Links 5/9/19

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Why do cats—and so many other animals—look like they’re wearing socks? Popular Science (David L)

Mapping Begins of Lands Lost To North Sea During the Stone Age Guardian

Roman mining activities polluted European air more heavily than previously thought PhysOrg (Robert M)

New type of plastic can be recycled indefinitely without quality loss Slashgear (David L)

George Clooney releases PSA against climate change “dumbf**kery” Fast Company

Scientist to politicians: End oil, farm subsidies to save planet – Reuters. UserFriendly: “Not nearly enough.”

WATCH: Flooding In The U.S. Is Getting Worse NPR (David L)

Binance Loses $40 Million In Record-Breaking Crypto Heist SafeHaven

Artificial Intelligence May Not ‘Hallucinate’ After All Wired (Robert M)

San Francisco Investigates Doctor Over Measles Vaccination Exemptions Wall Street Journal

A student sued because he didn’t want the chickenpox vaccine. Then he got chickenpox CNN (Kevin W)

Diabetes complications soar in the US, but not Canada, as teenagers become young adults MedicalXpress (Dr. Kevin)

Denver just voted to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms Vox (David L)


Exclusive: China backtracked on nearly all aspects of U.S. trade deal – sources Reuters (resilc). So for once, Trump isn’t making things up. The problem is he does so so often that the reflex is to at best severely discount what he says.

Why China Decided to Play Hardball in Trade Talks Wall Street Journal

Asia Stocks Drop With U.S. Futures as Tariffs Loom: Markets Wrap Bloomberg

UK far-right extremism: hate spreads from the fringe Financial Times


From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

TWO WEEKS TO GO: Three of the U.K.’s four main parties launch their European election campaigns today with two weeks to go until polling day. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party will all hold big events around the country as Britain gears up for the most surreal election in recent times. The missing link will be the Tory Party, which has no real campaign to speak of and no launch event planned at all. The Daily Mail’s Political Editor Jason Groves quotes party sources who confirm there will be no manifesto either. “What would we put in it?” a source shrugs. It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks at Conservative Campaign HQ.


Venezuelan police tow deputy opposition leader Edgar Zambrano to jail in his car ABC (witters)


Will the U.S. And Israel Wage A “Summer War”? Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

The Saudi Shia: Between an Iranian rock and a Saudi hard place Al Jazeera (resilc)

Pompeo in Baghdad to Pressure Iraq to join Press against Iran; Iraq declines Juan Cole (resilc)

Trump Administration Inflated Iran Intelligence, U.S. Officials Say Daily Beast

On the road to war with Iran? Sic Semper Tyrannis

Iran’s Master Plan To Beat U.S. Sanctions OilPrice (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Airbnb host thrown in the clink after guest finds hidden camera inside Wi-Fi router The Register (Chuck L)

Amazon Accused of Violating Kids’ Privacy With Smart Speakers Wall Street Journal

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trump’s Dogs of War LobeLog (resilc)

A Military Psy-Ops Campaign in the Heart of Washington is Directed at U.S. Citizens by Pat Elder + Abby Martin on Failed April 30th Coup in Venezuela Dandelion Salad (Kevin W)

Tom Stevenson reviews ‘AngloArabia’ by David Wearing London Review of Books. Resilc flagged this part:

America wants to discourage those powers from developing the means to protect that resource for themselves.’ Much of US power is built on the back of the most profitable protection racket in modern history.

Hartung and Smithberger, A Dollar-by-Dollar Tour of the National Security State TomDispatch. This article is both valuable and frustrating. It does a fine job of putting all of the disparate parts of budgeted defense/security spending together. However, it doesn’t even mention that the DoD has an official off-budget, and is widely believed to have even more in the way of a black budget

Trump Transition

US House panel holds Attorney General William Barr in contempt BBC

House panel votes to hold Barr in contempt, escalating feud The Hill

New York Senate OKs Giving US House Trump State Tax Return Bloomberg (furzy)

House Intel panel subpoenas Barr for full Mueller report, evidence The Hill (resilc). Ahem, there is grand jury testimony in there…..and it isn’t clear Congress has the right to get at it. From the Congressional Research Service last month:

On April 5, 2019, the three-judge panel in McKeever ruledthat federal courts lack “inherent authority” to authorize the disclosure of grand jury matters in circumstances not covered by an explicit exception set out in Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. It thus appears that, for the time being, the panel’s decision has closed off one potential avenue for Congress to obtain grand jury material in federal court in the District of Columbia (though the decision could always be reheard en banc or overturned by the Supreme Court). That said, as the McKeeverdecision notes, Congress previously was successful in obtaining grand jury materials pursuant to the Rule 6(e) exception for disclosure “preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding” on the theory that an authorized impeachment inquiry is preliminary to such a proceeding. That avenue appears to remain available to Congress after McKeever. Furthermore, Congress has in the past taken the positionthat it possesses independent constitutional authority to obtain grand jury materials regardless of the applicability of any Rule 6(e) exceptions—i.e., that the rule of grand jury secrecy simply does not apply to Congress when it is acting within the “sphere of legitimate legislative activity.” But while two courtshave appearedto agree with that position, the Department of Justice (and some other courts) have contested it.

Justice Department Shuts Dark Web Drug Directory, Arrests Alleged Owners NBC

Rep. Adam Schiff introduces constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United CNN (David L)


Joe Biden Might as Well Be a Republican Norman Solomon, Truthdig

Joe Biden’s comments from a 1973 City Club appearance show it may be hard to reconcile past with present (TF). From last week, still germane.

Sanders shores up Dem superdelegate support The Hill (martha r)

The Weird Conventional Wisdom About the 2020 Democratic Candidates and Foreign Policy American Conservative (resilc):

To suggest that Bernie Sanders has been indifferent on matters of foreign policy would be especially bizarre, since he has done more than any of the other declared candidates over the last two years to challenge the Trump administration over the war on Yemen and support for Saudi Arabia.

Pro-Biden Poll Based On BullS**t Jimmy Dore, YouTube

Corporate Media Target Gabbard for Her Anti-Interventionism—a Word They Can Barely Pronounce FAIR (UserFriendly)

Americans’ living standards are at an all-time high. Here’s proof MarketWatch (Robert M)

Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant To Close, Latest Symbol of Struggling Industry NPR

Pilots union slams Boeing over communication failures Financial Times. From yesterday, still germane.

Ridesharing companies worsened congestion in San Francisco: study TechXplore (Chuck L) and Uber and Lyft may be making San Francisco’s traffic worse Science Magazine. Notice difference in headlines.

Uber Set to Price IPO at Midpoint of Target Range or Below Wall Street Journal

Road test proves adaptive cruise control can add to traffic jam problem -TechXplore

Amazon Hit by Extensive Fraud With Hackers Siphoning Merchant Funds Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Bill Gates Actually Made a Good Point About the Socialism Debate in America Gizmodo (furzy)

Antidote du jour. Craig: “Mumford watching life from the stoop”:

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


    Dude, my sleep schedule is totally jacked up.

    Too many Diet Cokes…

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Well, since you’re up, get on the road to Denver and then swing by this way!

    2. polecat

      Dude ! .. lay off the corn syrup !! You’ll live longer …. or at least sleep better.

      1. eggman

        It’s worse than that. Diet Coke is “sweetened” with aspartame, an L-amino acid.
        Check out the government/corporation swinging doors that facilitated that FDA approval for use.

        1. Cal2

          Aspertame is highly addictive.
          Degrades into formaldehyde in your body.
          Contributes to brain cancer.

          Turns off your appestat, the thing in your body that tells you that you are full, therefore you keep eating and gain weight.

          Diet Coke is low class and self destructive, like smoking. Look upon people that drink it with pity, not scorn.

          1. Aumua

            Did you even read the article that you posted from ncbi? Not that the article is all that convincing itself, but it pretty much clears aspartame of the nefarious qualities you ascribe to it. Just sayin.

              1. Aumua

                So? What does that have to do with the ncbi article? Is the author of the article on that list? Is there a name associated with the aspartame industry on that list? How is that a refutation or even a response to what I said?

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Yeah ur pretty much right. Im a former alcohol/coke/crack addict (5 years in Nov!) and I tend to do stuff over and over again if it makes me happy.

            And Diet Coke does just that.

            Im like 350, a little over 6 ft, and solid as a boulder. Now that ive got a grip on living sober i need to switch Diet Cokes to water, which i love. Working out will help as well.

            Luckily New Orleans is hot af during the Summertime. I suspect the fat will melt off!

            1. Janie

              Congrats on sobriety. It can’t be easy, especially in where youlive.

              PS. In New Orleans, you know what boulders are?

