Links 6/1/19

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Dear patient readers,

By virtue of being out of my normal routine, I am working while in a room where old syndicated TV shows are airing. This particular channel regularly runs ads from the “Call me Alabama” ambulance-chaser. Tonight was an ad from a different law firm fishing for agricultural, yard, and pool workers who had developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma and was explicit that Monsanto was the target.

Researchers strapped video cameras on 16 cats and let them do their thing. Here’s what they found Science

Man caught smuggling nearly 5,000 leeches in luggage CBC (resilc)

Hundreds of Birds Died During Test of a 5G Antenna In The Netherlands USVegan (furzy). Not a great source, but readers in the Netherlands might be able to track this down.

Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska Wreaks Havoc on Communities and Ecosystems Hakai Magazine (David L)

Nuclear Power Dying A Slow Death OilPrice (furzy)

How To Make Your Own AirPods for $4 Motherboard

GM fungus rapidly kills 99% of malaria mosquitoes, study suggests BBC (David L)

How governments are beginning to regulate AI Financial Times (David L)

The APA Meeting: A Photo-Essay Slate Star Codex (UserFriendly)

Use of Male Mice Skews Drug Research Against Women, Study Finds Guardian

China?

China’s Plan To Influence Global Commodity Pricing SafeHaven

North Korea

US checking reports North Korea executed envoy, says Pompeo Guardian (resilc)

‘Nostalgia Serves No Purpose’: An Interview with Michel Barnier New York Review of Books (UserFriendly)

Dim View of the World: Will Merkel Be Followed by Darkness? Der Spiegel (resilc)

Lib Dems lead the polls as they start to become “the party of the 48%” YouGov (vlade). PlutoniumKun adds:

The zombies have arisen. Of all the outcomes of Brexit, having the LibDems lead the polls I think is the least expected. Its terrible news for Corbyn. It also shows I think that the middle ground on Brexit is nearly extinct, what was a minority issue has now cleaved the country in half. The problem for the LibDems is that no Remainers have a strategy for a clear way out of the morass. The Brexiteers of course have one – go for a no deal and get it all over and done with.

Of course, as the article points out, the vagaries of FPTP does not mean the LibDems can benefit significantly in an election. They can only win a lot of seats if they do a deal with someone before an election, and that’s highly unlikely. I’d be interested to see if this surge is primarily in urban areas (in which case they may be able to turn it into seats), or if its more geographically spread out, in which case they can’t.

Syraqistan

Benjamin Netanyahu: The fugitive Crime Minister Mondoweiss (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook Reportedly Thinks There’s No ‘Expectation of Privacy’ On Social Media CNET

Chelsea Manning Challenge Harsh Fines Levied Against Her By Federal Court Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Trade

Trump’s Top Trade Adviser Opposed Mexican Tariffs Wall Street Journal

‘America First is a fallacy,’ Mexico’s president responds to Trump tariff Reuters (resilc)

Trump holds firm on Mexico tariffs despite Republican dissent CNN

Grassley slams Trump tariffs on Mexico: ‘A misuse of presidential tariff authority’ The Hill

Trump’s Tariff Threat Sends Mexico, Lawmakers and Businesses Scrambling New York Times

Things Were Going Great for Wall Street. Then the Trade War Heated Up. New York Times (furzy)

Trump Transition

“Freedom Gas”: The Trump Administration’s Ridiculous New Plan to Rebrand Fossil Fuels Mother Jones (resilc)

GOP attorneys release a devastating video that lays out the case for Trump’s prosecution Raw Story (David L)

The House Is Right to Move Toward an Impeachment Inquiry Lawfare (furzy)

Trump’s Plan to Deny Benefits: Pretend People Aren’t Poor Nation

Justice Department Is Preparing Antitrust Investigation of Google Wall Street Journal

Nation With Crumbling Bridges and Roads Excited to Build Giant Wall New Yorker (furzy)

Trump Tells U.S. Navy to Go Back to Steam Catapults Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Assange

Edward Who? The Snowden Affair Ends with a Whimper Dissident Voice (Bill B)

Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (furzy, UserFriendly)

Unraveling Justice Department’s Conspiracy Theory Against Assange Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

How Democrats Should Respond to the GOP’s Red-Baiting Nation (furzy)

2020

Professor who has correctly predicted 9 presidential elections says Trump will win in 2020 unless Democrats impeach The Hill (resilc)

Mike Gravel Should Be on the 2020 Debate Stage Jacobin (UserFriendly)

Elizabeth Warren’s Pitch to Win California: Anti-Tech Class Warfare Vanity Fair (resilc)

Kamala Harris Is More Interested In Telling You What She Believes Than Who She Is FiveThirtyEight (resilc). Patrick: “As a metadata librarian I couldn’t help but shake my head.”

The Public Supports A Right To Repair Data For Progress (UserFriendly)

Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry The Verge

The Call Is Coming from Inside the House Slack Wire. UserFriendly: “Krugman, moron.”

Suicide Epidemic Has Swept Across American West Rolling Stone

Hydrogen-powered flying vehicle touted as Southern California traffic tonic – Reuters. EM: “See, if we can convince millions of SoCalians to abandon those dinosaurish cars and take to the air in our investor-dollar-clean-burning Jetson Mobility Devices, bye-bye traffic congestion! At least on the ground…”

Is There Too Much Business Debt? Liberty Street Economics (UserFriendly)

A 600-Page Textbook About Modern Monetary Theory Has Sold Out Bloomberg (furzy)

Guillotine Watch

Mt Everest deaths and overcrowding spark anger over commercialisation Financial Times

Class Warfare

Three decades of neoliberal policies have decimated the middle class, our economy, and our democracy Joseph Stiglitz, MarketWatch

Amazon Shopping for Manhattan Office Space, Proving HQ2 Haters Right Slate

Prisoner’s dilemma shows exploitation is a basic property of human society MIT Technology Review (Dr. Kevin)

Antidote du jour. Chet:

The previous week has been the snapping turtle week of spring in central Pennsylvania (around State College).

First, all the snappers get together and socialize to a greater or lesser extent.

On the following days the female snappers go walk-about to find a place to lay eggs. (One can encounter them almost anywhere).

And a bonus. More otters from guurst:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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160 comments

    1. pretzelattack

      nonsense, they will use the 3d arm to take selfies as they ski down the mountain, as god intended.

      Reply
      1. Joe Well

        That Atlantic story you linked to is from 2017. And it doesn’t say that Snopes is unreliable, just that it was caught in the middle of an ownership dispute. And according to Wikipedia, a judge later intervened in that ownership dispute to make sure Snopes could continue to operate. I am confounded as to why you would link to that 2017 Atlantic story.

        As for Daily Mail, I’m not even going to read it. It’s the Daily Mail.

        Long live Snopes.

        Reply
      2. Svante

        The ultimate conspiracy theory… eh? CNBC did so well, selling ‘baggers “protection” against Obama, as Hedley Lamarr’s Sheriff Bart. MSNBC sold Brock’s RussiaRussiaRussiaGate to far richer pearl-clutching Liberals against Springtime for Hitler. Flipping FACT checkers, silencing whistleblowers, actual journalists and cognitive dissonance on the lefty blogs or social media would be a breeze. Nobody reads ProPublica, likes Assange; listens to Chomsky, Naomi or Glenn?

        Reply
  1. dearieme

    Professor who has correctly predicted 9 presidential elections says Trump will win in 2020 unless Democrats impeach: because there’s not a cat’s chance that anything else influential might happen in the next 17 months.

    Lib Dems lead the polls as they start to become “the party of the 48%
    Recently two Lib Dem friends of ours – who live hundreds of miles apart and don’t know each other – have volunteered the same sentiment. They voted Remain, accept that Leave won fair and square, and therefore think that we should indeed leave. They both expressed disappointment that their party was being so dogmatically anti-democratic. What I’d like to know, but don’t, is how they voted in the Euro elections.

    Any similarities? Both are women, both Christian. So majority people by the first test, minority by the second.

    Reply
    1. Monty

      I know at least 3 friends who would be in that particular set. Difference is they take the opposite view to your friends. n 3 vs. n 2. Case Closed!

      Reply
  2. larry

    Assange: there is an article in the Independent entitled America’s persecution of Julian Assange has everything to do with Yemen by Patrick Cockburn where he contends that “the real purpose of state secrecy is to enable governments to establish their own self-interested and often mendacious version of the truth by the careful selection of “facts” to be passed on to the public. They feel enraged by any revelation of what they really know, or by any alternative source of information. Such threats to their control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible and, where not, those responsible must be pursued and punished.” Assange, he points out, is not the only journalist who has been ‘assessed’ in this way, but we know that. One could take issue with Cockburn’s emphasis on Yemen but accept the thesis that it is really the circumvention of state control of certain kinds of information that is the real issue.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Taibbi’s summing up:

      Britain is in a box. On the one hand, thanks to Brexit, it’s isolated itself and needs the United States more than ever. On the other hand, it needs to grow some stones and stand up to America for once, if it doesn’t want to see the CIA as the World’s Editor-in-Chief for a generation. This case is bigger than Assange now, and let’s hope British leaders realize it.

