I’m amazed it lasted as long as it did — refraining from sectarianism. But now its sunk and there’s no chance that I can see of re-laminating it all.

      So now you have even moderate unionists like David Trimble (who co-wrote the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement) getting on his high horse about the Backstop.

      Inevitably, you then get republican hackles raised in response, as evidenced in the Guardian article.

    3. Lee

      Northern Ireland voted to remain. Given the immense economic disadvantages of leaving the EU, political opposition in both north and south to a hard border, and a possible resurrection of The Troubles, it would seem they might consider a referendum for independence if not for a united Ireland. Could they or would they?

      1. Clive

        Unionists and republicans can’t even keep the baby-steps, lots-of-handholding power sharing (Stormont Assembly) alive as it is. The notion that the province is ready, as a society, to have a wrenching and far-reaching change like this brought about is pure fantasy. Imagine a potential Sinn Féin government (maybe limited to a coalition but still in a government) in Dublin trying to get along with unionists in the north? When they can’t even run a tarted-up county-level local authority?

        If anything, it’ll be the imposition of Direct Rule rather than a Border Pole. Not, of course, that that solves anything at all.

        1. Lee

          Looks like things are going to get real ugly real fast. One more reason to be glad my ancestors cleared out of there a few generations ago.

  4. Wukchumni

    Google Tool Lets Any AI App Learn Without Taking All Your Data CNET. And this is supposed to be reassuring? Your device won’t send your browsing history showing you like opera and porn, it will just report that you like opera and porn.
    A Magic Flute porn opera panopticon examining cantatas and the like?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Black man collecting trash from his OWN yard is confronted by at least FIVE cops yelling at him to ‘put down your weapon’ even though he was only carrying a litter-picker”

    Sigh! A sign of the times. Forty years ago a cop cruising that neighbourhood might have pulled over and asked a guy like that where the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts shop was. Now you have a whole bunch of cops checking out a dude cleaning up his yard while black. I blame the military. No, seriously. There is a core idea of overmatch in the US military where you ensure that you are never in a ‘fair’ fight. And since the police recruit lots of ex-soldiers this idea has percolated into modern policing that you see. That is why the overmatch force of police present. Police doctrine really need reforming here. You look at the number of police present and the following paperwork & investigations and you must be talking at least tens of thousands of dollars spent here – at the very least! Maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time the whole shebang is finished. Was it worth it? You would have to ask the tax-payers in Boulder, Colorado that.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      This seems to me to reflect inexperience and prejudice. I am thinking maybe some ex-military would be more disciplined and less prejudiced (exposure) than the average ute who decide they want to cruise around with a gun when they grow up.

      Just a thought.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe, but have you seen clips of soldiers on active duty? Not a confidence builder that. My eldest brother use to be a cop a very long time ago. It’s a bit of a family tradition going back a very long time. Back then, if you pulled your gun out of your holster, later you had to fill out a report about where & when, why, the circumstances, etc. This was done on typewriters and was a real pain so police learned to pull the gun out of their holster only when absolutely necessary. If you actually let off a shot, well that required a dump truck of paperwork to be filled out.
        I don’t know the standard these days but I see film clips of cops pull out pistols at the slightest excuse and ordinary people treated as an occupied people. Notice when there is a shooting, the survivors or anybody just there has to have their hands up high in the air or risk getting shot by the shouting police? Same when they were after the Boston bombers and police were evacuating people out of their own homes with their arms held high. Not a good look but all according to police doctrine.

        1. Oh

          These cops were placed on administrative leave??? How about immediate dismissal and forfeiture of their retirement. What an outrage!

          1. Cal2

            Actually there have been discussions of taking damage awards against trigger happy cops, after a court judgement of course, out of the pensions of the entire department in question.

            That would lead to peer pressure to reduce unjustified shootings.
            That said, IMHO, most shootings are justified–“Im going home tonight, no matter what” is the attitude. However, the unjustified ones are egregious and a betrayal of the public trust and should be punished.

          2. Carey

            Some paid time off for the cops, then? Cool. /s

            I watched the first half of ‘Brazil’ again last night, and this
            would’ve fit in perfectly. As LS says, everything is going
            according to plan.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem is treating private citizens as potential enemies or actual enemies. Obviously, the police have their issues, but the behavior is more than just racism at work. This is bizarre overkill where one of the five (I don’t care about peer pressure) should have stopped the situation. Having soldiers performing occupation duties feeds into this. This isn’t inexperience. This is a situation where a “problem” was found and overwhelming force was used instead of stopping and assessing the situation.

        The police likely wouldn’t have tried this if the guy was white because they run the risk of the guy being related to an important person.

        Besides if the first cop to respond doesn’t recognize the situation, no amount of training will fix the problem. We need UBI and we can let this guy guard an empty mall.

        1. Darius

          Police forces have been infected by the war zone mentality. Training films where you show up to a seemingly benign situation, a five year old pulls out a gun and kills you. Kill them before they kill you. No more Officer Friendly walking the beat, helping kids and old people across the street. They’re soldiers in a heavily armed force occupying hostile territory.

          1. Aquarius

            I remember seeing a documentary filmed by journalists embedded with the LAPD filmed in the late 90’s, the “occupying force” mindset was obviously already pretty well-entrenched by then. IIRC they would raid house parties at random on “suspicion of drug use” etc.