  2. MK

    Climate Change Dumbfu***ery Rule #1: Don’t Fly, And If You Do, Don’t Take A Private Jet. Rule #2: Don’t Own Multiple Private Estates In Multiple Countries. Rule #3: No Yachts.

    tl;dr: Clooney along with his fellow millionaires/billionaires = Climate Change Clowns.

    1. DK

      Rich pampered celebrity member of sciencyish doomsday cult calls everyone not willing to make deep sacrifices a dumb f***. Will tell soon which Wall St-sanctioned neoliberal he enthusiastically endorses.

      1. pretzelattack

        so he’s a hypocrite. what he isn’t is a member of a sciencyish doomsday cult. neither is the royal society or the aaas. you can criticise clooney all day long, but his actions have zip to do with the validity of the science.

        1. DK

          The ‘science’ right now is a smorgasboard of highly speculative predictions based on unproven data models created by people with questionable motives out of disparate and incomplete data. That isn’t science. It’s on the same level as macro-economics, only with more and sillier assumptions.

          1. tegnost

            My mom has a friend who worked as a rsearcher for scripps, his job was to hitch a ride on freighters and measure ocean temps. Over his career he said every reading was higher than the last. And he retired like 15 years ago and if you think that situation has changed I am a nigerian prince who only needs $150 to be released from prison, after which I will gladly give you $15,000 if you will only give me your credit card # (just kidding, no…really.) Which is science, and which is speculation?

          2. Plenue

            Climate change and the sixth mass extinction are happening, right now. This isn’t up for debate anymore.

            1. DK

              Climate change is a constant fact of life. It is not debatable.

              Manmade global warming leading irrevocably to climate collapse is an unproven and very debatable hypothesis. It’s an unprecedented, unfalsifiable data modelling exercise of the sort that has never worked in human history.

              There are many causes of the sixth mass extinction. They mostly all come down to the fact that an ever growing number of human beings are using an ever-increasing amount of resources equivalent to a second Earth and we are increasingly degrading the ability of those resources to even sustain current levels of consumption. In short, we are living more and more in our own filth. This is true even if you take climate change out of the picture.

              The problem here is that manmade climate change is the most uncertain and debatable cause of the extinction you’re so worried about. There are many others that are considerably more certain and actionable, but the fantasy (that’s all it is at this point) of manmade climate changes sucks all the air out of the room. I imagine that this is because it is the easiest blame other people for while doing nothing. It is also a convenient excuse for the 1% (like Clooney) to tell the 99% that they need to be satisfied with less, while they continue to take more.

              I fear that ultimately the only solution to the current set of problems we face is to remove about 5 or 6 billion people from the planet. I have no doubt the planet will eventually do that.

              1. Aumua

                It is known that increasing the levels of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere WILL lead to an increase in temperature, and that we ARE increasing the levels. These facts have not been refuted in any way, and have been proven again and again. What is up for debate is how much of a rise there will be, and what effects various feedback loops will have etc… essentially the details. There is uncertainty about those, but not about the basic situation.

              2. pretzelattack

                i’m just waiting for all the convicted arsonists to be released, now that we realize humans can’t cause forest fires.

              3. Jeotsu

                Or to be maximally cynical, either:

                -Climate change is due to natural processes, and there is nothing we can do about it it.


                -Climate change is driven by anthropogenic factors, and there is nothing we are going to do about it.

                (Any of the readers who have statistically could expect another 50 years of life, are sadly less likely to see that whole lifespan due to what is coming. And that might apply to us with 30 years left. Who knows. It’s not gonna be good.)

                1. Aumua

                  Jeotsu, there is no guarantee of total destruction, any more than there is a guarantee of no significant consequences. We should act now to mitigate those, but I agree with you that we’re not going pull our head out of our ass until things get bad enough, and it may very well be too late by then.

          3. pretzelattack

            lol so you know better than every major science organization, and the oil company scientists themselves? the science isn’t based on models btw. please don’t tell me warming can’t be caused by humans because the climate has changed before.

            1. Geo

              Too late. He already did that above.

              If only those who don’t believe in human caused climate change would try a scientific experiment and run their car in a closed garage to see how it impacts their controlled environment. It would do wonders for either illuminating their views on the subject or for the general evolution of mankind depending on how long it takes them to notice the “climate change” in their garage.

              1. Acacia

                Pro tip for skeptics: it works best if you remain inside the closed garage with the car running ;)

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        I give Clooney’s opinions about as much weight as a tweet from Chase Bank telling me to tighten my belt.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Clooneys a useful bell weather for Hollywood Neolibs at least.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            If only it really was Her Turn, her fossil fuel backers could have paid for more feelgood ads about how green they really are with the multi-billion $ subsidies we taxpayers give them, some of the most profitable companies in history. So there’s no accounting for the true all-up societal costs of carbon, and we never have to think about it ever again. Hey did you catch that latest Beyonce video?

    2. Oh

      Clooney is a faux climate change believer. He supported Obamba with beaucoup dollars even when he knew Obamba was a Obomber. I used to watch his movies but not after he showed his true colors.

      1. Angie Neer

        “Faux believer”–what is this, church? He’s a blasphemer, so it’s dangerous to even look at him?

        1. cripes

          Angie, maybe not, but I got sick of Steven Colbert real fast and stopped watching him. Ever. And that Mahr creature. One look at Maddow was one too many. Matter of taste I suppose. The taste of bile.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Mapping Begins of Lands Lost To North Sea During the Stone Age”

    This is fascinating this. I am willing to bet that a lot of people reading this have a good odds-on chance of having ancestors that lived in Doggerland when it was all dry land. I am wondering that when the whole region has been scanned, that they will be able to produce a map of what this region looked like when it was all habitable. All those core samples should go a long way in showing what the forests and vegetation looked like as well. I do not know if it is true or not but once read that in these times, that the Thames and the Rhine were connected together. Looking very much forward to when these results come in.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      What the article doesn’t say is that the Dogger Bank is a very high producing fishery so decades of trawling has probably destroyed all evidence of any settlements.

      And yes, its true that at one time the Thames joined the Rhine at one stage in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the ice sheets – the combined rivers discharged into the Atlantic ocean at a point well south of England.

      Its unlikely any of our descendants, at least on the male side were ever there (except by the very broadest definition of ‘our ancestors’). There is little genetic trace of the pre-Bronze Age peoples remaining the DNA of Europeans. It seems quite likely that genocide (at least of males) by our actual ancestors, or at least the Neolithic farmers, was a reason.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for those links PlutoniumKun. I have to admit to an interest in this subject since coming across an old 1913 book called “Submerged forests” by a Clement Reid. Just the thought of a whole region where people lived and hunted and had their families now lost to history has always snagged my interest. There is a copy of this book online for any interested at-

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, its fascinating, people in the northern hemisphere don’t often realise just how ‘fresh’ the landscape is and how different it was in the blink of geological time. Our ancestors just 10,000 years ago strode across a vast fresh landscape most of which rapidly disappeared under the sea. Its unfortunate we didn’t really understand this in locating so many of our cities and nuclear power stations so close to the coast….

          Incidentally, recent DNA evidence suggests that most Irish wildlife has little or no genetic affinity with British wildlife, instead sharing ancestry with Spanish elk, badgers and foxes, etc. One theory is that there was a small Dogger Bank style area south of Ireland which acted as an Ice Age refuge (i.e. not covered with ice), and this replenished Ireland before they could cross from Britain. But they’ve not been able to identify a good candidate. Another possibility is that no mammals made it to Ireland under their own steam, but the first arrivals from Europe (likely from where is now Galicia in Spain) decided to bring their favourite animals with them. However, this doesn’t explain why there were wolves and bears in Ireland, unless they were very brave sailors who fancied a challenge.

        2. Lee

          Writing and therefore written histories are recent developments that omit and distort so much that the physical sciences are now bringing to light.

          Mary Beard now has a television series based on her book on Roman history. There are of course the monumental and palatial ruins built in the names of emperors and the well to do. But she also visits slave quarters and a vast mining quarry in Spain, where she makes the point that the slaves and serfs who really made the empire not only so physically grand and prosperous. but possible at all, were not themselves literate and that the writers of that time, were with few exceptions. not particularly interested in telling their stories.

        3. TooSoonOld

          You might also enjoy the Time Team episodes that relate to Doggerland. Just search “time team doggerland” on youtube.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Thanks for that and will watch it this ‘arvo over a coupla cups of coffee. The actual video is blocked in my region by YouTube but have found it elsewhere.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I’m so mixed up that I just read it without realizing that it was the wrong link.

      Even though I had already read it yesterday.