      Gee I wonder how that’s going to work out. Stones seem to be in short supply when it comes to defying US “national security” demands. On the other hand they get their revenge by secretly manipulating our elections and foreign policy and blaming it all on the Russians. These days the sun never sets on the Atlanticists’ think tank empire.

      Reportedly Assange is in poor health and in the end he may not even make it out of that British prison. Hillary will have gotten her long ago wish of “droning” him albeit by other means.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        Letting him die quietly (like Milosevic) may be the best outcome for the empire; a public trial OTOH could be a disaster. Death or secret trial (is there such a thing?) are best options. And yes – since any govt by definition strives to control the population, anyone who attempts to escape the constraints is and will be in trouble. The treatment of JA is a warning to all.

        Reply
      2. Doggrotter

        Dear Larry and Carolinian.
        Britain as it stands has been lead to the slaughter by domestic “news” agencies. If you get your news from one or all of these sources, BBC, Guardian or Telegraph you don’t have much of a clue as to what’s going on. I find I have to shut up and hold my tongue with nearly all my family and friends. The level of ignorance amongst the British people about what is happening unbelievable. These agencies lie by omission and unless you have way too much time on your hands to discover what stories they cover and which they don’t, you’re lost.
        The BBC which regards itself as a Prime News Agency, completely failed to uncover one of their highest paid stars J. Saville was a massive sexual predator of children, even though some 50-60% of their employee admitted knowing this to be the case.
        The UK Government will always post WW2, bend the knee to the US. It is their only way of imaging they are still part as a global ruling class.
        I love Spain, Portugal and Argentina for the people, the food and the weather but not for their economies. The UK really looks like it’s going to join a long list of countries that will economically sink without trace. And we don’t have the food or the sunshine to make it bearable.
        The Rich will pack up their caravans and move on.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous2

          You are absolutely right. The English printed media are, in the main, appalling. The BBC is cowering in a corner.

          Reply
        2. neo-realist

          In defense of the UK, the tube subway, the museums, and the music scene are top notch and would presumably survive brexit.

          Reply
      3. polecat

        Well, SOMEONE has to stand up for .. uh .. Integrity ……. and Intitiative !
        Oh, wait …. ‘;[

        Reply
    1. pjay

      Yes! Thank you for this link. After I had a good, scornful laugh at the APA essay, I began to have the same thoughts as the author. I appreciate and recommend his follow-up comments.

      Reply
    2. Craig H.

      This has become so lucrative that pharma companies barely have to do any real research and development at all these days. The only genuinely exciting new drugs at the conference were Ingrezza® and Austedo®, both of which treat tardive dyskinesia – a side effect you get from having been on too many other psychiatric drugs. This is probably a metaphor for something.

      I dunno, if I were working in an area where the research supporting a treatment has a tendency to collapse suddenly and spectacularly, I might want to avoid building an association in people’s minds between my medication and a house of cards. But the ways of Vraylar® are inscrutable to mortal men.

      The entire post is good but those two were very very. Vraylar is the star of the show, atypical anti-psychotic. I don’t know how the muckymucks who run the company pushing vraylar pronounce it, but I like the sound of a big dog growling with minimized vowels.

      Reply
    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      I enjoyed it too, and shared with a couple of skeptical shrinks I work with (in my personal experience, psychiatrists are far from doctrinaire).

      But I must again insist, that last outside kiosk about “lighting up” (read activating) the area of the brain responsible for empathy is all about Daniel Siegel’s work on the impact of attachment on higher cognitive (prefrontal cortex) functions. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) at its most primitive acts to protect the organism by shutting down, like a young gazelle going limp when caught by a lion. The next level of development of the ANS allows for mobilization, this is where flight or fight happens, and allows the gazelle to spring up and away at full speed when given the opportunity.

      The part of the ANS that evolved most recently is activated through social connection, instinct alone does not suffice because the human condition is that the self is developed in relation to others, not in a vacuum. This is where empathy and other capacities that make us human take place, where we can act rather than just react.

      Turns out that a brain scan of secure attachment looks much like a mindful brain and the attributes are very similar.

      Daniel J Siegel and Stephen Porges as well as Kabat-Zinn come to mind.

      I will try to find a link when I can.

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        I would rather light up my vagus nerves. The most popular internet method seems to be coffee enemas which I will not try.

        Most of the healthy subjects in studies are undergraduate psychology students who have to participate in the professors’ research as a course requirement. These are not typical homosapiens. What is good for them may not be good for you or I.

        Reply
    4. Cal2

      Best show in town. The hypo-circus, a microcosm of much that’s wrong with our society. If psychiatry is so great, why does our nation have so many more problems, crises, disasters and inequities than it did before psychiatry was profitably prevalent?

      Not mentioned in the article is that right outside on the sidewalks, The Tenth Thing, one sees the results of the normalization, codification and medication of what psychiatry has caused in some cases and certainly has not cured in others.

      For decades, human wrecks have flowed into San Francisco from all over America because of the city politician’s ‘tolerance’ and the vast sums spent on benefits for “homeless people”. i.e. “voluntary travelers.” Raving lunatics, junkies, (4.5 million taxpayer provided needles given out per year)
      https://sf.curbed.com/2018/5/9/17336090/san-francisco-needles-syringes-exchange-numbers-sf
      “disaffected sexual minorities”, gay youth, 1/3 of the “homeless”, the “officially” mentally ill, another 1/3 of the “homeless.” or combinations thereof.etc.
      Numbers here:
      https://edsource.org/2018/young-gay-and-living-on-the-street-lgbt-youth-face-increased-odds-of-homelessness/591851
      and here
      https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Almost-one-third-of-homeless-in-S-F-are-gay-4615829.php

      And the psychiatrist parasites keep feeding, kneading, profiting from and promoting the existence of these “communities” for whom they claim to speak, thus write prescriptions.

      See the list of seminars for more.
      https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/05/22/the-apa-meeting-a-photo-essay/

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        jeez, that is the very link that Yves posted above and that we are already commenting on. The list was selectively compiled by the author to make his point, and he acknowledges he excluded seminars on other topics.

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          I put that last link there so that readers don’t have to go back to the top of the page and search for the original link, open it, then come back downpage, flounder around and find where they left off.

          I wonder if the comment lines could be horizontally numbered and a series of vertical lines be automatically placed to show who is responding to whom.

          Reply
    5. Liza Loop

      Yup, I had a good time with the photo essay too (in spite of the fact that, as a dirty capitalist, a hefty segment of my income derives from pharma profits).

      Alexander’s frustration with the drug industry feeds nicely into Adair Turner’s discussion of zero-sum economic activities. (See https://www.ineteconomics.org/uploads/papers/Paper-Turner-Capitalism-in-the-Age-of-Robots.pdf).
      We seem to be struggling to invent new and ever more useless ways to move money around so we don’t have to rethink market capitalism. Alexander nails it with:

      As long as doctors continue to outsource their thinking to the FDA approval process, in a way even the FDA itself doesn’t endorse, pharma companies will be able to inflate the prices of basic medications by a thousand times just by playing games with the bureaucracy.

      Reply
  3. Geo

    Interesting take on tariffs. Curious what the smart people of NC have to say.

    Thom Hartman:
    If Democrats want to beat Trump, they better not nominate a “free trade” candidate.

    Instead, the Democratic Party must return to its pre-1992 progressive/protectionist/union roots and steal this issue right out of Trump’s mouth, saying that he’s not protecting American workers’ jobs well enough or fast enough. They should run hard in 2020 on the Progressive Caucus’s long-held position that we use protectionist policies, including tariffs, to end our trade deficits and bring back home our jobs.

    https://www.salon.com/2019/06/01/if-democrats-want-to-beat-trump-they-better-not-nominate-a-free-trade-candidate_partner/

    Reply
    1. divadab

      I’m a lurker here – and occasional commenter – IMHO relying on the Democrats to do anything that benefits working citizens, all of us, is a false hope. They are 100% bought servants of the .1%, they lie habitually, like salesman selling a bs product, they are corrupt bribe-takers and disreputable scum as far as I’m concerned.

      And the average age of the flipping DEm brain trust is well into cognitive decline range. I mean, Joe flipping Biden? GTFOOH!

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        >They are 100% bought servants of the .1%, they lie habitually

        Yes but I am always curious about why the second part is never cleverly used to cover up for the first part? Why don’t they lie about raising tariffs and “bringing manufacturing back” and all sorts of stuff they never are actually gonna do?

        They apparently have no other purpose except to be elected, and they are getting killed at that so why not try it. Hillary at least was smart enough, and she’s just not that smart I’ve become convinced, but was at least smart enough to figure out the “public and private position” trick. She just was too isolated in her Queenly bubble to come up with a winning public position.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Lying is hard because you have to remember the lie. Gerrymandering and one party states are part of the problem. Pelosi just needs to deter a primary challenger to stay in office or keep a challenge out of the media, plus incumbents usually have the support of the local business community and the loyal partisans.