            And Ray Bradbury wrote “The Pedestrian” (the seed of his novel Fahrenheit 451) in 1951 after a policeman accosted him simply for taking a walk in Bradbury’s own L.A. neighborhood. Peter Ustinov later quipped that “walking in L.A. is tantamount to loitering with intent”.

            I sometimes wonder if the LAPD adopted the motto “To Protect and Serve” because no-one ever would’ve guessed that that’s what they were supposed to be up to simply by watching them in action.

            1. Oh

              They protect and serve their own, not the people. Most of the ones I’ve come in contact with are so arrogant.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I heard a joke once.

              LAPD changed its motto from ” Protect and Serve” to . . .

              “We’ll treat you like a King.”

          2. Oregoncharles

            And working hard to MAKE it hostile.

            It matters that this is Boulder, CO – a VERY liberal university town. I’ve been there. “Blue” towns vary a lot in how racist and berserk their police are – unfortunately, Eugene and Portland in Oregon, rather similar to Boulder without the Rockies, are bad examples.

            1. Janie

              I’m not so sure that Boulder is liberal, much less “very”. I had in-laws there. Air force academy, retired military and conservative megs churches.

        2. Plenue

          “The problem is treating private citizens as potential enemies or actual enemies.”

          To the elites running our society, that’s exactly what we are. I recall Mark Blyth saying people screwed by globalization are viewed as ‘something to be policed’.

          One thing that has always pissed me off is cops calling non-cops ‘civilians’. You aren’t a soldier, ‘officer’ (a really military isn’t comprised entirely of officers).

          “A watchman is a civilian, you inbred streak of piss!” – Terry Pratchett, Jingo

    2. Chris Cosmos

      A less charitable view that I espouse is the valorization of cowardice both in the police and the military as well as popular culture. Security has become all important and morality and virtue take a back seat to institutional fear. You see it also in the over-protection of children that irks me quite a lot.

      1. Shonde

        “Security has become all important and morality and virtue take a back seat to institutional fear. You see it also in the over-protection of children that irks me quite a lot.”
        Why, while I was reading that sentence, did Israel flash through my mind? Are Israel and the US mirror images?

        1. Plenue

          This one doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to be changed. It’s not even widely known among the public that torture literally doesn’t work as a way of getting accurate information. If we can’t even establish that, we can’t hope to have a genuine debate on the morality of doing it. The idea that torture works is deeply engrained in the culture; it appears constantly in fiction. I can’t even think of a single story where the fact that it’s actually worthless comes up (I’m sure such stories exist, but I don’t know of them).

          If the public continues to think torture can work, they’ll continue to think at minimum it’s justified in ‘ticking time bomb’ scenarios, which media will continue to make them believe are scenarios that actually exist.

      2. Copeland

        Not to imply that there are any other good jobs to be had, but I’ve been thinking for the last few years at least, that if you are so fearful that you absolutely, positively, must not be shot, stabbed, bitten or whatever, while at work, then maybe don’t become a cop in the first place?

    3. voteforno6

      The irony is that the cops in the military are the ones with some of the worst discipline problems

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        As we used to sing in Cadence, ‘YOU CANT SPELL WIMP WITHOUT MP.’

        We had MPs out in FOB Shindand enforcing 30km/hr speed limits FFS

    4. pretzelattack

      wonder if that’s related to 8 cops holding down and choking garner to death for selling cigarettes, or 5 or 6 (can’t remember) beating that homeless guy to death in california.

    5. skippy

      We were training police in military grade suppression tactics back in the late 70s e.g. overrunning a position and processing remaining combatants. At first this was only for the newly organized SWAT teams due to the kind of operational enviroment they worked in, aggressive armed people with a high probability of using deadly force.

      Not unlike the military, it self, this view seems to permeated the entire force as SOP e.g. better to be extreme in every instance and reduce potential risk [imagined or otherwise – assumed] than to be a small random statistical outlier … never saw that coming …

    6. Angie Neer

      “I blame the military.” I would phrase that differently: I blame militarism. Deep down, large swaths of the population believe that military action “works,” that we can make problems go away if we just shoot the right people. This is encouraged by forced worship of the military, such as we see at athletic events. But the blame for all this does not rest on the military per se, but on the people who profit from it without physical risk to themselves.

  6. jfleni

    RE: Our planet just set a scary new carbon dioxide record Grist.

    Screaming plutocrats: GIMME! Green new deal with AOC: YUK, YUK, What me worry?

    1. Eclair

      I know, jfleni. When I read the news of the highest ever (well, in 10 million years) atmospheric carbon dioxide level, I reached for my ketamine-like, fast-acting, anti-depressant nasal spray, pressed the little button, sniffed, and all became rosy again.

      It is truly serendipitous that the announcement of that amazing new drug appeared just the day before we learned of the devastatingly high carbon dioxide levels. The universe works in wondrous ways.

      Meanwhile, here in Seattle, while our Governor Inslee bases his campaign for President on Climate Change, we celebrate the opening of a brand new airport in Everett and a Senate committee in the legislature has just approved a transportation bill which allocates funds for bridge repair, along with imposition of a carbon tax (recently rejected by voters) and an increased state gas tax. The ‘poison pill, included as a sop to ‘business’ would prevent the state from adopting a low carbon fuel standard. (OK, it does make it easier for salmon to swim upstream). Four additional big cranes have just been delivered to the Port of Tacoma, allowing us to receive more shipments of stuff from far-away countries and maintain our long long supply lines, and Puget Sound Energy is still, I believe, contemplating building a huge new LNG storage and shipping facility here. The Puyallup are fighting brave battle against it.