      In any case, there’s some really interesting data there that entirely debunks Uber and Lyft claims about their services. Worth reading twice.

    1. Clive

      Re: Brexit / “Politico’s morning European newsletter”

      I got a European Parliament election leaflet from the Conservative Party in the post yesterday! But then I’m in a safe Tory constituency and they probably want to show (or try to, but it’ll be like the Doom of Valyria no matter what they do) the vote is holding up.

      I’d take a scan and link to it, but there’s enough rubbish on the internet as it is. It was absolutely priceless. Words can’t even begin to describe it. Suffice to say that Theresa May leering out of the centrefold in it was risking my choking on my biscuit. It should have had a warning printed on the envelope “this material may contain distressing images” like the letters I get from charities appealing for donations to fight cruelty to small animals.

    2. Tom Bradford

      While not applicable to this link I do wish the good folks who put up the links page or contribute to it would add a ‘AOOS’ (Access only on Subscription) warning to appropriate links within it. It seems to be the case now that at least half the links I click on in NC are only available to subscribers and so a waste of my time (and bandwidth and expensive data allowance).

      Yes I know some of these subscriber-only blocks can be circumvented but this takes time, know-how and yet more data-cap burning, but an AOOS warning would put anyone sufficiently interested in the subject on notice that they would need to embark on the chase while of course anyone already with a subscription to the site is likely to have seen the article already.

  4. John Beech

    Airbnb host thrown in the clink after guest finds hidden camera inside Wi-Fi router The Register (Chuck L)

    I’m curious, how do people who rent space via AirBnB ensure their place isn’t trashed or ripped off? Does AirBnB have an insurance policy protecting the property owner against this eventuality? I wonder because I’ve seen media reports showing the results of parties that destroyed a home, and one of ‘guests’ making off with the goodies, music systems, big screen televisions, appliances, and such. While I would hate to be under surveillance whilst renting a place, I also understand the desire to keep an eye on things. An insurance policy changes the equation as long as it doesn’t take long to make things right when they go wrong. Comments by the experienced would be interesting.

    1. Auskalo

      I’ve hosted people from AirBnb in my apartment in summer without any problem. I have about 400 CDs and hundreds of books in my apartment. And I host people from Booking and Homeaway, too.

      I think that I’ve one book less, a towel less, and a couple of CDs less. But nobody trashed my apartment. I wouldn’t rent it if I all people were barbarians.

      Do ordinary people trash hotels? They could.

      I’ve been a user of AirBnb in several countries of Europe and I’ve been very careful, leaving the place as I received it.

      AirBnb taxes more to the visitor than the host, Booking or Homeaway taxes more the host.

      Don’t miss the people that rents his home with their internet advertising platform.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Do ordinary people trash hotels? They could.

        And they do. But hotels have staff in much closer proximity, and usually have much more detail of a guest’s identity and their financial information in order to get redress.

        Perhaps only one in a thousand AirBnb guests could cause trouble, but the 999 trouble-free guests you’ve already happily hosted who weren’t barbarians only means you were lucky so far.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Vox Pro-Biden Poll Based On BullS**t”

    Jimmy Dore has been highlighting Biden’s words of wisdom lately on his channel and in one of his videos, he mentioned how Biden often makes gaffes and has a reputation for doing so. Yves too said that he may not go so great in a debate so I played a hunch and put the search term gaffes joe biden into Google and the results speak for themselves. If he ever made it to the first debate he would be toast.

    1. Brindle

      The pro-Biden slant of the cable news networks is noticeable—especially MSNBC. In 2016 they (MSNBC) were effectively the Clinton Network, Now they are the Biden Network.. By building up the Biden inevitabilty/electability they are trying to give him a cushion for when his likely poor performance in the debates happens.
      In recent campaign footage Biden looks frail and kind of distracted—in contrast Bernie looks relatively energetic and sharp. Maybe the propping up of Biden will work—interesting to see where things are after the summer.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden has always looked tired when he has to go to work back to back days. As far as sharp, Biden’s gaffes are more indicative of his intelligence than people want to acknowledge. He was still relatively young and making these “gaffes” long after he should know better. Without them, he might have been in a position to run in 2016, but it’s because he’s too stupid.

        I have to admit a debate between Trump and Biden does have a morbid curiosity about it. A true representation of the values and intellectual capability of upper class Americans.

        1. Brindle

          Biden has the propensity for mis-pronouncing and garbling words that is much more extensive than Trump’s. As much as I despise Trump he will come off better (debate) in a one on one encounter with Biden. Biden is the most conservative/ right-wing of all the Dem candidates as far as I can tell. He would depress the Dem base and turnout severely. I see a Biden nomination as the surest path for a Trump second term.

          1. Svante

            Coal-cracker isn’t so much a regional dialect, so much as a daffy lifestyle choice? Wherever there’s a judge tossing poor kids into prison, doctors shooting cancer patients’ opioids, a football team kicking a guy to death (then, walking, scott free), wacko sheriffs shooting fully automatic rifles at Obama effigy or goofy Jihadists shooting alongside their crankhead hillbilly puta… he’ll be there, sniffing her hair?



            1. Brindle

              Btden’s speech/talking issues have nothing to do with dialect—it is something else.

        2. VietnamVet

          The Trump Biden debate will be broadcast live from WEE’s assisted-living dining room; Addled verses Demented. /s

    2. Eureka Springs

      In what goes for a televised debate these days Trump would eat Joe alive like a swarm of piranhas. I can hear it now beginning with – You’ve had fifty years.

      Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Biden. Set your snooze alarm for five years.

      1. Cal2

        Biden’s been immersed in running the show for fifty years and now he wants to fix things?

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Looking forward to the photo ops of Joltin’ Joe riding a tank with the goofy helmet on like Dukakis. “People get the government they deserve” which I guess means we are collectively a bunch of village idiots.

        I can’t decide if I should go home and take a powder, or else head out to the woods, take all of my clothes off, climb a tree, and teach myself to play the flute

        1. MichaelSF

          Don’t panic, and don’t take off your shoes, because jobs are on the way.

          Shoes for industry, compadre.

          1. The Rev Kev

            A coupla years more of Trump and his cronies and America may approach its “Shoe Event Horizon”. Here is an explanation of this phenomena from the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-

            The shoe event horizon is now a firmly established and rather sad economic phenomenon, which is taught as part of the basic Middle School Life the Universe and Everything syllabus.

            Let’s say you are living in an exciting go ahead civilization, so you are looking up at the open sky the stars, the infinite horizon. But, let’s say you are living in a stagnant declining civilization, so you are looking down at your shoes. So, your world is a depressing place, you are looking at your shoes and how do you cheer yourself up? By a new pair! So, everyone does the same thing and more and more shoe shops enter the market. In order to support these extra shoe shops, manufactures dictate more and more different fashions and make shoes so badly that they either hurt the feet or fall apart, so that everyone must keep buying shoes until they finally get fed up with lousy rotten shoes. In order to get people to by the shoes, the manufacturers make massive capital investment in the form of more shoe shops.

            This is the point known as the shoe event horizon. The whole economy overbalances. Shoe shops outnumber every other kind of shop, and it becomes economically impossible to build anything other than shoe shops. Every shop in the world ends up a shoe shop full of shoes no one can wear, resulting in famine, collapse and ruin. Any survivors eventually evolve into birds and never put their feet on the ground again.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Correction to MichaelSF from the incomparable and prescient Firesign Theatre:

            “…because jobs is on the way…”

    3. Summer

      And re:”Biden might as well be a Republican”…Norman Solomon

      That would be a primary more fitting and honest: Biden goes with his heart, makes his best speech ever (it would be with a conviction that rivaled MLK giving speeches) as he explains why he is changing to Republican, and challenges Trump.

    4. integer

      IMO Biden is already the 2020 D party nominee. Iron Law of Institutions. Hope I’m wrong but I doubt it.

      1. flora

        I think you’re right. I’m starting to see the Dem estab treating its elderly leaders (Clinton, Biden) in the same way the old soviet treated its elderly party leaders in the early-mid 80’s; I’m thinking of Andropov and Chernenko. They’ve been around a long time, so long in fact they probably won’t be around much longer, so give them their (brief) time in the spotlight as a lifetime achievement award. Semi-amusing to think of Biden as the US Dems equivalent of Chernenko. “He has a cold. It’s just a cold, nothing to worry about.” *cough*. ha.

        If the Dem estab insists on running another past-his-political-sell-by-date politician like Biden then it’s 4 more years of Trump, and I don’t think the Dem estab would too disappointed with that outcome.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’d have another take on this – I think the Dem strategists really are as stupid as they seem. They failed utterly to see the danger of a Trump candidacy, they thought HRC was a good candidate, they thought Tim Kaine made sense as VP, they thought they could ignore blue collar voters in favour of GOP ‘centrists’ and they thought nobody would notice what they did to Sanders.