          Many of the Team Blue courtiers simply aren’t very good at these jobs. Who is advising Gillenbrand? Yes, she started out as a Blue Dog, but as a Senator, she was fairly banal or led on a few issues challenging the MIC at least in the case of systematic sexual assault, prior to #metoo. Then she went full DLC again and is begging to qualify for debates, a Senator from New York, who has been in the news for positive reasons. She was appointed to the job in the first place, so her ability to campaign and her staff might not be up to snuff.

          Bernie is from a small state, but he beat an entrenched party. Obama was polling ahead of a credible GOP candidate until his divorce records were released in 2004. HRC, as a candidate, held one office, New York Senate. She lost to Barack Hussein Obama and had a run from a million year old Jew. Her 2006 reelection campaign in New York wasn’t a result of her astounding popularity but the state of NY politics and the 2006 wave.

          We tend to gripe about gerrymandering because its favored conservative politicians for too long but it has an effect on the quality of Team Blue. Because their seats are safe and as a result they draw donations, they fund like minded candidates in other districts who proceed to lose or promote more moronic Team Blue courtiers.

          Reply
          1. bob

            “Lying is hard because you have to remember the lie.”

            Says who? Remember Iraq? There’s no attempt at continuity any more, let alone any sort of accountability. Trump has been capitalizing on this since before he was elected. Remember, he used to be a dem. Gave The Liars tons of money, then figured he could cut out the middle man and bring the con straight to the rubes.

            That’s where the real money is! Direct to DVD.

            Reply
          2. nippersdad

            Re: “Lying is hard to do…”

            Not to pile on, but the first thing that came to mind was Saint Mueller telling us with 100% certainty that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The problem is not that lying is hard, but that so many people with situational ethics problems elect to believe any lies that support their cause these days. YMMV, but it seems to me that politics has become a blood sport utterly dissociated from its’ original purpose for all but those who tend to benefit from it these days; circuses sans bread for the multitudes.

            Reply
      2. John k

        Yeah, but…
        They read the polls. And want somebody like them. So Bernie’s out… and Biden’s their best hope to beat Bernie, which is their donors job 1, and who knows? Might beat trump, the polls say so, and they can’t be wrong twice.
        Well, probably not. And anyway, don’t forget job 1.

        Reply
      3. Cal2

        divadab,

        Tulsi Gabbard is 38. Army major. Combat Veteran. Athlete. Ideal vice president for Bernie, who is yeah, old. But, she’d be right there to take over for him, if need be.

        Listen to Joe Rogan’s interview of her if you don’t know about her.

        Reply
        1. MichaelSF

          I’ve seen similar comments before, but I’m still not clear what “athlete” has to do with suitability for high office. FDR wasn’t much of an athlete, but then Reagan (or was it Shrub?) was able to get out and clear brush on the ranch.

          Reply
      4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        YUUUUUUUUUP

        Im reading ‘Democrats- A Critical History” by this ISO author and Wow. Pretty much confirms that Democrats ALWAYS SELL OUT THE WORKING CLASS.

        Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      I watch Thom Hartman a little here and there. I do like how he consistently brings up trade and tariffs and their role in history.

      He oversimplifies the comparison between S. Korea and Kenya a bit. S. Korea was in a much better set of circumstances in terms of geography with its neighbors and geopolitically. Being surrounded by other poor countries makes things much harder. Having Japan as a wealthy neighbor helps a lot.

      Also, the US needed a big success story for capitalism next to Communist China and N. Korea. Same thing for Taiwan. It was chosen as a rising star. Plus, there were/are residual British colonial interests and their successors than grew up under that system dominating Kenya, whereas the Japanese had previously colonized Korea and were thrown out post-WWIII. A project like the Korean one would have gotten a lot more pushback from agricultural interests in Kenya and lots of African countries had interventions from the CIA and the old colonial powers to help the old guard. Korea doesn’t have tons of natural resources to exploit, so it wasn’t worth meddling.

      I wasn’t thrilled with the opening anecdote about the Reagan-Mondale race. It was a very right wing framing. Reagan had a lot of tailwinds behind him in 1984. Falling interest rates, falling inflation (not least due to oil prices coming off their highs), booming oil production in TX and CA, a roaring stock and bond market. He also juiced the economy with a big fiscal push (yes, I know, mostly from tax cuts and defense spending…but it was a LOT of money).

      Anyway, back to Hartmann’s point. I think he’s probably right, implicitly, that Biden’s long pro-free-trade record is an election killer. That’s probably why he wrote it right about now. I think railing against free-trade and bad trade deals is necessary, but probably insufficient, by itself. I don’t think a lot of the candidates in the primary are going to be able to make a convincing case that they are TRULY going to make better trade deals. Recall how jaded the public is on trade after Obama lied to them about renegotiating NAFTA. Credibility matters on the issue.

      My last point is that I think the tide has turned on trade and a lot of elites don’t know it, yet. The world is going in the other direction, albeit slowly and unevenly, back towards mercantilism in some form. For institutions like the pentagon and intelligence community, trade brings security risks. I think the shift in posture towards China may be a more permanent one. It’s probably going to be part of a shift towards a multipolar world of geopolitics. The US has to take the competition seriously if it wants to defend its turf.

      Ended up a little long-winded, hope someone enjoys reading!

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Interesting comment that and very illuminating. I would modify one sentence where you said ‘Korea doesn’t have tons of natural resources to exploit, so it wasn’t worth meddling.’ That may be true of South Korea but it is not of North Korea which has about 6 to 10 trillion dollars in mineral wealth untapped. Maybe there it was worth meddling to keep it poor.

        Reply
      2. Olga

        I am pretty sure that this was aired at the time of the 2016 election – one cannot fight a war against a country that manufactures one’s military spare parts. The trade war with China serves multiple purposes, including shifting manufacturing out of China, regime change in Beijing (one can hope), and showing the world who the boss is. None of this is a great mystery – China is an existential threat to the empire and must be stopped. (At least, according to Langley/Pent.)

        Reply
      3. Geo

        Thanks so much. I’ve been pretty indoctrinated into the “tariffs bad!” narrative that I hadn’t really been exposed to this perspective in such a way. Nice to learn some of this and will definitely read up on it more. Even if it’s unlikely any of the Dems will consider such a direction.

        Reply
    3. efschumacher

      Hard to know who is worse, the wingnuts of #Brexit or the wingnut Trump. He slaps tariffs even on states he is conducting active negotiations with. Since the Brexit NoDealers are hanging their unicorn dreams on ‘trade deals’, and the prime prize in their eyes would seem to be a US Trade Deal, what about Britain’s vastly inferior negotiating position and the high likelihood of this same kind of tariffy bullying makes any such trade deal any sort of golden plum?

      Especially when that US trade deal will inevitably include chlorine washed chicken, hormone fed beef, higher drug prices and the dismantling of the NHS.

      Moreover, Trump comes out and endorses johnson as next Conservative leader. Why is this kind of meddling in Britain’s electoral process any less unethical/more illegal than putative Russian meddling in the US electoral process?

      Reply
      1. Monty

        “Why is this kind of meddling in Britain’s electoral process any less unethical/more illegal than putative Russian meddling in the US electoral process?”

        The Golden Rule: “It’s OK when we do it.”

        Reply
      2. Synoia

        What’s BoJo going to do? He has the same identical 4 alternatives May had:

        1. Crash Out
        2. The EU’s terms on a negotiated exit
        3. Remain and revoke Article 50
        4. Remain by obfuscation, keep extending the deadlines in Article 50,

        My money is on 4, at a minimum least for the time for BoJo to qualify for the perks and pensions ex Prime Ministers receive.

        Reply
  4. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Mitchell/Wray textbook oversubscription:

    Huzzah!

    This tickled my memory and after a brief search, it turns out that the US entity that was envisaged to serve as a funding channel for tax-deductible US contributions to the MMT University is now created:

    http://www.monetarystudies.com/

    The winds are changing …

    Next, maybe we will have Congressional hearings on the true nature of the constraints faced by the fiscal authority.

    Reply
  5. Krystyn Walentka

    Re: Suicide Epidemic Has Swept Across American West

    I took a friend to the hospital last night after we finally convinced her that her deep depression and talk of suicide was a disease that needed more urgent care.

    A few weeks before a friend called to ask what she should do because her daughter attempted.

    I also lived in Montana which has one of the highest rates of suicide in the US.

    I attempted suicide (Bipolar, OCD, Anxiety). As did my mother, brother, and my nephews go succeeded.

    I can tell you from my own recovery that this is such a complex issue because it covers the biological, environmental, economics, and stigma. Suicide is an epidemic, much worse than AIDs and more stigmatized, yet the research surrounding it, and the care, is horrible. There are no new drugs, only reformulated old ones. And there are no tests.

    I tell my doctors I am not getting better and instead of taking more tests they just say I am non compliant because I can’t take the meds that make me feel worse than just managing the disease.