  7. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Duping Elliot Abrams

    MofA had linked to this in a post yesterday so I’m guessing it’s legit.

    And hilarious. Supposedly the spooks are watching all these overseas communications and they can’t tell the call is coming from a prank radio show in Russia and not Swiss authorities?!?!?

    Please take the nukes away from these boobs.

    1. notabanker

      Heard this last night and could not believe it. If Abrams worked for a private corporation, his badge would not be working at the security turnstiles this morning.

      If a progressive congressperson had done this the cable news would be covering it 24/7 with breaking news banners across three parts of the screen. Abrams? 9000 views on youtube.

        1. jsn

          Which prank, getting him elected governor or asking for their money back after his when he withdrew form the Republican presidential primary?

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Does a transcript of this exist? I am tired of links to videos with no transcript offered. So lazy. One of the beauties of print media and pre-video content heavy internet news was that you couldn’t get away with slapping up a random video and declaring “job done!” Seems rather important to leave at the mercy of slipshod reporting.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Why are you so against just watching the video? Do you expect all of us to sit and listen and type every single word in a YouTube video?

        A short description is enough.

        1. Tyrannocaster

          A transcripton can be copy pasted, so I can send it to somebody and *they* don’t have to watch. Also, I can read very quickly; videos are useful, but there are just too many of them

          1. Carey

            Agree, along with the time-wasting mugging and posturing in so many of them. Get to the point!

            Gimme a text.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Perhaps NC techneauxs can design an app to quickly make a transcript of the show.

              I prefer words written down of course, but videos cool.

        2. Old Jake

          Yes, we do. I don’t do much Youtube, avoid it if I can. I live by printed word (like on this blog) and don’t hear very well besides. Not to mention it uses more bandwidth, gets jerky and out of sync, and is subject to mishearing and misinterpretation. It takes only one to capture, a tool like Dragon Dictate can be used to create an initial cut and a bit of editing to clean up.

          It’s not much to ask, but as it is I’ll just skip it entirely.

      2. Oh

        I don’t care for videos either. Such a lazy way to get info. Besides 90% of the videos are through the trash heap in youtube.

      3. Oregoncharles

        In general, I agree with you; video or audio takes maybe twice as long and, as you say, is hard to copy.

        But in this particular case, it’s probably worthwhile to actually hear it; is that Abrams’ voice? Not that I have – I’ll take other people’s word for it.

        Abrams is probably getting senile. Trump practically brought him back from the (political) grave.

    3. BenX

      It didn’t cross his mind why the Swiss president has a heavy Slavic accent?

      After listening to the whole thing, I didn’t hear anything damning. 23mins of Abrams asking the Swiss to freeze Maduro, et al bank accounts.

      He does admit that the US is bluffing military action in Venezuela – that’s enough to get him fired.

      He might have gotten suspicious after the prankster offered to help overthrow the Swiss government.

  8. notabanker

    American blame Wall Street Bloomberg article:
    Capitalism, meanwhile, is alive and well in America: a combined 58 percent in the new poll say free markets either should be regulated less or are working well, while 15 percent say they are not working well and stronger government regulation is needed. Just more than a quarter — 27 percent — say capitalism and free markets are broken and strong governmental control of health care, housing and education is needed.

    So what exactly was asked and what exactly was the response? combined 58%? Markets Working well? Regulated less? Stronger regulation needed? Governmental control of health care, housing and education?

    And again I’ll point out this reference to Democratic Primary Voters. Define that. In 2016? 2018? When turnout was 13%?

    Dore did an interview with Michael Hudson about a week ago that was pretty good, and scathing, on this specific headline topic. Hudson shredded Obama for the bank bailouts. Interestingly, he also said Sanders is not part of the solution. It should really be mandatory viewing for anyone that has a mortgage. Hudson’s basic premise is that debt forgiveness was a core part of civilized economics until the Romans. The Roman’s refusal to forgive debts is what led to their collapse.

    It’s so frustrating living in this country. I hear Hudson or Blyth and I’m like “why yes, of course”, yet most people just cannot see it.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’d claim the Romans were doing ok, until the debauchment of the Denarius (in which the army was paid) in the early 3rd century, and even then it took a few more hundred years for the rot to really set in and put paid to the empire.

      Denarii went from being 95% silver, and then thanks to high technology allowing bronze coins to be silver-washed (plated) 0% silver.

      The market responded in kind, with the previous rate of exchange of 25 Denarii equaling 1 gold Aureus. mushrooming to around 3,000-1.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I would totally agree with your assessment. If the people of a country/empire have no faith in its currency then how much faith can you have in the government that issued it. I could be biased here as I actually posses a Denarius at home.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Myth always trumps reality. Most people are incapable of critical thinking at least in the USA. Public education has been a horrible failure in that area.

  9. Chris Cosmos

    “My Year of Living Like My Rich Friend”

    All this is based on the assumption that consciousness is an emergent property of physical (in time) processes within the brain and thus is something that could be theoretically replicable by AI. This is typical of “scientism” the idea that only data readily measurable can describe reality. I claim this is absurd. Science excludes all kinds of data/information that does not fit into its model of reality. Of course this is useful in many cases when dealing with relatively simple systems where the narrow view is not just useful but necessary. But in something in the area of metaphysics and philosophy/theology/spirituality this approach to consciousness ignores deep research into consciousness by a multitude of cultures.