          I think they are so much in a bubble they genuinely think Biden is a great candidate who will wipe out Sanders and will beat Trump. They really and truly think this. They simply don’t learn, because they’ve never paid a price in the past for being utterly wrong.

          The good news is that this is great for Sanders. By throwing themselves behind Biden they’ve inoculated Sanders from the ‘too old, too male, too white’ line of attack and they’ve weakened those candidates who could genuinely fool enough people that they are a ‘change’ or whatever. By turning it into a two horse race between two old white guys, one of whom has truckloads of ‘issues’, they’ve played right into Sanders hands.

          1. prodigalson

            Agree, it’s like the “electability” conversation yesterday. They’re still stuck in the 80s/90s political playbook and groupthink. Times have changed. The French nobility had a stable system and everything stayed fine until it didn’t, then the ground gave way and they went into freefall. Kind of the bankruptcy joke, How’d you go bakrupt? Slowly, then all at once.

          2. Briny

            Good call! They are truly clueless, especially as to how Sanders could win over a California, R.A.H. libertarian!

        2. Brindle

          …and I don’t think the Dem estab would too disappointed with that outcome.

          Sad but true.

    5. Mark Gisleson

      I tried searching to no avail. Is there a link to anything debunking the 538 tracking poll that doesn’t include all the Jimmy Dore jokes and schtick?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Dore was making fun of a Vox poll, not the 538 tracking poll. There is a link yesterday in Water Cooler discussing Nassim Nicholas Taleb criticisms (in his own particularly arrogant manner) of 538’s methodology. He essentially says that they are ascribing too much certainty to some very weak data.

        I think their utter failure over predicting Trumps victory did enough to prove that fancy Boolean methodologies aren’t in any way foolproof.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          My bad. I was jumping around trying to get past the jokes but it wasn’t easy and I obviously missed a lot.

          Yeah, I’ve probably already seen too much about 538 anyhow.

        2. Eureka Springs

          I always get a chuckle at the difficulty pollsters have nailing down solid data with people who use the most sophisticated tracking devices ever… ‘smart’ phones.

          Never ever answering an unknown or unwanted callers still works wonders.

    6. jrs

      Some people probably support Biden because they think he will be good in the debates, give as good as he gets from Trump. This is a pretty dumb reason to support Biden, that he can dish it back, but hey if one is supporting Biden how many good reasons are they going to have?

      Meanwhile Bernie against Trump in the debates, Trump will divert, Bernie will just be all issues all the time, not as much fun but … also not easily cracked.

  6. Ignim Brites

    “Bill Gates Actually Made a Good Point About the Socialism Debate in America”. Correct. Got to wonder why Bernie calls himself a socialist except that there is a kind of sophmoric buzz (or, sophmorically, frisson) in the US about the word.

    1. prodigalson

      The issue being that the Randroids, greed heads, and other associated capitalist titans have spent 40 years in America relentlessly conditioning the public to believe that capitalism with a strong safety net IS socialism.

      In the minds of our elites it definitely is, as they believe that any govt regulations or actions separate from the free market is socialist in nature. Given our absolutist culture, which previously in the south believed that 1% of ethnic background constituted ethnic corruption, and more recently under Cheney that a 1% chance of WMD use provides a cassus beli for invasion and occupation, there’s a similar belief that a 1% hybrid of social welfare/capitalism is the equivalent of living in a socialist state.

      The greed heads were too successful though, they did condition the public into embracing that thinking. Thus now that the public is beginning to question hyper capitalism they may reject it in full and embrace that absolutist opposite in the public mind of socialism, for now being capitalism with a safety net and in the future perhaps the real deal of state control.

      Gates is being smart and dumb at the same time. Myopia seems to be a chronic issue among our betters.

      1. Robert Valiant

        I think “hyper capitalism” is just plain old capitalism grown to it’s necessary expression at this point in time – there was never going to be an alternative capitalism.

        The only thing, IMO, that will kill it is real physical constraints. I think evidence is mounting that we’re getting closer. We are bacteria in a petri dish.

        I think all the points you’ve made are completely accurate. Two thumbs up!

        1. prodigalson

          That’s an excellent point on hyper capitalism is really just capitalism doing what it’s supposed to do. I think I’ll retire “hyper” from now on.

          Chris Rock had a great bit about the sigfriend and Roy incident. Something to the effect of “the tiger didn’t go crazy when it attacked him, that tiger went tiger. It was crazy when it was wearing the funny hat and riding a tricycle around a room. That tiger went tiger on him!”

        2. Olga

          “I think “hyper capitalism” is just plain old capitalism grown to it’s necessary expression at this point in time – there was never going to be an alternative capitalism.”
          Isn’t that what Marx figured out 150 yrs ago? Or something like that…

          1. JBird4049

            As much as I think capitalism has to die, what the oligarchs want is not truly capitalism, forget about free markets, is the unhindered plundering of the whole world regardless of the cost to everyone else; the end of the restraints of rule of law is what they want.

            Put simply, no rule of law means no capitalism or free markets, but they do not want to see this. Whatever political economy is created it needs a rule of law that is both understandable and fair; its lack is perhaps more responsible for destroying nations than war or natural disasters.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Disagree, capitalism doesn’t need to die, we just need to give it a try for a change. Monopolistic corporate crony oligarchy with a central bank ready and eager to zombify the bad business management actions of the favored few is not it.

              Yelling “Kill capitalism!” is a political tactic on par with “reparations!” as a rallying cry. They have three things going for them: they’re wrong, they’re stupid, and they will never work.

              1. Grebo

                The ‘true’ Capitalism described by Liberalism, Libertarianism, Neoliberalism etc. is an impossible utopia. Merely attempting to reach it is hugely damaging. What we have is real Capitalism and it is bad enough.

                Capitalism killed Feudalism and is well on the way to killing itself, taking us all with it. We need to get out from under, stat. It’s it or us.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is absolutist culture in any direction to be opposed, or only when we don’t like it?

        That is, if the public is too conditioned (by the greed heads), should they, the public, and their absolutist goals be (whether they are going this way or the opposite way) resisted now, and rescued (deconditioned) later?

      3. jrs

        If they embrace something much more radical it just might be that they see it as the only chance of species survival. There is propaganda, but there is also reality, and what a sticky wicket that is.

    2. martell

      By the criteria stated in the article, the Democratic Socialists of America wouldn’t be socialists. Karl Polanyi wouldn’t be a socialist, and I have doubts about Marx. That seems like a problem . . . for the criteria. They don’t amount to anything approaching a good explanation for what ‘socialism’ means. Admittedly, good explanations are tough to come by, partly because the term gets used in a number of different ways by, let’s see, socialists themselves, sloganeering right-wing political parties of the 1920s, historians of social movements, economists, representatives of failing “socialist” states, and the disillusioned citizens of those states. Chances of getting a nice, simple, definition here are about as good as the chances of getting a nice, simple definition of democracy or freedom.

      Incidentally, I could play the same game with democracy that Gates plays with socialism. You see, ‘democracy’ is a Greek word, meaning people power, where the people are the many poor and the power is power over the few rich. And so, lo and behold, almost no one really advocates democracy. Certainly not the Democrats. It’s baffling that they insist on using the term to identify themselves.

      1. Grebo

        I have the same beef with the otherwise good article. Unfortunately the dictionaries define Socialism simply as ‘state ownership of the means of production’ so it’s no surprise that even sympathisers get confused.

    3. jrs

      I think it’s because he started out for socialism (decades ago), and democratic socialism is things like worker co-ops etc., worker ownership democratically determined, which he has been in favor of. But now he is mostly running as a social democrat. I don’t have issues with any of these things or ideologies. But I don’t think there is anything sophomoric about it. No doubt some Bernie backers are further left than he is.

      If Bernie tried to back away from the term now he couldn’t anyway, since when are those who would smear him remotely fair? A bunch of crazy conservatives and Dem party conservatives too, going to be fair and rational about the matter? I don’t think so.

      1. tegnost

        I still think that the whole dem clown car thing is designed such that the dem elite can say OMG you all want so many different things! We need UNITY, ( I have indeed been asked to pledge to support whatever dem gets put up, of course I replied it depends on what kind of dem you put up, or “hell no I won’t pledge anything of the kind”) The delusion is really deep in TDS land, so deep that it will not surprise me at all when “Unite behind Hillary!” comes up because these folks think they are so much smarter than the hoi polloi and they want a second whack at the pinata. They must at least be smart enough to know biden is a weak front runner. Dog save us, I don’t care how good it will be for Jimmy’s comedy routine ( which in this bizarro world actual news is funny)

        1. Hepativore

          I keep hearing theories that part of the reason why there are so many candidates in the Democratic field is to make sure that somebody like Sanders does not get enough of a majority of delegates to win the primaries. This would allow the party apparatus to have a brokered convention and crown whomever they wanted in the candidate field rather than risk Sanders becoming the Democratic candidate.