    I say it is complex, but it is simple as well. When saw my issues in a holistic framework is when I made the most progress.When I saw how much my environment affected me, instead of taking meds to try to fit instead environment, I left it.

    But isolation is the worst, and it is not only from the stigma. Everyone wants to be alone because technology gives them the ability to be alone and eat a highly processed reality, which tastes good but ends in disease for them and society.

    I want to add as well, that higher temps and pollution are a trigger for me and the effect is well studied, which is why I am also fighting to end that stupidity.

    Well that’s my rant. Just do me a favor, got out and talk to someone today, and if you have a mental illness talk openly about it to anyone you meet.

    Reply
      1. Charger01

        Thank you for sharing. I sincerely hope you find the reources and soulutions you need. I’d recommend leaving MT for a vacation if you can afford it. I’d highly recommend Coeur d’ Alene, ID.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Coeur d’Alene is beautiful, but if you’re sensitive to heat and pollution, a further trip to Priest Lake further north is even better. Granted, it’s remote enough to be a bit isolating; but a balm for the soul.

          My wife grew up near Coeur d’Alene and just returned from a visit.

          Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Thank you for your post. First, you pointed out the culprit for depression/anxiety and that is social isolation as Johann Hari points out in Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope . But the other side of this is self-blame. People put extraordinary pressures on themselves to be “perfect” even though such perfection (often contradictory) are impossible or ridiculously hard to achieve. To me it comes down to the fact we expect to program ourselves to do things like machines–we’re not machines despite the fact that the medical industry (and psychiatry is the worst part of it) treat us like machines they fill people with often ineffective of fraudulent drugs and largely ignore effective low-cost techniques that treat us as the profoundly beautiful and spiritual beings we are.

      For me, I was fortunate in having a “spiritual experience” that cured me of suicide in my youth when I suffered from a depression that made it almost impossible to move and, btw, though I lived with my parents, I was alone. My experience showed my connection to everything. Today, I find that what I love most is engaging with other people in conversation or common activities. As “happiness studies” have found, we do best when we engage and serve others–I’m working on that but I know that my tendency is to be self-centered and selfish–fortunately I have fierce wife that calls me on that tendency.

      Decades ago Christopher Lasch pointed out in his book The Culture of Narcissism what we were becoming. We actually believe that life is about pleasing and indulging ourselves and our impulses. As a result we are rapidly circling the drain as a culture as the Gaia is burning with fever and most of us avert our eyes and take drugs so we can continue to amuse ourselves to death.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Lots of the same experiences for me. Keeps going deeper though and I am nearing assimilation with the ideals St. Francis. All things are spiritual.

        “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
        ― St. Francis Of Assisi

        And thank you.

        Reply
    2. Eclair

      Krystyn, if you were with me, I would give you a big hug (with your permission, of course). As a young woman, I went through bouts of depression for decades, when life became a dream in shades of gray. Like you, meds made me feel worse and, like you, I realized that my environment was a major cause, and so left it. Not easy but worth it in the long run.

      In the last few years, there have been so many suicides among family and friends. The two sons, both in their 50’s, of a distant cousin of my husband. An activist friend from Denver, whom I worked with on a foreclosure prevention group, the loveliest man, again in his fifties. And, in the last year, two friends of my college-age grandson.

      At this point in the demented trajectory of our civilization, I think that anyone who is NOT suffering from some form of anxiety or depression is engaging in massive denial. I treasure your observation: ” …. technology gives them the ability to be alone and eat a highly processed reality, which tastes good but ends in disease for them and society.”

      Some of us eat only the bitter herbs of reality and must deal with the discomfort they bring. We each need to find our own way of ameliorating and living with that unease.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Walentka

        All hugs welcome here, thank you.

        Medication drive the spirit out of the neurodivergent. We are more sensitive to the bitter herbs is all, even if we eat them with a huge dose of sugar. Most people cannot see that bitter is just the opposite of sweet. By the way, I like this “bitter herbs of reality”. :)

        Sorry for your losses as well and glad you became aware.

        Reply
    3. ambrit

      A big “amen” to the rant, specifically, the part about being labeled “non compliant” when you try to do something “outside the box” to treat the malady. Phyllis is constantly fighting this “non compliant” stigma in her personal battle against melanoma.
      I’m speculating here, but I see the “non compliant” charge made most often in situations where the ‘professional care giver’ is stressed for time and resources. The relentless drive of neo-liberal medical practice for increased “efficiency,” a code word for ‘profits,’ drives the “race to the bottom” in practice. This produces artificial bottlenecks in the amount of time available for evaluation and care and physical resources for treatment.
      As it is now, Holistic medical treatments have been ‘priced out of the reach’ of “ordinary” patients. A two tier medical system has pretty much been the norm for human society through the ages. It is a basic example of the asymmetry of information effect.
      This is the perfect example of the Neo-liberal Rule #2: “Go die.”
      One of my least favourite aphorisms is the oft quoted saying; “You will always have the poor among you,” for the corollary is, “And we are constantly trying to kill them off.”

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Walentka

        My holistic treatment is rather cheap although I have the luxury of being on Disability. I need to avoid high air pollution and hot areas, eat little, mostly fish, and be out in nature (this is for several reasons but the main one it to avoid both low frequency and Radio Frequency EMFs.)

        Yes, go die, that is the response I intuit from my doctors.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Good. Good. Good.
          A competent healer will look for what works for the patient, not what the “official version” of medicine demands. The two are often at odds with each other. So, we must become our own healers.
          Keep fighting the good fight.

          Reply
    4. none

      It sounds like you have already left Montana, and that may have helped because of Montana’s high altitude as well as the social issues there. You might find this of interest (from Nov 2014):

      https://www.mic.com/articles/104096/there-s-a-suicide-epidemic-in-utah-and-one-neuroscientist-thinks-he-knows-why

      There’s a Suicide Epidemic in Utah — And One Neuroscientist Thinks He Knows Why

      It says high altitude seems to cause depression because of the lower air pressure. They do a huge amount of antidepressant prescriptions in Utah.

      Reply
      1. efschumacher

        Is this why Bhutan is going for a happiness index, rather than GDP? Because they are not actually happy up there?

        Reply
      2. Synoia

        If altitude were the cause there would be a huge percentage of Suicides in Lima, Johannesburg, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.

        Bleak winters cause depression. Move to a sunshine state. Better yet move to a sunny place, outside of the US, and stop reading the news.

        However, high altitude does make it difficult to boil one’s veggies and potatoes, and almost impossible to brew a good cup of tea.

        Reply
        1. georgieboy

          Could high-altitude suicides be concentrated among people who are not ‘native’ to the region?

          In other words, are today’s residents of Lima, JBurg, Tibet, etc. more likely to be native than the residents of places like Montana?

          Natives around the world reportedly have been found to have evolved to be much more efficient at grabbing oxygen at low pressures. A family member was adopted years ago, after his birth mother walked down to Oaxaca and gave him up. He turned out to be an Olympic-quality cross-country skier — a lung-busting sport if there is one — until other issues ended his fun as a skier.

          https://www.wildsafe.org/resources/outdoor-safety-101/altitude-safety-101/high-altitude-oxygen-levels/

          Reply
      3. Krystyn Walentka

        I will never believe there is one cause for mental illness. It may effect some people.

        It is important to distinguish that the west has a higher suicide mortality rate but not necessarily a high rate of attempts. Gun ownership is a huge factor. See this map for the pattern:

        https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/suicide-mortality/suicide.htm

        In 2017 50,000 people died by suicide but there were over 1,400,000 attempts.

        Truth is the successes get more attention than the attempts.

        Reply
    5. John Zelnicker

      @Krystyn Walentka
      June 1, 2019 at 8:15 am
      ——-

      Let me add my thanks for your openness on this extremely difficult subject. I hope you are able to find the peace you deserve.

      I have a suggestion that you might want to consider. There have been a number of small experiments with micro-dosing with psilocybin (magic mushrooms) for those like you who cannot take, or get no benefit from, the pharmaceuticals. The results have been quite amazing. Most of the participants reported significant improvement that lasted for weeks to months.

      Chris Cosmos, above, mentions a spiritual experience that cured him. While I would never propose that micro-dosing is any kind of cure, in my experience and that of many friends, psychedelics can be very effective in enabling such spiritual journeys that can be helpful to you in your struggles.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybin#Research

      Reply
      1. polecat

        Experts can be such a pain, no?

        I’m not much of a social butterfly*, which at times can be somewhat daunting. I Do however, have anywhere (depending on the Queens for a day, or should I say, a Summer) from 20,000 to 100,000 reasons to feel uplifted since becoming a beekeeper .. otherwise known as .. Homo apis var. ‘Attendiatus’.
        ‘;]

        *noticed the first swallowtail of the season flitting around one of the cherrytrees (probably atttracted to secreations exuded by the leaves) while watering the perennial bed … so for a solid minute I was in full rapture !