    To put it another way, reductionism does not work in the Big Subjects unless you take in data that is deeply paradoxical, i.e., from mystical and “paranormal” experiences that are ignored, rightly, by science for the reasons I have listed above. Because I’ve studied mysticism, magic, paranormal matters I’ve learned that, when you enter into the deep, you cannot use the same tools to examine the shallower subjects without, as I said, running into paradox. I and many people I’ve known have had premonitions through dreams, psychic intuition. I’ve known any number of people who have experienced UFO sightings, visitations from strange beings and, like my wife and many others (I will refer here to the work of John Mack and others). I know that there are “explanations” that these are a result of psychosis, imagination (whatever that is), mass delusions (whatever that is) and so on but these explanations (which I’ve looked into) are very weak and exclude, by definition, any data that upsets their preconceived idea that reality is nothing but, at a fundamental level “dead.”

    More useful is further exploration of consciousness lies in panpsychism, which was mentioned and dismissed by the article, and field theories like morphic fields. I know this post will be condemned with the usual, “there is no such thing as ghosts” but there is and has been such a thing throughout history and I and others have seen “impossible” things.

    1. thebeyond

      Thank you, CC! It’s a vast and underreported field, but I suggest Leslie Kean’s books on UFOs and after-death experience. The sourcing is first rate, and after reading the latter book my feeling was, “Anyone who dismisses these things just hasn’t been keeping up with the research.”

    2. pjay

      Careful Chris. You are committing the Hard Science version of Conspiracy Theorizing! :-)

      I say this sarcastically, since I agree with your sentiment. Ironically, some of the most dogmatic and “closed minded” people I have known have been cognitive scientists “science-splaining” human consciousness to me (no stereotyping intended – just my personal experience).

      The problem, though, is that, as with political conspiracy theories, there is so much misinformation, disinformation, and just plain crap on mysticism and “metaphysics” that it takes a lot of discernment to separate legitimate signal from misleading noise. And I think for the same reason: people with power are able to use beliefs, fears, and hopes to manipulate the masses. The history of religion is largely the history of such manipulation. Meanwhile, those who strive for legitimacy in mainstream professional life (especially in academia or journalism) are scared sh**less at being outed for believing in UFOs, ghosts, morphic fields, or anything but “lone nut” assassination theories — thereby keeping them in check as well. They also get the benefit of feeling superior to uneducated hicks, “primitive” peoples, and other deplorables who do not understand Science.

      It’s an old game. And I share your exasperation with the Experts who define the boundaries of Reality as that with which they are familiar. But the alternative is also tricky. I don’t think we should mindlessly believe *anything*. I also don’t think we should mindlessly dismiss anything simply because the dominant Authorities direct us to do so.

    3. Plenue

      Yeah, no. That’s not how science works.

      Instead of whining about how mysticism isn’t accepted as evidence, how about coming up with some actual evidence. And by evidence I don’t mean a drug trip. It’s quite bad enough having to live in a world where the metaphysical imaginings of economists are accepted. We don’t need even less evidence based wankery going on.

      Interestingly, the only ‘deep research’ before the modern era conducted into the nature of consciousness that holds much water would be Buddhism, which dovetails quite well with actual neuroscience. Consciousness is an event, carried out by the brain. What constitutes ‘us’ is largely a thin film floating on a sea of automated procceses.

      If you don’t think that, then the onus is on you demonstrate how, exactly, the brain and mind are separate when all of the evidence is that messing with the brain has a direct impact on the mind. And that includes ‘mystical experiences’, which are in fact not particularly difficult to induce.

      1. Plenue

        Also, ‘morphic fields’? Rupert Sheldrake is literally an idiot.

        When he isn’t being deceptive about his credentials and funding history, he’s aggressively refusing to understand simple concepts like needing evidence, and spreading agnotology by deliberately obscuring the difference between a descriptive law and a prescriptive one. Viewing the speed of light in a vacuum as a constant isn’t a dogma that can’t be challenged. It’s a descriptive law that is treated as such because it has never been shown to not be universal. If you want to challenge it, Sheldrake, then find some evidence of an exception, you colossal, sodding tool.

        But that would require doing actual science. So much easier to write trash pop books that shit on stuff he isn’t willing to put the effort into actually understanding.

  10. jfleni

    RE: Brexit in 23 days: EU says still ‘no solution’ in negotiations DW

    Lock them up on porridge and water — no bubbly. Wait patiently! Presto!

  11. jfleni

    RE: ‘This will be a wasteland’: Northern Irish farmers fear Brexit.

    Sinn Fein will welcome you with open arms, but not the Brits! Good Luck!

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Billionaire diamond trader, 65, dies during penis enlargement surgery at private Paris clinic”

    A tragic event this. At least the surgery was successful. I heard that he is being shipped back to Israel in an extra high coffin.

    1. Wukchumni

      He’s the kind of fellow i’d have guessed, who would have opted for elbow enlargement surgery.

    2. Eclair

      Occasionally, the Universe does dispense retribution. Although, justice for the thousands of diamond miners in South Africa and elsewhere, would have been nice.

      I’ll bet this article was one of the ‘most-clicked-on’ in NC link history. I certainly could not resist.

    3. fajensen

      When one is 65, then it is important to realise that those nubile younger women (which totally exists according to the internet :) that find older men attractive, they are not there for the size of ones manhood, they are there for ones money.