          I am not sure how plausible this theory is as it seems like it would take a lot to pull off successfully, but the Democrats hate Sanders enough…

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Is an end to balloting and then a brokered convention something the Convention Leaders can simply declare whenever they want? Or is it something that the delegates would have to vote on and vote for by a certain percent of the delegates before the Convention could stop the balloting and move on to brokering itself?

            If at-or-over a set percent of voting delegates would have to vote to end the balloting and go ahead to brokering the convention . . . before balloting could be ended and the convention could be brokered . . . . what would that needed percent of delegates voting to end balloting and broker the convention be?

            1. Hepativore

              I am not sure how it works off of the top of my head. Then again, the Democratic Party has shown that they are not above making things up as they go along. I remember in the election fraud case, their defense lawyer, Spiva, argued that they do not necessarily have to pick the candidate with the most delegates as their primary winner as they claim that they can pick whomever they want, voters be damned.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      As is usually the case these days this piece by Crooke is an essential but sobering read.

      . . Trump’s real-estate conditioning does envisage ‘flipping’, when required. He does it. He did it in business. U-turns don’t bother him. It’s how he does business. But his team? That is not so clear. Some of them, per chance, may see Trump’s rhetorical bellicosity as precisely the necessary ratchet for positioning the President on a conveyor to a narrowing convergency, at which ‘to flip’ is no more an option.

      If that narrow conveyor leads us to weeks and months on end of DEFCON 2, most of the “safety switches” will be disengaged and the chance of a screw-up down the chain of command goes way up, just as happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  7. Ignim Brites

    “Corporate Media Target Gabbard for Her Anti-Interventionism—a Word They Can Barely Pronounce”. Got to wonder if Gabbard’s campaign won’t be a bit like Clean Gene’s in 68. Improbable — until it wasn’t.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Depressing to see that her main chance to cut through will be on a debate stage with at least 10 people on it. She needs to go for the absolute throat: “No one else on this stage with me here tonight is focused as I am on our single biggest problem: how we can stop spending billions and trillions on failed foreign wars overseas and start spending those billions and trillions on all of our problems here at home”.

    2. Oregoncharles

      And will the convention be like the one in ’68?

      That was the first year I could vote, and it warped me forever.

      1. VietnamVet

        I still remember of attending Dick Nixon’s and RFK’s campaign speeches in Corvallis in 1968. Nixon was frankly smarmy. Kennedy was intelligent, charismatic and assured. The best hope for America and a lot of young men were killed for no good reason that year.

  8. Clive

    Re: Brexit / “Politico’s morning European newsletter”

    I got a European Parliament election leaflet from the Conservative Party in the post yesterday! But then I’m in a safe Tory constituency and they probably want to show (or try to, but it’ll be like the Doom of Valyria no matter what they do) the vote is holding up.

    I’d take a scan and link to it, but there’s enough rubbish on the internet as it is. It was absolutely priceless. Words can’t even begin to describe it. Suffice to say that Theresa May leering out of the centrefold in it was risking my choking on my biscuit. It should have had a warning printed on the envelope “this material may contain distressing images” like the letters I get from charities appealing for donations to fight cruelty to small animals.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Pilots union slams Boeing over communication failures”

    OK. The key sentence is the following from this article-

    ‘Boeing admitted on Sunday that it had known in 2017 that an error warning light that was meant to be standard in the cockpit was not in fact in operation in all of its 737 Max fleet, but it did not communicate that to airlines or to its regulator until after a crash in Indonesia in October 2018.’

    Boeing could have solved this whole problem and it would have cost only a coupla bucks. Just before each new 737 MAX was to be delivered to the awaiting airline after construction, they could have had some engineer go into the cockpit of each jet, cut off a piece of duct tape, and put it over the warning light so that pilots would know that there was no there there. If this sounds like a mickey-mouse solution, then it would be in line with some of the mickey-mouse construction methods in operation for this bird.

  10. Tomonthebeach

    Colorado really seems to want it Rocky Mountain High without climbing any mountains. Would John Denver roll over in his grave?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Microdosing psyllocybin looks to have powerful therapeutic applications.

      It’s not just about a high.

      1. Tomonthebeach

        Yes indeed, and 10s of millions of Coloradans are already preventing arthritis, heart disease, dementia, psychosis, bad teeth, skin diseases, obesity, insomnia, prostate/breast cancer, etc. by smokin weed just in case; definitely not tryin to get high. Don’t alert the antivaxers. :-)

        BTW, you usually do not need a state law for licensed physicians to use controlled substances in medically appropriate ways. Buprenorphine to control pain is an excellent example.

    2. Summer

      If you’re at the graveyard shroomin’ hard enough, he might rise from his grave.

    3. Craig H.

      John Denver smoked dope and he was drinking and piloting when he crashed his ultra-light.

      My grandmother is rolling over in her grave though. See gateway drug arguments from fifty years ago. Next thing you know it will be legal LSD (again), ketamine, cocaine, and heroin!

      Advocates for the measure argue that decriminalization would shift law enforcement resources away from pursuing nonviolent offenses. They claim that psilocybin is safe, nonaddictive or close to nonaddictive, and that a growing body of evidence suggests the drug has therapeutic benefits for illnesses ranging from depression to end-of-life anxiety to addiction.

      A growing body of evidence suggests that the authors of these pieces do not know the what a double blind study is. The medical argument is an interesting theory and it also is completely irrelevant to the question of whether or not we should be allowed to eat mushrooms and get high off our ass under the criminal law.

      What’s So Great About Mushrooms? 1987 (Terence McKenna)

  11. Wukchumni

    Denver just voted to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms Vox (David L)
    An urban setting for partaking is just plain awkward and you don’t want to go there, but kudos to the mile high city for not only decriminalizing, also making more people aware of the possibilities.

    …the ideal place would be somewhere in nature’s realm

    1. BobW

      Always had an urge to be outdoors in that kind of situation. I once went to the Arboretum in Ann Arbor and sat in a tree. Did not cut the soles off my shoes and play the flute. Did see a woman walking her man on a leash… whoa, double-take and reality check time.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “Did see a woman walking her man on a leash” – ah, a moment of deep insight ;)
        Or maybe just the local kinksters.

    2. diptherio

      No, I think the ideal place is somewhere where you feel totally comfortable and safe. For some that might be a particular “natural” spot, for others it might be their living room. Terrance McKenna always suggested taking 5 dried grams (a “heroic dose”) and just laying on your bed in the dark. Just sayin’.

      1. Brindle

        An “in nature setting” would be my choice. Had an experience of language floating on a breeze. Elemental intelligence informing….

      2. Anon

        Being safe is essential. Having non-hallucinating, but trusted friends nearby can be useful, as well. The “experience” can get out of hand for some folks and reassurance/guidance would be essential.

        That said, the natural world can enhance the experience with a panoply of interesting events and mindfulness. (Don’t go into hallucinogens without doing some reading; so you can better understand yourself.) Not that I could speak in the first person ;) .

      3. Oregoncharles

        When we tried taking shrooms, it was in a natural area in New Mexico – long ago, now. I guess we didn’t take enough: only thing out of the ordinary was a snake with extraordinarily bright colors. Never quite identified it, but pretty sure it was real.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I think the ideal place to ingest shrooms is a place where you find mystery and seek insight, perhaps wisdom about your true feelings.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Alternatively, it can be journey, and not the destination.

        And the path, the road, could be the moment when, like Dogen, one is cooking rice, or through many hours of meditation.

        In Ten Oxherding Pictures (Wikipedia), about the stages of enlightenment in Chan (or Zen), the last one is when one returns to the society, to mingle with the people of the world. One returns to the starting point…and completes the circle (the moon…both symbols of satori).

        Then, one can just as easily meditate amidst the noisy market as on a quieter mountaintop.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know what is closest to those mushrooms, but apparently, the cannabis’s closest family is the strawberry.

      So, like the chimp is ’99 point something percent’ identical to us, similarly are those two plant families.

  12. jfleni

    RE: Corporate Media Target Gabbard for Her Anti-Interventionism—a Word They Can Barely Pronounce.