        Reply
        1. abynormal

          ++. BBC sent someone into Montana to give this epidemic a look-see…eye opener for me. Economic upheaval without safety nets… reminded me of when BP killed the fishermen.

          ‘Outside the box’ considerations (while we transition from steroid consumption) is a strain on the individual… glad to read your success!

          What’s killing white men in Montana https://m.youtube.com/watch

          Reply
      2. Krystyn Walentka

        No thanks, since psilocybin stimulates the serotonin 2A receptor it would probably make my already slightly psychedelic view of reality too much to handle. I have had many spiritual experiences, starting when I was 13. My trouble is I had not context for them and it is what I am attempting to build now later in my life.

        But thank you.

        Reply
    6. Whoamolly

      Lifetime of experience with depression.

      Only relieved finally after cancer surgery to remove a ‘silent’ tumor. Tumor gone, depression gone.

      Years before that tried everything.

      Looking back at age 75, Only two things worked to relieve symptoms. One was a gifted therapist. Other was jogging. Later, when my body could no longer tolerate jogging, it was brisk walking.

      Best book “Darkness Visible” Author really shows that depression is a potentially fatal illness, and must be treated accordingly.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        I concur, Whoamolly. I spent seven years in therapy and am so grateful that I found a therapist who was so skilled. And, I too must stay physically active …. walking, dancing, heavy-duty gardening.

        Reply
      2. Krystyn Walentka

        Wow, that is crazy, and it gets to the heart of what I was saying about the lack of testing. Thank you for adding another important anecdote in my arsenal.

        Reply
    7. dearieme

      Is there any chance that the people committing suicide are disproportionately the children of people who took illegal drugs when they were young? Or particular medications?

      Surely some researcher must have looked into this notion?

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Nuclear Power Dying A Slow Death”

    Well, if it is anything like Uranium 238 which has a half-life of over four and a half billion years, yes it will be a very slow death indeed.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      On that subject, they* never give up:

      https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2019/06/01/Why-do-Democrats-show-such-disdain-for-nuclear-power/stories/201906010015

      I’m not going to kill myself googling GDP and population counts to make fun of this (and he makes it tough with his “advanced economies” mnemonic — who is that really? US, Europe, Japan, definitely, but in these terms does Russia count? China nowadays?) but even without specifics:

      “$1.6 trillion in additional investment would be required in the electricity sector in advanced economies from 2018 to 2040” if the use of nuclear energy continued to decline.”

      That’s barely 2x the admitted US military yearly budget spread across 22 years. Wow count me in!

      ““electricity supply costs would be close to $80 billion higher per year ”

      Again, across several billion people at least. That’s 100 bucks a year if “advanced economies” is just US and Europe, at a bit short of 1 billion people. Less than 10 bucks a month. But he thinks he’s making some sort of point?

      *And again, I have sympathy for nuke power supporters, I was in the industry myself once. It’s just…. well the relationship is over.

      Reply
    2. dearieme

      The beauty of having a very long half life is that it emits only tiny doses of radiation. Hydrogen (1) and oxygen (16) have a half-life of infinity. Does that make water a radioactive hazard?

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        No. And I assume you know better. And of course a long half-life implies nothing about the “tininess” of future dosages, except relatively to the initial one.

        If you start out at a level that’s likely to be lethal within an hour, then a half life of a billion years still makes it more than a little dangerous then.

        Reply
    1. Annieb

      Thanks for posting this. I would have missed it otherwise. Caitlin emphasizes the UN rapporteur’s point about people in our society being susceptible to smear campaigns because they are afraid of being shown up as fools. Being a dupe is shameful in our western society. Enlightening. The whole essay definitely worth reading.

      Reply
  7. Alex morfesis

    Music metadata “failure” is a feature, not a bug…dear cousin Steve…please read this article and stop cursing my refusal to sign that major record label contract with your band all those years ago…

    the music industry put the “con” in contract…

    oops gosh darn it…this accounting stuff is so complicated…but you kids really just wanna get (family blogged) anyway…it’s all just a big party party party…just sign here…

    what…??? get a lawyer…??? Why would you wannadewdat4 ???

    here are some we recommend who understand industry “norms” and are

    “$u¢k¢€$fu££”…

    You don’t want some lawyer who can’t get the contract approved now do ya kid ?

    Entertainment business law can get complicated if you bring in a lawyer who has never sold out his clients… I mean a lawyer who understands the importance of being in tune with where the industry is today…

    Hey look kid I am busy here, you want to be able to say you are “important” enough to be signed to a “real” record label and have “a chance” to be famous or do ya just want to be rich ?…famous or rich…your choice….

    Reply
    1. lordkoos

      Your post pretty much mirrors my brush with greatness in the music biz. Back in the late 70s a band I was in, which was backing a national act on tour, was asked to sign a management contract. After a couple of guys indicated they might want to have a lawyer look at it first, the pressure increased to sign ASAP. I left the situation a little after that, but a friend who replaced me got a lawyer who was a family friend to look at the contract. This attorney’s verdict was that it contained pretty much every “screw the artist” clause known to man. Double-sad is that the internet was supposed to level the playing field, and it has, a little, but it’s still the same swamp, just with different alligators — Spotify, Pandora, youtube, etc. This song sums it up — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFle2YoQwWg

      Reply
  8. divadab

    Re: Smuggled Leaches – I could show that Russian guy a local pond that’s leach paradise and there’s no limit and no fine for catching, shipping, or selling them . STay local, Ivan!

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      My first thought was that the guy had taken a stroll on K Street in Humordor, and said leeches were under the impression that there was an opportunity to make money if they glommed onto him.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        Yeah .. I was wondering as to whether they were red, or blue leeches …… until it dawned on me that, in the Potomic swamp, they’re All the color Bipartisan Purple !

        ….as a reminder, recall Nancy P’s utterance of a few years ago to her DNC crowd underlings: “Embrace The SUCK !”
        Now you know .. they’re not human, under that plastic skin of their’s.

        Reply
    2. BobW

      “When you clock the human race with the stopwatch of history, it’s a new record every time!” Firesign Theatre

      Reply
  9. pretzelattack

    mt. everest–“please take a number. when your number is called you may proceed to the summit to take selfies. do try to show consideration for other climbers by not staying over 15 minutes, as doing so may result in even more corpses, ruining the experience for sensitive climbers. thank you.”

    Reply
      1. shtove

        Ooof – that is eerie:

        She remained in plain view of the mountain’s Southern Route, leaning against a long deteriorated backpack with her eyes open and her hair blowing in the wind, until the 70-80 mph winds either blew a covering of snow over her or pushed her off the mountain. Her final resting place is unknown.

        Reply
    1. diptherio

      I haven’t been reading the stories because I can’t really bear it. Do they mention the hundreds or maybe thousands of Nepalis who put their lives in danger to play porter for these a-hole adrenaline junkies? I hope so, because I couldn’t care any less if some rich Westerner eats it on Sagarmartha, but it tears my heart out to think of some young man trying to make a few bucks and getting killed while carrying hoity-toity mountaineering gear for some elitist yahoo.

      Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        they pay about as much attention to the nepalis, in general, as msm here pays to the underclass here. i’ve seen a few stories about pushback from the sherpas, and friction between them and the climbers, as they demand higher pay for assisting rich westerners to the top, and risking their lives repeatedly.

        Reply
        1. diptherio

          Yup…but…’Sherpa’ is an ethnic group and a common last name, ‘porter’ and ‘guide’ are the job titles. Many porters and guides are Sherpas, but many are not. And many Sherpas are doctors and engineers and everything else. So in the future, please don’t refer to the job by the name of the ethnic group — my friends find it pretty aggravating (Sherpas and non-Sherpas alike) Thanks. :-)

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            my understanding was that the friction was specifically between sherpas and climbers. i didn’t intend to imply that sherpas are not capable of doing anything they want.
            https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/nepal/10037481/What-drove-100-Sherpas-to-attack-Western-climbers-on-Everest.html
            the sherpas have historically been the vast majority of the porters and guides on everest. that composition may be changing. i believe edmund hillary, who summited everest simultaneously with tenzing norgay, worked for decades to get them better treatment, because at the time they didn’t have many opportunities for other career choices. porter/guide wages, meager as they were, probably helped them put their kids through school.
            this seems a decent article on the composition of guides and porters
            https://blog.alienadv.com/everest-sherpa/
            if the term is offensive i will drop it.

            Reply
      2. Robert Valiant

        If Elon Musk could convince the elitist yahoos to all get on a rocket to Mars and then actually send them there, I’d be all for Elon Musk. In fact, if Elon could just get himself, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson on a one-way rocket to Mars, that would be sufficient. Seriously, the Übermenschen belong on Mars.

        Reply
  10. Eureka Springs

    From the Lawfare article on impeachment:

    As Hennessey and I argued, the president’s conduct as described in the Mueller report amply meets the standard for beginning an impeachment inquiry. President Trump has lied repeatedly to the American people about the existence of a plot by a foreign government to interfere in a democratic election, and about his campaign’s connections to that plot; he repeatedly sought to abuse his power by impeding or doing away with an investigation into his own behavior; and he pressed for groundless investigations into his political opponents.