    4. crittermom

      In the article, it said he was always very conscious of his appearance as he was vertically challenged, it seems.

      Now, this guy will always be remembered as the one who died (while trying to satisfy his ego) by getting a penis enlargement.
      I very much doubt he ever saw THAT coming.
      You might almost feel sorry for him now. Almost.

  13. JoeMamma5ez

    Guillotine Watch

    Billionaire diamond trader, 65, dies during penis enlargement surgery at private Paris clinic

    Obviously, a very *small* guillotine…ba-doomp-boomp, chsssh.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas”

    So, are they finally going to be able to figure out how Consciousness hooks into matter?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      What they are trying to find is how they can show how consciousness emerges from matter not the other way around.

      1. RWood

        If it’s not one thing,
        Martin Buber quotes an old Hasid master who said, “When you walk across the field with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their souls come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.” (Annie Dillard)

        it’s another:
        …the Whole includes not only the strictly physical or material-energetic dimension—whether on the large, small, or medium scale—but also the depth dimension of consciousness, interiority, meaning, and purpose. It is only when the Whole, or cosmos if one prefers, is considered in both these dimensions that the narrative becomes truly grand and a candidate, at least, for an expression of cosmological wisdom.
        Cosmological Wisdom and Planetary Madness
        by Sean Kelly

        und so weiter

      2. Lee

        I recall listening to an encounter between the Dalai Lama and a neurologist in which he seemed to agree with the doctor that consciousness cannot exist without the structures of consciousness. When I shared this recollection with some followers of Tibetan Buddhism they became visibly upset, declaring I must have misunderstood the Dalai Lama’s meaning.

        Of course the Dalai Lama’s and the neurologist’s respective understandings of terms such as matter, structure, and consciousness may differ considerably. Indeed, in western science the nature of matter and consciousness are far from settle questions and will serve as full employment programs for scientists and philosophers for the foreseeable future.

        In the meantime I’ll eat the chickens and the eggs as they come and settle for Keats’ pronouncement:

        “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”. …

        1. David

          I don’t know the specific conversation, but the basic distinction is consciousness derives from matter, vs. matter derives from consciousness.

          1. witters

            Of course they could be the same thing, merely differently identified (so no derivation involved). As with Venus, and “the Morning Star” and “the Evening Star.”

    2. GramSci

      Q. So, are they finally going to be able to figure out how Consciousness hooks into matter?
      A. Yes, as soon as they can settle upon a definition of “consciousness”.

      Which, I guess, is just my sarcastic, pragmaticist way of saying it’s a waste of time to try to define what “consciousness” is; better to focus on what it–whatever it is–does.

      I would rather ask (a) does the automaton (person, voter, etc.) act purposively (behave in its environment based on what it has learned), and then (b) has the automaton taught itself anything, or does it only do what it has been taught by others (i.e. does it only obey)?

    3. Aquarius

      Whether or not this project, funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation, narrows the options for how consciousness arises, it hopes to establish a new way to do science for difficult, contentious problems. Instead of each camp championing its own view and demolishing others, researchers will collaborate and agree to publish in advance how discriminating experiments might be conducted — and then respect the outcomes.

      The desire to bring the debate back into the empircal realm is fine but the Templeton Institute’s intellectual hubris here is mind-blowing and frankly very very dangerous.

      The idea that one round of experiments could definitively “winnow down” the field of theories at this early stage is bonkers. The whole reason the debate needs to be pulled back into the empirical realm to start with is that pure castle-in-the-air philosophizing has, as always, failed miserably to advance the state of human understanding on an important fundamental question. Getting the disputants to pre-commit to “respect” the result of a single set of experiments when it’s not clear if any existing “camp” is actually right in the first place is patronizing, arrogant, and tantamount to attacking the culture of open debate that science needs to function. The end result of investigations into fundamental problems is almost always something that no-one could have guessed in advance.

      Bascially Templeton is saying “not doing science properly got us into this mess, a different way of not doing science properly will get us out of it”. The reason such issues are so contentious is that no-one has a firm grip on them. They will remain contentious until someone does. Treating the contentiousness itself as if it were the problem to be solved is facile and counterproductive.

      1. Carey

        I go with Iris DeMent’s take: “let the mystery be”. Not a popular view, I guess,
        but I think we’re going to peel back every last layer of the onion, and find… nothing. A mystery.

          1. Tomonthebeach

            I’m fine with where Descartes left it, or maybe with one embelishment: Cogito cogito, ergo sum ego. :-)

  15. Lee

    Why Do We Need Sleep? Israeli Scientists Solve the Mystery Haaretz (David L)

    Interesting, but I prefer Shakespeare’s take:

    “Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
    The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
    Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

    1. Janie

      I’ve always liked that snippet. My mother quoted the reveled slave line when I was small. Good memories.

  16. Watt4Bob

    I have a small, or maybe not so small quibble with the ‘Thorough defense of MMT’;

    MMT is an economic response to austerity, which has been a catastrophic failure everywhere it has been tried, creating misery, stalling growth, and wiping out the hopes of whole generations.

    I would rather all attempts to ‘defend’ the MMT ‘‘question’ be prefaced by stating that MMT is ‘not‘ a theoretical alternative system, it is not a ‘responseit is actually a more honest analysis of the way our economy actually works right now.

    The essence of the MMT argument is that in the USA, money is spent into existence, and what that money is spent on comprises the political argument.

    Currently, and for the last 75 years or so, what has been deemed ‘possible’ are the projects that further the interests of the MIC, and the investor class.