    Americans like Tulsi and Why. Because she led her MP battalion through the whole middle east, and talked frankly with local leaders, while ignoring the 5-sided bughouse and
    its normal guff. Americans were very lucky to have this
    one-woman state department in there pitching for the rest of us, and her talks, reflected our opinions very well; we can
    only hope that as the campaign continues, her talent and
    smarts will be recognized widely and result in this woman
    and her opinions being adopted by other campaigns

  13. The Rev Kev

    “WATCH: Flooding In The U.S. Is Getting Worse”

    By the sounds of it, some regions of the United States may have to be surrendered due to chronic future flooding while other areas will have to adapt their buildings to this factor in this life. That US Air Force base that flooded recently in Nevada? It’s going to cost at least $420 million to repair it – until the next time that is. I do not know how they are going to flood proof that base unless they put a levee around the whole thing. I saw on TV tonight a flood in the US and there was a stadium that must have had such defenses as it was like an island of dry land in the middle of a shallow lake. In the region that I live, after some severe floods, lots of houses built on stumps had their height increased dramatically so that future floods would only flood beneath them. Maybe homes in those regions in the US will have to do the same if it can be done. God knows what decisions the insurance companies will make when they sit down and work out the long term coasts.

    1. allan

      Many of these areas are hotbeds of small government conservatism, until they suddenly need big government.
      Keep your government hands off of my FEMA check.

      From just this morning:

      As Region Waits For Hurricane Aid, Trump Holds Rally In Florida Panhandle

      The county commissioner interviewed generously lists a number of other deeply red areas that also
      badly need disaster relief, but oddly, or not, confines the list to 2018 so as to leave out the Maria victims
      in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from 2017.

      The Dems should declare that the McConnell Doctrine applies to disaster relief,
      so they’ll get around to it in January, 2021. Case closed.

      1. GF

        Here’s a link that explains how the AF will deal with the flooding:

        The article also states that Offutt and Tyndall Air Force Base Florida, destroyed near Panama City where Trump was last night, will cost $4.9 billion to repair. Just 2 bases worth of destruction from the non-existent climate change problem. Not sure if the money Trump talked about last night to help out the FL residents included the base cost of repair.

        1. ChristopherJ

          the air bases will be funded. Higher priority than disaster relief.

          What disaster? /s

    2. j7915

      How is the Minneapolis St Paul airport doing? I recall a picture of the then NWA maintenance base completely surrounding by sand bags because of flooding.

    3. Oregoncharles

      there are plenty of houses on stilts in Louisiana and even in river valleys here in Oregon, several right around here. Wish ours could be elevated, but it hasn’t been flooded (knock wood). Makes for an interesting local style.

  14. Katy

    Joe Biden Might as Well Be a Republican Norman Solomon, Truthdig

    I’ve got this Facebook “friend” who is always spouting apologist Democrat rhetoric. His favorite straw man against progressives is “But her emails.” (Which makes no sense, because that’s not the problem progressives had with Clinton.)

    I would like to be smearing Biden often and loudly at this point in time (Biden deserves it). But freind’s response is “perfect is the enemy of the good.”

    But Biden’s not [family blogging] good! Ugh.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Or why marginal voters didn’t turnout for HRC either, but Clinton and the Democratic Party’s troubles have been known for a long time and not addressed while the choir demanded everyone clap louder. 2016 was the lowest turnout in 20 years. It’s significant it’s the last time Bill ran.

      Your friend is trying to absolve himself for moral culpability. As a citizen of a Republic, being informed is a public virtue. HRC’s weakness as a candidate was easy to find. It wasn’t dependent on secret information that was hard to find. She had a few issues unique to her, but the loss of 1000 seats in the midst of the destiny of demographics wasn’t hard to determine. The focus on the emails, not the server or the contents of the emails, are a clear sign of the search for a secret that could not be learned through normative means. If it’s the KGB, I can’t fix this, or if it was sexism, it’s the fault of people’s hearts which I can’t change. I can be sorry for being so progressive I didn’t understand how morally flawed people were.

      I do think people want to be good, but they want goodness to be easy. Our pop culture villains are always brainiacs with amazing plans, but old Adolph was in reality a meth head. Biden has a name and to be a Senator for so long he must have had a reason. It absolves supporters of thinking about Biden or doing the work of raising his profile.

    2. Brindle

      Biden’s campaign events are often just dozens of people with equal amount of reporters. His poll numbers are mostly name recognition at this point. The MSM are the “man behind the curtain” creating the electabiity/inevitabilty meme around Biden. Sooner or later Biden’s mediocrity will become apparent.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “Sooner or later Biden’s mediocrity will become apparent, which will clinch the nomination for him”

        Fixed it for you

    3. newcatty

      Right on, Katy. Just as the lesser of two evils is not (family blogging) not evil. That argument used to rationalize voting for any candidate is one reason how evil candidates are coronated by the duopoly parties. Hope this time will be different.

    4. witters

      “perfect is the enemy of the good.” – I get sick of this too. I mean, say you want to make a good billiard ball, how do you do it? You measure how close it comes to a geometrically perfect sphere – all the while knowing that you can never actually reach that perfection given the nature of physical stuff. But it is the perfect that sets the end, and the standards. So no perfect is no ends and standards. (Sound like your “friend”?)

  15. marcyincny

    …Schiff introduces constitutional amendment…

    …just in case the Democratic Party retakes all the state legislatures they’ve lost in the past twenty years before the current Republican state legislatures call for their own Constitutional Convention…

  16. Summer

    Re: Americans standard of living, all time high

    Do some “inflation adjustment” using the costs of housing, regionally, then get back to me…

    1. The Rev Kev

      So the average American can still, just like half a century ago, support a family, enable his wife to stay home and rear their children, afford a good car, have enough to take his family on an annual holiday, support his kids going to college, pay off the mortgage on his home as well as have enough free-time to indulge in hobbies like golf and bowling while taking part in community activities. Or is this article really talking about the top 20% of Americans – the salaried class?

      1. Summer

        “Or is this article really talking about the top 20% of Americans – the salaried class?”
        Indeed. Talking about and talking to that audience.
        “Move along now. Nothing to see here. Look over there…Russians! Aaaaaghhh!”

    2. DJG

      Summer: Thanks. Wow, Yardeni sure knows how to be, errrr, selective with the statistics.

      –The post avoids the CPI and uses some deflator to prove that the CPI, which is already set up to be biased against showing inflation, is too inflationary.
      –The demographics show that more people live in smaller households, especially single-person households. Yardeni’s solution? Base his article on per-household, preferably two-person household, stats.
      –My favorite. Wages have gone up 25 percent. Since when? Since 1989. That’s over thirty years. That’s about 0.9 a year.
      –But there is no inflation wiping out that gain, now is there.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I think Yardeni Research, Inc may be angling for a research contract to come up with a new way to calculate cost-of-living for use in making cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security and other components of the social safety net.

      There is some measure of truth in Yardeni’s ‘analysis’: “There would surely be a revolution in America if 90% of our citizens have suffered income stagnation or worse …” I think that helps explain why we still have the Patriot Act with its vague and expansive definitions of domestic terrorism, huge police forces equipped with military hardware, high rates of incarceration and long prison terms, laws against sitdown strikes, quickie or intermittent strikes, slowdowns, and other partial strike tactics, and measures to sideline assemblies of protesters. I think it helps explain why the smell fear exudes from “those entrepreneurs who benefit the most consumers with their goods and services” and “are prospering” during this time when we enjoy such high levels of “widespread prosperity”.

    4. jrs

      apparently deaths in pregnancy are at an all time high too (well maybe not all time, but in the modern era). I heard they just went up again. But those living standards yea …

      (if you die prematurely you aren’t among the living anyway, so who’s counting).

      1. Oregoncharles

        Some of that, though not all, is the trainwreck that is American healthcare. I”m just going through an example, from upcoding to pushing surgery I don’t think is justified, to posting my information on their internet Portal when I asked them not to, repeatedly. And that’s the best clinic in a very prosperous town. Ironically, staying with the same doctor is theoretically a good idea. This is going to be the second time I fire mine because of the clinic he’s in – plus some medical disagreements.

        The details are off-topic, but I sure am glad I’m not pregnant. Well, I’d be using a midwife if I were.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Admin Inflated Iran Intel, U.S. Officials Say”

    I cannot verify this but I read that the intelligence about an attack by Iran on US troops came from Israel.

    1. polecat

      Israel .. surprise surprise. It is by THEIR actions and insistance that will get us all nuked to glass !!

    1. tegnost

      have you no care for the bondholders
      from the company news release above…at the bottom
      “This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here.”

    2. lordkoos

      What do people expect when the president appoints a former Monsanto executive to run the EPA?