    Okay, for once I am for it, if and only if the entire D party includes themselves in the articles. Good (family blogging) grief, Charlie Brown.

    Reply
  11. Chris Cosmos

    While I think Allan Lichtman’s predictions and the basis on which he makes then have been great, I think he is wrong about impeachment unless the charges go way beyond Russiagate and include policy which is unlikely. Why academics and liberals believe that there is anything beyond the vague charges of “obstruction” of an investigation that was based on lies manufactured by the Clinton campaign and their allied intelligence officers/operatives I don’t understand. It reminds me of the endless attempts to get the math to work to justify the Ptolemaic system of astronomy–it won’t work because the Earth is not the center of the universe! Impeachment won’t work because the charges would open up a nest of problems for the Democrats and, more importantly, the intelligence community and the FBI (both, in my view, hopelessly corrupt institutions). There is no “there” there. Trump is a corrupt businessman but I see few if any allegations of corruption, i.e., taking bribes or enriching himself from the public Treasury.

    The “permanent government” in which the most of national media is now completely enmeshed along with the corporate elites whose interest is to change nothing wants Trump gone because the fig leaves hiding the machinations of this deep state have now become too obvious. Unless the factions that want Trump gone are able to convince him to go quietly, he and his supporters will dig up the source of the Russia hysteria which has been well-documented in the alternative press. Usually the alternative press is demonized with various pejoratives but, this time, both on the right and left, they have the facts on their side. If impeachment is initiated in the House the whole rotten system will be exposed to criticism unless Trump is persuaded by an offer he cannot refuse, to resign. That would make things even more interesting. My guess, is that the divisions within the power-structure won’t allow that sort of thing to take place but who knows?

    Reply
  12. PhilK

    During the height of the Civil War, the Confederate Surgeon General commissioned a guide to traditional plant remedies of the South, as battlefield physicians faced high rates of infections among the wounded and shortages of conventional medicines. A new study of three of the plants from this guide — the white oak, the tulip poplar and the devil’s walking stick — finds that they have antiseptic properties.

    Scientific Reports is publishing the results of the study led by scientists at Emory University. The results show that extracts from the plants have antimicrobial activity against one or more of a trio of dangerous species of multi-drug-resistant bacteria associated with wound infections: Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

    Civil War Era Plant-Based Medicines Attack Drug-Resistant Bacteria in Lab Tests

    Reply
  13. Jesper

    The prisoners dilemma again? :)
    The math and the simulations are impressive. People who have played a lot of board games might already be familiar with the winning strategy:
    The two extremes:
    1. Lie all the time and nobody will be your ally -> you’ll never win
    2. Tell the truth all the time -> many will want to be your ally but before the end someone will have have advantage of you and you’ll not win

    The winning strategy is somewhere in between. The ‘exploited’ might appear happy with their lot but if the options are:
    1. Try to exploit all the time and losing is a certainty
    2. Hope that the one who exploits makes a mistake and/or find some satisifaction of being better off than a total loss.
    Then what should the rational player do?
    Granted, the above is just anecdotal from playing board-games, however, constantly oppposing someone is unlikely to be a winning strategy also in life. Fake-opposing someone/something is something very different. It is a very succesful strategy in the first by the post elections…. The only thing actually at stake in the election is about who is going to be the beneficiary of being on the inside.
    The biggest advantage of the FBTP is of course that it is easier to find a governing majority in parliament which is something that the elite is quite happy with. Why anyone else likes it is difficult to see for someone like me who is used to the list system.

    Reply
    1. martell

      It’s interesting that game theory would jibe with the experience of board game players. By playing a board game, participants temporarily and drastically limit and simplify their reasons for making this or that decision. Ethical, religious, and even aesthetic considerations are set aside. Also, there’s usually a way of ranking strategies by outcome. That’s possible because “goods” in the context of the game are never incommensurable. So, I would not be surprised if game theory proved to be helpful when it comes to understanding why board game players do what they do. What’s far from clear is that the lessons where board games are concerned can be extrapolated to human interaction that’s not so artificially simple-minded. What holds for black vs white or thimble vs hat might not hold for, say, USA vs North Vietnam. Game theorists actually tried to make sense of the latter, right? As I recall, that didn’t go very well.

      Reply
      1. H. Alexander Ivey

        Not to be snarky (my immediate mode of operation) but it’s called game theory for a reason. Efforts by pioneering game theorist, John von Neumann, to the contrary, it is of use only to games, not to life.

        Efforts to apply it to real life, like the authors of the post were doing, fail IMO, due to the theorists refusal to state their assumptions and what boundaries these assumptions impose on the results they get.

        Reply
        1. Jesper

          I agree that game theory is of limited use, there is some use to it and the difficulty is trying to figure out what is of use.
          At a guess I think that maybe the piece intended to show that some exploitation is tolerated – as evidenced by the simulation (for whatever that is worth) reaching a steady state equilibrium. What we see today is that we have an ‘elite’ exploiting the rest, is their exploitation too much and will therefore lead to the steady state not being so steady (revolution)?

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            What we see today is that we have an ‘elite’ exploiting the rest, is their exploitation too much and will therefore lead to the steady state not being so steady (revolution)?

            Yes, and it is perhaps the single most common reason for a society’s collapse although invasion as well as revolt are the immediate causes.

            Reply
    2. Steve H.

      > Prisoner’s dilemma shows exploitation is a basic property of human society

      : “is a” should read “under certain circumstances may be”.

      MIT knows better. Unless they don’t want to. The math shows that divide and conquer works, and the more people believe “there is no such thing as society”, the easier it is for elite coalitions to dominate.

      Let us, however, withhold judgement as to whether MIT is elitist. As Stanley Fischer said, “It’s early to tell, we’re still watching how it unfolds.”

      Reply
    3. Synoia

      The solution is situational:

      For Example: Do I Look Fat?

      Has two answers, yes and no, both right and both wrong, depending on the situation.

      The best solution is to quickly inhale your drink, and collapse on the floor in a coughing fit. Is that a lie or the truth?

      Reply
    4. Socal Rhino

      I believe Dawkins talked about this in the Selfish gene. It matches personal experience so i disclose my confirmation bias. The winning strategy is to be non-aggressive until experiencing attack, at which point you retaliate vigorously.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “‘Nostalgia Serves No Purpose’: An Interview with Michel Barnier”

    Can’t say that I am a fan of this guy. He says: ‘Europe has to prove its vitality everyday, especially vis-à-vis the young generations who have no memory of the European wars.’ Well, yeah. If you are a young European you missed WW2 so all you grew up with was neoliberalism and austerity and knowing that it was a choice that was imposed by the EU elite.
    And ‘nostalgia serves no purpose in politics’? Maybe not but it sure does in people’s lives. It gives them context to their lives and lets them know if things are getting better in their lives or are getting steadily worse. How many people would not mind living like it was the sixties because of the things that were still available like more economic security, privacy, etc. Older people know what has been lost.
    The best was when he said ‘They feel that the quality of public services, healthcare, transport, is worsening. We must listen to these fears and address them.’ Well I say why has this not been “addressed” decades ago? Is it because the rise of the right means that they cannot afford to keep on ignoring it? This guy probably is like European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker when that person said: ‘These populist, nationalists, stupid nationalists, they are in love with their own countries’. Can people love the EU?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The key is to not have power to lose in the first place, none of the cabins in Mineral King in Sequoia NP are hooked into the grid, as there is no there there, in terms of electricity. The nearest transmission lines are 20 miles away.

      A few cabins have solar arrays, but it doesn’t supply much in the way of being able to use most devices. Everything is propane powered: fridge, lights, heater, etc.

      The one place that has power-the Silver City Resort, has a generator, solar arrays-an impressive set of storage batteries, and internet access.

      Reply
    2. John Wright

      I don’t understand the point of your comment, will California demonstrate a higher state of development by leaving the electrical lines energized in high-winds and low humidity?

      I view the plan as an acknowledgement of how tinder-like much of California can be in summer before the rains start.

      As a result of losing the house in the Tubbs Fire of October 2017, I have spent some time reading about fire resistant building and the prominence of fire in many parts of CA in the past.

      The Tubbs fire was found to have started in some electrical gear in Calistoga, CA.

      from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tubbs_Fire

      “After an investigation lasting over a year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) determined that the Tubbs Fire was “caused by a private electrical system adjacent to a residential structure” and that there had been no violations of the state’s Public Resources Code.”

      If the fire had been contained at its origin, my house, about 18.5 driving miles away, might have remained standing.

      The problem is so much of California can be tinder dry after the rains stop and the grass dies.

      BTW, here is an example of a thoroughly foolish, in my view, editorial about California wildfires.

      https://thebulletin.org/2018/08/california-wildfires-are-mostly-preventable/

      Apparently, if humans stop having accidents (sparks from a flat tire in Redding, CA started the massive Carr fire) and behave well, then California wildfires will not be a problem.

      Well, duh.