    You could say that American politics consists of the arguments surrounding what conditions our government spends into being, and why.

    The reason MMT is a current topic is that it’s the natural outcome of large portions of the populace finally asking why it is that any amount of funding can be found for bombing dark skinned people into the stone age, while seemingly, nothing can be done about rotting infrastructure and the declining quality of life for average Americans.

    Americans are finally asking why they are denied a voice in the political argument about how much money is spent into existence, and how that money is spent.

    We’re approaching $6 trillion dollars spent on war since 9/11, and we have nothing to show for that all that money that was simply imagined into existence by a government that doesn’t find it possible to spend on improving the lives of its people.

    MMT is the observation that our economy has become a trough that’s always over flowing when the rich and powerful ask, but that We the People are not allowed to approach under any circumstances.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I think your comment is most apt for describing MMT. We’ve had de facto MMT for years and austerity for whatever our betters didn’t want to fund.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d prefer that Kellogg Brown & Root gouge us by building overpriced new infrastructure, or Halliburton clean up Superfund sites with all the free money we’ve ginned up via MMT, but all I got was this lousy t-shirt from the Wounded Warrior Project with my 63 Cent a day donation.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hopefully, Americans will ask this follow up qeustion:

      Why can’t the people, alone, do the ‘spending money into exist’ work (make it Guarantee Work)?

      the MMT argument is that in the USA, money is spent into existence

    3. polecat

      One small quibble .. well, maybe not so small .. but isn’t stalling grow something that we, collectively, should try to do .. you know, to ‘forestall’ the relentless destruction of the life-giving essence that Gaia still provides ALL biota .. and not just humans ??
      Otherwise, proposals such as the GND mean absolutely zilch !

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From a Marketwatch article today:

        Stephanie Kelton, a former economics adviser to the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and professor at Stony Brook University, has been credited with helping advance the radical theory.

        She’s offered a nuanced take on the relevance of deficits in well-developed economies, emphasizing the idea that deficits don’t matter in conventional ways of thinking: “The way we usually think about a deficit is that it is evidence of excessive spending. And that’s just wrong; evidence of excessive spending is inflation. So I would argue you don’t have a deficit problem or debt problem unless you have an inflation problem,” Kelton told CNBC recently.

        Excessive spending is evidenced by inflation, not destruction of the life-giving essense that Gaia still provides ALL biota, per se, in this defense of MMT.

  17. philip

    Re the pilot ordering pizza for entire flight: Same thing happened to me on a Brussels to Atlanta flight in about 1978. A hurricane diverted the plane to another, smaller airport in SC or Georgia. No customs at the secondary airport so no one could deplane for hours while waiting for customs to arrive etc. After all the food and drink on the plane was consumed, the pilot ordered pizzas. The humorous thing in this instance was that James Brown and his band were on the plane, returning to the US via Brussels from shows in Africa (if I remember correctly). The pizza delivery kids of course just wanted to hang around JB, but he got up and magisterially commanded them to distribute pizza to everyone first and, after that, he would sign glossies for all of them, etc.

  18. allan

    Rain is melting Greenland’s ice, even in winter, raising fears about sea level rise [Science]

    … Since melting on the surface of the ice sheet came to dominate in 2011, Greenland’s annual contribution to global sea level rise has doubled. Warming has driven this acceleration and, over the past 30 years or so, average air temperatures at the ice sheet warmed by as much as 1.8°C in summer, and up to 3°C in winter.

    To better understand the causes of this accelerating melt, climate scientists used more than 30 years of satellite data to pinpoint “melt events” when the amount of liquid water on the ice sheet suddenly increased. To detect these events, the satellites exploited liquid water’s unique ability to absorb and emit microwave radiation from the sun. Water emits 100 times more microwave radiation than snow, allowing the satellites to detect even slight increases.

    By combining the satellite data with local weather readings, the team could determine whether rain or other factors instigated melt events. The researchers identified 313 melt events caused by rain from 1979 to 2012. Over the study period, the melt caused by rainy weather doubled during summer, and tripled during winter …

    The wintertime rain could have even more lasting consequences. Rain-induced melt in winter may quickly refreeze, but the rained-on snow forms a crusty layer that absorbs more sunlight than fresh powder. After decades of increasingly frequent winter rain, the snowpack contains so many of these layers that they accelerate melting when exposed to the sun in the summer …

    It’s almost as if there is an controllable feedback loop that is now beyond our ability to affect.
    Nah, couldn’t be …

    1. polecat

      So, at some point, the currently unreachable Unobtainium will be exposed .. leading the governments of the Planet, via their industrial proxies, to compete against one another for All That Cheddar !! … and not one blue monkee to be found, to put up an island defense.
      … Tis a pity …

  19. Wukchumni

    L.A. settles pivotal homeless rights case, limiting the city’s ability to clear streets of property and camps Los Angeles Times.

    From my travels around El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula, it seems as if allowing the homeless to set up camp on sidewalks and assorted pee’d-à-terres, was pretty much already a given, as you see it all over the place as of late. It took a little getting used to, as that most certainly never happened when we lived there 3/4’s of a Rip Van Winkle ago, no sirreeee bob.

    1. JBird4049

      It took a little getting used to, as that most certainly never happened when we lived there 3/4’s of a Rip Van Winkle ago, no sirreeee bob.