    3. jhallc

      If they cant use Round Up, then all those GMO seeds resistant to it are useless. That’s were the $$$ is.

  18. Frank Little

    RE: Americans’ living standards are at an all-time high. Here’s proof

    Admittedly, these alternative measures of standards of living are means rather than medians, but the rich don’t eat much more than the rest of us. There aren’t enough of them to make a significant difference to average measures of income and spending.

    Ironically in the paragraph above he links to his own figure showing a significant divergence between mean and median household income (roughly $8,000 in 1968 compared to almost $30,000 in 2017). I appreciated the discussion of different sources for data about income, but I don’t think this supports the author’s dismissal of progressive complaints the way he seems to think it does.

    The rich may not eat much more than the rest of that, but they likely shop at expensive grocery stores and drive from the store in a nicer car to a house that they own rather than rent. There may not be that many of them, but they do tend to have a lot more income, less debt, and assets that they can actually borrow against or sell at a profit as opposed to something like a car, which is as much of an asset as a mobile home.

    1. Summer

      Yes, a snapshot “incomes” is also deceiving because some big income years for some Americans are their severence packages or that one year theygot the big contract and so on…

    2. bob

      “The flakiness of this measure is confirmed by the modest 27% increase in real mean household income (which gives more weight to the rich) since 1989 despite a 52% increase in real GDP per household over this period.”

      That seems to be the whole nut of his argument. The rest is a sales pitch for his book.

      A 52% increase in real GDP per household equates to what? How do households consume GDP?

  19. Summer

    Re: American’s Standard of Living, All Time High
    “But hold on: There would surely be a revolution in America if 90% of our citizens have suffered income stagnation or worse…”

    Yeah, man. If things were so bad people would be occupying Wall St., striking for better wages and benefits, pressuring for a rise to the minimum wage. There would be all kinds of dysfunction manifesting itself im violent ways.

    1. bob

      “The flakiness of this measure is confirmed by the modest 27% increase in real mean household income (which gives more weight to the rich) since 1989 despite a 52% increase in real GDP per household over this period.”

      Let them eat GDP!

      Without missing a beat- I have a book!

      “In my book, Predicting the Markets, I discuss the problems with the Census income measure, calling it the “income stagnation myth.” It is woefully misleading, because it grossly underestimates Americans’ standards of living.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Pompeo in Baghdad to Pressure Iraq to join Press against Iran; Iraq declines”

    Proconsul Pompeo must be a very busy man. I have no doubt that he is exactly what Trump wants. A tough guy that will throw his weight around to show the world who’s boss. Just the past few weeks Pompeo has – and this is just off the top of my head – threatening both Iran and Venezuela for resisting his demands; He has just threatened the UK with intel sharing cut-off if they buy Huawei 5G; He has threatened Germany over the near completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas-line from Russia and snubbed a meeting with Merkel; He tried to threaten Iraq over its ties with Iran; He has also demanded that Jordan give up a claim to a gas field to Israel along with a parcel of territory leased by Israel which runs out soon; He demanded that Lebanon get rid of Hezbollah which is akin to asking the US to give up its Catholics; He has threatened Cuba because of its support to Venezuela and wants regime change there; He has threatened both China and Russia over their support for Venezuela as well as telling them to stay away from the Arctic though 50 percent of the Arctic coastline is Russian territory; He has rejected Canada’s claims to Northwest Passage as ‘illegitimate’. And this is only in the past few weeks, not months.
    Blowback for all this is gunna be a bitch.

    1. John Wright

      Blowback may actually be a more peaceful world as the USA realizes that having the fittingly overweight (and probably out of shape) Pompeo throw the USA’s weight around the world is not working.

      Pompeo’s girth may be a metaphor for the bloated and complacent USA that is ill-prepared for a world that doesn’t bend to its will.

    2. laughingsong

      “Proconsul Pompeo must be a very busy man. I have no doubt that he is exactly what Trump wants. A tough guy that will throw his weight around to show the world who’s boss”

      He even looks like a Soprano!

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        How much scarier would Tony have been however if we knew that his core belief was that the chosen would soon be Raptured Up on the Day of Judgment?

        Most mafia dons probably have some residual moral accountability in the backs of their minds from their upbringing as good Catholics…but a don not subject to those kinds of residual restraints would be extra terrifying indeed

  21. Carolinian

    Re the Dandelion Salad link about the siege of the activists inside the DC Venezuelan embassy–an amazing account and a must read IMO. The would be coup supporters outside the embassy, some of them well dressed and arriving in late model luxury cars, are bombarding the building with high decibel noise and assaulting people outside the building while the US Secret Service, charged with protecting foreign embassies, does nothing. The District police will do nothing either. So far Trump and Bolton have failed to overthrow the government inside Venezuela and so are encouraging a lawless state of affairs inside our own national capital. We are constantly hearing how Trump encourages the spirit of the mob but when it’s a mob the MSM and FP elites like they stand back and let it happen. This is very telling about their true priorities.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I tweeted that blog post with a comment about CODEPINK needing to call in some assistance from the Teamsters.

      That’s what unions are good for. Situations like this change instantly when fake protesters see a couple dozen big guys in union jackets staring at them. Call it thuggish, but nothing stops Brooks Brothers rioters like the presence of union goons. (I wish Al Gore had realized that.)

      And I’m saying this as a former union goon (URW 310, now USW 310). No violence would result other than a mad exit as the Venezuelan swells ran back to their luxury cars. Intimidation must be stood up to.

      And I would really enjoy watching the Secret Service try to rough up some union guys who don’t want to be manhandled.

      1. Carolinian

        I’d say some prominent lefty commenters need to get on this as well. Caitlin Johnstone? Anyone? Today’s Links is the only place I’ve seen this mentioned so far.

        Codepink could use some prominent legal help as well sounds like. Clearly the USG is tolerating and therefore an accessory to the attempted invasion of sovereign territory of another nation by opposition forces who have no standing under international law. Will Bolton next send in the Marines to invade the DC Iranian embassy? Russia? North Korea? The legality of Trump’s would be assault on Venezuela hasn’t yet been challenged because they haven’t yet done anything overt.

        But given the stated position of the Secret Service according to the above article then it is overt support for an invasion, if only in miniature.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > That’s what unions are good for. Situations like this change instantly when fake protesters see a couple dozen big guys in union jackets staring at them

        They could bring The Rat!

        Wonderfully clarifying. The US declares some dude President of another country, and then allows said dude’s supporters to take over that country’s embassy in DC. Seems like a pretty rotten precedent, and I suppose the continuous propaganda against Venezuela has made it unpalatable for other countries to file formal diplomatic protests, as they should. Same thing could easily happen with Ukraine, for example.

    2. The Rev Kev

      They are upping the pressure as in “US cuts off power to Venezuelan Embassy with activists besieged inside”-

      I wonder how long it will be until they cut off the water? The problem here is that if the US Secret Service goes in to get those protestors out, then it will had to a court house where the US will have to prove that they had a legal right to do so. Trouble is they don’t which is why they want the protestors to come out voluntarily so that Greedo’s people can take it over.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I would very much like to know the exact chain of command here. How is the Secret Service (if that is who’s doing it) in the chain of command for a munipal service like water? DC readers?

  22. Olga

    Iran’s Master Plan To Beat U.S. Sanctions OilPrice (resilc)
    There’s something fishy about this article. It starts out reasonably enough, but then makes several assertions that defy logic. For example, “The key point is that the US promised Germany – as the de facto leader of the EU – that in return for the EU going along with the US sanctions on importing Iranian oil, the US would never sanction Iranian gas, which the EU absolutely needs,” the source told”
    How can a resource that a region is NOT importing be vital to it? There are no current imports of Iranian nat-gas to Europe (at least not officially). At this link – – one finds that “Germany imported 4,446 petajoules (PJ) of natural gas in 2018, according to the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA). Due to data privacy regulations, BAFA stopped publishing import volumes by country in 2016. However, it can be assumed that Russia, Norway and the Netherlands continue to be the main suppliers. In 2015, 35 percent of gas imports came from Russia, 34 percent from Norway and 29 percent from the Netherlands. In July 2018, an economy ministry spokesperson put Russia’s share in German natural gas imports at “about 40 percent.” No mention of Iran.
    (An aside: according to this:, nat-gas production in Holland is on a decline, which may explain why Germany is so adamant about completing Nord Stream II.)
    As for Iranian oil, it is my understanding that the main reason Europeans pushed for JCPOA was because they needed to assure a steady (and un-sanctioned) supply of Iranian oil. So what will they do now?
    And the last two paragraphs are just laughable. The “Iran source” sounds like it may be located in Langley, not Tehran: “The essence of Russia’s foreign policy under [President Vladimir] Putin is to create chaos amongst vested interests in a country or region into which it can then project itself as an economic and political saviour,” said the Iran source.” Substituting US for Russia, the sentence may make sense – otherwise, dream on – there’s no evidence for what it claims. As for Russia paying Iran $50 bil/yr for five years for project preference and military cooperation – all one can say, is “really?” Even if the outlines of this “deal” resembled reality – Iran does not have many options for allies and I doubt it is in a position to extract payments for cooperation. I smell a rat…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Well spotted. You are right that the article starts well but then tails off into some very dubious statements.