      Having California utilities shutting down power is a stop gap measure.

      Longer term, fire resistant building methods and prohibiting building in high risk areas are key.

      Reply
  15. Pelham

    Re the Mexico tariffs:

    What strikes me is a media narrative that holds out only the possibility that the tariffs will be imposed. Isn’t it just possible that Mexico can avoid the tariffs by taking actual measures to curb illegal immigration? Maybe it’s a remote possibility, but I fail to see why it shouldn’t merit even a mention.

    The one exception last night was Tucker Carlson, who interviewed Peter Navarro who laid out several clear and non-onerous steps Mexico could take that would satisfy the administration. Maybe Navarro was way off base — and the interview didn’t address the legality of Trump’s move — but the points made sounded reasonable.

    Reply
  16. Pavel

    Check out star.vote for a great demonstration of ranked voting. People have created various polls, e.g. one for the 2020 Dem primaries: https://star.vote/demprimary2020/

    The #YangGang people seem to be promoting it as he is in the lead but Bernie and Tulsi are also doing well. Rather different than how the MSM is portraying things. There is also one for all 2020 Presidential candidates… a long list!

    Reply
    1. UserFriendly

      STAR is by far the best voting system out there, but of course if the yanggang are all piling on it it will show him winning.

      Reply
  17. Summer

    Re: “Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry…The Verge

    “Unclaimed” billions…I guess that’s one way to put it.
    It’s also alot of the age old problem of people not getting credit for their work.
    It’s not “unclaimed” by the entities who are credited.

    Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    I’m not sure why rapidly falling water in a steep, deep channel is of such appeal to us, but it is. A flat river or a creek with rushing whitewater is not without it’s charms, although in no way does it excite the way a waterfall can. Today’s walk to the base of Mineral King Falls is off-trail, and we’ll get within 20 feet of it, with the spray extending perhaps 100 feet in an approximation of a Yosemite waterfall gushing forth. Along the way we’ll come across the Giant Juniper-surely one of the largest known @ over 10 feet wide. It’s about 50 feet tall and the top has the look of a Medusa’s head, with wizened branches running akimbo all over the place in lieu of venomous snakes.

    https://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/waterfalls/california-mineral-king-falls/

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, it’s remarkable how exhilarating waterfalls are. Hiking in the West (old) Cascades, we discovered that hiking IN the stream got us away from other people very quickly. It isn’t easy; we wear water shoes, carry a pack with snacks and a water filter, and carry walking sticks – we have quite a collection of them now. And usually acquire some bruises.

      Doing this, we’ve discovered a 20-ft. waterfall that isn’t on the Forest Service map, at the head of a narrow canyon – the NW equivalent of a slot canyon. We found another that’s almost completely covered with moss (good footing, actually). OTOH, there’s one we never quite got to. There’s even a picture of it on Google Maps – but when we tried to reach it from below, we found some wonderful water-carved rock and then were stopped by a low falls we couldn’t climb. Another route got us to the creek, but we didn’t know which way to go to the falls! Now we know, so we’ll have to try again. But how did the young woman in the picture get to the bottom of the falls?

      It’s all an adventure; since hardly anyone else does this, we have some gorgeous places to ourselves. You do need the right size of creek; if it’s too large it’s impassable without swimming a lot, and if it’s too small the brush closes over it – we’ve tried both.

      Reply
  19. John Wright

    re:Three decades of neoliberal policies have decimated the middle class, our economy, and our democracy Joseph Stiglitz

    Stiglitz has

    “The rapid economic progress inaugurated by the Industrial Revolution, following centuries of near stagnation, rests on two pillars. The first is science, through which we can apprehend the world around us. The second is social organization, which allows us to be more productive working together than we ever could be on our own.”

    It appears to me Stiglitz is missing a rather obvious third pillar that allowed humans to exit “centuries of near stagnation”.

    This is the pillar of hydrocarbon energy, which allowed the magnification of human labor by energy achieved by pulling out of the earth coal and oil and burning them.

    When a notable such as Stiglitz misses the elephant in the room, the one that has been so important to what is called past “economic progress” while also leading to a future of severe climate change disruption, indicates to me he is rather more hopeful than realistic.

    The benefits of reforms to the system as advocated by Stiglitz could help, but the future unquantified middle-class lifestyle might be far different than what his readers assume in their minds.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      We all .. to one extent or another .. enjoy, and benefit from our capture of All those carbon-based energy slaves, as no doubt, does our friend Joseph ….

      just sayin ..

      But, having said that, at some point down the garden path, limited or otherwise .. via necessity .. we’ll, collectively, be raising crops, and building local and
      regional communities the old-fashion way .. when we’re not spending time nurturing nascent Gaiatarians …

      Reply
    2. Tom Bradford

      I would argue that Stiglitz would include your ‘Third Pillar’ of fossil-fuel exploitation as a tool of the first two rather than a ‘prime mover’ – it was science that recognised and enabled the potential it offered and social organisation that enabled its exploitation.

      One could also argue that it was the overcoming of the intellectual inertia imposed by the Catholic Church that allowed the ‘power of science’ to be released and unchained the rigid social order it had imposed for centuries by permitting aspiration for a better life in this world to be attained by personal application.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Further back, the Romans had steam power. But it was just a toy to them. They didn’t really see a need.

        Also there are some hints of some amazing timepieces. Again, just toys for the rich.

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree with giving prominence to fossil fuels but I think there might be more than three pillars. The low effort sources for many resources are being depleted and used up — not just fossil fuels. The population bomb is still with us accelerating the consumption of these depleting resources. When the fossil fuels are gone there won’t be any more for millions of years — if ever — and barring a sudden miracle breakthrough in fusion reactors there are no substitute sources of energy which come close to being a replacement. And I believe Neoliberalism has turned Science into a handmaiden of commerce. Instead of scientific evidence we have marketplace of ideas. Instead of the pursuit of Knowledge, Science takes contracts to find new products to market. The social organization, which allows us to be more productive working together has become Corporate social organizations that compel “productive” to mean profitable. The Corporate social organization cannibalized the social organizations where individuals had at one time found Society and could avoid becoming isolated from other people. Social relations have been reduced to networking. But Stiglitz is an economist and sees these problems but views them through a different glass.

      Reply
  20. Susan the other`

    China’s Plan to Influence Commodity Pricing. Where to start? We play chess and the Chinese play go. That’s the difference between a two dimensional conquest and an infinite one because go has paranoia as a dimension. The whole objective in go is to protect oneself – against gamblers. And who to knows gamblers better than the Chinese. Really. We are seeing the unfolding of genetics on an economic scale here. If China controls, within the range of exchange, commodity prices then China controls its own financial stability. Is this possible? In order to join international trade China has to go “mainstream” with its investment markets. Because fluidity. Fluidity and paranoia are neutralizing agents. Isn’t it impossible to count probability beans? So a certain amount of instinctive reaction is probably good. I continue to marvel that the antidote always grows next to the poison. I don’t understand any of it. Especially “Chinese Depositary Receipts” because depositary risk/insurance here is relegated to the biggest tax base – that has been us so far, so does this mean that China is now going to accept those risks and distribute them to its unwitting citizens via taxing? Somehow I doubt this. The “emerging” market is almost a mirage. Goodnight Gracie.

    Reply
  21. Cal2

    “Forget Kamala Harris’ identity?”, even although that seems to be her main selling point?

    What has she done?
    Launches career thanks to girlfriend status of FBI investigated power broker, gets appointments to state commissions, hefty paycheck for not showing up–Check
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/01/24/kamala-harris-2020-history-224126

    San Francisco degenerates into crime when she’s district attorney–Check

    As attorney general, she bungles job: Search for “Proposition 47” in the following:
    https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/15/san-franciscos-decline-could-hurt-kamala-harris-presidential-ambitions/

    Pass for wall street bankers like Mnuchin? Check. Let massive frauds like Herbalife slide? Check.
    Drop already launched investigation against church child molesters? Check
    As senator?
    Still checking for any accomplishments…

    Progressive Democrats, Obama-Trump-Democrats and black people may stay home if she’s on the ballot.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/19/kamala-harris-2020-election-top-cop-prosecutor

    Few white Trump voters, who might have voted for their economic interests, student loans, M4A, by switching to Bernie, if he were on the ballot, would vote for her.

    LosewithKamala2020

    Reply
    1. Beniamino

      Another career highlight for Kamala Harris – being called out by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for failure to address rampant prosecutorial misconduct during her stint as CA Attorney General.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        https://observer.com/2015/03/california-prosecutor-falsifies-transcript-of-confession/
        Beniamino, Links are good for educational and credibility purposes.

        And sexual harassment payouts for her staff she was supervising,

        “The California department of justice paid more than $1m to employees who alleged they faced sexual harassment or workplace retaliation while presidential candidate Kamala Harris was state attorney general.”
        https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-kamala-harris-attorney-general-settlements-20190301-story.html.