      Wukchumni, can I interest you in visiting Baghdad by the Bay? There’s a surfeit of luxury apartments and a shortage of public toilets with the unsurprisingly open cesspit smell that now characterizes our beloved San Francisco. It’s a true tourist trap.

      It used to be that the police could just decide without advance notice to clear out a local encampment. Even with advanced notice, and there usually was, the ability of the inhabitants to get their belongings including pictures, medicine, records and tents was lacking. It was move, move, move and let’s put everything into the trash bin without without letting anyone pack their stuff.

      Of course, the now even more destitute homeless usually move around the corner or maybe several blocks away. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego all seem to believe that tut tutting and chasing the growing numbers of homeless encampments around the city will solve the problem. It has been a thing for over thirty years, solving nothing, and getting worse.

      I guess we will need a cholera epidemic since the earlier epidemics apparently just got some shovels and bleach used. Considering that cholera has been a good way to excise the surplus population that might be considered by some a good thing. Rather like how the British elites thought and treated the Potato Famine and the Irish. Sadly, I am not being sarcastic.

  20. Carey

    “Uber escapes Criminal Charges..”: But of course! They might interfere with their business model, and we can’t have that.
    The driver, might still be liable though, so it’s all good. /s

    Of, by, and for, the Few

  21. bruce wilder

    “Recall that LA has had outbreaks of Hepatitis A” [related to homeless encampments].

    Also typhus!

  22. Darius

    Regarding the DWT article. The mudslinging in 2016 was all on Hillary’s side. Bernie just attacked the billionaires and Hillary must have thought he was talking about her. The both sides narrative is just more propaganda.

  23. Olga

    Couple of links from the ever-surprising (not) Guardian: first, they’ve discovered that some countries have been able to reduce inequality:

    And a fun-sad piece about Somalia’s music scene in the 1970s/80s:
    Mogadishu was safe and stable… aahh, those were the days!

  24. Summer

    RE: Facebook / privacy…The Verge

    “Implementing end-to-end encryption will prevent Facebook from collecting data on the content of its users’ messages, but Facebook has not said that it will change or limit its collection of data about users on other fronts. Its business model is dependent on leveraging its incredibly voluminous and detailed information about users to sell advertising.”

    All throughout the article is much more than about what Zuckerberg said.
    It still mangages to include the context in which the problem arose, repetitive to some, but not repeated enough.
    The European press and regulators appear to be better on this subject of privacy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I still suspect the end game is an ugly convention, with Hillary, being above the fray, entering the stage at that point to save the party, and the nation.

      1. notabanker

        I’m not so sure about Hillary, but I most definitely agree on an ugly convention. I was struck by how controlled the 16 convention was, from police presence outside, whole blocks cordoned off, media production inside controlled by the DNC and the spectacle of a Super Bowl halftime show. I can only imagine the 2020 riod’d up version of this with the DNC already laying groundwork to have the DNC Chair and superdelegates steal the show.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I doubt it will be firm. HRC got a lot of mileage out of the myth of a secret liberal HRC and the effects of the 90’s targeting of her and even Chelsea by the GOP. No other Democrat will get this. Pelosi can’t even stomp on a muslim who doesn’t kowtow to Israel after Pelosi CLAPPED.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I tend to be conservative (playing it safe) when it comes to Hillary.

          “When in doubt, when not sure, don’t ignore it.”

      1. Cal2

        Possible, but 44 million student loan borrowers who will take their student loans to the grave with them certainly are.

        Apparently Biden decided recently that not enough people hated him so decide to change that. Saw a Jimmy Dore video ( on him talking about Millennials who will be potentially 40% of voters in 2020. When asked about Millennials he says:
        “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break.”
        And so, there’s an old expression my philosophy professor would always use from Plato, ‘The penalty people face for not being involved in politics is being governed by people worse than themselves.’ It’s wide open. Go out and change it.”

        OK! We’ll vote for Tulsi Gabbard.

  25. allan

    The war on the war on cash:

    Philadelphia Is First U.S. City to Ban Cashless Stores [WSJ]

    Philadelphia is the first major U.S. city to ban cashless stores, placing it at the forefront of a debate that pits retail innovation against lawmakers trying to protect all citizens’ access to the marketplace.

    Starting in July, Philadelphia’s new law will require most retail stores to accept cash. A New York City councilman is pushing similar legislation there, and New Jersey’s legislature recently passed a bill banning cashless stores statewide. A spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, declined to comment on whether he would sign it. Massachusetts has gone the farthest on the issue and is the only state that requires retailers to accept cash. …

    Ken Rogoff wept.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Wikipedia, 2016 (each member’s term is 4 years):

      The City Council as of January 4, 2016 is as follows:

      District Name Took Office Party
      1 Mark Squilla 2012 Dem
      2 Kenyatta Johnson 2012 Dem
      3 Jannie Blackwell[8] 1991 Dem
      4 Curtis J. Jones, Jr., 2008 Dem
      5 Darrell L. Clarke, Council President 1999 Dem
      6 Bobby Henon Majority Leader 2012 Dem
      7 Maria Quiñones-Sanchez 2008 Dem
      8 Cindy Bass 2012 Dem
      9 Cherelle Parker 2016 Dem
      10 Brian J. O’Neill, Minority Leader 1980 Rep
      At-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown, Majority Whip 2000 Dem
      At-Large Bill Greenlee, Deputy Majority Whip 2006 Dem
      At-Large David Oh 2012 Rep
      At-Large Allan Domb 2016 Dem
      At-Large Derek S. Green 2016 Dem
      At-Large Helen Gym 2016 Dem
      At-Large Al Taubenberger 2016 Rep

      Let them know what you think.