      I don’t think Iranian oil and gas has very much relevance to Europe. Iran doesn’t have the infrastructure to export much via either pipeline or LNG, although it may well export via Qatar (they share the massive field under the Arabian gulf). Due to the distance and the geopolitics, it seems unlikely they’d be able to tie in successfully to the European grid, unless in the longer term Qatar achieves its dream of a pipeline to the Mediterranean. Its oil tends to be heavy, not suitable for European refineries, so it mostly goes to Asia.

      I think Iran’s importance to Germany is not for importing energy, but exporting heavy plant. Iran needs massive investment to make up for all those lost years, the Germans think they are in pole position to sell them what they need.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible that “Iran source’ exists, for in any country, or any group of humans, there are always people who see the world differently.

      So, for example, in Russia, there are Russians who support Putin, and there are Russians who oppose him.

      1. Olga

        When comments take one in a direction other than what would be dictated by logic, they – usually – force one to verify and confirm one’s argument. Just for that reason, such comments are usually appreciated.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What happens between nations is not always logical, though it’s not illogical to assume dissenting voices in any setting.

  23. lordkoos

    The dark web bust… they are touting it like it’s a big deal, but I doubt it. There is a lot of money to be made and I’m sure that the sellers of contraband will find a way.

  24. Wukchumni

    Spanish treasure that predates the arrival of Columbus by 200 years has been found in a US national park.

    The two coins, one minted in Madrid in 1660 and the other made around the 1200s, were found lying on the floor at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.

    Their presence in the desert remains unexplained and no information has been released about whether they were found with other artifacts.

    There’s dozens of ancient Roman copper coins scattered around the Sierra Nevada waiting to be found, wonder how they got there 1800-1900 years ago?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The coins maybe 1,800 years old, but they could travel all over the world (not by themselves, I assume) five centuries ago, in the 1700’s, today, 50 years from now, or any other time.

    2. Synoia

      Someone has been Monkying around.

      The 1660 Coin could be from a Spanish Explorer.

      As could the coin from the 1200 as a souvenir, or possibly still in circulation.

      Coins last a long time.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Is there a polite phrase for “Rest In Peace and Congratulations because I never thought you’d make it”? It looks to me like he made it two years past the draft of his obituary. Thank you, Jim.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Man, Fowler and Perkins. I grew up watching their stuff on “Wild Kingdom” as a kid. They are both missed.

    3. jonboinAR

      After I was grown up and hadn’t seen Wild Kingdom for years I happened to catch an episode, somehow. Jim and Marlon are pursuing a grizzly bear across rolling prairie land with dogs, they on horseback. Man, it’s magnificent, this grizzly, lumbering powerfully across this prairie, it’s heavy coat rippling. Eventually they catch up to it and end up with it lassoed by each of them, their horses facing across from each other, ropes pulled tight, seemingly helpless now grizzly in the middle between them. Well, naturally, Jim, for no damned good reason in this world, has to climb down from his horse and approach this giant, dangerous animal. Somehow his horse drops its taut rope, or something. The upshot is that the grizzly gets loose and begins pursuing Jim around this enormous prairie field. They’re zig-zagging all over the place. I guess the poor animal is too exhausted to just run Jim down and bite his head off. So there’s one small tree in the middle of this prairie, and finally, Jim ends up at the top of it with the grizzly clawing at him from below. I’m cracking up right now, 30 years later, just thinking of it. RIP, Jim Fowler. You entertained many.

  25. mnm

    I subscribe to RFK jr’s group. I had to get tdap for work, fully vaccinated and I got so sick. I swore I had whooping cough, no one would test cause I had the vacc. I wanted a diagnosis and demanded I get checked. + for pertussis.
    There is such distrust of these pharmaceutical companies, yet when it comes to vaccines they can do no wrong.

    1. Synoia

      Personally I suspect there is an inverse relationship between a drug’s effectiveness and its’ cost.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > There is such distrust of these pharmaceutical companies, yet when it comes to vaccines they can do no wrong.

      Perhaps because vaccines as for measles, for example, were developed long before the neoliberal era crapified everything, and are also proven to save lives, as the recent anti-vaxxer driven measles epidemics show.

      Sorry for your experience. But I think you’re over-generalizing from it. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to make many vaccinations public utilities and take them out of Big Pharma’s hands entirely.

  26. Judith

    From Stevenson’s review of AngloArabia in the London Review of Books:

    “It is a cliché that the United States and Britain are obsessed with Middle East oil, but the reason for the obsession is often misdiagnosed. Anglo-American interest in the enormous hydrocarbon reserves of the Persian Gulf does not derive from a need to fuel Western consumption. Britain used to import considerable quantities of Saudi oil, but currently gets most of what it needs from the North Sea and hasn’t imported much from the Gulf since the 1980s; Saudi oil currently represents around 3 per cent of UK imports. The US has never imported more than a token amount from the Gulf and for much of the postwar period has been a net oil exporter. Anglo-American involvement in the Middle East has always been principally about the strategic advantage gained from controlling Persian Gulf hydrocarbons, not Western oil needs.

    As Wearing argues, ‘Britain could choose to swap its support for Washington’s global hegemony for a more neutral and peaceful position.’ It would be more difficult for the US to extricate itself. Contrary to much of the commentary in Washington, the strategic importance of the Middle East is increasing, not decreasing. The US may now be exporting hydrocarbons again, thanks to state-subsidised shale, but this has no effect on the leverage it gains from control of the Gulf. And impending climate catastrophe shows no sign of weaning any nation from fossil fuels, least of all the developing East Asian states. US planners seem confused about their own intentions in the Middle East. In 2017, the National Intelligence Council described the sense of neglect felt by the Gulf monarchies when they heard talk of the phantasmagorical Asia pivot. The report’s authors were profoundly negative about the region’s future, predicting ‘large-scale violence, civil wars, authority vacuums and humanitarian crises persisting for many years’. The causes, in the authors’ view, were ‘entrenched elites’ and ‘low oil prices’. They didn’t mention that maintenance of both these things is US policy.”

    Stevenson argues that the United States uses the leverage it has by way of its control over Gulf oil (explained in the article) over countries that must import fossil fuels as a tool in its pursuit of global hegemony. That being the case, I would argue that the United States has absolutely no interest in doing anything to address climate change. If other countries stop depending on fossil fuels, then the United States loses that leverage. Climate change is seem by the MIC as furthering its goals of hegemony.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No sign of weaning any nation from fossil fuels.


      That’s asking consuming nations to do the weaning.

      The other option is for producing nations to stop producing.

      Will consuming nations stop consuming, or producing nations stop producing?

      Who will go first?

      WIll Russia stop producing, or Iran? Why should she?

  27. Irrational

    Re: China
    That Reuters article is far too convenient in supporting the US administration. surely it is planted?

  28. Oregoncharles

    From the Tweet on denying a potential entrepreneur’s sanity: “How exactly is Brexit supposed to be factored into a business plan when no-one know what any rules will be?)”

    Actually, very easily. Anything that promotes UK autarky, aka self-reliance or self-supply, especially if it substitutes for an EU 27 source, is an excellent bet. That doesn’t mean the economy is “stable” – that’s silly. It does mean it’s loaded with opportunity. Will anyone be able to afford what you’re selling? Well, the more essential, the better. And Britain is a currency sovereign – as the Bank knows full well. They’ll print it, if they need to, probably while denying that they’re doing it.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “Justice Department Shuts Dark Web Drug Directory, Arrests Alleged Owners ”
    “Illicit” drugs.
    I’d like to see a Dark Web Directory for medicines, cheap. Especially if it comes with a directory of uses. Of course, I wouldn’t know how to find it, so maybe not so Dark.

    My latest medical experiences make me think doctors are more like gatekeepers, a barrier to care, than sources. (Still cranky, yes. And I’m not even sick, let alone in fear of my life.)

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Joe Biden Might as Well Be a Republican Norman Solomon, Truthdig”

    And the sticker shock gets deeper for Norm Solomon – whom I happen to know, slightly. That is, the price of defecting to the Democratic Party.

    Ahh, regrets. So much a part of life.

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