        And the Secret Masonic Police Force working out of her office.
        https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-aide-harris-accused-rogue-police-force-20150505-story.html

        And jailing sick parents unable to get their kid across town to the court ordered school they were forced to attend?

        “Harris tried to combat waning school attendance by criminalizing truancy. She was then able to use the threat of fines or jail time for parents of children who missed too many school days…when she became attorney general of California in 2011, she implemented the policy statewide. Prosecutors across the state took parents to court, and some were jailed.”
        https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/17/kamala-harris-regrets-truancy-law-1279788

        There’s dozens more.

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          Kamala Harris is going to be long gone by the third debate. But the questions will remain – how rotten is the system when somebody like her can even think about taking a run at the Presidency?

          Although I guess that was answered by the Reality Show billionaire, um, millionaire, um, guy who owes everybody money.

          Reply
  22. Brooklin Bridge

    Tonight was an ad from a different law firm fishing for agricultural, yard, and pool workers who had developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma and was explicit that Monsanto was the target.

    Note that the usual add says, toward the end, “You don’t pay anything unless we win the case.” I have to wonder what that means exactly. What if they win the case in one court but the ruling is overturned on appeal. Does the plaintiff have to pay the law firm from the first win, and then end up with a nothingburger on successful appeal by the defendant (that is, Bayer)?

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      I suspect even they aren’t that sleazy, as our notorious Edgar Snyder tagline is “unless we get money for you” which implies that they don’t get their cut until yours is also available.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Numerous anecdotal data points I have encountered suggest that the “Ambulance Chasers” of the Legal profession are indeed as sleazy, if not an order of magnitude sleazier than we suspect. The scams and schemes those bottom feeding legal leeches come up with are sometimes purely amazing in their complexity and rapaciousness.
        The law practice may not get every client money, but the money the law practice “lends” their clients to get through the legal phase is a tax deductible expense. Whether each client gets paid or not.
        Shapespeare was right when he has Dick the Butcher say; “…let’s kill all the lawyers.”

        Reply
        1. Romancing The Loan

          It is a percentage based fee: you pay nothing, ever, and they take a chunk (usually 1/3) out of your winnings if they are successful. The winning cases pay for the losers/less-than-break even. I am a lawyer and I used to paralegal at a firm like this.

          The demonization of plaintiff civil litigation is one of the saddest successes of neoliberal propaganda – they are really the only thing left that stands up to corporate malfeasance since the co-opted regulators won’t do it.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            We must be living in two different countries. (Not snark, real puzzlement.)
            The ‘Contingency fee’ law shops I’ve seen around here, in the American Deep South, have charged people I’ve spoken to much more than the 1/3 of winnings you mention. Now, perhaps I am seeing an example of the phenomenon where the “bad actors” in any field of endeavour garner a disproportionate share of the ‘word of mouth’ ‘on the street.’
            Perhaps I just live in a more than usually corrupt region of America.
            I must agree that in this period of ‘captured’ regulators, crusading lawyers fill in the voids.

            Reply
            1. Romancing The Loan

              The world of loan sharks preying on hopeful plaintiffs is a very scummy one, to be sure, and I agree the bottom-feeder lawyers do charge more than a third. I would assume and hope however that it would be bar license-destroying to combine the two (even by accepting kickbacks for recommending a lender). But that may indeed be the result of regional differences.

              Reply
  23. ewmayer

    “Professor who has correctly predicted 9 presidential elections says Trump will win in 2020 unless Democrats impeach nominate an actual progressive candidate | The Hill (resilc)” — There, dear The Hill editorial staff, fixed it for you. Of course the whole impeachment hysteria is designed to do 2 things: [1] divert from the fact that RussiaRussiaRussia was a giant load of BS ginned up by Trump-deranged Clintonites and their pals in the Intel complex and the MSM, and [2] distract from any substantive discussion of actual *policy*, of the kind where progressive candidates tend to shine vis-a-vis their dismal establishment-backed-crook counterparts.

    Reply
  24. Darthbobber

    The Nation article’s writers seem to be under the impression that Republicans have a monopoly on red-bating. Which is not and never was the case. When I was young, this was the domain of Cold War liberals like Scoop Jackson, and today it is practically mainstream democratic dogma.

    Reply
  25. Darthbobber

    So 2 days after the yougov poll with the libdems leading, we see one today from Opinium (which I encountered in a Savage article in the grauniad), which gives us

    Brexit party 26%
    Labor 22
    Conservatives 17
    Libdems 15
    Greens 11

    (CHANGEUK is down in merge or die land at 1%, and looking more and more like a halfway house for pols transitioning to the kindness or crawling back to their original parties.)

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think it should be said that YouGov is a far more experienced and reputable polling company than Opinium, which is basically a marketing operation.

      But that said, YouGov itself was very cautious about its poll – it noted that in the past LibDems never quite live up to high polls when it comes to Parliamentary elections. You would still expect, even on ‘worst case scenario’s that Labour would get far more seats than LibDems or Greens in any election, given their strength on the ground and the way FPTP benefits larger parties.

      But the real significance of the polling I think is that Labour has simply failed to gather even 50% of the ‘not right wing loony’ electorate. The three way split between Labour, Green and LibDems (and PC and SNP in Wales/Scotland) would in reality save the Tories if an election were held tomorrow. Their only hope is a pre-election pact, but that is highly unlikely. And while Change UK is not registering in national polling, they still have the capacity to be spoilers in a dozen or so constituencies, which could be very significant.

      Reply
  26. JohnnyGL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0Z-CUqxtnA

    Cenk Uygur interviews Bernie. Most interesting question I heard was ~12min mark. Quotes are paraphrases from me.

    Cenk: “When you’re president, what do you do when Joe Manchin says he won’t vote for Medicare for All?”

    Bernie: “I won’t just put pressure on him, I’ll go to West Virginia and hold rallies and encourage people to demand that he do the right thing and give people health care.”

    THAT is the correct answer and an abject lesson in how to use the bully pulpit. Manchin would crumble.

    Reply
  27. Carey

    ‘Bjorn’s Corner: Electric aircraft, the first fall on the Hype curve’:

    “..Battery-based aircraft is a near impossibility, hybrids are difficult

    Vittadini’s team had made the sums. Battery driven aircraft is a near impossibility. Since doing my check on the efficiency of different electric aircraft, all I have learned in the 18 months since the series is making the equation worse..”

    https://leehamnews.com/2019/05/31/bjorns-corner-electric-aircraft-the-first-fall-on-the-hype-curve/

    I do like “hype curve”…

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      He’s right about pure battery powered aircraft (at least with current battery types), but he contradicts himself about hybrids. There is little energy loss in going from turbine to electric motor, and he himself points out that there are potentially very significant efficiency gains in electric fans because of their light weight (essentially, they can be built into wings/bodies or use boundary layer effects). He also ignores the potential for light weight capacitors or flywheels to provide power boosts during take-off.

      But the reality is that the only CO2 neutral aircraft within our lifetimes would likely be a conventional turbine using synthetic fuels of some type.

      Reply
  28. skippy

    It used to be a rare condition seen in only the most committed stoners: unrelenting extreme vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain brought on by years of regular marijuana consumption.

    But for emergency room doctors in Colorado, patients coming in with Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is now a regular occurrence.

    “[We see] people that smoke every day, unusually up to 10 times a day,” said Andrew Monte, a toxicologist at the UC Health University of Colorado Hospital.

    “We’ll get these episodes where [they] have this unremitting vomiting syndrome. They come into the emergency department because they’ve been throwing up,” he said.

    CHS sufferers do not respond to typical anti-nausea medicine.

    “We actually treat them with antipsychotics. That seems to be the most effective treatment,” Dr Monte said.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-02/the-dark-side-of-legal-marijuana-five-years-on-in-colorado/11160420

    Whats the natural background TCH% again ….

    Reply
    1. Clive

      I feel desperately sorry for a whole new generation of drug users (and I’m not just referring to marijuana here, prescription opioids are in the same league) who have been sold on a fictional tale of non-addictive addictive substances.

      The treatment and recovery sector made some major strides 20 or 30 years ago in non-judgemental approaches to help drug users understand what they were doing and the risks which are inherent in using potentially compulsion-inducing drugs either recreationally or in a bid to self-medicate. For the subset of the population who are predisposed to chemical, behavioural or emotional dependency, there is no safe limit for using the substances they are liable to become hooked on.

      Yet everything that has been learned has been quickly forgotten, for a variety of complex reasons. Some libertarians rejoice in the freedom from state meddling in how they’re intending to live their lives. Some progressives welcome the lifting of moral censure. Some small government types are happy that law enforcement doesn’t need to spend time and be resourced to tackle supply-side issues.

      Regardless of how well-intentioned it all might be, there’s a cohort who is actively engaged in self-harm apparently egged on by another group which is completely convinced it’s an unquestioned and unqualified good thing. All telling themselves they can quit any time they like.

      Reply
      1. skippy

        Apparently heaps of them respond to our businesses ads for tradesmen, batting around 100% fail rates due to currant life style or ramifications from previous intake.

        Reply

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