  26. Carl

    RE: Cyber Rules of the Road for America (!) and Russia

    Couldn’t get past the first sentence, wherein the author assumes as fact that Russia “disrupted the 2016 US election.” Nope, no credibility after that. Maybe after he exits the bubble he’s in, he’ll have something useful to say.


    The Financial Times Makes It Very Difficult to Unsubscribe

    I took a trial subscription to because it was so often linked to from naked capitalism. Now I’m trying to unsubscribe and all I’m getting is foot dragging and muzak holds.


    1. Craig H.

      Don’t sign anything without reading it.
      Don’t click on OK without reading all the terms of service.

      If it’s pages and pages of legalese just don’t do it.

      Sneaky scum got dibs on your kidneys way down in the fine print if you read far enough.

      1. Harold

        They should be required by law to send you a receipt every month. Also to answer your inquiries. I am thinking of another outfit that refused to unsubscribe me. It must be a pervasive problem. I think you can ask your credit card not to pay them, if you use a credit card. Not sure. They sure can steal a lot of money this way.

        1. kareninca

          I did not have any luck in a similar situation asking my credit card company to stop paying a subscription that I got semi-conned into. The credit card people said I would have to cancel that credit card and get a new one in order to stop the billing. Fortunately I did manage to get the matter fixed with the “subscription” company. Don’t expect your CC company to help.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Call your credit card issuer and dispute the charge(s). And yes, you may have to cancel the card (I had this happen with Citi). This is why I generally avoid recurrent charges. You will get the $ back regardless but it is a nuisance.

  28. Wukchumni

    “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can not eat money.” ~ Chief Seattle

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I thought that saying went more like this . . . ” Only when the last etc. etc. etc. will the white man realize that he can not eat money.” Because Chief Seattle realized it already, all along, and right from the start.

      1. Martin - Victoria, BC

        You do realize that the entire speech is an invention – specifically, from a movie screenplay. Completely bogus.

  29. Oh

    Good article with some hard truths that people don’t care to understand. Thanks for the link.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas”
    First, define “consciousness.” I am more and more convinced that the word, as used here, simply has no concrete meaning. Obviously, there is a root meaning: “awake and responsive.” If a person or animal is alive but unresponsive and can’t readily be awakened, they’re “unconscious.” Concrete meaning.

    But the extended meaning, apparently referring to some process going on inour heads, is empty. How can you explain it when you don’t kno wwhat it means? And at this point, I suspect strongly that it remains undefined because the ghost they’re looking for doesn’t exist. So I guess I’m joining the school that says it’s an illusion.

  31. JohnnyGL
    Mexico’s Monetary Policy Traps it in Poverty

    For you LatAM watchers and MMT fans, this is worth checking out. The economist interviewed here points out that the Central Bank doesn’t keep good data like it used to on what the effects will be on the balance of payments position in Mexico if/when AMLO decides to launch an expansionary monetary and fiscal policy. It’s a good point to think about how the neoliberal rot has hurt the ability of countries to understand and analyze the effects of their own policies.

    Separately, I think it’s worth thinking about the constraints that developing countries have to deal with that the US and other developed countries really don’t have major issues with. US is allowed to run big CA deficits with no run on the USD, because it’s the reserve currency, because everyone holds giant stockpiles of it, and because the rest of the world has all structured their economies to focus on exporting goods/services to the USA.

    Mexico has to worry about balance of payment constraints in order to avoid a currency devaluation and the consequent spike in inflation and rise in the real value of USD denominated debts. The USA doesn’t have those constraints since it’s mostly self-sufficient, has a variety of sources of the most important imported goods, and doesn’t have any major non-USD debts.

  32. crittermom

    >2020 “The Forces Arrayed Against Bernie…”

    Good article, & I agree with this thinking since so many (idiots) get all their news from MSM.
    The media is very powerful & crooked, as we know, as proven in this link in NC just two days ago:

    To me, the last paragraph of the article sums it up nicely, since it’s already happening. I sincerely hope they use many of those $27 donations for media to refute the lies & spread the truth:

    “To counteract the media propaganda arsenal now in place, we should fully recognize that arsenal as the main weaponry that corporate power will deploy against the Bernie 2020 campaign. We must confront those corporate media forces while vastly strengthening independent progressive media work of all kinds.”

  33. The Rev Kev

    “Some advertisers are quitting Facebook, chiding the company’s ‘despicable business model’”

    Basecamp may have gotten it right here. They spent about $100,000 on Facebook ads back in 2017 alone. An American merchant once remarked that: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”. With Facebook, it is probably worse. Last year alone that organization disabled nearly 1.3 billion “fake” accounts over the course of two quarters. So of that $100,00 Basecamp spent, just how much of it showed up in genuine accounts and did it do any good for that company?

  34. crittermom

    I liked both of today’s antidotes. Gorgeous photo of polar bear.

    That little dragon looked like a pinecone when curled up! Very cute.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Rules of the Cyber Road for America and Russia”

    All the usual accusations here but thought to check out who the author was and what he is all about. Found it in the second sentence of his Wikipedia entry where it said ‘He is the co-founder….of the international relations theory of neoliberalism’. He may be ranked an influential scholar but at 82, isn’t it time for some fresh blood and thinking at Harvard?

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